KPN to Cut 380 Jobs – Then What?

Summary Bullets:

  • KPN’s retrenchments are a response to the shift from circuit to packet switching technologies, increased competition, and the lower margins available now.
  • KPN has got some fat in its balance sheet; its next move will be vital to its future.

The reorganisation of KPN’s staff, with the net loss of 380 jobs just before Christmas, is harsh for those who face a bleak winter, but it seems mild in comparison with what other operators have gone through moving from circuit switching to packet switching. But that’s not the only problem KPN faces. Continue reading “KPN to Cut 380 Jobs – Then What?”

Diameter Signaling Over IP Exchange Promises Bright New Horizon for 4G LTE Roaming

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Diameter signaling is very complex and can be costly for mobile network operators (MNOs) to deliver
  • Wholesale carriers are moving in to help solve these complexity issues on behalf of MNO clients, and in the near future more widely available 4G roaming will help business users be more productive while on the road

Whilst Diameter signaling and IPX seem purely technical terms that have little to do with enterprise IT and communications, the fact is, the implications of these technologies on the way we can be productive while on the move are considerable. Imagine leaving your home 4G network, getting on a plane to travel to another country, and within minutes of landing, zap! you are once again able to enjoy high-speed mobile access and enterprise-quality video and voice. However, users are going to have to be aware of how their cross-border ubiquitous 4G LTE mobile experience is going to cause a huge spike in the monthly bill. We are all familiar with the high data roaming costs that can come with mobile broadband roaming, and therefore the enterprise customer needs to be continually pushing mobile vendors for fairer terms and prices, and already begin conversations on cost effective widespread 4G LTE roaming. Vodafone, for example, has recently suggested that 4G doubles data usage and that it expects 4G to increase mobile data revenues, including roaming, even in the light of incoming EU roaming legislation. Continue reading “Diameter Signaling Over IP Exchange Promises Bright New Horizon for 4G LTE Roaming”

Extending Enterprise WANs into Carrier-Neutral Locations May Lower Costs, Boost Performance and Speed Turn-up of Cloud Services

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Equinix Performance Hub – building enterprise WANs around the company’s data centres – makes its appeal around improved network performance and application delivery.
  • The advantages of extending a WAN into carrier-neutral exchanges include easy access to cloud-ready services and arbitrage on network traffic, but exchanges cannot do everything a dedicated WAN provider can.

On March 5, 2014, Equinix announced an initiative to launch Performance Hub, a solution that lets enterprises re-architect their WANs around the company’s International Business Exchange data centres.  The service promises a host of improvements for enterprises, including simplified cloud deployments, an optimized network and better quality of experience (QoE).  Equinix explicitly targets the enterprise segment with Performance Hub; the solution is initially available in North America, with a global launch planned in the near future.  According to the company, existing customers for its Performance Hub architecture include Chevron, eBay and Nvidia.  The company is also touting additional enhanced cloud connectivity through Performance Hub, as Equinix can plug enterprises directly into premium web-based apps, and to cloud computing providers such as Amazon Web Services and MS Windows Azure. Continue reading “Extending Enterprise WANs into Carrier-Neutral Locations May Lower Costs, Boost Performance and Speed Turn-up of Cloud Services”

G.fast Squeezes Big Juice from Copper Pair; TeliaSonera Launches Helsinki Pilot

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Widely available 500 Mbps speeds over copper remain several years away, but a handful of European incumbents are looking at the technology very carefully as a realistic means to get high-performance access economically leveraging existing copper plant.
  • The inflection point for widespread availability is going to hinge on sensible market regulation, so that domestic incumbents are encouraged to invest in G.fast while alternative ISPs and telcos have incentives to deploy G.fast-based offerings via LLU.

It is amazing to see how humble copper continues to guarantee its own survival based on good reasons to maintain it in the face of growing optical fibre investments.  Last July, A1 Telekom Austria and Alcatel-Lucent achieved 1.1 Gbps speeds over good quality cable along a distance of 70 metres and 800 Mbps over 100 metres in test cases.  The ITU-T founded the G.fast group in 2011, and the program has the support of several operators, chipset manufacturers and equipment vendors.  But, here’s the rub: Rollout is bound to become a contentious issue, fraught with legal battles between incumbents and alternative providers and overseen by domestic market watchdogs.  When it comes to deploying equipment and chipsets supporting G.fast, why would the incumbent invest only to be forced to hand the keys to the treasure chest to rivals ISPs and telcos?  Let’s leave the legal battles to one side; suffice to say, this will continue to keep the legal heads in Brussels, and throughout Europe, busy for a while to come.  Luckily, the early phases of DSL and the enforcement of LLU have formed a foundation, and G.fast regulation will surely be built upon similar models.  Across Europe and the rest of the world, copper pair quality, distances from exchanges and construction also vary wildly, so there will only ever be a patchwork quilt rollout for G.fast, with differences a certainty country by country.  Wholesale divisions, such as BT Wholesale, may play a fundamental role in developing white label versions that alternative telcos and ISPs can then take to a wider national market, which will help to encourage a healthy competitive landscape that ultimately benefits the buyer. Continue reading “G.fast Squeezes Big Juice from Copper Pair; TeliaSonera Launches Helsinki Pilot”

It’s a Game of Cops and Robbers: Communications Fraudsters Pose a Threat, but Anti-Fraud Measures Are Available

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Communications fraud is a huge business bleeding massive sums of revenue.
  • Fraudsters are sophisticated; attacks are constant and well-orchestrated by criminal gangs.
  • Be vigilant!  Invest in an anti-fraud system if your business relies on high-volume voice traffic.

Telecom fraud can be conducted via a bewildering range of sneaky tricks and tactics, including PBX dial-through, inflated call rates on premium numbers, SIM box theft, and international bypass.  Examples of revenue loss for telecom providers include falsely boosted traffic, or bypassing termination rates by false SIM box locations.  A1 Telekom Austria has put the figure of annual revenue loss for carriers at shocking 6% of overall revenue.  The BYOD phenomenon, more IT running in the cloud, and the wider prevalence of M2M will all contribute to greater exposure of networks supporting cloud-based and mobile offerings to hacking.  Moreover, as IP networks become globally ubiquitous, communications fraud becomes a part of the bigger overall cybercrime picture, whereby the fraudster only needs a computer and Internet access to conduct criminal activity.  Continue reading “It’s a Game of Cops and Robbers: Communications Fraudsters Pose a Threat, but Anti-Fraud Measures Are Available”

The Big Data Challenge: Should You Sell It, or Use It?

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Services companies need to turn to experts in data warehousing, mining and analytics to seek consultations on how big data can be manipulated.
  • Service providers have fantastic opportunities to both sell big data, for example to advertisers, as well as to use it for strengthening business relations with customer-centric solutions.

There are many questions surrounding the big data phenomenon, such as can services companies (e.g., telcos) sell it and/or use it for their own purposes? The challenges include how to configure already complex billing and IT architectures to capture the information and make sense of it, as well as navigating local regulations. There are several professional software and IT integration companies, such as Amdocs and Accenture that are all vying for business from telecom operators, and other industries, to help capitalize on the big data gold mine. Continue reading “The Big Data Challenge: Should You Sell It, or Use It?”

Advantages and Benefits of Looking to SIs and Resellers for Network and Cloud

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • A local touch and customer centricity are benefits of sourcing office network and communications needs from a reseller as opposed to buying directly from a traditional telco.
  • Service providers have dedicated teams and product ranges that are specifically designed to help channel and reseller partners sell into the diverse SME market.

Several major telcos have special divisions dedicated to wholesale market strategies.  These teams take existing enterprise services and white-label them, or develop their own wholesale tailored solutions, in order to sell onwards to channel partners.  In the UK market, Colt, TalkTalk Business, Vodafone Carrier Services and BT Wholesale are all classic examples.  These providers’ wholesale portfolios have evolved beyond basic connectivity to include hosted UC and collaboration, contact centres, data centre services such as collocation and hosting, IP/Ethernet VPNs and growing ranges of cloud computing.  The wholesale carrier services market environment is very competitive, which is a good thing for both third-party resellers and customers, because products need to offer price and performance benefits to survive.  The efforts that carriers make to gain traction with their resellers may include e-bonding of systems so that the reseller can obtain accurate price quotes and provisioning timescales, as well as dedicated support and integration teams to help the SI or reseller implement solutions.  Colt, for example, has invested heavily in automation systems for its network and data centres with a central objective of better supporting platforms for its indirect sales partners. Continue reading “Advantages and Benefits of Looking to SIs and Resellers for Network and Cloud”

Demand Drives IPsec and Hybrid VPN Development and Progress

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • IPsec is a suitable workaround for giving remote access to VPN users where dedicated access is a very costly proposal.
  • Service providers are adding sophistication to their hybrid VPN products to push non-critical traffic over the public Internet.

There are three main hybrid VPN and IPsec drivers: cost savings, more and more IT moving into the cloud, and globalization that sees workers needing access to the VPN from remote locations.  Putting a dedicated access in place is not always a sensible option economically, and WAN optimization and acceleration techniques are helping raise performance for cloud-based applications over any endpoint access technology (for example, DSL).  There is also growing interest in hybrid VPN solutions at larger corporate sites to save on the costly last-mile access part of a data network.  In this scenario, customers can send non-critical traffic such as file transfers and e-mail over public and shared infrastructure and use a private circuit replete with QoS for more critical and latency or jitter-sensitive applications.  The hybrid approach lets enterprise end users access their main business applications from corporate sites, their homes, and on the move during business travel. Continue reading “Demand Drives IPsec and Hybrid VPN Development and Progress”

The Impact on Your IT Department of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • NFV will dramatically reduce the number of expensive hardware appliances that carriers and large enterprises need to deploy throughout the data centre and network
  • Instead of so many hardware boxes, networks will be able to deploy cheap-as-dirt high volume server infrastructure with VMs running on top to replace all those functions previously occupied by hardware
  • SDN promises control of the network fabric with more of this control extending to the enterprise in due course

SDN and NFV are garnering attention in the industry with exciting benefits being promised to consumers of network and IT services. The longer term view of NFV is that VMs running network applications on mass-market low cost server infrastructure will replace expensive dedicated appliances. The implication of this for owners of extensive network and data centre infrastructure is ultimately far lower costs, since adding VMs on servers means procuring cheap-as-mud standard servers as opposed to far more expensive dedicated equipment such as switches, routers, deep packet inspection boxes, firewalls and session border controllers. Moreover the amount of technical and engineering support required to manage significantly virtualized network components such as  CDN, carrier grade NAT, and other services, is far less because provisioning and on-going management is automated and managed by customers is supplied using a client facing dashboard. This is a futuristic view, and we anticipate such possibilities from 2014 and beyond.  Continue reading “The Impact on Your IT Department of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)”

BYOA and the Enterprise Application Portal: Create Your Own Internal Company Storefront

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • The concept of ‘consumerization of IT’ is sure to evolve naturally in your organization, as employees want to use applications of their own choosing.
  • Some policy control is essential, and a sanctioned company app store is a good idea.
  • Companies such as Intel give employees an official app store, but users can also freely consume ‘unofficial’ apps from outside this domain.

First, the Chief Information Officer had to deal with the complexities that BYOD brought up; now, there is an increasing momentum to BYOA – in other words ’bring your own application.’  Extending beyond this is the concept of an open storefront for appliances, computing power, storage, OS, databases and so on – in other words, all IT.  Service providers are on board, as evidenced by the launches of several online store initiatives: Interoute launched CloudStore, offering applications, appliances, professional services and more; Belgacom offers Becloud; KPN offers a cloud store; and Orange’s VPN Galerie offers access to many apps developed both by Orange and by independent ISVs.  It is fair to say that the concept is already mature for the SME market place, with Belgacom’s Becloud offerings tailored for the mass SME segment but with more sophistication for larger companies.  Similarly, KPN’s Open Cloud Store gives its reseller partners (ISPs, SIs and other telcos) the opportunity to sell, provision and support cloud services to the diverse Dutch SME market. Continue reading “BYOA and the Enterprise Application Portal: Create Your Own Internal Company Storefront”