Sort by:[Date]

TW Telecom Inc 1stQ 2013 Results with Bold Statements by CEO on Earnings Call; Commentary by FBR & Telecom Ramblings

TW Telecom Inc announced first quarter 2013 financial results, including $381.2 million of revenue, $13.1 million of net income, $136.0 million of Modified EBITDA, $81.6 million of net cash provided by operating activities and $23.9 million of levered free cash flow

"We've had a productive start to the year, as we commenced our growth initiatives, delivered ongoing revenue growth and cash flow generation and executed several strategic balance sheet activities," said Larissa Herda, tw telecom's Chairman, CEO and President. "The growth initiatives we announced in February are under way as we focus on delivering additional product innovation, increasing our sales coverage, as well as further automating the business and expanding our market reach.  Everything we're doing is to increase our sales momentum and the trajectory of our revenue growth as we continue with our comprehensive balanced approach to win market share."


David Dixon of FBR Capital Markets wrote in an email:  "tw telecom inc. (TWTC) reported 1Q13 results, with EBITDA and Free Cash Flow below consensus. Capex spending was in line with estimates. Management is aggressively investing in fiber deployments in growth markets and is planning to increase the sales force by 10% in FY2013, anticipating revenue improvement in 2014."


Author's Note:  Our sources reveal that tw telecom did NOT follow through on their planned fiber network build-out in the San Jose, CA/ Silicon Valley metro area.   Instead, the company was forced to resell AT&T facilities (referred to as Type 2 circuits or facilities). I guess Silicon Valley is NOT considered a growth market.  Key features like "Dynamic Capacity" are not possible using Type 2 telco facilities which are actually provided by a facilities based carrier.  In addition, there is no automated customer problem reporting or fault diagnosis for Type 2 facilities.  Instead there's a hierarchy of phone call escalation procedures the customer must adhere to when an outage or other problem is experienced.


Mr. Dixon of FBR added, "The trend away from dynamic network provisioning (on its own) to combined dynamic provisioning of the application AND network by major carriers (e.g. network virtualization and/or software defined networking) suggests that medium-term revenue growth will be more challenging over time."


Bold statements by Larissa Herda, CEO and President, during tw telecom's earnings call:

"We're advancing the development of our Constellation platform. With this unique platform, we're creating a powerful operating paradigm for enterprises to increase the velocity of how they buy our network services, driven by the ability to  more quickly access and consume network and IT services. We're in the process of hiring the right talent, establishing and evolving key data center and vendor relationships and developing and deploying the required technology as
we move forward with these new capabilities."

"We've also continued to gain market awareness with our Intelligent Network services that are within the Constellation platform, with ongoing momentum showing up in our Ethernet revenue. And we've launched several new product
capabilities that enhance and freshen our current portfolio, which reflects the bread and butter of our business, with more production for later this year -- "

"As we head into the second quarter, we're executing on our growth initiatives, optimizing our capital allocation strategy and continuing to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace with capabilities that we believe will change the industry."

[Ms. Herda turned the call over to Mark Peters- see below for his quotes]

"Let me start first with our product initiatives, including how we're addressing our customers' current and future network requirements, as well as some specific progress on this year's product roadmap. We believe that the reason we keep growing is that we continue to invest, innovate and enhance our value to customers because in this business, you have to do so to remain relevant. We also believe that there is a direct correlation between our innovation and development and the fact that we posted 34 consecutive quarters of sequential revenue growth."

"Customers are buying from us, both through our track record to serve their current needs and our integrated vision to solve their future business challenges. For instance, who else in the industry has delivered a Dynamic Capacity solution today? No one. And who else is talking about click and connect, reliable and secured network capabilities for dynamic connections between buildings, data centers and other cloud services, which we're developing through our Constellation platform? No one."

"Our success is driven by constantly leveraging our core strength. For example, our Dynamic Capacity, Enhanced Management and E-Access, our one-to-many Ethernet service, are all very innovative solutions. But the real power is how they enhance our Ethernet portfolio, which is foundational to our growth engine. Collectively, these products make us more differentiated and competitive, helping us to open more doors and close more deals. For example, let me give you some color on how Dynamic Capacity is driving our Ethernet sales. As a reminder, our Dynamic Capacity solution, which is part of our Intelligent Network services, is delivered via E-Line, our most advanced Ethernet offering. Looking
back over the 9 months from the initial Intelligent Network launch through the first quarter of 2013, E-Line revenue has grown by about 2.5x in that time frame. We believe our Intelligent Network capabilities, including our Dynamic
Capacity solution, greatly complement our E-Line sales and has been a factor in this revenue acceleration. And we have seen the adoption rate between E-Line and Intelligent Network steadily increase in concert with our growth."

"In addition, this summer, we plan to expand our Dynamic Capacity from our current offering that can flex up to 1 gig to be able to provide customers the ability to flex all the way up to 10 gigs. This has been driven by interest from our large  enterprise customers. Again, because of our powerful operating platform, this service will be embedded into our infrastructure scalable and available across our footprint."


Mark Peters, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President:

"Data and Internet revenue continues to be strong, and now represents 53% of our total revenue and grew 14.3% year-over-year. Data and Internet revenue grew 2.2% sequentially, reflecting the impact of the customer settlement last quarter that did not recur."

"Modified EBITDA margin was 35.7%, compared to 36.7% in the same period last year and 36.6% in the prior quarter. The strong margin naturally will be impacted by our growth initiatives, and we expect these initiatives will continue to pressure margins in the near term until they are absorbed by higher top line growth. Additionally, we had a $4.1 million sequential cost increase, due primarily to the annual resetting of payroll taxes."


Robert Powell wrote in a blog post:  "The biggest surprise here is m-EBITDA margins of 35.7%, which is the lowest they’ve turned in since the first quarter of 2009.  In the fourth quarter they took on an additional 60 headcount (40 in sales), and this quarter they added another 41 (but just 4 in sales).  So it’s no secret where the extra expenses are going.  They’re planning to roll out further managed services as the year goes on, as well as 40/100G (Carrier Ethernet) offerings and their constellation network platform, in the interests of a potentially higher growth rate down the line."

"Last fall, the rumors were that tw telecom was about to be gobbled up by CenturyLink.  The long term investments for growth and the resulting m-EBITDA margin compression don’t really fit with that thesis, and suggest to me that tw does not really see itself as a consolidation target at this time.  But likewise, they don’t seem any more interested in pursuing inorganic growth than they have over the past few years."



Infonetics: Carrier Ethernet market declined in 2012, but expected to be $39B by 2017

Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its latest Carrier Ethernet Equipment market size and forecast report, which tracks investment in, penetration of, and use of carrier Ethernet products in service provider networks.
  • The global carrier Ethernet equipment market declined 3% to $34 billion in 2012, following a 13% spike in 2011.
  • Spending on IP edge routers totaled $9.4 billion in 2012, the most of any carrier Ethernet equipment segment.
  • Asia Pacific currently accounts for the greatest portion of carrier Ethernet equipment revenue, followed by EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa); by 2017, Infonetics expects North America will have passed EMEA to become the 2nd largest carrier Ethernet market
  • Infonetics projects Carrier Ethernet equipment ports will top 95 million worldwide by 2017, with 10 Gigabit Ethernet growing fast to pass 1 Gigabit Ethernet
“Carrier Ethernet is now a permanent, inseparable part of service provider networks, and the market has reached a steady state of investment as a result,” notes Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier networks and co-founder of Infonetics Research. “Though spending on legacy technologies like SONET/SDH and WDM will decline, investment in IP routers, carrier Ethernet switches, and Ethernet access devices will continue to rise, driven by the move to IP NGN and, of course, growing traffic—particularly video traffic.” 
Howard adds: “We see the carrier Ethernet market growing slow but steady over the next 5 years, reaching about $39 billion in 2017.”

 Infonetics’ annual Carrier Ethernet report provides worldwide and regional market size, forecasts through 2017, analysis, and trends for the Ethernet portion of equipment used in carrier networks, including switches, IP core and edge routers, SONET/SDH, WDM, VDSL, Ethernet access device (EAD), EPON, and microwave equipment, as well as ports by speed. Companies tracked: Actelis, ADTRAN, ADVA, Alcatel-Lucent, Brocade, BTI Systems, Calix, Ceragon, Ciena, Cisco, Cyan, DragonWave, Ericsson, Extreme, Fujitsu, Huawei, Infinera, Juniper, NEC, Nokia Siemens Networks, RAD Data, Telco Systems, Tellabs, Transmode, Zhone, ZTE, and others.

Ethernet Access Devices (EAD) MARKET Report- released April 18, 2013

“People keep saying that copper’s dead, but it’s not—it has a limited but important role for Ethernet services, as evidenced by the continued growth of EFM (Ethernet in the first mile) bonded copper,” notes Michael Howard, principal analyst for carrier networks and co-founder of Infonetics Research. “EFM’s high capacities and reach make it a useful and effective alternative where fiber isn’t justified.”

Continues Howard, “While fiber EADs represent the majority of the EAD market, we expect operators to spend a cumulative $1.5 billion on EFM bonded copper EADs over the next 5 years (out of a cumulative $5.8 billion total for all EADs) as they increase the capacity and efficiency of mobile backhaul networks and business connections.”
  • For the full year 2012, the global Ethernet access device (EAD) market grew 3.5%, to $860 million, with growth hesitating as a result of economic conditions and a lull in carrier spending in the 2nd half of 2012
  • 10/100M copper and 1G fiber dominate EAD ports today, but 10G fiber is growing fast, forecast by Infonetics to grow at a 117% CAGR through 2017
  • Though in slow decline, Ethernet over TDM (EoTDM) bonded circuits will remain a niche market, providing an inexpensive way to combine several E1s or T1s
  • For the second consecutive year, the top 5 revenue share leaders in the EAD market are (in alphabetical order) Actelis,  ADVA, Ciena, Overture, and RAD


Infonetics’ biannual Ethernet access devices report provides worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2017, analysis, and trends for copper and fiber EADs and ports by speed. Companies tracked: Accedian, Actelis, ADTRAN, ADVA, Canoga Perkins, Ciena, FibroLAN, IPITEK, MRV, Omnitron OMS, Overture, RAD, Tellabs, Telco Systems, Zhone, and others.


To buy the report, contact Infonetics:

Ethernet Innovation Summit Preview: May 22-23rd @Computer History Museum, Mt View, CA


This Ethernet Summit will be one of the most important gatherings this year of press and analysts from around the world!  Inspired by "40 years of Ethernet Innovation" and looking forward to the next 40 years of networking. Meet key press and analysts in a series of scheduled sessions to discuss the latest hot topics concerning Ethernet innovation, enterprise networking, cloud computing, virtualisation and telecoms, paving the way for increasing your visibility across the globe.

A full day conference and dinner on May 22nd will be followed by a day of round table discussions, hot debates and industry briefings on May 23rd.  Leaders of the Ethernet industry – now a $100 billion a year market – will talk directly to the world’s IT press and industry analysts, including this author.

Thanks to Carrier Ethernet and the pioneering work of the MEF and ITU-T, the sessions will be live streamed on the Internet (details to be provided).  Much more info on this event at:


Early History of Ethernet:

According to Bob Metcalfe: “The first Ethernet was a one-node Ethernet, which isn’t very interesting. It was a node that could transmit to itself for testing and de-bugging purposes. Then we had two nodes – which incidentally we called Michelson and Morley who happened to be the two physicists who disproved the existence of the ether, so we thought that was ironic – then eventually the cable got strung all over the building.”

What was the real innovation, as they saw it then? “In those days our big innovation was putting a computer on every desk – I know that’s hard to believe! We put one on every desk then ran this co-ax down the middle of the corridor and everybody tapped into it from their PCs. So it grew to fill this building.”

The benefits were immediate, and so other departments wanted in on the network. “The labs wanted to be connected so, with an Internet protocol, we built an Internet that spanned the research laboratories of Xerox. It wasn’t until the late seventies that we began leaving Xerox and installing Ethernets elsewhere.”

Bob Metcalfe (shown below) went on to found 3Com, makers of the first Ethernet commercial Ethernet cards. Within 20 years Ethernet saw off competition from token-based networking and came to dominate the LAN space, covering every continent with islands of Ethernet connectivity.


Heir to this great tradition is Steve Hoover, the current CEO of PARC. He points out the importance of an open spirit of enquiry to balance the intense commercial pressure to deliver results: “One of the key things is recognising that innovation is going to require failure. So you can’t start something and not believe that it’s possible to fail…. Of course it’s not about failing, failing’s not good, but it’s about learning.”

Steve compares this innovative culture to a class of five-year olds: “It’s all the questioning … It’s why, why, why! That leads to really good innovation because people are getting to the fundamental ideas, they’re questioning the status quo, they’re willing to change it and break it. Fail on the way and then pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on to the next.”

Vital Contributions of Government and Academia:

A key element of the 40th birthday celebrations will be discussion around the need to foster and maintain this dynamic spirit of innovation in today’s globally competitive environment. This goes beyond a purely business concern, innovation is vital to national pride and prosperity – even to survival. It is, therefore a concern for governments too.

Steve Hoover points out that the business world sometimes forgets the contribution made by past governments: “If you look back at the history of the Internet, Arpanet was government-initiated. The tremendous commercial

“If you look back at the history of the Internet, Arpanet was government-initiated. The tremendous commercial impact I don’t believe would have occurred without their foresight in investing in those fundamental capabilities.”

“Today at PARC we are working to repeat that model over and over and over again.” Steve is very keen to enroll government support for this work, pointing out the need to recognize that: “The government does identify fundamental research areas to work in and is willing to invest. That partnership – of government investing in core capabilities, in new areas, taking some of the higher risk, plus industry’s ability to capitalise and leverage it – that partnership is really important.”

Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) and Carrier Ethernet:

Over the last 10 or 11 years, IEEE 802.3 Ethernet First Mile, the MEF and the ITU-T developed solid standards for Carrier Ethernet.  These specs were developed to enable "islands of data" to be connected via Ethernet, rather than more complex and costly WAN technologies such as Frame Relay and ATM.  Last year marked a turning point: for the first time Carrier Ethernet sales exceeded that of all other WAN technologies combined.

As MEF President Nan Chen once predicted: “In future there will be a single language linking business worldwide. It won’t be English. It won’t be Mandarin. It will be Ethernet”.

The Future of Ethernet:

Bob Metcalfe says that networking and the Internet has given this generation “collective intelligence” and so much more to play with in terms of access to all that has already been achieved, both the successes and the failures of the past and present. So who knows what form Ethernet’s 50th anniversary will take in ten years time?


For full details of the events on May 22/23rd visit:

Watch the video about the events including interviews with Bob Metcalfe and Steve Hoover:

Here's the link for the live streaming starting May 22nd:





Post Event Addendum:

Day 1 videos can be viewed at:


Innovation Award winners are at:




Service Providers Reveal their Data Center plans in Infonetics Survey on Deployment Strategies

Market research firm Infonetics Research released excerpts from its latest Data Center Deployment Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey, which delves into operator plans for data center expansion, interconnection, capacity, physical servers, virtualization, and SAN and storage technologies. 

.    More operators than anticipated plan to continue investing in Fibre Channel for their data centers, even in the face of growing usage of the newer Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE)
.    The number of data center server LAN connections is growing quickly, with 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections growing the most
.    The average capacity of a data center WAN connection is expected to increase more than twofold from 2012 to 2014
.    While the use of virtual machines in data centers continues to grow, many servers are not yet virtualized

For its 23-page data center survey, Infonetics interviewed incumbent and competitive service providers and cloud specialists that have data centers with at least 100 servers. The survey provides insights into data center interconnection strategies; storage network investments; data network technologies deployed; WAN/internet connection capacities; and number of physical servers, virtual machines, Ethernet and SAN interfaces in use at medium, large, and super data centers.


"Server virtualization has been the focus of the data center industry for several years now, and the largest data center owners and internet content providers like Google are ubiquitously exploiting virtual machines," notes Michael Howard , principal analyst for carrier networks and co-founder of Infonetics Research. "Yet the reality is the bulk of data center owners are more pedestrian in their deployments, finding it more operationally convenient to leave many areas of their data centers alone, using server virtualization for only select applications." 

Howard continues: "But to be sure, data center owners want to increase the value of their existing data center assets - no matter the extent of server virtualization - as a means to increase revenue via cloud services, both to keep their current customers satisfied and to attract new customers."

To buy the report, contact Infonetics:



Commenting on the new interest in network virualization and Software Defined Networking (SDN), Howard said at the April 3rd Ethernet Technology Summit:

"Network operator driver for NFV is quick revenue (via faster provisioning of new services and telecom facilities).” He later stated, "Carriers will implement SDN in ‘contained domains."



Highlights of GSA Silicon Summit- April 18th @CHM, Mt View, CA

The Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA), whom many consider to be the voice of the global semiconductor industry, held its annual Silicon Summit on April 18, 2013 at the Computer History Museum in Mt View, CA.  We report on the first two sessions (see below).  They were related to new silicon solutions that address the exponential growth of mobile data and the myriad issues/challenges involved in massive scaling for the Internet of Things (IoT).
GSA Silicon Mission Statement:
“Moore’s Law has transcended computing expectations; however, its promise will eventually reach scalability limitations due to extraordinary consumer demands. Future technology encompasses breakthroughs capable of interaction with the outside world, which the "More than Moore" movement achieves. Through integrating functionalities that do not scale to deliver cost-optimized and value-added system solutions, this trend holds significant potential for the industry. This event will explore the business and technical factors defining the More than Moore movement, and address how it will yield revolutionary electronic devices.”
“The ‘More-than-Moore’ approach typically allows for the non-digital functionalities (e.g., RF communication, power control, passive components, sensors, actuators) to migrate from the system board level into a particular package-level (SiP) or chip-level (SoC) implementation. … The objective of ‘More-than-Moore’ is to extend the use of the silicon-based technology developed in the microelectronics industry to provide new, non-digital functionalities. It often leverages the scaling capabilities derived from the ‘More Moore’ developments to incorporate digital and non-digital functionality into compact systems.” And what might the viable commercial prospects be for deploying ‘More than Moore’ technology? If you’re someone who likes to follow the money (and not just the technology), then, according to the ITRS paper, the MtM money flows from here: “Underlying the evolution of markets and applications, and therefore their economic potential, is their potential in addressing societal trends and challenges for the next decades. Societal trends can be grouped as health and wellness, transport and mobility, security and safety, energy and environment, communication and e-society (this latter term including infotainment).”
Session One:     Disruptive Innovation  – Enabling Technology for the Connected World of Tomorrow
With the industry’s long-term focus on scaling now joined by functional diversification, this session explored how "More than Moore's Law" is enabling the connected landscape of today and shaping the (mobile data) future of tomorrow.
Moderator: Dan Rabinovitsj, Senior  VP & General Manager, Wired/Wireless Infrastructure Networking Business Unit, Qualcomm Atheros
■Jaga Jagannathan, Director, Semiconductor Technology Marketing & Strategy, IBM Systems & Technology Group
■Kaivan Karimi, Executive Director, Global Strategy & Business Development, Microcontroller Group, Freescale
■Mark Miscione, VP, RF Technology Solutions, Peregrine
■Dr. Naveed Sherwani, Co-Founder, President & CEO, Open-Silicon
■Dr. Ely Tsern, VP & Chief Technologist, Memory and Interfaces Division, Rambus
Session Two: How More than Moore Impacts the Internet of Things
Furthering the advancement of  More than Moore involves unifying silicon technologies with novel integration  concepts; application software convergence; and new supply chain business  models. This session will open with an overview identifying the key industry  trends, challenges and opportunities to realize higher density, greater  functional performance and boosted power for ICs.
Moderator: Edward Sperling, Editor in Chief, System-Level Design and Editorial Director, Low-Power Engineering
■Jack Guedj, President & CEO, Tensilica
■Dr. John Heinlein, VP, Marketing, Physical IP Division, ARM
■Kamran Izadi, Director, Advanced Semiconductor Sourcing, Cisco
■Oleg Logvinov, Director of Market Development, Industrial and Power Conversion Division, STMicroelectronics
Key Takeaways for future silicon designs related to mobile devices and IoTs:
  • Many of the functions that have to be integrated into devices are analog/RF where Moore's Law does NOT apply! 
  • Mixed signal technologies (combining analog and digital circuits in a single chip/module) need to continue to advance to include those functions along with typical baseband and DSP on the same chip/module. 
  •  Packaging technology will be critically important- both at the component/module and systems level. Innovation and "out of the box thinking" here are very much needed.
  •  Testing at the package and system level will also be important.
  •  For the IoTs, the following I/O improvements are needed for devices/networked sensors: short reach, very low power, variable bit rate (low to high), support of multiple wireless standards (e.g. Blue Tooth, Zigbee, Low Power WiFi, etc)
  •  A new way of designing analog ICs needs to be considered for the IoT to be a mass market. 
  • A key question here is "how much further can the industry convert (inherently) analog functions to digital and then use DSPs to implement them?"
  •  Many of the mobile computing functions will be implemented by servers in a cloud resident Data Center. For those servers, interconnects on the circuit board could be the limiting factor in reducing cost and power.
Participant Quotes from Paul Werbaneth:
“It’s natural for MEMS and mixed-signal devices, or MEMS and logic devices, to live in a side-by-side (2.5D) world.”
“Organic substrates for 2.5D interposers show great promise for reducing 2.5D interposer costs – look particularly to the work being done by Georgia Tech.”
“If you don’t follow scientific change then what you practice reverts to witchcraft.” (The Rabinovitsi Paradigm.)
“Innovation in packaging may be more relevant than Moore’s Law moving forward.”
“3D packaging is becoming a very exciting technology, with as much relevance as a process node shift.”
“The IoT needs packaging innovations – not Moore’s Law technology progression.”
“FinFET or packaging – where’s the smart money playing? The problem is one of die / device performance versus system performance – and packaging drives system performance.”
“That being said, 3D packaging is not a panacea – basic economics still rule.”
“Seven years from now it will be IoT applications driving the industry – and Moore’s Law progress doesn’t apply to the analog world, hence the need to work on heterogeneous integration / 2.5D / 3D IC."
“New generations of network-side IC products are only 15% innovation – the other 85% is composed of standard I/O and memory IP. Moving some of that 85% from the board to the interposer or to a 3D stack will be a huge performance improvement - 3D memory integration, for example, is positively disruptive.”
“But doesn’t CMOS integration always win? Monolithic integration, or heterogeneous integration using 2.5D / 3D IC; either way it comes together, no one size fits all.”
“The 28nm process node has a lot to like about it: speed, cost, High Volume Manufacturing (HVM) capability, and IP portability all look good compared to 14nm FinFET.”
“Challenges that need addressing in 2.5D / 3D IC are supply chain related. The current cost structure for 2.5D / 3D is leveraged by materials and processing equipment.”
“Do we currently even have a functioning 3D IC ecosystem?” 
“Thermal challenges have kept 3D IC from coming to the mainstream. 2.5D is much better than 3D from a thermal perspective.”
Experts At The Table: The Internet Of Everything, by Ed Sperling (Session 2 Moderator)
Addendum:  Recovery in 2013 Semiconductor Capex:
Semiconductor manufacturing equipment has been on an upswing for the last few months. Combined data from Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) and Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ) shows three-month-average bookings have increased for five consecutive months through March 2013. Billings have increased for the last two months.

Level 3 Communications (2nd largest ISP after Google) earnings miss & FBR Commentary

Level 3 Communications (NYS: LVLT) reported earnings on April 25. For the quarter ended March 31 (Q1), Level 3 Communications missed slightly on revenues and missed expectations on earnings per share.  Margins expanded across the board.  Level 3 Communications tallied revenue of $1.58 billion. The 14 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ hoped for revenue of $1.61 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were the same as the prior-year quarter's.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly


Level 3 Communications’ (NYSE: LVLT) first-quarter revenues declined sequentially and year-over-year to $1.58 billion due to the expected termination of various North America and UK government contracts.
During the first quarter, the company’s net loss was $0.36 per share, including $0.11 in foreign exchange losses in EMEA and Latin America.

“In the first quarter, we saw the effects of the near-term revenue pressures we cited last quarter, due to the typical reversal in seasonally strong fourth quarter revenue and some known contract disconnects in North America and UK Government,” said Sunit Patel, CFO of Level 3.  Patel said that “our gross margin is now back above 60 percent for the first time since acquiring Global Crossing.”

Despite these initial revenue challenges, Level 3′s total Enterprise Core Network Services (CNS) revenue grew 2.2 percent year-over-year to $1.37 billion. Taking out the impact of UK government revenue, Enterprise CNS revenue grew 6.8 percent year-over year. Wholesale revenue, meanwhile, declined to $501 million, while wholesale voice and other revenue declined to $205 million.

On a regional basis, North America was the clear leader with $967 million in revenue, while EMEA and Latin America posted revenues of $223 and $182 million, respectively.


David Dixon of FBR wrote:  

"While Level 3 continues to generate benefits from the Global Crossing merger, and we welcome incoming CEO Jeff Storey, our concerns about weak top-line trends and cost structure continue to be borne out. In the retail enterprise segment, a tough macro environment is coupled with a challenging pricing environment for connectivity services, which are largely commoditized. Furthermore, generationally challenged Ethernet equipment is an issue. Level 3 has avoided significant capex over the past two years by using Huawei engineers under contract to tune lasers on older fiber on a hop-by-hop basis to increase capacity and avoid network upgrades; however, excess capacity is unclear. In the wholesale segment, wireless backhaul demand is a potential bright spot, as demand for backhaul is increasing.

Cable companies are focused on offering lit fiber versus dark fiber to maintain owner economics. For Level 3, it is unclear to what extent the company would sell metro dark fiber circuits to wireless companies seeking fiber-based backhaul and feeder fiber from IXC hubs. While Level 3 gives up owner economics in this case, it may be the preferred approach, as wireless carriers are reluctant to use Level 3 to source lit fiber because of concerns regarding a lack of a capacity upgrade path —i.e., Level 3 can provide 100 Mbps today, but carriers need substantially higher capacity going forward. And our checks confirm that customer confidence is low regarding the company's ability to increase investment levels to meet growing capacity requirements (particularly in a virtualized network context), primarily due to balance sheet concerns.

■ CNS* revenues weaker than expected, but EBITDA beat expectations as margins rebound—a flip from results last quarter. CNS revenue of $1,372M in 4Q12, up 1.6% YOY, was below our $1,418M estimate and consensus of $1,390M. One of the primary growth drivers was Latin America (13% of CNS revenues). Adjusted EBITDA were $386M, above our $378M estimate and consensus of $378M. The 24.5% EBITDA margin was ahead of consensus and our estimate of 23.5%, the first margin above 24% since the merger closed in 4Q11.


* Editors Note:  We don't know if Core Network Services (CNS) also includes Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), which Level 3 provides to other service providers.  Their CDN is said to "support some of the largest video, software and web properties. The Level 3® Network is connected with direct, private connections to almost every major ISP and Telco, which allows traffic to flow directly to end users without traversing public peering points."


■ Reiteration of weak EBITDA guidance. For the second-largest ISP after Google, modest revenue growth, low-double-digit EBITDA guidance, and what we interpret as modestly positive FCF growth (i.e., positive FCF, excluding $56M
in interest rate swap liabilities) are weak. Capex spending remains moderate, tracking below expectations, and a 4% head-count reduction taken late in the fourth quarter may provide a boost to EBITDA by $40M but will likely challenge
top-line growth in FY13."

by David Dixon and Neil Macker, CFA

FBR Technology, Media & Telecom





ITU-T SG13/Q14: SDN and Service Aware Networking of Future Networks

The Feb 2013 ITU-T SG 13 Plenary meeting report lists Question 13 as having primary responsibility for investigating Software Defined Networking and Network Virtualization. 

Here is a cut and paste of the pertinent ITU-T SG13 Plenary report:

TD 26 (PLEN/13)

Software Defined Networking (SDN) and network virtualization are among promising technologies because they enable network operators to divide networks into partitions to make problem size smaller, and to control their networks in unified, programmable manner. This realizes multiple isolated and flexible networks in order to support a broad range of network architectures, services, and users that do not interfere with others. It is considered as one of the key technologies for FNs, and various SDOs have started to study these technologies in intensive manner, but overall framework that covers all telecom industry has not yet been defined. And there are other approaches to mitigate the diversity and complexity by e.g., introducing easily-manageable network architecture such as carefully-designed decentralization and autonomicity.

The Recommendations that specifies framework, service scenarios, requirements, and architecture of service-aware networking, in particular network virtualization and SDN technologies, fall under the responsibility of this question. As for SDN, the focus is on common part of SDN that is applicable to various networks, and its application to future networks.


Study items to be considered, but not limited to:

Requirements for the architecture to manage and to operate exploding and diversifying services and supporting functions in particular SDN and network virtualization

Analysis of gaps between SDN, service-aware networking and existing standards and/or technologies

Approaches, architectures and mechanisms for highly-scalable and distributed SDN and service-aware networking easy to control, operate and manage

Issues and solutions for migrating from current IP-based network to SDN and service aware networking.


Tasks include, but are not limited to:

Produce new Recommendations on requirements, functional architecture and mechanisms of generic SDN, its application to future networks, and service aware networking.

Produce Recommendations on general overview of service aware networking



Y.3011, Y-series Recommendations


All SDN and FN related Questions

Study Groups:

ITU-T Study Groups involved in SDN and FN studies

Standardization bodies, fora and consortia:


ETSI ISG Network Functions Virtualization (NFV)

Open Networking Foundation





  And that's "all she wrote" about ITU-T standardization of SDN and Network Virtualization




Qualcomm Earnings report: competition in Asia for cheap smartphones-Ominous For Apple, BlackBerry, Nokia?

Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), a leading developer and innovator of advanced wireless technologies, products and services, today announced results for the second quarter of fiscal 2013 ended March 31, 2013.

"We delivered another strong quarter as the worldwide adoption of smartphones continues," said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm.  "Looking forward, we are seeing strong traction with our new Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 and 800 processors, and we continue to expect healthy growth in 3G and 3G/4G multimode devices around the world.  We are pleased to be raising our calendar 2013 3G/4G device shipment estimates and our revenue and earnings guidance for fiscal 2013."

Second Quarter Results (GAAP)

  • Revenues: 1 $6.12 billion, up 24 percent year-over-year (y-o-y) and 2 percent sequentially.
  • Operating income: $1.88 billion, up 24 percent y-o-y and down 10 percent sequentially.
  • Net income: 2 $1.87 billion, down 16 percent y-o-y* and 2 percent sequentially.
  • Diluted earnings per share: 2 $1.06, down 17 percent y-o-y* and 3 percent sequentially. 
  • Effective tax rate: 1 13 percent for the quarter.
  • Operating cash flow:  $2.22 billion, up 17 percent y-o-y; 36 percent of revenues.
  • Return of capital to stockholders:  $431 million, or $0.25 per share, of cash dividends paid.


Forbes: Qualcomm Cheap Phone Warning is Ominous

Qualcomm owns intellectual property related to code division multiple access (CDMA).  This technology is behind many of today’s wireless networks.  Qualcomm also provides chip sets for mobile devices.  Since Qualcomm licenses the technology or provides the guts of a wide base of wireless devices and networks, there are serious implications for smartphone manufacturers in Qualcomm’s results.

martphone prices are falling much faster than expectations.  Of further concern is the number of new entrants in the smartphone market.  Somewhat shocking was a statement by Qualcomm that some of its customers are able to launch their devices in as little as 60 days from start to launch.  These customers are using Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD).

As of January 2013, 170 QRD based devices have been commercialized by more than 40 manufacturers.  The irony here is that based on the large number of emails I receive, investors tend to extrapolate from their experiences in the United States and Europe and do not realize that there are more than 40 manufacturers of smartphones. The 60-day time to launch is in stark contrast with the traditional time of nine months to a year.

This is real bad news for Apple.  Growth is in emerging markets as the developed markets are mostly saturated.   In emerging markets, disposable incomes are not high enough for the masses to afford existing Apple products.  Apple has already ruled out a $99 iPhone.  The indications are that Apple is hard at work on a low end phone.  Nobody knows the  price of the future low-end iPhone.  Most of the informed speculation centers around a price in the range of $300 to $400 in contrast to the $613 average selling price of the present iPhone.

The strong inference from Qualcomm’s earnings report is that smartphone prices are falling so fast that the new low end Apple iPhone is not likely to be competitive.

BlackBerry has been touting its success in emerging markets with Z10, but Z10 is simply too expensive for these markets. BlackBerry’s CEO is on record saying that BlackBerry is working on a low end phone.  However considering how fast smartphone prices are falling, even if BlackBerry is able to introduce a new device at 50% of the current price of Z10, it is not likely to become competitive.

Qualcomm’s earnings report validates Nokia’s strategy for the emerging markets.  Its line of low-end phones called Asha is doing well in emerging markets, but Nokia is about to face stiff competition primarily from Chinese manufacturers. Most of the phones from the new entrants are based onGoogle GOOG -0.14% Android.  Further, these new entrants are shying away from Windows Phone OS.

The bottom line is that a sea change is on the horizon which is good for Google and Qualcomm but bad for almost everyone else.

Write me and follow me here





AT&T Financial Results: Project Velocity IP Still Going Strong; Wireless Business is Terrific, Best Ever U-verse Growth!

Financial Results
For the quarter ended March 31, 2013, AT&T's consolidated revenues totaled $31.4 billion, down 1.5 percent versus the year-earlier quarter and up 0.9 percent when excluding revenues from the divested Advertising Solutions business unit. Net earnings were $3.7 billion, or 67c a share, compared with $3.6bn a year earlier, or 60c a share.
AT&T's first-quarter 2013 cash from operating activities totalled $8.2bn, and capital expenditures totalled $4.3bn. Free cash flow – cash from operating activities minus capital expenditures – totalled $3.9bn.
Operating expenses were $25.4 billion versus $25.7 billion; operating income was $5.9 billion versus $6.1 billion; and operating income margin was 18.9 percent, compared to 19.2 percent.
The company said it continued to expect capital spending in 2013 to be in the $21bn range and expected capital spending for 2014 and 2015 respectively to be in the $20bn range, with no reduction in its Project Velocity IP (VIP) plans for wireless and fibre optic-based broadband expansion.  AT&T earlier stated it expected capital spending of $22bn annually in 2014 and 2015. The company is achieving savings through greater integration efficiencies in Project VIP, accelerating LTE rollout in 2013 and other ongoing initiatives.
Much more at:
Wireless Business is "Terrific"
AT&T set a record for smartphone sales during the latest quarter, selling 6m smartphones, including 4.8m Apple iPhones.  The strong smartphone sales, together with sales of 365,000 connected tablets, helped to offset a decline in its prepaid and reseller wireless business. As a result, AT&T Mobility added a net 296,000 monthly contract customers and increased the number of smartphones connected to its network by 1.2m.  The largest U.S. telco said the rollout of its new 4G-LTE mobile network was running ahead of schedule and now covered 200m people.
Wireless data revenues grew by 21 per cent and total wireless revenues and wireless service revenues both increased by 3.4 per cent compared with the same quarter last year. Operating margins in the wireless services business increased to 43.2 per cent.  “Our wireless network performance continues to be terrific,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive. “And that helped drive our best-ever first quarter for smartphone sales, improved wireless churn and strong growth in mobile data revenues.”
While smartphone sales are heavily subsidised by large US mobile operators (e.g. VZW and Sprint), they generate significantly higher monthly revenues than older “feature” phones, benefiting results over the longer term. For AT&T, smartphone sales represented 88 per cent of handset sales during the period and now constitute 70 per cent of AT&T Mobility’s installed handset base.
Fixed line Consumer Revenues Increase
AT&T boosted fixed-line consumer revenues by 2 per cent, aided by revenues from its U-verse TV and internet service, which grew by 31.5 per cent year over year. U-verse added 731,000 internet subscribers and 232,000 U-verse TV subscribers during the quarter and ended the period with a total of 8.7m subscribers.
Best-Ever High Speed IP Broadband Growth: U-verse!
Total U-verse revenues grew 31.5 percent year over year and were up 5.0 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2012. Total U-verse subscribers (TV and high speed Internet) reached 8.7 million in the first quarter. U-verse TV added 232,000 subscribers, its best net gain in nine quarters, to reach 4.8 million in service. U-verse High Speed Internet delivered a best-ever net gain of 731,000 subscribers to reach a total of 8.4 million. Overall, the company added 124,000 wireline broadband subscribers, the best quarterly increase in eight quarters. Total broadband ARPU was up more than 9 percent year over year. Total U-verse High Speed Internet subscribers now represent more than half of all wireline broadband subscribers.  Much More at:
Ultra High Speed Broadband Access in Austin, TX 
Earlier this month, AT&T and Google both announced plans to build fibre optic broadband networks in Austin, TX capable of delivering 1 gigabit per second download speeds – more than 100 times faster than current average download speeds in the US.
“Most encouraging is the recognition by government officials that policies which eliminate unnecessary regulation, lower costs and speed infrastructure deployment, can be a meaningful catalyst to additional investment in advanced networks which drives employment and economic growth,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO.  
On April 9, 2013, AT&T announced that in conjunction with its previously announced Project VIP expansion of broadband access, it is prepared to build an advanced fiber optic infrastructure in Austin, Texas, capable of delivering speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.  AT&T’s expanded fiber plans in Austin anticipate it will be granted the same terms and conditions as Google on issues such as geographic scope of offerings, rights of way, permitting, state licenses and any investment incentives. This expanded investment is not expected to materially alter AT&T’s anticipated 2013 capital expenditures.
AT&T consistently invests in U.S. communities -- $98 billion in capital in the past five years, more than any other public company.  More at:
FBR Capital Markets: More Work Required to Regain Momentum
"AT&T reported underwhelming 1Q13 results, with disappointing net adds, weak ARPU trends, and continued wireline segment declines. We believe management is caught in a bind, having enabled application service providers to a greater-than-expected extent, and we see more limited opportunities to innovate going forward, as well as increased network costs to service these applications.
On a positive note, management is executing well on prioritizing LTE network parity with Verizon to lower postpaid churn and potentially increase wireless margins. Consolidated revenues of $31.3B and wireless service revenue of $15.1B were in line with consensus. However, annual wireless service revenue growth fell from 4.2% to 3.4%, the lowest growth rate  over the last five years. EBITDA of $10.5B were slightly below the Street estimate.  Wireless net adds of 291,000 fell well short of the 785,000 consensus estimate. AT&T posted negative net adds in prepaid for the second straight quarter; resellers lost 252,000 net subscribers.
These results point toward weaker top-line growth in the near future, as AT&T will see (and likely respond to) increased competition in both the lower-end prepaid market (T-Mobile and Sprint) and higher-end postpaid market (Verizon). We believe AT&T will also face increased cost pressure to fulfill management's 2013 guidance to retain wireless market share."      
"Increased competition from T-Mobile is likely. We expect T-Mobile to pressure both AT&T and Sprint in the prepaid market as the company completes its 4G network upgrade (which shows better performance, versus AT&T and VZ, according to our vendor checks), launches its LTE network, and markets its new "no-contract" plans with a reinvigorated
device lineup."
David Dixon and Neil Macker, CFA 

2013 Open Network Summit (ONS) Announcements, Take Aways & Conclusions

The information packed 2013 ONS (April 15-17th in Santa Clara, CA) saturated my brain with volumes of SDN and Network Virtualization architectures, product pitches, trials, and use cases.  A multi-part series on this important conference will be published in the coming week at  This article will cover a few important announcements, take-aways and key messages from this sold out summit.
1.  Transforming Networks with NFV & SDN by Rose Schooler, VP, Intel Architecture Group and GM of Communications and Storage Infrastructure Group. 
Intel announed three new products related to SDN and Network Virtualization:
  • Open Networking Platform Switch reference design:  a switching platform reference design based on Intel silicon and software intended help product companies build new kinds of infrastructure. It includes Wind River Open Network Software (ONS) - an open and fully customizable network switching software stack using Wind River Linux.  ONS  supports the ONF OpenFlow standard and Open vSwitch.  
  • Data Plane Development Kit:  a software package that works with Open vSwitch and helps engineers with low-level operations (memory, queues) and small packet performance.  Intel's acceleration targets are 10x for physical port-to-port switching and 5x for VM-to-VM.
  • Open Networking Platform Server:  an x86 server reference design that combines the above hardware and software packages to enable creation of virtual appliances or similar products.

    See Intel’s press release ( for more information. 
  • “SDN and NFV are critical elements of Intel’s vision to transform the expensive, complex networks of today to a virtualised, programmable, standards-based architecture running commercial off-the-shelf hardware.  The reference designs announced today enable a new phase in the evolution of the network and represent Intel’s commitment to driving an open environment that fosters business agility and smart economics,”  Ms Schooner said in the press release.

    Rose invited Allwyn Sequeira, VP/CTO of Security and Networking at VMware, on the stage to talk about their ongoing collaboration.  Allwyn talked about the NSX platform, and emphasized decoupling networking from the underlying hardware to “abstract, pool, and automate” network resources like virtualized servers.  NSX is based on overlays and network virtualization.  It doesn't conform to the strict ONF definition of SDN, nor does it use the Open Flow protocol. Prodip Sen, Director of Network Architecture at Verizon  talked about their collaboration with Intel on a cloud bursting trial with dynamic bandwidth allocation/re-allocation.

    After the conference, Rose made the following comment via email to this author:  "I completely agree that SDN and NFV are complimentary but different – that’s the Intel view as well. We created the 2013 ONS presentation with the assumption that the difference was understood by the audience."

    2. Open SDN: An Introduction to OpenDaylight, by Inder Gopal – VP of Technology at IBM
    This was the first public discussion of the new Open Daylight initiative since it was announced about one week ago.  OpenDaylight is an open source SDN software project being done under the umbrella of the Linux foundation.  It’s goal is to accelerate the adoption of SDN technologies through creation of a common, industry-supported framework.  It seems to be aimed at creating an open-source, standardized SDN Controller software module and open source software for various applications that use SDN-Open Flow.  Inder explained that there is no “angle” or "hidden agenda" behind the project, e.g. like threatening VMWare or SDN start-ups with software IP.   It was interesting that the consortium chose to use the Eclipse Public License instead of the GPL or Apache-style licenses. 
    Mr Gopal clearly stated up front that the project will be run in a way that is about meritocracy, not politics.  That would be a refreshing change from most consortiums which are often political machines to drive vendor agendas or systems architectures.  If the project is successful, customers implementing SDN controllers or applications will be able to take the OpenDaylight source code and purchase integration and support services from their trusted vendor of choice.  That would make SDN more of a services business.
    Matthew Palmer wrote in a recent blog post that SDN may now stand for Services Defined Networking.  "When we look at SDN and OpenDaylight under a services lens and view SDN technologies as more similar to enterprise software or service provider BSS / OSS software than traditional networking boxes — where every software deployment is custom, it appears the service opportunity for SDN maybe even larger than the software implications to the over all networking market." 
    3.  Open Networking Foundation-Year 3, by Dan Pitt, Executive Director of the ONF (and for many years IBM's leader for token ring standardization in IEEE 802.  Also, a colleague of this author for 30 years). 
    Dan gave a general update on the ONF’s progress over the year and their plans for 2013.  The ONF appears to be heavily focused on standardizing OpenFlow v1.4 and v1.5, as well as expanding interfaces like OF-Configuration.  The ONF is wants to create value for its members, which consists of a mix of network equipment vendors, carriers and end users. 
    Dan announced an OpenFlow driver competition (details and prize information were announced on April 17th). 
    The ONF’s plans are to stabilize and expand the OpenFlow ecosystem, by the promulgation of open standards and APIs.  ONF unveiled its technical roadmap for 2013 on April 16th (the same day as Dan's talk)
    During the Q &A, Dan was asked about ONF's relationship to the new Open Daylight initiative.  Dan replied by positioning the ONF as a “substrate” that enables frameworks like Open Daylight to exist.  It will be interesting to see if he is proven to be correct.  (4 days after this article was published, Dan elaborated on ONF's position on Open Daylight. Please read his comment in the box below this article.)
    4.  "Service Provider SDN" is gaining market traction, although it's not clear if Service Providers (telcos, MSOs, cloud networking providers, etc) will require use of the ONS-Open Flow standard, and/or require strict separation of data and control plane in "SDN" networking equipment. 
    Large telcos such as Verizon, NTT, DT, Telstra, gave talks on their SDN trials and future projects.  Telecom/ network equipment vendors like Huawei, Ericsson, Ciena, Alcatel-Lucent (Nuage Networks), Cisco and Juniper all gave talks and/or had booths in the exhibit hall.  The telco motivation is the same: quicker provisioning of new services, facilties, coping with exponential traffic increases by dynamically allocating bandwidth, reconfiguration/moves and changes, etc.
    That's a huge change from the last year, where almost all of the SDN buzz was dominated by data center networking or cloud SDN access (Arista Network's pitch) for delivery of cloud computing and storage services.  But it remains to be seen if telcos wil go the SDN-Open Flow route or not.  Many, like DT, are likely to pursue Network Functions Virtualization (or NFV) which is being defined by an ETSI WG, which was only created three months ago.
    There may also be keen network operator interest in a new ONF Optical Transport WG chaired by Lyndon Ong of Ciena. The new WG will address SDN and OpenFlow™ Standard-based control capabilities for optical transport networks. The work will include identifying use cases, defining a target reference architecture for controlling optical transport networks incorporating the OpenFlow Standard, and identifying and creating OpenFlow protocol extensions.
    [More about this Optical Transport WG and Ciena's view of SDN in the aforementioned articles to be published later this week. Stay tuned for those.]
    In a follow-up email, Lyndon had this to say about ONS and SDN:
    “SDN is one of the most exciting developments in networking in some time, and has the potential to unlock innovation and upgrade network efficiencies. I’m looking forward to working together with my industry colleagues through the ONF Optical Transport Working Group to address SDN and OpenFlow standards for optical transport network control. From a Ciena viewpoint I think this is very much in line with our focus on streamlined forwarding, software automation and programmability, and will lead to benefits to Ciena’s customers.”
    Joe Berthold, PhD Physics and VP of Network Architecture at Ciena corroborated his company's committment to ONS-Open Flow:  "Ciena is aggressively embracing openness at both API levels – business applications to network control software, and network control software to network physical equipment – because we firmly believe that openness is the most critical attribute of SDN.  The point of SDN is to unleash productive innovation by making network behaviors more determined by software. Software is relatively malleable, accessible, and quick to change as needed to deliver something new.  But for these properties to be exploited, openness is essential. We are committed to bringing openness  to our network operator customers through our OPn architecture. As such, we are highly active in the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), where the industry’s leading organizations are collaborating to define the openness-based framework. In fact, we have been contributing significant resources to advance the work of the ONF, and currently two of our staff members serve as working group chairs."
    Acknowledgement:  This author sincerely thanks Jamie Moody, Director of External Communications at Ciena for the interview with Lyndon and follow-up with Joe (who this author first interviewed in the Spring of 1998 on DWDM technology!).
    After an interview at ONS, Ericsson provided this statement (received via email from Dwight Witherspoon) about their ONS 2013 accomplishments (note that there is no mention of ONF-Open Flow compliance or strict separation of control and data planes in their products):
    "Ericsson demonstrated our Virtual Network System (VNS) and Service Chaining (data traffic steering). These live demonstrations added high value to the conference by showing Ericsson Service Provider SDN in action in collaboration with a major operator, Telstra. The VNS use case transforms an optical metro with carrier Ethernet switching capability into a virtual IP metro router using Service Provider SDN without replacing the CE optical nodes. The Service chaining use case optimizes an operator’s service resource usage in real time to lower OPEX and provide a premium end user experience. At ONS 2013, there was universal agreement amongst attendees that SDN is re-energizing telecom and networking in a way we haven’t seen for over a decade, and Ericsson is a leader by using data center SDN principles in the wide area network and to connect operator business systems to the network. Hence Ericsson Service Provider SDN."
    In a follow up to an ONS interview, Ericsson provided this information via email:
    1. SDN Position from Ericsson:
    2. Telstra, Ericsson and SDN:
    3. Telstra and 1 TBPS:
    "Ericsson's Service Provider SDN connects operator business systems to their network. Service Provider SDN meshes existing and new network technology with Integrated Network Control, enables efficient operations processes through Orchestrated Cloud and Network Management and catalyzes new revenue with Service Exposure."
    5.  Network Virtualization: Delivering on the Promises of SDN by Bruce Davie, Principal Engineer at VMware (via the Nicira acquisition earlier this year)
    AUTHOR's NOTE:  This was by far the best presentation of the conference!  It was clear, concise, very informative and with only a subtle sales pitch (vs most vendor presentos which were slam, bang, rat-a-tat-tat sales promotion with ineffective on stage demos).  Bruce is to be highly commended for this straight talk amidst all the ONS hype and promos!
    Bruce presented his main points right up front: 
    1.  Network Virtualization (NV) is not the same as SDN.
    2. You don’t need SDN to deliver NV.
    3. NV currently delivers on the important promises made by SDN. 
    Bruce supported the above points with a systematic   of recent SDN marketing messages – everything from “vendor choice” and “simplified programmability” to “applications can control the network” and “simpler operations / provisioning.”  These are really NOT unique to SDN-Open Flow, but could be accomplished sooner (like now) with Network Virtualization.  While he conceded that SDN is a serious option for developers, he also claimed that the burden of distributed algorithms and network software has just shifted to controllers from individual equipment types.
    A NV platform consists of an intelligent edge (virtual) switch, distributed controllers, and tunnels that decouple network services from the physical infrastructure (e.g. VMware’s NSX platform.)  Bruce said that “network overlays solve more problems than they create, they will enable network service innovation at software speeds, and that NV is its own thing (i.e. it delivers its own value, apart from SDN)."  The Microsoft and Ebay ONS presentations certainly supported his favorable view of NV over stictly defined SDN-Open Flow.
    In a follow up email, Bruce expressed a few thoughts on the 2013 ONS:
    "There were three main schools of thought at ONS2013.  As expected, one well-represented school could be called OpenFlow/SDN "Classic". There were vendors of OpenFlow capable switches, ASICs, and controllers for those switches,
    as well as some customers looking to reap some benefits from SDN. Second, there was the approach labelled "SDN-washing" by Guru Parulkar. This was represented by some of the traditional networking vendors. The basic idea is to retain the full-featured, largely proprietary systems, but to dress them up with some sort of API, be it OpenFlow or something proprietary. As Guru said, this doesn't really conform to the intent of SDN. Finally, there is the network
    virtualization school, well represented in the session on Data Center applications. As was clear from my talk,  I subscribe to this school of thought. (Microsoft's) Albert Greenberg's description of the Windows Azure architecture very much matches our vision of network virtualization, and JC Martin from eBay has already reaped the rewards of deploying network virtualization in his data center."
    "To recap some points from my talk, I wanted to stress that network virtualization is not the same as SDN, and it does not even require SDN for its implementation. As it happens, we've used some SDN techniques in our implementation, but we also rely on other key technologies such as advanced software switching in the vswitch, and overlay tunneling. We also provide a network virtualization abstraction, something that is not delivered by SDN on its own. Network virtualization is delivering many benefits today, such as improved operational efficiency, vendor independence, and the decoupling of
    network services from the underlying physical network. This is all done in a way that is non-disruptive and incrementally deployable."  For further comments please visit:  and:
    "Thanks for the favorable comments on my talk."
    Stay tuned for more ONS articles, including ONF Optical Transport WG, and comments from ONF.  Again, those articles will be published at  All current and previous Viodi View articles by this author can be accessed and read at: 
    Top Quality SDN Presentations:
    For those that didn't attend our EXCEPTIONAL July 2012 ComSocSCV technical meeting on SDN, you can download
    presentos from Guru and Dan at:
    Scroll down to July 2012 meeting and click on the hot link:
    Date:Wednesday, July 11, 2012; 6:00pm-8:30pm

    Defined Networking (SDN) Explained -- New Epoch or Passing Fad?

    Speaker 1: Guru Parulkar, Executive Director of Open Networking
    Research Center
    Subject: SDN: New Approach to Networking

    Speaker 2: Dan
    Pitt, Executive Director at the Open Networking Foundation
    Subject: The Open Networking Foundation