Liberty Media’s Formula 1 OTT Snafus Underscore the Importance of Video Infrastructure

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Formula 1 debuted its direct-to-consumer, OTT streaming service, F1 TV Pro, at last month’s Spanish Grand Prix. It was a massive, embarrassing failure, with many customers actually unable to watch the live stream of the race itself.
  • Formula 1 owner Liberty Media needs to address any/all issues quickly, to ensure optimal quality of service (QoS) and experience (QoE) for this premium, live broadcast streaming service or face the prospect of losing a high-potential (and high-margin) revenue-generation opportunity.

Formula One (F1) marked the start of its European season this past weekend with the debut of its own direct-to-consumer, over-the-top (OTT) streaming video service, F1 TV Pro. Given F1’s position as the most watched, globally prominent, high-profile motorsport, service quality expectations were quite high. Instead, subscribers were served massive helpings of disappointment, most notably by being unable to watch an actual live stream of the race itself. Sadly, similar problems occurred during F1 TV Pro’s streaming of the next race, at Monaco, which is generally regarded as Formula 1’s marquee event of the year. In response, Formula 1 has set up a help account on Twitter (@F1Help) to address streaming issues. Still, some customers claimed to miss the first eight minutes of the Monaco race; @F1Help’s official post cited a “temporary blip” as the cause. Continue reading “Liberty Media’s Formula 1 OTT Snafus Underscore the Importance of Video Infrastructure”

How 5G Could Kill Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst

Summary Bullets:
• DAS will face steep hurdles in evolving to the 5G era.

• Vendors of distributed small-cell enterprise RAN solutions, once content to aim down-market from DAS, are increasingly aimed at competing with DAS head-on, exploiting DAS’s 5G vulnerabilities.

• However, any threat posed to DAS by 5G is likely to take years to have effect, increasing the long-term uncertainty surrounding these trends.

5G — in its early implementations, at least, aimed at mobile broadband, rather than the Internet of Things (IoT) — will be more evolution than revolution, boosting speeds that were already increasing steadily via advances in LTE technology. But in at least one respect, even 5G mobile broadband promises to do something truly disruptive: It could mean the demise of DAS.

That’s no small matter. Some estimates put the global DAS market well north of $6 billion annually. Walk into any stadium, hospital, shopping mall, or big-box store and make a mobile call; odds are you’re using a DAS, a carrier-neutral network that distributes the signals of multiple operators using shared antennas and other gear so that each operator doesn’t need its own separate in-building network. Continue reading “How 5G Could Kill Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)”

ZTE’s TITAN-ic Gamble: Does a Massive OLT/Transport Platform Make Sense in an Increasingly Decentralized, Software-Defined Landscape?

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • ZTE’s demonstration of 50G PON, specifically single-lambda, symmetric 50G PON at OFC 2018, highlights the vendor’s R&D commitment in the evolving FTTP markets.
  • ZTE still needs commercial proof points for its new TITAN OLT/optical transport solution, especially in light of the trend towards decentralized, virtualized, and software-defined fixed access networks.

The annual Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) conference in the U.S. took place in San Diego earlier this month. Inevitably, the event provides the opportunity for vendors to showcase both their current product portfolios and prototype technologies. To this end, ZTE took full advantage of exposure provided by OFC to demo a 50G PON solution, specifically, a single-wavelength, symmetric 50G PON. The single-lambda approach distinguishes ZTE’s 50G proposition from other ‘ultra-PON’ offerings, i.e., those delivering 50 or 100G PON via multiple wavelengths. Continue reading “ZTE’s TITAN-ic Gamble: Does a Massive OLT/Transport Platform Make Sense in an Increasingly Decentralized, Software-Defined Landscape?”

LiFi Verging Ever Closer to Reality

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Investments by numerous vendors over the past few years in ‘LiFi’ are resulting in meaningful progress in 2018. A trial announced by Philips Lighting in March represents a huge endorsement.
  • While the technology remains several years away from commercial products, LiFi represents a truly disruptive technology that could augment traditional cellular and WiFi.

News flash: With seemingly insatiable customer demand for high-speed data and streaming video, network operators are increasingly concerned about how they can keep pace. And much of that concern centers on ‘bandwidth.’ Traditional cellular radio technologies are constrained, and operators and regulators are scrambling to find new spectrum on which to provide service, particularly with the 5G era looming. WiFi provides an effective tool to extend cellular or fixed coverage into homes and businesses, but it is difficult to seamlessly integrate into other networks and is racked with security vulnerabilities. Continue reading “LiFi Verging Ever Closer to Reality”

OFC 2018: Nokia’s New PSE-3 DSP Chipset Pushes Optical Transmission Closer to the Shannon Limit

Emir Halilovic – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • PCS Maximizes Fiber Utilization: The PSE-3 DSP relies on PCS modulation to increase available bandwidth per fiber close to its theoretical maximum.
  • PSE-3 Simplifies Network Operations: PCS enables the PSE-3 to tune its wavelength capacity from 100G to 600G, using a single modulation format, baud rate, and channel size.

Nokia’s new Photonic Service Engine 3 (PSE-3) is designed to improve optical performance, flexibility, and programmability across a wide range of wavelength capacities. To achieve this, the new DSP chipset utilizes probabilistic constellation shaping (PCS) – a modulation technique which improves optical reach performance by approximately 1 dB, or roughly 25% (compared to the most advanced optical systems today). This brings the optical system performance, according to Nokia, within a fraction of a dB of Shannon theoretical limits. Continue reading “OFC 2018: Nokia’s New PSE-3 DSP Chipset Pushes Optical Transmission Closer to the Shannon Limit”

Looking for Light in Ericsson Results, but It’s Getting Dimmer

John Byrne – Service Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Ericsson’s Q4 2017 results showed signs of progress, including significant adoption of its 5G-focused Ericsson Radio System (ERS), an improved position in the Chinese market, and the elimination or completion of a dozen unprofitable and/or non-strategic services engagements.
  • Unfortunately, the weak results, coupled with continued management upheaval, paint a picture of a company that remains adrift despite replacing a significant portion of its leadership team in the past 18 months.

Ericsson released its Q4 2017 financial results January 31, and as the company had already forecast, it was mostly bad news, particularly when it comes to reported results which reflected a 12% decline in revenue and a painful -34.5% operating margin compared to -0.3% in Q4 2016 and -10% in Q3 2017. However, in the spirit of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, there was some good news to offset the bad. To be clear, however, some of the news was just bad. Continue reading “Looking for Light in Ericsson Results, but It’s Getting Dimmer”

Network Slicing: Technology or Business Innovation?

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • As a concept for running diverse logical networks over a common physical infrastructure, network slicing has been linked closely to 5G network transformations and 5G’s aspirations of servicing the needs of consumers alongside myriad industries.
  • As it gets put into practice, however, a number of questions around slicing still need to be resolved: How granular will slices be? Which networks and network elements will be sliced? How open will slicing be to third parties? What can network prioritization teach us? Most of these questions revolve around business considerations, not technology considerations.

Last week, the GSM Suppliers Association, along with a who’s who of telecom networking vendors and industry associations (Nokia, Huawei, ETSI, GSMA, NGMN, IEEE, 3GPP), hosted its 2017 Network Slicing Summit, billed as “the first virtual event on 5G technology to serve all industries.” We had the honor of delivering a presentation as part of the summit. You can view a copy of it here. Continue reading “Network Slicing: Technology or Business Innovation?”