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Google Fiber Proposed for Santa Clara; AT&T bids to build CityLinkLA

1. A representative of Google presented plans for Google Fiber at a City of Santa Clara meeting that Ken Pyle (Viodi View) and I attended on December 16, 2015.  

Ken wrote: "Google appears to be considering the city of Santa Clara (population 120,000) as one big fiber hood. This is significant, as Google’s initial builds were done by popularity (e.g. they would go to those areas where they got enough sign-ups). Their fiber hood strategy was controversial in some circles, as it harkened back to the early cable days of so-called redlining where operators would avoid building in parts of cities that were not economically viable."

 Google is working closely with the Santa Clara’s municipal electric provider, Silicon Valley Power, which is owned by the City of Santa Clara, for equipment space and rights-of-way. That Silicon Valley Power is especially supportive to this project indicates that they see the fiber project being a service to their customers and a complement to their municipal fiber and WiFi network.

Google indicates it will be a 36 month buildout cycle after they start the project. Google would not commit to a start date to either Santa Clara or San Jose, CA. The decision on when to start seems like a business decision, as from a permitting and local regulatory approval standpoint, it appears that Google should be able to start construction as early as Q1 2016.


Read more at:

Pic of Santa Clara Study Session on Google Fiber:



2.  AT&T is one of multiple Internet service providers (ISPs) that have responded to Los Angeles' request for proposal to build CityLinkLA. The five-year plan is aimed at providing access to residents who lack broadband service. A city spokesman says other municipalities have inquired about the project, which will connect residents to educational and other local resources. 

Both wired and satellite telecommunication carriers were eligible to offer bids, according to the request for participants, which closed last month. The solicitation said the city will provide the selected vendor low-cost land and office space, expedite the application process for major project components, and offer access to existing networks, like the city’s SmartPoles, under a long-term lease. 

AT&T submitted a proposal for CityLinkLA, which, if selected, it hopes to tie into its existing collaboration with the city, Kathryn Ijams, a spokeswoman for AT&T in California, wrote in an email.

“AT&T understands the City’s vision for a more connected Los Angeles and is excited about the opportunity to make the CityLinkLA project a success,” Ijams wrote. “We look forward to discussions with the City to determine how AT&T’s investments can help support the City’s goal of delivering advanced communications to where Angelenos live, work, and play indoors and outdoors.”

The city did not give details about how Google Fiber or AT&T’s Gigabit project may fit into the initiative. But in a release, Blumenfield said private sector efforts would complement CityLinkLA.

“Access to high-speed Internet is essential to the City’s future economic competitiveness, and will drive Los Angeles’ entertainment, tech, and entrepreneurial activity,” he said. “We welcome AT&T GigaPower and Google Fiber to Los Angeles, and look forward to continuing to push Los Angeles to become the world’s premier gigabit city.”

Read more at:

Challenges & Opportunities for the "New Nokia"; Focus on SD-WAN


On December 2nd, Nokia shareholders overwhelmingly approved the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent . The only remaining full service telecom equipment company in either North America or Europe is being sold to Nokia in a 15.6 billion Euro (€) deal which could make the “new Nokia” a market leader in network equipment and cloud services for telecom wireless AND wire-line networks. The only other full service telecom suppliers left are Huawei and ZTE from China.

In October, Nokia said it would pay € 4 billion to shareholders as the company raised its outlook for the year. Nokia will hold 66.5 percent stake in the new company, Alcatel-Lucent will hold the remaining 33.5 percent stake.

Nokia’s Position & Executive Quotes:

Currently, Nokia is ranked the third largest network equipment manufacturer after Ericsson of Sweden and China's Huawei. Dell 'Oro group says that Huawei has now surpassed Ericsson as the #1 provider of wireless network equipment, according to a recent WSJ article. That desite Huawei being shut out of the U.S. market after a congressional report deemed it a risk to national security. The company has strong sales in Asia and Latin America and is the #1 smart phone vendor in China.

Following the sale of its mobile phone business to Microsoft, Nokia focus on wireless telecommunications infrastructure and mapping services. Last August, the company sold its digital mapping business to German carmakers BMW, Audi and Mercedes for approximately € 2.5 billion.

Rajeev Suri, Nokia’s CEO, said he was delighted by shareholders recognizing the “long-term value creation opportunity” of the deal, which is expected to close during the first quarter of 2016. "I feel quite confident because as we have seen we have broad shareholder support, support from costumers, regulators, government and so on. There's broad support overall for the deal," Suri said.

"Nokia's shareholders have today shown the full extent of their support for our proposed combination with Alcatel-Lucent. By ratifying the transaction in such great numbers, they have endorsed our strongly-held belief that the combined company will be better positioned to compete as a world leader in network technologies over the long-term," said Risto Siilasmaa, Chairman of the Nokia Board of Directors.

Competition for the New Nokia:

In addition to Huawei (which is also a global leader in smart phones), there will surely be competition from the recently announced partnership between Cisco and Ericsson, in which the companies will jointly develop new products for telecom and cloud service providers.

According to Cisco’s press release, “In a world driven by mobility, cloud, and digitization, the networks of the future will require new design principles to ensure they are agile, autonomous, and highly secure. Ericsson and Cisco will meet this challenge together by offering end-to-end leadership across network architectures including 5G, cloud, IP, and the Internet of Things – from devices and sensors to access and core networks to the enterprise IT cloud.”

The press release notes that the partnership would bring in incremental revenue of $1 billion for both companies in 2018. Under the terms of the partnership, Ericsson will also receive patent licensing fees from Cisco.

According to Dell’Oro Group, Huawei, Ericsson, and the combination of Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent are the top three players in the worldwide market for wireless infrastructure equipment. These three are closely ranked, with each having 25% to 30% market share.

Note that Ericsson is a pure play wireless equipment and managed services vendor while both Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent design, develop and sell BOTH wireless and wireline gear. Alcatel-Lucent subsidiary Nuage Networks develops software for cloud resident data centers and specializes in network virtualization/overlay model of software defined networking.

Opportunities Knocking:

We think there are three huge growth areas that telecom companies really haven’t yet penetrated in a big way: cloud computing networks (from customer premises to cloud service providers point of presence), software defined WAN (multiple reference models for SDN, NFV, others known as SD-WAN), and Internet of Things (IoT).  


Gartner indentifies several companies (many are start-ups) as building products for SD-WANs:  

1. Representative Vendors: Cisco, Citrix, CloudGenix, FatPipe Networks, Nuage Networks (a subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent), Ocedo, Silver Peak, Talari, VeloCloud, Versa Networks, Viptela

2. Other Vendors: InfoVista (Ipanema Technologies), Riverbed, Sonus


In an evocative blog post,  Mushroom Networks CEO wrote:

"SD-WAN gives enterprises additional options when it comes to the configuration of not only their networking devices, but their network itself. With SD-WAN, companies can utilize different types of networks that weren’t available in the past. For example – in traditional networks, it’s possible to send different traffic over different kinds of networks, i.e. to send critical traffic over a dedicated MPLS network, and less important traffic over a less expensive network, like a broadband network or even a wireless LTEnetwork. Some SD-WAN technologies can take this to a new level whereby various algorithmic nodes (configured by software) can be implemented as a function of application type. Think in terms of special treatment of, say VOIP packets, such as optimizing the WAN connectivity for latency, jitter etc, to ensure VOIP quality and reliability. If these types of specialized flow based complex algorithms can be pushed down to the hardware via a software defined environment with ease, the benefits are limitless.

This is not only useful for enterprise branch office setups but also useful for small and medium-sized businesses, who are often challenged to justify the expenditures of an MPLS circuit at all of their locations, and often lack the in-house IT networking talent to manage their network complexity.

SD-WAN gives you the ability to mix and match your WAN network types, and synch your different classes of network traffic with those different classes of network.  It will allow a company’s network to become much more efficient and dynamic, and allow for much more efficient utilization of network resources. And over time, when companies compare the savings on a monthly basis on the network spend versus the one-time (or close to it) spend on new hardware, many companies will find that it’s a no-brainer.

If you have an enterprise which has several locations or more and/or significant network traffic, SDWAN offers enormous potential. And if you’re a medium to large enterprise, the potential savings of SD-WAN are truly impressive, especially over time. But even if you have a very small company, with one or two locations and relatively little traffic, SDN can provide the SLA and QoS targets your applications need, such as VOIP/SIP, over very cost effective broadband connections.

The full scope of applications and impact to be felt from SDN is yet to be determined. But one thing is definite – the next few years are going to be very interesting."


Here's Google's Open Network Summit presentation on their SD-WAN


We think SD-WAN represents a great opportunity for the new Nokia and other telecom/ network equipment vendors like Ciena.


Internet of Things (IoT) Opportunity for Telecom Service Providers & Network Equipment Companies

Telecom Equipment Market & Growth Areas:

Service Provider Telecom Equipment market comprising the Access, Carrier IP Telephony, Microwave, Mobile RAN, Optical, SP Routers, SP WiFi, and Wireless Packet Core markets, are set to improve between 2014 and 2019, according to Dell 'Oro Group. The Service Provider Telecom Equipment market is expected to be $26 B higher than the comparative five-year period (2008-2013). 

We think there are three huge growth areas that telecom companies really haven’t yet penetrated in a big way: cloud computing networks (from customer premises to cloud service providers point of presence), software defined WAN (multiple reference models), and Internet of Things (IoT). While analyzing these are beyond the scope of this article (contact the author if you’re interested in a consulting arrangement to do so), we believe gaining market share in these markets will be critical for the big telecom equipment companies.

This article focuses on IoT opportunities for both wireless and wireline network equipment makers.  Note that IEEE recently held an IoT World Forum on Dec 14-16, 2015 in Milano, Italy.

IoT Market:

According to IDC, the worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) market will grow from $655.8 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.9%.

Devices, connectivity, and IT services will make up the majority of the IoT market in 2020, according to IDC. Together, they are estimated to account for over two-thirds of the worldwide IoT market in 2020, with devices (modules/sensors) alone representing 31.8% of the total. By 2020, IDC expects that IoT purpose-built platforms, application software, and "as a service" offerings will capture a larger percentage of revenue. What role the big telecom gear makers play in IoT is anyone’s guess at this point in time.

Research and Markets forecasts the IoT in manufacturing market size to grow from USD 4.11 Billion in 2015 to USD 13.49 Billion by 2020, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.9%. Manufacturer's need for operational efficiency has increased the utilization of sensors through enhanced automation and integrated connected technology solutions across the manufacturing process, which, in-turn, has increased the demand for IoT solutions for various manufacturing applications. Other driving forces include decreasing hardware and connectivity cost and increasing penetration of connected devices.  The target audiences of the IoT in manufacturing market report are solution vendors, manufacturing equipment suppliers, system integrators, advisory firms, national regulatory authorities, venture capitalists, private equity groups, investment houses, equity research firms, and other stakeholders.

IoT Opportunities:

In addition to connectivity, which is expected to be mostly wireless, there are many IoT opportunities for telecom service providers (SPs) and equipment vendors.  Those include control and management, service provisioning platforms, big data/analytics (making sense of the huge volumes of data collected from things), and privacy/security sub-systems.  

France based service provider SigFox has built their own 2G-like network that's just for the IoT- no smart phones or tablets are end points!  They have already started initial IoT network deployments.  Fierce Wireless reports that San Francisco is the first U.S. city to receive Sigfox's connectivity; the other cities Sigfox plans to launch in by early 2016 are New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas and San Jose.

"The Internet of Things can bring new opportunities to San Francisco -- the Innovation Capital of the World," said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee in a press release. "Creating a network of this kind, the city will be able to attract new startup companies, strengthen existing businesses and provide more jobs, economic growth and continuing prosperity for our residents. I'm excited that the Internet of Things network will help the city deliver more efficient services for residents and opportunities for innovation for entrepreneurs."

Network Requirements for IoT Traffic:

Security and privacy will likely receive a lot of attention. As IoT devices become more and more prevalent in our lives, their usefulness for applications like healthcare, energy and home monitoring will demand their awareness of increasingly personal information, or at least information that easily be profiled back to you once it’s analyzed as “big data’ in the cloud. Service providers will need to implement sophisticated network security systems that meet the expectations of both consumer and enterprise customers.

Network availability will be critical for many IoT applications. If critical infrastructure systems like industrial control, emergency, healthcare and security are going to be sending time-critical traffic over a service provider network, they need to have a very high degree of confidence that the network will be up and all the networking services will be working. Enterprise-class availability (three-nines or 99.9% up uptime) won’t be adequate: these services will demand the six-nines reliability (99.9999% uptime) that today is only achieved by telco-grade networks. Again, there will be a wide diversity of requirements for network availability, reliability and resiliency: some IoT applications will tolerate packet loss while others will demand maximum fault tolerance.

The latency (and jitter) of service provider networks will have a strong impact on the usefulness of many projected IoT applications. If you’re driving a connected car with the expectation that traffic lights or sensors are going to react to your presence, a one second delay at 70 miles an hour means that you’ve travelled 100 feet. A lot can go wrong over that time and distance. Quality-of-service (QoS) segmentation will allow service providers to position (and price) different service levels for different use cases.

All these issues point to the need for highly-reliable, low-latency, secure infrastructure platforms in service provider networks optimized for IoT traffic.  It remains to be seen if the SPs and vendors capitalize on this mega-trend


Huge Challenge of Disaggregated Network Equipment for Large Telecom Gear Makers

Disaggregation of IT equipment started with Facebook driving the Open Compute Project (OCP) to open up the design of compute servers.  It then extended to bare metal switches and white boxes (such as those from Pica8), especially for Software Defined Networks.  That represents a huge competitive threat to traditional switch/router vendors.

The latest disaggregation effort is to decompose the functional elements of two types of equipment: GPON Line Terminating Equipment (LTE) and G.FAST (vectored DSL) modems.  It's known as the CORD project, which is an acronym for Central Office Re-architected as a Data center.  Last June, ONOS (a consortium developing an Open Source SDN operating system for service providers) combined with AT&T to demonstrate a CORD Proof of Concept (POC) at the Open Networking Summit which we described in this article.

"One of the ONOS applications that has really taken hold is CORD," said Bill Snow, vice president of engineering at ON.Lab . "From day one we have targeted ONOS to serve the service provider marketplace... and we found that there was a big hole there."

At the Light Reading White Boxes for Communications Service Providers event in November,  CORD for GPON was described by Ken Duell as "FTTH as a Service" consisting of hardware blueprints (schematics?) and open source software modules.”  Duell said a CORD-GPON field trial will be held in the 1st Quarter of 2016.

In addition to AT&T, ONOS CORD project contributors include Ciena Corp., Ericsson AB, ON.Lab, SK Telecom and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. 

The New IP recently reported that SK Telecom is working to enhance CORD for the delivery of mobile network use cases.  The South Korean telco is leading a project called Simplified Overlay Networking Architecture (SONA), which will ease deployment of software defined data centers, where they have provided OpenStack Switching and OpenStack interfaces for CORD.

Guru Parulkar, executive director of ON.Lab, said the goal of ONOS CORD is to bring the economics of data centers and the agility of cloud to service providers.    Guru opined: “Service providers should be able to build their infrastructure with a few building blocks hopefully built using merchant silicon, white boxes and open source platforms.  Telco central offices have to be reinvented because they are where service providers have maximum CAPEX and OPEX spending, but they are also gateways  to enable or offer new services to residential and business customers.” 

Juniper Disaggregates Junos:

In November, Juniper Networks announced the disaggregation of Junos – it’s network operating system for advanced routing, switching, and security.  This move will allow Juniper’s users to run the software on third-party (bare metal/white box) switches supporting the Open Network Install Environment (ONIE). It also allows customers to install third-party applications such as automation and programming tools or services like deep packet inspection directly on Juniper switches via a VM or container.

Juniper is committed to separating software from hardware as the networking industry shifts to a software focus, Jonathan Davidson, Juniper executive VP and general manager of development and innovation, told attendees at the company’s inaugural NXTWORK customer summit in Santa Clara, CA.


Severe price pressures from Chinese network/ telecom equipment vendors (e.g. Huawei and ZTE), carrier consolidation (resulting in fewer large equipment customers),  new competition from the Ericsson-Cisco partnership (TBD?), results in an intensely competitive telecom equipment market with razor thin profit margins.  Add “SD-WAN/disaggregation/open source software” to the mix and there is even more of a threat from bare metal switches, white boxes, and commodity transport platforms.  

Meanwhile, consortium efforts like CORD/ONOS will surely lead to further minimization of  the hardware aspects of large telecom equipment vendors.  Software becomes the key factor with most of it going open source (e.g. ONOS and ON.Lab, Open Daylight, Open NFV, ONF, etc). 

With that megatrend intact, what role will the big telecom vendors play? And how will they compete with one another?How many will be left standing in the next five years?


Operations is Key R&D Focus for Alcatel-Lucent IP Platforms

"[R&D work] is in the operations," Bhaskar Gorti, Alcatel-Lucent's president of IP platforms, told Light Reading without hesitation at a recent on-site visit. "Getting a network function to run in a virtualized network is fine, but the reality is that there will be a hybrid world of virtual and physical networks. How do you operate it?"

This is where Alcatel-Lucent is spending its time and money in the final months leading up to its acquisition by Nokia Corp.  In fact, its Naperville, Ill., offices are full of Lean Ops demos that show evidence of this R&D work. Here, the vendor demonstrates agile, New IP networks that can spin up -- or down -- services on the fly, taking network management down to a matter of minutes. 

Gorti says that amongst Alcatel-Lucent's customer base of network operators of all sizes, he sees the larger ones seeking a horizontal virtual approach to building NFV infrastructure and orchestration that is independent of VNFs, and smaller players running out of physical capacity and looking to add virtual network elements rather than completely overhaul their networks. Either way, he said, every request for proposal (RFP) now has virtualization on it, whether they deploy it or not. (See Major Change Afoot in Managing Virtualization.)

"It is there today; there is a roadmap, and they want to see future versions and how they will live in a hybrid world," Gorti says. "Operations is key."

"There won't be that big of a business case in moving from physical to virtual," Gorti said. "There is not a dramatic capex change right away. It's how do you scale it and run it? We come back to operations."

Comment:  This author has previously stated that operations and OPEX are key for all the new age networking technologies, e.g. NFV,  Network Virtualization, OpenFlow based Software Defined Networking, and use of white boxes for any or all of the above!

For more information, see:

Related Story:

Alcatel Lucent successfully deployed a monitoring, information, management and control system based on Internet Protocol/Multi-Protocol Label Switching (‘IP/MPLS’) technology. This technology would help Poland’s maritime authorities enhance operational efficacy as well as safety at ports located near the Baltic Sea. Alcatel-Lucent completed the project as a consortium leader, along with the famous technology and consulting multinational firm, Indra.  For more information, see:


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IHS and ACG Research on Optical Network Market Status & Outlook


Following a 21-percent surge in the second quarter, global spending on optical network equipment declined 10 percent in the third quarter, to $2.95 billion, reports IHS (NYSE: IHS). The market is down 1.7 percent from a year ago, with the biggest declines coming from EMEA and CALA.  

“The previous three quarters’ results for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) indicated the first reversal of poor optical spending since 2009. However, third quarter results are less favorable, with a 5 percent year-over-year decline. We assume this is a short-term setback and the recovery will continue. However, we will monitor this closely,” said Alex Green, senior research director for IT and networking at IHS.   


·    Asia Pacific, the largest optical network hardware market in the world, saw flat spending (-0.2 percent) in 3Q15 from a year ago, as Japan has yet to ignite the 100G engine

·    North America was the only major world region to post positive year-over-year results (+3 percent)

·    WDM equipment spending grew 4 percent worldwide in 3Q15 from a year ago

·    Global spending on SDH/SONET optical hardware dropped 27 percent in 3Q15 from the year prior, and is forecast by IHS to decline from $2.17 billion in 2014 to just over $500 million by 2019

·    All annual growth in optical network hardware market going forward will come from the WDM segment, which IHS predicts will top $6.8 billion in 2019


The quarterly IHS Infonetics Optical Network Hardware market size, share and forecasts report tracks the global market for metro and long haul WDM and SONET/SDH equipment, Ethernet optical ports, SONET/SDH/POS ports and WDM ports. Vendors tracked include Adtran, Adva, Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Cisco, Coriant, Cyan (acquired by Ciena), ECI, Fujitsu, Huawei, Infinera, NEC, Padtec, Transmode, TE Connectivity, Tyco Telecom, ZTE, and others. This report is part of the IHS Optical Intelligence Service.

To inquire about research subscriptions, please visit



ACG Research:  Optical data center interconnect market nearly $5 billion in 2019


ACG Research expects the global market for optical data center interconnect (DCI) technology will increase from just over $1.1 billion in 2014 to $4.7 billion in 2019, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.9%.

"Uptake of optical DCI is being driven by the migration of services to data centers and the cloud as service providers simplify deployment models and accelerate delivery of new and differentiated services," says Tim Doiron, practice lead for Intelligent Transport Networking at the market research firm. "New and expanded data center deployments are being driven by a variety of service providers including Internet content providers, network service providers, and interexchange providers as well as enterprises themselves. As more functions become automated and virtualized, the need to interconnect data centers for capacity, resiliency, and versatility will continue to grow and increase the need for reliable, cost-effective, high-speed data center interconnections."


OTN Equipment Market Trends:

The OTN hardware market can be bifurcated on the basis of OTN equipment, which comprises OTN transport, OTN switching, and optical packet platform systems (P-OTS). OTN switching equipment delivers economical and low latency switching layer, and helps to deal with the challenge of traffic congestion in a network. OTN transport equipment monitors the performance of the entire network. The optical packet platform system helps in efficient transfer of data in packets over the network. P-OTS equipment offers high reliability and efficiency.

Get more information on Global OTN hardware Market or request for TOC of this research report at:



Highlights of Light Reading's White Box Strategies for Communications Service Providers (CSPs)


Network operators (like AT&T, Orange, SK Telecom, etc) and mega-web companies (like Linked In) are moving away from proprietary purpose-built hardware to "white box" solutions that are a mix of purpose-built software, or open source software running on generic compute server and/or Ethernet switch/IP router hardware.  A "white box" is to be distinguished from a "bare metal switch" which does not come with any software.

It's been said that white box networking offers greater flexibility and the potential for faster service delivery, but that's yet to be proven.  The transition from dedicated network equipment to generic white boxes is one part of the transformation process being undertaken by communications service providers and large enterprises as they seek greater efficiencies and new business opportunities.

The path to a white box world is complicated. In the past, the white box approach was only considered viable for enterprise networks, data centers and, in rare instances, the very edge of service provider networks. The latest iterations reach across vast swaths of wide area networks (WANs), right up to the carrier core, and the closer service providers get to an end-to-end, white box "white wash," the higher the stakes become.

Inline image

On November 17, 2015, Light Reading sponsored an excellent conference on "White Box Strategies for Communications Service Providers (CSPs)."  We report the highlights in this post.


Key Points Made by CSPs:

Ken Duell, Assistant VP of New Technology Product Development & Engineering, AT&T said there were many potential benefits of white boxes, including cost per bit, flexibility, speed to market and operations costs savings.  
"When we open up our network (to white box vendors) that leads to innovation.  Some of our customers come up with things we never even thought of," he said.
However, there are huge challenges which include integration of white box hardware and open source/ purpose built software as well as network operations. Currently, AT&T is doing the integration themselves, rather than outsource it to a systems integration 3rd party.  "Right now, because of the state of the ecosystem, we're doing it ourselves," Duell said. AT&T  would like to involve a whole ecosystem, but for now it looks to best-of-breed components.  The telco giant (which is really SBC which acquired the old AT&T) is retraining its employees to handle the shift to white boxes/ virtualized network functions.
[LinkedIn is also doing the systems integration themselves.  They say they can save on OPEX by disabling network functions that are not needed at configuration time.]

AT&T's first step in white boxes was what they call "universal CPE," which the company describes as follows:
"Universal Customer Premises Equipment (uCPE) is a virtual appliance. Utilizing network function virtualization (NFV) technology, uCPE network appliances can be run as software on a virtual machine. Instead of installing a physical router, a customer could turn up a software-based virtual router in near real-time.   Not only does the Universal CPE afford increased speed but, for the first time, the ability to run multiple functions simultaneously. The unique open design enables multiple virtual network functions (VNFs) to run concurrently. For example, if a customer wants a router and a WAN accelerator, they can activate both of those functions on the same physical box."


Next up is the CORD Project for GPON network equipment disaggregation.  CORD uses ONOS-- an Open Source SDN operating system for service providers.  Announced this past June, a CORD field trial will take place in Q1-2016. Mr. Duell described the project as "an open, virtualized service platform that provides cloud economics and agility. Think of it as "FTTH as a Service" consisting of hardware blueprints (schematics?) and open source software modules, Mr. Duell said.

From AT&T's website: "CORD enables service providers to build an underlying common infrastructure with white boxes using ONOS (carrier-grade open source SDN Control Plane), OpenStack (virtual infrastructure management), and XOS (an open source service orchestration/management platform built on OpenStack) with a diversity of organizations building the services and solutions that ride above. In effect, this common infrastructure replaces the fragmented, non-commodity one in today's Central Offices where each site hosts more than 300 unique deployed appliances, each requiring a physical install and specialized management."
Guru Parulker, PhD and ‎Executive Director of the Open Networking Research Center (ONRC) at Stanford University, said CORD was just one of several solutions enabled by ONOS, which is gaining a lot of momentum on a path to real deployments.  He didn't disclose any other solutions.  Both ILECs and CLECs could take advantage of ONOS, Guru added.
Christos Kolias, PhD and a senior research scientist at Orange Networking Labs in S.F. is a frequent speaker at Silicon Valley networking conferences related to virtualization technologies.  This new world has a 3 layer reference model vs the 1980's OSI 7 layer model, according to Christos.  The 3 layers are:
 Applications: encompassing L3-L7
 Control layer -network software: SDN, NFV, network virtualization, network OS, etc 
 Data layer- infrastructure: physical & virtual (L1-L2)
Note: We would put L3 = Internet Protocol (IP) in the Control layer for route/path computation AND also in the Data layer for packet forwarding.  That's independent of a centralized SDN controller is used for all route/path computations in a given network domain.
Kolias sees integration as the key challenge for communications service providers (CSPs) that want to adopt the same kinds of hyperscale technologies that are fueling their biggest competitors, namely the web giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.  He also said that white boxes pose a huge challenge for traditional network equipment vendors, such as Cisco, Juniper, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, and Ericsson.  "The user (network operator) now has a choice.  Reusability will be important; software will be the differentiator." 

Christos identified the opportunity to "create a marketplace for services and applications" including emerging Internet of Things (IoT) and marketing apps such as trading advertisements for free bandwidth to support video streams, as well as the ability to build customized products to the specifications of the service provider, as Google and others do today.   All of that is enabled by separating hardware and software, and moving to more commodity-type, commercial-grade hardware built on merchant silicon that can rapidly scale and support innovation at the software layer. Not that getting to that stage will be easy, Kolias said.

Noting that the CSPs need "disaggregation, not disintegration," he said there are significant integration challenges to achieving the same level of consistent performance using white boxes that exist today with purpose-built telecom gear.

 Breaking down the network gear

 Systems Integration/packaging options: ODM (h/w or s/w), 3rd party, end-user, or a combination thereof

 Accelerates product development to match evolving requirements

 DevOps ‒ continuous testing & integration

 The rise of the ISVs (Independent Software Vendors)

 White box switches and software switches

 Suitable for Data Centers, Enterprise, Cloud, potentially CSPs

As noted above, there are different approaches that network operators can take to address the systems integration (hardware, open source software, purpose built software, etc) challenge, the Orange executive said: CSPs can rely on hardware or software vendors for help, bring in third-party integrators, do their own integration, or combine those three approaches.

APIs are more critical than ever, Christos said.  They are important for plug-n-play, especially for open platforms (Google, FB, Microsoft, eg, WebRTC).  APIs provide: the “glue” in an open system, the integration points with existing systems (eg, OSS), the support points for the apps.  APIs are essential for building developer communities.

 Standard & open APIs can enable and ensure interoperability and thereby lessen dependency risk 

 They can enable plethora of innovative (eg, ad-hoc/customized) services and lead to new business models for the telcos 

  Provide monetization opportunities (eg, consumers, enterprise, VNOs, etc)


Ashish Singh, SK Telecom's GM/VP of products said the South Korean telco is transitioning from an ARPU business model to an Average Revenue Per Service model.  SK Telecom is planning to use white box servers as part of a strategy to build "mini-modular data centers" for services at the edge to serve mobile computing needs, rather than sending data to a centralized data center.

The goal is to move intelligence closer to the edge of the network, to enable improved reliability, data protection and end-to-end encryption, Singh said.  He added that IoT services via NFV (Network Function Virtualization) must provide: low latency, high reliability, processing that's close to the user.  He cited telemedicine as an example IoT application.  At the mobile edge, SK Telecom is using Apache Spark for real time streaming video.  Again, the objective is to push decision making to the network edge.


OPEX Savings or Problems?

I continue to believe that OPEX will be a key issue for white box networking because the white boxes won't be as reliable as typical carrier class network equipmen.  Furthermore, the hardware/software are from different vendors leading to a systems integration/fault isolation/finger pointing problem which will increase OPEX.

Key OPEX issues include: hardware/software integration, fault isolation and repair (fail-over and problem resolution), restoration/re-routing around failures or congested network nodes, integration with OSS/BSS, upgrades/updates to software which cause problems with other functions, etc.



1.  The AT&T and SK Telecom panelists said they are using the same infrastructure (network equipment) for both wireline and mobile subscribers via a new wireless access rack (not defined and no details provided).  

2.  While CAPEX for white boxes will be lower than purpose built networking gear, we think OPEX may be considerably more expensive (see section above).  This point can only be proven or disproved several years after white box networks have been deployed in large volumes.

3..  A huge transition is underway for telcos - from a network operator offering a fixed set of services to a "platform service provider," which permits new companies to build applications and business models that run on top of the network.  Such new age CSP's Comms will open their network and resources and build their own services on the platform, while also letting partners build services as well.

Comment: Haven't we heard that line before? Like every other day for the last 15 years?

 ODMs that make White Boxes (Compute Servers and Bare Metal Switches):
Quanta, Accton, Delta Networks Inc, Edge Core, Foxconn, Super Micro, ABMX, Servers Direct, AMAX, etc
Software Vendors & Systems Integrators that use White Box Servers and/or Switches:
Cumulus Networks, Big Switch Networks, Pica8, Centec, NoviFlow


U.S. Wireline Telcos Step Up Gigabit and HIgher Internet Access vs Comcast Xfinity

Development and deployment of ultra-fast broadband is a continuing goal for major telecommunications carriers, responding to the demand for streaming video and other high-intensity bandwidth usage. For example, Verizon announced plans to test new broadband technology that would reportedly (link is external) provide download speeds of 10 gigabits per second.  That would be 10 times faster than Google Fiber and 1,000 times the rate of the average U.S. home Internet connection.

As this Verizon video demonstrates, uploading 1,000 photos using this technology would take just two seconds and downloading a feature-length high definition movie would be completed in eight seconds. Verizon’s 10-gigabit Internet leverages next-generation passive optical network technology, known as NG-PON2, was discussed recently in this USTelecom webinar. The technology enables providers to upgrade the networks capacity by adding new colors of light onto the existing fiber, and is capable of ultimately increasing system capacity from 10 Gbps to 40-80 Gbps.

“The advantage of our FiOS network is that it can be upgraded easily by adding electronics onto the fiber network that is already in place,” according to Lee Hicks (link is external), vice president of network technology for Verizon. “Deploying this exciting new technology sets a new standard for the broadband industry and further validates our strategic choice of fiber-to-the-premises,” Hicks said.

AT&T is also is a key broadband provider with its GigaPower offering.  The company has pledged to launch 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-home service to 23 new markets.

Fairpoint recently announced the company would launch gigabit Internet service in select New Hampshire markets.

Windstream’s CEO Tony Thomas has said the telco plans to introduce gigabit Internet in one market in 2015, with plans to expand this high-speed broadband offering in every one of its markets.

The capital and commitment of the nation’s telecom providers will continue to enhance and expand high-speed Internet offerings, supporting consumer demand and next-generation innovations. 

See more at:


In contrast to the above U.S. telcos, Comcast XFINITY® delivers the fastest Internet, now with download speeds up to 505 Mbps.  That service is expensive- it cost  $399.95 a month.  

This author has AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet Max Turbo, which advertises download speeds of 18.1 Mbps -to- 24 Mbps.  Several times, I've measured the download speed at the DSL modem which is usually around 23 to 24Mbps.  However, the 802.11n WiFi router (which is bundled with the DSL modem) only provides a measured 16 Mbps to 18 Mbps downstream rate.  

Hence, one must be very careful in determining what the downstream rate the user actually realizes.   Misleading telco/MSO advertising is quite common!

IHS-Infonetics & Dell'Oro Group on Data Center SDN Market

1.  SDN Data Center and Enterprise “In-Use” SDN Market Topping $1.4 Billion in 2015, IHS-Infonetics:

 Data Center (DC) and enterprise LAN software-defined networking (SDN) deployments began to ramp in the first half of 2015 (1H15), reports IHS in its latest IHS Infonetics Data Center and Enterprise SDN Hardware and Software report. IHS forecasts the market for ‘in-use’ SDN Ethernet switches and controllers to top $1.4 billion this year, nearly doubling from last year. 

“New SDN use cases continue to emerge, and the first half of 2015 was no exception with the establishment of the software-defined enterprise WAN (SD-WAN) market. The SD-WAN market is still small, but many startups and traditional WAN optimization appliance vendors and network vendors have jumped in,” said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., research director for data center, cloud and SDN at IHS 

“The data center and enterprise LAN SDN market will be solidified by the end of 2016 as lab trials give way to live production deployments. And in 2017, SDN will move from early adopters into the hands of mainstream buyers,” Grossner said. 


·     In the first half of 2015 (1H15), bare metal switches accounted for 45 percent of global in-use SDN-capable Ethernet switch revenue

·     Looking at the leaders in individual SDN categories:

o   White box switch vendors, as a group, are #1 in bare metal switch revenue

o   Dell owns 100% of branded bare metal switch revenue

o   HP has the largest share of SDN-capable (in-use and not-in-use) branded Ethernet switch ports

·     In-use virtual switch (vSwitch) ports are expected to make up 11 percent of SDN (in-use and not-in-use) ports shipped by the end of 2015

·     SDN in-use physical Ethernet switches are forecast by IHS to comprise 15 percent of Ethernet switch market revenue in 2017, up from 4 percent today


Data Center and Enterprise SDN Report Synopsis:

The biannual IHS Infonetics Data Center and Enterprise SDN Hardware and Software report provides worldwide and regional vendor market share, market size, forecasts, analysis and trends for SDN controllers, bare metal Ethernet switches and branded Ethernet switches in use for SDN. Notably, the report tracks and forecasts SDN controllers and Ethernet switches in-use for SDN separately from not-in-use SDN-capable Ethernet switches. Vendors tracked: Alcatel-Lucent, Arista, Big Switch, Brocade, Centec, Cisco, Cumulus, Dell, Extreme, HP, Huawei, Juniper, Lenovo, Midokura, NEC, Pica8, Plexxi, PLUMgrid, VMware, White Box, others. This report is part of the IHS Data Center Networks Intelligence Service.

To inquire about Intelligence Service subscriptions, please visit




IHS Sales: +1 844-301-7334



Amazon AWS, Google, Microsoft Azure Drive 25 GE and 50 GE

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – November 10, 2015 

According to the new 2015 Data Center SDN Advanced Research Report from Dell’Oro Group, the trusted source for market information about the telecommunications, networks, and data center IT industries, the Software Defined Networking (SDN) Market is forecast to grow more than 70% in 2015, versus 2014. 2015 marked an important milestone in SDN, with many Ethernet Switch architectures ratified and production deployments under way.

“SDN’s impact on the Ethernet Switch market increased significantly in 2015 as deployments expanded beyond the large Cloud Providers,” said Alan Weckel, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group. “It is clear that, by 2020, data centers will look significantly different from today’s. We are already seeing an impact on the overall networking and IT markets as enterprise customer spend stagnates while spend from Cloud Providers such as AWS and Azure explodes. As we look towards next generation 25 GE and 50 GE server access we expect to see significant disruption amongst the vendors with Dell’s planned acquisition of EMC being a prelude to further market consolidation,” Weckel stated.

About the Report:
Dell’Oro Group’s Data Center SDN Advanced Research Report evaluates the data center network and identifies the equipment that will likely be impacted by SDN in the next several years, including Ethernet Switch, Application Delivery Controllers and Network Security Appliances. The Report also outlines the disruptive elements to the Ethernet Switch market in the data center, including SDN, Cloud, Virtualization, and the impact of White Box Switching.

The report also reveals vendor placement in the data center Ethernet Switch market including Arista, Brocade, Cisco, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Extreme, Huawei, and Juniper.

To purchase this report, please contact Matt Dear at +1.650.622.9400 x223 or email

About Dell’Oro Group:
Dell’Oro Group is a market research firm that specializes in strategic competitive analysis in the telecommunications, networks, and data center IT markets. Our firm provides in-depth quantitative data and qualitative analysis to facilitate critical, fact-based business decisions.

For more information, contact Dell’Oro Group at +1.650.622.9400 or visit



Sprint's Response to T-Mobile's Free Video Streaming- 50% off Promo! David Dixon of FBR &Co.

On the heels of T-Mobile US's Un-Carrier X free video streaming  announcement last week to drive sales, this afternoon Sprint announced  a simplified 50% off promotion to help drive higher sales volume,  leveraging the improved network performance post the Network Vision upgrade and optimization.

The previous "Cut Your Bill in Half" promotion was difficult to execute due to grandfathered plans and discount complexities. The new plan is simplified in that it only applies to existing plans and includes a choice to maintain pricing. Management believes over 50% of switching customers will opt for a larger data plan at the same price versus a 50% cut, which should ease profitability concerns.

With LTE Plus now in 77 cities and numerous number one awards in RootMetrics in 2H15 testing (~108 awards),
management is wise to cut price now because perceived network quality remains poor, in our view. Over 50% of the base (and 100% of additions) leverage three spectrum bands (800 MHz, 1.9 GHz, and 2.5  GHz) to deliver higher download speeds. The company is confident the offer will generate sufficient volume to be accretive to earnings.

■ Offer details. The new 50% off promotion will apply to the current base service plan and access charges for any customer who switches from TMUS, T, or VZ and includes payment of up to $650 in early termination fees (which many customers keep despite the credit rating impact).

■ Contractual period. Lower pricing will be for 24 months and run until 2018. Existing Sprint customers can get a free Alcatel ONETOUCH PIXI 7 tablet with one year of free service (either a $15 per month, 1 GB plan or $10 per month Family Share Pack access) with any new two-year contract.

■ Plan exclusions. The promotion excludes the TMUS $90 unlimited plan as the Sprint $70 unlimited plan is already competitive and this would be dilutive.

■ Promotion timing. The promotion starts on November 20 until year end. The "test drive" period will last 28 days, after which the customer can either stay or leave Sprint without incurring restocking fees. ■ Our thoughts. Sprint needs to show greater sales momentum to ease the pace of revenue erosion. We think this should be accretive as incremental growth is high margin. This is a good window to exploit improved network performance post Network Vision upgrade and optimization. Sprint has been slow to pivot to a new network upgrade plan and is cash constrained, so we need to see acceleration in deployment.