Monday, July 31, 2017

MEF Update and Scope with Nan Chen



Nan Chen, President of MEF, provides an update from MEF’s recent Annual Meeting in Toronto.  MEF is enabling service providers to create a global ecosystem of automated networks that deliver agile, assured, and orchestrated services.

There are 4 major areas of strategic work:
(1) Third Network services (wavelength, Carrier Ethernet, IP, SD-WAN, Layer 4-7 cloud services),
(2) LSO Reference Architecture and Open APIs,
(3) reference implementations and MEFnet, and
(4) certification programs for services, technology, and professionals.

These topics and more will be explored at MEF17 (www.MEF17.com) , 13-14 November in Orlando, Florida.

See video: https://youtu.be/5NexRVi2VkI


MEF - Advancing the Industry



Over the last few years, MEF has done three very important things: (1)  shifting beyond Ethernet to support other connectivity types and network-based apps; (2)  developing Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO);  shifting from just implementing technology specs to implementing LSO APIs, reference processes, and other operations enablers. The combination of these three will be very powerful, says Allan Langfield, Executive Director of Product Management at Comcast Business.

Recorded at the MEF Annual Member's Meeting in Toronto.

See video: https://youtu.be/5eb0pwSpj-M


Market Update for India

India's mobile market continues to be the most dynamic worldwide thanks to Reliance Jio's entrance nine months ago. Mobile data traffic is booming, total subscriber count continues to rise, and rumours continue to swirl about consolidation of the 12 players into perhaps just a handful. Wireline subscription continue to drop rapidly at a monthly decline rate of 0.57% as mobile coverage, services, and offers proliferate.

New figures released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last week show that total wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA and LTE) increased from 1,174.60 million at the end of Apr-17 to 1,180.82 million at the end of May-17, thereby registering a monthly growth rate of 0.53%. Adding in fixed line subscribers, the number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,198.89 million at the end of April to 1,204.98 million at the end of May, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.51%. The monthly growth rate was stronger in rural areas (1.00% ) than in cities (0.15%), which indicates that finally many villages are getting connected. Rural tele-density increased from 57.02 at the end of April to 57.55 at the end of May, compared to urban tele-density of 172.28 at the end of May. Amazingly, Delhi now has a tele-density of 260%, while the state of Bihar in east India has a tele-density of 62%.

The Wireless Tele-density (%) in India increased from 91.34 at the end of April to 91.74 at the end of May. The Urban Wireless Tele-density increased slightly from 167.21 at the end of April to 167.24 at the end of May, and Rural Wireless Tele-density increased from 56.59 to 57.12 during the same period. The share of urban and rural wireless subscribers in total number of wireless subscribers was 57.30% and 42.70% respectively, at the end of May 2017.

In broadband, the number of subscribers increased from 284.23 million at the end of April to 291.61 million at the end of May with a monthly growth rate of 2.60%. The market is moving rapidly to mobile at the expense of DSL and fixed wireless. This breaks down as follows.

Broadband subscribers:

·         Wired subscribers - 18.23 million, for a -0.14% monthly growth rate.

·         Mobile devices users (phones and dongles) - 272.85 million, for a 2.80% monthly growth rate.

·         Fixed wireless subscribers (WiFi, WiMax, point-to-point radio and VSAT) - 0.53 million, -3.04% monthly growth rate.

·         The top five broadband service providers are Reliance Jio Infocom (117.34 million), Bharti Airtel (53.30 million), Vodafone (40.43 million), Idea Cellular (24.63 million) and BSNL (21.59 million). For wired broadband service providers, the top five were BSNL (9.80 million), Bharti Airtel (2.09 million), Atria Convergence Technologies (1.20 million), MTNL (0.99 million) and YOU Broadband (0.64 million).

TRAI monthly figures by mobile operator






I Squared Capital to acquire Hutchison Global for $1.86bn

I Squared Capital, an independent global infrastructure investment manager, announced an agreement, through its ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund II, to acquire a 100% interest in Hutchison Global Communications Investment Holding (HGC) from Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings (HTHKH), a part of CK Hutchison Holdings, for approximately HKD14.5 billion (approximately $1.86 billion).

HGC is a major fixed-line service provider addressing fixed and mobile carriers, OTT service providers, corporate, residential and data centres in Hong Kong and worldwide. The company's 1.4-million-km fibre network connects to over 14,200 buildings; it is also one of Hong Kong's largest WiFi service providers operating over 25,000 hot spots. HGC's international network includes four key land routes into mainland China, as well as multiple submarine and terrestrial cable systems.

HTHKH stated that the transaction is intended to enable it to focus in its core business of serving mobile customers, and that it plans to use the proceeds of the transaction for working capital and to invest in its mobile business.

I Squared Capital noted that a significant portion of HGC's revenue is generated through long-term contracts with a diverse customers base that includes the major mobile providers in the region. HGC Group is also working to develop cloud computing services and delivering high-speed WiFi service under the HGC On Air brand.

I Squared stated that the acquisition is expected to close by October 2017.

I Squared Capital, based in New York, is an independent global infrastructure investment manager that focuses on energy, utilities and transport in the Americas, Europe, and select high growth economies. As well as New York, the company has offices in Houston, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Commenting on the transaction, Gautam Bhandari, partner at I Squared Capital, said, "With I Squared Capital's investment, HGC will continue to provide the same quality of service that mobile telecommunication providers, corporate and residential customers have come to expect… fresh capital will also enable the company to develop new solutions to meet the ever-increasing demand for high-speed information infrastructure throughout the region and beyond".


AT&T appointments executives ahead of merger with Time Warner

AT&T has announced a number of executive appointments in preparation for completing its acquisition of global media and entertainment company Time Warner; the transaction is currently under review by the U.S. Department of Justice and competition authorities in certain foreign countries.

Effective August 1st, the following executives will assume new positions and continue to report to AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson:

1.   In addition to her existing responsibilities as global marketing officer, Lori Lee will assume leadership of AT&T International; Ms. Lee previously led AT&T's Time Warner merger integration planning team.

AT&T provides mobile services to more than 13 million consumers and businesses in Mexico, and pay-TV service to more than 13 million subscribers across 11 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean.
2.   John Stankey will assume the lead of AT&T's Time Warner merger integration planning team, working closely with Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes to plan for the leadership transition to Stankey as CEO of AT&T's media company on completion of the merger; Mr. Stankey was previously CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group.

3.   John Donovan, previously chief strategy officer and group president of AT&T Technology and Operations, has been named CEO of AT&T Communications, encompassing AT&T's Business Solutions, Entertainment Group, and Technology & Operations groups.

AT&T provides mobile, broadband and video services to U.S.-based consumers and serves nearly 3.5 million businesses, from small companies to most of the Fortune 1000.


BT restructures, appoints EE CEO to lead new Consumer business

UK-based telco BT Group has announced organisational changes designed to simplify its operating model, strengthen accountabilities and accelerate its transformation.

The organisational changes are as follows:

1.         Marc Allera, currently CEO of the EE business acquired in 2016, is appointed to lead a newly created Consumer business, combining BT's Consumer and EE businesses, effective September 1, 2017. The new Consumer business will operate via three distinct brands - BT, EE and Plusnet – encompassing fixed and mobile networks, consumer products and services and content.

Marc Allen previously served in a number of roles with Three UK, including as chief commercial officer and sales and marketing director, and prior to that with its parent company Hutchison Whampoa.

2.         Cathryn Ross, currently chief executive of Ofwat, the water sector regulator in England and Wales, has been appointed as director of regulatory affairs, following the decision of Sean Williams, current chief strategy officer at BT Group, to leave the company. Cathryn Ross is expected to take up her new role in January 2018.

Prior to joining Ofwat, Cathryn Ross was executive director of markets and economics at the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and also worked at the Competition Commission (now Competition and Markets Authority).

3.         John Petter, after nearly four years serving as CEO of BT Consumer, has announced he will step down to pursue roles outside BT Group.

GigaSpaces to spin-off Cloudify orchestration and cloud mgt division

New York-based GigaSpaces Technologies, a supplier of software enabling in-memory computing, announced that it plans to spin off Cloudify, its orchestration and cloud management platform business unit, into a new company focused on the growing market for management and orchestration of cloud applications and network functions virtualisation (NFV).

GigaSpaces stated that it began planning for the spin-off last year, based on strong demand for the Cloudify product line in its core enterprise cloud markets and the emerging carrier network orchestration market. The move is intended to enable the Cloudify entity to dedicate engineering, product development, marketing and customer support activities to addressing the cloud market segment.

The new company will retain the core Cloudify engineering, product and marketing teams, working from existing locations in New York City, San Jose, California and Tel Aviv in Israel.

In 2016, GigaSpaces open sourced its products and implemented an open source support business model. The GigaSpaces IMC business unit launched InsightEdge, based on the Apache Spark cluster computing project, while Cloudify launched Apache Project ARIA, an open source orchestration library designed to accelerate TOSCA adoption.

The Cloudify project was launched in its current form in 2014 as an open source TOSCA orchestration platform, positioning Cloudify as a provider of technology for connecting hybrid clouds and the networking layer. The convergence of technology establishes Cloudify as an orchestrator capable of providing end-to-end orchestration of both networks and applications in multi-cloud environments.

Cloudify features built-in support for private clouds such as OpenStack and VMware, public clouds Amazon Web Services, Azure and Google Compute Platform, and container technologies such as Kubernetes. The platform is also being adopted by large telcos and carriers to manage NFV.

GigaSpaces noted that it will continue to market its in-memory computing via its XAP and InsightEdge product lines.



* Last year, Cloudify unveiled its Telecom Edition open source orchestrator solution at the OPNFV Summit in Berlin. Cloudify has designed the Telecom Edition to meet the needs of NFV operators by adding a set of new features, NFV-specific plugins and blueprints showcasing how to mode VNFs and SFC (service function chaining).

Windstream expands metro fibre, adds fixed-wireless

Windstream, a provider of advanced network communications, announced a major expansion of its metro fibre network in Indianapolis that will provide the area's growing business community with access to fibre and fixed-wireless infrastructure connecting to more local data centres and commercial buildings and to Windstream's national fibre network.

Windstream's latest metro fibre network expansion and the addition of fixed wireless access serves the areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield and Greenwood, as well as connecting its national network to key data centre campuses and commercial buildings in the Indianapolis area. The expansion will also enable business customers to utilise the operator's enterprise-class data, voice, network and cloud services.

A specific Indianapolis-based organisation that will benefit from Windstream's expansion is Hamilton Southeastern School District (HSSD), the second-largest school district in the Indianapolis metro area with more than 20,000 students across its 21 schools. Windstream noted that HSSD is an existing WAN customer.

Windstream's expansion in Indianapolis increases both the coverage of its network and the services that are available to local customers, including fixed wireless connectivity, unified communications, managed services, network security, business continuity, network solutions and cloud services.

Windstream is engaged in expanding its metro fibre networks across the U.S. as part of an initiative designed to support customers in the banking, financial services, legal services, education, healthcare, government, hospitality and retail sectors. In addition to Indianapolis, Windstream is expanding its metro networks in cities including Charlotte, Detroit, Nashville, Richmond, Little Rock, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Dallas, St. Louis and Cleveland.

Windstream is a major provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions for consumers, businesses, enterprise and wholesale customers across the U.S. The company supplies core transport solutions over local and long-haul fibre infrastructure spanning approximately 147,000 miles nationwide.

GoNetspeed to launch fibre broadband in Pittsburgh

GoNetspeed, based in Rochester, New York, a fibre broadband service provider, announced it will begin offering high-speed connectivity to select communities in Pittsburgh, targeting both business and residential customers.

GoNetspeed aims to bridge the digital divide by taking fibre connectivity directly to the customers utilising an existing network in Pittsburgh. The company plans to begin offering residential broadband service in the community of Ambridge by October, followed by Beaver Falls shortly after. GoNetspeed's residential packages are priced from $50 for 100 Mbit/s bandwidth; it also offers 500 Mbit/s and 1 Gbit/s bandwidth options.

GoNetspeed will also provide the business community with Internet and Ethernet services throughout Pittsburgh.

The company has plans to expand its services to other communities in Pennsylvania, as well as to customers in California and Florida, and potentially other areas where interest is shown.

GoNetspeed was founded by Frank Chiaino, who serves as company chairman. Mr. Chiaino previously founded Fibertech Networks, which built nearly 14,000 miles of metro fibre networks across the northeast region. Fibertech merged with Lightower Fiber Networks in 2015. GoNetspeed is led by Larry Coleman as president, formerly president and founder of Sunesys, with Tom Perrone serving as COO and previously VP of engineering and planning at Fibertech.


NI enhances LabVIEW MIMO Application Framework

NI, the provider of platform-based systems that enable engineers and scientists to address engineering challenges, announced multiple antenna User Equipment (UE) support for its LabVIEW Communications MIMO Application Framework.

NI's enhanced MIMO Application Framework is claimed to be the only commercially available physical layer reference design to enable massive MIMO prototyping for both desktop simulations and functional 5G deployments.

Using the new solution, wireless researchers can pair the MIMO Application Framework with NI software defined radio hardware to conduct real-time, over-the-air experiments for a range of MIMO research areas including multi-user MIMO, single-user MIMO and massive MIMO. The multi-FPGA physical layer reference design is supplied with LabVIEW Communications source code that can be reconfigured and modified to allow the creation of a network of multiple antenna devices.

The NI solution equips researchers to explore beamforming techniques not only at the base station, but also at the UE to help improve overall network throughput, extend cell coverage and reduce interference. The MIMO Application Framework supports network throughput of more than 1.5 Gbit/s, a flexible, reconfigurable TDM-based frame structure and a bidirectional communications link that can be used to quickly conduct massive MIMO experiments and integrate custom signal processing algorithms.

NI noted that as participants in its RF/Communications Lead User program, wireless researchers at Sweden's Lund University have used the NI prototyping platform for 5G research and recently demonstrated the feasibility of massive MIMO under mobile conditions for users moving at both pedestrian and vehicular speeds.



See also