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The Secret Value of VoLTE

By Ed Elkin, Director, IP Platforms Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent 

At Mobile World Congress, I discovered that many network providers still aren’t aware of the broader business values of voice over LTE (VoLTE).  Most knew it readily includes HD voice for clearer calls and reduced background noise, which lets you feel like you’re standing right next to the other person. Most didn’t realize that, in unexpected ways, VoLTE helps them earn more money and increase efficiency.

How to Kill Shadow IT: Step One - Recognize that Resistance is Futile

By Bryan R. Davies, Senior Director of Enterprise Communications Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

The first step in resolving any problem is to make sure you understand the core issues. So here’s the crucial question for shadow IT: What is the biggest challenge it presents for your IT department?

Holding back the flood?  

Today’s flood of mobile devices and cloud services is making shadow IT a bigger headache than ever before. But it’s nothing new. It started with the first enterprise employee who ever put an application in place without the knowledge or approval of IT staff.

CloudBand Delivers NFV Solution for Network Operators

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As you already know, the cloud is one of the megatrends of our times, and service providers are embracing the open cloud with the help of network functions virtualization (NFV).

An NFV platform enables providers to run network functions on a homogeneous, distributed cloud infrastructure. Using an NFV solution, they can port network functions such as communications and messaging applications and fixed and mobile network functions over to a virtual machine environment. Freed from proprietary, physical hardware, providers can leverage this virtualized infrastructure as the basis for their own service platforms and operations.

Seeing the opportunity inherent in NFV, as described in detail in an applications note Alcatel-Lucent has developed a purpose-built NFV platform for service providers, CloudBand. The platform supports distributed clouds and dynamic network control to meet application demands, and it optimizes network operations by automating cloud node management, application lifecycle management, smart placement and network configuration.

Metro Transport Networks Need to Get More Efficient or Choke on Tomorrow's Data

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Metro transport networks are in for a rough ride in the next few years if steps are not taken to ameliorate the impending bandwidth challenge they will face.

Metro networks are expected to grow in traffic by 560 percent by 2017, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent TechZine post, Retool Metro Transport Networks with Packet-Optimized WDM. That’s because, thanks to the cloud and increasing video usage, the percentage of overall network data is increasingly happening in metro networks. In 2012, 57 percent of data traffic terminated in the metro network. By 2017, according to Alcatel-Lucent estimates, 75 percent will terminate in metro networks.

The short-term solution is to add bandwidth through the addition of higher capacity 100G-capable transport systems. But this is only a quick fix.

Advancing Utility IP Migration Takes Time and Care

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

This is the third in the three part series looking at how IP, which has been playing an important role in business transformation for some time, now has become critical to the utilities industry as it is leveraging the transformation of communications networks to IP to maximize smart grid deployments. In short, taking full advantage of things like smart metering and big data means to improve usage, real-time information and improved interoperability.

The future of the smart grid has unfolded slowly partially because adoption is more than a technology issue, and because while businesses want reliability, utilities demand it; a cautious IP migration is almost a given. In fact, part of the path to adoption goes through social challenges, not just technology investment.

IP Migration Picking Up Speed among Utilities

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

A few years ago, the idea of a smart grid and things such as smart metering was the stuff of science fiction. But thanks to recent innovations, a utility that is not working on a migration to IP is behind the curve.

In this second of a three-part series on the value of the migration utility infrastructure to IP as the means to enable and enhance the value of smart grids, we look at an expert’s view of the challenges as highlighted in a recent GridTalk posting by Bart Vrancken, utilities solutions architect at Alcatel-Lucent, who noted, “Utilities telecom used to be very simple, handled in the background with a very small team…The explosive growth in intelligent grid devices with communication capabilities was not foreseen at all several years back. But now we see numerous examples of customers deploying these technologies.”

IP Network Investments Enable Enhanced Smart Grid Value

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The future of the smart grid looks bright. Innovations such as IP/MPLS network connectivity and the desirability to all potential stakeholders in smart cities projects have helped propel smart grid spending in general and investment in the enabling networks. In addition, government programs such as the U. S. Smart Grid Investment Grant Program have pumped $7.8 billion into smart grid systems with accelerated activities taking place around the world. In fact, driven initially by government stimulus, investments by the electric power industry in IP technology is accelerating, with US$200 trillion projected in global expenditures by 2030.

In short, the networking piece of smart grid deployments is critical, as the migration of utility infrastructure to meet the needs to remotely monitor and manage their grids grows in complexity.  “The new IP/MPLS technologies offer a great deal of benefits within the utility in cost savings, operational efficiency and cost savings, and they also mandate a new way to operate, bridging those traditional organizational silos,” noted Mark Burke, VP of Intelligent Networks and Communications for DNV – GL, in a recent GridTalk posting.

Enterprises Need a Converged Network to Meet Current and Future Requirements

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Bring-your-own-device, mobile video, virtualization and a greater need for quality of service have prompted the need to rethink the network. In fact, the exponential increase in traffic has added a sense of urgency on the part of enterprises to upgrade their networks.

What’s needed is a converged network, according to a recent paper by Alcatel-Lucent (ALU). Enterprise Converged Network Solution, which carries the subtitle, Deliver a Consistent and Quality User Experience, Streamline Operations and Reduce Costs.  With a long and deep history of providing state-of-the-art enterprise networks, ALY is advocating a converted, application-aware network that accounts for the latest evolutions in computing, yet is a resilient enough to meet both today’s needs and those of tomorrow.

Cable MSO Discovers the Benefits of 10G EPON

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Bright House Networks loved its 1G Ethernet passive optical network (EPON). But there was just one problem: demand was increasing, and 1G EPON was quickly becoming not enough.

The cable multiple system operator, the sixth largest owner and operator of cable systems in the United States, serves roughly 2.5 million subscribers with its video, high-speed data, home security and automation and voice services.

Bright House Networks is a proponent of EPON because it allows the company to provision multiple customers onto one fiber and still provide dedicated bandwidth without oversubscription. It is their preferred way to accelerate the transformation of their network to an all IP ultra-broadband infrastructure.

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes says Europe Must Stop its Cellular Race to the Bottom

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As leaders in Europe debate whether the EU is “back” during the World Economic Forum, the region is increasingly falling behind when it comes to telecommunications, according to Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes.

“There is a real danger,” noted Combes in a recent blog post on Europe’s digital divide (published in the Wall Street Journal, “that Europe is losing ground in the information era.”

That’s because there is an increasing gap between what the latest smartphones can deliver and what Europe’s telecommunications companies can support due to a price war that inhibits infrastructure upgrades.

“Europe is locked in a vicious circle of competition focused exclusively on price, one that forces operators to reduce their investments and destroys their innovation capacity,” noted Combes. “This type of competition is bad news for a digital Europe and its consumers.”

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