Category Archives: Broadband

Updates from Ciena

What is a Converged Interconnect Network (CIN)?
The term, Converged Interconnect Network (CIN), has been around for a few years now – but it is only now with its importance in enabling MSOs to deploy Distributed Access Architectures that it is getting more attention. Still not sure what it is? Well Ciena’s Fernando Villarruel, explains how it has evolved, and what is next for the CIN.
By Fernando Villarruel – The Internet & Television Association (NCTA), CableLabs®, and Cable Europe organizations kicked off 2019 by sharing the cable industry’s vision for delivering 10 gigabit/second networks, or 10G. 10G – ‘The Next Great Leap for Broadband’ – is at least 10 times faster than today’s consumer experience.

10G will be fully enabled as MSOs deploy Distributed Access Architectures (DAA) extending Digital Fiber Nodes (DFNs) closer to the end user and turning legacy functions into cloud services. A foundational part of this transition is overhauling the access network between the CCAP core and DFNs – a packet-based network the industry refers to as the Converged Interconnect Network (CIN), a strategic area of focus for Ciena.

The Converged Interconnect Network (CIN) was defined and used for the first time back in 2005 when CableLabs released Modular CMTS specifications, which was an early form of DAA. It was in these specifications that the term CIN was defined and used for the first time. More recently, in the context of DAA, CIN was described in a CableLabs architecture document in 2015(defining Remote PHY – in this specification the CIN is described as the network between the CCAP core and the RPD, including outside plant and in-hub connectivity).

Four years later, and on route to massive DAA deployments, the CIN definition merits another look to make sure it provides the right foundation for new opportunities available to MSOs while also ensuring they continue to thrive in their competitive environment.

Looking forward, the CIN needs to cover more than just connections from a centralized MAC to Remote PHY devices, for example some MSOs are now pursuing remote and flexible MAC and PHY solutions. Consequently, the CIN must serve all variations of MAC and PHY topologies.

Ciena is working with industry bodies and cable MSOs, to ensure the evolving CIN will support the requirements of DAA and extending fiber deeper to the network edge. At Ciena, we offer a comprehensive CIN solution and roadmap supporting a variety of architectures based on interoperable products and software-enabled automation for lifecycle management. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Breaking Down the Barriers Between IT & Network
By James Crawshaw – “Digital transformation” initiatives in the telecom sector generally fall into one of three key categories: customer engagement, new services, and operational agility. The first category is all about meeting customer expectations for ease of ordering, delivery and problem resolution – for today’s existing services.

The second category is about finding new sources of revenue either by becoming aggregators of third-party content and services (platform companies), or by enabling internal innovation through the adoption of DevOps and a fast-fail mentality.

The third category may be less sexy, but it is no less important. Increased agility of network and IT operations through greater automation not only has potentially significant cost saving benefits, it is also an enabler of the better customer experience and faster time-to-market that underpin the first two transformation categories.

One of the great challenges with automation in the telecom industry is that the networking and IT domains remain heavily siloed in many service providers today with hundreds or even thousands of manual processes required to map data from Operation Support Systems (planning, fulfillment, assurance, etc.) to network management and orchestration systems.

Not only does this lead to a lot of “swivel-chair” operations to bridge the gap but fragmented data systems reduce the visibility into real-time service and network state.

The quick fix is to over-provision network resources to cope with this lack of visibility but that leads to unnecessarily high capex in addition to the opex overhead associated with highly manual operations. more>

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The new spirit of postcapitalism

Capitalism emerged in the interstices of feudalism and Paul Mason finds a prefiguring of postcapitalism in the lifeworld of the contemporary European city.
By Paul Mason – Raval, Barcelona, March 2019. The streets are full of young people (and not just students)—sitting, sipping drinks, gazing more at laptops than into each other’s eyes, talking quietly about politics, making art, looking cool.

A time traveler from their grandparents’ youth might ask: when is lunchtime over? But it’s never over because for many networked people it never really begins. In the developed world, large parts of urban reality look like Woodstock in permanent session—but what is really happening is the devalorization of capital.

But just 20 years after the roll-out of broadband and 3G telecoms, information resonates everywhere in social life: work and leisure have become blurred; the link between work and wages has been loosened; the connection between the production of goods and services and the accumulation of capital is less obvious.

The postcapitalist project is founded on the belief that, inherent in these technological effects lies a challenge to the existing social relations of a market economy, and in the long term, the possibility of a new kind of system that can function without the market, and beyond scarcity.

But during the past 20 years, as a survival mechanism, the market has reacted by creating semi-permanent distortions which—according to neoclassical economics—should be temporary.

In response to the price-collapsing effect of information goods, the most powerful monopolies ever seen have been constructed. Seven out of the top ten global corporations by market capitalization are tech monopolies; they avoid tax, stifle competition through the practice of buying rivals and build ‘walled gardens’ of interoperable technologies to maximize their own revenues at the expense of suppliers, customers and (through tax avoidance) the state. more>

Updates from Ciena

AI Ops: Let the data talk
The catalysts and ROI of AI-powered network analytics for automated operations were the focus of discussion for service providers at the recent FutureNet conference in London. Blue Planet’s Marie Fiala details the conversation.
By Marie Fiala – Do we need perfect data? Or is ‘good enough’ data good enough? Certainly, there is a need to find a pragmatic approach or else one could get stalled in analysis-paralysis. Is closed-loop automation the end goal? Or is human-guided open loop automation desired? If the quality of data defines the quality of the process, then for closed-loop automation of critical business processes, one needs near-perfect data. Is that achievable?

These issues were discussed and debated at last week’s FutureNet conference in London, where the show focused on solving network operators’ toughest challenges. Industry presenters and panelists stayed true to the themes of AI and automation, all touting the necessity of these interlinked software technologies, yet there were varied opinions on approaches. Network and service providers such as BT, Colt, Deutsche Telekom, KPN, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor, Telia, Telus, Turk Telkom, and Vodafone weighed in on the discussion.

On one point, most service providers were in agreement: there is a need to identify a specific business use case with measurable ROI, as an initial validation point when introducing AI-powered analytics into operations. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Protecting your business from cyber threats
The phone rings — there’s been a breach. Ciena’s chief security architect Jim Carnes explains how to integrate security into each aspect of your business to mitigate this stressor – and stop fearing that call.

By Jim Carnes – It’s Friday afternoon (it always happens on Friday afternoon) and the phone rings — there’s a breach. Your internet provider has called and malware associated with the latest botnet has been detected coming from your corporate network. The incident response plans are triggered and everyone goes into high alert, looking for the source.

The common thought trajectory goes something like: How could this happen? We use the latest and greatest security products. Did someone open a phishing email? Did a hacker breach our firewall or was a vendor compromised? There goes my weekend.

How can we stop fearing that Friday afternoon call?

Integrating security into each aspect of your business could mitigate this stressor. When people, processes, inventory and technology are coordinated, the fear and uncertainty of security breaches is replaced with straightforward and seamless responses that protect your Friday evening dinner plans.

The conversation should always begin with your business. You need to understand the processes, the people and the vendor and partner relationships. Understanding how the critical aspects of the company function and interact will often point to gaps in security.

Are the tools that facilitate secure business processes in place? Look for:

  • Single-sign solutions to ease integration of people and technology
  • Multi-factor authentication solutions that ease the password management burden on users (compromised passwords are responsible for nearly half of organizations that are breached according to the 2017 Verizon DBIR)
  • Product suites that integrate business processes and technology solutions
  • Secure supply chains that enumerate the risks to both hardware and software solutions while protecting them (a white paper published by the SANS Institute offers guidance on combating supply chain cyber risk)

Whether your business is delivering software, hardware or services, the development of those solutions include security from the start. The ability to clearly articulate the purpose of the system, how it will be used, who will be using it and what value it provides will help begin the conversation. Articulating these key factors will help define the threat environment, the adversaries and the controls necessary to mitigate the attacks.

Mitigations will therefore have context and be able to address real threats, rather than generic ones. more>

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Updates from Ciena

The benefits of an integrated C&L-band photonic line system
Network providers are looking for new alternatives to unlock additional network capacity. Ciena’s Kent Jordan explains how upgrading to the L-band can help – if done in the right way.
By Kent Jordan – The photonic layer is the foundation for high capacity networks. Whether the network application is to increase connectivity between data centers, deliver bandwidth-intensive content, or to move business applications into the cloud, the photonic layer provides the mechanism to efficiently light the fiber by assigning and routing wavelengths across the optical spectrum. However, today’s photonic layer systems utilize only a portion of the usable spectrum within the fiber, and operators are increasingly looking at expansion into the L-band to increase capacity.

There are a few factors driving the desire for L-band. First, and foremost, is traffic demand. Networks with high bandwidth applications and sustained bandwidth growth are quickly faced with capacity exhaustion. Once existing capacity is consumed, lighting additional fiber pairs is required. If the cost of laying or leasing new fiber is too prohibitive, then alternatives to unlocking additional capacity are needed.

The L-band is one such solution, and it can be used to double the fiber capacity. But, for operators to consider deploying L-band solutions, they must be simple to plan and deploy, and the upgrade to L-band must not impact existing traffic in the C-band.

Building the foundation for a scalable network infrastructure isn’t just about knowing what building blocks to use. It also includes selecting the appropriate architecture and understanding how the pieces fit together, so when it is time to increase capacity, there aren’t any surprises, performance hits, or suboptimal capacity limits. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Perceptible differences that drive top-line growth
Siemens – 150 million times a day…

…someone, somewhere in the world, chooses a Unilever product.

Unilever’s brand portfolio spans 14 categories of home, personal care and food products and includes world favorites such as Lipton, Knorr, Dove and Omo. The company employs 179,000 people in 100 countries worldwide. Its products are sold in the Americas, Europe and Asia/Africa in roughly equal distribution.

Innovation is critical to sustaining Unilever’s growth. “We see product innovation as one of the key drivers of top-line growth,” says Huw Evans, R&D director of information in Unilever’s Home and Personal Care Division. Unilever defines product innovation this way:

“Product innovation means providing the consumer with a product that delivers a perceivable benefit that is differentiated from those of our competitors and that differentiation drives the choice to purchase and use that product,” explains Evans.

“You can change products to improve their price differentials, for example, but if the consumer is not really experiencing a difference, then we wouldn’t classify that as innovation. Innovation is about consumer-perceptible benefits that drive choice. To help achieve this Unilever invests €1 billion every year in research and development, which includes support for five major laboratories around the world that explore new thinking and techniques to help develop our products.” more>

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Updates from Datacenter.com

The staffing challenge in data center market becomes a quality opportunity
The data center industry is growing rapidly. The amount of vacancies for specialized data center personnel in the area of Amsterdam, for example, is rising. A shortage of specialized/skilled data center personnel is expected, a staffing challenge. How can the data center market respond? Will it result in decreasing quality of data center services? We believe in the opportunity of improving!

datacenter.com – It is expected that the data center industry will rapidly grow and will result in a shortage of skilled IT personnel.

Almost all data centers have plans to expand and cloud providers are considering or starting to operate their own data center. So, the amount of companies and the size of the companies are expanding, means that specialists are needed to design, maintain and operate these high-tech buildings and services. The employees that are the hardest to find are ones with a very broad knowledge of power, cooling and construction knowledge. Due to the shortage in the skilled employees, the more expensive the employees will be.

Instead of trying to do everything by yourself, you can use the experts. The companies that build technical infrastructures and buildings are the once that (mostly) have in-depth knowledge within their field of expertise. Instead of engineering your data center with some multi-talent employees and asking the experts to fill-in the blanks, the experts can design and a project manager within the field can connect them. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Top 5 Takeaways from Light Reading’s CNG 2019 Conference
Did the ‘bomb cyclone’ winter blizzard last week in Denver keep you from attending the annual Light Reading Cable Next-Gen (CNG) conference? If so – you are not alone. Ciena’s Darren McKinney was at #CNG2019 – and can sum it up with: 10G, DAA, CIN, DOCSIS, Coherent and 5G…a real smorgasbord of acronyms and technologies.
By Darren McKinney – The Light Reading CNG 2019 event was chock full of excellent speakers – lots of very interesting presentations, panels, and fireside chats.

When the cable industry announced the 10G initiative people naturally think about 5G – there was a lot of discussion on 5G…particularly given CNG 2019 is a ‘cable conference’, these discussions covered:

  • 5G will not kill MSO broadband – 5G is an opportunity for MSOs (e.g. 5G will need 10G for mobile backhaul). There was discussion that 5G does not penetrate houses well and that Wi-Fi in the house offers better coverage. 5G as a replacement for Wi-Fi is not viewed as a big threat.
  • Why is the US market different? Cable MSOs outside of the US are largely mobile network operators (MNOs) already – why is the US market different? Discussion that financial ARPUs for MSOs in the US are 2-3x higher than in other parts of the world, that US MSOs have not had the same motivation (yet) to invest in mobile as has been seen in other countries.

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Updates from Ciena

Reducing resourcing challenges by out-tasking multi-vendor network infrastructure projects
In today’s increasingly complex multi-vendor network environments, many businesses are compelled to out-task their multi-vendor operations to a single provider of specialized network services. Ciena’s Atura Bavisi details the qualities needed when looking for the right multi-vendor services partner.
By Atura Bavisi – Businesses today are constantly changing, often in unique and different ways due to market-specific conditions, but they all share something in common: a complex network environment. Operators are always looking for ways to optimize their network, at once reducing complexity while adding flexibility to handle the rapidly growing traffic demands.

These conditions often create a need for multi-vendor networks. If a business would like to reduce its OPEX and at the same time improve network performance without significantly increasing their IT resources, then buying network equipment from multiple vendors and leveraging vendor-specific services to implement and maintain this disparate equipment become critical.

However, multi-vendor projects come with their own set of challenges. For example, the multi-vendor approach often reduces visibility across the network, making it difficult to plan effectively or to provision resources to support new services rapidly. What’s more, the cost of working with multiple suppliers and in-house service teams to design and deploy solutions can be prohibitive and a logistical challenge, as well as requiring multiple custom interfaces.

Very often, corporations don’t have the ability to recruit the right highly specialized personnel to meet all these technical requirements stemming from a multi-vendor network, and most vendors only focus on their own products and solutions. more>

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