Next Generation Communications Blog

IP Platforms

THE SECRET VALUE OF VoLTE - WHAT'S IN IT FOR CONSUMERS

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

Today’s consumers want faster mobile broadband, and lots of it. That’s the dominant fact shaping Mobile Service Providers’ competitive strategies. So let’s look at what you can offer these valuable subscribers with voice over LTE (VoLTE).

Cable MSOs Can Learn a Lesson from Kabel Deutschland

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Kabel Deutschland (KD), a Vodafone company, is a good example of what cable multiple system operators must do to gracefully manage growing demand and continue to deliver innovative new services by upgrading their network edge for IP services.

As highlighted in a recent TechZine article by Steve Davidson, European Marketing Director for Cable, Alcatel-Lucent, KD’s investment in infrastructure and cable services had already paid great dividends. The company’s initial 100 Mb/s product offering had a take-rate approaching 50 percent. But with this positive consumer response came some new challenges.

Among these challenges were managing cable operator costs and subscriber growth, supporting legacy cable services, and accelerating IP service deployment. How the cable company dealt with these problems and did so in the context of having a vision of its IP services future is worth studying.

Ethernet VPN Brings Distinct Advantages over Its Predecessor

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Ethernet services delivery based on the control plane approach hasn’t changed for proven solutions such as MPLS/VPLS and PBB. Layer 2 flooding and learning as an approach to build the forwarding database is still necessary, but this has inherent limitations.

A new approach has emerged that brings many benefits over the control plane approach in the form of Ethernet VPN (EVPN). With EVPN, the control plane and data planes are abstracted and separated. A multiprotocol BGP (MP-BGP) control plane protocol carries MAC/IP routing information, and there are several data plane encapsulation choices.

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).

Ethernet VPN (EVPN) - Networks for Ethernet Services

By: Greg Hankins, Senior Product Line Manager, Alcatel-Lucent

I’ve been talking a lot about EVPN recently at network operator conferences around the world, because I’m really excited about this new technology.  EVPN offers an alternative to VPLS that integrates both Layer 2 and Layer 3 services, and can run over simple IP networks with ECMP for resiliency and load balancing.  EVPN is an interesting new technology if you are providing a Layer 2 infrastructure over multiple sites, delivering integrated Layer 2/Layer 3 services, or providing cloud services.

Kabel Deutschland Simplifies its IP Edge

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

IP address exhaustion is an issue every Internet service provider must face. With the dwindling of IPv4 addresses, operators must migrate to IPv6 and seamlessly if they are to meet the needs of commercial, residential and mobile services.

For Vodafone Company Kabel Deutschland (KD), Germany’s largest cable operator, it was no question whether the move to IPv6 would be a bolt-on solution or something more integrated. A bolt-on solution would not do for KD, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent case study on KD. The company needed to address the issue of flexibility to accommodate long-term growth and next generation service delivery without compromising its reputation for high-performance and high-value service.

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.

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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