Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blueprint 2013: 100G & Self-Aware Networks Take Off; 400G On the Cusp

Consumers these days are hungrier than ever for data, and smart devices are the forks that feed. To keep pace, service providers have begun adopting higher-bandwidth networks like 100G infrastructures to meet ever increasing demand. But the advent of this new technology also brings a heightened need to test and measure the resulting infrastructure so providers ensure they are delivering content to consumers as expected.

Network equipment manufacturers today are indicating that capacity is doubling in their network products every six months. According to research firm IDC, worldwide broadband traffic is expected to reach 116,539 petabytes (one petabyte equals 1,000 terabytes) per month by 2015 thanks to smart devices’ access to high-definition video, social media and other real-time applications. The emerging “connected class” of consumers wants and expects instant access to information and communication in both their work and personal lives.

100G Helps Cool Data Explosion

Not far behind, service providers have begun to juice their bandwidth to accommodate. To bolster network infrastructures, carriers began volume implementations of 100G optical equipment in 2012. 100G took off much quicker than 40G as all network players bought into the overarching need for 100G and developed a healthy market with a variety of competing solutions. Many experts believe that 100G is the new 10G because it creates the new baseline for network performance and its architecture will provide the basis for future technologies. Implementation of 100G started as line cards, much like 10G did in its day, but the technology will quickly become smaller due to new developments in components such as modules – driving down costs and power requirements.

To properly enable a 100G-based network ecosystem, the test and measurement building blocks must be set in place. We see novel technology at the physical layer to guarantee ultra-high bandwidth signals can cross a circuit board. Because 100G touches a rich mix of traffic types, the equipment used to test these networks must be capable of validating the performance with real 100G signals forged from this dynamic mix. Looking forward, as standards are solidified and providers move to 400G in several years, test equipment must continue providing deeper insight into the real issues and root causes with increasing bitrates. Even temperature management poses a challenge as the equipment must work with a wide range of temperatures while offering more insightful applications and test ports in ever-smaller boxes.

Expect 400G in the Near Future

Most agree that 400G will be implemented in two forms – four super carrier wavelengths at 100G using dual polarizations and QPSK modulation or with two carrier wavelengths at 200G using dual polarizations and 16QAM modulation. Each has its benefits and detractions. Four carrier wavelengths at 100G provide better performance over long distances, but consume more spectrum within the fiber. Two carriers at 200G will have a shorter reach, but a more efficient use of spectrum.

Expect to see more solid standards developed around 400G sometime in the next 18 to 36 months, a timeline reminiscent of 100G development.

Self-Aware Networks Take Root

Self-Aware Networks also made significant strides in 2012 and their first full deployments will come in 2013. These are networks that can automatically restore and rebalance bandwidth, optimize performance and lower overall costs for network providers.

These intelligent networks will require test systems to interact with not just the data plane, but also the network’s control plane. It will also require test visibility across the network as a whole, not just an isolated snapshot. One solution on the market currently enables tremendous flexibility and real-time insight into all reaches of the network. They ensure that operators can deliver the service benefits of such networks. With this insight, network managers can see their network as their customers experience it in real time, leading to a successful network and happy customer.

Carriers have now bought into the concept of Self-Aware networks and are committed to their implementation. Other optical equipment makers are now working to get involved and create their own solutions for this promising opportunity.

Test and Measurement Gets Faster, Smarter

Bandwidth increases unquestionably have implications for how companies test and measure network effectiveness. However, providers must also remember that it is not only bandwidth’s sheer quantity, it’s the nature of the bandwidth that becomes critical to the eye. More latency-sensitive real-time video, more complex traffic structures that need to interact with the self-aware network and far higher port densities all affect the test strategy. This is all set against a background of not only increased opex and capex pressure, but with continually increasing customer expectations. Test and measurement equipment must continue to offer novel applications that are ‘aware’ of the nature of the traffic and ‘aware’ of the nature of high-performance, dynamic networks.

About the Author

Dr. Paul Brooks is the Product Manager for the JDSU high-speed test portfolio. He covers a wide range of technology including 100 GE and OTU3/4 and has been very involved in developing test procedures for 100G systems and components. He was formerly a principal engineer, leading engineering teams developing a wide range of products for communications test and measurement. Prior to JDSU, Paul was a weapons officer in the Royal Navy specializing in electronic warfare. He currently lives in southern Germany where he laments the lack of first-class rugby.

About JDSU

JDSU (NASDAQ: JDSU; and TSX: JDU) innovates and collaborates with customers to build and operate the highest-performing and highest-value networks in the world.  Our diverse technology portfolio also fights counterfeiting and enables high-powered commercial lasers for a range of applications.  Learn more about JDSU at www.jdsu.com

China Mobile Launches TD-LTE + FDD-LTE in Kong

China Mobile launched a dual-mode TD-LTE + FDD-LTE capability in Hong Kong.The converged LTE FDD/TDD network allows subscribers with client devices supporting both formats to roam on-net between services.  The CMHK LTE network is the first dual-mode network in the Asia-Pacific region.

Live demonstrations showcasing the high-speed data download capabilities of TD-LTE and LTE FDD networks and the seamless hand-overbetween TD-LTE and FDD LTE networks for online video transmission were conducted at the launch event.

China Mobile Hong Kong's FDD LTE mobile data service launched in April. The  TD-LTE network in Hong Kong was activated in September.

Both Ericsson and ZTE have supplied equipment for China Mobile's Hong Kong network.

"The commercial operation of China Mobile Hong Kong’s TD-LTE/FDD LTE converged network in Hong Kong marks a new milestone in the development of LTE technology, and helps to build strong momentum in the industry,” said Mr. Zhang, Vice President of ZTE.

As part of the launch, ZTE introduced its TDD/FDD dual-mode ZTE Grand Era LTE smartphone, featuring  Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a 1.5GHz dual core CPU, 1GB of memory and a multi-touch 4.5-inch 1280×720 Gorilla Glass display.

"With the growing popularity of the LTE environment in Hong Kong, LTE smart terminal products will become more prevalent in the future, which will also be the model for LTE development in mainland China, further accelerating the maturity of the global TD-LTE industry, " said Mr. He Shiyou, ZTE EVP and Head of the Terminal Division.


In its 1H2012 financial report, China Mobile confirmed that it has successfully completed TD-LTE trial in "6+1" cities and commenced an expanded build-out of the technology. China Mobile has also carried out two-way roaming trials between Hangzhou's TD-LTE network and Hong Kong's LTE FDD networks.

By the end of this year, China Mobile aims to deploy 20,000 TD-LTE base stations in 13 cities. The goal is to have 90% effective coverage in key areas of Hangzhou, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

In 2013, the number of TD-LTE base stations will reach 200,000 to achieve contiguous outdoor coverage in data hotspots of prefectural level and above cities.

In October, ZTE announced a major contract to supply TD-LTE equipment to China Mobile in five cities, namely Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shenyang. The contract cover more than 13,000 carrier frequencies. Financial terms were not disclosed.
ZTE confirmed that it is now China Mobile's leading LTE supplier for China Mobile.

China Mobile launched the TD-LTE bidding in August 2012. The tender included contracts for some 20,000 base stations and 52,000 carrier sectors.

In October, Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell also announced a contract to support China Mobile's TD-LTE trial network rollout as it extends services to 10 cities. Under the terms of the contract, Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell will deliver approximately 3,000 base stations in the cities of Shanghai, Nanjing and Qingdao.

SK Telecom: LTE will be its Mainstream Service in 2013

SK Telecom is reporting an accelerated growth in LTE subscribers.

SK Telecom is currently experiencing a daily average of 60,000 customers new LTE enrollments, representing over 50 percent growth compared to the last month.  LTE subscribers surpassed 7 million as of December 12, 2012, thereby achieving the end of year target for LTE subscribers.  The company's LTE footprint covers 99 percent of South Korea's population.

For comparison, it took SK Telecom two years and four months to acquire 7 million 3G WCDMA subscribers since commercializing the service in May 2006.

At present, the company's LTE subscribers make up 26 percent of its total mobile subscriber base, expanding 11 fold compared to the end of November 2011 when it reported 630,000 LTE subscribers, accounting for a mere 2.4 percent of the total. The pace is expected to accelerate even further with the launch of Apple's iPhone 5 on December 7, 2012.

The LTE subscriber base is expected to hit 14 million by the end of 2013. making LTE the company's mainstream mobile service.

"As LTE is expected to become the mainstream service in 2013, we will focus on developing and offering differentiated LTE services to deliver greater value and convenience for our customers," stated Jang Dong-hyun, Executive Vice President and Head of Marketing Division of SK Telecom.


In August, SK Telecom launched an HD VoLTE service, initially featuring the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE handset. Customers who already have the handset will be able to download a firmware upgrade later this month. The Galaxy Note 2 will also offer an HD VoLTE capability.
  • The premium HD voice service is available at no additional charge.
  • The HD voice connection uses 2.2 times the bandwidth of voice over 3G.
  • The HD voice call connection time ranges from less than 0.25 to 2.5 seconds. This compares with a mean call connection time of 5 seconds for 3G voice calls, and SK Telecom believes this difference will be apparent to the customer.
  • HD VoLTE carries a wide voice frequency range of 50 to 7000 hertz compared to a 3G voice call that typically covers 300 to 2400 hertz. The service uses Enhanced Variable Rate Codec (EVRC).
  • SK Telecom is using multi-carrier technology for the 800 MHz (20MHz) and 1.8 GHz (20MHz) frequency bands.
In July, SK Telecom announced plans to commercialize LTE-Advanced in its network during 2013.

SK Telecom, in collaboration with Qualcomm and Nokia Siemens Networks, recently tested a core LTE-Advanced technology called 'Enhanced Inter-Cell Interference Coordination (eICIC) that coordinates signal interference between macro and pico base stations. eICIC is gaining importance as more and more micro base stations are being built in traffic concentrated areas to accommodate explosive data traffic growth, thereby aggravating inter-cell interference.

SK Telecom noted that it now holds the record of demonstrating the three core technologies needed to usher in the era of LTE-Advanced: eICIC, Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP) and Carrier Aggregation (CA). The company successfully demonstrated CoMP at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2011 and CA at MWC 2012.

CoMP is a technology that prevents base station interference and abrupt call disconnections in coverage boundary areas by enhancing signal strength, the lack of which leads to a significant drop in data transmission speed, and CA is a technology that provides twice or faster data rates by utilizing multiple frequency bands at the same time.

SK Telecom expects to commercialize eICIC in the second half of 2013 to control signal interference and effectively offload data in downtown areas that experience heavy data traffic so as to provide customers with a mobile data service with greater speed and stability.

The company commercialized CoMP, for the first time in the world, in January 2012, after adjusting the technology to suit the current LTE system, and plans to achieve early commercialization of CA in the second half of 2013.

The operator will deliver LTE using both existing 800MHz frequency band (20MHz) and the 1.8GHz band (20MHz) it newly acquired last year. With an additional 20MHz uplink/downlink spectrum, it is now using a total of 40MHz for its LTE services. SK Telecom has launched a pilot service for multi-carrier in May 2012 and began full-fledged commercialization on July 1 to ensure a more stable and faster LTE service based on twice wider frequency bandwidth than its competitors. CA realizes data rates of up to 150Mbps by combining the speeds of 800MHz (75Mbps) and 1.8GHz (75Mbps) frequency bands.

Cisco to Acquire BroadHop for Policy Control

Cisco announced plans to acquire BroadHop, a start-up providing policy control and service management technology for carrier networks. Financial terms were not disclosed.

BroadHop, which is based in Denver, Colorado, specializes in application-centric policy technology.  Its Quantum Network Suite is an open policy-application platform based on PCRF architecture that can be used for network-centric bandwidth management, such as fair use and bandwidth throttling, and application-centric interactive services, such as policy-to-the-handset and real-time mobile congestion management. This enables Service Providers to control, monetize and personalize network and application services.  The company says its solution has been deployed by more than 90 telecom service providers serving more than 500 million subscribers in 40 countries.

BroadHop has been a key service provider Wi-Fi partner for Cisco.

Cisco said BroadHop's policy control solutions for mobile and fixed networks will be integrated into Cisco’s Service Provider Mobility Group to provide service providers the flexibility to control, monetize and personalize the types of service they choose, on any network.

  • In April, BroadHop confirmed that a Tier 1 US operator is leveraging Quantum Network Suite for Wi-Fi offload. Quantum Network Suite is enabling this operator with portal-based authentication and redirection of Wi-Fi enabled smart phones and devices.
  • BroadHop was founded in 2003.
  • In 2010, BroadHop introduced its open policy management and control platform designed for intelligent broadband services and mobile data and application delivery. The company's Quantum Network Suite leverages a virtualized rules engine that enables network-aware mobile data services on an individual basis. Using 3GPP PCRF standards, the policy engine detects and adjusts for mobile core congestion in real time, maximizing session capacity and user quality of experience. Key capabilities include a subscriber balance manager, charging and policy enforcement.
  • BroadHop said its Quantum Network suite enables service providers and solution integrators to use industry standard tools and technologies to create new policy blueprints -- and enable dynamic linking of their proprietary applications to the Quantum Network policy platform.
  • Using the platform, service providers could share real time network status information with individual subscribers, such as smartphone users, informing them of periods when light network loads with lower downloading costs. By seeing their service and network status at a glance, subscribers will be better able to manage their data usage.

A List of Cisco's 2012 Acquisitions

At the Cisco Financial Analyst Conference Day in New York earlier this month, company CEO John Chambers said the company's ambition is to transform itself from being the top communications provider to the top information technology provider.  

Cisco's key strategy remains to Build-Buy-Partner and Chambers said mergers & acquisitions remain a key part of the plan.  

Most recent deals have focused on software.

Cisco to Acquire BroadHop for Policy Control

Cisco announced plans to acquire BroadHop, a start-up providing policy control and service management technology for carrier networks. Financial terms were not disclosed. BroadHop, which is based in Denver, Colorado, specializes in application-centric policy technology.  Its Quantum Network Suite is an open policy-application platform based on PCRF architecture that can be used for network-centric bandwidth management, such as fair use...

Cisco agreed to acquire privately held Cariden Technologies, a provider of network planning, design and traffic management solutions for telecommunications service providers, for approximately $141 million in cash and retention-based incentives. Cariden's network planning and design tools help service providers to enhance the visibility, programmability and efficiency of their converged networks, while improving service velocity. Cariden's MATE...

Cisco to Acquire Meraki for Cloud-managed Wi-Fi

Cisco agreed to acquire Meraki, a rival supplier of campus Wi-Fi solutions, for approximately $1.2 billion in cash and retention-based incentives. Meraki supplies a line of high capacity on-site WLAN hardware that is centrally managed from its cloud. Compared to other WLAN solutions including Cisco's own campus Wi-Fi, Meraki has said its key advantages are quick turn-up and no training or dedicated staff needed to maintain the network, thus...

Cisco to Acquire Cloupia for Cloud Automation Software

Cisco agreed to acquire Cloupia, a start-up focused on Cloud Automation and Management Software, for approximately $125 million in cash and retention-based incentives. Cloupia, which is based in Santa Clara, California, provides tools to automate converged data center infrastructure.  The Cloupia Unified Infrastructure Controller (CUIC) is a vendor-neutral, multi-hypervisor and multi-cloud provisioning and management solution that provides...

Cisco Acquires ThinkSmart for Wi-Fi Analytics

Cisco has acquired ThinkSmart Technologies, a software developer specializing in location data analysis using Wi-Fi.  Financial terms were not disclosed. ThinkSmart’s location analytics collects information on movement within a venue including time of day, traffic patterns and dwell times. The company, which is based in Cork, Ireland, was formed at the Incubation Centre of University College Cork. The company becomes part of Cisco’s...

Cisco to Acquire BNI for Video Control Plane Software

Cisco will acquire BNI Video, a start-up developing video control plane software for cable operators, for approximately $99 million in cash and retention-based incentives. BNI's platform allows video service providers to easily incorporate social networking, search, and other next-generation applications into their offerings. BNI's website says its control plane software connects content to subscribers, enabling transcoding and digital rights...

Cisco to Acquire newScale for Self-Service Portal Software

Cisco agreed to acquire privately-held newScale, a developer of software that delivers a service catalog and self-service portal for IT organizations to select and quickly deploy cloud services within their businesses. Financial terms were not disclosed.newScale is based in San Mateo, California. Its software helps IT organizations and service providers offer a self-service "storefront" for both desktop and data center services - across physical,...

Procera Wins Multi-Million Order from MSO in Middle East

Procera Networks announced a multi-million dollar initial order from a Tier 1 multi-system operator (MSO) in the Middle East. The operator will use Procera's PacketLogic PL8920 platform for its residential triple play service offerings across its countrywide footprint.


Infonetics: 100G Shipments Surpassing Expectations

Infonetics is reporting a better-than-expect ramp in 100G shipments.

"100G continues to surpass even our most optimistic projections," reports Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research. "There's been a flurry of prototyping, sampling and trial activity all around the world, including China, where plans for 100G have been bumped up by 12 months since we spoke to operators there last spring. In line with our aggressive forecasts, worldwide shipments of 100G coherent transceivers more than tripled in 2012, and will at least double in 2013.  The other big deal in the transceiver market is that the pricing gap collapsed between tunable and non-tunable XFP, further spurring adoption of tunable XFP technology."

Some additional highlights from Infonetics' 10G/40G/100G optical transceivers report:

Once final numbers are in for 2012, Infonetics expects the overall optical transceiver market to post about a 7% increase over last year, and to grow in healthy double digits to reach close to $2.0 billion in 2013

Unit shipments of 10G, 40G and 100G transceivers continue to increase, but revenue for 10G and 40G is under pressure from price declines and the shift to 100G

By 2015, 40G and 100G transceiver revenue together will match 10G transceiver revenue for the first time

Infonetics anticipates network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) to supply more than 3/4 of all 100G long reach ports by 2014 2015.


Indosat Upgrades its Backbone with Alcatel-Lucent IP/MPLS

Indosat has selected Alcatel-Lucent's IP/MPLS solution to upgrade its data transport and mobile broadband networks throughout Indonesia.

Alcatel-Lucent is supplying Indosat with a comprehensive IP/MPLS based Carrier Ethernet solution which includes its 7750 Service Router, 7705 Service Aggregation Router (SAR), and 5620 Service Aware Manager, as well as its 9500 Microwave Packet Radio platform. Alcatel-Lucent - in partnership with Datacomm - will also provide a wide set of services and expertise in the areas such as project management, consulting and design, integration services, installation, deployment and maintenance.

Rajeev Singh-Molares, President, Asia Pacific of Alcatel-Lucent said: “Indosat has been moving quickly to prepare its network for the demands of the future, and we are pleased to expand our collaboration into the mobile backhaul space. The modernization of Indosat’s network will enable them to continue the rapid expansion of their customer base, while introducing a wide array of new services without taxing their infrastructure.”


Telenor Picks NEC for Microwave Backhaul

NEC announced a global framework contract to supply Telenor with its compact microwave communications system, the "iPASOLINK" series, including the "5000ips" long-haul, large capacity microwave system and related services such as installation and commissioning.

The global framework contract awarded to NEC is one of the contracts covering the Telenor group's 11 affiliates. 

NEC said the deal strengthens its position as the primary microwave communication system supplier for the Telenor Group.