ITU-T.81 - ISO/IEC 10918-1 is one of the dominant image compression standards. If that name doesn't mean anything to you - it is just ordinary JPEG. The JPEG committee - of which I'm a member of - released various new standards in the past view years that provided better performing compression schemes, more flexible image representations and smarter file formats. While some of them were adopted in the industry, as JPEG-LS (aka LOCO) and JPEG 2000 in the digitial movie and medical industry, all the rest of the world still speaks old traditional JPEG.
It is probably time to update the standard, and some members of the JPEG committee are looking into bringing 10918-1 up to date. New features might include lossless compression, high-bitrate compression and support for alpha channels. However, much care must be taken in extending a standard as predominant as JPEG, and one of the highest priorities in any such attempt should be backwards compatibility to existing implementations.
What can be done? At first, it takes a "verification model" that implements the proposed extensions. And here it is:
available for public, under the GPL licence for everyone to try. This is a subversion repository. Use "anonymous" as user name, and "jpeg" as password, and you're in.
This is a completely new implementation of 10918-1,and unlike most (or all) other codecs you might know, this implementation is complete. It features not only the DCT based process most codecs support, but also the JPEG lossless (yes, there is one) process, the hierarchical mode, arithmetic coding (patents run out by now), DNL markers, 12bits per pixel.
As this is might become a verification model for the proposed extensions, you find of course also new features, as lossless coding with the DCT based process; this codec is able to encode images in a special way such that they can be reconstructed without any loss by using the new codec you find here - and can be viewed with any existing JPEG codec as well - then of course with some minimal loss.
If you want to contribute, you are more than welcome to do so. You can either add to the program (ask me for write access to the repository) or report any bugs you find. For that, sign up at the bug tracker here:
Obviously, the JPEG is also looking for industry to show interest in such applications and extensions, and would be happy to hear from you if this development is interesting for you. If so, please ask me for the official JPEG questionnaire on low-complexity coding, and I will forward to the committee. Or approach the committee yourself via your national delegate. Or contact me:
thor at math dot tu dash berlin dot de
Greetings, and Happy JPEGing,
Gigabit Squared has raised $200 million to construct broadband networks in six U.S. communities that contain research universities. The effort to provide ultrahigh-speed Internet access will collaborate with Gig.U, which has led the installation of fiber-optic networks in university communities. The six communities have not been named. Gigabit Squared, based in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is in negotiations with its first university and says it will make announcements about timing and participation later this year.
Mark Ansboury, Gigabit Squared's President and co-founder told the NY Times, "The big carriers built their fiber-to-the-home systems, but we have really seen them pull back in recent years.” He noted that the United States was falling behind other nations that have moved aggressively to build high-speed Internet infrastructures. It ranked 13th in average connection speed in a survey last year by the network service provider Akamai; the world leader was South Korea, followed by Japan, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Latvia.
Last year Google selected Kansas City, Mo., to build a prototype for speeds of at least a gigabit — 1,000 megabits per second. The company originally said it would offer the service in the first half of this year, but the date has slipped and Mr. Medin said the details would be announced soon. Google has already deployed a small demonstration network in homes next to the Stanford campus.
Gigabit Squared described the next generation of Internet service as two gigabits — about 2,000 megabits per second, roughly 71 times the speed of a standard cable modem.
Gig.U is the brainchild of Blair Levin, former director of the government’s 2010 National Broadband Plan, which originally called for high-speed network islands around military bases. Mr. Levin later settled on university communities as a better starting base for future Internet services.
Even though major communications firms are not pushing toward higher speeds, there are pilot efforts at gigabit networking in several states, including Tennessee, Louisiana and California. Sonic.net, a regional Internet service provider based in Northern California, is offering gigabit networks to homes on several blocks in Sebastopol, CA. The service is $59.95 a month, said Dane Jasper, Sonic.net’s chief executive, who added, “It’s the fastest and cheapest broadband in America — although it’s admittedly a small footprint.”
Teleco-Pro Comment: We think that more broadband initiatives like this one are urgently needed in the U.S. With the failure of the 1996 Telecom Deregulation act, most of the competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) have disappeared. The existing competitive carriers (e.g. TW Telecom, XO, Level One, etc) and cablecos/MSOs (Comcast, TW Cable, Cox Cable, etc) seem to be ahead of AT&T and VZ in delivering high speed Internet to SMB customers.
IEEE 802.16 meeting report: Heterogeneous Networks, Broadband Wireless Access Metrology, M2M, & GridMANTue, 05/22/2012 - 22:56 — Michael Weiss
IEEE 802.16's Session #79 meeting was held on 16-19 January 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. This Working Group (WG) interim session was co-located with the IEEE 802 Wireless Interim. This report was written by 802.16 chair Roger Marks.
HetNet Study Group
The new IEEE 802.16 WG Study Group on the WirelessMAN Radio Interface in Heterogeneous Networks (HetNet Study Group) met for the first time. Input contributions were received from individuals affiliated with Consensii LLC, ETRI, Nokia Siemens Networks, and WiMAX Forum. Based on the inputs and discussions, the Study Group proceeded in two directions:
- Following discussion of specific proposals related to heterogeneous networks incorporating multiple radio interface technologies, the Study Group issued a Call for Contributions on the Open Mobile Network Interface (OMNI) Standard for an IEEE 802 HetNet. Participants in the discussion developed a proposal for an IEEE 802 Tutorial entitled Heterogeneous Networking among the IEEE 802 Family: Proposal for an OMNI Standard. The tutorial has been scheduled for the evening of 16 July at the IEEE 802 Plenary in San Diego.
- Separately, the Study Group drafted PAR P802.16q on a Multi-Tier amendment to IEEE Std 802.16. This was forwarded by the WG to the IEEE 802 Executive Committee (EC) for review at the July 802 Plenary.
The Study Group issued a closing report
Metrology Study Group
The new IEEE 802.16 WG Study Group on Broadband Wireless Access Metrology (Metrology Study Group) met for the first time. Input contributions were received, from individuals affiliation with Consensii LLC, Georgia Tech, Google, Mobile Pulse, Inc., and NIST. Most contributions were related to network performance measurements. The Study Group concluded a draft PAR P802.16.3 on Mobile Broadband Network Performance Measurements, which was forwarded by the WG to the IEEE 802 Executive Committee (EC) for review at the July 802 Plenary. The Study Group remains open to investigation of other possible projects as well. It issued a Call for Contributions on Potential New Metrology Standardization Projects and summarized its work in a closing report
Machine-to-Machine Task Group
At Session #79, the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Task Group resolved comments received during the first recirculations of the IEEE Sponsor Ballots regarding drafts P802.16p and P802.16.1b. In each case, a second recirculation will be requested and, if successful, the draft will be submitted to RevCom. The TG issued a closing report.
GRIDMAN Task Group
The Working Group's GRIDMAN Task Group resolved comments received during the first recirculations of WG Letter Ballot #37 and WG Letter Ballot #38, in which drafts P802.16n and IEEE P802.16.1a are under review. In each case, a second 30-day recirculation will follow. The TG issued a closing report.
4G Counts Quarterly Report - Q4 2011 Produced March 2012
Many operators launched LTE networks during the year as they upgraded or moved from 3G. On the other hand, the WiMAX industry continued to lose pace around the globe. Not only did several of the most prominent WiMAX operators announce their commitment to TD-LTE, but most slowed down the addition of new WiMAX subscribers to their networks as they antici-pated their move to the new technology.
A few highlights:
1) Sprint’s announcement that the first major markets in United States were to re-ceive 4G LTE in mid-2012, including Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio and others, totalling 10 markets,
2) The FCC disapproval of the merger between AT&T and TMobile, meaning the deal is officially dead,
3) The AT&T LTE commercial launch covering 28 markets at the end of 2011,
4) Sprint’s announcement of its intention to help finance Clearwire’s LTE network and keep offering WiMAX service through 2015 under a set of agreements worth as much as US$1.6 billion,
5) Yota’s (Russia) launch of LTE in the city of Novosibirsk, Siberia, in December 2011 after a long wait for government approval.
Not only are many operators moving to LTE, but several vendors are exiting WiMAX al-together and refocusing on their 3GPP mobile broadband business. One of the major announcements during Q4 2011 was that Nokia Siemens Networks sold its WiMAX unit recently acquired from Motorola to NewNet Communications. This was the second re-cent sell-off for the company, as Dragonwave acquired its microwave backhaul business in October 2011.
LTE Deployment Trends
At the end of Q4 2011, 54 operators were commercial with LTE, including 19 added dur-ing the quarter alone. The total number of LTE subscribers at the end of the year reached 12.02 million worldwide. Fully 224 additional major mobile operators had com-mitted to launching the technology in the future, 193 with FDD-LTE, 31 with TD-LTE.
Although most of the commitments, trials and deployments are predominantly FDD-LTE, TD-LTE is gaining significant momentum. At the end of December 2011, there were 30 commitments to TD-LTE and 4 commercial TD-LTE networks: Aero2 (Poland), STC (Saudi Arabia), Mobily (Saudi Arabia) and SKY (Brazil). SKY’s is the first TD-LTE deploy-ment in Latin America of this kind. The region where more TDLTE trials have been con-ducted is APAC with 18 operators trials, followed by Europe with 5 trials. Although, the number of commercial LTE deployments in Europe is higher than any other region, with 25 commercial deployments counted at the end of 2011, the region still scores a very low LTE subscriber uptake with only 980k LTE subscribers reported at the end of 2011, rep-resenting 8% of the global LTE subscriber base.
A major reason for this phenomenon is that LTE smartphones are, strangely, nowhere to be seen in Europe. But that is changing in 2012, as some major LTE players including TeliaSonera and Tele2 in Sweden, and Vodafone Germany announced in February 2012 the introduction of new LTE smartphones. The introduction of LTE smartphones in Europe will boost the subscriber uptake in the region.
The most recent Maravedis 4G Subscriber Forecast predicts that LTE subscribers will grow from 12 million in 2011 to 469 million in 2016. By the end of 2016, 75% of the LTE subscriber base or 350 million will be FDD LTE subscribers, while the remaining 25% or 118 million will be TD-LTE subscribers. We expect that the TD-LTE subscriber uptake will commence in 2013.
While in previous years we saw WiMAX subscribers growing at an average quarterly rate of 25%-30%, our findings revealed that subscriber growth for WiMAX decreased dramati-cally in 2011. In Q4 2011 alone, the quarterly WiMAX subscriber growth was only 14%. Today, WiMAX is being seen as the technology of choice for greenfield operators to pro-vide fixed-nomadic connectivity, while LTE is the choice for operators wanting to provide mobile broadband. At the end of Q4 2011, the worldwide BWA/WiMAX industry ac-counted for 25.16 million subscribers, an increase of 14% quarter over quarter from 22.07 million reported at the end of Q3 2011. Q4 2011 quarterly increase was low com-pared to the previous quarters.
For example, in Q4 2010, the subscriber quarterly increase was 35%, while in Q1 2011 it decreased to only 30%. In Q2 and Q3 2011, the subscriber quarterly increase was 20% per quarter. This shows a quarterly slowdown on subscriber additions. The BWA/WiMAX subscriber base grew by 12.16 million between Q4 2010 and Q4 2011, which represents a yearly increase of 193%.
For the Top 50 BWA/WiMAX operators tracked in 4GCounts Q4 2011, recorded ARPU was US$39.60 and US$76.24 for residential and business subscribers respectively, com-pared to US$39.17 and US$77.51 for the same segments in Q3 2011. Total worldwide WiMAX business revenues were $2.10 billion during the quarter.
Market research firm Infonetics Research today reported in its Optical Network Hardware vendor market share report that spending on optical gear dropped 23% globally in the first quarter of 2012 (1Q12) from the previous quarter. This seems to contradict the recent WSJ article indicating there's a new fiber optic buildout boom underway in the U.S.
Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics stated,"While optical hardware revenue trends in all world regions were not positive in the first quarter of 2012, the most alarming development is that year-over-year in EMEA - particularly Europe - spending on WDM optical equipment decreased faster than spending on legacy SDH equipment. This is not the behavior of a region experiencing only a minor quarterly pullback. By contrast, the trend in North America was the opposite, with carriers cutting spending year-over-year but allocating towards forward-looking technology investments like WDM equipment and ROADMs."
Mr. Schmitt adds: "EMEA and North America are both now trending downward on a rolling fourth-quarter basis, and Asia Pacific is flat. Still, conversations with vendors and carriers lead us to believe that spending in North America will resume moderate growth and we are forecasting solid gains in optical spending in China this year in large part due to our recent visits with Chinese carriers. But Europe is a tough call, with macroeconomic trends there not providing much hope and evidence that some service providers there are battening down the hatches."
MORE OPTICAL HARDWARE MARKET HIGHLIGHTS
- While the global WDM and SONET/SDH optical network equipment market declined 23% in 1Q12 to $2.8 billion (the largest quarterly drop in years), the impact was sharpened by a strong previous quarter, when the market grew 9%
- Revenue for all optical vendors declined in EMEA, with the exception of Infinera
- Though EMEA typically has a seasonal sequential decline in the first quarter, 1Q12 was the worst quarter for optical capex in over 5 years
- Fujitsu and Ciena outperformed competitors in North America
- Asia Pacific was buoyed by strong spending in Japan, with NEC and Fujitsu posting eye-popping 28% gains in 1Q12 from the year-ago first quarter 2011.
- Aside from the standout performances by NEC and Fujitsu, while many of the big vendors enjoyed gains the previous quarter, 1Q12 was characterized by smaller companies such as Infinera, ADVA, and Transmode outperforming the market
- ROADM (reconfigurable optical add drop multiplexor) equipment spending was flat in 1Q12, an achievement considering this category posted a record quarter in 4Q11
Infonetics' quarterly Optical Network Hardware report tracks Adtran, ADVA, Alcatel-Lucent, BTI, Ciena, Cisco, ECI, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Infinera, NEC, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, Sycamore, Tellabs, Transmode, Tyco, ZTE, and others. The report provides worldwide and regional vendor market share, market size, and analysis (forecasts are published May 25). Equipment tracked: metro and long haul SONET/SDH and WDM optical network equipment (transport, ROADM, submarine line terminating equipment), and ports (Ethernet, SONET/SDH/POS, and WDM).
What's Tracked in the report: EquipmentWDMMetroTransport, ROADMLong HaulTransport, ROADM, SLTESONET/SDH Optical Network Hardware: RevenueMetro, Long HaulP-OTS: Revenue1st Gen, 2nd Gen, etc.
TO BUY REPORTS, CONTACT SALES:
- N. America (West), Asia, Latin America: Larry Howard, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-408-583-3335
- N. America (East), Texas, Midwest: Scott Coyne, email@example.com, +1-408-583-3395
- Europe, Middle East, Africa: George Stojsavljevic, firstname.lastname@example.org, +44-755-488-1623
- Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan: http://www.infonetics.com/contact.asp
Carrier WiFi equipment market exploding to $2.1 billion by 2016; Data Offload of cellular networks is key driverThu, 05/10/2012 - 22:57 — Michael Weiss
Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its new Carrier WiFi Equipment market share, market size, and forecast report, which tracks carrier-class mobile WiFi access points, carrier-class WiFi hotspot access points, WiFi hotspot controllers, and the vendors who manufacture them.
Author Richard Webb recently said, "Mobile WiFi access points are expected to experience the highest CAGR -- 86% -- through 2016 as operators seek closer integration of WiFi with the mobile network."
CARRIER WIFI EQUIPMENT MARKET HIGHLIGHTS
. Global revenue for carrier WiFi equipment -- including mobile WiFi access points, WiFi hotspot access points, and WiFi hotspot controllers -- grew 35% in 2011 from 2010
. Mobile WiFi access points are expected to experience the highest compound annual growth rate -- 86% -- through 2016 as mobile operators seek a closer integration of WiFi with the mobile network
. Infonetics forecasts the global carrier WiFi equipment market to grow in the high double-digit percents annually at least through 2016, when it will hit $2.1 billion
. BelAir Networks (recently acquired by Ericsson), Cisco, and Ruckus Wireless together account for more than two-thirds of 2011 global carrier WiFi equipment revenue
. Infonetics anticipates new players will enter the market, disrupting early market share standings, and, with growing demand for WiFi integrated base stations from mobile operators, carrier WiFi market share could shift toward the mobile infrastructure vendors
Infonetics' Carrier WiFi Equipment report is a new service that tracks the market for WiFi equipment deployed by operators in public spaces for wireless Internet access. The report covers carrier-class mobile WiFi access points, carrier-class WiFi hotspot access points, and WiFi hotspot controllers (not consumer WiFi CPE or enterprise wireless LAN equipment). The report provides market analysis, market trends, carrier WiFi equipment vendor market share, market size, and forecasts by revenue and units. The report also includes carrier WiFi vendor announcements and customer wins and a Mobile Operator WiFi Offload Strategies Tracker. Vendors tracked include 4ipnet, Airspan, Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, CeedTec, Cisco, Edgewater Wireless, Ericsson (BelAir Networks), Gemtek, GoNet, Handlink, HP, Huawei, Motorola, Nomadix, Proxim, RFNet, Ruckus Wireless, Shyam Networks, Strix Systems, Tranzeo, Tropos, Ubiquiti Networks, UniFi, Vivato, Wavion, and others. Contact Infonetics' Sales to buy report: http://www.infonetics.com/contact.asp.
"Our many recent conversations with mobile operators and equipment vendors validate our view that mobile operators are hot for hotspots," notes Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave, mobile offload, and mobile broadband devices at Infonetics Research. "The carrier WiFi equipment market has grown consistently since 2007, initially driven by exploding demand from mobile operators augmenting their 3G and 4G deployments with WiFi hotspot services. The strongest new growth driver is mobile operators deploying carrier WiFi to offload a portion of their mobile data traffic. Additionally, fixed-line operators and ISPs continue to deploy WiFi to extend existing WiFi hotspot services, cable and DSL operators use WiFi as an enhancement for their broadband services, and many operators will soon be upgrading their existing access points to new WiFi standards, such as the forthcoming 802.11ac protocol."
Infonetics Research also released excerpts from its new Carrier WiFi Offload and Hotspot Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey today.
SELECT CARRIER WIFI OFFLOAD AND HOTSPOT STRATEGIES SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS
. Two-thirds of the service providers that Infonetics interviewed have already deployed 20,000 to over 150,000 WiFi access points (APs) in public spaces
. Street coverage is seen as one of the areas of greatest deficit for WiFi coverage; by 2013, the percentage of service providers planning to deploy WiFi for street coverage jumps to 79%
. Complementing the mobile data service by enhancing throughput is currently the top deployment driver for carrier WiFi, followed by the scarcity of licensed spectrum
. Nearly all respondent carriers plan to increase the number of access points deployed by 2013, so Infonetics expects significant carrier WiFi deployment over the coming year
. Smartphones and tablets are named by mobile operators as the top mobile broadband devices driving their 2013 deployments of public WiFi networks
CARRIER WIFI OFFLOAD AND HOTSPOT STRATEGIES SURVEY SYNOPSIS
For its Carrier WiFi Offload and Hotspot Strategies survey, Infonetics interviewed 24 mobile, incumbent, and competitive operators in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Africa that operate a public WiFi network used for offloading cellular networks, or who plan to by year-end. The study provides insight into service provider WiFi offload deployment plans and drivers, ratings of WiFi product features, and mobile offload and WiFi service strategies. Together the survey respondents represent 35% of the world's telecom carrier revenue and 36% of the world's telecom capex (capital expenditures). Contact Infonetics' Sales to buy report: http://www.infonetics.com/contact.asp.
"Mobile operators are firmly behind carrier WiFi as a key solution for mobile offload, even as they continue to investigate other small cell possibilities," says Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave, mobile offload, and mobile broadband devices at Infonetics Research. "Our survey shows that whilst data offload is the current priority, in coming years operators will want to see a closer integration of WiFi with the mobile network so that offload becomes more intelligent, automated, and seamless. They want to utilize WiFi not only to augment mobile services, but to enhance the network itself by becoming an integrated part of the mobile network."
Verizon's LTE Network: Better performance than Sprint's, LTE for rural homes, but no VoLTE anytime soon + T-Mobile's LTE buildTue, 05/08/2012 - 19:53 — Alan Weissberger
At an Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) event on May 8th, Verizon Communication's CTO Tony Melone said: "there is no way" that Sprint Nextel Corp. forthcoming Long Term Evolution (LTE) network will beat the performance of his company's existing 4G cellular network which uses larger communications channels. Mr. Melone made the statement in response to a question about Sprint's claim that it will offer a comparable LTE experience to AT&T Inc. and Verizon using smaller channels.
AT&T and Verizon have started with 10MHz by 10MHz channels in the 700MHz band for their 4G LTE deployments. Sprint will use 5MHz by 5MHz channels in the 1900MHz PCS band for its LTE service, due to launch in six cities by mid-year.
"There's no way a 5 X 5 network can perform like a 10 X 10 network," Melone said. He did note that if a network is "fully loaded" with users, it could start to drag on performance. All things being equal, however, larger channels always provide better LTE performance, according to the Verizon CTO (and Shannon's Channel Capacity theorem).
For the consumers who cannot get such cable modem based Internet access (from a MSO), but are in rural areas that are covered by the LTE network Verizon is pushing its LTE based "HomeFusion" connection. It's expense, at $199 plus a monthly service fee. The HomeFusion costs at least $60 per month for a 10GB bucket of data. Consider that a two-hour HD movie eats through about 2GB of data in one sitting.
During an interview with Network World today, Verizon Vice President of Network Hans Leutenegger said that the carrier won't be deploying any voice over LTE (VoLTE) services on its network until late next year at the very earliest. The reason for this, he said, is that Verizon is already largely satisfied with its current (CDMA based) voice network and doesn't see the need to push both handset manufacturers and its own customers to use a new technology just yet.
Separately from Verizon's huge presence at CTIA, T-Mobile announced that Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) would be building its $4B LTE network, which is scheduled to be deployed in late 2013. The contracts cover LTE network installation at 37,000 cell sites owned by T-Mobile. That's a big step up from it's current HSPA+ network, which the carrier erroneously calls "4G."
Ericsson now is supplying LTE gear to all four of the major U.S. operators, as well as to tier II operators MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular and Canadian carrier Rogers Communications, helping cement its dominant position atop the global 4G market. On the other hand, NSN needed to keep T-Mobile a customer in order to remain relevant in the U.S. 4G market. T-Mobile is now NSN’s sole LTE radio contract in the U.S., though it is building the Telus and Bell Mobility 4G networks in Canada and is supplying parts of Verizon’s LTE core.
Part of the spectrum to be used for T-Mobile's LTE network came from AT&T. T-Mobile is planning to combine the new AWS band spectrum it got from AT&T with what it's able to refarm from its existing wireless network. The company believes these two sources will be enough to offer "up to 20MHz of LTE in 75 percent of the top 25 markets."
Comcast and Verizon are the top North American Business VoIP service providers, according to Infonetics Research just released report: North America Business VoIP Service Leadership Scorecard. The report analyzes and ranks the top service providers in the hosted VoIP and unified communications (UC) services market and the IP connectivity market.
A few Highlights:
- Comcast earned a high overall score of 33 out of 35 for hosted VoIP services; West, Verizon, and 8x8 are also among the top hosted VoIP providers in North America
- Verizon Business earned a high overall score of 32 out of 35 for IP connectivity providers; AT&T, Comcast, and XO Communications are also among the top providers in North America
- At the end of 2011, many of the top hosted VoIP service providers had over 100,000 VoIP and UC seats, while others had fewer than 50,000 seats, signaling further consolidation to come, and likely the shuttering of some businesses
- On the IP connectivity front, the bulk of the installed base has become concentrated with the large operators, as scale is necessary for a successful business in a service market based on lower-prices
- The competitive landscape for hosted VoIP services is shaking up, with the traditional PBX and Unified Communications equipment vendors such as ShoreTel, NEC, Mitel, Avaya, and Cisco jumping into the cloud.
"Comcast’s acquisition of New Global Telecom, the former perennial leader in our business VoIP scorecards, propelled Comcast to the #1 position in Infonetics' hosted Business VoIP Leadership Scorecard this year,” announced Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Research. "And, for the fourth year in a row, Verizon Business is #1 in our IP Connectivity Leadership Scorecard, followed by AT&T."
Ms. Myers adds: "After a banner 2010, 2011 was another year of consolidation in North America among business VoIP service providers. Though there are still a large number of VoIP service providers in North America, consolidation is starting to separate the large providers from the rest of the pack."
Last month, Infonetics said that the VoIP services market is growing strongly as businesses seek flexibility and easier management. Myers said, "Global service provider revenue from business and residential/SOHO VoIP services totaled nearly $58 billion in 2011, up 16% from the previous year."
"The revenue that service providers derive from their residential and SOHO VoIP subscribers still eclipses what they get from businesses, but the business segment is growing about twice as fast, due in large part to the surging popularity of SIP trunking and hosted VoIP and UC services. Adoption of VoIP services across both the residential and business segments continues to grow, and we expect strong global growth in VoIP service revenue over at least the next five years," according to Ms. Myers.
Infonetics' North America Business VoIP Service Leadership Scorecard profiles, analyzes, and ranks leading hosted VoIP and unified communications (UC) service providers and leading IP business connectivity service providers in the U.S. and Canada. Service provider scores are based on criteria such as installed base of lines/trunks or seats, financial stability, market strategy, service capabilities, and support options. Service provider scores and data are displayed in charts and tables in the report, accompanied by service provider profiles describing their offerings and analysis of the individual scores.
Service providers ranked in Infonetics’ 2012 North America Business VoIP Service Leadership Scorecard include 8x8, AT&T, Bandwidth.com, BroadView Networks, Cbeyond, Comcast, Cox, Level 3, Megapath, RingCentral, ShoreTel/M5, Sprint, Thinking Phone Networks, Verizon Business, West, Windstream, and XO Communications.
For more information on Infonetics' Reports:
Google's largest internal network interconnects its Data Centers using Software Defined Network (SDN) in the WANTue, 04/24/2012 - 16:51 — Alan Weissberger
Google's use of SDN in its internal WAN backbone:
Urs Hölzle,Sr VP of Technical Infrastructure at Google presented the opening keynote speech at the 2012 Open Network Summit, April 17 in Santa Clara, CA. The audience was surprised to learn that Google had built its own switches and SDN confrollers for use in its internal backbone network - the one which is used to interconnect its data centers.
Here are the key points made in Mr. Hölzle's presentation:
Google currently operates two WAN backbones, according to Hölzle:
1] I-Scale is the public Internet-facing backbone that carries user traffic to and from Google's data centers. It must have bulletproof performance.
2] G-Scale is the internal backbone that carries traffic between Google's data centers worldwide. The G-Scale network has been used to experiment with SDN.
- Google chose to pursue SDN in order to separate hardware from software. This enables the company to choose hardware based on necessary features and to choose software based on protocol requirements.
- SDN provides logically, centralized network control. The goal is to be more deterministic, more efficient and more fault-tolerant.
- SDN enables better centralized traffic engineering, such as an ability for the network to converge quickly to target optimum on a link failure. Determinist behavior should simplify planning vs over provisioning for worst case variability.
- The SDN controller uses modern server hardware, giving it more flexibility than conventional routers.
- Switches are virtualized with real OpenFlow and the company can attach real monitoring and alerting servers. Testing is vastly simplified.
- The move to SDN is really about picking the right tool for the right job.
- Google's OpenFlow WAN activity really started moving in 2010. Less than two years later, Google is now running the G-Scale network on OpenFlow-controlled switches. 100% of its production data center to data center traffic is now on this new SDN-powered network.
- Google built their own OpenFlow switch because none were commercially available. The switch was built from merchant silicon. It has scaled to hundred of nonblocking 10GE ports.
- Google's practice is to simplify every software stack and hardware element as much as possible, removing anything that is not absolutely necessary.
- Multiple switch chassis are used in each domain.
- Google is using open source routing stacks for BGP and ISIS.
- The OpenFlow-controlled switches (designed and built by Google) look like regular routers. BGP/ISIS/OSPF now interfaces with OpenFlow controller to program the switch state.
- A preliminary version of the Open Flow protocol is being used now. (The Open Flow standard is still maturing).
- All data center backbone traffic is now carried by this new SDN based network. The old network has been shut down.
- Google started rolling out centralized traffic engineering in January.
- Google is already seeing higher network utilization and gaining the benefit of flexible management of end-to-end paths for maintenance.
- Over the past six months, the new network has seen a high degree of stability with minimal outages.
- The new SDN-powered network is meeting the company's SLA objectives.
- It is still too early to quantify the economics.
- A key SDN benefit is the unified view of the network fabric -- higher QoS awareness and predictability.
Mr. Hölzle said that Google’s software-defined networking system has been running for about six months and that it was therefore too early to accurately benchmark cost savings. “This will have a bigger impact in costs than any technical change like a larger router, or 10 gigabit optical switches instead of 2.5 gigabit. I would expect the cost reduction to come from better system utilization, and substantially easier management,” he said.
“In utilization alone, we are hoping for a 20 percent to 30 percent reduction,” he continued. Google’s very specific network applications, like search, made it hard to say what others could expect to save. Hölzle thought that the savings would be enough to compel large Internet service providers to change their systems to S.D.N. over the next five years.
Surprisingly, perhaps, Mr. Hölzle thought that the incumbent networking providers would lead the transition. Start-up networking companies likeNicira have created a stir with their SDN approaches, but Mr. Hölzle thought that the big service providers would have a level of trust with the incumbent network equipment companies (We don't necessarily agree- there are no incumbent networking companies that are leaders in SDNs).
“The natural players are the ones already in the field – Cisco, Alcatel, Juniper,” he said, noting that NEC was an early leader in S.D.N. “They have the networking management software, just at the level of hardware ports, not data flows.” Google talks with all of these companies about their S.D.N. plans, Mr. Hölzle said. Within a year or two, he thought, Google would be purchasing S.D.N.-related products from one or more of these companies.
SDN use in global WANs:
There were also presentations from NEC, NTT, Verizon and other WAN players endorsing SDN and Open Flow at this conference. NEC said it's Open Flow controller, together with IBM switches, would be deployed in the WAN as early as this July. NTT stated that a global cloud virtualization service that leverages SDN will also be launched this summer.
Complete program with selected presentations is at: http://opennetsummit.org/index.html
GigaOM wrote that the conference was like "a giant science fair for the networking industry. There are arcane demonstrations detailing how software-defined networks and the OpenFlow protocol will change the way networks are built, managed and operated. There are speakers from Google, Verizon and Yahoo detailing their projects and successes with OpenFlow as well as investors and bankers swarming the whole event."
"The creation of the OpenFlow protocol, which separates the act of directing how packets move across a network from the physical act of moving those packets, has helped create excitement around networking, and is precipitating change. The change is actually the creation of software-defined networks that are programmable (for the record, a software defined network doesn’t need OpenFlow). There’s also a third change that’s been going on regarding the commoditization of networking hardware and the rise of merchant silicon."
Forbes magazine pointed out that SDN networks are “more secure, more dependable and much easier to manage” because the software that controls network traffic is separate from the physical routers and switches.
"By separating the software that controls network traffic from the physical routers and switches, SDN should make networks more secure, more dependable and much easier to manage. Because SDN runs on commodity hardware, it could translate into siginficant savings for network operators. Perhaps most important, it opens up the network to the possibility of vast innovation.
For Google, software defined networking represented a better way of moving traffic between its global data centers. According to Holzle, things that were hard to do on processors embedded in a networking box become much easier when they separately designed and merely communicated to the hardware using OpenFlow. “You can use all the [computer] tools for software development and that makes it faster to develop software that is higher in quality,” he said.
One of the big advantages for Google is better traffic management—this new approach basically ensures that every lane on its global network of data highways is smoothly moving packets toward their destinations. “Soon we will be able to get very close to 100 percent utilization of our network,” Holzle said. This is a big increase from the industry expectation of thirty to forty percent utilization."
The market segments where SDN might be advantageously used include:
- Cloud Services Providers / large website data centers
- Universities and research campus networks
- Metro Area CSP data center interconnect
- Enterprise data centers
- Internet service provider core routed networks
- Campus LAN
- Enterprise WAN
Author's NOTE: Also see this blog post:
Check out IEEE ComSocSCV July 11 meeting: 6pm-*45pm @Texas Instruments Building E, 2900 Semiconductor Dr., Santa Clara, CA 95051. Software Defined Networking (SDN) Explained- New Epoch or Passing Fad?
Session Abstract: After several years of research, Software Define Networking (SDN) has finally become a reality. At this year's Open Networking Summit, Google announced it had already deployed its own SDN design in the backbone network that interconnects all its Data Centers. NTT and Verizon hinted that they'd deploy SDN soon, while network equipment vendors indicated they were committed to the concept. IT executives and managers are also taking notice. One pundit predicted a 'new epoch' in networks based on SDN- for data centers, campus networks and WANs. But what exactly is SDN and the associated OpenFlow protocol that the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is standardizing?
|6:00 - 6:30pm||Networking and Refreshments|
|6:30 - 6:40pm||Opening remarks|
|6:40 - 7:25pm||SDN Overview & Research Projects by Guru Parulkar|
|7:25 - 8:10pm||ONF: Taking OpenFlow and SDN from lab to market by Dan Pitt|
|8:10 - 8:40pm||Panel Session, Discussion & Q&A|
More info at: http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r6/scv/comsoc/index.php#current
U.S.-based wireline-broadband network providers last year accounted for 41% of the $66 billion spent on information infrastructure in the U.S., while wireless carriers kicked in 40% of the total, according to a report by USTelecom. The other 19% came from cable operators (AKA MSOs). This information is contained in the research brief: “Updated Capital Spending Data Show Continued Significant Broadband Investment in Nation’s Information Infrastructure.”
2011 capital expenditures for the industry as a whole—including wireline, wireless, and cable operators—were approximately $66 billion, roughly the same as 2010. Furthermore, the data show that broadband providers have made nearly $1.2 trillion in capital investments from 1996 through 2011.
Although the overall investment level has not changed much in the last year, the amount of data traffic that networks carry has increased dramatically– from the equivalent of 8.3 million DVDs per month in 2000 to the equivalent of more than 1.4 billion DVDs per month in 2010, USTelecom said. The association expects traffic levels to triple again over the next five years.
The largest driver of bandwidth demand in 2010 and 2011 was consumer video over fixed networks, representing more than two-thirds of U.S. data traffic in 2010 and approaching three-quarters in the next five years, said USTelecom.
According to the USTelecom research, 96% of Americans now have access to fixed broadband, up 1% since 2010. Researchers also noted that 80% of U.S. households have at least two broadband providers from which to choose. The research brief does not indicate how researchers defined broadband.
It appears that some of USTelecom’s landline carriers may be feeling overshadowed by wireless carriers, which have garnered much of consumers’ attention in recent years. “Nearly all of U.S. wireless data traffic, the fastest growing data traffic segment, utilizes fixed network connections,” the research brief notes. “Fixed backhaul connections link cell towers to the network and, increasingly, mobile data traffic is offloaded onto Wi-Fi enabled fixed network connections via dual-mode Wi-Fi cellular devices in order to alleviate mobile network capacity limitations.”
Separately, AT&T reported that it netted 718,000 U-verse broadband and 200,000 TV customers in the first quarter. Broadband users signed up for faster service in greater numbers than a year ago with 45% opting for speeds of at least 6 Mbps. Overall, AT&T exceeded analysts' estimates in the first quarter on a 5.2% increase in net profit due largely to higher wireless data service revenue.
But the U.S. cellular market is nearing saturation after a growth spurt fueled by sales of the iPhone last year. Wireless penetration in the U.S. is 105 percent when including mobile devices like tablet computers, said Bob Roche, a statistician with CTIA, a wireless-industry trade group.
The slowing market is forcing AT&T into more intense competition with Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S), with the carriers fighting over a shrinking pool of people who don’t yet have mobile phones. They’re also trying to get customers to upgrade to smartphones such as the iPhone that let users browse the Web and stream video.