Next Generation Communications Blog

What is MANO and why do you need it?

MANO is a confusing topic.  What is it, why is it needed, and how do I get one?  First, let’s talk about...

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iPad Pro Keyboard is Really Poor

The iPad Pro is yet another extension of the iOS family. While some consider its release to be a sign of failure,...

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ISIS Brings Flip-Phone to Crowd-Sourced Cyber-Hacking Fight.

Its an interesting world we live in where a group like Anonymous which likely wasn't thought very highly has become a savior...

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What Would an IoT Service Provider Even Do?

Service providers are eager to jump on the IoT train because of the vast opportunities. But what kind of service would they even provide?

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The Business Case for IP Transformation: Is Your Business Ready?

By: Steve Blackshaw, IP Transformation Product Line Management, Alcatel-Lucent

Delivering successful change programs is a significant challenge. Undertaking a Readiness Assessment speeds the launch of new IP services, reduces risks and aligns corporate objectives with your program.

The Challenge of Change…a true story

So your company is planning an all IP network. The CTO is delivering technology roadmaps, the COO is assessing the service portals, and network designers have been architecting for eight months. The program is well underway and people are now starting to plan the migration.

So, you start to scope out the effort required to deliver migration and calculate that it requires hundreds of resources to manage a switchover. You approach engineering to secure the resources, and are informed HR is managing a release program, remunerating engineers to leave the company. The same engineers that you need to deliver your program!

Sound familiar?

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Stanislovaitis Kickstarter Campaign Proves VoIP is Not Dead

VoIP is dead? We think not because it plays an integral part in effective unified communications, Internet of things and more. Plus,...

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Mitel Analyst Event 2015 Live Blog #MitelNext

Mitel put on a nice event in Manhattan today. Wes Durow, CMO made a great presentation on where the company was and...

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On the Road to IP and Optics Convergence

By: Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor

For what seems like ages now the communications industry has been talking about convergence. We have already gone through many phases as networks move from TDM to being end-to-end Internet Protocol (IP) with voice traffic increasingly being carried on converged networks.  Indeed, the popularity of Voice-over-IP (VoIP) and the coming of Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) on mobile networks is the future.  

That said, convergence is not just about IP but is also about the transformation of global network infrastructures in the wired world, with legs into the wireless one as well, of IP and Optics.  And, as Steve Vogelsang, VP Strategy and CTO, IP Routing and Transport Business Division, Alcatel-Lucent noted in a recent TechZine blog, IP and optics: Time to make nice, “Let’s face it. The future of the communications industry requires a convergence of IP and optics. So maybe it’s time to give each other some overdue respect."

Five Countries with Strong 4G LTE Presence

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Even connectivity-challenged Laos advertises 4G LTE wireless connectivity. Albeit coverage is limited and not all 4G LTE networks have been created equal. Reality is that you’ll be hard-pressed to find 4G LTE even in the heart of Laos’ capital, Vientiane. And, despite global industry and government enthusiasm for 4G LTE, many other parts of the globe are still achingly slow with their 4G rollouts. However, not every country has poor 4G LTE coverage. In fact, five 4G standouts include France, Spain, China, Dubai, and of course the U.S.

Customer Self-Care is Win-Win for CSPs and Users

By: Mae Kowalke, TMC Contributor

Self-service to one degree or another has been present since the rise of the web. However, customers are increasingly choosing self-service because they feel more empowered and it is often perceived to be an easier interaction than dealing with a live person. The rise of the smartphone also has increased the use of self-service.

In fact, as explained by Jessica Verbruggen, Integrated Marketing Assistant at Alcatel-Lucent Motive, in a recent TechZine article, Empowering Autonomous Customer Self-Care, self-service can be a win-win for customers and communications service providers (CSPs).

LTE Carrier Aggregation--Meeting the Challenges of the 'Need for Speed' and Capacity

By: Peter Bernstein, TMC Senior Editor

In business as well as our personal lives there are finite resources that gate our activities. The big one that covers both is time which we cannot create more of and hopefully optimize for obvious reasons.  In mobile communications the issue is getting the most out of not just the finite but scarce radio frequency (RF) spectrum allocated for service provider networks. 

Realities are that in most parts of the world mobile service providers have access to different frequency bands as a result of things like auctions and mergers. Thus, they have a need to mesh their various spectrum assets (i.e., bands and associated carriers) in general. They also must optimize them to meet the insatiable appetite of customers for bandwidth-hungry services such as real-time and streamed video where Quality of Experience (QoE). Indeed, QoE and its extensibility to cover anywhere a customer is located is now foundational for attracting and keeping customers. 

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).

Why Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Calls for a Distributed Network Architecture

By: Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC

There’s no question that the network functions virtualization (NFV) technology around which many telecommunications carriers and vendors are rallying takes a page from the virtualization that already has taken hold in IT data centers. But you can’t judge a book by its cover. NFV and IT virtualization also have their differences.

One key difference is that while data center virtualization tends to rely on a centralized architecture, NFV calls for a distributed one, Andreas Lemke, marketing lead for the CloudBand NFV platform at Alcatel-Lucent, points out in a recent TechZine posting by Andreas Lemke, Marketing Lead, CloudBand NFV platform, Alcatel-Lucent titled, Why distribution is important in NFV.

The Need for Smart Cities is Obvious

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

It goes without saying anymore that people and businesses in an increasingly connected world rely on the Internet for personal and commercial communication. We are also in the midst of a continuing migration of people are increasingly moving to cities as the world is becoming more urbanized.  What has also become clear is that cities with a smart grid and a solid IP infrastructure thrive more than cities that do not. The case for the smart city has never been stronger.

The Evolution of Cable MSOs Must Continue

By: Mae Kowallke, TMCnet Contributor

Triple play was a good start. But Cable multiple-system operators (MSOs) must continue their evolution.

Cable MSOs have been leading the residential entertainment and communication services segment for years. The expansion of their service offerings from broadcast video to video-on-demand, high-speed Internet and voice has enabled MSOs to expand their market share in the face of changing technology and viewing preferences. But to stay competitive, cable MSOs cannot rest on their laurels.

The explosion of connected devices, competition building Gigabit networks over fiber, the expansion of over-the-top applications such as Skype and the evolution of higher quality video such as 4K resolution are demanding that cable MSOs continue to beef up their access networks.

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. 

Railway Operators Moving to IP/MPLS for many Good Reasons

By:  Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As greater demand is being placed on Railway operators to deliver services that are more bandwidth hungry, many are starting to make the switch away from the SONET/SDH architectures that have traditional run their communications network and move toward the more robust IP/MPLS architecture. In fact, Europe is illustrative of this with rail transportation systems in Milan, Paris and Portugal already enjoying the operational and customer experience benefits of making the move.

There are many reasons why railways are using IP/MPLS for their communications networks but two major ones are:

  1. IP/MPLS offers high network availability and resiliency through “Non-Stop” technologies such as Non-Stop Routing (NSR), Non-Stop Services (NSS), Link Aggregation Group (LAG) and Fast ReRoute (FRR).
  2. IP/MPLS enables traffic engineering and isolation, since railway communications cannot afford to fail.

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