Category Archives: Communication industry

Updates from Ciena

Densifying the Network, One Small Cell at a Time

By Wayne Hickey – Mobile network usage is growing at an astounding rate of 42% CAGR, as data rates rise driven by an insatiable customer appetite for video, gaming, social media, and live streaming. With the omnipresence of smartphone technology, advancement towards 5G, and mobile data as the major use cases – MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) struggle to maintain with growing customer demands.

There are three primary ways that MNOs can add capacity to their wireless network:

  1. Buy more spectrum
  2. Make spectrum utilization more efficient by optimizing spectral efficiency
  3. Densify the network, by adding more cell sites, while reusing available spectrum

A mobile network must be designed to physically reach the intended number of subscribers and adapt to the changing capacity needs of those subscribers. To do so, MNOs segment their networks by base station coverage by using macro cells and small cells (ex. micro cells, pico cells, nano cells, femtocells, and even WiFi cells, or hotspots).

Macro cells cover large geographic areas while the various types of small cells cover much smaller and varied geographic areas serving fewer end-users, both indoor and outdoor.

Macro cell sites use high powered radios, generally for large coverage areas. Small cells use much lower power radios, require less space, and increase data capacity by proliferation or densification of the network. Densification of the network means deploying lots of small cells to enable more overall users, lower latency, better mobile device battery life, and expanded coverage. The approach is to basically reuse spectrum over and over again, by keeping the coverage area small, and managing the interference between cells using a variety of techniques. more>


Updates from Ciena

Why Adaptive is the biggest story in networking
By Joe Cumello – Next-gen, intelligent, flexible, automated, agile, optimized, programmable, elastic.

Our industry has been using these words for years to describe the end game for networks. With Ciena’s recent 25-year anniversary, we’ve been spending quite a bit of time looking back at the early days – and it seems like the entire industry has been using these aspirational network descriptions for as long as there have been networks.

Maybe 2018 is the year “aspirational” starts to become “actuality.”

Like no other time in our industry’s history, a collection of technologies and advancements is bringing the long-desired goal of a more automated network closer to reality.

Network operators do need greater automation to cope with the harsh realities of today’s environment. But “full automation,” or so-called “autonomous networking,” isn’t the complete answer they are seeking, because it’s now clear that today’s environment isn’t the same one they will face tomorrow. more>


Updates from Ciena

Powering Cable’s Future with Distributed Access

By Wayne Hickey – Legacy Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) networks, recently heralded as a blessing, are now stressed to keep up with demand; most head-ends and hubs have become saturated with racks and racks of Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) equipment. Analog infrastructure is expensive to operate, maintain, and simply won’t scale to future demands.

While HFC has been around for 20+ years, most traditional cable networks of today are based on Centralized Access Architecture (CAA), where the access network consists of a combination of analog optical and coaxial Radio Frequency (RF) technologies, and the core network (head-ends and hubs) consist of Cable Modem Termination Equipment (CMTS) and Edge Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (EQAM) equipment. EQAM helps deliver broadcast and narrowcast video, and CMTS provides broadband services.

In response to the afore mentioned market forces, cable operators are strategically extending fiber to digital fiber nodes, in a Distributed Access Architecture (DAA). This involves removing coaxial RF active devices like amplifiers and power inserters, and adding more digital fiber nodes. more>


Stop Saying ‘Smart Cities’

Digital stardust won’t magically make future cities more affordable or resilient.
By Bruce Sterling – The term “smart city” is interesting yet not important, because nobody defines it. “Smart” is a snazzy political label used by a modern alliance of leftist urbanites and tech industrialists.

Smart-city devotees all over this world will agree that London is particularly smart. Why? London is a huge, ungainly beast whose cartwheeling urban life is in cranky, irrational disarray. London is a god-awful urban mess, but London does have some of the best international smart-city conferences.

The digital techniques that smart-city fans adore are flimsy and flashy—and some are even actively pernicious—but they absolutely will be used in cities. They already have an urban heritage. When you bury fiber-optic under the curbs around the town, then you get internet. When you have towers and smartphones, then you get portable ubiquity. When you break up a smartphone into its separate sensors, switches, and little radios, then you get the internet of things.

However, the cities of the future won’t be “smart,” or well-engineered, cleverly designed, just, clean, fair, green, sustainable, safe, healthy, affordable, or resilient. They won’t have any particularly higher ethical values of liberty, equality, or fraternity, either. The future smart city will be the internet, the mobile cloud, and a lot of weird paste-on gadgetry, deployed by City Hall, mostly for the sake of making towns more attractive to capital.

“Smart cities” merely want to be perceived as smart, when what they actually need is quite different. more>


Updates from Ciena

12 Mind-Blowing Data Center Facts You Need to Know
Ciena – How big has the data center monster become? Here are 12 fascinating facts about data centers that just may blow your mind.

  1. There are over 7,500 data centers worldwide, with over 2,600 in the top 20 global cities alone, and data center construction will grow 21% per year through 2018.
  2. By 2020, at least 1/3 of all data will pass through the cloud.
  3. With just over 300 locations (337 to be exact), London, England has the largest concentration of data centers in any given city across the globe. 
  4. California has the largest concentration of data centers in the U.S. with just over 300 locations.



Updates from GE

Will Analyze Medical Data To Find Better Treatment

By Maggie Sieger – A cancer diagnosis or a stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) often bring confusion, fear and questions about the best course of treatment. That’s why a group of doctors and scientists at GE Healthcare and Roche Diagnostics are looking for a new way to predict the most effective treatment for an individual by applying data analytics to the problem.

Over the last decade, big data made inroads into personal fitness, energy, politics and other fields. Now it’s moving into healthcare. The idea is that smart algorithms looking for insights in terabytes of medical information will help physicians better serve their patients with earlier diagnoses and customized treatment plans.

The partnership between GE and Roche announced in January will create digital platforms for so-called “precision health” in oncology and critical care. The oncology platform, the first of its kind, will take “in-vivo” data obtained directly from the patient by radiological imaging and monitoring equipment to characterize the tumor at the anatomical and physiological level.

It will combine the data with “in-vitro” information from laboratory tests that characterize the tumor at the molecular level by looking at tissue pathology, blood-based biomarkers, genomic alterations (cancer-relevant mutations) and other factors. The system also will integrate data from electronic medical records, medical best practices and the latest research. more>


Automating Influence: The Manipulation of Public Debate

By Andrew Trabulsi – While the application of influence campaigns for the purposes of altering public discourse and politics are rapidly gaining prominence, it’s a field, as discussed in previous writings, with a detailed past.

Tasked with winning the moral high ground during World War I, the famed British propaganda unit, Wellington House, distributed evocative, explicit reports of German barbarism to bolster public opinion in favor of the Allies. At a time before the interminable ubiquity of Internet communications, this tactic proved invaluable in securing the attention and support of the Allies’ war effort, improving recruiting and persuading neutrals.

Today, we see such tactics—albeit in different, non-traditional fashions—show up across case studies, for both political and commercial purposes. In a similar vein to the manipulation of public commentary on net neutrality, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed adjusting its rules to stunt abuse within payday lending markets, it too was berated with an abnormal number of duplicate and semantically similar comments.

As political and economic issues become increasingly influenced by technological engagement, it’s becoming more and more important to understand the limitations and vulnerabilities of such systems. more>


Local links run the world


Ant Encounters: Interaction Networks and Colony Behavior, Author: Deborah M Gordon.

By Deborah M Gordon – We live enmeshed in networks. The internet, a society, a body, an ant colony, a tumor: they are all networks of interactions, among people, ants or cells – aggregates of nodes or locations linked by some relation. The power of networks is in their local connections. All networks grow, shrink, merge or split, link by link. How they function and change depends on what forms, or disrupts, the connections between nodes.

The internet dominates our lives, not because it is huge, but because each of us can make so many local links. Its size is the result, not the cause, of its impact on our communication.

A tacit recognition of the power of a well-connected network underlies a widespread fear of ants. What is scary about ants on the kitchen counter? A moment’s reflection should reassure anyone that they are indeed much bigger and stronger than even hundreds of ants. What is alarming is the sense that the ants are all connected and working together.

But ants function using networks of interactions, not as they do in horror movies, urged on to attack by malevolent leaders. Their effectiveness is not due to powerful individuals who are situated to influence the behavior of others. more>


When exponential innovation meets the infancy of “Industry X.0”

Accenture – With everything from agriculture to aeronautics in the midst of paradigm shift, a cautious approach to adopting new technologies simply can’t keep pace.

Nor will adopting just one innovation suffice. Effective adaptation almost always involves a combination of innovations working together: a dash of machine learning here, a sprinkle of automation there.

As Accenture Chief Strategy Officer Omar Abbosh describes: “You’re combining a series of innovations, one on the back of the next, to do something fundamentally different… You’ve all heard about Big Data and artificial intelligence and internet of things… They are all very meaningful in their own right, but when they come together they can have a massive impact on business and society.”

The benefits of combination abound. For example, amalgamating just five technologies—autonomous robots, AI, 3D printing, big data, and blockchain—could save industrial-equipment companies a total of $1.6 billion. more>


Updates from Ciena

Retail Digitization… Friend or Foe?
By Brian Lavallée – The retail industry is one of the most competitive industries today, placing enormous pressure on the retailers who are continually striving to reinvent, reinvigorate, and rejuvenate their position with buyers, who are more informed than ever due to readily available online resources, long before they enter a brick and mortar store.

The same assets that consumers use to become increasingly informed can and are also being leveraged by retailers to best become the store of choice to sell their products – networks and data analytics.

The wealth of readily available and free online resources allows customers to perform advanced reconnaissance by researching product specifications, product field performance, as well as comparative product analysis pricing, performance, warranty, and user experience. This means that consumers are extremely informed before they purchase a product and often more so than the salesperson.

In short, the digital transformation has forever reshaped customer behavior and the shopping experience, which means retailers must change to this new shopping environment often by leveraging the very same tools that created the shopping ninja – networks and analytics – which allow retailers to create the required digital shopping experience that today’s consumers want and need. more>