Category Archives: Telecom industry

Updates from ITU

Advocacy Target 4: Digital Skills & Literacy
ITU – Effective education systems are essential for meeting future challenges and delivering on the SDGs. Although rapid technological change has taken place over the last thirty years, education systems in many countries have remained largely unchanged over the last century. Education is about much more than merely providing people with the skills and knowledge to work, and must create a framework through which people can lead diverse and fulfilling lives. People of all ages should have opportunities to learn about their own cultures, in their own languages.

There is broad agreement that education needs to ensure that people gain four main skills: creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. Alongside skills such as literacy and numeracy, people should now also gain basic digital skills. They need to have a comprehensive understanding of the rapidly changing world in which they live, as well as their roles and responsibilities within it. ITU’s Global ICT Development Index (IDI) includes a measure of digital skills and capabilities.

There is considerable debate as to what proficiency in digital skills and an ‘adequate’ level really mean. Digital skills have been broken down into three categories:

  1. the basic digital literacy needed for all workers, consumers and citizens in a digital society;
  2. the advanced ICT skills (coding, computer science and engineering) which are needed to develop innovative ICT products and services; and
  3. e-business skills or the specific know-how needed for digital entrepreneurshipn. Figure 15 shows how global averages for digital skills vary from 5.2% (using a programming language) to 43.7% (transferring files).

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Updates from ITU

How AI for healthcare can overcome obstacles and save lives
By Dr. Winnie Tang – Al has been widely applied in healthcare. It can identify early symptoms, diagnose diseases, help carry out operations, predict when an epidemic will break out and undertake hospital administrative tasks such as making appointments and registering patients.

Accenture, a consultancy firm, estimated that 10 promising Al applications could save up to USD 150 billion in annual medical expenses for the U.S. by 2026.

Among the 10 applications, the most valuable is the robot-assisted surgery, according to the research. A study of 379 patients who had undergone orthopedic surgeries found that an AI-assisted robotic technique resulted in a five-fold reduction in the complications compared to operations performed solely by human surgeons. more>

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Updates from Ciena

FlexE: 3 reasons network providers are interested
By Helen Xenos – FlexEthernet, or FlexE, is a client interface standard being defined by the OIF that allows for a variety of Ethernet MAC rates (10GbE, 40GbE, nx25GbE) that are decoupled from Ethernet PHY (physical interface) rates.

Wait, what?

You may have heard about FlexE and even read about operators trialing FlexE in their networks, but unless you are intimately involved with standards activities or Ethernet protocol implementation, translating FlexE to its resulting networking value may not be obvious. For most of us, it is only once you start to look at the drivers behind the development and dig into which of today’s challenges it solves, that you can determine whether FlexE is something that makes sense for your network. more>

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How to govern AI to make it a force for good

In the interview, Gasser identifies three things policymakers and regulators should consider when developing strategies for dealing with emerging technologies like AI.
Urs Gasser – “Everyone is talking about Artificial Intelligence and its many different applications, whether it’s self-driving cars or personal assistance on the cell phone or AI in health,” he says. “It raises all sorts of governance questions, questions about how these technologies should be regulated to mitigate some of the risks but also, of course, to embrace the opportunities.”

One of the largest challenges to AI is its complexity, which results in a divide between the knowledge of technologists and that of the policymakers and regulators tasked to address it, Gasser says.

“There is actually a relatively small group of people who understand the technology, and there are potentially a very large population affected by the technology,” he says.

This information asymmetry requires a concerted effort to increase education and awareness, he says.

“How do we train the next generation of leaders who are fluent enough to speak both languages and understand engineering enough as well as the world policy and law enough and ethics, importantly, to make these decisions about governance of AI?”

Another challenge is to ensure that new technologies benefit all people in the same way, Gasser says.

Increasing inclusivity requires efforts on the infrastructural level to expand connectivity and also on the data level to provide a “data commons” that is representative of all people, he says. more>

Guidelines to Achieve Digital Transformation

GSR-18 BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES ON NEW REGULATORY FRONTIERS TO ACHIEVE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
itu.int – Digitization is increasingly and fundamentally changing societies and economies and disrupting many sectors in what has been termed the 4th Industrial Revolution. Meanwhile, ICT regulation has evolved globally over the past ten years and has experienced steady transformation.

As regulators, we need to keep pace with advances in technology, address the new regulatory frontiers and create the foundation upon which digital transformation can achieve its full potential. Being prepared for digital transformation and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine to Machine communications (M2M) and 5G is fundamental.

Advances in technology are creating new social phenomena and business models that impact every aspect of our personal and professional lives – and which challenge regulatory paradigms. M2M, cloud computing, 5G, AI and IoT are all bringing further profound change. Recognizing the potential of emerging technologies and the impact that policy and regulatory frameworks can have on their success, regulators should encourage a regulatory paradigm pushing frontiers and enabling the digital transformation. more> draft doc (pdf)

Updates from Ciena

Why the Secret Behind Strong Early Adoption of 400G Technology is … 200G

By Helen Xenos – This month, we shipped our 5,000th 400G-capable coherent optical transponder, confirming our prediction that the use of 400G technology is ramping 3 times faster than 100G.  What may come as a surprise, however, is that the dominant application driving 400G deployments is not 400G, but 200G (long haul-datacenter interconnect to be precise).

Why? The technology that enables 400G wavelengths has a lot to do with expanding the application space for 200G as well.

To fully understand the demand drivers for 400G, it’s important to clarify the various ways 400G is defined. The term “400G” is quite popular in today’s optical networking conversations, but can also have different meanings depending on the context in which it is being used.

So, which applications are driving 400G deployments? We hear so much about the fast-growing metro WDM market, 400ZR and the need to maximize capacity for short reach DCI applications, that intuitively you would think this is the “sweet spot” application.

In fact, the most popular use case we see for early 400G adoption is to support the rise of 200G long-haul for aggressive DCI network builds. more>

Updates from Ciena

5 key wireline network improvements needed for 5G
By Brian Lavallee – Ask an end-user about how their phone connects to the network, and they’ll likely only talk about cellular or wireless technology, which is also where most of the current 5G industry hype is focused, and for good reason, as this is the first part of the network to be upgraded. However, the reality is that RAN (Radio Access Network) only makes up a small portion of the end-to-end path that data from a connected device must travel to provide connectivity. The rest of the path is primarily a fiber-optic transport network.

With 5G coming soon, featuring data rates as much as 100 times faster than what’s currently available, the wireline infrastructure that connects end-users (man and machine) to accessed content residing in data centers, must be ready to support upwards of 1,000 times more data flowing across it.

How can network operators prepare? Well, here are five key areas within the wireline network that will need to be upgraded and modernized to support 5G.

  1. Fronthaul
  2. Scalability
  3. Densification
  4. Virtualization
  5. Network Slicing

The move to 5G won’t be a simple network upgrade. It’s a long journey with a high-performance wireline network as the critical component to commercial success for both 4G strategies and the evolution toward 5G. more>

Updates from Ciena

From Land to Sea to Cloud
By Brian Lavallée – Submarine networks carry over 99% of all telecommunications traffic between continental landmasses making them easily classified as critical infrastructure. There’s also no “Plan B” for these submerged assets, so they’ll continue to act as the jugular veins of intercontinental connectivity for years to come and will thus require constant technology innovation to reliably and securely maintain this pivotal role.

But exactly what traffic is transported back and forth on seabeds around the world? According to respected industry analyst firm TeleGeography, it’s increasingly Data Center Interconnection (DCI) traffic, and LOTS of it.

It’s projected that Internet Content Providers (ICPs) will soon account for the majority of submarine traffic in all regions of the world. Impressive for a group of companies that just over a decade ago, were essentially non-players in the submarine networking market.

Given the astonishing amount of DCI traffic added to traditional wholesale traffic, several new technologies were introduced to address this extraordinary growth, which sits at around 40% CAGR worldwide, according to TeleGeography. more>

Updates from Ciena

Debunking 5 common myths about 5G
By Brian Lavallée – When 5G begins to roll out, it will likely start in a select group of countries like the United States, South Korea, China, Japan, and India. However, we won’t be saying goodbye to 4G anytime soon. The truth is, 5G was never intended to replace 4G, unlike 4G that was expected to replace 3G (but never really did). When 5G rolls out, 4G and its multiple variants will still play a key role in the network — particularly for less bandwidth-heavy applications and use cases.

This means operators need to plan for both 4G today and 5G tomorrow, as both will coexist and share same network resources for the foreseeable future.

There’s no doubt: higher download speeds are a big part of 5G and is what most people are most excited about but equally important is that 5G will offer up to 10 times lower latency than 4G. It is this combination of faster download speeds and reduced latency that opens up new use cases, such as augmented reality and virtual reality.

Since the 5G standards are not complete, there is no such thing as a “5G product” today. To get around this, some talk about having 4.5G (better than 4G, but not quite 5G) products that meet the current draft standards being proposed today. However, it is important to note; you can’t credibly make this claim because if you build something based on where the standards are now, there is still a chance the product won’t be able to adapt, such as via software upgrades, when standards are approved later. more>

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>