While the term “policy” has a rather general feel about it, in a modern carrier network “policy control” has far more of a feet-on-the-ground role. As a fitting parallel, meeting companies and clients at Mobile World Congress is a personal exercise in policy control. From the meeting arranging frenzy we’re now in right through to the exhausting finale on-site in Barcelona, questions arise such as: Who do I want to see? Who wants to see me? How are they to be prioritized? How many can I manage in a day? Which do I commit to (“guaranteed QoS”)? What others do I try to do (“best efforts”)? Crucially, what do I do on-site when a high-priority company suddenly changes its arrangements and demands more “bandwidth” unexpectedly?
You get the picture. That’s what policy control is about.
Mobile World Congress represents the best opportunity for operators to track backhaul evolutions.
Backhaul should be a hot topic again, since the backhaul network is clearly a point of both contention and opportunity.
A number of themes should dominate the backhaul discussion: self-organizing network (SON) and automation, scalability, convergence; using routers, switches, microwave and advanced copper-based solutions.
When we launched our backhaul coverage around 2005-2006, the backhaul network discussion was just beginning to transition from TDM to packet; for some, the thought of using a wildly unpredictable packet model to support mobile traffic was considered heresy. However, 3G mobile data was beginning to rock the boat and IP was beginning to make its way into the mobile core network. The backhaul portion of the network then began a rather slow and painful evolution, driven not by choice but by necessity. The primary concerns were how to install more T1 or E1 circuits in a timely fashion to satisfy meager bandwidth increases and whether packet technology could ever provide the resiliency and accurate timing and synchronization so fondly held by TDM proponents. Flash forward to today and seldom is a TDM discussion heard, and packet discussions are all about capacity and throughput – not surprising given the real demands being placed on the network as a result of LTE. However, the bigger discussion centers around using multiple media types and the ability to ease operator pain points related to configuration and ongoing operations; in comes an SDN vision for backhaul. Continue reading “Mobile World Congress 2014: What Operators Should Look For – Backhaul”→
CES 2014 presented no shortage of signs that the Internet of Things is becoming a reality.
Monetizing the Internet of Things, however, can’t be taken for granted.
Video has typically been one of Cisco’s primary talking points at CES. It makes sense. Video is a core component of the triple-play consumer service offer and Cisco maintains a deep portfolio of video assets. Oh, and it gives the company a solid excuse to host a reception where it shows the BCS championship college football game. Savvy, huh? Continue reading “CES 2014: The Internet of Things Inflection Point”→
CES 2014 continued the trend of including high-profile participation from players outside the consumer electronics world.
This trend is best understood in terms of enabling ‘consumer experiences.’
Last year, when coordinating with colleagues around CES 2013, a few were surprised that I had set aside time to connect with the likes of Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, and Ericsson. “They don’t make phones. They don’t make tablets. They don’t make TVs. Sure, Cisco makes set-tops, but why are the other vendors even coming to CES? I suppose some execs just wanted a free trip to Vegas!” Okay, in retrospect, I’m probably remembering things in a much more amplified form. That said, you get the idea. For a show with ‘consumer electronics’ in the title, it does seem a little strange that vendors traditionally associated with network infrastructure would be exhibiting.
Wait, did I say “exhibiting”? Scratch that. Insert “keynoting” in its place.
At Current Analysis, we like to say we’re “different than other analyst firms” in that we don’t focus our analysis on producing market forecasts. Of course, this approach often raises the question from those who are not familiar with us: “So, if you don’t do numbers, what do you do?” The snarky answer is “lots of stuff.” However, one of the more popular aspects of our analysis are our Product Assessments. Now, we don’t tear down platforms, but we do perform metrics-driven SWOT analysis on a range of vendor offerings. Here’s a little more about how we approach the task. Continue reading “Portfolio Assessments: Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder”→
ZTE stands at an inflection point – will it grow increasingly regional or global?
Massive Chinese LTE rollouts provide an opportunity for transformation
Coming back from the New Year holiday, a wave of déjà vu made me question what year I was in as I read ZTE’s announcement of “organizational changes.” Didn’t the vendor implement organizational changes awhile back? Some of the same vague concepts mentioned in that previous reorganization seemed to echo in this new one – its infrastructure business vowing to “intensify its focus on key areas of higher profitability” (whatever those might be). At least on the infrastructure side, are these changes more of the same? Continue reading “Will Chinese LTE Rollouts Help Transform ZTE?”→
The globalization of the telecommunications industry is a given. Original national network operators such as AT&T, BT, Deutsche Telekom, NTT, Orange, Tata, Telefonica and Verizon are now global network providers. Network systems vendors, in turn, also come from all regions, such as Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson from Europe, Ciena and Cisco from North America, Huawei and ZTE from China, and NEC and Fujitsu from Japan.
This globalization permeates the individual segments of the telecommunications industry, including optical networking, where market share is assigned by global share. A recent report by a quantitative analyst firm found that Huawei had the highest share of the optical network hardware market, followed by Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, ZTE and Fujitsu. These results absolutely indicate the scale at which these companies operate; leading firms can leverage larger sales to lower their unit costs via economies of scale. The results could also imply that, for most optical networking opportunities, Huawei would be the most potent competitor. However, this implication would be false; the optical networking market is highly segmented based on geographic regions. For instance:
Fujitsu’s sales are overwhelmingly in North America;
Ciena does not even attempt to sell in China;
The winners of the upcoming massive 100G DWDM build-out by China Mobile are Huawei, ZTE, FiberHome and Alcatel Shanghai Bell, all Chinese firms; and
Huawei and ZTE are effectively excluded from the North American Tier 1 operator market.