Next Generation Communications Blog

Birdstep Improves Wireless User Experience, Reduces Churn

A smartphone user can get tripped up easily when in motion as today’s smartphones look for WiFi networks to connect to and...

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Sonos BOOST, For Music in Tough to Reach Places

I’ve been using Sonos as an in-home streaming solution for many years and since it relies on WiFi it provides infinite levels...

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IOT tests do NOT tell the whole story

Service providers typically have infrastructure from multiple vendors installed in their networks.  Mostly this is by design since they don’t want...

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Notes from Connections 2014 Part Deux

More notes from BSFT Connections 2014 in the desert by friends of my at the show. These notes are from ANPI's...

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Notes from Connections 2014

Broadsoft Connections kicked off with the usual festivities yesterday including a pool party and a summer fashion show. This morning it...

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Tidbits of Telecom and Other News

Makes you think, right? It also makes me think that regulations hold back some innovation. AirBnB, Uber and Tesla Motors challenge...

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Microsoft CEO Raise Controversy: What's Not Being Discussed

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella when asked how women should ask for a raise said they shouldn’t… Specifically he said: It’s not really...

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How to Win the Battle of Core Router Cooling

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As broadband traffic continues to increase, it is increasingly becoming a challenge to scale power management accordingly to keep power consumption down and heat dissipation up enough to not overhead core routers.

“Traffic growth sets off a vicious cycle in the Network Operation Center (NOC): higher power consumption to run the additional equipment, more heat generated by the additional equipment, more cooling needed to stay in optimal operating temperature range, and higher power consumption to run the cooling elements,” noted a recent TechZine article, Why Hotter Networks Need a Cooler Core, by Arnold Jansen Senior Product Marketing Manager, Alcatel-Lucent.

Shared Data Plans Mean New Charging Challenges

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The move to LTE networks, increasing data usage, and the proliferation of multiple devices per user has ushered in the concept of shared data plans.

Shared data plans offer benefits both to consumers and operators. For carriers, shared data plans mean the ability to have a single pool of data minutes that they can use across their multiple devices. For carriers, shared data plans mean increased customer loyalty and additional revenue opportunities.

However, shared data plans also mean challenges for carrier charging systems.

Alcatel-Lucent Motive Customer Experience Solutions Win Two Industry Awards

By Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

For those who follow the mobile industry closely, you know that mobile service providers (MSPs) are constantly on the watch for tools that will enable them to gain a competitive edge.  You are also aware from TMCnet’s coverage of the space mobile device management (MDM) is increasingly be viewed as an invaluable tool for MSPs to get better visibility into what is going on end-to-end with their customers enabling them to provide an enhanced, simpler and more customized customer experience as well as facilitate the roll out of LTE services. 

One such capability that increasingly is gaining traction with MSPs around the world is Alcatel-Lucent’s Motive portfolio of Customer Experience Solutions. And, the efforts of the Motive team have not gone unnoticed.  In fact, Alcatel-Lucent was recently honored with two industry awards in recognition of the work being done to help service providers forge stronger and more valuable customer relationships:

The Apple Loophole: iOS 7 Upgrade Impacts on Mobile Networks

By Patrick Tan, General Manager, Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent

Note: Originally posted in Alcatel-Lucent Analytics Beat blog

Similar to previous iOS updates, over 50% of Apple device users upgraded their device to iOS 7 within 2-3 days of its release, 30% upgrading within the first day.  Apple made improvements to their software release process to ensure mobile networks are protected from these techno-hungry iPhone users. Specifically, the notification announcing availability of the new iOS is staggered over a few days to help spread out the signaling load.  They also implemented a “no-greater than 100 MB app size” policy which restricts apps over that size from downloading over mobile networks.  And Apple’s iOS 7 update came with a mandatory WiFi-based upgrade path. 

So, quiet day on mobile networks on September 18th?  Not quite – iOS 7 update came with a hidden cost to mobile operators.  But, only systems correlating signaling, volume, applications and device data – down to the iOS version – could detect these trends. 

In this blog, we report on Apple iOS update trends discovered using the Alcatel-Lucent 9900 WNG on mobile networks worldwide.

Managing Signaling Traffic a Must for LTE Operators

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The first wave of large-scale LTE rollouts have shown that LTE networks have significantly greater packet core signaling volume. This is partly due to the flatter, all-IP architecture of LTE where macro and micro cells are directly connected to the mobility management entity (MME), the dedicated control plane element in the evolved packet core. This is also because of the increased overall network use that comes with subscribers who have access to a faster network.

An MME can experience a sustained signaling load of more than 500-800 messages per user equipment (UE) during the normal peak busy hours and up to 1500 messages per user per hour under adverse conditions, according to a recent blog by David Nowoswiat and Gordon Milliken of Alcatel-Lucent, Managing LTE Core Network Signaling Traffic.

This is why it is incumbent that operators intelligently manage packet core signaling.

The Wireless Packet Core--How Data Moves Through an LTE Network

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The move toward 4G LTE is a seismic shift in mobile architecture inasmuch as it finally takes operators to an all-IP architecture. No more packet/TDM mix that adds complexity and slows down the network.

The rise in LTE also has meant a explosion in demand for packet core technology. Packet core revenue grew by 20 percent in the second quarter of this year compared with last year, for instance, according to research firm Dell’Oro.

The evolved packet core (EPC), as the LTE packet core is known, is both the brains and the brawn of LTE. Data goes from handsets across the backhaul network to the EPC, where the data is processed and then forwarded onto the Internet or another public or private network from the mobile provider.

Carriers Can Benefit from Shared Mobile Data Plans

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Shared minutes have been a wild success for mobile operators, and the family plans have become the norm. But now consumers want shared data plans, too, since according to Alcatel-Lucent one in every four mobile users will have more than one device by 2016. Currently 60 percent of consumers want shared data plans, and that number is likely to grow.

Shared data plans are a boon for operators, so this trend should be embraced.

Users on shared plans typically opt for larger data buckets, for one. More than a quarter of subscribers for one leading carrier choose a data allowance of 10 GB per month or larger, according to a recent TechZine posting by Daisy Su Senior Strategic Marketing Manager, Corporate Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent, The Case for Shared Data Plans.

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.

Playing the Mobile Data Game

If the 'price is right,' operators could win in mobile data.

By Cassidy Shield, Head of Global Solutions Marketing for Content, Cloud, and Communications, Alcatel-Lucent

I am bullish on the mobile broadband opportunity and pro mobile data share plans as an innovative approach to data pricing.  With that said, the irony of mobile data sharing plans is that you're not really sharing anything. Sure, multiple devices can pull from the same data pool, but there's no exchange of data, no bartering, and essentially no value associated with each byte.

That's how the market is today, in these early days of data sharing, but "gameification" has the potential to transform how consumers interact with their data plans.  Imagine a family of four, in fact I often imagine my family of four all on the same data plan. My wife could negotiate with our daughter, saying, "I will trade you 10 megabytes of data for doing your chores." Maybe my daughter who is quite clever doesn't want to do her chores, so he makes a similar deal with her brother. Each family could set their own rules for chore bartering, but what is interesting is that when data is treated as a currency with real value associated with it, the possibilities open up.

It's not just chore-evading children who would find this model interesting, but also advertisers and third parties. Brands are exploring every possible means to build their mobile presence, but the key lies in figuring out how to connect with mobile users by giving them what they want -- connectivity.

COMING SOON TO A MOBILE OPERATOR NEAR YOU: THE SIX DEGREES OF MOBILE DATA PLAN INNOVATION

 

With the final entry in the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s
Rich Crowe
(@rhcrowe) looks at how mobile operators can use (and are already using) the six degrees of mobile data plan innovation to capture and deliver more value.

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The Value of a Gigabyte

What does a gigabyte mean to you? Is it just a unit of data or something concrete, like a movie or 250 songs? Maybe it’s a means to share news and pictures and stay connected. These are things with value. If you’ve got a mobile device, a gigabyte offers the freedom to take your movies, songs or connections with you anywhere you go. A mobile gigabyte can even deliver peace of mind by supporting applications that tell you where you are and how to get where you’re going at any given moment. This flexibility is also valuable.

Are some gigabytes worth more than others? Are gigabytes delivered in a fast and uninterrupted stream worth more than those that come slower with pauses and buffering? What about gigabytes that can be shared with others?

Yes, gigabytes have value. How much value depends on their quality and the way each individual uses them. It takes innovation to deliver and capture that value!

 

Every mobile network operator wants to get more value from mobile data. But today’s unlimited and basic tiered data plans ignore the value that mobile data offers to subscribers. By offering a set amount of data for a set price, operators make mobile data a commodity and encourage consumers to shop for the lowest price per gigabyte. To capture the true value of mobile data, operators need to change the way they think about – and define business models for – mobile data services.

For mobile operators, success– both in terms of customer satisfaction and profitability – means recognizing that mobile data delivers tangible value to customers. Just as important, it means understanding that individual customers value mobile data based on their own interests and the way they use their services. Traditional mobile data plans can’t deliver success on these terms. Operators need new and compelling plans that can reinforce the value of mobile data and better meet the unique needs of each customer.

The Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series introduced six different ways for mobile operators to build highly personalized pricing options and showcase the value of mobile data. These innovations will help operators offer differentiated service levels and present more value-based options to subscribers and businesses. The six innovations are:

  1. Service level-based plans: Offer premium services that deliver a higher speed or QoS.
  2. Shared data plans: Let several users or devices connect to and share a common pool of mobile data.
  3. Application-based plans: For a monthly fee, allow users to consume data with selected applications without having the usage count against their monthly data plans.
  4. Third party pays plans: Offer toll-free access to specific content, with the content provider or another business paying for the data subscribers use to consume the content.
  5. Loyalty-based plans: Reward loyal customers with mobile data and partner with retailers to include mobile data in their loyalty plans.
  6. Capacity-based plans: Shift traffic to off peak, create services to consume off-peak capacity, and monetize peak data traffic.

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