Tag Archives: Broadband

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>

Online giants must accept responsibility for impacts on the physical world

By Mark Muro, Jacob Whiton, and Sifan Liu – Despite record profits, these are tough times for Big Tech. In 2017, the industry and society each began to realize the full ambiguity of tech’s transformations of the wider world.

To be sure, many of the era’s disconcerting tech-related mega-trends have tangled origins and predate the current “digitalization of everything” quantified in our recent report.

Yet as tech columnist Farhad Manjoo has noted, the rise of the giant tech platforms has now been linked to a long list of troubling developments (along with the creation of much value).

These developments range from such online concerns as fake news, online echo chambers, and addictive product design to broader analog challenges such as the rise of inequality, the hollowing out of the job distribution, and the spread of the gig economy and automation.

Last year, Elise Giannone demonstrated that the divergence of cities’ wages since 1980—after decades of convergence—reflects a mix of technology’s increased rewards to highly skilled tech workers and local industry clustering. more>

Updates from Ciena

Year in Review: Ciena’s Top 8 Announcements of 2017
By Bo Gowan – We started off the year in January with a new member of our Blue Planet family: Blue Planet Analytics. Built for the new world of Big Data, Blue Planet Analytics generates deep network insights to help network operators make smarter, data-driven business decisions.

Paired with Blue Planet’s orchestration and policy systems, Blue Planet Analytics helps operators to continue on the path to a more autonomous network and is a strategic evolution of Ciena’s Blue Planet software suite.

Following shortly after our Blue Planet Analytics news was the unveiling of a much anticipated Blue Planet offering: Manage, Control and Plan (MCP).

MCP brings together all aspects of network operations within a single, unified interface, providing customers real-time software control and advanced visualization across Ciena’s packet and packet optical portfolios. For our existing packet and optical customers, Blue Planet MCP is a new way of managing their network. more>

Intel flaws hint at tech “too big to fail” risk

By Liam Proud, Robert Cyran – Tech groups like Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet are attracting increasing political heat for their dominance of markets like e-commerce, social media and web search.

But a recently discovered security flaw in chips made by Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and ARM highlights another important concern: bugs potentially affecting hardware found in the majority of computing devices.

Scale helps justify the massive investment needed to develop improved semiconductor technology and produce chips. Intel last year said it would spend $7 billion on a U.S. factory, and it had already started building the facility years ago. The dominance of a few players also helps ensure compatibility between machines. The downside is that hardware flaws like the newly revealed Meltdown and Spectre affect a huge number of users and could become systemic.

It’s an analogous problem to vulnerabilities in the once-dominant Microsoft Windows operating system – or, in the agricultural world, to a disease affecting widely used crop variety, like the preponderant but under-threat Cavendish banana.a more>

The Internet of Things Is Going to Change Everything About Cybersecurity

By Yevgeny Dibrov – Despite increased spending and innovation in the cybersecurity market, there is every indication that the situation will only worsen. The number of unmanaged devices being introduced onto networks daily is increasing by orders of magnitude, with Gartner predicting there will be 20 billion in use by 2020.

Traditional security solutions will not be effective in addressing these devices or in protecting them from hackers, which should be a red flag, as attacks on IoT devices were up 280% in the first part of 2017.

In fact, Gartner anticipates a third of all attacks will target shadow IT and IoT by 2020.

This new threat landscape is changing the security game. Executives who are preparing to handle future cybersecurity challenges with the same mindset and tools that they’ve been using all along are setting themselves up for continued failure.

There is much debate over the effectiveness of security and awareness training, centered on competing beliefs that humans can either be the most effective or weakest links in security chains. It can’t be denied, however, that in the age of increased social-engineering attacks and unmanaged device usage, reliance on a human-based strategy is questionable at best.

It is time to relieve your people (employees, partners, customers, etc.) of the cybersecurity burden. more>

Updates from Ciena

Ethernet Adventures: Making Progress with an Old Friend – Good ol’ Ethernet
By Chris Sweetapple – This was not his only network problem. The traditional Local Area Network (LAN) connections were plagued by latency and jitter. Users simply would NOT use underperforming applications or services.

To our hero, this is not good enough. His business’ users have high expectations. They want connectivity options and performance that are reliable, secure, on-demand and cost-effective. Our hero knows that the network can play a very valuable role. Only the network can manage the quality of the connection and ensure optimal end-user experience for everything else. This makes the network more important than ever – and a differentiator for the business; but only if it can provide the best possible assurance for each service by ensuring latency, security and speed.

With his friend, advanced business Ethernet, our hero can mitigate legacy network complexities, sidestep the public internet and increase network performance. He can also maintain links to traditional networks and applications while keeping pace with fluctuating usage demands. Our hero can now modernize his network. He can move toward next-generation operations and embrace hybrid capabilities for a variety of uses. Connections can be increased from 1G to 10G and higher – up to 100G to connect to data centers or transfer massive files like MRI scans, uncompressed video, design prototypes, and so on. more>

A goal realized: Network lobbyists’ sweeping capture of their regulator

By Tom Wheeler – “Here’s how the telecom industry plans to defang their regulators,” a September 12, 2013 Washington Post headline announced. “[T]elecom giants including Verizon, AT&T and Comcast have launched multiple efforts to shift regulation of their broadband business to other agencies that don’t have nearly as much power as the FCC,” the article explained.

The companies’ goal: to move regulatory jurisdiction from the Federal Communications Commission to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Strategically, it is a brilliant sleight of hand since the FTC has no rulemaking authority and no telecommunications expertise, yet the companies and the policymakers who support them can trot out the line that the FTC will protect consumers.

With this vote, the FCC walked away from over a decade of bipartisan efforts to oversee the fairness and openness of companies such as Comcast, AT&T, Charter, and Verizon. These four companies control over 75 percent of the residential internet access in America, usually through a local monopoly. Henceforth, they will be able to make their own rules, subject only to very limited after-the-fact review.

The assertion that the FTC will be able to provide that protection adequately is an empty promise. The people at the FTC are good people, but they have neither network expertise, nor the authority to make rules. more>

Network industry is operating on flawed foundational principles


By George Mattathil – In a nutshell, the current situation with cyber security [2] is the direct result of the developments during the the “internet bubble,” in the 1990s. Collapse of the Bell Labs permitted the unchecked growth of the “internet bubble” and related hype.

The divestiture and the collapse of the Bells Labs left a vacuum for network technology leadership, that was substituted by hype that surrounded the “internet mania.” As a result, current network industry is operating on flawed foundational principles.

This added to the deficiencies in economic decision systems for (network) technology adoption, with the results we are seeing today: cyber security [2] challenges, internet malware [2] attacks and political controversies [2].

One of the consequences of the flawed network foundations is that the Broadband [2] adoption (which includes IoT) is progressing much slower than it could.

Another side effect is that ongoing network deployments are architecturally incoherent, resulting in enhanced complexity and cost. more>

Fake news and botnets: how Russia weaponized the web

By Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus – Estonia boasts the most technologically advanced system of government in the world.

Every citizen possesses a digital identity – an identification number and login code for access to completely digitized interactions with the state. Estonians can vote online, file their taxes, check medical records, access the national health care system, and receive notifications of most government attempts to access their personal records. About 97% of the country uses digital banking. The Estonian national ethic is built on the idea that every citizen is transparent and the state is too. This makes Estonia extremely efficient – and extremely vulnerable.

“We live in the future. Online banking, online news, text messages, online shopping – total digitization has made everything quicker and easier,” Jaan Priisalu said. “But it also creates the possibility that we can be thrown back centuries in a couple of seconds.”

The question is how the west can maintain its core values of freedom of speech and the free flow of information while protecting itself from malevolent geopolitical actors? For centuries, eastern European countries such as Estonia relied on walls, watchtowers, and fortresses to keep out invaders. The US became the world’s most powerful country in part because it was insulated from foreign threats by vast oceans on two sides. In the internet age, traditional borders are less effective.

To survive in the era of information warfare, every society will have to create ways of withstanding cyber-attacks. more>

The new geopolitics

By Bruce Jones – America’s politics are mired in dysfunction and division. Much of the focus is on economic questions, and much of the heat is generated by the culture wars; but real wars—and America’s role in them—are part of the debate too.

While this debate preoccupies America, the world is changing, and rapidly. We have entered a new phase in international affairs, leaving behind us the brief moment characterized by untrammeled American dominance. Many of the changes underway are beyond America’s control. However, some dynamics could still be shaped by concerted and disciplined American policy—and might. Whether we are capable of that in the current moment remains to be seen, as does the price Americans are willing to pay to do so.

To paraphrase Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, America is entitled to decide what role we want to play in the world, but we are not entitled to pretend the world is not changing around us.

We are operating in a changing system that has an asymmetric bipolarity at its core, and a fluid, economic multipolarity orbiting around it. It has the following additional features.

First, we are in an undeclared arms race between the United States and China.

Several major countries are debating whether they can rely on the United States to maintain inter-state security in their region (to balance China’s rise in Asia; to contain Iran in the Middle East; to curtail Russian aggression in Europe), at which point those powers seek continued or deeper alignment with Washington.

The tools of renewed geopolitical competition differ depending on the type of state in play. Advanced economies are playing an insidious game of “confront and conceal,” with cyber intrusions, discreet or disguised financial influence, and disinformation to influence or disrupt an opponent’s internal politics.

In less advanced economies, large-scale infrastructure spending combined with political pressure and corruption has emerged as the technique of choice by the great powers, while counter-corruption campaigns are the vehicle for domestic purges. more>