Latest Feature Articles
Alcatel-Lucent Ventures, Ericsson Ready Cloud-Based Solutions to Help Wireless Carriers Address Mobile Boom
There were 600 million mobile broadband subscribers last year. By 2016 that should reach 5 billion. At the same time, as this month's NGN cover story notes, mobile devices and applications are becoming faster, more intelligent and, thus, more bandwidth intensive.
Achieving Differentiation through Operational Excellence: Repeatable Processes Drive Automation
For communications service providers, this discussion is fundamentally about the transition from providing dumb pipes to the creation and delivery of high-margin services. High-margin services are another way of saying they are valued. There are many observable trends in the market for providing high-margin services, including application-aware networking, carrier Ethernet-based services like EPL and EPLAN, managed services of various flavors, and of course the cloud.
Still 'Crazy' After All These Years? NPRG Analysts Say Mobile Traffic Will Surpass Most Estimates,
The analyst now contends that Cisco's Visual Networking Index greatly understates future mobile data growth. And this bigger-than-expected mobile boom, he says, could lead to the acquisition of a major wireless provider by an over-the-top company like Apple, Facebook or Google.
Out of the Comfort Zone: Making the Leap to Policy 2.0
It's just shy of a year since AT&T gave up on the flat-rate, unlimited plan and industry observers marked the end to the mobile broadband buffet. In March of this year, Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, remarked how over the past four years the company's data traffic increased by 8000 percent.
North Carolina Becomes Epicenter of Community-Owned Broadband Network Debate
The cableco and its incumbent service provider allies in early April were successful in their push to get North Carolina's House of Representatives to pass legislation (in a 81-37 vote) that will make it much more difficult for municipalities to deliver broadband. Specifically, the legislation aims to block municipal entities' ability to borrow money to fund broadband efforts without voter approval and to block them from providing such services below cost or using city funds.
Entrepreneur Applies Telecom Lessons to Online Discount Site
You've heard about, and probably even used, online resources like Groupon, Orbitz and Priceline to find deals on travel, meals, spa services and the like. Well, just last month yet another online discount outfit joined the pack. It goes by the name bidmyway.com, and it's run by John Shave, the guy who built Globalcom into a multimillion-dollar business.
The Death of Least Cost Routing
This increase in the number of interconnects - combined with the fact that carriers are constantly changing their rates - means carriers need new tools that give them the ability to change their LCR strategies quickly and easily to capitalize on the lowest cost for transport and termination. Considering that carriers today compete on such thin margins (in fact, often on the fraction of a penny), it's easy to understand why they would want to seize every opportunity to terminate traffic for less.
Next-Gen OSS: LTE Puts Planning and Policy Center Stage
Indeed, demand is booming. The latest Cisco Visual Networking Index forecasts that worldwide mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015, which would represent a compound annual growth rate of 92 percent over the same period.
TMC Congratulates Winners of the NGN Leadership Awards
When TMC launched NGN Magazine in January 2009 - or, rather, rebranded its predecessor, IMS Magazine - it was with the understanding that while IMS would continue to play a major role in next-generation networks, other evolutionary technologies were also moving center stage to help shape the new world of networking.
Securing Content on Carrier Networks
Anonymous used application-layer attacks late last year in an attempt to bring down Amazon.com, MasterCard, PayPal, Visa and others that played a part in trying to stop WikiLeaks' online operations following the site's infamous release of U.S. government communications with other countries. But these are just some of the more high-profile instances of application-layer attacks, which Rakesh Shah, director of product marketing and strategy at Arbor Networks, says are on the rise.
What the CenturyLink, Qwest Combo Means for Business Customers, Partners
For business customers and channel partners of the newly joined entity, the deal means the on-boarding of the former Qwest's significant data center assets and cloud-based services to the CenturyLink product portfolio; a broader service footprint; and a bigger company with greater financial scale, which can as a result leverage that cash flow to invest in the products and services customers desire, says Christopher Ancell. The president of business markets with CenturyLink also tells NGN magazine that the company expects to introduce new cloud and managed services in the not too distant future.
Mobile Players Put New Emphasis on Emerging Countries
In a keynote at last month's Mobile World Congress, Nokia Corp.'s President and CEO Stephen Elop said that 80 percent of the world's population is within cellular range, but only 20 percent are connected to the Internet.
Driving and Managing the Ethernet Operations Revolution
The basic operational function of service turn up is consuming field resources beyond current staffing levels and extending service turn-up schedules. The explosion of mobile backhaul is a perfect example of this trend, with wireless operators turning up thousands of new Ethernet-connected tower sites each year. Each new installation will require multiple dispatches and, if a third-party backhaul carrier is used, additional time is required to coordinate multiple service provider resources. Deployment schedules and manpower are quickly over run by relying on traditional dispatch models and the ongoing requirement of troubleshooting service calls.
Here Comes the Son: Despite 'Depressing Reality,' Softbank Remains Bullish on Mobile Internet
Mobile data traffic has gone through the roof and is headed into the stratosphere. Between 2002 and 2011 the average user's mobile bandwidth usage has multiplied 1,200 times. Wireless data between 2010 and 2015 is forecast to grow my thirty times, said Son, and over the next ten years it is expected to increase a thousand times more.
Vendors Offer Mobile Operators Tools for Network Optimization, Monetization
It's no secret that there's been a mobile data explosion. That would seem to be a great opportunity for anyone in the wireless space. Yet because per bit pricing is not tracking with traffic growth, wireless networks are in a tough situation. They continue to invest in networks that they may not be sure yet how to monetize. But billing based on bandwidth and quality of service is clearly the goal, as is network optimization. To enable all that, mobile network operators need to get a better view into their networks so they can more effectively allocate resources based on the bottom line.
That's Totally WAC: Wireless Operators, Vendors Continue Work to Expand App Ecosystem
The Wholesale Applications Community - which launched at last year's Mobile World Congress - last month at the same event in Barcelona revealed that it now has 68 member companies, eight service providers that have on-boarded WAC, five device markers supporting the spec in their products, and 12,000 applications in place.
Let's Get Small: Picocells Help Address Coverage Gaps, Bandwidth Demands in Cellular Networks
Cellular networks are growing bigger in terms of coverage and bandwidth capacity. But the infrastructure that makes up those networks is, in some cases, getting smaller.
Cellular Carriers Are Onboard with Wi-Fi Offload
Mobile network operators that sell services have been trying to figure out for a while now just how Wi-Fi fits into their strategies. Was it a competitive threat to their cellular networks? Was it a way to generate new revenues by offering connectivity within bookstores and coffee houses? Or was there some business model for Wi-Fi that had yet to be discovered?
CSPs Leverage Cloud Services Inside and Out
This shift in focus, and the ongoing move to cut capital and operational expenditures, is leading more service providers to consider and adopt cloud-based application testing, billing, revenue assurance and other back office solutions. Of course, this is happening at the same that these service providers are delivering cloud-based services to their customers.
Moving up the Value Chain and Capturing New Revenue Streams with IMS
Interconnect providers occupy a unique position in the service flow between service providers since all interconnect traffic passes through them.
Cablecos Put New Emphasis on Back Office Systems
While the telephone companies had a reputation for slowly and meticulously designing and maintaining their networks and back office systems, conventional wisdom was that the cablecos were much less methodical in how they built networks and rolled out services.
Policy Solutions Enable Defensive, Offensive Service Provider Plays
Generally, there are two ways service providers can employ policy management, says Rick Woods, vice president for the Americas at Volubill, which sells policy management, policy enforcement and charging solutions. They can use policy management to protect their networks, or they can use policy management as an offensive weapon to segment their market and create bundles targeting low-, middle- and high-end customers.
ALU Motive's HDM Reaches 50M Device Mark
That's strong adoption, particularly considering that when the company introduced the HDM six years ago it had to evangelize to the industry the benefits of employing this kind of solution, says Ben Geller, senior director of product marketing at Alcatel Lucent's Motive division.
Broadband Wars: The Telcos-Cableco Showdown Continues
When I started out as a telecom reporter about 20 years ago the most interesting thing going on in the industry was signaling system 7 and Bellcore's Advanced Intelligent Network architecture. The muted excitement was fueled by the idea that, rather than piling all calling features onto the Class 5 switch, telco switches could now tap into enhanced services residing on platforms elsewhere in the network.
The Opportunity for a Rural Telco in the IP World
Further, the FCC clearly acknowledges the need for "no flash cuts" with new rules phased in over a "reasonable time period." While change is coming, rural telcos should have time to adjust to changes rather than simply waking up on a Tuesday and having to turn on the new business model.
Year in Review
The Year in Review: Broadband Efforts, Cloud Computing, Mobile Boom Led the Way
2010 has seen some big moves by the federal government to address broadband accessibility; the introduction of at least one new iconic connected product; a continued shift to mobile communications; acceptance for on-demand services and pricing models; an expansion of video and social networking applications and uptake; and continued discussion about what all of the above means for service providers, particularly those that operate and own the underlying networks. At the same time, the worldwide economic problems remained top of mind for those in the communications industry and their customers this year, as they all continued to look for more cost-efficient ways of doing business.
Tips for the Acquisitive
BroadSoft is buying Casabi for approximately $1.95 million. Casabi outfits cable, landline and mobile telecommunications service providers with hosted SMS, customized information services, and unified communications. The Casabi acquisition will build upon BroadSoft's software-as-a-service offerings, which began with the acquisition of PacketSmart in late 2009, according to BroadSoft.
Tipping the Scale: Broadband Fixed Wireless Providers Airband, Sparkplug Merge
In an effort to achieve greater scale, Airband Communications and Sparkplug Communications have merged. The deal, for which the financial details were not disclosed, creates the largest fixed wireless company for businesses in the U.S., according to the company - which is headed by the former Sparkplug CEO, but goes by the name Airband.
Broadband Stimulus Awards Wrap Up This Month, But the Drama Continues
Sept. 30 is the date by which the National Telecommunications Information Administration and Rural Utilities Service are required to disclose publicly all the winners of the broadband stimulus program. But just 45 days before that deadline, there was still a significant amount of money left to be awarded, a question about just exactly how much money would be available for the program, and at least a handful of winners that indicated they didn't want the funds they'd been awarded after all.
Cbeyond Celebrates a Decade in Communications
It's been a decade since Cbeyond was established, and although much has happened over the past 10 years, there's a lot that hasn't changed.
Availing Service Provider Networks to Developer Community Remains a Challenge
Historically, service creation in the telecom world took place on a platform-by-platform basis. You'd have your Alcatel-Lucent environment or your Ericsson platform, as two examples, but they didn't come together especially well.
Mobile Traffic Trends Parallel Fixed Networks
Consumers across the globe have embraced a new generation of mobile data applications that emphasize real-time on-demand attributes and functionality. Smartphones as a whole are being used less for traditional voice and more for connecting to the Internet to perform tasks more associated with PC activities such as streaming video and VoIP communications. According to a March 2009 report by analyst Chetan Sharma, a member of the GigaOM Pro Analyst Network, U.S. traffic data exceeded voice traffic by almost 400,000GB in 2009, and that ratio is expected to double this year.
Talking with the i3forum: Industry Group Aims to Ease Carrier Transition to IP
The road to IP can be a bumpy one. But an organization called the i3forum aims to help smooth the transition from TDM to IP.
The Mobile Battleground: Who's Going to Win the Customer Relationship?
BlackBerry, Facebook, Skype, Bing, Pandora - how many mobile providers do you interact with on a daily basis? The explosion of mobile services has presented new and more convenient ways to communicate, transact, and even be entertained, arguably transforming how we go about our everyday lives. But has anyone noticed there's one provider that seems to be excluded in people's everyday conversations about the latest and greatest mobile offerings? It's the carriers.
New Book from Alcatel-Lucent Guides Communications Players Through 'The Shift'
Alcatel-Lucent has published a book to share its research on consumer market opportunities within North America. According to the work, there is a $100 billion revenue opportunity for U.S. service providers that open up their networks to third parties.
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