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Enterprises Need a Converged Network to Meet Current and Future Requirements

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Bring-your-own-device, mobile video, virtualization and a greater need for quality of service have prompted the need to rethink the network. In fact, the exponential increase in traffic has added a sense of urgency on the part of enterprises to upgrade their networks.

What’s needed is a converged network, according to a recent paper by Alcatel-Lucent (ALU). Enterprise Converged Network Solution, which carries the subtitle, Deliver a Consistent and Quality User Experience, Streamline Operations and Reduce Costs.  With a long and deep history of providing state-of-the-art enterprise networks, ALY is advocating a converted, application-aware network that accounts for the latest evolutions in computing, yet is a resilient enough to meet both today’s needs and those of tomorrow.

A High-Performance Evolved Packet Core is Essential to Handle Mobile Data Demand

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The glass can be half empty or half full when it comes to mobile broadband.

On the one hand, data usage is growing at exponential rates, and seems to be no end in sight. In fact, it is projected that by 2017, the monthly mobile broadband usage of the average subscriber will reach 5 GB, according to research from Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs.

On the other hand, the emergence of LTE enables operators to more cost-effectively monetize this traffic demand by rolling out quality-of-service (QoS) guarantees for sensitive data traffic such as voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), as well as other data service packages that until recently did not make sense.

Finding the glass half full from the emerging data storm requires some planning when rolling out LTE, however. Network optimization is not a given. While LTE flattens IP traffic and enables new business models it also introduces new problems. Chief among them is increased network signaling rates.

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.

'Main-Streaming' Changing Video Game in Content Delivery Networking

By Mae Kowalke

As traditional TV collides with the internet, unprecedented changes are taking place in the video industry. The biggest trend is what Alcatel-Lucent calls ‘main-streaming:’ video streaming as the new normal mass market model for how consumers get their video.

In short, consumers want video content anywhere, anytime, on any device. In an early 2011 report, Neilson said U.S. consumers spent 34.5 percent more time watching video on the internet, and 20 percent more time watching mobile video, than they did in early 2010. No doubt that number has grown since—and will continue to grow.

Online video is popular with consumers because it satisfies an appetite for flexible consumption. Plus, the success of online services like Hulu+ and Netflix indicate customers are willing to pay for that flexibility.

Content delivery industry players like Netflix and Hulu offer video using ad-funded or direct-subscription business models. These content providers pay traditional content delivery networks (CDNs) like Amazon and Limelight to publish video content online, because doing so theoretically helps ensure quality of service (QoS).

Trouble is, CDNs are making promises they can’t keep. The structure of their platforms—where caches are located at the edge of ISP networks—simply can’t provide guaranteed adequate QoS for end users. This presents a significant opportunity for network service providers.

Growing the Pay-TV Industry: It's Time for Disruptive Thinking!

By: Wim Van Daele, PMP
Director, Communications – Motive CxS Portfolio, mCommerce & IP Video Solutions

For far too long, the pay-TV industry has been hanging on to legacy infrastructures and traditional business models. Few people are raising the one question that really matters: will today’s practices allow us to face the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow?

Guess what? They won’t. To secure growth in this established market, a more disruptive and unbiased thinking is required. Alcatel-Lucent embraces this new, open mindset - while marrying it to a staged and economically viable migration scenario.

As a starting point, three key thoughts/questions for your consideration:

Together We Can Go Far: Alcatel-Lucent's ng Connect Program Drives Innovation for New Communications Technology Concepts

By Mae Kowlke

Thanks to significant advances in broadband communication technology in the past few years, people from many industries and disciplines are coming up with some pretty innovative ways to work, play and do business. These often-disparate innovations represent growing opportunity for even greater changes, and greater rewards, if devices, applications and infrastructures were more effectively brought together.

With that vision in mind, Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) founded the ng Connect Program, intended to create an end-to-end ecosystem for rapidly delivering next generation services and applications, by combining the resources of industry, business and academic leaders. Enterprises, consumers and service providers all stand to benefit.

The ng Connect Program rightly claims that, “The opportunity is unprecedented. “  It has eight main goals:

Alcatel-Lucent 7705 SAR Solutions are Revolutionizing the IP/MPLS Backhaul Market

By Beecher Tuttle

Compensating for the ever-increasing demand for high-bandwidth connectivity is every service provider's number one concern.  This is for good reason. Next generation services can help mobile operators limit churn and enable them to tap into new revenue streams and improve their bottom lines.

Unfortunately, completely rebuilding a network is cost-prohibitive for most service providers.  This creates a quandary over what to do. One viable option for forward-thinking service providers is IP/MPLS backhaul solutions.  These enable carriers to leverage their existing broadband access infrastructure – whether it be microwave, copper (DSL) or fiber-based (GPON).  In the process they serve as the foundation for a flexible high-performance network, all without major capital expenditures or increased operating expenses.

Several broadband access solutions currently exist, but most all of them fail to successfully address broadband infrastructure backhaul requirements while leveraging DSL or GPON.

Mobile Application Assurance: The Ideal Business Engine


By Susan Campbell

Many mobile services available to consumers today are perceived as commodity services. The assumption is that every provider offers the same thing at the same level of quality. The result is that those willing to go the extra mile in terms of customer service are often those deemed worthy of customer business.

This perception is driving a new focus in this space as providers seek methods for:

  • Improving monitoring
  • Personalizing the experience
  • Optimizing the network resources
  • Enriching the customer experience to drive loyalty

As captured in this Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) TechZine article, Mobile Application Assurance, the main focus for any service provider should be on advanced deep packet inspection (DPI) for doing the above.

Living Video: A New Conversation Experience

By Erin Harrison

One of the reasons video is so pervasive today is because of the personal dynamic it brings to conversations and meetings, creating higher-level interactions. Just like a face-to-face conversation, video brings subtleties and other nuances that cannot be communicated in an email or text.

A recent article in Alcatel-Lucent’s Enriching Communications, Living Video Conversations Go Mainstream, details how “living video” gives service providers opportunities to deliver a compelling new conversation experience. It says mobile networks, devices and people are ready for enriched video conversations, and service providers’ are in a position to deliver them.  

Ready, set and go

Yoga Poses for the Network Operator

By Amanda Noz, Marketing Director, Alcatel-Lucent

Yoga has been in the news lately and for network operator strategists, who may be feeling more like pretzels than yogis as they try to twist this way and that to accommodate rapid changes in the value chain, the idea of letting go of strict control over their networks and opening up to a world of potential security threats is anything but relaxing. Yet network operators who ignore these changes, risk falling out of the whole chain of innovation and in the process, defaulting to a commodity utility business, rather than maximizing their revenue streams as innovative and differentiated customer experience providers.

So how do you bring these two opposing views into alignment?

Today network operators who operate the broadband data networks (wireline and wireless) have thinner margins than in the past, while at the same time; all kinds of new players are making money by creating new applications that we did not even know we needed to run on the networks. Innovation brings disruption and disruption brings opportunities and threats. It transforms application and content value chains.

Optimizing LTE Network Performance with SON and Extended SON

By Beecher Tuttle

The widespread use of smartphones, tablet computers and other Web-enabled mobile devices has caused wireless data services to explode. While this is good news for application developers and mobile device manufacturers, it presents several challenges for service providers whose networks see more bandwidth-hungry traffic each day.

This concern is compounded by the fact that the increase in traffic is surpassing the growth rate for wireless revenue. To survive, service providers need to decrease their cost per bit while simultaneously optimizing their LTE network to handle more traffic....

Bell Labs Helps Mobile Service Providers to Understand and Meet Video Calling Quality of Experience (QoE) Challenges

By Michelle Amodio

The explosive growth of smart mobile devices capable of making video calls is placing intense pressures on service providers to configure their networks to assure users have experiences that meet or exceed their expectations. However, providing a superior quality of experience (QoE) is a complex challenge.

As part of its support of mobile service providers around the world, Alcatel Lucent’s Bell Labs recently looked at the factors that influence QoE) to help service providers full understand all of the issues and what needs to be done to resolve them.

The questions the Bell Labs researchers explored were:

  • What are the key factors that influence QoE for mobile video calls?
  • Are residential broadband networks ready for them?

There was good news on both fronts. The challenges could be identified and categorized in terms of importance, and viable solutions can help operators meet consumer expectations in a timely and cost effective manner, as well as lay the foundation for new profitable services.

The main finding of the researchers was that service providers require not bigger (more bandwidth) networks but faster ones (in terms of response time). They validated that speed, combined with the proper provision of a consistent quality of service (QoS), are the critical determinants in mobile video calling QoE.

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