Category Archives: Communication industry

Updates from Ciena

The submarine network seascape in 2020
Submarine networks carry over 99% of intercontinental data traffic making it critical infrastructure to be protected and innovated upon at a frantic rate to maintain pace with the approximately 40% bandwidth growth in all submerged corridors of our world. Ciena’s submarine networking expert, Brian Lavallée, highlights key areas for focused innovation throughout 2020.
By Brian Lavallée – There are several key technologies that are the focus of submarine network innovation and will garner a great deal of time, money, resources, and attention in 2020. These technologies will once again allow submarine cable operators to modernize their submerged assets and not only maintain pace with voracious and ongoing growth in bandwidth demand but provide critical competitive differentiation as well. I cover below these key technology innovation areas that I believe will dominate the discussion seascape throughout 2020.

With voracious and ongoing bandwidth growth experienced for many years now, coupled with expanding rollout of 5G services that significantly increase access speeds to content hosted in data centers, cable operators are constantly seeking new ways to increase available bandwidth between continental landmasses for Data Center Interconnection (DCI) purposes – satellite networks need not apply!

Although Submarine Line Terminating Equipment (SLTE) has been constantly innovative upon at a frenetic pace for the past decade, the wet plants they connect to have experienced comparatively little innovation – until now. Wet plants leveraging SDM technology offer more fiber pairs than traditional submarine cables, and although SDM cables support less capacity per fiber pair, they have a much higher overall capacity due to far more pairs (12 and higher), which is further enhanced with power-optimized repeater (misnomer for subsea optical amplifier) designs.

As an industry proof point, the first SDM-based submarine cable deployed is the transatlantic Dunant cable, which supports up to 250Tb/s of overall capacity over an aggregate of 12 fiber pairs, which is many more than the traditional 6 to 8 fiber pairs offered on recent submarine cable deployments. more>

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Updates from Ciena

How you can accelerate and de-risk your network transformation with Lifecycle Management
Successful network transformation is about delivering the right business outcomes, not just deploying new kit. With effective Lifecycle Management (LCM), you can make sure that your projects are properly aligned to your business needs and – crucially – you can accelerate and de-risk your transformation projects as well, says Robin Hobbs, Director, Services Sales & Strategy for Ciena in EMEA.
By Robin Hobbs – It can seem that most technology vendors just want to sell you equipment and oversee deployment activities until their kit is live in your network. However, their primary concern may not be whether their solution is delivering the business benefits you set out to achieve.

This deployment-focussed approach can leave you at a loss as to how to fine-tune and optimize your environment. That means you may be unable to meet customer SLAs consistently as traffic demands grow, or you may struggle to monetize your network to its fullest potential.

So how can you ensure that you choose the right underlying technologies to support your transformation strategy, and design and build a solution that meets your business needs long term? And how can you operate your upgraded network effectively and optimize its performance and efficiency over time to maximize your competitive advantage and ROI?

To avoid the dangers of ‘short-termism’ in network upgrade strategies, operators are increasingly turning to LCM (Lifecycle Management). This is a systematic, ‘step-based’ approach to network transformation and ongoing management. This approach means you can deliver projects quickly and cost-effectively, while also ensuring the best business outcomes for your organization and your customers.

Crucially, LCM recognizes that network transformation is a journey and one that is cyclical in nature, not just a deployment. This means every step is carefully structured and documented, with no element of your transformation left to chance. Some of the benefits are a faster, lower-risk deployment and migration, improved customer experience based on optimizing network availability and performance, and the ability to continually assess and ‘future-proof’ your network to avoid costly forklift upgrades in the future. more>

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Updates from ITU

Mapping schools worldwide to bring Internet connectivity: the ‘GIGA’ initiative gets going
By Martin Schaaper – Recently, I participated in a training programme to learn ways to identify and map the location of a learning institution and the level of internet connectivity available.

Held in Jolly Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda, the training provided a great learning experience to understand what it takes to put schools on a map, from a technical perspective, and the available tools and software.

The ProjectConnect training was part of GIGA, a unique partnership launched by ITU, the UN specialized agency for information and communication technology and UNICEF, the UN Children’s agency. The project aims at mapping the connectivity of all existing schools as a step towards ensuring that every school is connected to fast and reliable internet.

Announced during the UN General Assembly meetings in September 2019, it is the vision of this initiative to ensure that every child is equipped with the information, skills and services they need to shape the future they want in the digital era.

Latest data from ITU indicate that up to 3.6 billion people remain offline, with the majority of the unconnected living in least developed countries where just two out of ten people are online. more>

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How Wi-Fi 6 and 5G will transform factory automation

By Al Presher – A key technology trend for automation and control in 2020 and beyond is the emergence of wireless communications including 5G, Wi-Fi 6, LoRaWAN and more. An obvious benefit for factory automation is the use of wireless communication for remote monitoring and remote operation of physical assets but an equally important benefit is an ability to replace cables, unreliable WiFi and the many industrial standards in use today.

One major step forward for wireless technologies in industrial communications is the recent certification of Wi-Fi 6. The announcement by the WiFi Alliance moves this technology ahead by enabling vendors to move toward the release of certified products, in advance of IEEE ratification process of IEEE 802.11ax expected to be completed in 2020.

Wireless vendors are anticipating that 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will be deployed together in smart manufacturing applications. They share technology that makes wireless solutions more deterministic, especially important for mission-critical IoT devices used in factory automation. The anticipated tiered release and extended timeline for 5G deployment is expected to result in Wi-Fi 6 rolling out more quickly than 5G. more>

Updates from ITU

Futurecasters’ Summit – bringing the voice of youth to the global technology debate
By Doreen Bogdan-Martin – Involving young people is particularly important to the work of ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies.

Youth are natural adopters of technology. They are the ones who will inherit the world that technology is now shaping.

It is vital that we listen to their voices and to what they want from technology. It is vital that they become part of the solution to the challenges the world is facing.

The Futurecasters Global Young Visionaries Summit is hosted and co-organized by ITU and the Model UN program of Ferney-Voltaire, France.

The event is a program of youth-oriented consultations aimed at bringing the voices of young people to all major ITU development discussions and activities.

The Summit is built around the global success of the FerMUN Model UN led by the Lycée International Ferney Voltaire.

One of the very first bilingual Model UN programs in the world, FerMUN now regularly welcomes students and teachers from over 25 countries worldwide. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Ciena’s role in recent 400G industry-first milestones
Are you confused about the recent 400G milestones announced and how this is different than what has been discussed for a few years?
By Helen Xenos – In recent weeks, we have seen two 400G announcements come out, the first from AT&T followed by a second from Internet2, each speaking of achieving new milestones in the industry. To the casual observer, it may not be clear what is new about these announcements. Haven’t we been talking about 400G deployments for several years now? Well, yes and no.  To understand the importance of these announcements, you need to take a closer look. With Ciena innovations playing a key role in both cases, here are some insights.

The first point to understand is that in networking, 400G can mean different things. 400G is a term loosely used to describe a communications link that can carry 400 billion bits per second, or 400 Gigabits per second (400Gb/s). There are two types of 400G connections:

1) 400G wavelength: here, 400Gb/s are carried over a single carrier in a fiber optic cable that can transport a mix of different client traffic rates (ex. 10GbE, 100GbE or 400GbE) across long distances over an optical infrastructure. A coherent optical transponder is used to aggregate client traffic and transport them over a single 400G wavelength.

Apart from Ciena’s WaveLogic Ai, coherent optical solutions capable of 400G speeds are relatively new. WaveLogic Ai is the exception, with commercial, volume shipments beginning in the fall of 2017, and the foundation for the majority of 400G deployments in the industry to date.

The key value of WaveLogic Ai is that users can double traffic carrying capacity per wavelength versus 100G/200G solutions and reduce footprint, energy consumption and cost per bit. Network providers can select capacity rates from 100G to 400G and transport traffic at 400Gb/s for 300km distances, 200Gb/s for 3000km distances and 100G for ultra-long-haul links. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Because you asked. Adaptive IP.
In light of the digital disruption being driven by 5G, IoT, AI, and edge cloud, many of our customers have asked us to help them reimagine their IP networks in a way that allows them to scale in a simpler and more cost-effective way. We listened and answered their call with Ciena’s Adaptive IPTM.
By Scott McFeely – IP, or more formally referred to as Internet Protocol, is the common language that enables billions of interconnected humans and machines to “talk” to each other on a daily basis for business and consumer applications and use cases. IP is the “language” and foundation of the largest human construction project ever created – the internet – and it works because it’s based on open industry standards.

The internet has evolved over time and will continue to do so well into the future, as more humans and machines come online with new and evolving applications and use cases, such as 5G, Fiber Deep’s Converged Interconnect Network (CIN) architecture, and IP Business Services. This means that the way IP networks are designed, deployed, and managed also needs to evolve to maintain pace.

Over the decades since its introduction in the 1970s, by the legendary Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, IP has continually evolved to maintain pace with ever-changing application and end-user demands. This evolution has also led to new RFCs and protocols being standardized, adopted, and deployed within routers (at last count there were over 8,000 RFCs and protocols). It has more importantly led to many of these protocols associated with IP no longer being required, updated, or maintained. This is analogous to human languages where words, phrases, and even whole languages, such as Latin, are no longer commonly used over time.

What do we do with these obsolete protocols? We can eliminate them from modern IP networks to reduce storage, compute, complexity, and operating costs. We call such IP networks “lean” and it allows operators to move away from traditional box-centric IP network designs running ever larger and more complex monolithic software stacks, as many traditional IP vendors have and continue to implement today.

Operators are asking for something different. They are asking for Adaptive IPTM, a simpler way to deliver IP.

Last year, we introduced Ciena’s Adaptive IP solution, based on our Adaptive NetworkTM vision, specifically to deliver IP differently. The foundation of the solution is lean IP-capable programmable infrastructure supported by multiple Ciena Packet Networking platforms, but we didn’t just stop there.

While 5G, IP business services, Fiber Deep, and other bandwidth hungry applications are driving the need for more IP at the network edge, the need for more capacity delivered with the lowest power and smallest footprint has also become key. This is particularly true for power/space-constrained DCI applications, as well as outside plant environments for cable access or 4G/5G applications. It is not surprising, then, that we are starting to see demand in the access network and for some applications in the metro for the integration of coherent optics within packet platforms. As part of our Adaptive IP solution, our packet networking platforms can leverage Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Nano pluggables to deliver the industry’s leading coherent technology in a footprint and power-optimized form factor. more>

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Updates from ITU

WRC‑19: Enabling global radiocommunications for a better tomorrow
By Mario Maniewicz – ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC‑19) is playing a key role in shaping the technical and regulatory framework for the provision of radiocommunication services in all countries, in space, air, at sea and on land. It will help accelerate progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is providing a solid foundation to support a variety of emerging technologies that are set to revolutionize the digital economy, including the use of artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services.

Every three to four years the conference revises the Radio Regulations (RR), the only international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources. The treaty’s provisions regulate the use of telecommunication services and, where necessary, also regulate new applications of radiocommunication technologies.

The aim of the regulation is to facilitate equitable access and rational use of the limited natural resources of the radio-frequency spectrum and the satellite orbits, and to enable the efficient and effective operation of all radiocommunication services. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Is automation enough for digital transformation?
Many leading service providers are already concluding that automation is not enough to drive complete digital transformation. Complex decision making at super-human speeds requires intelligent automation, machine learning, and AI, all of which are fundamental for controlling and operating communications networks of the future.
By Shelley Bhalla – On March 26, 2019, many airlines tweeted that their main reservation systems were having “system issues” and were unable to issue boarding passes. This was a U.S.-wide outage that impacted hundreds of thousands of passengers and the scene below from one of the airports illustrates a frustrating customer experience most anyone can relate to.

Every industry inevitably experiences network issues and outages, but in today’s deeply connected social world, a disruption in service severely impacts a company’s brand value and reputation. Service providers understand this and are focusing on using automation to quickly identify root causes and fixes to such issues.

But is automation enough for meaningful digital transformation?

To reduce operating expenses and address the complexity resulting from incorporating newer technologies, service providers must embrace a fundamental shift in ideology to focus on solving problems proactively, before they happen. This won’t happen overnight; it’s more of a journey that starts with a keen focus on solving problems quickly using analytics and automation. As time progresses, the power of artificial intelligence (AI) can then help predict and avoid these issues before they impact services.

Many leading service providers are already concluding that automation is not enough to drive complete digital transformation. Complex decision making at super-human speeds requires intelligent automation, machine learning and AI, all of which are fundamental for controlling and operating communications networks of the future.

Let’s look at why. more>

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Preventing digital feudalism

By Mariana Mazzucato – The use and abuse of data by Facebook and other tech companies are finally garnering the official attention they deserve. With personal data becoming the world’s most valuable commodity, will users be the platform economy’s masters or its slaves?

Prospects for democratizing the platform economy remain dim.

Algorithms are developing in ways that allow companies to profit from our past, present, and future behavior – or what Shoshana Zuboff of Harvard Business School describes as our “behavioral surplus.” In many cases, digital platforms already know our preferences better than we do, and can nudge us to behave in ways that produce still more value. Do we really want to live in a society where our innermost desires and manifestations of personal agency are up for sale?

Capitalism has always excelled at creating new desires and cravings. But with big data and algorithms, tech companies have both accelerated and inverted this process. Rather than just creating new goods and services in anticipation of what people might want, they already know what we will want, and are selling our future selves. Worse, the algorithmic processes being used often perpetuate gender and racial biases, and can be manipulated for profit or political gain. While we all benefit immensely from digital services such as Google search, we didn’t sign up to have our behavior cataloged, shaped, and sold.

To change this will require focusing directly on the prevailing business model, and specifically on the source of economic rents. Just as landowners in the seventeenth century extracted rents from land-price inflation, and just as robber barons profited from the scarcity of oil, today’s platform firms are extracting value through the monopolization of search and e-commerce services. more>