Next Generation Communications Blog

Fixed Networks

Optical Transport Networks Help Operators Meet Growing Traffic Requirements

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

It has been called the “data storm;” due to increased online video usage, the cloud, and mobile devices, bandwidth demand is increasing relentlessly, and operators are straining to keep up.

Research from Bell Labs suggests that from 2013 to 2017, operators will see a 550 percent increase in bandwidth demand due to the shift to cloud and a 720 percent increase in bandwidth to support IP video across fixed and mobile networks. This will result in a 320 percent increase in the amount of traffic in the core network.

“Telecom operators are starting to realize that simply increasing the line rate is no longer sufficient to control the costs associated with increasing bandwidth demands,” noted David Stokes of Alcatel-Lucent in a recent TechZine article, Optical transport networks and bandwidth demand. In fact, we really are seeing exponential traffic growth as recent research from Bell Labs below shows expected traffic growth from 2013 to 2017.  



Motive Helps Global Service Provider Know When to Upgrade Customers to Ultra-Broadband

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As one of the world’s largest network service providers, Norway’s Telenor must constantly upgrade its systems to stay on top. The company runs networks in 12 countries and operations in 29 more, and it has a market capitalization of roughly $38 billion. But it must keep its operations modern to maintain its position, so last year the company decided to upgrade its access network so it could deliver ultra-broadband services and improve the customer experience with ADSL2+ and VDSL2 technology.

Deployment of the upgrade currently is underway, and Telenor expects to have its 500,000 DSL lines migrated to the new VDSL2 platform by 2015, according to a recent case study, Telenor Achieves Competitive Advantage In Ultra-Broadband, on the rollout.

To efficiently deliver ultra-broadband services, however, Telenor needed a way to determine which of its existing DSL lines could be upgraded to VDSL2 without issue, and which ones needed additional infrastructure changes.

Agile Optical Networking Breaks Speed Records and Meets Customer Demands

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

With adequate bandwidth and network speeds now a cornerstone of life for both businesses and consumers, optical transport is increasingly becoming a key solution for network operators.

The market for optical network equipment is expected to reach $15 billion by 2018, according to research firm, Dell’Oro. Optical transport of the 100G variety is expected to make up 80 percent of that demand.

Communications Industry Researchers (CIR) also recently released a report predicting that the market for 400G will hit $528 million by 2019, and the market for supporting optical components and silicon devices will reach $195 million that year.

Clearly, optical networking matters. It is easy to see why when looking at the recent achievements of Alcatel-Lucent’s agile optical networking technologies.

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.

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.”

IP/MPLS Enables Robust Public Safety Capabilities for Calgary

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

This is the third in a series of blogs that have taken a look at natural disaster communications and how public safety organizations around the world a leveraging next generation communications to better prepare and respond to emergencies.

In this final installment, the focus is on the Canadian city of Calgary which had catastrophic flooding in June. But it also got lucky.

That’s because just as the worst flooding in the history of the city was overflowing the riverbanks and flooding downtown, taking down infrastructure as it went, Calgary was testing its new, next-generation IP/MPLS-based network infrastructure.

As its infrastructure was endangered by the flooding, the city’s IT team was able to move over to this new system and start the migration of 50 remote locations in a matter of hours, preserving its essential communications needed to deal with the flooding and preserve business continuity.

Ultra-Fast Broadband the Path to End-to-End IP Telephony and PSTN Migration

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The TDM-based public switched telephone network (PSTN) still brings in revenue, but operators need to start thinking about PSTN transformation as vendors start to move away from TDM equipment support and existing revenue from the PSTN network dries up.

Adding fuel to the need for PSTN transformation is the increasing cost of maintaining the PSTN network.

The direction of the PSTN migration is clear.  Operators need to move to an IP-based network. This has been an inevitable and desirable trend for many years. In addition, it presents the opportunity for operators to converge their voice and data services onto a single network architecture that can drive revenue and cost reductions.

IP Convergence Delivers for Railway Operators

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Rail communications have not been immune from the information technology revolution, but any new rail solutions need to be rock-solid since safety is on the line. Rail communications failure is just not an option.

Moving from separate network services to a converged IP/MPLS multi-service network is helping railway operations make a step-change in flexibility and efficiency while reducing total cost of ownership.

IP convergence--and IP/MPLS in particular—bring safety-related train control communications under a single unified architecture while delivering new railway communications flexibility.

One railway operations pioneer, Portugal’s REFER Telecom (the telecommunications subsidiary of Portuguese railway infrastructure manager, REFER E.P.E), has been using a fixed IP communications network since 2004. Since 2008 it has been running on IP/MPLS technology provided by Alcatel-Lucent.

G.fast Promises a Copper Speed Boost with VDSL2 Vectoring 2.0

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

There was a time when fiber-to the-home was seen as the future of broadband. But all that changed with the introduction of VDSL2 vectoring.

“With a single innovation, the market shifted,” noted Alcatel-Lucent colleagues Paul Spruyt and Dr. Stefaan Vanhastel in a recent blog post, The Numbers are in: Vectoring 2.0 Makes G.fast Faster. “Copper became a valuable commodity again as operators began using their copper assets to deliver fast broadband speeds faster.”

Making that copper even more valuable potentially is the new G.fast standard.

G.fast can increase aggregate bit rates over copper loops shorter than 250 m to fiber speeds of more than 1 Gb/s, the authors explained. It also delivers a cost advantage over deploying fiber directly to the home.

The trouble is that G.fast suffers from crosstalk even more than VDSL2. Tests by Bell Labs on older, unshielded cables in Austria showed that G.fast reached speeds of 500 Mb/s over 100 m when a single line was active, but they fell to a measly 60 MB/s when crosstalk was introduced as a result of a second G.fast line being added.

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