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AT&T's John Donovan talks BIG GAME but doesn't reveal Game Plan at ONS 2014

John Donovan wants to revamp AT&T’s network using SDN, but also its internal policies, methods and procedures. AT&T's senior executive vice president of technology and network operations was strong on conviction, but short on details during his March 4th keynote speech at the Open Network Summit (ONS) in Santa Clara, CA.  

You can watch that keynote, along with opening remarks from ONS Chairman Guru Parulkar, PhD at:

AT&T is committed to shifting to a more agile networking strategy, which it's calling User-Defined Network Cloud or Domain 2.0.  According to Donovan, there are four key principles that will guide AT&T's network transformation: 

1. Open- APIs are the perfect tool

2. Simple- a more common network infrastructure

3. Scale-  evolve network to support high traffic growth

4. Secure- protect the Control Plane

"We intend to provide elastic network services, just like cloud provides elastic computing and storage services today," Donovan said. "Customers will be able to self-provision networking services on the fly, as needed, just as they now do with compute services and storage from cloud service providers," he added.  

Donovan shook up the audience (especially this author) when he said:

"We're changing everything at AT&T:

  • How the network is built (presumably with much more software control)
  • The actual equipment and the software – leveraging open source principles and software
  • How AT&T will be partnering and purchasing from both startups and larger companies
  • AT&T's operations and culture – changing their OSS model while pursuing network agility"


To that latter point, Donovan said that AT&T plans to retire more than 1,000 of its current OSS applications. In their place, the carrier hopes to handle operations such as billing and provisioning through parallel processes “as opposed to the inhibiting process that defines everything that we do,” Donovan said.  It was quite refreshing to hear an AT&T executive admit that the company is plagued by "inhibiting processes," which often is the cause for botched service orders and delayed service deployments.

To reiterate the company's conviction to Domain 2.0, the AT&T executive stated “there’s no army that can hold back an economic principle whose time has come. What I’m talking about is radically reshaping the entire wide-area network.”  To make this radical change, AT&T is changing everything about the company, including how the network is built, equipment and software, how the company buys, and its operations and culture.
AT&T's network transition to SDN/NFV will be a big job, especially for a large telecom carrier with a huge legacy network in place for decades. "There is much to do before our vision is realized," Donovan said.  AT&T executives see it as their responsibility to communicate the strategic change to employees and give them the capability to participate in the network revamp.   "The objective is to leave no person behind who wants to make the journey and has the desire and fortitude to get it done," Donovan said.

Orchestration of many distributed controllers will be one of the most difficult steps in the SDN migration.  During the Q & A session, Donovan was asked whether any vendors have orchestration offerings that  AT&T’s goals and objectives. “We’ve had a lot of very interesting dialogue, but we have nothing ready to deploy,” he said.  "That is a massive software project. It will be a highly complex, multi-participant approach. We’re going to have to even write some of it ourselves,” he added.

“Our backbone today, we manage over 4 million routes, and that’s larger than you can get from any control plane, so we wrote our own. So, we’re not brand new to this game.”


Mr. Donovan identified hardware vendors Ericsson and Metaswitch as two established suppliers that are involved with AT&T's Domain 2.0 project. He said that two smaller vendors -Tail-f Systems and Affirmed Networks - are working closely with AT&T on this major network transformation.  Donovan praised Tail-f for its network control software, which can manage network equipment from multiple vendors by interfacing with their existing control planes. He also praised Affirmed Networks for the technology it's developing that virtualizes the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) in AT&Ts LTE wireless network.

AT&T is ready to do business with new vendors, even companies that are not traditional telco vendors, Donovan said. "We're leaving the [procurement] process open," he said. "We appreciate the benefits of collaboration, and we're going to make sure we stay open to new ideas and maintain a competitive process. So if a company comes along with an innovation, they'll have a chance to pursue it with us."


"Our strategy is more than just a network design change," Donovan added. "It's a change in how we do business with suppliers and with how we manage platforms, systems and software. It changes our people. We have to take advantage of cultural change at our company."  Wow, that was quite an impressive statement from an AT&T executive!

In answer to a question from a skeptical Light Reading analyst, Donovan replied that AT&T is making real progress in its evolution to SDN. He said that the company has succeeded in abstracting the control plane from the backbone network - one of the first steps to realize the separation of the control plane from data plane. "What I'm talking about is radically reshaping the WAN," Donavan noted.

And what about this year's roadmap for SDN?  “What we’re looking for in 2014 are beachhead projects that can move us from an old Domain 1 architecture to a Domain 2 architecture. We’re calling it D1.5,” Donovan said. The idea is to fit controllers onto AT&T’s current platforms, extending the lives of those platforms.

The beachhead projects are meant to happen quickly. AT&T has already identified “a half dozen” of them, Donovan said. Moving into 2015, AT&T hopes to start introducing applications that were born in the cloud, a buildup that should lead to a “crescendo effect,” Donovan said.

Comment & Analysis:

We wonder what version of SDN AT&T will implement?  No details on the specific network infrastructure were announced at ONS 2014, nor in any AT&T press releases.  Donovan did not mention OpenFlow in his speech and the carrier is NOT a member of the Open Network Foundation (ONF) that is standardizing that southbound API/protocol between the Control and Data planes.

At previous year ONS events, Chair Guru Parulkar, PhD, emphatically stated there was only one version of SDN, which clearly separated Control and Data planes via OpenFlow southbound API.  Anything else was "SDN washing," he said.  That statement was not repeated at ONS 2014.  In fact most speakers said that OpenFlow was one of many protocols that would be used for SDN. Some clearly stated that they would not use OpenFlow at all, as it didn't solve the open networking problems adequately.

In a March 14 conversation with Soren Telfer of AT&T's Palo Alto Foundry, we learned that OpenFlow is under investigation along with many other protocols that might be used in "distributed systems."  More about that phone interview in a forthcoming article.

In conclusion, we think AT&T has a very long way to go to transition its network to SDN and NFV.  One of the key issues will certainly be vendor interoperability when there are no universally accepted open interfaces/protocols that have been standardized.  Ericcson- one of AT&T's Domain 2.0 vendors and host for their Palo Alto Foundry, said (at both at ONS 2014 and 2013) that they are not using OpenFlow in their SDN implementations,  So the SDN eco-system really can't count on OpenFlow as a core standard and there are many more needed. Ultimately, the actual standards will have to be published by ITU-T as "carrier grade" SDN and NFV recommendations.

Meanwhile, we call your attention to NTT Communications, who has deployed SDN/OpenFlow for almost two years now and is planning to launch NFV this summer.  

NTT Com Leads all Network Providers in Deployment of SDN/OpenFlow; NFV Coming Soon






Infonetics: Wireline Broadband Experiencing Solid Growth; Tier 3 Operators Upgrading their Broadband Networks

Infonetics Research launched a new research service this year - Broadband Subscriber Database by Provider, led by analyst Jeff Heynen. The latest report, released this week, contains demographic and subscriber data of more than 130 global wireline broadband providers.

.    The top 6 wireline broadband providers by subscriber are, in rank order, China Telecom, China Unicom, Comcast, NTT Group, Deutsche Telekom, and AT&T
.    Fixed broadband subscribers in China totaled 183 million in the third quarter of 2013, up 37% in two years
.    In the Middle East, wireline broadband subscribers grew more than threefold in the same period
.    China Telecom, NTT Group, and Verizon are the leading providers of FTTH services
.    Comcast and Time Warner Cable are the 2 largest cable broadband operators by subscribers in the world, and the merged companies will tout over 31 million subscribers

FTTH subscribers are growing rapidly in Europe, while Asia Pacific region is growing faster.


"We're seeing phenomenal growth in fixed broadband subscribers in Asia Pacific, particularly China, where China Telecom and China Unicom continue to add both DSL and FTTH subscribers at a phenomenal pace. Meanwhile, Latin America continues to see moderate growth in both cable and DSL subscribers," reports Jeff Heynen, principal analyst for broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research.

Heynen continues: "FTTH subscribers in Europe are now showing signs of solid growth, with Swisscom, Free, and Telefonica among a handful of operators moving forward with FTTH."


Infonetics' quarterly broadband subscriber database tracks fixed broadband subscribers (DSL, cable broadband, FTTB and LAN, FTTH) in North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), Asia Pacific, and CALA (Caribbean and Latin America). The database, which includes searchable and sortable pivot tables, data, and charts, provides subscriber data by region, technology, individual service provider, and service provider type (cable operator, competitive, incumbent, independent wireless, satellite). It also includes service provider demographics and a Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) Tracker that lists manufacturer, model, and type of CPE by service provider.

To buy the database, contact Infonetics:


In a related report on Set Top Boxes, Heynen wrote:  "The overall set-top box (STB) market declined in 2013, but cable and satellite video gateways had a very strong year, with shipments growing 333% and 98%, respectively," says Jeff Heynen, principal analyst for broadband access and pay TV at Infonetics Research.

"Video gateways collapse the STB and broadband CPE into a single device, and it's for this reason we expect to see a long-term shift to these devices, at least in North America, to reduce capex in multiple TV set homes,"  he added.   Infonetics expects global IP video gateway revenue to grow at a 79% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013 to 2018.


Evidently Heynen is on a roll.  In yet another Infonetics report issued last week titled: Tier 3 Broadband Strategies and Vendor Leadership: North American Service Provider Survey, he wrote:

"Tier 3 operators in the U.S. are already heavily invested in FTTH networks and will continue to expand their fiber availability until they reach their entire subscriber base.  But like other operators around the world outside of China," Heynen continues, "The long-term transition to fiber will happen incrementally, with fiber-to-the-node and fiber-to-the-curb deployments using VDSL2 as a critical, strategic tool in the effort to keep up with subscriber and network bandwidth demands."




.    Only 5% of operators participating in Infonetics' survey are providing average downstream speeds of 100+ Mbps today, increasing to 45% by 2016
.    Survey respondents expect capital expenditures earmarked for fixed broadband networks to remain flat
.    After 2014, 55%-75% of respondents plan to upgrade and expand their networks with 2.5G GPON and Ethernet FTTH
.    Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents upgrading their networks with system-level vectored VDSL2 goes from 0 in 2013 to 30% in 2014
.    A majority of those surveyed named Calix, Adtran, and Alcatel-Lucent as the top 3 fixed broadband access equipment suppliers

N. America (West), Asia Pacific: Larry Howard,, +1 408-583-3335
N. America (East, Midwest), L. America: Scott Coyne,, +1 408-583-3395
EMEA, India, Singapore: George Stojsavljevic,, +44 755-488-1623
Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan:

The Public Safety LTE & Mobile Broadband Market: 2014 - 2020

Considering its thriving ecosystem, spectrum flexibility and performance metrics, public safety organizations worldwide recognize LTE as the de-facto standard for mission critical mobile broadband communications.

With spectrum already allocated, public safety agencies in the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the U.S have already begun to operate private LTE networks. Driven by public safety demands, LTE products can now also operate in spectrum bands previously unthinkable, such as the 400 MHz band, which is widely available to public safety agencies worldwide. Moreover, demands for tactical and rapidly deployable broadband solutions have also led vendors to develop private LTE base station products in a variety of innovative form factors such as Cell in a Box (CIAB) or airborne cells.

The research estimates the global spending on private LTE infrastructure including base stations (eNodeBs), mobile core (EPC) and backhaul will account for $2 Billion annually by the end of 2020. By the same time, the installed base of private public safety LTE base stations ( (eNode Bs) will reach nearly 155,000 globally, following a CAGR of nearly 60% between 2014 and 2020, and will serve nearly 4 Million private public safety LTE subscribers worldwide.

However it is important to note that the transition to LTE is one of the will be one of the most complex technical changes the public safety communications industry will ever witness and will present challenges in its own right, particularly in the context of global standardization. Furthermore spectrum, regulatory and budgetary issues in certain regions such as Europe will delay large scale private deployments.

Nonetheless, service prioritization partnerships with commercial LTE network carriers will create an ecosystem for operating public safety devices over commercial LTE networks during this transition period. We estimate that public safety LTE device shipments over commercial networks will account for nearly $7 Billion in annual revenue by the end of 2020.

This report presents an in-depth assessment of the global public safety LTE market, besides considering the wider LMR and mobile broadband industries. In addition to covering the business case, challenges, spectrum allocation strategies, industry roadmap, deployment case studies, vendor products, strategies, standardization activities and application ecosystem for public safety LTE, the report also presents comprehensive forecasts for mobile broadband,  LMR and public safety LTE subscriptions from 2011 till 2020. Also covered are public safety LTE service revenues as well as device and infrastructure (eNodeB base stations, EPC mobile core, backhaul) shipment and associated revenue forecasts.

The report comes with an associated XLS datasheet covering quantitative data from all figures presented within the report, as well as a list and associated details of 46 global private public safety LTE network deployments (as of Q1’2014).

Key Findings:

The report has the following key findings:

  • Global spending on private LTE infrastructure including base stations (eNodeBs), mobile core (EPC) and backhaul will account for $2 Billion annually by the end of 2020
  • By the same time, the installed base of private public safety LTE base stations (eNodeBs) will reach nearly 155,000, following a CAGR of nearly 60% between 2014 and 2020, and will serve nearly 4 Million private public safety LTE subscribers worldwide
  • As much as 15% of all public safety LTE investments will be military centric tactical deployments by 2020
  • Commercial carriers and public safety MVNOs will pocket nearly $7 Billion in public safety LTE service revenues by the end of 2020, following growth at a CAGR of 40% between 2014 and 2020
  • A large nationwide deployment such as FirstNet in the U.S. can save up to 40% in TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) over 10-years by opting for a public-private partnership rather than a private only investment
  • Almost all major LMR industry players are leveraging partnerships with established LTE infrastructure vendors such as Ericsson,  Alcatel-Lucent and NSN, to offer end-to-end LTE solutions


Topics Covered:

The report covers the following topics:

  • Business case for public safety LTE and mobile broadband services
  • Key benefits of public safety LTE and mobile broadband
  • Challenges to public safety LTE adoption
  • Public safety agency, network operator and vendor commitments to public safety LTE
  • List of private public safety LTE deployments worldwide
  • Public safety LTE deployment case studies
  • The industry roadmap for the public safety mobile broadband in general and the LTE market in particular
  • Public safety LTE deployment and funding models
  • Spectrum allocation for public safety LTE
  • Public safety LTE applications ecosystem
  • Public safety LTE vendor assessment and strategies
  • Profiles of over 100 players in the public safety LTE ecosystem
  • Public safety LTE standardization
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis of private and commercial public safety LTE deployments
  • Military and tactical LTE deployments
  • Public safety LTE base station form factor analysis
  • Exclusive interview transcripts from 7 industry players including Airbus, Motorola Solutions and General Dynamics
  • Strategic recommendations for vendors, system integrators, public safety agencies and wireless carriers
  • Market analysis and forecasts from 2011 till 2020


Forecast Segmentation:

Market forecasts and historical figures are provided for each of the following submarkets:

Public Safety LTE Base Station (eNodeB) Shipments, Revenue & Installed Base

Network Categories

  • Private LTE
  • Commercial LTE


Form Factor Categories

  • Macrocell
  • Small Cell
  • Relay Node
  • Tactical Cell on Wheel (COW)
  • Tactical Cell in a Box (CIAB)
  • Airborne Cell


Additional Forecasts for Pubic Safety LTE Infrastructure

  • Public Safety LTE Mobile Core (EPC) Investments
  • Public Safety LTE Backhaul Investments


Public Safety LTE Device Shipments & Revenue

Network Categories

  • Private LTE
  • Commercial LTE


Form Factor Categories

  • Handportable LMR Terminal
  • Mobile (In-Vehicle) LMR Terminal
  • Notebook PC
  • USB Dongle
  • Smartphone
  • PDA


Public Safety LTE Subscriptions & Service Revenue

  • Private LTE
  • Commercial LTE


Public Safety User Subscriptions over Private Mobile Broadband

  • Private LTE
  • Private WiMAX


Public Safety User Subscriptions over Commercial Mobile Broadband

  • LTE
  • WiMAX
  • W-CDMA
  • HSPA
  • CDMA2000
  • EV-DO


LMR Subscriptions

  • P25
  • Tetrapol
  • dPMR
  • NXND
  • PDT
  • Analog Radio


LMR Data Subscriptions

  • P25 Phase 1
  • P25 Phase 2
  • Tetropol

The following regional  markets are also covered:

Regional Markets

  • Asia Pacific
  • Eastern Europe
  • Latin & Central America
  • Middle East & Africa
  • North America
  • Western Europe


Key Questions Answered:

The report provides answers to the following key questions:

  • Which countries will be the first to deploy and adopt LTE for public safety applications?
  • How many private public safety LTE base stations (eNodeBs) will ship in 2020, and how will these compare to the wider commercial LTE market?
  • How much will be invested on mobile core (EPC) and backhaul infrastructure to support private public safety LTE deployments?
  • How will the VoLTE ecosystem evolve and how will this impact PTT and voice services for public safety LTE?
  • When will standardized mission-critical voice communications and proximity services see large scale proliferation in the public safety LTE market?
  • How much revenue will the public safety LTE application ecosystem generate in 2020?
  • How will public safety LTE device shipments vary by form factor (handheld LMR terminals, mobile in-vehicle LMR modems, notebook PCs, USB dongles, smartphones, PDAs) overtime?
  • Is the 400 MHZ spectrum realistically feasible to support public safety LTE applications?
  • What are the prospects of tactical, rapidly deployable and airborne LTE solutions?
  • Does Huawei stand a chance in the public safety LTE market outside of Asia?
  • Which vendors and system integrators are the most successful in the public safety LTE market?
  • How many first responders rely on private and commercial mobile broadband networks for their daily tasks?
  • How will private and commercial public safety LTE subscriptions compare in 2020?
  • How will public safety LTE subscriptions compare to other mobile broadband technologies such as WiMAX and HSPA in 2020?
  • What opportunities exist for commercial wireless carriers and MVNOs in the public safety LTE market?


List of Companies

The following companies and organizations have been reviewed, discussed or mentioned in the report:

  • 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project)
  • 7 layers AG
  • Abu Dhabi Police
  • ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority)
  • Aculab
  • Adax
  • ADCOM911 (Adams County Communication Center)
  • Aeroflex
  • Airbus Defence and Space (Formerly Cassidian)
  • Airbus Group
  • Airspan Networks
  • Airwave
  • Alcatel-Lucent
  • Amdocs
  • Anritsu
  • APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials-International)
  • Apple
  • Aricent Group
  • Artevea
  • ASTRO Solutions
  • AT&T Mobility
  • ATIS (Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions)
  • Atlas Telecom
  • Aviat Networks
  • Avtec
  • Axell Wireless
  • Axis Communications
  • BAE Systems
  • BASE (Belgium)
  • BayWEB (Bay Area Wireless Enhanced Broadband system)
  • BFDX
  • BlackBerry
  • Bosch Security Systems
  • Brazilian Army
  • Bridgewater
  • Broadcom
  • C4i
  • CalAmp
  • Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance
  • Catalyst Communications
  • CCTI (Catalyst Communications Technologies Inc)
  • China Mobile
  • Cimarron Technologies
  • Cisco
  • CITIG (Canadian Interoperability Technology Interest Group)
  • City of Charlotte
  • City of Fort Worth
  • City of Irving
  • City of New Orleans
  • City of Pembroke Pine
  • Cobham
  • CommScope
  • Covia Labs
  • DAMM Cellular Systems A/S
  • Daniels Electronics Ltd
  • DAPage Notifications
  • DataNet Software
  • Dubai Police
  • Dutch Police
  • EADS
  • Eastcom
  • EENA (European Emergency Number Association)
  • EF Johnson
  • Ericsson
  • Etherstack
  • ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute)
  • Eventide
  • Exalt Communications
  • Exelis
  • Facebook
  • FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
  • FCC (Federal Communications Commission)
  • FirstNet (First Responder Network Authority)
  • French Armed Forces
  • General Dynamics
  • General Dynamics C4 Systems
  • German Armed Forces
  • Germany Army
  • Google
  • Harris
  • Harris County
  • HigherGround
  • Hitachi
  • Honeywell
  • Hong Kong Police Force
  • HQT Radio
  • HTC
  • Huawei
  • Hughes
  • Hytera
  • iCOM
  • ICOM America
  • Imtradex
  • Intel
  • InterDigital
  • InterSec
  • Intrado
  • IPWireless
  • ITT Corporation
  • ITU (International Telecommunications Union)
  • Japan Radio Company
  • Jordanian Armed Forces
  • JVC Kenwood
  • Kapsch CarrierCom
  • Kelrad Software
  • Kenwood
  • Kirisun
  • Kodiak Networks
  • KPN
  • L-3 Communications
  • LA-RICS (Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System)
  • Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
  • Lemko
  • Lenovo
  • LG Electronics
  • LG Uplus
  • LiveViewGPS
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Mentura Group
  • MetroPCS
  • Miami Dade Police Department
  • Miami-Dade County
  • Ministry of Communications, Libya
  • Ministry of Public Security (MPS), China
  • Mobistar
  • Moscow Police
  • Motorola Mobility (Part of Lenovo)
  • Motorola Solutions
  • Mutualink
  • National Rail (UK)
  • NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
  • NEC
  • Net4Mobility
  • NetMotion Wireless
  • Nevada Department of Transportation
  • New York Police Department
  • New Zealand Police
  • NextNav
  • NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
  • Nokia
  • Nokia Solutions & Networks (NSN)
  • Northrop Grumman
  • NPSTC (National Public Safety Telecommunications Council)
  • nTerop
  • NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration)
  • NVA (Networked Vehicle Association)
  • NYCWiN  (New York City Wireless Network)
  • Oceus Networks
  • OMA (Open Mobile Alliance)
  • Oman Royal Office
  • Ontario Ministry of Transportation
  • OpenSignal
  • Panasonic
  • Panorama Antennas
  • Phonak
  • Piciorgros (Funk-Electronic Piciorgros GmbH)
  • Pikewerks Corporation
  • Polaris
  • Police Federation of Australia
  • Portalify
  • POTEVIO International
  • PowerTrunk
  • Proximus
  • PSCR (Public Safety Communications Research)
  • Putian
  • Puxing Radio
  • Pyramid Communications
  • Qatar Armed Forces
  • Qatar MOI (Ministry of Interior)
  • Qualcomm
  • Radio IP
  • Radisys
  • RAVEN Electronics Corporation
  • Raytheon
  • Reality Mobile
  • RELM Wireless
  • Réseau Ferré de France (RFF)
  • Rivada Networks
  • Rohde & Schwarz
  • Rohill
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation)
  • Samsung
  • SANG (Saudi Arabian National Guard)
  • Sao Paulo Military Police
  • Sapura Secured Technologies
  • SaskTel
  • Saudi MOI (Ministry of Interior)
  • Savox Communications
  • Selex ES
  • Sepura
  • Shanghai Police
  • Siemens
  • Signalion
  • Simoco
  • SiRRAN
  • SK Telecom
  • SmithMicro
  • Sonic Communications
  • Sony
  • Space Data
  • Star Solutions
  • State of Louisiana
  • State of Mississippi
  • State of New Jersey
  • State of New Mexico
  • State of Oklahoma
  • Stop Noise
  • SyTech Corporation
  • Tait
  • TCCA (TETRA and Critical Communications Association)
  • TCS (TeleCommunication Systems)
  • TD Industry Alliance(TDIA)
  • Techosonic Industries
  • Tecore Networks
  • Telenet
  • Televate, LLC
  • Teltronic
  • Telum
  • TETRAtab
  • Texas Instruments
  • Thales
  • The Genesis Group
  • TIA (Telecommunications Industry Association)
  • TITAN Communication Systems
  • T-Mobile
  • Toshiba
  • Trident Microsystems
  • Turkish National Police Force
  • Twisted Pair Solutions
  • U.K. Home Office
  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Cellular
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM)
  • UIC (International Union of Railways)
  • UNIMO Technology
  • University of Ottawa
  • USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)
  • Utility
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Vidyo
  • Vodafone
  • Voice Print International
  • West Australian Police
  • Zetron
  • Zhengzhou Metro
  • ZTE

Infonetics: OTN switching is booming; Windsteam's 100G Express Network

In a just released report, Infonetics Research summarizes the 2013 optical network hardware (OTN and SONET/SDH) and Packet Optical Transport System (P-OTS) markets, provides their 2014 outlook, as well as which vendors are benefiting the most.

.    Worldwide overall OTN revenue totaled $8 billion in 2013, or 66% of all optical network hardware spending
.    The OTN switching segment of the market grew 37% in 2013
.    The market for P-OTS equipment came to $1.7 billion in 2013, split fairly evenly between metro edge and metro regional P-OTS gear
.    P-OTS revenue grew 32% between the second half of 2012 and the second half of 2013
.    Infonetics projects the OTN switching segment to grow at about a 20% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013 to 2018

Infonetics previously reported that service providers are choosing OTN switching as the technology best suited to filling 100G pipes, because it enables efficient aggregation of diverse services and protocols over a single link. 


 "OTN switching had a major year of growth in 2013 as service providers prioritized installation of integrated WDM+OTN switching and 100G coherent technology in the core. Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, and Infinera are the key beneficiaries here," notes Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research. "Meanwhile, Chinese carriers continue to expand large deployments of OTN switching, with Huawei as the sole beneficiary."

Schmitt adds: "Over in the P-OTS space, incumbent vendors Cisco, Fujitsu, Tellabs, Ciena, and Alcatel-Lucent are the market leaders, but new players BTI, Cyan, Transmode, and Ericsson are challenging with pure-play P-OTS platforms."

On Feb 18, 2013, Schmitt wrote: “Optical spending flattened in the fourth quarter of 2013, though it wasn’t distributed evenly around the world or by vendor. Weakness was concentrated in North America, but a year-end capex surge in EMEA evened things up.  All indications are that an all-clear from Verizon and AT&T is forthcoming and the Q4 drop was a pause rather than a reversal — and this is in line with our forecasts.” 



 Infonetics' biannual OTN and packet optical report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2018, analysis, and trends for OTN transport and switching hardware, including metro edge and metro regional port revenue forecasts by type and speed. Companies tracked: Adtran, Adva, Alcatel Lucent, BTI, Ciena, Cisco, Cyan, ECI, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Infinera, NEC, NSN, Tellabs, Transmode, ZTE, and others.

To buy the report, contact Infonetics:


Andrew Schmitt, Principal Optical Analyst at Infonetics is speaking at four OFC/NFOEC sessions this week in San Francisco:


Low Cost 100G Interfaces for Metro Access: Standardized or Proprietary?

Mar. 10, 9:00 am

Market Watch: Panel 1: State of the Industry

Mar. 11, 12:00 pm

Flexible Rate OTU for Beyond 100G

Mar. 12, 8:00 am

The Buzz - A Real-time Look at the News and Trends Happening at OFC

Mar. 12, 3:30 pm


In related optical transport news, Windstream today announced it's deploying the Infinera DTN-X platform, featuring 500 Gigabit per second (Gb/s) super-channels across Windstream's long-haul express network. The Infinera Intelligent Transport Network enables Windstream to differentiate their services, protect their investment and lower operational expense as they scale their network. 
Windstream operates a nationwide fiber and IP network, covering 118,000 miles of fiber and 27 data center locations across the nation. As a cloud solutions provider, Windstream serves businesses with a wide range of cloud communication needs, in addition to offering an advanced data, voice and video network that provides customers low latency and reliable 100 Gigabit Ethernet services.  

"By deploying the Infinera Intelligent Transport Network, Windstream will significantly increase the capacity of our network infrastructure to meet the needs of our customers," said Randy Nicklas, executive vice president of engineering and chief technology officer for Windstream. "The DTN-X platform enables us to offer services that result in lower latency for mission critical applications while providing a network that is even more reliable and enables rapid provisioning of services."

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The Internet of Things (IoT) explained along with ARM's role in making it happen!

The Internet of Things (IoT) is about embedding communications technology in all objects that can benefit from it, from cars to buildings, everyday objects and even materials.  It's an ongoing revolution that has much potential and promise to revolutionize the electronics industry.  Advances in making smaller microelectronics devices, sensors and low-power radio communications, are making the IoT a commercial reality.  Google's $3.2B acquisition of smart thermostat makerNest is a great example of that dynamic as per this article:

On February 20th, Zach Shelby -Director of IoT technology at ARM Ltd, presented an interesting talk on the IoT at a Santa Clara University (SCU) EE Dept Colloquium. Zach was co-founder and head of research at Sensinode in Finland before that company was acquired last fall by ARM Ltd.  As a result of that acquisition, Zach now works at ARM's San Jose, CA office as an IoT evangelist and technology director.   Here are the highlights of his SCU talk:

  • IoT combines embedded electronic devices with the Internet mostly using low power wireless interfaces.
  • Machine to Machine (M2M) applications when combined with the Internet (either directly or indirectly connected devices) comprise the IoTs.
  • M2M apps include:  asset management, facility management, security monitoring, energy management, weather stations, etc
  • IoT produces Little Data (in contrast to Big Data/analytics) via small streams of data.
  • IoT breaks down silos or walled gardens of closed systems
  • Gartner Group predicts that by 2018, 50% of IoT solutions will be from start-ups <3 years old.  
  • IoT is a disruptive technology as it changes the way "things" (devices) are made.
  • Some key markets for IoT include-Smart Home, Smart Cities, Fitness/exercise equipment, and Asset Management
  • ARM Ltd is working on a lot of software to make the IoT a commercial reality. For example, a Development Platform for Devices is available at:
  • ARM has developed wireless communications I/O drivers for LTE and WiFi endpoints that are not VLSI component specific.The company supports Java ME as well as JAVA script on its software development platformLocal Processing, Security, communications, discovery and end to end device management are included in ARM's IoT architecture.




Samsung creates medical test bed to prove Internet of Things is worth the effort

The partnership between Samsung and the University of California, San Francisco sets out with a single goal: to develop a test bed for medical sensors in efforts to validate the worth of emerging Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technologies, otherwise known as the Internet of Things. 

The South Korean giant's joint project with medical professionals will work to develop network-connected sensors for gadgets, signalling a divergence in the company's strategy by focusing on health and the wider medical world.


Cisco CEO: 2014 will be a big year for the Internet of Things -will be worth $19Trillion over next 10 years!

Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers says the Internet of Things could represent $19 trillion of economic value over the next 10 years, and will affect society more than the Internet itself. Chambers says this year could be a turning point as more devices become connected, and that he expects there to be 50 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020.

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress trade show, Chambers said that the Internet of things will potentially have five to ten times the impact on society over the Internet itself.

As an illustration of the growth of connected devices, Chambers noted that there were only 1,000 devices connected to the Internet when Cisco was created in 1984. There were more than 10 billion connected devices in 2010, and they outnumber the actual number of people now. By 2020, Chambers said he expects to see 50 billion devices connected to the Internet.$19-trillion/




Optical Network Equipment Spending flat in 4Q13 as North America sags and EMEA surges!

Infonetics Research released vendor market share and preliminary analysis from its 4th quarter 2013 (4Q13) and year end Optical Network Hardware report. (Full report to be published by February 24.)

.    Worldwide optical network hardware revenue, including WDM and SONET/SDH, was essentially flat in 4Q13, totaling $3.1 billion
.    For the full year 2013, the overall optical network hardware market is down 3%
.    On a positive note, the WDM segment posted a 6th consecutive quarter of growth in 4Q13 and ended the full year 2013 up 11% as 100G deployments hit the ground
.    Though the traditional 4Q capex flush was in full effect in EMEA, the region recorded a 5th straight year of spending declines; Infonetics expects EMEA to revert back to being a third of global spending within 1-2 years
.    The Chinese optical market closed 2013 up only 6%, but performance is anticipated to improve in 2014 as 100G rollouts pick up steam
.    EMEA optical heavyweights Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Coriant, and Huawei all had a big 4Q13

"Optical spending flattened in the fourth quarter of 2013, though it wasn't distributed evenly around the world or by vendor. Weakness was concentrated in North America, but a year-end capex surge in EMEA evened things up," notes Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research.

Schmitt adds: "All indications are that an all-clear from Verizon and AT&T is forthcoming and the Q4 drop was a pause rather than a reversal - and this is in line with our forecasts." 

Infonetics' quarterly optical hardware report provides worldwide and regional market size, market share, forecasts through 2018, analysis, and trends for metro and long haul SONET/SDH and WDM equipment, Ethernet optical ports, SONET/SDH/POS ports, and WDM ports. Vendors tracked: Adva, Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Cisco, Cyan, ECI, Fujitsu, Huawei, Infinera, NEC, Coriant, Tellabs, Transmode, Tyco Telecom, ZTE, and others. To buy the report, contact Infonetics:

.    Operators answer the big questions about metro 100G and ROADM deployments
.    Pricing pressures drive down ROADM component market in first half of 2013
.    Carriers dialing back spending on optical equipment; WDM segment outpaces the market


Note the steep decline in N America & Caribbean and Latin America (CALA) Optical Network Equipment Spending in the chart below:


Download Infonetics' 2014 market research brochure, publication calendar, events brochure, report highlights, tables of contents, and more at




Join analyst Andrew Schmitt and JDSU, MRV, and Transmode on Wednesday, February 19, for 100G in the Metro: When and Where It Will Be Economical, a live event covering new approaches and technologies for cost-effectively deploying 100G in the metro. Register today:



Frontier offers wavelength service in 25 states:
Frontier Communications' Frontier Optical Transport Service, a 10-gigabit wavelength service, was rolled out Monday in 25 states. The company will install optical fiber to buildings of customers that order the service. "If we don't lay the fiber, someone else will," Frontier's Lisa Partridge said. "We believe it's necessary because of how quickly bandwidth is doubling and tripling." 

Chicago Plans affordable gigabit Internet access in selected zones

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has put out requests for vendor qualifications as Chicago prepares to bring gigabit-class Internet service to certain neighborhoods. Chicago has designated seven "Innovation Zones" for the faster service which will not based on Google Fiber. 

The biggest and busiest city in the Midwest, Chicago is home to almost 3 million people. Comcast provides high-speed cable Internet access, while AT&T is the major DSL provider.

Before powering up the seven ultra high speed Internet zones, the city says it must take several months reviewing qualifications
 and proposals from potential vendors.  The goal, Yager says, is to promote businesses and universities across Chicago.
"This is really a huge economic development initiative," she said. She believes providing access to gigabit-speed Internet — which is 100 times faster than basic broadband — will encourage business creation, growth, expansion and relocation.,0,0.story


FBR: Telcos & Service Providers Moving from "feeds and speeds" to "higher-margin managed services"/Home grown CDNs?

In a report today on Level 3 Communications (LVLT), FBR analyst David Dixon makes the case that enterprise customers of private line, VPN, voice trunking and other transport services are moving to the cloud for those and more.  Dixon wrote:

"We see (service provider) companies offering bundled cloud, transport, and access services (where access services are heavily discounted to secure higher-value cloud services) and believe the company cost structure may shift more than expected due to the change in the nature of content relationships over time, perhaps driving a review of peering interconnections with end-user networks and potential migration of customers to single integrated wireline/wireless providers."

Continuing, "Level 3's  guidance depends on a number of "X factors" over the near future, including sustaining positive enterprise growth and more aggressive dark fiber sales. We are seeing more appetite from wireless network providers for dark fiber (to locations already served with leased lit fiber) as their architecture shifts get underway. The risk is that these companies may confine LVLT to providing lower-margin transport services. In the CDN (Content Delivery Network) segment, we like the current momentum but see this business pressured over time by the irreversible mix shift of Internet traffic toward "two-way" content increasingly distributed on cloud-based architectures that provide compute AND storage."

In his analysis of Akamai's earnings report, Dixon wrote: "Fundamentally, we are concerned about the increased pressure on Akamai's CDN-based business model over time" for exactly the same reason- customer migration to cloud compute and storage services.  Akamai is the company behind FaceBook, Apple, and other massive global web properties. The company claims to deliver 30% of all Web traffic. Akamai is rated as a top notch CDN, with 96 out of the 100 top online retailers in the U.S. relying on Akamai's CDN.



Earlier this week, the WSJ reported:  Apple Quietly Builds New Networks

Apple was said to be "stitching together a network of Internet infrastructure capable of delivering large amounts of content to customers, giving the company more control over the distribution of its online offerings while laying the groundwork for more traffic if it decides to move deeper into television."  

That might adversely effect Akamai's future revenues. "DeepField says Apple distributes most of its Internet content through Akamai's network of servers. Akamai executives recently said they are renegotiating a multiyear contract with their top customer, a process that typically results in lower fees for the company."

Akamai's CEO Tom Leighton hinted at the news that Apple may be thinking of going it alone for a CDN with this comment to industry analysts: “Any very large media customer at one time or another is looking at a do-it-yourself solution. It’s a lot harder than people think, though. What may have seemed like a good idea at the time, over a period of years, often doesn’t."


Report from Open Compute Summit & Implications for the Networking Sector - Scott Thompson, FBR Capital Markets

Article written by Scott Thompson of FBR Capital Markets.

References provided by Alan J Weissberger of IEEE ComSoc

OCS Report:

On January 28 and 29, the Open Compute Summit held its annual gathering where hyperscale and large enterprises show cased the creative and cutting-edge work they have pioneered over the past year in a quest to drive costs and complications from the IT landscape. We attended the conference and present some of the more important points below.

    * One of the messages with the most impact at Open Compute this year was delivered by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He suggested that one of the top strategic priorities at Facebook is to find a way to deliver Internet service to a larger portion of the world's population.  Mr. Zuckerberg stressed that emerging markets (two-thirds of the planet's population) often do not have the same access to the Internet as does the developed world. Facebook believes that finding a way to provide affordable access to the Internet for those markets represents one of Facebook's largest growth opportunities. He added that the costs Facebook presently incurs to deploy networks that run its services would need to decline to one-tenth of current rates to make this goal financially achievable. He also added that Facebook has a plan to deliver those types of network efficiencies over the next five years and that the Open Compute Project is an essential cornerstone of that effort.

    * We found a chorus of network pioneers at the event that agreed with Mr. Zuckerberg's assessment. The networking and compute process, when combined in ways that webscale operations have been perfecting for several years, is likely to deliver significant savings, compared to traditional methods and architectures.

Intel is introducing reference designs for "rack-scale architecture" that, by 2015-2016, should dramatically change the way the world processes data and manages compute resources and networks both together.

During a panel hosted by Facebook's Director of Infrastructure Najam Ahmad, a large number of panelists appeared to confirm that there is a clear and new reference design for how the IT community is beginning to measure efficient datacenter infrastructure.

Martin Casado, PhD & CTO of networking at VMWare, and J.R. Rivers of Cumulus Networks both seemed to agree that the new distributed datacenter model used by many hyperscale networks has achieved new levels of efficiency. Mr. Casado suggested these reference designs, across both enterprise and service verticals, are quickly becoming the de facto standard by which new and more efficient networking technologies can be deployed. He suggested that we may be nearly past the technical barriers required for achieving hypserscale efficiencies and that the primary constraint keeping enterprises and service providers from adopting similar technologies is now cultural. Casado believes that educating those who design and deploy IT systems is now the most effective way to bring about wholesale change across the networking landscape.

    * The Open Compute Project (OCP) appears focused on this challenge in 2014. While the pure pace of innovative technology on display at this year's Open Compute Summit appeared to have slowed, relative to the last one, the mechanisms and framework needed to effect and propagate change appear to be improving dramatically.

The OCP appears to be rapidly gaining the support of the vendor community, bringing it closer to an ecosystem for the acquisition of bespoke networking and compute equipment. From a logical  perspective, we continue to have reservations that an "open community" will have the scale and purchasing power to effect change across vendors that might prefer other solutions, but we remain impressed by the scale, scope, and momentum that the OCP has created over the past few years. Whether it proves to be long term or not, Open Compute and its member organizations are changing the face of the IT landscape.



1. SDN Central's OCP Summit Report:




2. OCP-Network Group Charter & more

3.  Broadcom's Leaf & Spine Network Switch Spec

4.  Intel's 10/40 Gigabit Ethernet Rack Mountable Switch Standard, by Michael Miller

Contact:  for a soft copy (pdf)


AT&Ts earnings report: Smartphone adds and low churn for wireless; Project VIP exceeds build out targets;U-Verse adds too

AT&T’s wireless revenues for the fourth quarter rose 4.8% year over year due mainly to a 16.8% increase in wireless data revenue.  Wireless revenue hit $18.4 billion for the quarter and $5.7 billion of that came from data revenue. AT&T noted that data usage per smartphone increased 50 percent annually on its network.  

1.2 million smartphones were added to AT&T's wireless network during the fourth quarter from both new subscribers and from upgrades by existing  subscribers. There were 5 million total smart phone additions in 2013.  Smartphone adds are important because those subscriptions generate more average revenue per user than traditional  cell phones.

While the revenue from mobile data rose, AT&T’s net postpaid adds, totaling 566,000 for the quarter, fell short of rivals Verizon (1.6 million) and T-Mobile (870,000).  AT&T said there were tablet 440,000 net adds for the quarter.

AT&T reported a record-low Q4 postpaid churn of 1.11%- significantly lower than the 1.7% churn that T-Mobile says it experienced in the latest quarter.

AT&T added 194,000 TV subscribers in the fourth quarter, bringing the telecom's total to 5.5 million. The carrier also added 630,000 U-verse broadband customers for a total of 10.4 million. "Plus we had our lowest TV churn ever in the fourth quarter," Chief Financial Officer John Stephens told analysts Tuesday. Overall, AT&T earned 53 cents a share, higher than analysts had predicted, although the carrier warned of slowing growth in the current quarter. On the wireless side, AT&T added 809,000 subscribers, and profit margins exceeded analysts' estimates on a 4.8% rise in revenue.

PCWorld/IDG News Service (1/28), Multichannel News (1/28), GigaOm (1/28), Bloomberg Businessweek (1/29)


AT&T’s press release:

AT&T Reports 20 Percent Adjusted EPS Growth, Record-Low Fourth-Quarter Postpaid Churn, Solid Smartphone Gains and Continued Strong U-verse Momentum in Fourth-Quarter Results

Full-Year 2013: Adjusted Revenue Gains of Nearly 2 Percent, Upper-Single Digit Adjusted EPS Growth and Nearly $23 Billion Returned to Shareowners

  • $1.31 diluted EPS in the fourth quarter compared to $(0.68) diluted EPS in the year-ago period. Excluding significant items, EPS was $0.53 versus $0.44, up 20.5 percent year over year
  • For full-year 2013, excluding significant items and Advertising Solutions, EPS was up 8.2 percent
  • Fourth-quarter consolidated revenues of $33.2 billion, up 1.8 percent versus the year-earlier period
  • More than 2 million new wireless and wireline high speed broadband connections added in the fourth quarter
  • Full-year capital investment of $21 billion while exceeding Project VIP objectives
  • $1.9 billion in share buybacks with 54 million shares repurchased in the fourth quarter; for the full year, the company repurchased 366 million shares, or more than 6 percent of shares outstanding, for $13.0 billion
  • Nearly $23 billion returned to shareowners in 2013 through dividends and share repurchases

Nation’s Most Reliable 4G LTE Network Drives Revenue Growth, Smartphone Gains and Lowest-Ever Fourth-Quarter Postpaid Churn

  • Wireless service revenues up 4.8 percent versus the year-ago quarter, total revenues up 4.5 percent
  • Wireless data revenues up 16.8 percent versus the year-earlier period
  • Total postpaid ARPU up 2.1 percent; phone-only ARPU up 3.9 percent
  • Wireless operating income up $1.4 billion, or 54 percent; wireless EBITDA up $1.5 billion, or 35 percent; wireless operating income margin of 21.4 percent; EBITDA service margin of 37.4 percent
  • Lowest-ever fourth-quarter postpaid churn at 1.11 percent
  • More than one-half million branded smartphone net adds, both postpaid and prepaid
  • 1.2 million new postpaid smartphones added (both upgrades and new subscribers); smartphones account for a record 93 percent of postpaid phone sales
  • More than 1 million AT&T Next sales, 15 percent of all postpaid smartphone gross adds and upgrades
  • 566,000 wireless postpaid net adds
  • 440,000 branded tablet net adds

U-verse® Drives Wireline Consumer Growth and Broadband Gains

  • Wireline consumer revenue growth of 2.9 percent versus the year-earlier period
  • Total U-verse revenues, including business, up 27.9 percent year over year, now a $13 billion annualized revenue stream
  • 10.7 million total U-verse subscribers (TV and high speed Internet) in service:
    • 630,000 high speed Internet subscriber net adds; record annual net adds of 2.7 million
    • 194,000 U-verse TV subscribers added, lowest churn in product history
  • Continued U-verse broadband gains in the business customer segment, up 78,000, nearly doubling year-ago net adds
  • Strategic business services growth accelerates with revenues up 17.4 percent year over year, now more than 25 percent of wireline business revenues

Note: AT&T’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call will be broadcast live via the Internet at 4:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, at


AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) today reported solid fourth-quarter results with strong revenue and EPS growth driven by continued gains in the company’s key growth drivers — mobile and IP data, U-verse and strategic business services.

“2013 was the year of the network,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “With Project VIP, we’re delivering faster speeds and new services to millions more customers. And growth on these platforms is going strong. We exceeded build targets across the board. Our 4G LTE network is nearly complete and is the nation’s most reliable with lightning-fast speeds. U-verse is rapidly expanding, and our fiber-to-the-business build is off to a fast start.

“The next steps are to make our networks even more powerful and layer on services that will drive new growth in the years ahead. We have good momentum in areas like connected car, home automation and mobile business solutions. We’re also committed to transforming our operations to make them more responsive and efficient. To that end, we’ve launched Project Agile, a broad set of initiatives to streamline and improve every part of our business. Execution has begun and will be a focus area for us in 2014 and beyond.”