Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Televõrgu Deploys ADVA 100G Core over 3,000km

Televõrgu AS, which is part of the Tele2 Group, has deployed the ADVA Optical Networking's 100G Core to connect Northern and Eastern Europe.

The network uses the ADVA FSP 3000 with coherent detection technology and RAMAN amplification to transport up to 9.6 Tbps of data across 3,000km of fiber without regeneration and without any dispersion compensation. Together with flexgrid reconfigurable add/drop multiplexer (ROADM) technology, this system is ready to carry future bandwidth services, such as 400 Gbps, across the whole fiber route that stretches from Frankfurt, Germany to Tallinn, Estonia.

"Our new route has been extremely well received by customers, and almost 20% of the whole capacity is already in use" said Ove Ant, CEO, Televõrgu. "This network provides a lot of new opportunities in means of features, future deployments and services. This definitely sets us on a lead position on a transmission services market."

"Televõrgu is a company that is continually pushing the boundaries of what's possible," commented Christoph Glingener, CTO, ADVA Optical Networking. "This is what excites our team. With Televõrgu's trans-European network, we were able to showcase what our ADVA 100G Core can do.

Open Interconnect Consortium Gets Underway

A new Open Interconnect Consortium has begun work to define the connectivity requirements to improve interoperability between the billions of devices making up the Internet of Things (IoT).  The group recently appointed its leadership:

  • President: Jong-Deok Choi, executive vice president and deputy head of Software R&D Center, Samsung Electronics
  • Vice President: Imad Sousou, vice president, Software and Services Group and general manager, Intel Open Source Technology Center, Intel Corporation
  • Secretary: Bernard Shung, general manager, new business development, MediaTek
  • Treasurer: Kip Compton, vice president, IoT Systems and Software Group, Cisco

The goal of the Open Interconnect Consortium is to develop an open specification and connectivity framework to enable application developers and device manufacturers to deliver interoperable products across Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, Tizen, etc.

The standard will include IP protection & branding for certified devices (via compliance testing) and service-level interoperability.

Twenty-seven companies have joined the consortium, including Acer, ActnerLab, Allion, Aepona, Cisco, Cryptosoft Ltd, Eyeball Networks, Global Channel Resource, Gluu, IIOT Foundation, InFocus, Laplink Software, Mashery, McAfee, MediaTek, Metago, NewAer, Nitero, OSS Nokalva Inc., Realtek Semiconductor Corp., Remo Software, Roost, SmartThings, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Thug Design, VMC and Zula.

DragonWave's Revenue Jumps 32% over Previous Quarter

DragonWave reported revenue of $37.9 million, for the second quarter of fiscal year 2015, ended August 31, 2014. This compares with $28.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 and $25.5 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014. Revenue from the Nokia channel represented 60% of revenue in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015, versus 61% in both the first quarter of this fiscal year and the second quarter of fiscal year 2014. DragonWave had one other customer that contributed greater than 10% of revenue in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015.

Net loss applicable to shareholders in the second quarter of fiscal year 2015 was $8.9 million or ($0.14) per basic and diluted share. This compares to a net loss applicable to shareholders of $6.6 million or ($0.11) per basic and diluted share in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015 and a net loss applicable to shareholders of $10.5 million or ($0.28) per basic and diluted share in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014.

“We delivered another quarter of strong sequential growth,” said DragonWave President and CEO Peter Allen. “Our product leadership together with strong global capex cycles underpin the business momentum we are experiencing. We anticipate fiscal third-quarter revenue to grow between 20% and 30% compared to our fiscal second quarter.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

SingTel Hits 260 Mbps with FDD / TDD Carrier Aggregation

SingTel achieved data rates of up to 260 Mbps using LTE Advanced FDD / TDD Carrier Aggregation on commercial hardware and software.

In tests, which took place at the SingTel office in Singapore on October 3, 2014, utilizing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and Ericsson's LTE software designed to support the company's multi-standard RBS6000 family of base stations for macro and small-cell networks. In the demonstration, Ericsson aggregated 20 MHz of LTE FDD spectrum with 20 MHz of LTE TDD spectrum, supporting peak data rates up to 260 Mbps.

Ericsson said FDD / TDD Carrier Aggregation enables operators to complement their FDD networks with a cost-efficient deployment of TDD. For operators using TDD bands, the TDD uplink coverage can be a constraint. By combining TDD and FDD spectrum through Carrier Aggregation, low band FDD can deliver good uplink coverage while the TDD band can be leveraged for higher downlink capacity. LTE FDD / TDD Carrier Aggregation enables spectrum from both LTE FDD and LTE TDD to be combined to deliver higher peak data speeds and improve app coverage across the network. It increases the effective TDD coverage area by up to 70%, reducing the cost of providing TDD coverage. It also ensures efficient utilization of spectrum, increasing both the combined FDD / TDD coverage area and capacity of the network.

Commercial devices supporting FDD / TDD Carrier Aggregation are expected in 2015.

Tay Yeow Lian, Managing Director for Networks, SingTel says: "We are already using dual-layers of LTE FDD with LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation, and we know the performance of our mobile network is critical to ensuring that our customers have a great experience on their smartphones and tablets. Therefore, we will continue to explore the future option of bundling even TDD spectrum into the LTE carrier aggregation to expand network capacity, allowing our customers to enjoy consistent high data speed download even at high traffic areas."

In June 2014, SingTel is launching a 4G mobile broadband service boasting data speeds of up to 300Mbps, double the speeds of currently available 4G services in Singapore.

SingTel's 300 Mbps uses LTE-Advanced technology from Ericsson.

SingTel is using LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) carrier aggregation to combine 20 MHz bandwidth each of its 1800MHz and 2600MHz spectrum bands. 

 The first live site at Singapore Expo is now ready for service.  By the end of the year, more than half of the island will be covered, including areas such as the CBD, Changi Airport and popular shopping malls. Customers can look forward to nationwide coverage by the end of 2015.

SolidFire Raises $82 Million for Flash Storage

SolidFire, a start-up based in Boulder, Colorado, closed $82 million in Series D funding for its all-flash storage systems.

SolidFire said its revenue grew over 700 percent in 2013 and has increased over 50 percent quarter over quarter in 2014. Its customer base is approximately a 50:50 service provider/enterprise.

SolidFire also announced the expansion of its flagship SF Series product line, unveiling two new storage nodes that represent the third generation of SolidFire hardware to be released since the platform became generally available in November 2012.

The latest investments bring the company's total funding to $150 million. New investor Greenspring Associates led the round along with a major sovereign wealth fund, with participation from current investors NEA, Novak Biddle, Samsung Ventures and Valhalla Partners.

“Just as flash has disrupted the legacy disk storage market, SolidFire continues to disrupt the all-flash array market by delivering a storage platform that goes far beyond the basics of raw flash performance,” commented SolidFire’s Founder and CEO Dave Wright. “Additional funding allows us to continue to extend SolidFire’s technical advantages over the competition and will deepen our sales, marketing and channel enablement to meet the growing global demand for SolidFire’s leading all-flash storage architecture.”

OVH Installs Nuage SDN for OpenStack as a Service

OVH, the number one hosting provider in Europe, has selected the Nuage Networks' SDN Virtualized Services Platform (VSP) for deployment within and across its data centers in order to enable dedicated cloud services.

OVH chose to implement the Nuage Networks VSP to deliver an "OpenStack as a Service", through which customers can access dedicated servers in the OVH Private Cloud Computing infrastructure while leveraging OpenStack to define both network and data center resources for a better performing, more programmable, and operationally efficient cloud environment.

“We are pleased to implement Nuage Networks with OpenStack in our cloud infrastructure. The Nuage Networks SDN technology allows us to offer our customers cloud services in a more dynamic way, giving them the capability to reduce their time-to-market with a programmable and automated networking environment,”said Octave Klaba, CEO of OVH.

“We are excited to work with OVH in support of their dedicated cloud initiative, which will allow them to deliver attractive and innovative cloud services to theirEuropean and international customers, while making their infrastructure more agile, responsive, and cost effective,”added Matthieu Bourguignon, Country Sales Officer for Alcatel-Lucent France.

Integra Activates Low-Latency, Dedicated 100G Express Routes

Integra, which operates a long-haul fiber network spanning 6,400 miles across 11 Western states, has established dedicated Express Routes for its Wavelength services. The Express Routes offer low-latency, high-bandwidth backbone connectivity throughout Integra’s network footprint.

Integra has established Express Routes for dedicated, point-to-point 100G connectivity between metro areas across the Western U.S. including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

"Integra’s 100G Express Routes further extend the benefits of our Wavelength services, providing cost-efficient, low-latency connectivity for carriers, multi-location enterprise networks and content providers who require secure, dedicated bandwidth for data transport between long-haul locations,” said Joseph Harding, Integra’s chief marketing officer. "For customers who see network performance and business performance as inextricably linked, our Express Routes are the quickest path to success."

  • In April 2014, Integra announced deployment of Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, including WaveLogic 3 Coherent Optical Processors and Smart Raman with PinPoint advanced fiber analytics software  on a route that connects Salt Lake City to Sacramento.

AT&T Adds Blue Jeans Video Collaboration

AT&T announced a partnership with Blue Jeans Network, a start-up based in Mountain View, California that offers cloud-based video collaboration services.

“Today, people expect convenient and effective ways to work together whether they are in the office, at home, or on the road,” said Abhi Ingle, senior vice president, Advanced Solutions, AT&T Mobile and Business Solutions. “We’re taking complexity out of the equation. From mobile to desktop to the conference room, AT&T Video Meetings with Blue Jeans gives people the tools they need to collaborate over video, virtually whenever and wherever.”

Nokia Supplies VoLTE to du

Nokia Networks has supplied its VoLTE solution to du, the Middle East region’s fastest growing telecommunications service provider.

Nokia said its VoLTE solution successfully enabled VoLTE functionality in a most complex multi-vendor LTE network. The key to a successful voice service implementation in LTE network is the ability to execute a verified end-to-end VoLTE solution. Nokia’s VoLTE experts designed, tested and integrated VoLTE into du’s multi-vendor LTE network and achieved this Middle East-first VoLTE implementation in just 80 days, marking this as the world’s fastest implementation. VoLTE compatible handsets successfully connected high-definition (HD) voice calls with faster call setup time, in just 1-2 seconds, while simultaneously accessing 4G data services over the LTE network.

“With Nokia’s VoLTE solution, we will be able to use the full potential of LTE mobile broadband technology by ensuring seamless HD voice calls and video over our LTE network,” said Saleem Al Balooshi, Executive Vice President, Network Development and Operations, du. “We are committed to providing the best mobile broadband experience for our customers, and this has been reconfirmed with this fastest installation and testing of VoLTE services. With our longtime partner Nokia Networks, we will soon be able to provide HD multimedia services including browser-based apps for video conferencing, chat, file sharing and other services for our customers.”

Infomart Extends Data Center Fleet with Merger - Dallas, SJ, Portland, Ashburn

Infomart and Fortune Data Centers announced a merger that brings together the huge Infomart facility with Fortune's colocation facilities in San Jose, Hillsborough (OR) and soon Ashburn (Virginia).

The new Infomart Data Centers with have over 2.2 million square feet of wholesale data center and office space.  The namesake Infomart building is Dallas is one of the most connected buildings in the Southwestern U.S., serving as host to all major carriers, leading financial institutions, Equinix, etc.  The Fortune Data Centers in San Jose and Hillsborough are modern, LEED certified, low-PUE facilities serving the fast growing tech sector.  In addition, the company is the process of retrofitting an previous AOL facility in the data center alley of Ashburn, Virginia. Infomart Data Centers is financed by a $5 billion Real Estate Fund from ASB.

“We’re thrilled to increase our footprint to establish a national presence.  We are now better positioned to serve the dynamic needs of our existing and future customers, who are often looking for extended location options, in addition to a capable and trusted provider,” stated John Sheputis, CEO of Infomart Data Centers. “As we expand to new geographic locations, our customers can continue to depend on our consistent excellence and reliable, responsible, best-in-class management that they have come to expect.”

Spirent Sees Weaker Demand in Q3

Spirent trimmed its financial guidance for Q3 saying demand levels dipped sharply as a result of merger activity and delays in capital expenditure.  The weakened demand primarily impacted its Networks and Applications business.

Spirent now expects revenues for the third quarter to be slightly below $110.0 million compared to $107.7 million last year.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Encompasses Cloud Opportunity

Hewlett-Packard confirmed the planned split of PC and printing businesses from its server, storage, networking and services group.

HP Inc. will consist of the the personal systems and printing markets.  It will pursue new opportunities such as 3D printing. Dion Weisler will be CEO of HP Inc. and Meg Whitman will be Chairman of its Board of Directors.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will pursue opportunities presented by cloud, big data, security and mobility in the "new style of IT." It will leverage the new HP Helion initiative as its model for integrated, OpenStack-enabled cloud services. HP Financial Services will provide financing and support for new business models enabled by technology. Meg Whitmans will serve as CEO of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and Cathie Lesjak will be CFO.  Pat Russo will be Chairman on Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.

“Over the past three years, we have reignited our innovation engine with breakthrough offerings for the enterprise like Apollo, Gen 9 and Moonshot servers, our 3PAR storage platform, our HP OneView management platform, our HP Helion Cloud and a host of software and services offerings in security, analytics and application transformation,” continued Whitman. “Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will accelerate innovation across key next-generation areas of the portfolio.”

  • Patricia Russo previously was CEO of Lucent Technologies and led its historic merger with Alcatel.  She subsequently led the combined Alcatel-Lucent as CEO until resigning in 2008.
  • In June 2014, HP introduced its Helion Network, a global, open network that promises a portfolio of services for enterprise customers and the ability to create a secure hybrid IT environment.
    The HP Helion Network will feature an OpenStack-based distributed cloud computing model. It will be hardware agnostic and HP promises that it will provide a unique commercial and operating model for service providers. HP hopes to attract a wide ecosystem of independent software vendors, developers, system integrators and value-added resellers.  It will also build on the HP CloudAgile Service Provider program, which has more than 115 service providers worldwide and 1,500 private cloud deployments. HP said its Helion Network will include companies such as AT&T, HKT, Intel and Synapsis.  HP expects to launch a pilot version of the Helion Network in Q4 2014.  General availability for HP Helion OpenStack and the HP Helion Development Platform is planned for the same time frame.

Cox Readies Gigabit Internet Service in Phoenix

Cox Communications is preparing to launch its gigabit internet service for residential customers in Phoenix later this month.

The service will be marketed under the brand name “G1GABLAST.”

“We are excited to deliver the choice of gigabit speeds to our customers,”said Cox Communications President Pat Esser. “Coupled with our 2,300 employees in the Valley and more than 20,000 nationwide, our latest investments and the deployment of the fastest speeds available are powering economic growth and development for businesses and residents of the communities we serve.”

G1GABLAST will be available in the Phoenix market for $69.99 per month when combined with Cox’s most popular service bundles.

VCE Ships All-Flash Vblock Systems

VCE introduced new and updated Vblock Systems, including the first all Flash-based model.

VCE provides pre-integrated, pre-tested and pre-validated converged infrastructure solutions that are delivered and supported by VCE as a single product.

The new Vblock System 740 is powered by next-generation Cisco Unified Computing, Cisco Nexus ACI-Ready networking and EMC VMAX 3 storage.  The new Vblock System 540 is the industry’s first all-flash-based converged infrastructure system for consolidating mixed workloads like private clouds, databases and related business applications. The Vblock System 540 is powered by EMC’s XtremIO all-flash arrays and next-generation Cisco Unified Computing, Cisco Nexus ACI-Ready networking. It delivers breakthrough consolidation and agility benefits like instant, space-efficient, full-performance copy services for applications like SAP with many instances across multiple application landscapes.

“The IT industry continues to shift toward hybrid cloud computing models, which requires organizations to re-evaluate their approach for how to deliver IT services,” said Todd Pavone, executive vice president, product strategy and development, VCE. “Our new Vblock Systems, integrated solutions and technology extensions are a significant step forward in helping VCE customers prepare for the hybrid world, providing new options that help them simplify how they deploy and manage infrastructure while enabling innovation and operational efficiencies that can drive value back into their businesses.”

Marriott Strikes Back at FCC Fine for Wi-Fi Blocking

Marriott International issued a statement criticizing the $600,000 fine imposed by the FCC for blocking personal hotspot Wi-Fi signals at its Gaylord Opryland hotel.  Marriott argues that it has the right and responsibility to block rogue access point on its property because the could represent a security threat to its operations and to its customers.

Here's the statement:

"Marriott has a strong interest in ensuring that when our guests use our Wi-Fi service, they will be protected from rogue wireless hotspots that can cause degraded service, insidious cyber-attacks and identity theft. Like many other institutions and companies in a wide variety of industries, including hospitals and universities, the Gaylord Opryland protected its Wi-Fi network by using FCC-authorized equipment provided by well-known, reputable manufacturers.  We believe that the Gaylord Opryland's actions were lawful.  We will continue to encourage the FCC to pursue a rulemaking in order to eliminate the ongoing confusion resulting from today's action and to assess the merits of its underlying policy."

Last week, the FCC imposed a $600,000 fine on Marriott Hotel Services for blocking customers' own Wi-Fi signals at the conference facilities of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

The FCC said its investigation revealed that Marriott employees had used containment features of a Wi-Fi monitoring system at the Gaylord Opryland to prevent individuals from connecting to the Internet via their own personal Wi-Fi networks, while at the same time charging consumers, small businesses, and exhibitors as much as $1,000 per device to access Marriott’s Wi-Fi network. This action was determined to be a violation of Section 333 of the Communications Act. The FCC investigation was prompted by a consumer complaint in March 2013.

“Consumers who purchase cellular data plans should be able to use them without fear that their personalInternet connection will be blocked by their hotel or conference center,” said Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots while also charging consumers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel’s own Wi-Fi network. This practice puts consumers in the untenable position of either paying twice for the same service or forgoing Internet access altogether,” he added.

Broadcom Intros 40GbE gearbox PHY

Broadcom introduced the first quad port 40GbE gearbox PHY supporting 20 Gbps input/output (IO) designs and engineered for high density switch environments..

The new 28nm device (BCM82764), which is optimized as a companion device to Broadcom's new StrataXGS Tomahawk Switch Series, is a high density gearbox physical layer transceiver (PHY) that converts 20 Gbps signals to multiple lanes running at 10 Gbps. Using Broadcom's companion PHY, customers have the option to provide legacy 40GbE ports while taking advantage of the full bandwidth of the switch.
Key Features

  • 19 x 19mm small form factor package specifically designed to interconnect with QSFP modules
  • Ultra low-power dissipation under 1 watt per port
  • Features four 2 x 20 Gbps to 4 x 10 Gbps bidirectional SerDes
  • Three-dimensional internal eye mapper on each line-side and system-side receiver
  • Supports standard Ethernet and HiGig data rates
  • 10G Ethernet pass through mode
  • Sampling is underway

"The introduction of Broadcom's StrataXGS Tomahawk Switch Series and companion quad-port gearbox PHY once again demonstrates our ability to bring a cohesive solution to market," said Rajiv Ramaswami, Broadcom Executive Vice President and General Manager, Infrastructure & Networking Group. "Our new 40G Ethernet gearbox facilitates extremely large switch radixes while using minimal power and real estate, providing a very attractive option for system designers developing next generation cloud scale networking equipment."

In September, Broadcom introduced its next-generation, StrataXGS "Tomahawk" switch, packing 2 Tbps of switching performance in a single chip that is capable of supporting 32 ports of 100 Gigabit Ethernet, 64 ports of 40GE/50GE or 128 ports of 25GE.

The new chip, which represents the 7th generation of Broadcom Ethernet switching silicon, is designed for the programmable fabrics needed in next-gen, cloud-scale data centers. 

The StrataXGS Tomahawk Series is powered by more than 7 billion integrated transistors in 28nm. It supports new 25GE and 50GE protocol standards, and is the first chip to scale to 32-ports of 100G on a single device.

Significantly, Tomahawk implements Broadcom's FLEXGS and Smart-Flow technology, enabling the switch to be software configured for specific policies while preserving deterministic latency. The new design brings a 12X increase in application policy scale compared to previous generation switches, along with increased flexibility of packet lookups and key generation, and rich load balancing and traffic redirection controls. This supports an extensive suite of user configurable functions for flow processing, security, network virtualization, measurement/monitoring, congestion management and traffic engineering.

CenturyLink Bundles Microsoft Office 365 with Voice/Data Services

CenturyLink is now offering cloud-enabled Microsoft Office 365 for businesses at no extra charge with its business voice and data bundles and managed services bundles for new small and midsized business customers.

"CenturyLink has transformed from a traditional network communications provider to an integrated provider of end-to-end, fully managed information technology and cloud solutions for businesses of all sizes," said Thuy Ha, director, business marketing, CenturyLink. "Businesses already trust us for ultra-fast, fiber-based Internet and advanced voice service, and now CenturyLink is a one-stop-shop for the mission-critical productivity applications in Office 365."

EZchip Lowers Guidance Citing Weaker Carrier Spending

EZchip Semiconductor trimmed its financial guidance for the third fiscal quarter of 2014, saying it now expects revenue to be in the range of $19 million, approximately 14% lower than the $22 million range guidance previously provided.

“In the third quarter of 2014 we have seen weakness in orders as well as inventory adjustments across most of our key customers that are serving the carrier networking equipment space. We believe this is a temporary slowdown, caused primarily by a weaker carrier spending environment that the market is currently going through,” said Eli Fruchter, CEO of EZchip Semiconductor. “Looking further out, carrier spending is forecasted to resume growth and with it our corresponding sales into this market. Concurrently, we are making good progress with our NPS which expands our reach to new markets, primarily data centers, NFV and SDN. Our pending acquisition of Tilera, which is expected to close during Q4, subject to US regulatory approvals, will further diversify the market segments and customers we serve and provide additional growth opportunities.”

Pica8 Adopts ONIE Network Switch OS Bootloader

Pica8 has adopted the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE), which has been accepted by the Open Compute Project (OCP) Foundation an industry standard network boot loader for installing software on network switches.

Pica8 said ONIE is accelerating the widespread adoption of bare metal switches by making it much easier for customers to buy and deploy standards-based network hardware. ONIE comes pre-loaded on bare metal switches from leading switch manufacturers, and as such, it dramatically reduces the overall capital and operating cost of network switches.

“Our goal is to enable choice in selecting network hardware and software, and PicOS supports bare metal switches from major original device manufacturers,” said Steve Garrison, Vice President of Marketing at Pica8. “By supporting ONIE, we make it easier than ever for our customers to integrate PicOS onto the bare metal switches of their choice.”

The ONIE ecosystem includes supporters from the switching, software, and silicon manufacturing sectors.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Blueprint: The Rise of the Virtualized Network

By Sanjeev Mervana, senior director, products & solution marketing, service provider business, Cisco

Growth of mobile data services

In the era of smart phones, tablet computers and connected devices, mobile data traffic is increasing exponentially. Spurred by consumers that are constantly consuming music, games and video over cell phones, mobile data traffic is projected to climb 61 percent by 2018, to 190 exabytes annually.

This growth in traffic is felt by everyone, from content providers, to service providers to consumers. During live sporting events such as the Super Bowl, or the premiere of Game of Thrones, providers are struggling to meet the escalating bandwidth demands placed on the network, despite ostensibly preparing for this “rush hour traffic” for months. The challenges associated with unpredictable consumption and accommodating this influx of viewers is largely due to how costly it is to instantaneously adjust the capacity and functionality of existing internet infrastructure assets.

As consumer’s bandwidth demands and quality experience expectations are increasing, service providers’ operational expenditures (OpEx) also are growing at an average rate of 11 percent each year. To address the needs of end-users and provide new, more lucrative services, operators are increasingly looking at adopting several new technology innovations  to reduce their OpEx and improve their bottom line – virtualizing many of their network functions is one of such innovation.

How can the industry meet this challenge?

The principal challenge confronting operators today is meeting massive bandwidth demands across an increasing array of devices and products that have different traffic needs, while ensuring they’re driving down their own CapEx and OpEx. There is a limited amount of spectrum available and the current cost per bit for delivering mobile data is quite high – on an avg approximately $2 or $3 per 1Gbps of mobile data, compared to $1 or little less  for the same amount of data  on wireline broadband, according to Cisco’s Monitization and Optimization Index Forecast .

When building out national mobile networks, most service providers are facing increased coverage and bandwidth demands with more users in a given town or neighborhood who require more bandwidth over time. This means that the individual coverage within the cell area goes down and service providers are splitting a set amount of bandwidth among a growing number of people; thus, each individual’s share of available data capacity per cell is going to decrease over time, as number of people consuming data increases. Obviously, this problem is exacerbated by the fact that consumers are demanding more data, not less.

To correct this, many operators have begun deploying solutions such as small cells and Wi-Fi as part of their broader plan to manage this exponential growth.  Macro cells, or traditional cellular towers, have a higher deployment cost and, though they cover a wider footprint, may not be the right strategic fit for highly populated areas or in facilities such as malls or stadiums.

As operators evolve their architectures and solution offerings to meet the growing demand, it’s critical that they do not increase the complexity of managing and operating those networks and ensure architectures seamlessly communicate with one other and effectively onload and offload services to consumer devices. Carriers can no longer build out networks out in silos; networks must be interoperable and optimized, with a focus on operational simplicity.

One way of addressing these evolved needs is to virtualize many of the functions of the network. Traditionally, wireless carriers have been leveraging customized hardware to deliver various services both in Radio Access Network and their Packet Core. But moving forward, network function virtualization must be an increasingly important part of their strategy.

Are operators embracing this move toward virtualization?

Most operators are planning to adopt virtualization in one way or another. According to a recent Infonetics survey, 93 percent of all operators have plans to deploy Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), a network architecture that proposes uses IT virtualization related technologies to virtualize network functions , in some capacity. Virtualization; however, is only part of a strategy, it is not the strategy. Instead, operators must decide on a desired business outcome and map out a plan of attack that meets their goals. For example, if providers want to offer new data rates and packages, they may choose to virtualize their packet core, which working in conjunction with their existing physical infrastructure, could offer operators the flexibility to create data packages that are not economical under their existing model. That said, it’s imperative that providers evaluate what makes sense to virtualize and what does not – a “one size fits all” approach to network virtualization will not work.

Another benefit of network virtualization is the agility it enables.   . Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and are relying on new sources of data and entertainment consumption, such as Netflix or HBOgo. For service providers, these viewing habits present new obstacles, as well as unexpected opportunities. To avoid incurring significant capital and operational expenses, operators must be able to add in and remove services instantly. If service providers virtualize portions of their network, they have the flexibility to elastically scale their resources up or down to address needed bandwidth issues and user demand. The ability to better manage services arms service providers with significant OpEx savings in the long term.

What will the industry look like moving forward?

While most operators are planning to leverage virtualization in their networks, they will roll out services at different speeds to address different pain points and use cases. For example, some operators are already embracing new machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, driven by the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). They’re already delivering high-speed wireless access to vehicles or bringing wearable devices such as smart watches and fitness monitors online. Each device requires new functionality from the network. So we’re certainly seeing NFV happening in the near term.

To thrive, service providers must integrate new services and capabilities and roll them out at a much higher speed than in the past. Virtualization empowers operators to become more experimental and agile. Currently, it often takes several months for service providers to introduce new services for consumers and businesses, but with a virtualized network, they can introduce new services at a fraction of that speed. Once operators have swifter, more nimble infrastructures in place, the monetization of these services becomes a much simpler process.

Additionally, as service providers virtualize their networks, the processes of service orchestration and automation become simpler and more nimble.  Service orchestration allows operators to coordinate the provisioning and reuse of their physical and virtualized computing, storage, and network resources from shared pools. Operators can then use the network to help ensure that applications are dynamically supported throughout the infrastructure, contributing to a faster time to market for new services and a more seamless, less costly process for providers.

Whether it is additional bandwidth for streaming content during live sporting events, or location-based coupons in malls and shopping centers, network virtualization will enable operators will become more innovative in delivering value-added services.

About the Author

As Senior Director of Marketing for Service Provider Business at Cisco, Sanjeev Mervana is responsible for setting and executing the strategic direction of products and solutions for Cisco Service Provider Solutions and Architectures around SDN/NFV, Evolved Services Platform,  Evolved Programmable Network ( EPN) , Mobility, Cloud and Video for Cisco’s global service provider customers.

Sanjeev has been with Cisco for over 16 years and has authored various publications, blogs as well as a Cisco Press Book “Design Principles of DSL Based Access Solutions.” With over 25 years of experience in networking , Software & Solutions , Sanjeev has held prominent roles leading innovative architectures and solutions around  Software, SDN, NFV,  Broadband Aggregation, IPTV Carrier Ethernet and Mobile IP RAN business within Cisco.

Sanjeev holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics from Pune University and currently resides in San Jose with his wife, daughter and son.


Six months after unveiling its Intercloud strategy, Cisco announced 30 new partners, including Deutsche Telekom, BT, Equinix and NTT Data.

In this interview, Fabio Gori, Director, WW Cloud Marketing at Cisco, discusses:

00:04 - What is the Intercloud?
01:12 - Is the Intercloud really gaining market traction?
02:54 - Whats the real business value for Cisco Intercloud partners?
04:05 - What is Cisco doing to accelerate adoption of Intercloud?
05:21 - What does Intercloud mean for the industry? Will this be standards driven?