Thursday, November 8, 2012

China's CERNET Builds 100G OTN with ZTE

The China Education and Research Network (CERNET) has selected ZTE for phase 3 network expansion. The phase 3 expansion will begin in 2012 and aims to expand the coverage and transmission capacity of the network and to improve its speed and security.  The network will cover Beijing, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Xi’an.

ZTE will supply its coherent 100G solution and ZXONE 8000 series OTN products to build the backbone bearer network. The ZTE platform is capable of hybrid transmission of 100G and 10G services and supports a seamless upgrade from 10G to 100G.

The China Education and Research Network (CERNET) is a national academic computer network managed by the Ministry of Education and built and operated by universities and colleges such as Tsinghua University. At present, more than 2,000 universities, colleges, middle schools, primary schools and scientific research institutes are connected to CERNET, supporting more than 20,000,000 users.

Terra Deploys Juniper's QFabric Data Center Architecture

Terra, a leading global digital media company, is anchoring its data center network with Juniper Networks' QFabric architecture. Terra has completed a data center network transformation by seamlessly transitioning existing data center switches into nodes in a single-tier QFabric architecture.

Terra's web properties reach a monthly audience of over 100 million.  The companies said the new QFabric architecture will enable Terra to support events that will place Brazil on the global stage -- and where streaming video will be in highest demand -- including the Confederation Cup in 2013, World Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Juniper notes that its QFabric architecture can support up to 6,144 10GbE ports within a single data center network fabric. Terra began with QFX3500 10GbE top-of-rack switches earlier this year to optimize the delivery of cloud-based services to its customers before seamlessly transitioning those same switches to the edge nodes of a single-tier network with the QFabric architecture. Terra further consolidated its data center architecture with the QFabric architecture by leveraging support for converged storage.

During the London Olympics this past summer, Terra was the only online broadcaster in Latin America with Web and mobile broadcasting rights. During the Games, Terra simultaneously transmitted 4,760 hours of high-definition streaming video to 100 million viewers over 36 channels through the Web, mobile phones and tablets.

The deployment was supported by Sao Paolo-based integration partner, Binário, which was named Juniper Networks Latin American Partner of the Year for 2011.

  • In September 2012, Qihoo 360, a leading Chinese Internet and mobile solution provider, is powering its new data center using Juniper Networks' QFabric architecture. Specifically, the company has deployed a QFX3000-G QFabric System -- designed for large enterprises, service providers and cloud data center environments -- to support its expansion into new web-based services including search and cloud offerings.

Interoute Builds its Cloud Capacity

Interoute is enhancing its cloud platform to offer computing, communication and connectivity services via its European data centers.  The company is adding an applications management product set and launching a Virtual Data Centre solution that can be configured as a private or public cloud.

The Virtual Data Centre service is initially available via Interoute's facilities in Amsterdam, Berlin, Geneva and London and will be launched via the Paris Data Centre in Q4.

Interoute is also investing in a new state of the art Data Centre in Ghent, Belgium, which will be fully operational in January 2013. The Data Centre is ISO-2007 and PCI certified, and will have an excellent, "green" Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) classification of 1.4.

Financially, Interoute said its top line revenues grew 15%, to  EUR 296.7 million in the first three quarters of 2012 over the same period in 2011.

Sandvine: Internet Data Usage Up by 120% in North America

The mean monthly data usage has increased by 120% from 23GB to 51GB in the past year on North American fixed line networks (51GB is equivalent to 81 hours of video), according to Sandvine's newly released Global Internet Phenomena Report 2H2012.

Sandvine compiles data from a selection of Sandvine’s 200-plus customers spanning North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Caribbean and Latin America and Asia-Pacific.  The data is subscriber anonymous.

Some major findings:

  • Mobile networks: The world leader of mobile data consumption is Asia with a mean monthly usage of 659 MB, up 10% in the last six months
  • In Europe, YouTube represents more than 20% of peak period downstream traffic on mobile networks 
  • Netflix dominates North American fixed networks accounting for 33% of peak period downstream traffic 
  • Other video services on North American fixed networks include Amazon (1.8% of peak period downstream traffic), Hulu (1.4%) and HBO Go (0.5%)
  • itTorrent continues to decline in application-share, accounting for 16% of total traffic in Europe and is slightly smaller in North America, accounting for 12%  
  • In Asia-Pacific, where there are fewer paid over-the-top video services available, BitTorrent accounts for 36% of total traffic

The full 34-page report is available for download from Sandvine.

AT&T Blazes Path to Wireless Densification with Small Cells

Wireless network densification is one of the aims of AT&T's Project VIP, said John Donovan, Sr. Exec. VP ‐ AT&T Technology & Network Operations in a webcast on November 7th.

To achieve this, AT&T will deploy more than 10,000 new macro cell sites, 1,000 more distributed antenna systems (DAS) and 40,000 small cell devices.  AT&T will lead the way in small cells with an aggressive deployment that includes LTE as well as other radio technologies.

Some key points of the plan:

  • The first deployments of small cells will be this quarter with units offering 3G UMTS and HSPA+ connectivity.  The company expects to start general deployment in Q1 2013.  The small cell devices will eventually feature UMTS/HSPA +/LTE/Wi-Fi technology in 2014. As the program builds, the company expects lower per unit costs.
  • Small cell deployments will achieve 3 goals: (1) improve spectrum efficiency, (2) build more cost-effective radio access networks, (3) improve in-building coverage for businesses and consumers.
  • By 2015, AT&T expects that more than 50% of its network densification program will use small cells.
  • AT&T has invested over $800 million in wireless networking hardening, such as battery back-ups, generators and other equipment to speed emergency network recovery
  • Voice over LTE plans are advancing.
  • Over 90% of AT&T's mobile data will ride Ethernet backhaul by year end.
  • AT&T's IP backbone now carries 33 petabytes of data on an average business day.

The full, two-hour AT&T webcast on Project VIP is archived on the company's Investor Relations website.

AT&T Enables FaceTime over Cellular for LTE Customers

AT&T will enable FaceTime over Cellular at no extra charge for iOS 6 customers with an LTE device on any tiered data plan.

AT&T will also continue to offer FaceTime over Cellular to customers with any AT&T Mobile Share plan, as well as FaceTime over Wi-Fi, which has always been available for all customers.  AT&T expects to roll out this functionality to customers over the next eight to ten weeks.

Deutsche Telekom Revenue Flat at EUR 14.7b, Growth in IPTV

Deutsche Telekom reported Q3 2012 revenue of EUR 14.7 billion, the same level as in the previous year. Adjusted EBITDA declined by 2.6 percent to EUR 4.8 billion while adjusted net profit totaled EUR 0.9 billion, 28.3 percent less than in the prior year, when taking into account substantial impairment charges regarding T-Mobile USA.

In Germany, Deutsche Telekom is seeing a positive trend in its "Entertain" Internet-based television service, as well as with mobile contract customers and VDSL lines.

The number of Entertain customers reached 1.9 million by the end of September, 39 percent more than in the prior-year period.

Year-on-year growth in fast VDSL lines even reached 55 percent. At the same time, line losses in Deutsche Telekom's traditional fixed network decreased by 12 percent compared with the same quarter in the prior year.

Mobile contract net additions reached 555,000 in the third quarter. 171,000 of these new customers were added in branded business under the Deutsche Telekom and Congstar brands, while the rest were added in the fast-growing, but much lower-revenue reseller segment (service providers).

With its operating businesses across Europe, Deutsche Telekom was hit by continued macro-economic challenges, new levys and the reduction in mobile termination rates in 9 out of 13 countries.  Total revenue in the Europe segment declined 5.7 percent year-on-year to EUR 3.7 billion. At the same time, adjusted EBITDA decreased by 4.3 percent to EUR 1.3 billion.

T-Mobile USA recorded 160,000 net additions in the third quarter thanks to strong performance in the branded prepay segment, with 365,000 branded prepay net additions. The contract customer segment recorded a loss of 492,000 customers in the past quarter, which was better than in the second quarter, but is still unsatisfactory. The churn rate for branded contract customers stood at 2.3 percent, a year-on-year decline of 0.3 percentage points. Against the second quarter, it increased slightly. One reason for this was the launch of iPhone 5 by other mobile operators.  T-Mobile USA revenue in the third quarter decreased by 5.9 percent year-on-year to USD 4.9 billion. Simultaneously, adjusted EBITDA decreased as expected by 14.2 percent to USD 1.2 billion as a result of increased spending on advertising.

Telefónica Reaches 314 Million Accesses, Higher Profits

Telefónica reported consolidated net profit of 3,455 million euros, up 26.4% compared with the same period in 2011, while revenue was flat at EUR 46,519 million for the first nine months of 2012.

Revenue generated by Telefónica Latin America at the end of September exceeded the weighting of revenue from operations in Europe for the first time.

Some highlights

  • Total accesses increased by 5% year-on-year to 314 million by the end of September 2012, driven by the increase in mobile accesses, fixed and mobile broadband, and pay TV accesses.
  • Telefónica Latinoamérica achived 8% year-on-year increase in accesses (67% of the total growth in accesses).
  • Mobile accesses stood at 246 million at the end of the third quarter (+6% year-on-year), driven by a sustained growth in mobile contract accesses (+7% year-on-year), accounting for 33% of total mobile accesses.
  • Mobile net additions in the first nine months totalled 10.5 million accesses (excluding the disconnection of 3.6 million inactive prepay mobile accesses in Spain and Brazil).
  • The Company's mobile broadband accesses  maintained solid growth of 40% year-onyear to 47.7 million at the end of September 2012, and accounted for 19% of mobile accesses (+5 percentage points year-on-year). It should be highlighted the continued smartphone adoption by our customers (with attached data tariffs), with 10.0 million net additions in the first nine months of 2012 (+14% year-on-year).
  • Telefónica’s retail fixed broadband accesses increased by 4% year-on-year to 18.5 million at the end of September 2012, with 458 thousand net additions, reflecting the sustained growth of Telefónica Latinoamérica. Retail fixed broadband accesses reached a penetration rate of 47% over total fixed accesses.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Enabling Elastic Optical Networking for SDN Architectures

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is a term that has quickly risen to the forefront of the networking industry, with the objective of solving many of the challenges facing network providers today. While there are many varying opinions of exactly what SDN means, there is one common trait amongst them - “programmability”. 

SDN is a means to open up the network and support programmability of the network, often comprised of multiple vendors, multiple domains, and multiple networking layers. For some providers’ networks, programmability and SDN’s functions are viewed as a means to enabling automated, on-demand networking with optimal resource utilization. 

Initial SDN efforts are largely focused on decoupling the control plane from the data plane and enabling a higher level of programmability into packet forwarding tables of switches. But what does this mean for the emerging converged optical transport layer with integrated switching, which is now playing an increasingly important role in optimizing networks and underlies most of the world’s Internet backbone? What does the optical layer need to adequately and economically support a programmable network with on-demand capabilities?

The Evolution of Optical Transport: Opportunities and Challenges

The architecture of the optical network is undergoing a significant transformation – and with this transformation lays some new challenges around automation, elasticity, and capital/operational efficiency.

The Network Efficiency Challenge

Over the past many years, network providers were deploying 10Gbps wavelengths on a large scale, and the predominant service that was transported over the fiber backbone was 10Gb. Initially, it was SONET/SDH OC192/STM64 service, running at 10Gb rate, and more recently, 10Gb Ethernet (10GbE) services have rapidly risen in popularity, driven by Ethernet convergence. In this environment, the transport service speed matches the wavelength bitrate, and the term “wavelength” was used synonymously to mean the optical, analog transmission wavelength as well as the transparent wavelength-like digital service.

Today, however, there is a growing divergence between the wavelength bitrate and the transport services the network needs to support. Layer 0 transmission is rapidly evolving towards 100Gb optical wavelengths equipped with coherent detection, as carriers and network providers strive to increase fiber capacity to multiple Terabits. But the supported transport services are still largely 10Gb, sometimes less. Moreover, the services mix will continue to include a variety of service rates, as dictated by the economics of these services.

While the quest for achieving optimal cost/bit transmission economics is driving the need for 100Gb wavelength technology, the business of transport services and market demand for a broad set of service rates necessitates a different approach than in the 10Gb wavelength era. With the current economics of 10GbE vs. 100GbE services, it is generally expected that 10GbE services will continue to dominate in volume for some time while networks are upgraded with 100Gb optical technology. Further, this divergence of service from optical wavelength speeds will likely continue, as optical technology takes its next step forward to super-channels – wavelengths with bitrates beyond 100Gb. State of the art technology today offers 500Gb super-channels, with 1Tb super-channels soon to follow, as the drive to increase fiber capacity continues.

The Bandwidth Elasticity Challenge
A second challenge facing providers today is the need for on-demand “elastic” bandwidth to efficiently and cost-effectively deliver bits whenever and wherever needed. Evolving traffic patterns driven by cloud network and datacenter communications are driving providers to relook at their network architecture and the relationship between IP and optical transport layers. The conventional practice of over-provisioning the IP layer and running links at low utilization rates, while constraining the optical layer to provide static, “always-on” 100Gb point-to-point capacity, is being scrutinized, as new optical transport solutions with integrated digital switching emerge that can readily flex and adapt to varying and unpredicted bandwidth needs.

While this level of flexibility and adaptability begets greater elasticity, it highlights the more general challenge of multi-layer resource optimization. With resources that can be allocated and repurposed at multiple network layers, network providers require ways to optimally allocate resources to provide the appropriate bandwidth connectivity services that meet the service requirements of applications.

The Network Automation Challenge

In order for the network to provide on-demand bandwidth at Internet speeds, operational processes need to devoid themselves of human intervention. This encompasses not just automation of processes across multiple network layers, from transmission and transport up through IP/MPLS, but also the orchestration of resources between separate domains and amongst multiple vendors. In the optical transport layer, this means enabling rapid delivery of transport bandwidth in a manner that is cost and resource efficient, without burdensome wavelength engineering processes.

All-Optical Networking Dilemma

Conventional all-optical networks based on ROADMs deliver wavelengths on an end-to-end (A-to-Z) path, and constrain the delivery of transport services statically between those two sites. Operating on the principle of photonic switching, ROADMs can only route entire wavelengths and cannot access transport services carried inside the wavelength. Capacity that is not utilized within the wavelength cannot be leveraged by other traffic demands that do not originate at the same locations but which might share the same physical sub-path. 
As networks evolve to 100Gb wavelengths and beyond, this not only presents a resource utilization challenge, but also a bandwidth elasticity challenge. 

All-optical networks empowered with ROADMs are capable of “flexing” to dynamic bandwidth demands with wavelength granularity only. They facilitate turn-up of new end-to-end wavelengths, but the inability for all-optical networks to 1) manipulate the services inside the wavelength or to 2) pool capacity together and dynamically allocate bandwidth leads to static, underutilized wavelengths and excessive deployed capital. As the pressure to increase fiber capacity grows, leading to larger but fewer super-channels, the wavelength fragmentation challenge is exacerbated.

With the evolution of optical wavelengths from 100Gb today towards 1Tb super-channels in the future, the role of ROADMs will inevitably evolve towards steering large chunks of capacity between major hubs, and less for turning up and delivering digital services to end users. Tightly coupling the allocation of dedicated wavelengths between A-to-Z network locations for on-demand delivery of services does not scale.

Nevertheless, programmability of the ROADM, as well as key optical transmission parameters such as modulation scheme for trading off reach versus capacity, are important elements of SDN for the overall optical transport layer.

In order for a network to offer truly elastic bandwidth, and enable transport bandwidth service to be efficiently delivered over any optical wavelength, virtualization of the wavelengths is a necessity. This entails creation of an abstraction layer that represents the creation of a pool of optical resources that can be leveraged for any bandwidth demands.

The Solution: Bandwidth Virtualization

Facilitating SDN’s programmable networking concept in a manner that simultaneously optimizes utilization of optical capacity and enabling real-time delivery of optimally-sized bandwidth requires a means to decouple transport service delivery from the transmission layer. It requires an abstraction layer that virtualizes wavelengths and pools the capacity together on each link, and promotes sharing of that bandwidth for any transport circuit traversing that link. Instead of a dedicated resource between 2 fixed locations, wavelengths can be transformed into a shared resource supporting services between any network locations.

Not surprisingly, this concept is very similar to IT resource virtualization, where the collective power of multiple physical resources are pooled together and shared amongst multiple Virtual Machines (VMs). VMs supporting applications can be dynamically instantiated or decommissioned from this shared pool of resources, maximizing utilization and efficiency. Bandwidth Virtualization achieves a similar objective by forming an abstraction layer representing a bandwidth pool and hiding details of the underlying optical wavelength resources. Any bandwidth service can be flexibly mapped to any physical wavelength resource on each digital network link, whether the wavelength bitrate is 10Gb, 100Gb, or 1Tb.

This is essential as optical transport evolves towards super-channels. Additionally, through finer granularity switching of transport services rather than coarse wavelengths, Bandwidth Virtualization provides the foundation for SDN programmability. With Bandwidth Virtualization, the transport service provisioning process is decoupled from wavelength engineering, leading to significant benefits including:

  • Reduced time to delivery of new bandwidth services to meet unexpected demands
  • Responsiveness and adaptability of the optical transport layer to dynamic needs of the application and IP layers with appropriately sized optical transport capacity
  • Efficient on-demand allocation of bandwidth from available resources to maximize wavelength utilization
The capability of digitally switching individual transport services rather than just optically redirecting coarse wavelengths provides a level of bandwidth service flexibility that is decoupled from the evolution of optical transmission technology.

Enabling Bandwidth Virtualization

The virtualization of the optical wavelengths requires abstraction into a shared pool of digital bits that can then be rapidly allocated to support any transport service. Key enablers of the Bandwidth Virtualization paradigm include (a) cost-effective OEO conversion to gain accessibility to the individual services being transported via optical carriers and (b) integrated digital switching. Conversion of wavelengths into the electrical domain normalizes the traffic into a form where it can be managed, independent of wavelength bitrate and origin, and enables individual bit-based services to be sorted (demultiplexed), switched, and groomed, before being remapped on to an outbound optical carrier. These functions provide important network capabilities including:

  • Redirection of individual transport services for optimal latency routes
  • Optional redirection for protection against network failures
  • Maximum level of wavelength utilization through mixing and matching of any services on to any wavelengths
  • Mitigation of wavelength reach limitations or wavelength blocking situations
  • Decoupling of the service provisioning process from complex analog wavelength engineering and turn-up
Critical design requirements for Bandwidth Virtualization solutions include minimal latency, minimal space/power, and scalability commensurate with the optical domain. Additionally, Bandwidth Virtualization must be economically viable – implementations that necessitate excessive “boxes” linked together with optics may technically deliver the same capability, but are not as economic as converged solutions with internal integrated switching.

Along with integrated switching, considerations for supporting the broad set of transport services must be made. Generalized optical transport infrastructures typically need to support multiple rates and protocols, and full transparency of the service with stringent performance requirements is mandatory. Additionally, dynamic scaling of the transport service upwards and downwards is also important for optimizing consumption of optical capacity. With this set of capabilities, networks can capitalize on a new level of transport elasticity that provides appropriately sized bandwidth services whenever and wherever needed in the network.

A New Approach: Elastic Optical Transport

The emergence of optical transport with integrated switching is changing the way architects design cloud networks. Instead of the traditional model of “dumb pipes” interconnecting large routers and relegating all bandwidth management functions within routers, network providers now have the option of deploying cost-efficient, flexible optical transport networks with integrated switching and offloading transport bandwidth from routers.

Evolving traffic patterns in clouds coupled with large amounts of data traffic between data centers warrants traffic more optimally being transported and switched within the optical layer, not solely at the more expensive router layer. This evolution towards a more flexible architecture with multiple dynamic switching layers calls for more intelligence in managing not just multi-layer networks, but also networks involving multiple network domains and multiple vendors. The convergence of WDM, OTN and packet bandwidth management functions into the next generation optical transport layer is creating new opportunities for network providers to further reduce the total cost of ownership of their network infrastructure, inclusive of the IP/MPLS layer, while also providing a more scalable, adaptable, and cost-efficient solution that meets the dynamic demands of emerging cloud architectures.

SDN: Ready for Elastic Optical Transport?

The SDN philosophy of decoupling the control plane from the data plane is an important paradigm many in the industry are investigating as a means for automating processes across a multi-layer, multi-vendor, multi-domain network, and orchestrating the many moving parts through network Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to provide an optimal bandwidth solution for applications that takes maximum advantage of what each network layer has to offer. Centralization of information creates the opportunity to make better over-arching decisions, as it provides globalized visibility across layers, domains, and vendors that is necessary to understand and make appropriate tradeoffs between cost, performance, survivability, and other key SLA metrics.

In order for SDN to be truly useful in multi-domain & multi-layer networks, SDN needs to incorporate not just broader network management functionality, such as network discovery and monitoring and correlation, but also deepen its control to include the emerging next-generation optical transport layer, where integrated switching adds substantial network value and has significant impact on overall network architecture, including what happens at higher layers. This broader vision ensures the entire network stack becomes open and programmable. With expansion of SDN to include elastic optical transport and abstractions like Bandwidth Virtualization, network providers will be able to unlock the real potential of the multi-layer network and fully leverage the resources available at all layers.

América Móvil Launches LTE in Mexico with Ericsson

América Móvil's Telcel brand officially launched its LTE service in Mexico.

The service delivers downstream rates of up to 20 Mbps.  Telcel said its initial rollout covers 30 zones in nine of the country's largest cities: Mexico DF, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Querétaro, Puebla, Ciudad Juárez, Tijuana, Hermosillo and Mérida.

Telcel has about 69 million subscribers it has an estimated market share of about 77% in wireless services in Mexico.

Ericsson is the key LTE supplier for the Telcel network in Mexico.  Ericsson's contract covers deployment of RBS6000 base stations for LTE in multiple bands.  The deal also includes the Evolved Packet Core with Home Subscriber Server (HSS) for user data management and SGSN-MME as the mobility management entity that handles control signaling and traffic and can be used for all three generations of mobile data services. Ericsson will also deliver Operating Support Systems (OSS). Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ericsson Hits 223 Mbps with TDD LTE Advanced

Ericsson announced a demonstration of LTE TDD (TD-LTE) carrier aggregation for China Mobile.  The test achieved a peak download speed of 223 Mbps using two carriers of 20MHz each over a standard radio unit.

The demonstration was performed in Beijing on standard Ericsson Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and Ericsson RBS 6000 radio hardware already running in China Mobile’s network, along with standard radio units and data link boards supporting carrier aggregation. Aeroflex provided the TM500 test user equipment.

"This demonstrates what is technically possible today, showing how operators with LTE TDD networks can benefit from their frequency holdings with Ericsson’s help. It proves that TDD operators can provide competitive peak-rate performance for their users," stated Per Narvinger, Head of Product Line LTE, Business Unit Networks at Ericsson.

TDD operators often have access to relatively large swathes of spectrum. The carrier aggregation can efficiently make use of this spectrum by combining two or more carriers into one channel (for example, 20+20MHz), effectively putting them on the same terms as FDD operators that have access to 20MHz for uplink and downlink separately.

Consumer devices that support TD-LTE with carrier aggregation are expected to reach the market in 2014.

Internet2 Deploys Brocade for National-Scale, 100GbE SDN

Internet2 is using Brocade's MLXe Core Routers as an integral component of its 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE)  network.

"Networking infrastructure is being transformed by SDN into an open platform for innovation. We are excited that Brocade 100 GbE and true Hybrid-Mode OpenFlow technologies are part of the new Internet2 Network. By working with Internet2 and its members, Brocade will build upon its pioneering work on high-speed software-defined networks," said Ken Cheng, vice president of the Routing, Application Delivery and Software Networking Group at Brocade.

The Brocade MLXe 100 GbE routers enable programmatic control of the network infrastructure to deliver massive scale and intelligent service delivery capabilities.  Notably, Brocade is offering support for OpenFlow in Hybrid Mode, enabling the 10 GbE and 100 GbE Brocade MLXe solutions to integrate SDN with existing IP/MPLS networks. Brocade said this unique capability enables network operators such as Internet2 to integrate OpenFlow into existing networks, giving them the programmatic control offered by SDN for specific flows while the remaining traffic is handled as before.

Ericsson to Cut 1,550 Jobs in Sweden

Ericsson plans to eliminate about 1,550 positions in Sweden, covering all job areas, including sales, general and administration, research and development, supply and service delivery.

The majority of cuts will hit Ericsson's Networks unit, but all parts of the organization in Sweden are to some extent affected, impacting all its Swedish sites except Falun, Hudiksvall, Kalmar and Katrineholm.

"It is naturally a difficult message for our employees in Sweden," says Tomas Qvist, head of Ericsson's Human Resources in Sweden. "We must ensure that we can continue to execute on our strategy to maintain our market leadership, invest in R&D and meet our customers' needs. To secure this we need to focus on reducing cost, driving commercial excellence and operational effectiveness. This will enable us to secure our future competitiveness.

  • In October, the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced a loan of EUR 500 million to Ericsson to support its R&D efforts for the next generation of mobile broadband technology.  The load is designated for research sites in Sweden and Finland.
  • Ericsson's total number of employees at the end of Q3 2012 was 109,214, up from 108,095 in the prior quarter due to the addition of service professionals mainly in India and the acquisition of Technicolor Broadcast Service Division.

FCC Chairman Comments on AT&T Plan

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski welcomed AT&T investment plan while noting that AT&T also filed a petition concerning rules on the evolving access network.

“AT&T’s announcement of billions of dollars in new investment in wired and wireless broadband networks is proof positive that the climate for investment and innovation in the U.S. communications sector is healthy. Today’s announcement adds to nearly $200 billion of investment in wireless and wireline broadband networks since 2009, and powerful growth in the Internet economy," stated Julius Genachowski.

“AT&T has also filed a petition with the FCC today suggesting issues to consider in our ongoing work to
modernize our rules for the evolving communications market. As we review AT&T's filing, we will
focus on the principles that have guided our actions since I became Chairman: driving the virtuous cycle
of private investment and innovation in the broadband ecosystem, promoting competition, and protecting

AT&T's Project Velocity IP (VIP) Boosts CAPEX by $14 Billion

AT&T unveiled Project Velocity IP (VIP) -- its plan to invest $14 billion over the next three years to significantly expand and enhance its wireless and wireline IP broadband network. The plan adds $8 billion for wireless initiatives and $6 billion for wireline initiatives.  It also makes a distinction between areas where the company believes are better served wirelessly rather the through a traditional copper network or deploying a fiber infrastructure.

Total capital spending is now expected to be approximately $22 billion for each of next three years. The company said a stronger balance sheet has provided it the financial footing to invest. AT&T is also increasing its quarterly dividend 2.3 percent and is predicting EPS will grow by mid-single digits for the next 3 years with opportunity for stronger growth going forward.

“This is a major commitment to invest in 21st Century communications infrastructure for the United States and bring high-speed Internet connectivity — 4G LTE mobile and wireline IP broadband — to millions more Americans,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and chief executive officer. “We have the opportunity to improve AT&T's revenue growth and cost structure for years to come, and create substantial value for shareowners.

AT&T highlights the following aspects of Project VIP:

4G LTE Expansion. AT&T plans to expand its 4G LTE network to cover 300 million people in the United States by year-end 2014, up from its current plans to deploy 4G LTE to about 250 million people by year-end 2013. In AT&T's 22-state wireline service area, the company expects its 4G LTE network will cover 99 percent of all customer locations. Spectrum. AT&T has acquired spectrum through more than 40 spectrum deals this year (some pending regulatory review) and has plans to buy additional wireless spectrum to support its 4G LTE network. Much of the additional spectrum came from an innovative solution in which AT&T gained FCC approval to use WCS spectrum for mobile broadband. Between what the company already owns and transactions pending regulatory approval, AT&T expects to have about 118Mhz of spectrum nationwide. The company will continue to advocate with the FCC for release of additional spectrum for the industry's long-term needs.

Densification & Small Cell Technology. As part of Project VIP, AT&T expects to deploy small cell technology, macro cells and additional distributed antenna systems to increase the density of its wireless network, which is expected to further improve network quality and increase spectrum efficiency.

Investing in Wireline IP Network Growth. AT&T plans to expand and enhance its wireline IP network to 57 million customer locations (consumer and small business) or 75 percent of all customer locations in its wireline service area by year-end 2015. This network expansion will consist of:
  • U-verse. AT&T plans to expand U-verse (TV, Internet, Voice over IP) by more than one-third or about 8.5 million additional customer locations, for a total potential U-verse market of 33 million customer locations¹. The expansion is expected to be essentially complete by year-end 2015.
  • U-verse IPDSLAM. The company plans to offer U-verse IPDSLAM service (high-speed IP Internet access and VoIP) to 24 million customer locations in its wireline service area by year-end 2013.
  • Speed Upgrades. The Project VIP plan includes an upgrade for U-verse to speeds of up to 75Mbps and for U-verse IPDSLAM to speeds of up to 45Mbps, with a path to deliver even higher speeds in the future.
  • In the 25 percent of AT&T's wireline customer locations where it's currently not economically feasible to build a competitive IP wireline network, the company said it will utilize its expanding 4G LTE wireless network -- as it becomes available -- to offer voice and high-speed IP Internet services. The company's 4G LTE network will cover 99 percent of all in-region customer locations. AT&T's 4G LTE network offers speeds competitive with, if not higher than, what is available on wired broadband networks today. And in many places, AT&T's 4G LTE service will be the first high speed IP broadband service available to many customers.
  • Fiber to Multi-Tenant Business Buildings. AT&T plans to proactively expand its fiber network to reach an additional one million business customer locations – 50 percent of the multi-tenant business buildings² in its wireline service area. AT&T expects the proactive fiber deployment to increase business revenue growth, accelerate provisioning and facilitate the installation of distributed antennas systems and small cell technology to help offload wireless network traffic.

Sprint to Acquire 20 MHz of Mid-West PCS Spectrum from U.S. Cellular

Sprint will acquire 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in the 1900 MHz band in various Midwest markets from  U.S. Cellular for $480 million in cash and certain liabilities.  The deal includes 20 MHz of PCS spectrum in Chicago, South Bend, Ind. and Champaign, Ill. and 10 MHz of PCS spectrum in the St. Louis market. In addition, the transaction involves approximately 585,000 U.S. Cellular customers. U.S Cellular will continue its business operations outside of these markets following the closing.

Sprint said the additional spectrum will be used to supplement coverage in these areas as it continues to deploy its Network Vision upgrade and roll out 4G LTE nationally.

For U.S. Cellular, the transfer of 585,000 customers represents about 10% of its subscriber base. U.S. Cellular also announced that it will transition its Bolingbrook Customer Care Center operations to an existing vendor partner, effective Jan. 1, 2013.  The company said these moves lets it play to its strengths in markets where it has greater penetration.

“This transaction will enable us to strengthen our business and become a more robust competitor,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint’s CEO. “Acquiring this spectrum will significantly increase Sprint’s network capacity and improve the customer experience in several important Midwest markets including Chicago and St. Louis. We welcome the new customers in these markets and look forward to providing them with Sprint’s unique combination of unlimited plans, an iconic device portfolio and unmatched customer service.”

The companies expect to gain approvals from the Department of Justice and the FCC by mid-2013.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ericsson: Network Equipment Market to Grow 3-5% CAGR from 2012-2015

At its annual Investor day in Stockholm, Ericsson issued a market forecast that estimates that the total network equipment market will show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3-5% from 2012 to 2015.

In Ericsson's key equipment market segments - radio, IP and transport, core - the CAGR is expected to be 4-6%.

In radio a CAGR of 2-4% is expected, in IP and transport a CAGR of 6-8% and in core a CAGR of 0-2%.

Ericsson expects the market for telecom services to show a CAGR of 5-7% in the same time period.

The market for support solutions is forecasted to show a CAGR of 9-11%, including a CAGR of 12-14% for the media market. The market for OSS/BSS software and services is expected to show a CAGR of 5-7%.

"This development will naturally imply a future business mix for Ericsson with more recurring software and services revenues. However, hardware will always be part of the mix and a key differentiator for Ericsson," said Hans Vestberg, Ericsson's CEO.

Telefónica Launches Global Instant Server Cloud Service

Telefónica Digital announced the launch of global Instant Servers, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering that delivers on-demand, high performance cloud computing optimised for mobile, enterprise, and M2M applications.

The service initially will operate out of Telefónica’s data centers in London and Madrid.  Telefónica plans to deploy additional data centres in Europe and Latin America.

Telefónica is promising a service level agreement (SLA) of 99.996% per year backed by a financial compensation in the event of non-compliance.
The infrastructure is built on Joyent’s high-performance cloud infrastructure, which enables Instant Servers to automatically and instantly grow in capacity by 400% to handle large spikes in usage or traffic. Virtualized machines on the Instant Servers cloud can resize an entire application stack without rebooting or requiring down time. Advanced caching enables better performance through superior utilization of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM). Further, Instant Servers runs on top of the Zettabyte File System (ZFS), enterprise grade storage and file system that delivers 100% data resiliency and integrity.

Compared to other public cloud services, Telefónica said its Instant Servers will also deliver lower operating costs.

“With the launch of Instant Servers Telefónica Digital seeks to meet the needs of thousands of businesses that require a cloud services platform that is easily scalable, with low latency and totally trustworthy, enabling them not only to rapidly respond to their own needs, but also to the expectations of their customers. This can all be done with significant cost savings as customers only pay for the type of cloud services they require and the time they use them for. This offering completes our portfolio of services to meet our business customer needs," stated Carlos Morales, Telefónica Digital’s Cloud and M2M Director.

The company also noted that Instant Servers is the first Telefónica trademark product to be sold directly to companies over the Internet on a worldwide basis. It joins a number of services that Telefónica Digital is marketing directly to customers, including TU Me, a free communications app, and Telefónica Dynamic Insights, a new unit created to open up opportunities presented by Big Data.

Mavenir Supports MetroPCS's Rich Communications

Mavenir Systems confirmed that it it provided MetroPCS with its suite of application servers to support the world's first commercial launch of Rich Communication Services (RCS) on a 4G LTE network, based on the GSMA 5.0 standard.

Mavenir’s VoLTE solution, launched commercially by MetroPCS earlier this year, is a platform that helps MetroPCS leverage the investment in its 4G LTE network and quickly offer differentiated services and new value to its customers.

MetroPCS' joyn service goes beyond voice and basic messaging to provide enriched services like integrated instant messaging or chat, WiFi and video calling and simplified content sharing.

The service is deployed with Mavenir’s IMS core and application servers.

“The move to all-IP networks is really a journey for mobile carriers and opens the doors for forward thinking operators such as MetroPCS to move quickly to offer new services,” said Pardeep Kohli, president & chief executive officer of Mavenir Systems.  “Mavenir is working closely with MetroPCS and other tier 1 operators, to transform their network services and support their vision of delivering value through rich IP-based communication services.”
Mavenir’s suite of RCS 5.0 application servers, including the Presence Server, Content Server and Rich Messaging Server, are based on the mOne Convergence Platform which is designed to simplify carriers’ network transformations.

On October 31, MetroPCS Communications announced the commercial launch of Rich Communication Services (RCS) on its 4GLTE network under the  GSMA-licensed joyn brand. 

Based on the GSMA RCS 5.0 standard, joyn by MetroPCS will deliver an experience beyond voice and basic messaging to provide customers with a unified and intuitive way to use enriched services like integrated instant messaging or chat, WiFi and video calling and simplified content sharing.

MetroPCS will support the following RCS services at launch for customers with 4GLTE joyn-enabled smartphones:
  • Contacts Presence - joyn knows and shows how users can reach and share content with contacts at any time
    • Contact availability/status sync (online, busy, away, unavailable)
    • Calendar sync
    • Social network interaction
  • Enriched Chat - Threaded conversations keep track of who's said what and show which people and groups are available to chat and share content
    • Instant messaging and group chat
    • Conversational view
    • Delivery of read notifications and composing indications
  • Content Sharing - Bring calls and chats to life by sharing content with just one click from the address book
    • Share video, images and files while on a call and within instant messaging or chat
    • Display service capabilities
    • Geo-location
  • WiFi and Video Calling - Stay connected with voice and video calls in areas with little or no cellular coverage
    • WiFi calling and video calls over WiFi
 "As the first 4G LTE carrier in the world to offer RCS, we are excited to join the global community of operators implementing the RCS standard and we are proud of our team and partners who were critical in building this capability that will evolve and expand over the next year," said Roger Linquist, CEO and Chairman of MetroPCS.

CenturyLink Builds Presence in CoreSite Data Centers

CenturyLink is extending its full suite of voice and IP services into five additional CoreSite data centers across the U.S.  Currently, CenturyLink offers voice and IP services in multiple CoreSite facilities in Chicago; Los Angeles; San Jose; Denver; Milpitas, CA; and New York.

CenturyLink ranks as the third largest telecommunications company in the United States and is a leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for enterprise customers.  By expanding in the CoreSite data centers, colocation customers will have in-building access to CenturyLink's Internet and MPLS, metro and long-haul private lines, 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps connections, burstable or static bandwidth, and voice and IP services.

Separately, CoreSite announced that Global Telecom & Technology (GTT) has agreed to extend its backbone network into ten CoreSite data centers. GTT provides one of the world's most extensive networks across North America, Europe, and Asia, offering Ethernet transport, nLayer IP Transit, cloud connectivity, collaborative networking, and global peering. As a result of the network upgrade into the new data centers, GTT will peer on Any2, the nation's second largest peering exchange, operated by CoreSite. GTT will also provide seamless access to CoreSite's Open Internet Exchange, including connections to AMS-IX, DE-CIX, and NYIIX through CoreSite locations.