Category Archives: Telecom industry

The Big Shift

How American Democracy Fails Its Way to Success
By Walter Russell Mead – As Americans struggle to make sense of a series of uncomfortable economic changes and disturbing political developments, a worrying picture emerges: of ineffective politicians, frequent scandals, racial backsliding, polarized and irresponsible news media, populists spouting quack economic remedies, growing suspicion of elites and experts, frightening outbreaks of violence, major job losses, high-profile terrorist attacks, anti-immigrant agitation, declining social mobility, giant corporations dominating the economy, rising inequality, and the appearance of a new class of super-empowered billionaires in finance and technology-heavy industries.

That, of course, is a description of American life in the 35 years after the Civil War.

The United States is passing through something similar today. The information revolution is disrupting the country’s social and economic order as profoundly as the Industrial Revolution did.

The ideologies and policies that fit American society a generation ago are becoming steadily less applicable to the problems it faces today.

It is, in many ways, a stressful and anxious time to be alive.

And that anxiety has prompted a pervasive sense of despair about American democracy—a fear that it has reached a point of dysfunction and decay from which it will never recover. more>

Radio Over Fiber Paves Way for Future 5G Networks

By Nitin Dahad – A manufacturer of III-V photonic devices claims to have proven the feasibility of 60-GHz radio over fiber (ROF) transmission at a 1,270-nm wavelength, paving the way to potential solutions for 5G networks.

CST Global, a Scotland-based subsidiary of Sivers IMA Holdings AB in Kista, Sweden, carried out the feasibility study as part of an EU Horizon 2020 research project. The project, iBROW (innovative ultra-broadband ubiquitous wireless communications through tera-hertz transceivers), was led by the University of Glasgow and managed within CST Global by research engineer Horacio Cantu.

The company says that ROF networks are emerging as a completely new and promising communication paradigm for delivering broadband wireless access services and fronthaul at 60 GHz, relying on the synergy between fixed optical and millimeter-wave technologies. ROF technology enables RF signals to be transported over fiber across kilometers and can be engineered for unity gain RF links. Hence, it is thought that it could do a lot to ease spectrum constraints, and it can replace multiple coax cables with a single fiber-optic cable. Among several benefits, ROF could also enhance cell coverage. more>

Updates from Ciena

Following the 3-pillar approach to effective security strategy
By Paulina Gomez – In response to the rapidly evolving cybersecurity threat landscape, regulations around the world are upping the pressure on organizations to protect their sensitive customer and operational data. The maximum fine for a data breach in the upcoming European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, could be up to 4% of global revenues; enough to put even large organizations out of business.

How can an organization minimize its security risks?

It’s about more than just encryption and firewalls. A comprehensive, multi-layer security strategy is vital to an effective defense. By following these three key pillars to achieve the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data in your network, you will be protecting your data, your customers, and your business.

The central driving vision for any data security approach is to ensure customer data remains confidential at all times. This requires an end-to-end security solution protecting network traffic from the end point to the data center. more>

Updates from Ciena

How is change management the key to successful cable infrastructure modernization?
By Susan Friedman – The winds of change are blowing for the Cable/MSO Industry. And it’s all happening faster than anyone thought. Last month, cable industry gurus met in Denver for Light Reading’s 11th annual Cable Next Gen Technologies and Services conference, and it was clear embracing change is critical to meeting the end-user’s needs.

We’ve heard a lot about the impact of streaming services and cord cutting. But it was clear from discussions at the show that consumers are not abandoning cable, they are changing their consumption habits. They are now buying fast and reliable internet services, and lots of it. Consumers just can’t get enough of connected devices and the Smart Home is only smart when connected to the internet.

Here is a big change, the internet is now the epicenter of a cable operators network, not video delivery. According to Leichtman Research Group, cable rules U.S. broadband more than ever, with subscribers up 2.7 million in the last quarter of 2017. That’s 64.4% of the total market for internet services.

Technology change is also a disruptive cycle for the cable workforce, subscribers, or anyone trying to navigate thru a utility work zone. more>

A radical proposal to keep your personal data safe

By Richard Stallman – Broader, meaning extending to all surveillance systems, not just Facebook. Deeper, meaning to advance from regulating the use of data to regulating the accumulation of data. Because surveillance is so pervasive, restoring privacy is necessarily a big change, and requires powerful measures.

The surveillance imposed on us today far exceeds that of the Soviet Union. For freedom and democracy’s sake, we need to eliminate most of it. There are so many ways to use data to hurt people that the only safe database is the one that was never collected. Thus, instead of the EU’s approach of mainly regulating how personal data may be used (in its General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR), I propose a law to stop systems from collecting personal data.

The robust way to do that, the way that can’t be set aside at the whim of a government, is to require systems to be built so as not to collect data about a person. The basic principle is that a system must be designed not to collect certain data, if its basic function can be carried out without that data.

Frills on the system, such as the feature of letting a passenger review the list of past journeys, are not part of the basic function, so they can’t justify incorporating any additional surveillance.

What about security? Such systems in areas where the public are admitted must be designed so they cannot track people.

The EU’s GDPR regulations are well-meaning, but do not go very far. It will not deliver much privacy, because its rules are too lax. They permit collecting any data if it is somehow useful to the system, and it is easy to come up with a way to make any particular data useful for something. more>

Updates from Ciena

Coherent optical turns 10: Here’s how it was made
By Bo Gowan – This is the story of how a team of over 100 people in Ciena’s R&D labs pulled together an impressive collection of technology innovations that created a completely new way of transporting data over fiber…and in the processes helped change the direction of the entire optical networking industry.

Back in 2008, many in the industry had serious doubts that commercializing coherent fiber optic transport was even possible, much less the future of optical communications. That left a team of Ciena engineers to defy the naysayers and hold the torch of innovation.

“What we first began to see at Telecom 99 was that we could achieve these high speeds the brute force way, but it was really, really painful,” said Dino DiPerna in an interview.  Dino, along with many in his team, were brought on by Ciena as part of the company’s 2010 acquisition of Nortel’s optical business.  He now serves as Ciena’s Vice President of Packet-Optical Platforms R&D and is based in Ottawa.

By ‘brute force’ Dino is referring to the traditional time-division multiplexing (TDM) method that had been used until then to speed up optical transmission – basically turning the light on and off at increasingly faster speeds (also called the baud or symbol rate). “But once you start pushing past 10 billion times per second, you begin running into significant problems,” said DiPerna.

Those complexities had to do with the underlying boundaries of what you can do with light. The fundamental issue at hand was the natural spread and propagation of light as it travels along the fiber – created by two phenomenon called chromatic dispersion and polarization mode dispersion, or PMD. As you push past 10G speeds, the tolerance to chromatic dispersion goes down with the square of the baud. Due to PMD and noise from optical amplifiers, a 40 Gbaud stream will lose at least 75% of its reach compared to a 10 Gbaud stream.

This reach limitation had two consequences. First, it meant adding more costly regenerators to the network. Second, it meant that the underlying fiber plant required a more expensive, high-quality fiber to operate properly at 40G transmission speeds. more>

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Updates from Ciena

Fiber Deep: Bringing bandwidth to the edge

By Elias Cagiannos – It is no secret that on-demand audio and video streaming services are surging as consumers turn away from traditional consumption models. In 2017, 54 percent of all TV households in the country had a Netflix subscription, up from 28 percent in 2011.

These services are using massive amounts of bandwidth and often free riding on top of Multi-Service Operators’ (MSOs) networks.

As I spend time meeting with Ciena’s MSO customers, I understand that pressures don’t stop there. For example, aging and inefficient analog infrastructures are hampering bandwidth growth. In turn, this is preventing them from introducing new services as higher speeds and symmetrical services such as picture and video storage in the cloud, social media and video chatting have become more important.

Not only do these infrastructures impede service agility, but the network is becoming increasingly complex to scale. MSOs are adding more equipment to address their dynamic needs – but lack the analytics and insights to proactively make the necessary changes and are instead constantly finding themselves having to react to problems. In today’s hyper-competitive market, this can make or break a MSO’s reputation when quality of experience means everything. more>

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

Standards Update: 200GbE, 400GbE and Beyond with Pete Anslow – “Live” from Geneva
By Helen Xenos, Pete Anslow – IEEE 802.3bs defines the technical specifications to support MAC or Ethernet data rates of 200Gb/s and 400Gb/s – double and four times the capacity of Ethernet rates today – that can operate at distances to meet the requirements for most applications. The objective of the project is to define specifications that will enable multi-vendor interop, using appropriate technologies that will meet the performance and cost points required by the industry. Cost will be a function of volume and yield of components, so we aim to use existing components and technologies that can be supplied by multiple vendors.

The IEEE 802.3bs project defines physical layer specifications for operation over 100m (400GBASE-SR16), 500m (200GBASE-DR4 and 400GBASE-DR4), 2km (200GBASE-FR4 and 400GBASE-FR8), and 10km (200GBASE-LR4 and 400GBASE-LR8) distances.

The most popular formats to meet the majority of core router to transport distance requirements are the 2km and 10km devices.

While the per lane technology for 100GbE used 25Gbps NRZ signaling, we are now using PAM4 signaling for most of the new electrical and optical interface specifications. PAM4 stands for Pulse Amplitude Modulation with the “4” indicating 4 levels of modulation. 50G PAM4 requires a more sophisticated receiver design but allows for the doubling of capacity per lane while reusing existing high volume, reliable electro-optics. The signal operates at a symbol rate of 25GBaud (speed of the electro-optics), but carries 2 bits per symbol, thus doubling the capacity (50G per lane). more>