Category Archives: Communication industry

Updates from Chicago Booth

Who is right about inflation?
The US Fed and consumers have very different expectations about the future
By Brian Wallheimer – Inflation chatter started heating up this spring, along with inflation itself. In April 2021, the US Consumer Price Index, which measures how fast prices change, rose at a 4.2 percent annual rate, more than double the usual target rate. Then in May, the inflation rate soared to 5 percent. With the worst of the pandemic seemingly easing, US consumers were apparently venturing out again and spending at a fast clip.

The figures took inflation watchers off guard. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page noted that Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell had wanted some inflation but would likely be surprised by the force of April’s numbers, saying, “Powell’s inflation ship has come in, albeit more rudely than he probably wanted.”

Financial journalists and investors, always looking for signs of how the central bank will react to signs of inflation or deflation, kicked into high gear, trying to anticipate the timing of any Fed actions.

But consumers—who actually drive inflation—seemed unfazed, apparently already operating with the understanding that prices were rising fast, and would continue to do so. Homeowners remodeling their homes during the pandemic were aware of historically high lumber prices. Home cooks felt the impact on food prices. Buyers of both new and used cars saw prices surge due to a shortage of computer chips. more>

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Updates from ITU

The basis for safer digital finance
By Bilel Jamoussi – The transformations we are seeing in numerous fields – from energy and mobility to health care, agriculture, and financial services – all hinge on digital technologies, along with an array of associated business ecosystems. All these technologies and systems must be reliable, secure and deserving of our trust.

The Financial Inclusion Global Initiative (FIGI) is an open framework for collaboration led by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the World Bank Group, and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI).

Our partnership brings together the expertise to accelerate digital financial inclusion. With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we have brought together the full range of stakeholders set to benefit from this expertise.

The World Bank Group and CPMI have helped to build a strong understanding of the policy considerations surrounding digital identity and incentivizing the use of electronic of payments.

ITU’s work has focused on security, infrastructure and trust – secure financial applications and services, reliable digital infrastructure, and the resulting consumer trust that our money and digital identities are safe. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Enabling Africa’s digital economy
Africa leads the globe in international bandwidth growth. With the fastest growth rate over the last four years and eight new cables in the works over the next few years, this is an emerging market with key network infrastructure projects to watch.
By Brian Lavallée – After Asia, the world’s 2nd largest continent is Africa, which covers 20% of our planet’s landmass. How big is Africa? Well, it’s bigger than China, India, the contiguous U.S., and most of Europe – combined. Africa is the home to almost 1.4 billion people, speaking over 2000 languages, making it the 2nd most populous continent. This population is also the youngest, with a median age of just 19.7 years in 2020.The next youngest continent is Latin America and the Caribbean (31.0) followed by Asia (32.0), Oceania (33.4), North America (38.6), and Europe (42.5).

A large, young, and populous continent means networks play an extremely important socioeconomic role to help increase critical connectivity options to close the Digital Divide and connecting Africa to the rest of the digitized world. The direct link between higher broadband and a higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) further increases the importance of a fast, reliable, and inexpensive digital ecosystem of submarine and terrestrial networks, both wired and wireless.

From 2016 to 2020, Africa experienced the highest used international bandwidth growth by region, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 50%, shown in Figure 1. However, Africa is still the world’s least connected continent, but it’s changing because of steady investments by African network operators. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Simplifying Open Submarine Cable Link Engineering
How can a new and better way to perform submarine cable link budgeting address challenges associated with the open submarine cable model? Brian Lavallée explains why the submarine network industry is moving towards these new metrics and how you can learn more in our new handbook.
By Brian Lavallée – Terrestrial networks leverage many optical line amplifiers and Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) nodes to construct end-to-end networks. Fortunately, terrestrial amplifier and ROADM nodes are relatively simple to monitor to determine how each section contributes to end-to-end service performance, as each of these network elements provides a rich set of measured data.

Submarine cable systems are far more challenging because submerged repeaters (historical misnomer referring to optical amplifiers) and branching units provide only basic health status information. This design philosophy reduces the component count of undersea optoelectronics providing a higher overall reliability, which is a fundamental design goal of wet plants, because once deployed, they’re extremely expensive and time-consuming to repair. Given the limited information provided by most wet plants, end-to-end service performance must be determined from information provided by Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE) coherent optical modems connected at each end of a submarine cable.

The Open Submarine Cable business model

The industry is operating in a “quasi-open” submarine cable environment in that operators can and typically do select their wet plant from one vendor and their SLTE from another vendor, often much later, as wet plants take years to go from the designed to deployed stage. This quasi-open model allows operators to choose the latest and greatest SLTE, when and where needed, over the entire lifecycle of their wet plant allowing them to design and deploy a best-in-breed network tailored to their unique business requirements. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Navigating vendor equipment swaps: Minimizing risk while maximizing outcomes leveraging data-informed tools and automation
Vendor equipment swaps are typically complex from a technical as well as an operational standpoint due to the need to ensure network service continuity and stability during the transition process. Chris Antlitz details a real-world use case that involved multiple vendors and an aggressive timetable.
By Chris Antlitz – The increased focus on protecting critical infrastructure has prompted situations where communication service providers (CSPs) have had to adjust their networks, specifically to replace equipment provided by certain vendors that are deemed by governments in some countries to pose network security and/or customer privacy risks. These network adjustments typically involve swapping out gear from an unapproved vendor with gear from an approved vendor. Also referred to as vendor swaps, these situations are typically complex from a technical as well as an operational standpoint because the CSP needs to ensure network service continuity and performance is stable during the transition process.

Fortunately, there are approved vendors that have a proven track record of providing the replacement equipment and/or the services required to perform equipment swaps. There are also situations where multiple vendors participate in the swap, in some cases with one or more vendors providing equipment and one or more vendors providing the services as third parties.

In one such case, a large CSP with global operations had a DWDM network that required the replacement of thousands of circuits from one untrusted vendor with circuits from an approved vendor. To align with government mandates, the swap had an aggressive timetable of two years. The scope of the project also implicated network management systems (NMS), IP multimedia subsystems (IMS) and operational support systems (OSS) that were tied to the untrusted vendor’s equipment. more>

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Updates from ITU

Up to 8 Gbit/s broadband with new ITU standard MGfast
ITU – ITU standards experts have achieved another leap forward in broadband access over telephone wires and coaxial cable with MGfast, a new access technology capable of transmission at an aggregate bit rate up to 8 Gbit/s if in Full Duplex (FDX) mode, and up to 4 Gbit/s if in Time Division Duplexing (TDD) mode.

The MGfast standard, ITU G.9711, not only promises higher bit rates than ever, but also ultra-low latency for highly interactive applications, the capability to optimize Quality of Service (QoS) in line with the needs of different applications, and point-to-multipoint operation enabling better coverage within the premises.

This work is led by the Q4/15 working group (Broadband access over metallic conductors) of ITU-T Study Group 15 (Transport, access and home). See the graphic below for an overview of the bit rate and reach capabilities of ITU-standardized access solutions from the Q4/15 working group, and more on key application features of MGfast in an MGfast technical flyer. more>

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Updates from ITU

Countries ramp up cybersecurity strategies
ITU – The latest Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) shows a growing commitment around the world to tackle and reduce cybersecurity threats.

Countries are working to improve their cyber safety despite the challenges of COVID-19 and the rapid shift of everyday activities and socio-economic services into the digital sphere, the newly released 2020 index confirms.

According to GCI 2020, around half of countries globally say they have formed a national computer incident response team (CIRT), indicating an 11 per cent increase since 2018. Rapid uptake of information and communication technologies (ICTs) during the COVID-19 pandemic has put cybersecurity at the forefront. more>

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Updates from Ciena

The future of 5G: How services will evolve
How enterprises understand, interact with, and derive value from their networks is being redefined. 5G, IoT, and the edge are working together to position CSPs, enterprises, and consumers to benefit, says Blue Planet’s Kailem Anderson.
By Kailem Anderson – Telcos should be both excited and cautious about the future of 5G networks. The technology has unprecedented game-changing potential for mobile network operators (MNOs) and communication service providers (CSPs), but it will require new business models and an agile, automated infrastructure to monetize it effectively. The question is, what kinds of services will recoup infrastructure investment? And how can that new infrastructure be used to build powerful revenue streams that will propel future business?

One thing is certain: Innovation can’t stop at the network layer. Even with 5G, connectivity will become a commodity when broadly deployed worldwide, just as 4G/LTE is today. Instead, CSPs must integrate services that use communication as a platform for connected experiences rather than simply offering the communication capability alone. They must not let themselves be relegated to mere connectivity partners, shouldering the infrastructure investment while over-the-top (OTT) providers use it to scoop up higher-margin revenues.

Network Slicing Is Key to Monetizing 5G

Network slicing is key to this transformation. This 5G technology enables operators to logically partition network resources for different applications, use-cases, or customers. In doing so, it creates opportunities to cut bottom-line costs and increase top-line revenues through new services. more>

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EU cybersecurity agency says hackers target supplier’s code

Europe Online/KG – Mapping on emerging supply chain attacks, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity warned on July 29 that 66% of attacks focus on the supplier’s code.

Supply chain attacks have been a concern for cybersecurity experts for many years because the chain reaction triggered by one attack on a single supplier can compromise a network of providers. Malware is the attack technique that attackers resort to in 62% of attacks.

According to the new ENISA report – Threat Landscape for Supply Chain Attacks, which analyzed 24 recent attacks, strong security protection is no longer enough for organizations when attackers have already shifted their attention to suppliers.

This is evidenced by the increasing impact of these attacks such as downtime of systems, monetary loss and reputational damage.

“Due to the cascading effect of supply chain attacks, threat actors can cause widespread damage affecting businesses and their customers all at once,” EU Agency for Cybersecurity Executive Director Juhan Lepassaar said. “With good practices and coordinated actions at (the) EU level, (the) Member States will be able to reach a similar level of capabilities raising the common level of cybersecurity in the EU,” he added.

Supply chain attacks are now expected to multiply by 4 in 2021, compared to last year. This new trend stresses the need for policymakers and the cybersecurity community to act now. This is why novel protective measures to prevent and respond to potential supply chain attacks in the future while mitigating their impact need to be introduced urgently. more>

Updates from Ciena

A new age of IP/Optical network visibility and automation applications
Heightened performance demands on IP and optical networks are ushering in a new age of network management, visibility and automation. Omdia’s Ian Redpath describes the foundational capabilities that enable data-driven automated operations, such as those offered by Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) Applications.
By Ian Redpath – It is no secret there are increasing performance demands on IP/Optical networks. Two immediate drivers are cloud services and 5G. The impacts to network operations go beyond scaling capacity – Communications Service Providers (CSPs) need a generational upgrade in network management, visibility, and automation.

Cloud services have gained mainstream enterprise acceptance and have strong potential for additional growth including more cloud service endpoints and additional bandwidth per service. Cloud services are being accessed from anywhere – home office, enterprise site, or on the go. By shifting mission critical services to a cloud model, the performance requirements of the bandwidth underlay have been raised. Now, CSPs require enhanced visibility of service and network performance to be able to adhere to more stringent latency requirements.

5G is also catalyzing the network visibility need. It is driving the need for a huge volume of high bandwidth IP/Optical endpoints. Stringent latency specifications and enhanced network visibility are sharpened in the 5G era. 5G necessitates multi-layer 0-3 visibility to the cell site. more>

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