Thursday, February 26, 2015

FCC Votes 3-2 to Adopt Open Internet Rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to adopt a new set of Open Internet rules proposed by Commissioner Wheeler and backed by the Obama Administration. All of the new rules, which are based on the FCC's authority under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, would apply to fixed and mobile broadband alike, while leaving room for reasonable network management and its specific application to mobile and unlicensed WiFi networks.

Here are the key provisions and rules of the Open Internet Order as outlined by the FCC:

Bright Line Rules:  The first three rules ban practices that are known to harm the Open Internet.

  • No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
  • No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind—in other words, no “fast lanes.”   This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates. It also prohibits practices that target specific applications or classes of applications.  

A Standard for Future Conduct:  the Order establishes that ISPs cannot “unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage” the ability of consumers to select, access, and use the lawful content, applications, services, or devices of their choosing; or of edge providers to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to consumers.  The FCC will have authority to address questionable practices on a case-by-case basis, and will provide guidance in the form of factors on how the Commission will apply the standard in practice.

Greater Transparency:  the Order requires that broadband providers disclose, in a
consistent format, promotional rates, fees and surcharges and data caps. Disclosures must also include packet loss as a measure of network performance, and provide notice of network management practices that can affect service.  To further consider the concerns of small ISPs, the Order adopts a temporary exemption from the transparency enhancements for fixed and mobile providers with 100,000 or fewer subscribers, and delegates authority to the FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau to determine whether to retain the exception and, if so, at what level.

Reasonable Network Management:    For the purposes of the rules, other than paid prioritization, an ISP may engage in reasonable network management. The FCC's standard takes account of the particular engineering attributes of the technology involved—whether it be fiber, DSL, cable, unlicensed Wi-Fi, mobile, or another network medium. However, the network practice must be primarily used for and tailored to achieving a legitimate network management—and not business—purpose.

Broad Protection
Some data services do not go over the public Internet, and therefore are not “broadband Internet access” services (VoIP from a cable system is an example, as is a dedicated heart-monitoring service). The Order ensures that these services do not undermine the effectiveness of the Open Internet rules. Moreover, all broadband providers’ transparency disclosures will continue to cover any offering of such non-Internet access data services—ensuring that the public and the Commission can keep a close eye on any tactics that could undermine the Open Internet rules.

Interconnection: the FCC address issue that may arise in the exchange of traffic between mass-market broadband providers and other networks and services. Under the authority provided by the Order, the Commission can hear complaints and take appropriate enforcement action if it determines the interconnection activities of ISPs are not just and reasonable.

Legal Authority: the order relies on multiple sources of authority including both Title II of the Communications Act and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  At the same time, the Order refrains – or forbears – from enforcing 27 provisions of Title II and over 700 associated regulations that are not relevant to modern broadband service.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler stated "There are three simple keys to our broadband future. Broadband networks must be fast. Broadband networks must be fair Broadband networks must be open. We know from the history of previous networks that both human nature and economic opportunism act to encourage network owners to become gatekeepers that prioritize their interests above the interests of their users. As the D.C. Circuit observed in the Verizon decision and as the public record affirms, broadband providers have both the economic incentive and the technological capability to abuse their gatekeeper position. Our challenge is to achieve two equally important goals: ensure incentives for private investment in broadband infrastructure so the U.S. has world-leading networks and ensure that those networks are fast, fair, and open for all Americans. The Open Internet Order achieves those goals, giving consumers, innovators, and entrepreneurs the protections they deserve, while providing certainty for broadband providers and the online marketplace."

Writing in dissent, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai stated "It shouldn’t be this way.  For twenty years, there’s been a bipartisan consensus in favor of a free and open Internet.  A Republican Congress and a Democratic President enshrined in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 the principle that the Internet should be a “vibrant and competitive free market . . . unfettered by Federal or State regulation.”  And dating back to the Clinton Administration, every FCC Chairman—Republican and Democrat—has let the Internet grow free from utility-style regulation.  The results speak for themselves. But today, the FCC abandons those policies.  It reclassifies broadband Internet access service as a Title II telecommunications service.  It seizes unilateral authority to regulate Internet conduct, to direct where Internet service providers (ISPs) make their investments, and to determine what service plans will be available to the American public.  This is not only a radical departure from the bipartisan, market-oriented policies that have served us so well for the last two decades.  It is also an about-face from the proposals the FCC made just last May... In short, because this Order imposes intrusive government regulations that won’t work to solve a problem that doesn’t exist using legal authority the FCC doesn’t have, I dissent."

http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-strong-sustainable-rules-protect-open-internet


  • The text of the Open Internet Order has not yet been published.  The FCC said they hope to release it to the public shortly.

Carriers Verify International VoLTE Roaming

NTT DOCOMO, KT and Verizon Wireless have successfully verified the feasibility of international voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) roaming between different regions of the world.

The carriers have completed a series of tests using S8 Home Routed (S8HR) architecture, a technology based on the existing LTE data roaming platform, which allows speedy commercialization of VoLTE for high-definition voice and video roaming services with full end-to-end carrier-grade voice and video quality.

DOCOMO said it is now prepared to offer its customers the same VoLTE experiences they have in Japan when traveling to other countries.

In the trials, DOCOMO and KT achieved the world's first high-definition voice and video call with full end-to-end quality of service. Also, DOCOMO and Verizon achieved the world's first transoceanic high-definition VoLTE roaming calls. DOCOMO has existing commercial 3G and 4G roaming relations with Verizon Wireless and KT.

The calls were made on an IP eXchange (IPX) and network equipment to replicate commercial networks. With only two months of preparation, which also proved the technology's feasibility of speedy commercialization, the quality of VoLTE roaming calls using S8HR architecture over both short and long distances was proven to be better than that of existing 3G voice roaming services.

DOCOMO will continue to collaborate with these and other companies in the GSMA to drive the industry's ongoing discussion of international VoLTE roaming architecture, and to develop related operational guidelines aiming at the accelerated global deployment as part of the GSMA's Network 2020 Programme. DOCOMO will continue to carry out related R&D as it prepares to commercialize international VoLTE roaming services by the end of 2015.

https://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/english/info/media_center/pr/2015/pdf/20150226_attachment01.pdf

FCC Preempts State Prohibitions on Municipal Broadband

The FCC voted to preempt state law in North Carolina and Tennessee that restrict or ban municipalities from expanding broadband service outside their current footprints despite numerous requests from neighboring unserved and underserved communities.

The FCC noted that it acted on behalf of the Electric Power Board (EBP), a community broadband provider in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the City of Wilson, North Carolina.In addition to providing electric service, both operate broadband networks providing Gigabit-per-second broadband, voice, and video service.The networks in both areas have attracted major employers, including Amazon and Volkswagen in Chattanooga, and Exodus FX, Regency Interactive, and WHIG TV in Wilson. Wilson’s system also provides free Wi-Fi downtown.Tennessee law allows municipal electric systems like EPB to provide telecommunications services anywhere in the state, but limits provision of Internet and cable services to the electrical system footprint. In North Carolina, a 2011 law imposed numerous conditions that effectively precluded Wilson from expanding broadband into neighboring counties, even if requested. One condition, for example, restricted expansion into areas where the private sector delivers service at speeds as slow as 768 kbps in the faster direction – an archaic standard that fails to support modern needs and is a fraction of the FCC’s 25/3 Mbps benchmark.

http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-preempts-laws-restricting-community-broadband-nctn

Tropo Debuts Connect Platform for Network Services on Clouds

Tropo, a start-up based in Menlo Park, California, rolled out its platform to enable telcos and 3rd party developers to rapidly integrate traditional communications with popular cloud services and enterprise workflows.

Tropo, which worked with Apcera and IBM’s SoftLayer to develop its platform, said these capabilities will put Service Providers at the center of a growing ecosystem of developer tools and cloud services.

Tropo Connect enables web apps and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices to interact with live phone calls and text conversations.  For example, a sales productivity app could respond to a subscriber’s phone calls and extract keywords using advanced speech recognition technology to automatically generate contextual notes in their Customer Relationship Management System (CRM). By allowing web platforms like SalesForce.com to participate in the calling experience, a new market for enhanced services is created, unlocking massive revenue streams for services providers and their partners.

The Tropo Platform is deployed within the networks of several Tier 1 operators, such as AT&;T, China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, NTT and Vodafone. Trop is now offering this platform as afully managed turnkey infrastructure.

"IBM is excited to be working with Tropo and Apcera to deliver the first In-Call app platform on top of IBM's SoftLayer," said Mac Devine, vice president and CTO, SND and Innovation Services, IBM Cloud Division. “SoftLayer’s full-featured API and sophisticated automation enables real-time media processing with a Telco-grade quality of service.”

“The modern web is built on open programming interfaces (APIs) that communicate with each other seamlessly, giving developers the opportunity to mash up services to create fresh revenue-generating apps for consumers and businesses,” said Derek Collison, CEO of Apcera. “

“Tropo Connect works with legacy networks, and is IMS-ready and certified for next-gen architectures,” said Jose de Castro, founder and CTO at Tropo. “CSPs can start adding value and differentiation to their portfolios today, no matter where they are in their network transformation process, and be ensured that the services are future-proofed going forward.”

http://www.tropo.com

Qualcomm Outlines LTE-U Roadmap for Small Cells & Mobile Devices

Qualcomm outlined its roadmap for extending LTE to unlicensed spectrum (LTE-U). Qualcomm expects LTE-U in the 5 GHz band to offer twice the capacity and range compared to traditional Wi-Fi. The company expects mobile operators to anchor their data services in licensed spectrum bands and use the unlicensed spectrum when available to burst to higher downlink rates.

The first step is integrating LTE-U into a small cell SoC to expand capacity and seamlessly extend LTE networks. Qualcomm will do so with its FSM99xx, a family of small cell SoCs, that will ship in the second half of 2015. These small cell chipsets will integrate 3G/4G as well as Qualcomm's VIVE™ 802.11ac/n Wi-Fi.

For markets with a requirement for "network listen" mode in the 5 GHz bands, Qualcomm is announcing its FTR8950 dedicated RF solution for small cells.  This small cell RF transceiver is a successor to the FTR8900 RFIC and supports features such as digital pre-distortion and dedicated network listen.

For mobile devices, Qualcomm is announcing the WTR3950 dedicated RF solution for LTE-U operation in unlicensed 5 GHz bands. The WTR3950 extends the company's RF product leadership in LTE Advanced, which is based on successful commercialization of single-chip RF transceivers for LTE carrier aggregation. The WTR3950 pairs with the WTR3925, the first 28 nm RF for single chip Cat 6 carrier aggregation, to support up to 3x20 MHz carrier aggregation across licensed and unlicensed spectrum. The WTR3950 can also support up to 40 MHz intra-band contiguous carrier aggregation in the 5 GHz bands. This is expected to sample in the second half of 2015.

Qualcomm also announced that it successfully completed over-the-air testing to prove co-existence between multiple LTE-U and Wi-Fi access points in the unlicensed spectrum under extreme load conditions. Qualcomm Technologies will showcase its new solutions with a number of LTE-U demonstrations at Mobile World Congress, March 2-5 in Barcelona, Spain.

“As the Internet enters a new phase of growth, in which more devices are connected and share richer data, there is a need to cost effectively address the challenges of a 1000x increase in mobile data traffic. To do this, we need a combination of more spectrum, more efficient use of existing spectrum, and more small cells,” said Matt Grob, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and chief technology officer. “Our job is to help the industry make the best use of all available spectrum, using both LTE and Wi-Fi technologies, to increase capacity.”

https://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2015/02/26/qualcomm-extends-lte-unlicensed-spectrum-enhance-mobile-experiences-and

CenturyLink Tests 1 Tbps Super Channels with Ciena

CenturyLink, the third largest telecommunications company in the U.S., has successfully tested superchannel transmission speeds of one terabit per second (1 Tbps) on a portion of its fiber network in central Florida.  The test used Ciena’s 6500 packet-optical platform equipped with WaveLogic 3 16QAM-based coherent optics and Flexible Grid photonic layer. The terabit superchannel, composed of five 200 Gbps wavelengths closely packed together, more than doubled the network’s traffic carrying capacity during the trial, demonstrating the scalability and efficiency of CenturyLink’s network.

“This 1 terabit per second trial complements the work we are doing to transform our network and prepares us to meet our customers’ growing bandwidth needs now and into the future,” said James Feger, vice president, CenturyLink network strategy and development. “Being able to quickly scale our network’s capacity to keep up with increasing bandwidth demands means that customers will continue to have a positive experience using our cloud, hosted IT and high-speed broadband services, as well as video services like CenturyLink Prism TV.”

Spectral efficiency gains in the trial were achieved by using Ciena’s WaveLogic 3 based 16QAM coherent modulation, WaveLogic 3 spectral shaping, and Flexible Grid technologies.

http://news.centurylink.com/news/centurylink-successfully-delivers-terabit-speeds-in-central-florida-field-trial

Juniper and Canonical Target OpenStack-Based Clouds for Telcos

Juniper Networks and Canonical, the leading provider of services for Ubuntu deployments in the enterprise, are co-developing a carrier-grade, OpenStack software solution that will enable service providers to virtualize core networks and network functions for increased performance, scale and reliability. Juniper will also provide complete service support for Canonical’s Ubuntu Server operating system (OS) and Ubuntu OpenStack as part of Juniper Networks Contrail Cloud.

The companies said they will coordinate product development, engineering, marketing and upstream contributions to continue to expand an open and functioning OpenStack ecosystem for service providers to deliver cloud and NFV solutions. As part of the joint agreement, Juniper Networks and Canonical will work with customers to incorporate service provider requirements into OpenStack, NFV and SDN open source projects.

“Juniper Networks firmly believes that open source and open standards will continue to drive greater levels of innovation and is pleased to partner with Canonical to help drive faster adoption of the cloud for telecommunication organizations. Our jointly developed converged Ubuntu and Juniper OpenStack solution will help deliver greater performance, scalability and reliability at lower costs,” stated Ankur Singla, corporate vice president and general manager, cloud software, Juniper Networks.

“Juniper and Canonical are leading the OpenStack innovation agenda by jointly developing a virtualization solution that will help service providers accelerate cloud deployments for greater agility. Juniper’s Contrail addresses the carrier-class issues of virtualized environments and accelerates elastic service delivery across multi-tenant, hybrid cloud OpenStack deployments across a multi-vendor ecosystem. By combining Juniper’s open network solutions and leadership in the telecommunications industry with Canonical’s leadership in OpenStack and scale-out open source, we will jointly be able to deliver cloud solutions that enable carriers to meet their network modernization challenges,” said John Zannos, vice president, cloud channels and alliances, Canonical.

http://www.juniper.net
http://www.canonical.com

ARM Envisions Intelligent Flexible Cloud Framework

ARM outlined its vision for an Intelligent Flexible Cloud (IFC) environment to meet the latency, power and size constraints for next-generation networks.

ARM's IFM promises to bring together system-on-chips with heterogeneous compute capabilities supported by a common layer of enabling software and distributed network intelligence.

The company's idea is to build on SDN and NFV with a distributed intelligence that enables applications to move out in the network to where data resides for a significant reduction in power consumption and increased responsiveness.

“The underlying network infrastructure that supports our mobile and connected world is undergoing a dramatic shift,” said Charlene Marini, vice president, segment marketing, ARM. “The scalability of ARM® technology, combined with the networking systems expertise of our partners is increasing node intelligence and configurability, laying a new foundation for software-defined functions and applications. The move to the ARM architecture is underway, enabling new possibilities for an intelligent flexible cloud from device to data center.”

Partners include AppliedMicro, Cavium, Enea, EZchip, Linaro, Marvell and Xilinx.

http://www.arm.com

Avago to Acquire Emulex for Connectivity and Visibility Solutions

Avago Technologies agreed to acquire Emulex Corporation (NYSE:ELX) for approximately $606 million in cash.

Emulex, which is based in Costa Mesa, California, is a supplier of network connectivity, monitoring and management solutions. The Emulex portfolio includes Fibre Channel and 10GbE network connectivity that are designed into server and storage solutions from leading OEMs and ODMs worldwide. Through its Endace division, Emulex supplies network monitoring/visibility/recording.

"Emulex's connectivity business fits very well with Avago's existing portfolio serving the enterprise storage end market," stated Hock Tan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Avago. "We are excited to welcome the Emulex team to Avago."

"This combination represents a great opportunity for Emulex and its employees to build upon our history of delivering leading-edge solutions to our customers, while providing immediate value to our stockholders," said Jeffrey Benck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Emulex. "Our leading portfolio is a strong complement to Avago's offerings and capabilities, accelerating our strategy to support next generation server and storage architectures."

http://www.Emulex.com
http://www.avagotech.com


  • In 2014, Avago acquired LSI Corporation in a deal valued at $6.6 billion.

Aruba Posts Record Revenue of $213 Million, up 21%

Aruba Networks reported record revenue of $212.9 million for its Q2'15, up 21 percent from the $176.4 million reported in Q2’14. GAAP net income for Q2’15 was $5.7 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, compared with a GAAP net loss of $10.7 million, or a loss of $0.10 per share, in Q2’14.

“We are pleased to report solid results for the second quarter, reflecting continued execution on our strategic plan,” said Dominic Orr, president and chief executive officer, Aruba Networks. “Our results were supported by continued growth in our key geographies, strong year-over-year performance in our Federal vertical, further success in penetrating the Global 2000, and increasing traction in our SME business. We believe we are well positioned to capitalize on the continued growth in WLAN, the potential opportunities from increased E-Rate funding later this year, and the continued 802.11ac refresh cycle.”

http://news.arubanetworks.com/

Mavenir Posts Revenue of $33.7 million, an increase of 24%

Mavenir Systems reported revenue for Q4 2014 of $33.7 million, an increase of 24% year-over-year and a decrease of 1% quarter-over-quarter. GAAP operating loss for the fourth quarter of 2014 was $8.8 million, compared with $1.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 and $3.8 million in the third quarter of 2014.

"Mavenir delivered another strong year with solid financial results, resulting from the rapid adoption of 4G LTE and the launches of services such as VoWi-Fi and VoLTE in 2014," said Pardeep Kohli, president and chief executive officer, Mavenir Systems. “We are well positioned to capitalize on 4G LTE adoption and NFV/SDN, two trends that will continue to be some of the key growth drivers for our business in 2015. In addition, Mavenir continues to build our capabilities in next-generation solutions to deliver growth and enhanced shareholder value."

http://www.mavenir.com

See also