Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Smart city nodes and 5G

Broadband has become a critical infrastructure for communities in the 21st century. From a variety of sectors, including commerce, education, healthcare and government services, the demands for more advanced, reliable, and affordable broadband is challenging local governments to develop effective strategies for connecting their citizens, businesses, and institutions.

Communities lacking access altogether or still relying on first generation networks will find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide and will find it challenging to attract and retain businesses, provide quality education, and deliver modern healthcare. Local government and community investment can serve as a path for bringing next generation broadband, while also developing network infrastructure and models to meet specific community needs and aspirations.

In the U.S., local governments and communities have taken the lead in building next generation broadband infrastructure. In more than 100 cities and towns across America, a public entity provides services to homes and businesses throughout the community.1 In many hundreds more, the locality provides cutting-edge communications services to such key community facilities as schools, libraries, hospitals, and senior centers. Indeed, public broadband networks in cities and rural towns are providing some of the fastest broadband connections to residents, businesses, and community anchor institutions.

This public effort has been made necessary by the failure of incumbent industries to build next generation infrastructure. As Blair Levin, architect of the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan, noted in a speech in June 2012:

For the first time since the beginning of the commercial internet, the United States does not have a national wire line provider with plans to build a better network than the currently best available network.

Cable and telephone incumbents that often serve as the only broadband providers in most communities have not committed to making significant upgrades or investment in new infrastructure to ensure that each and every community has access to next generation broadband. And despite the attention Broadband has become a critical infrastructure for communities in the 21st century. From a variety of sectors, including commerce, education, healthcare and government services, the demands for more advanced, reliable, and affordable broadband is challenging local governments to develop effective strategies for connecting their citizens, businesses, and institutions. Communities lacking access altogether or still relying on first generation networks will find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide and will find it challenging to attract and retain businesses, provide quality education, and deliver modern healthcare. Local government and community investment can serve as a path for bringing next generation broadband, while also developing network infrastructure and models to meet specific community needs and aspirations.

The challenge, however, for other localities seeking to build new broadband capabilities is to develop a plan for a sustainable and scalable project that meets the unique needs and aspiration of the community while accounting for the financial realities and other risks unique to each broadband project. That means there is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing a successful public broadband network. In some cases, a public network may not make sense at all. In others, the best strategy may be to start with a small network that connects only government and community anchor institutions. For others, an extensive, multi-service fiber network connecting residences and businesses may be the only means to ensure the community is not left behind in the digital economy.

The one thing communities cannot do is sit on the sidelines. Even the process of evaluating whether a public network is appropriate can be beneficial to community leaders as a means to better understand the communications needs of their residents, businesses, and institutions and whether existing services and networks are keeping pace.

The purpose of this report is to enable communities to begin the evaluation of their broadband options. The report begins with an overview of different network ownership and governance models, followed by an overview of broadband technologies to help potential stakeholders understand the advantages and disadvantages of each technology. It then provides a brief summary of several different business models for publicly owned networks. The final two chapters focus on the potential larger local benefits and the risks of a publicly funded broadband project.

[1] See “Community Network Map,” Institute for Local Self-Reliance,http://www.muninetworks.org/communitymap

[2] Blair Levin, “Upgrading America: Achieving a Strategic Bandwidth Advantage And a Psychology of Bandwidth Abundance To Drive High-Performance Knowledge Exchange,” (remarks given at Fujitsu Conference on Paving the Road to Unlimited Bandwidth:
Technologies and Applications for a Connected Age, San Jose, California, June 13, 2012) remarks available at http://www.gig-u.org/blog/upgrading-america-blair-levin-addresses-fujitsu-conference

Software Defined Networking and 5G

The majority of North American businesses (87%) intend to have software-defined networks (SDN) live in their data centers by 2016, according to a survey from market research firm Infonetics Research.

The SDN enterprise survey was designed to enable the company’s analysts to uncover trends and assess the needs of corporate private-network businesses deploying SDN in their data center networks and campus LANs. Infonetics interviewed 101 purchase-decision makers at medium and large North American organizations that are implementing SDN now or planning to evaluate SDN by the end of 2015. The survey results are available in Infonetics’ 42-page report titled “2014 SDN Strategies: North American Enterprise Survey.”

"Software-defined networking spells opportunity for existing and new vendors, and the time to act is now," said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., directing analyst for data center, cloud, and SDN at Infonetics Research. "The leaders in the SDN market serving the enterprise will be solidified during the next two years as lab trials give way to live production deployments in 2015 and significant growth by 2016. The timelines for businesses moving from lab trials to live production for the data center and LAN are almost identical."

Grossner says that SDN vendors still have some work to do. "Expectations for SDN are clear, but there are still serious concerns about the maturity of the technology and the business case. Vendors need to work with their lead enterprise customers to complete lab trials and provide public demonstrations of success," he said.

Respondents to Infonetics' enterprise survey are expanding the number of data center sites and LAN sites they operate over the next two years and are investing significant capital on servers and LAN Ethernet switching equipment. Respondents' plans for LAN uses of SDN are nearly identical to their data center plans.

A majority of survey respondents are currently conducting data center SDN lab trials or will do so this year; 45% are planning to have SDN in live production in the data center in 2015, growing to 87% in 2016.

Among respondents, the top drivers for deploying SDN are improving management capabilities and improving application performance, while potential network interruptions and interoperability with existing network equipment are the leading barriers.

Meanwhile, enabling the hybrid cloud – a cloud computing environment in which an organization provides and manages some resources in-house and has others provided externally – is dead last on the list of drivers, a sign that SDN vendors have some work to do in educating enterprises that SDN can be an important enabler of hybrid cloud architectures.

On average, 17% of respondents' data center Ethernet switch ports are on bare metal switches (hardware purchased without proprietary software), and only 21% of those are in use for SDN.

Interestingly, nearly one-quarter of businesses surveyed is ready to consider non-traditional network vendors for their SDN applications and orchestration software.Infonetics says the survey provides new data on how the enterprise SDN market is evolving, including insights on the intent of corporate private network buyers to help vendors determine how to invest in product development and position their products in the marketplace. The study delves into deployment drivers and barriers, rollout plans, applications, use cases, vendors installed and under evaluation, and top-rated vendors.


http://www.lightwaveonline.com/articles/2014/07/north-american-businesses-want-sdn-in-the-data-center-by-2016.html?cmpid=EnlDirectJuly292014

Monday, 28 July 2014

5G The Communications Revolution


Anticipating that 5G will eventually become the dominant way to communicate, Theodore Sizer, VP of wireless research at Bell Labs – Alcatel-Lucent’s R&D arm – views the next-generation of mobile technology “less as a wireless standard than as a communications revolution”.

So pervasive does he think 5G will be, Dr Sizer told Mobile World Live that a much more inclusive standardisation process would be required than for previous generations of technology.

If apps and content are to work well on 5G, maintained the Bell Labs man, then app and content providers would need to work “hand in glove” with people who are providing the networks and terminals.

And when 5G starts to get traction, in the 2020-25 timeframe according to Dr Sizer, he sees exciting new possibilities. “The folks innovating [when 5G arrives] will never have known a world that had a tether,” he said. “They’re going to create new ways of communicating.”

Courtesy of outdoor 4G and indoor WiFi, Dr Sizer thinks the days of wireline-connected devices are already numbered.


“I believe, very soon, that the last five metres of the connection will be wireless no matter what,” he said.

Dr Sizer also anticipates that network operators and so-called OTT players will work much closer together in the future. “Both sides want the same thing,” he said, “which is good quality experience for their customers.”

Monday, 21 July 2014

ZTE introduces dynamic 5G infrastructure

ZTE unveiled details of a new 5G access network architecture based on dynamic mesh networking and IP backhaul. The move comes despite no formal industry definition of 5G being anywhere near confirmed.

“In 5G networks there could be many types of base station including UDN [user densification network], massive MIMO [multiple-input multiple-output], traditional macro, and D2D,” said ZTE in a statement. “These various base stations will coordinate with each other horizontally more often than they do in 4G networks, and so will require a dynamic and adaptive wireless mesh network.”

ZTE claims such an approach will make it possible for 5G networks to implement highly-effective SDMA (space-division multiple access) and expressed hope that this area would become the “next telecoms industry hotspot for 5G technology research”.

ZTE has already ploughed resources into SDA (software defined air-interface) technology – research began in 2009 – which it claims would help support a flexible 5G access network.

“ZTE’s 5G SDA solution allows self-adaptation of the air interfaces, so that in the same network, a network element can supporting a variety of services, and the SDA can allow multiple wireless access technologies for optimal adaptation, maximising air interfaces efficiency,” said ZTE’s Xiang Jiying. “At present, SDA technology is a key research area for 5G.”

For base station collaboration technology, ZTE said it had already developed its Cloud Radio solution, which lays a “solid foundation for partially-dynamic 5G mesh networks”.

ZTE’s announcement comes only days after Europe and South Korea announced a pact to jointly develop 5G technology. A definition of what 5G actually means is targeted for the end of 2015

EU lays out its revolutionary 5G strategy

The European Commission again put its weight behind the development of 5G, saying in a memo that the technology will be “a leap, not a step, forward”.
Neelie Kroes, the vice president of the European Commission, said the much-hyped technologywill be more than just the next step beyond 4G networks now being rolled out, as it “offers totally new possibilities to connect people, and also things – being cars, houses, energy infrastructures. All of them at once, wherever you and they are”.
The roadmap of the 5G Public-Private Partnership, initiated by the EC and industry players in December last year, suggests that 5G standards will boost wireless capacity so that it is 1,000 times higher than in 2010, and will bring about energy savings per service of up to 90 per cent.
The Partnership also claims it will reduce service creation time from 90 hours to 90 minutes and support more than seven trillion connected devices and seven billion people.
The European Union invested €50 million in 5G projects nearly two years ago and the Public-Private Partnership on 5G was launched by the Commission with an indicative budget of €700 million.
In February, Kroes called for a global consensus on 5G by 2015, while the European Commission partnered with South Korea earlier this month to work towards a global definition of 5G and cooperate in research around the technology.
The European Union is funding a number of 5G research projects to determine the technical requirements so that people and businesses can benefit from the technology.
The deployment of very dense networks is one area of research, to tackle the capacity crunch forecast to occur within the next decade. Research includes looking at ways to facilitate spectrum sharing between these kinds of networks with the potential to increase capacity by a factor of 10.
Another project is finding new ways to use spectrum. For example, research showed that if the transmission and reception of devices can be isolated, they can use the same frequency without interfering with each other, effectively doubling capacity. Current devices use different frequencies to avoid interference.
The EU has also earmarked €16 million to fund the Ericsson-coordinated METIS project, which is defining the architecture for future 5G networks by driving the pre-standardisation and regulation processes.
Ericsson’s CTO Ulf Ewaldsson told Mobile World Live this week that there was a risk of exaggerating what 5G can achieve but suggested the technology can deliver on expectations with speeds exceeding those on fixed networks.
“We need to push the envelope strongly to make sure we have something advanced enough if we are talking about 2020, and that’s why we demonstrated what we are doing with operators,” he said.

http://www.mobileworldlive.com/ec-hails-revolutionary-impact-5g

Friday, 4 July 2014

Rural areas of the UK look forward to seeing fibre optic broadband to their residences and businesses

Fibre Broadband specialist, Gigaclear, is aiming to offer 1GbE services to 10,000 rural households and businesses by the end of the year.

The company has secured £7.75 million in funding from new and existing investors to continue its network rollout in the UK countryside.

Gigaclear currently owns and operates eight rural fibre networks across Oxfordshire and Rutland. It wants to increase this number to 25 nationwide by the end of the year.

Six more local fibre networks are already under construction in Kent and Oxfordshire, with further projects planned for Peterborough and Northamptonshire.

Matthew Hare, Chief Executive of Gigaclear, said he is "delighted" by the continued strong support shown by the company's shareholders, and the faith shown by institutional investors.

"The demand for better broadband from homes and businesses in rural communities continues to rise," he stated.

"With every network we build, Gigaclear is able to show beyond doubt that we can build, operate and monetise new fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks that deliver real returns for their users and for our shareholders."

Mr Hare claimed the fresh funding would allow his company to "forge ahead" with its plans to bring reliable, ultra-fast and very cost-effective broadband to the "underserved and often forgotten rural communities across Britain".

Last month, Gigaclear announced plans to deploy "world-class" fibre broadband in eight villages near Peterborough.

Almost 1,500 properties in Ashton, Bainton, Barnack, Helpston, Marholme, Pilsgate, Tallington and Ufford will have access to 1Gb FTTP services.

Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said Gigaclear's fibre broadband network will make life better for residents, and also help attract businesses to the area.

"This is another step in making Peterborough and the surrounding area amongst the best connected places in the world," he claimed.

End of the slow broadband fiasco looms large

True broadband at a minimum of 165 Mb/s symmetrical up and down stream will be required within 5 years in Europe and certainly by 2020 in the USA

The symmetrical distributed broadband 1GbE field trial by Magnet Networks in a 120 Dublin apartment complex begins

Magnet Networks, an Internet service provider with operations in the UK and Ireland, has equipped 120 apartments in the Dublin suburb of Stillorgan with gigabit fibre-optic broadband connections as part of a wider experiment to see what people will do with such speeds.

Tenants moving into a South Dublin apartment development next week will get to experience some of the fastest home broadband in the world, as 120 apartments have been fitted out by Magnet Networks with a 1-Gbps fibre connection – a full 10X times faster than the current fastest connection available in the majority of Ireland. Users will be able to enjoy gigabit speeds for both uploads and downloads.

Magnet says Project Leap will monitor broadband use in the connected homes to determine the impact of ultra-fast speed and connectivity on Irish consumers’ use of devices and applications. It is expected that average household broadband usage will accelerate rapidly in a gigabit environment from the current average of 22.7GB of data per month. On average, that breaks down to 68% Web browsing, 10% Netflix, 7% Google including YouTube, 5% Torrents, 0.6% RTE.ie, and 9.4% other types of traffic, the operator says.

Magnet sees Project Leap as “an investment project” and an opportunity to scope out the broadband of the future. The operator is also using the project as a calling card as it engages with construction firms and resident groups to deploy fibre technology in new and existing builds. Magnet says Project Leap could lead to the future roll-out of 1-Gbps fibre-optic broadband to its current fibre customers as well as new towns and cities in Ireland where there is demand.

“We are transferring our leading-edge capability and corporate fibre horsepower in the business sector to the residential environment,” explains Magnet chief executive Mark Kellett. “This capability puts us in a unique position being more agile and able to go anywhere in a market where other providers are limited to 100 Mbps, and allows us to provide a competitive advantage to companies locating here, to the direct benefit of Ireland Inc.”

Based in Clonshaugh in Dublin, Magnet is a sister company of Hibernia Atlantic, the transatlantic submarine cable operator and fibre-optic network services provider, through its parent CVC.

Businesses are also known to cluster around super-normal connectivity as Magnet has proved through its subsidiary company in the UK, Velocity1, which is enabling the blossoming “smart city” of Wembley City in London. Last week, Velocity1 enabled one of the world’s largest online gaming events – Riot Games: League of Legends – with a 20-Gbps fibre connection in London’s Wembley Arena, which was streamed live to millions of gaming enthusiasts worldwide.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The 5G battle commences with inevitable reduction of the hype.

There was a risk of exaggerating what 5G can achieve, after the vendor this week demonstrated a pre-standard version of the technology.

Ericsson showed live, over-the-air 5G running at speeds of 5Gb/s, in a demonstration watched by senior managers from NTT Docomo and SK Telecom.

Asked whether there is a risk of overhyping 5G, Ewaldsson responded: “There always is, I think. If we go back through all the Gs apart from the first one. This hype of new Gs that came with digital and 2G then broadband with 3G and real, true broadband access with 4G, I think there has been a risk of exaggerating what the technologies can do”.

The company was showing the 5 Gb/s demonstration despite implementation of 5G not being expected until 2020.

But Ewaldsson suggested the technology can deliver on expectations with speeds exceeding those on fixed networks..

“We need to push the envelope strongly to make sure we have something advanced enough if we are talking about 2020, and that’s why we demonstrated what we are doing with operators,” he said.