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Friday, June 30, 2017

For Enterprises and Service Providers, SD-WAN Advantages Outweigh Challenges

While many networking technologies are overhyped, that can't be said of software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), according to Andrew Lerner, Research VP at Gartner. In a recent blog post, he noted that over the past three years, SD-WAN adoption has really taken off, with an estimated 6,000-plus paying customers and more than 4,000 production implementations.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Mobile Network Operators, Organizations Forge Ahead With 5G

Mobile operators, industry organizations, and vendors are making progress toward 5G with activities that include multivendor network trials, nationwide network plans, innovative approaches to partnerships, and standards development. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Network Monitoring and Assurance: Visibility and One-Way Delay

The general-purpose network test equipment market is changing, driven by the emergence of 5G, greater need for interoperability testing, and increase in outsourcing, said RCR Wireless news in a recent article, citing research from TechNavio. We would add that rapidly developing changes in network monitoring extend far beyond the realm of traditional test and measurement.


For example, consider the importance of visibility into network performance, and what that actually means: insight that "allows IT to control and optimize the network, along with applications and IT services," stressed Light Reading in a recent article

Without such visibility, "organizational speed decreases, network problems take longer to resolve and security threats increase," Light Reading elaborated. A successful strategy to achieve visibility requires considering end-to-end architecture and setting up systems for immediate ROIand recognizing the unique dynamics of the network itself. 

"Ultimately, one-size does not fit all in terms of visibility architectures," Light Reading concluded. "You need one that is sized to your network’s specific configuration and needs."

One-way delay

Another, more specific, aspect to consider: one-way network delaya topic both RCR Wireless and Light Reading and touched on in articles focused on techniques operators can employ to ensure data gets where it needs to be, when it needs to get there. 

"Delay is proving to be one of the most challenging metrics to manage in advanced wireline and wireless networks," RCR Wireless said. Yet it is also "a critical component of both end user experience and infrastructure stability, since it can lead to dropped calls, slow browsing and TCP transport protocol performance impacts."

Light Reading concurred: "lengthy network delays, is an issue bedeviling video content and service providers of all stripes and sizes. Buffering delays of even just a few milliseconds can lead to a poorer customer quality-of-experience (QoE) and much higher rates of video abandonment by subscribers."

It's difficult to effectively measure and manage delay, RCR Wireless elaborated, because it "has both fixed and variable components, and it varies over time as network conditions change." Plus, "In order to properly measure and assure network delay, both one-way and two-way delay must be considered."

Further, RCR Wireless said, distributed deployment of measurement mechanisms (e.g. GPS at endpoints or in-line devices for clock synchronization) add cost and potential failure points to the network. Instead, operators have come to rely on estimating one-way delay by dividing round-trip delay in two. This is not an accurate way to measure one-way delay, however. 

"The obvious shortcoming with these rough estimates is that they don't offer any visibility into what might actually be happening on either network path," Light Reading noted. "As a result, the estimates for one-way delays could be way off because of the asymmetrical nature of most video traffic. Worse yet, these estimates could wind up producing 'false positives,' incorrectly indicating no latency problems overall when in fact there may be huge traffic delays occurring in one direction or the other.

Clearly, "service providers must measure and monitor one-way network latency directly and accurately," regardless of the cost of doing so, Light Reading concluded. (We would add that it does not need to be prohibitively costly, and solutions exist that leverage virtualization and other low-cost technologies to accurately measure one-way delay.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ovum: Low Latency Networks Underpin Service Provider Business Models

What is the inherent value of a low-latency network? In a nutshell “Latency performance underpins the entire network and therefore impacts the entire CSP business model,” said Ian Redpath, Practice Leader, Components, Transport and Routing, in Ovum’s report, “Monetizing high performance, low latency networks.”

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Virtualization Helps Cable MSOs Reduce Energy Consumption, Save Money

Often, the OpEx and CapEx benefits of virtualization are talked about in broad, general terms. But how exactly does the softwareization of networks and service delivery, especially for cable MSOs, save money and make things more efficient? One area that doesn't get much attention is the potential to reduce or at least curb energy consumption. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

5G: Six Predictions for the Future of Mobile Telecom

5G. It's coming, but there are still so many aspects of its implementation to figure out, nobody is really sure what the next generation of mobile telecom will look like, or what it will be used for. We have some pretty good guesses, though. Here are six 5G predictions from industry analysts and researchers. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cable MSO Market Trends: Enterprise Services, SD-WAN, Partnerships, and Skinny Bundles

The U.S. cable MSO market continues to be a dynamic area, with operators focusing on enterprise services, the potential for SD-WAN, partnerships to launch wireless service divisions, and introduction of "skinny bundles," among other trends. Here are some updates from several of the industry's largest players. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Mobile Telecom Market Update: IoT Networks, SDN & NFV Investment, LTE-A Pro Expansion

Recent trends in the mobile telecom market include Internet of Things (IoT) network launches, self-funding software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) investments, LTE-A Pro expansions, and another potential mergers. Here's a look at some of the latest moves on the part of major operators around the world.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Virtualized Test and Measurement: On Beyond the Network

Test and measurement isn’t just about networks anymore, stressed Light Reading in its report, “Test & Measurement Meets Virtualization’s Challenges.” As the title suggests, the report focuses on how virtualization is impacting network performance monitoring and assurance, which now must address visibility far beyond the traditional realm of T&M.