Friday 30 November 2007

LTE prophesized by 2010



One of my friends passed me this car number plate and you can see that this photograph was taken in 1994. It predicts that LTE will be available in 2010 ...it might be true after all ;)

Thanks Vipin for passing this to me.

Thursday 29 November 2007

Concept Phone: Chinese Scroll Phone


Another one of the concept phones, better known as "The Chinese Scroll Cellphone".

It was designed by Yun Lang and has some obvious details that can be seen on the image:
  • the numeric keyboard is wisely placed on the scroll
  • it makes use of a flexible display, similar to the Nokia 888
  • you don’t need to unroll the scroll to make a call Yun Liang’s scroll cellphone takes its inspiration from how traditional Chinese paintings are unfurled.


  • More Statistics...24 Million LTE Subscribers in 2012

    This one comes from Juniper Research who claim that there will be 24 million subscribers by 2012.


    The report discusses how LTE is expected to be the long term successor in mobile broadband as it offers a migration path from existing 3G/HSPA technologies already in place. Juniper Research forecasts that, by 2010, LTE - the next generation of mobile broadband (after HSPA), should be going commercial and high definition could by then be a reality on devices.


    However, the report warns that LTE needs to continually evolve to remain competitive in cost and performance versus the other leading mobile data technologies set to be foremost over the next five years. The report predicts that HSPA will dominate mobile broadband network deployments, consistently accounting for about 70% of the total mobile broadband subscriber base until 2012. Mobile WiMAX is also expected to achieve single digit proportion of the subscriber base by 2012.


    Report author, Howard Wilcox says, "We expect 3GLTE to begin to achieve significant market traction towards the 2011 to 2012 timeframe. By 2012, for example, we forecast that 3GLTE will represent around 24 million subscribers globally. As the GSM Association has said recently, it is a natural follow-on from HSPA and will benefit from the extensive installed base of HSPA worldwide. Western Europe will account for over half of LTE subscribers in 2012."

    This should not come as a surprise in case LTE is launched by 2010 but i doubt that. At present not all operators have moved on to HSDPA even though the technology has been stable for over a year now. Then there are few operators who have moved on HSUPA. I know there are still some outstanding problems with HSUPA but overall its quite stable (except FDPCH probably)

    Once these are rolled out, operators are going to go on HSPA+ which is the real evolution as it still uses WCDMA base. Why would operators want to abandon the tried and tested technology for something new unless there is no other option.

    So my guess would be that these stats will be true but 2 years later than predicted. LTE will start seeing mass rollouts by 2012 (just in time for London Olympics) and by 2014 there will be 24-25 million subscribers.

    Sunday 25 November 2007

    NG-1: Another Technology?


    In an article in Indian Express, the managing director of Vavasi Telegence Farid Arifuddin mentions that they have developed the next-generation wireless access technology called NG1.
    This was originally conceptualised as a PhD program in the US. The network
    architecture of this technology is state-of-the-art and is based on IP. This
    platform can deliver both voice and high-speed mobile data simultaneously with
    several applications that have multi-dimensional ramifications. This is the most
    spectrum efficient and environment-friendly technology among the available (and
    likely to be available) ones. Apart from being spectrum efficient, we have the
    unique advantage to enable a large coverage area while we simultaneously cater
    to more subscribers within a cell site. These features make it the most
    cost-effective solution for the delivery of services.

    We earnestly believe that this technology will bring telecom revolution in India, because with the advantages we have in terms of technological superiority, we have a competitive edge and we intend to pass it on to our consumers both in terms of price and product advantages. Since we have a fully IP-based network architecture, with far less infra requirement, rollout time is shorter and can be far more efficient. Moreover, India has not been able to have any significant say in the technological evolution so far. This could bring about a paradigm shift in the long-term evolution of the telecom sector.

    Didnt find any more information except that this technology is being developed in China.
    Even the official website of Vavasi has very limited information.
    Somehow i have a feeling that this is an existing technology being recycled/repackaged as a new technology.

    India to be WiMAX-ed


    Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (known as BSNL), a public sector communications company in India, announced its Calcutta Telephones plans to launch WiMax in 40,000 villages and 70 cities, in India.


    India has chosen the IEEE 802.16e version of WiMax. It is expected to bridge the rural-urban digital divide by taking Internet and telephony to remote areas of the country.


    Dr SK Chakravarty, chief general manager, Calcutta Telephones, said the tender for the 40,000 villages would be floated within 10 days and the one for the 70 cities would be launched within two months.


    India’s Department of Telecom (DoT), has given the go-ahead to the public sector telecom operator to launch WiMax. Dr Chakravarty said: “Even before spectrum is released, DoT has given the 2.5 gigahertz frequency to BSNL for its WiMax operations.”



    Initially, WiMax would be only for fixed-line applications. Chakravarty said that WiMax was already operational on an experimental basis in the city, at the Kalyani exchange.


    According to Senza Fili Newsletter new technologies like WiMAX are typically successful first in developed markets where disposable incomes are higher and new devices and services are adopted earlier.


    However, we expect WiMAX will initially be better suited to emerging markets. We predict in 'WiMAX: Ambitions and Reality' that emerging markets will account for 55 per cent of WiMAX subscribers by 2012.


    Emerging countries may take the lead in mobile WiMAX growth due to two trends:



  • Demand for affordable, flexible broadband, coupled with the lack of wired broadband.
  • Widespread 3G, lack of spectrum, and non-committal operators will delay mobile WiMAX in many developed markets.


    The value of mobile WiMAX is not mobility per se. Up to half of mobile phone calls are placed from the home or office. The percentage should be even higher for data-centric devices and applications. Operators estimate that up to 80 per cent of WiMAX access will be from indoors, where subscribers are stationary.


    The true appeal of mobile broadband in developed and developing countries is ubiquitous high-bandwidth network access.


    In developing countries, however, mobile WiMAX will be positioned differently.
    Rather than targeting high-ARPU business users, early adopters or tech-savvy teens, mobile WiMAX services will attract first-time broadband users without a fixed line data connection who are nevertheless accustomed to mobile phones.

    These subscribers cannot afford both fixed and mobile subscriptions. Mobile WiMAX offers them both on a single contract and a single device. Operators can offer mobile broadband ahead of fixed broadband, adding value by combining fixed and mobile access.



    For instance, a retailer may need broadband in his shop, using both data and VoIP applications. After work he may take his WiMAX device home where he and his family can make VoIP calls or access personal email.
    WiMAX operators, both greenfield and established players, have been very active in markets such as Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and India.



    In most cases the initial focus is on fixed broadband access, where demand is known and devices, albeit expensive, are available. Most operators, however, see the potential for mobile access and want to enhance their networks when devices become available.



    Device availability is key. Operators are still dependent on a limited selection of form factors: desktop modems, PCMCIA cards and, soon, a few PDAs.



    Vendors need to offer new form factors, new functionality, and new price points, based on the specific requirements of emerging markets. The traditional model of marketing of low-cost, entry-level devices to emerging countries is no longer sufficient.
  • Thursday 22 November 2007

    IMS client


    This is a reponse to the question 'What exactly constitutes an IMS Client' that was posted by various people on ForumOxford.

    The main components of an IMS client, consist of the following:


    OS functions:


  • IMS specified protocols, such as SIP, SDP, XCAP, RTP etc. that are essential for IMS based services
  • IMS core functions, such as registration,session control, authentication , authorization, accounting, QoS etc.
  • IMS enablers for services, such as presence, IM, location, PoC etc.

  • API support:


  • IMS core APIs for the standard interfaces specified in the IMS framework
  • IMS enabler APIs for the standard enablers for services specified in the IMS framework


  • Application support:


  • IMS service enabler based applications, such as an IM client, presence client etc.
  • IMS core enabler based applications, where applications are not based on standard IMS service enablers
  • Applications that are hybrids consisting of customized combinations of IMS services enablers and IMS core enablers


  • The harmonization work in the IMS specifications is currently a work-in-progress with multiple standards development organizations on an industry-wide scale, and will have impacts on the evolution of the IMS client. Ericsson, PCTEL, and others have advertised various flavours of IMS clients. Overall both vendors and providers have a significant interest in the IMS framework, and the adoption timeframes are expected to be over the next few years, since it is a significant paradigm shift from the existing service delivery models.


    Vendors with IMS clients include Ericsson Mobile Platforms, Movial, Ecrio, Comneon (part of Infineon) and a bunch of others. Nokia probably has its own one in development as part of a future version of S60.

    Typically, the IMS software on a phone will consist of a 'framework' platform into which are plugged a bunch applications like PTT, IM, VCC, VoIP etc. The framework has a bunch of 'plumbing' protocols like the 3GPP flavour of SIP


    Unfortunately, there are no standards for how the framework-application integration works. You can't put Movial application easily on top of an Ericsson framework. Until that's fixed, there will be very few IMS handsets, because developers will not want to have to port IMS apps to a dozen different IMS frameworks.


    The OMTP has released some specifications about IMS phones which should help matters. There's also still a lot of questions about how the IMS part of the phone integrates with the non-IMS bits (SMS, browser, TV, IT applications , non-IMS SIP applications etc).


    Given the current membership of companies in the OHA initiative, it is anticipated that the IMS client will be supported. The IMS framework is expected to be enhanced to support both SIP, and non-SIP based applications in the future. The browser enabler is a standardized service enabler specified by OMA, which leverages the underlying IMS framework, and can be integrated with an IMS client. (For instance, NetFront has a client that supports the OMA browsing enabler as well as IMS.)


    The IMS framework provides a high-level of abstraction that enables applications to be developed and integrated without being impeded by the access technology specific nuances. SIP applications, or any other applications that are implemented without the IMS framework will be subject to both implementation and integration complexities, particularly in the mobile space, where the complexities of the RF link impact the implementation, integration, and the user-experience.


    Note: the IMS framework has several aspects to it in terms of hooks into the various underlying access technologies, as well as a common layer of abstraction and information hiding, which is invaluable for widespread third-party application development, as well for a reduction of integration complexities. The bearer-level aspects are being addressed with respect to the various prominent access technologies such as LTE, UMB, WiMAX and Packet Cable.


    According to Dean Bubley, entire Internet & IT community is negative towards IMS - Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Skype et al.

    IMS = walled-garden SIP, or perhaps more amusingly an "Internet Monetisation System".


    The problem is that IMS views everything as a billable 'service' - it doesn't seem to accept that certain applications are based on the customer owning or operating their own software. In the real world, customers want certain capabilities delivered as ongoing sbillable ervices (opex) and certain things bought, owned & used outright (capex)


    The current setup of the Internet is that centrally-controlled QoS and charging is anathema. IMS harks back to the legacy days of bundling access & service. That's fine for certain things, but totally inappropriate for the Internet, as that control adds latency & friction to development & innovation. I've heard IMS vendors talk about developers and "2 men & a dog in a garage", when what they actually meant was "2 men, a dog & a 30-person legal department".


    As a simple example - could you imagine that anything as mindbogglingly useful as PDF would have evolved had the Internet been based on IMS principles? Download the client for free & then use it in perpetuity as a browser plug-in? No, we would all have been charged for a usage-based 'document viewing service', and it would never have got the traction.


    The one thing that could change the situation is if one of the vendors - perhaps Cisco or Avaya - invented a private IMS architecture, that enterprises or large Internet firms could own. It would be deeply amusing if Merrill Lynch or GlaxoSmithKline deployed their own IMS's, and started charging interconnect fees to the telcos.

    Saturday 17 November 2007

    Blyk: MVNO based on adertising model


    Blyk is a new MVNO in UK which is trying out a unique MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator ... in case you didnt know) model.

    Launched last September, Blyk only allows youngsters aged 16 to 24 years old to subscribe (which gives a clear demographic signal to advertisers). And in exchange for receiving a maximum of six advertising messages per day, users get 217 free texts and 43 voice minutes a month to use. After that, Blyk subscribers, all of whom are pre-paid users, pay 10p (US$0.20) per text and voice calls are charged at 15p (US$0.30) per minute.


    Blyk launch is timed for the start of the new school term in the UK. It’s a smart move but it’s not surprising. Blyk has a very experienced team, headed by backer former Nokia president Pekka Ala-Pietila and Antti Öhrling, a branding veteran.


    Blyk already has an impressive advertising line-up, including Coca-Cola, Xbox, Adidas and McDonald’s. The MVNO had managed to attract a total of 40 advertisers at launch.


    “If Blyk understands its consumers, and if they can provide a relevant and contextual value-added platform which allows advertisers to be more timely and engaging with them, then it has a winning solution,” says Mark Renshaw, global digital strategist at Leo Burnett, an advertising agency. “Taking traditional display mass advertising into the mobile channel replicates an old model and does not take advantage or acknowledge the truly personal engaging experience that mobile can provide.”


    Renshaw envisages that advertisers will also be able to encourage Blyk subscribers to text and talk more. “The model may rely on users getting connected to interesting brand events,” he says, “and for this [mobile] contact method to become more and more key in users’ life. The ad-funded model may in fact be a recruitment tactic knowing that users will go over the free usage minutes and texts provided.”


    Blyk has good management pedigree. Pekka Ala-Pietilä, co-founder and CEO of Blyk, is the former president of Nokia Corp. The MVNO says it will go pan-European next year.

    Friday 16 November 2007

    VoIP: The Global appeal


    According to a report entitled "Demand for VoIP increasing worldwide", Global revenues from IP telephony sales grew to $6,908 million (£3,383 million) in 2006. Western Europe formed the largest base of subscribers to these VoIP services, producing income for supplier amounting to $2,639 million (£1,292 million). Senior analyst of Point Topic John Bosnell suggested that the increase in revenues had been prompted by more customers taking up 'triple-play' service bundles which feature VoIP, broadband and TV in one package.

    Asia Pacific was not far behind with USD 1.75 billion and North America with 2.41 billion revenue. Monthly ARPU was highest in North America at USD 20, followed by Western Europe and SE Asia with USD 15 each and the Asia-Pacific and Latin America with USD 10 per month each.
    Dean Bubbley in his new report says that evolution of mobile VoIP will rapidly eclipse voice over WiFi and become a mainstream form of communication. The analyst firm predicts that the number of VoIPo3G users could grow from virtually zero in 2007 to over 250m by the end of 2012. This is comfortably in excess of the expected number of FMC users with dual-mode VoWLAN/cellular phones.

    An interesting post in Forum Oxford by him highlights the following points:

    First off, I'd better define what I mean - I see 4 manifestations of VoIPo3G:


    - consumer or enterprise downloads to a 3G smartphone (or laptop) of software like Fring or Truphone or Yeigo, using 'over the top' VoIP on a flatrate data contract
    - partner models (eg deals between Skype / Fring & a carrier or retailer or MVNO, or maybe some enterprise models if Cisco or Avaya or Microsoft does something) typically preloading a proprietary VoIP client on a handset or PC
    - operator ‘non-telephony’ VoIP (eg PoC, multimedia telephony, some sort of other IMS voice app like conferencing)
    - operator primary-telephony VoIP (eg for use on an all-IP network like LTE or UMB & to some extent HSPA+ or Rev A networks). * this is the really big one on a 5-year view but obviously dependent on 3.5G rollouts*


    Basically LTE mandates VoIP - unless operators want to continue with a parallel circuit GSM or UMTS infrastructure in perpetuity. LTE-VoIP also the possibility of much higher spectrum efficiency for voice (in calls/MHz/cell) which is economically attractive given competition for spectrum & declining voice prices. It's also in the NGMN specs.
    What I've tried to work out is what could happen in the time between cellular networks being capable of OK-quality VoIP in relatively small numbers (ie now) vs. the point when they're optimised for large-scale carrier grade mobile VoIP (ie quite soon on CDMA, quite a while on HSPA/HSPA+/LTE)


    There's also issues like dependency on IMS, and whether operators want to simultaneously roll out a new radio tech (LTE) and transition their main revenue-earning service to VoIP - or if it makes sense to get some mobile VoIP experience before LTE rolls out. I think we'll see a lot more 3/skype type partnerships as 'toes in the water'.
    I also reckon that an increasing number of 3G-enabled PC will be given operator VoIP client software for particular use cases (eg VoIP-enabled IM, or for other PC-based phone calls for conferencing etc)


    Interesting to see
    this Taiwan operator-led VoIPo3G service as an early example.
    Probably worth saying as well that I'm not expecting all of an individual's telephony traffic to transition to VoIPo3G. Out of 3.5G coverage, it'll flip back to GSM or circuit UMTS for example, or might be WiFi indoors.

    My view is that overall, VoIPo3G is more important than VoWLAN. The obligatory 'big number' headline is 250m users by end-2012 (ie about 7-8% penetration of global mobile subs and perhaps 20% of global 3G+ subs), mostly driven by the operators' own VoIP services.That's against my expectations of a low single-digit % for VoWLAN penetration. There's a lot more granularity but I'm not going to delve into it here now.
    While VoWLAN has been qualitatively very important, the actual quantitative usage is really small. I don't see dual-mode phones or services being that prevalent for most operators. They're just too complicated to get right at a software level, because of the variety of ways in which WiFi is deployed (eg widespread use of private WiFi with its own security mechanisms). Whilst there's been a lot of work done over the last 3 years, most VoWLAN still has a lot of compromises.


    I reckon that the same amount of work on VoIPo3G will yield more tangible results for both independent providers and the carriers themselves. It should also fit quite nicely with other trends like femtocells and mobile voice mashups (ie embedding VoIP in other applications). It can also be hidden "under the hood" so the user just sees a normal phone service - and therefore should be easier to integrate with things like prepay servers.

    Not everyone agrees though. According to Russel Shaw, "At least not in North America, continent of my residence. Based on behavior patterns that significantly proceed VoIP, entrenched cell carriers will go to all marketing, regulatory, legal, lobbying and statutory costs to protect the current business models they believe are necessary to protect their investments in networks as they are now."

    In other news, according to Yankee Group, the market for mobile internet services remains largely untapped, according to industry analysts which claim that operators and service providers could be raking in as much as $66bn per year, instead of the $9.5bn they are taking at present. Yankee Group warned that the full extent of the mobile internet services opportunity remains unexploited because service providers and their technology partners are not overcoming barriers to adoption quickly enough.

    Finally, there is a warning for all VoIP users that the flexibility and openness ofSession Initiation Protocol (SIP) have made it a key building block forvoice-over-IP (VOIP) services, but SIP also makes carrier and enterpriseVOIP networks vulnerable to crippling attacks that could bring servicesdown for days, according to the latest report published by Light Reading'sVOIP Services Insider (http://www.lightreading.com/entvoip), a subscriptionresearch service from CMP's Light Reading (http://www.lightreading.com).

    SIP is subject to the same types of attacks -- including viruses anddenial-of-service (DOS) attacks -- that affect email communications, but asuccessful attack through SIP is likely to have a larger impact on theaffected network, notes Denise Culver, research analyst with LightReading's VOIP Services Insider and author of the report. "SIP enablesvoice traffic to traverse VPNs, potentially carrying with it all of thethings a hacker might want to attach to such a message," she says.

    "Whilethose in the email security world have had more than a decade to contendwith these issues, SIP security vendors are trying not only to address theissue of securing SIP messages but also to ensure that SIP can successfullytraverse a firewall at all."
    A big part of the problem with SIP is that vendors have rushed productsinto the market that don't make use of all the security measuresrecommended in the protocol standard, Culver adds. The standard'sflexibility is also an issue in making networks vulnerable to securitybreaches, she says: "Until vendors reach a point at which interoperabilityis not just a requirement but actually something they recognize in terms ofthe security it provides across SIP itself, the protocol will remaininherently flawed."

    Wednesday 14 November 2007

    IPTV Future


    IPTV is again in spotlight. This months Total Telecom magazine has some interesting articles on IPTV but its in the Print form and the online is a paid site :(. Anyway, i managed to find all that was required and here is the summary:

    BT is showcasing a new TV concept at this year’s Broadband World Forum that could dramatically change viewing habits and provide it with a lucrative source of revenue. Dubbed New Media 2 (or NM2), its latest project could allow a TV producer to develop the storyline of a new drama program based on feedback from viewers. Using the interactivity of an IPTV service, viewers would periodically be able to choose how a story should evolve — perhaps killing off their least favorite character or causing a young unmarried couple to tie the knot.

    BT Vision is “on track” to make its year-end target of serving 100,000 subscribers. Launched in December last year, the service had attracted just 20,000 customers by June, and BT has since been at pains to ramp up the offer and give it broader appeal. It recently signed a deal with Setanta, a sports channel delivered using digital terrestrial technology, and claims the inclusion of more sports content has had a major impact on growth. BT has also launched a "self-install" version of the service, so engineers do not have to go to each and every home.
    In other news, Millions of broadband users across the world are finding IPTV hard to resist, with customer numbers rising from 2,950,000 to 8,229,000 in the 12 months leading to June 2007. That is the finding of the DSL Forum, a lobby group for DSL broadband technology, based on new research commissioned from consultancy Point Topic. Most of the growth came from Europe, where the number of IPTV customers soared to 4,984,000 from 1,505,000 a year earlier. In the Americas, 660,000 broadband customers signed up to IPTV services, giving the region a total of 1,069,000 users, while the Asia Pacific added 1,189,000 customers to give it 2,176,000 subscribers.
    According to a TotalTele article: Despite massive investments and headline-grabbing contracts with many of the world's largest phone companies, only about 500,000 homes now get TV from phone companies using Microsoft software and technology. In a market where dozens of small companies have developed an expertise in key niches, from video servers to set-top boxes, Microsoft has tried to cover all the bases of delivering TV programming via Internet technology—an approach that for many carriers has proved harder and more expensive than expected to carry out on a large scale. But for the moment, the pace seems to be picking up on this slow march toward TV innovation, as plans to use Microsoft's Internet protocol TV products actually begin getting off the ground. AT&T (T), which by most accounts has been the poster child for Microsoft's disappointing progress, said in October that its U-Verse IPTV service had amassed 126,000 customers in the third quarter, from 51,000 in the second quarter. Ma Bell plans to make the service available to 8 million homes by the end of the year, up from 5 million now. Swisscom says it has lured 50,000 of Switzerland's 3 million homes away from cable and satellite rivals using Microsoft IPTV. A year after launching its BT Vision IPTV service, British Telecom Group (BT) will release figures on subscriber gains on Nov. 8. BT Vision Chief Executive Dan Marks says his target is to sign up 2 million to 3 million customers within three to five years. "It took longer than everyone wanted to get to this point, but we're pretty comfortable with the way things are going," Marks says. Microsoft continues to line up new business. On Nov. 5, Indian telecom powerhouse Reliance Communications announced a $500 million deal to begin delivering Microsoft's technology by April, 2008—four years after first announcing a partnership with Microsoft. Yankee Group analyst Vince Vittore expects an increase in 2008, though he won't predict how steep. "It's a complicated business," Vittore says. "But Microsoft is starting to get traction, and they've got the biggest carriers as key customers."
    Different providers have different views about IPTV. This report examines what the customers are willing to pay for and how much.
    Another issue is the competetion between IP Television (IPTV) and Internet Television (I-TV). With the devices converging, soon people may stop buying seperate TV and start using PC's for watching TV over Internet and this could cause serious problems for IPTV.
    When we talk about IPTV, different operators have different ideas and visions. This article talks about some of these conflicting visions and what it means for us.
    Finally, its not easy using the normal existing Phone lines for transmitting IPTV. This article gives an idea as to what is required.

    Tuesday 13 November 2007

    Carrier Ethernet Transport (CET)



    Another technology being discussed nowadays is Carrier Ethernet Transport (CET). Though this is not a wireless technology as such, it would still be very important as (can be seen from the diagram) the user data will be carried over this to the core.

    A simple and straightforward explanation was not as easy to find but here are some more details which will give you a good idea.

    Good source of introduction is this article from Meriton Networks:

    Carriers around the world are increasingly being pressured to provide new services while reducing their costs to remain competitive with changing regulations and new, non-traditional entrants into the marketplace. As carriers migrate to next-generation networks (NGNs) to reduce their costs and improve their ability to support high bandwidth-intensive services with guaranteed SLAs, they need a flexible, scalable optical transport
    infrastructure – especially in the metro network – that efficiently supports
    Ethernet and minimizes operational complexities.


    Carrier Ethernet Transport (CET) is an architectural approach to building scalable transport infrastructure for supporting Ethernet and the evolution to NGNs

    * Carrier Ethernet Transport integrates intelligent WDM (ability to do multi-degree switching at wavelength and sub wavelength levels) with
    Ethernet Tunnels, such as
    PBB-TE and T-MPLS .
    * Carrier Ethernet Transport (CET) provides the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of native Ethernet with the reliability and power of WDM to deliver unparalleled flexibility, efficiency and cost savings
    * Note that “Carrier Ethernet” comprises two distinct sub-segments: “Carrier Ethernet Services” and “Carrier Ethernet Transport”


    Carrier Ethernet Transport is an architecture for NGNs based on wavelength networking. Services from both wireless and wireline access networks are simultaneously carried on a single network infrastructure. Three levels of embedded transport networking switching capabilities (wavelength, sub-wavelength, and Ethernet tunnels) provide a cost-effective transport network that can support services with guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs).

    A good introduction is an article in Lightwave titled, "Carrier Ethernet transport: No longer 'if,' but 'how'". There are some very good diagrams explaining the concept and its difficult to reproduce them here.

    Another article in Converge! Network Digest suggests that CET is not the only way and there are alternative technologies available. The main advantage with CET is that it can reduce complexity compared to its main rivals.

    CET offers the following direct benefits to carriers as they migrate to NGN:
    • Maximizing the amount of Ethernet traffic that can be switched and routed without leaving the optical transport layer
    • Reducing the load on expensive MPLS systems and precious LSPs
    • Reducing the number of expensive optical ports required at metro/core hub points
    • Providing a circuit-orientated transport model similar to SDH/SONET – which has great benefits from an OSS and operational perspective
    Additionally, CET provides an architecture that clearly separates the service and transport layers. Separation is an important attribute to allow the independent and efficient scaling of the service and transport layers. Separation also allows the transport layer to focus on its main task in the network – to provide to the access and service networks a large volume of circuit-orientated point-to-point paths that are deterministic and reliable.

    Finally the article that made me curious about this subject was this article from Telecommunications Online (Part1 Part2) which is an interview of a Nokia-Siemens manager. Some interesting points as follows:

    Telecommunications: You mentioned CET. Although it’s still an early concept, how are service providers responding to the idea at this time?

    Bar-on: The perspective is very positive. CET is optimized transport Layer-2 carrier packet traffic. Traffic is growing tremendously. Sometimes you hear a number of 100 percent per-year growth in some carriers, but the average number would be about 70 percent. Everyone realizes the infrastructure needs to be packet-optimized. The way we present CET is it’s a combination of Ethernet and WDM. This has been positively received when looked at by carriers. You can have an argument as to what protocols to use, but CET is the next transport layer. Many carriers are looking for a migration from the current TDM- based infrastructure to a packet
    optical-based infrastructure.

    Telecommunications: Outside of traditional enterprise services, there’s a lot of talk about using Ethernet for wireless backhaul. Albeit it’s still early, are your carrier customers investigating Ethernet for that application?


    Bar-on: We do see a strong requirement from carriers doing wireless backhaul over Ethernet. It’s driven by two elements happening in the market:


    1. Base Station Migration: The base stations themselves are migrating from TDM/ATM to 4G or Ethernet. We have the luxury in that we manufacture both the base station and the transmission equipment. We have a dedicated solution because we understand both ends of the market. It’s quite clear that Ethernet will play a role in 4G deployments.


    2. Pseudowires: On the other side, carriers are looking to reuse their opex to carry 2G and 3G over Ethernet with Pseudowire rather than SONET/SDH networks. We see it mainly coming from competitive carriers that are trying to fight on the backhaul business to fight with traditional ILECs and PTTs. Having said that we at Nokia Siemens are providing a solution that addresses the current scenario where you have 2G, 3G, and a migration for 4G. What you see in both cases is this metro Ethernet network not only has to address not only Ethernet traffic, but also highly sensitive voice traffic over TDM. For that we believe that concepts like connection-oriented Ethernet can provide five-9s reliability for this kind of service. It’s no longer just about Ethernet access.

    Telecommunications: Earlier you mentioned Carrier Ethernet Transport (CET). One of the emerging debates to come out of the CET concept is the use of Provider Backbone Transport (PBT)/Provider Backbone Bridging-Transport Engineering (PBB-TE). How are these concepts resonating with the service provider community?


    Bar-on: We’re seeing that everyone is interested in that and want to see if it’s real. Major carriers in the U.S. are very interested in the technology and are in a position to see that it’s real and it’s working. If you look at the cycle of technology, we are probably in the early beginning of the deployment of this technology at least in the U.S. market. We see other groups in Europe going quicker and are leading the camp here, but no one can really ignore this thing. Even if I look at the RFPs by major U.S. carrier out in the market some of them are including requirements for PBT/PBB-TE. If you think about this now and where we were a year ago that’s a major step.