Next Generation Communications Blog

IBM, Mitel, Wearable Tech round out Latest ITEXPO News

Its been an amazing ITEXPO so far - wow. In case you missed some of the happenings from day 1, here are...

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3 Reasons UC Deployments Fail

Just getting ink on a Unified Communications deal is just the beginning. So many deployments go wrong or worse the company...

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Small Cells are Key to Attracting and Keeping SMB and Large Enterprise Customers

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

To say that operators of macro-cellular physical networks are facing all type of challenges these days would be an understatement.  These range from spectrum scarcity issues, competitive pricing pressures, the need to build out LTE networks ASAP as platforms for new services and to meet the insatiable appetite of users for things like streamed and real-time video, getting ready for the Internet of Things (IoT) etc.  They also are busy figuring out how to keep users, particularly enterprise users on their smart devices always and all ways on their networks in an increasingly fickle world where alternatives abound, including for value-added traffic lost to Over-the-Top (OTT) providers.  

It is to keep enterprise customers on the mobile service provider networks for enhanced services that good in-building wireless solutions are seen as both a powerful business tool and a competitive advantage.  This is particularly true when it comes to retaining small-to-medium business customers (SMBs).

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Changing the SIM game

The iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models comes with a SIM  that “gives you the flexibility to choose from...

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WebRTC and the Enterprise

I was reading an article titled, “How WebRTC can serve the Enterprise” but when I originally saw the headline I thought...

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Jeff Pulver, Andy Abramson, Craig Walker, Alon Cohen, Mike Tribolet, Andy Voss and Danny Windham at ITEXPO Next Week

Panel to celebrate 20 years of IP communications/VoIP and discuss its future. Next week at the 29th ITEXPO, I get the pleasure...

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Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes on Importance of Bringing Ultra-Broadband to Africa

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

It may be almost cliché to say we live in a global economy, but many times when globalization is discussed the focus is on developed and emerging markets and not that often, if at all, on under-developed regions.  In fact, in the past few years until the recent drop in oil prices, much of the financial community’s and economic development interests has been focused on the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).  This leaves out not just most of South America, but the promising rest of Africa which contains a wealth of rare minerals and other natural resources waiting to be literally and figuratively mined.

However, for most of the African continent countries to move from under-developed status, along with toward political stability and having a educated citizenry, infrastructure needs to be in place which it currently is not. This means not just giving the populace access to clean water and energy, but in a digital world ubiquitous and affordable access to businesses and individuals to high-speed broadband communications is now not just a foundation but a pre-condition that is essential for moving ahead.  

In this regard it is enlightening, refreshing and significant that Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes recently wrote a corporate blog stressing the company’s interest in working with governments and commercial interests to help accelerate economic development across the continent.  This about not just about the Oscar winning movie of several years ago “Out of Africa”, but is also about around, into and across Africa. 

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Connected Cars as an Everyday Lifestyle

By: Ellis Lindsay, General Manager, Customer Experience Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent 

I drive to work and back home in my car every day. I tune in to a radio station for traffic news and upcoming events nearby. Like many of you I’m sure, this is a typical everyday activity. And like never before, we are connected to our home, our families, our phones, our work and our friends in a network that seems to be always on. Shouldn’t we be in a lifestyle where we are consistently connected to the everyday activities in our lives? Well, let me introduce you to the world of Connected Cars.

Enterprise Service Gateways Help Operators Extend Their Mobile VPN Offerings

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The emergence of cloud computing and mobility, not to mention bring-your-own-device trend (BYOD), has introduced a strong need for mobile virtual private networks (VPNs). Yet, most operators are only able to offer mobile VPNs to larger customers since their fixed-line VPN infrastructure is often separate from their cellular infrastructure.

One solution to this problem, outlined in a recent TechZine article, Mobile VPNs for Enterprises of All Sizes, by Jan Vandehoudt, Principal Consulting Engineer and Patrick McCabe, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Alcatel-Lucent, is for mobile network operators to use an enterprise services gateway (ESG).

Packet Microwave Rings Get Resurgence with New Standard

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Packet microwave rings are catching on as the network topology of choice for network operators when it comes to microwave backhaul networks.

Daisy chain and tree network topologies have historically been used for packet microwave due to bandwidth inefficiencies associated with the SDH/SONET protocols that historically made ring networks inefficient. All that has change with the introduction of ITU-T G.8032v2, a new standard that takes the place of SDH/SONET networking capabilities.

We ask the experts: How can exceptional QoE be achieved in VoLTE networks?

By: Jean Jones, Director, Wireless Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

What does voice over LTE (VoLTE) offer your subscribers? Better voice quality, including HD voice. Rich communications with messaging and video. And whatever inventive applications you choose to introduce. In other words, VoLTE can provide a superior quality of experience (QoE) for subscribers and give you a competitive edge — particularly when your service operates at its best. 

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In my last blog[CCE1] , our experts explained why an end-to-end strategy is the key to maintaining peak VoLTE performance. Now we’ll look at how this strategy gets put into practice to optimize real-world service offerings. The information here is based on interviews with Luis Venerio who works with our VoLTE Readiness Services team. And his observations come straight from his experience on VoLTE deployments that serve millions of subscribers.

The WebRTC Craze

Blog post is co-written by Anne Lee, Chief Technology Officer of IMS Innovations at Alcatel-Lucent and recently recognized by the industry as a WebRTC pioneer and by Gilles Duboué, IP Platforms Innovation Marketing at Alcatel-Lucent.

The craze for WebRTC grows louder as its realization in the market begins to be marked with high profile adoptions such as in Google Hangouts, Amazon Mayday, and SnapChat’s AddLive solution. The formal standardization of WebRTC began in 2011.  Early implementations by Google and Mozilla, on Chrome and Firefox respectively, followed shortly - beginning in 2012.  And with the availability of developer versions of WebRTC on Chrome and Firefox, an ecosystem of proof-of-concept and early commercial products and solutions quickly emerged.  Open source plug-ins are filling the gap in browsers that do not yet support WebRTC e.g. Internet Explorer.  There is also clear progress being made in WebRTC standards for ORTC.  Given this, we expect that WebRTC ORTC will likely be natively available on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer within the next 18 months.

Network Functions Virtualization: Learnings from an NFV proof-of-concept

By: Asaf Peled, Cloud Solution Architect, Alcatel-Lucent's CloudBand activity 

We live in exciting times – again. I had been wondering if there was still room for fundamental innovation, for technological disruption – the worn out word. We had the Internet bubble that burst 2001/2002. We had the advent of the smartphone in the recent years. Great innovation, but somehow they reached a plateau. Faster processors, larger screens? It doesn’t seem to make a real difference. Apple’s engine showed the first signs of sputtering.

And yet, there is something brewing behind the scenes that makes the engineer’s heart beat faster: NFV and SDN, a bold new vision about the future of networks (read these blog posts about understanding Network Functions Virtualization and Software Defined Networks). Network functions are to be reduced to pure software - doing away with all the special purpose chips, circuit boards, and cabinets into which we have poured our brains to deliver the ultimate in features, performance, and reliability.

Third Party Pays Mobile Data Plans Hit the Market

Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe continues the dialogue on the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation by examining recent market developments in third party pays mobile data.

Syntonic Wireless™ is bringing sponsored data to AT&T customers. The Seattle-based mobile services company’s new Syntonic Sponsored Content StoreSM, creates an open marketplace where AT&T’s iOS and Android customers can find and consume free or premium content without consuming their data plans. Integrated with AT&T’s Sponsored DataSM service, the Syntonic Sponsored Content Store operates on the third party pays concept, one of the six degrees of mobile data plan innovation.

When it announced Sponsored Data in January 2014, AT&T offered a vision for a service that would give sponsors new ways to engage with customers and employees. Sponsors could come from industries as diverse as healthcare, retail, media and entertainment, and financial services. They could use sponsored data in a variety of different ways, including:

How signaling spikes affect networks: 3 real-world examples

By: Josee Loudiadis, Director of Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent

Data and signaling growth are usually good news for network operators, since growth often translates into higher revenues. But when growth is averaged over a month or quarter, the daily highs and lows of network activity are smoothed out. And signaling spikes remain hidden within the averages. These spikes can overwhelm available signaling capacity, which impairs the customer experience, as well as the operator’s reputation.

What happens when a spike occurs? Typically, a CPU Overload alarm appears on various mobile nodes. And the Network Operations Center (NOC) immediately starts praying that the burst is short-lived and doesn’t go over maximum peak-rate capacity. Because when that happens, all consumers are denied service access. Then, the process of identifying the source of the problem begins. This can be arduous, because it often involves applications completely out of NOC control. And the issue can’t be resolved easily without solid network analytics that enables engagement with application and device developers.

That’s the reason signaling information is a crucial part of the Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Apps Rankings report and why LTE World 2014 devotes an entire pre-conference day to the topic. It’s also why this blog offers a closer look at how some real-world disruptive signaling spikes got started — and were finally resolved.

The Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: It's Not All About Data- Mobile Voice and Messaging Share Plans Offer Plenty of Appeal

Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe continues the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series by examining the degree to which consumers are interested in share plans that include unlimited voice and messaging but don’t include data.

The last Six Degrees blog explored consumer attitudes toward two different mobile share plan options: sharing data only and sharing voice, messaging and data. This blog will explore attitudes toward a 3rd option: sharing unlimited voice and messaging — but not data — across multiple devices or subscribers.

200G Optical Networks: What you need to know

By: Earl Kennedy, IP Transport Product Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

Optical network operators have already made the move to 100G. But skyrocketing bandwidth demand means many are already pondering what’s next. With a 200G optical solution hitting the market, you probably have questions about when to move to 200G optical – and what you need to know when you make that move.

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