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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.

Network Analytics Show the Rise of Mobile Phone Malware

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

It is a scene out of a Mission Impossible movie, only the threat is real. Two product managers and a VP sit down to discuss the latest product release, one that’s been under wraps for months. While the group thinks it is safely beyond the ears of its competition, unknowingly one of those present in the meeting has had malware installed on his Android phone. The malware activates the microphone on the smartphone, and the whole meeting is taped and sent to the competition.

This nightmare scenario is unfortunately not beyond the possible these days.

Kindsight, an Alcatel-Lucent suite of solutions, leverages network-based security analytics such as its 9900 Wireless Network Guardian to reveal the latest trends on security threats to fixed and mobile networks, and its Q2 2013 Kindsight Security Labs Malware Quarterly Report reveals that the number of mobile spyware applications discovered this quarter is on the rise, according to an Alcatel-Lucent blog post, Android phones playing “I spy” at home and at work..

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Capacity-Based Plans

In this seventh installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe (@rhcrowe) looks at capacity-based mobile data plans. With capacity-based plans, subscribers are encouraged to use the network when it has spare capacity or to pay a little bit more as the network nears its capacity. Mobile operators can use these plans to reduce network congestion, monetize peak-time data traffic, and better manage the investment required to address continually growing demand for data.

Congested networks and wasted capacity

Fast-rising mobile data traffic – driven by increasing consumption of real-time entertainment on the go – is putting a strain on mobile networks (see Figure 1 as an example). Mobile network operators are working hard to increase capacity so they can meet peak demand and keep subscribers satisfied. Adding capacity can help ensure that users don’t encounter a slow or unresponsive network during mobile data traffic peaks. But it’s an expensive solution that means even more capacity goes unused at off-peak times. Capacity-based plans are an excellent way to slow network growth requirements while monetizing available capacity.

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Loyalty-Based Plans

In this sixth installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe (@rhcrowe) examines loyalty-based mobile data plans. With loyalty-based plans, subscribers get rewards for keeping up active relationships with mobile network operators. Operators can use these plans as the basis for retaining subscribers, encouraging increased spending and data usage, or forming mutually profitable partnerships with retailers.

RAISE the bar

Airlines offer them. So do hotels, credit card companies and, yes, mobile network operators. “They” are loyalty programs that reward customers for making frequent purchases. Airlines, hotels and credit cards tend to stick to the script, offering free flights, nights and merchandise. Mobile network operators have no such script. Today, operators reward loyal customers with voice minutes, text messages, accessories, ringtones, discounted device upgrades or even dining, shopping, travel and spa services. As mobile network operators’ business models grow more data-centric, the creative use of mobile data will become essential to ensuring that their loyalty-based plans remain relevant.

How the Cloud is Making Datacenters Dynamic

By: Sunil Khandekar, CEO, Nuage Networks

The future of datacenters is virtual, automatic, cloud-based, instantaneous, and boundary-less. These might not be the words associated with datacenters today -- you're more likely to hear slow, cumbersome, and related words in the same breath -- but software is driving this revolution in networking.

It has been undergoing a massive shift to the cloud for years now, driven by enterprise motivations to consolidate, as well as to use computer resources more optimally and efficiently. While computing virtualization has driven this transformation, the network has fallen woefully behind. Imagine having 20 virtual machines (VMs) in a server: Tomorrow that number grows to 100, to 200 the day after, and so on.

As you realize the implications of this growth in the datacenter, it becomes clear that the traditional networking approach of connecting those VMs is mindboggling because it doesn't deliver the true promise of the cloud -- instant access to apps anytime, anywhere and with no disruptions.

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Third Party Pays

In this fifth installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe examines third party pays mobile data plans. With third party pays plans, application and content providers pay mobile network operators for the data that subscribers use in consuming their content.

Data on the house!

Have you ever enjoyed a great meal at a restaurant and then been told that it’s on the house? It’s a wonderful feeling! Third party pays mobile data plans bring that same feeling to the mobile experience. You consume mobile content and someone else — the content provider or another business — pays your mobile network operator for the data you used. It doesn’t count toward your monthly allocation.

Today’s business model favors application and content providers. They provide the content and consumers cover the mobile data bill through their data plans. So why would a content provider pay for mobile data? The reason is simple: If the provider’s content consumes a lot of data, mobile consumers may access it sparingly or not at all to save precious megabytes. This behavior may be even more pronounced toward the end of the month, as consumers approach data plan limits.

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Third Party Pays

In this fifth installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe examines third party pays mobile data plans. With third party pays plans, application and content providers pay mobile network operators for the data that subscribers use in consuming their content.

Data on the house!

Have you ever enjoyed a great meal at a restaurant and then been told that it’s on the house? It’s a wonderful feeling! Third party pays mobile data plans bring that same feeling to the mobile experience. You consume mobile content and someone else — the content provider or another business — pays your mobile network operator for the data you used. It doesn’t count toward your monthly allocation.

Today’s business model favors application and content providers. They provide the content and consumers cover the mobile data bill through their data plans. So why would a content provider pay for mobile data? The reason is simple: If the provider’s content consumes a lot of data, mobile consumers may access it sparingly or not at all to save precious megabytes. This behavior may be even more pronounced toward the end of the month, as consumers approach data plan limits.

WebRTC Event Highlights the New Era of Communications

By: Ed Elkin, Marketing Director, Advanced Communication Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent

Sure enough, upon arriving at the WebRTC Conference and Expo, it’s clear this is the same stretch of Cobb Parkway where I came every few weeks to the AT&T SDN Control Center – for 1993’s version of SDN.  Then as now, better enterprise communications were needed.  In 1993, the substance of the WebRTC’s conference was a dream, which now becomes 2013’s reality because of two decades’ investment in terrific devices, convenient broadband access and dynamic network cores. 

This was a hot conference, full of diverse views and ideas. At our live demo table, variation was the norm. Visitors spanned from numerous service providers (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cox, Orange, NTT, etc.), to a variety of startups such as Dvisor Hypermedia who are applying gaming’s threaded media to communications, to industry notables such as Intel checking out WebRTC for consumer media units.  Not many enterprises were visibly present, which is a concern because WebRTC will boost their business process efficiency (internal and external) and they need to prepare for how it affects their competitiveness. 

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Application-Based Plans

In this fourth installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe examines application-based data plans. These plans let mobile subscribers use specific applications without consuming their data allowance.

Removing the worry from mobile application use

How would you like to use your favorite mobile applications without having to worry about going over your data limit and paying overage fees? That’s the idea behind application-based data plans. You pay a monthly fee to use one or more specific applications as much as you want. The data consumed by these applications doesn’t count against your data plan. In some cases, your mobile network operator may decide to make selected applications available without impacting your data plan in exchange for a very nominal fee.

Two categories of applications are particularly well suited to application-based pricing. The first are data-hungry applications, like video and multimedia. Today, some consumers use these applications sparingly because they fear going over data limits and incurring overage charges. The second includes core applications that don’t consume much data, such as text-only e-mail or social networking. These applications may be used to introduce subscribers to the world of mobile data.

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Shared Data Plans

Mobile data: It’s nice to share

From an early age, we’re taught that it’s nice to share. With time, we learn the value of sharing things like cookies, good books and the wisdom that comes from experience. But what about sharing mobile data? Do consumers want to share their mobile data? What would this look like?

Keeping Up With the Modern-Day Nomads

By Philip Carden, Head of Alcatel-Lucent Consulting Services

Meet the digital nomads, a growing group of heavy mobile data users that's redefining how service providers think about connectivity.

There is a small, but growing, new class of data users amongst us. You've likely spotted one – that man hunched over a laptop at your neighborhood coffee shop, the woman swiping through a tablet in the park, or even that teen on the train whose eyes are glued to a video on his larger-than-average smartphone.

They are the digital nomads. Unlike the hunters and gatherers of the past, these nomads are always connected, regardless of where they are, and their expectations for connectivity have never been higher.

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Service Level-based Plans

In this second installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe takes a closer look at service level-based data plans. These plans can be used to give subscribers opportunities to enhance their mobile data services in exchange for a monthly or per-use fee.

What do consumers think about service level-based plans?

In February 2013, Alcatel-Lucent asked mobile broadband consumers in six countries about the concept of service level-based data plans. Globally, two-thirds of respondents said they would be interested in a premium service that could provide an enhanced quality of service (QoS).[1]

Bringing customers closer: Six degrees of mobile data plan innovation

By Rich Crowe, Marketing Director, Alcatel-Lucent IP Platforms

We’ve all heard about the dramatic rise of mobile data traffic, spurred on by expanding 3G and LTE networks, smart device use, compelling apps and mobile video consumption. We know that mobile network operators face shrinking voice and messaging revenues and growing competition from over-the-top (OTT) providers. Operators know the pressure is on. Can they transform network investment and data traffic demand into data revenue growth? Where will this growth come from?

In this eight-part blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe answers these questions by presenting six degrees of mobile data plan innovation that can help operators build closer relationships with customers and grow data revenues.

Mobile Gets Straight to the Point (of Sale)

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

When consumers start buying data where they use it, the possibilities for consumption multiply.

Mobile is the growth engine of the communications industry, yet the way consumers purchase, discover, and engage with their data plan is in a store, on a website, or, even more archaically, via calling a call center. This is fundamentally backward, but it's also a clear wireless operator opportunity.

The opportunity lies in moving the point of sale (POS) to the smartphone or tablet itself, and it starts with a mobile application. With mobile data growing by leaps and bounds, operators have been grappling with how to manage and monetize the influx. Their conversations so far have centered on real-time charging, policy control, and personalization to transform how they bill, but there's been very little action on how to make these complex processes simple for consumers.

The Big Deal about Big Data Analytics

By Greg Owens, Senior Director Customer Experience Solutions Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

 

The rise of big data is causing service providers to ask some big questions: How should we store our data? How long should we keep it? What parts of it are relevant to our business? Most importantly, how do we get value from it? To turn big data into a big deal, service providers need to extract insights that can help them make smart business decisions and improve the customer experience.

 

The value of big data is all in what useful and actionable information it can provide. I find it exciting to see how service providers use big data analytics to gain new insights and solve complex problems. With this post, I’ll look at some new research by industry analysts and three key opportunities that big data analytics presents to service providers.
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WebRTC: Where Telecom Meets the Web

By Ed Elkin, Marketing Director, Advanced Communication Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent

WebRTC is giving apps a voice and operators new revenue opportunities.

I communicate all day long, but it’s always bifurcated between voice and the web. Last December's Consumer Electronics Show, however, showed me these two worlds will soon be merging thanks to a new technology called Web Real Time Communications (WebRTC).

Technically, WebRTC equips a browser with a standardized structure for communications clients, consisting of native functions for audio, video, and data exchange -- and that’s cool for the side of me that enjoys technology.  Appealing to my business side, WebRTC is a catalyst for innovation because it reduces the heavy work of interworking clients between devices and browsers, and because it avoids the tedious download and installation of thick, heavy clients.  That combination of technical and business niceties explains why fast movers in the industry are excited by WebRTC.  

The Big Challenge: Extracting Value from Big Data

Knowing what to do — and what can be done — with big data are important key to success. But these things are easier said than done. For its special report on big data, European Communications asked respondents to name the biggest barrier to operators seeking to execute a successful big data strategy. A lack of understanding of the potential that big data presents topped the list, getting the nod from 27% of respondents.

This response highlights the real challenge for service providers: finding ways to extract value and create tangible benefits from big data. Providers have vast amounts of information about customers, networks, services and operations. So how can they monetize it?

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