Posts tagged ‘guest post’

The Mobile Network Operator’s Cry for LTE Services is Answered by APEX Communications’ Visual IVR.

This guest post was written by Elhum Vahdat, Executive Vice President, APEX Communications

Services, Services, Services…  you can practically hear the cry of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) all over the world pleading for new (or even old) services that can run on their shiny new LTE networks.  Of course, this is nothing new, as this repeated cry for services is generated with the roll-out of every new generation of network (e.g. 2G, 3G), because MNOs are well aware that the serious payoff comes primarily from running  new services, which in turn can justify their investment.

Keep in mind, in this blog I won’t address what over-the-top (OTT) services are doing to the bottom line of MNOs, which goes without saying is why new services offered by the MNOs are so critical.

One service that is ideal for LTE is Visual Interactive Voice Response, or Visual IVR (different than Video IVR).  At this point I know what a lot of you are thinking…  IVR is dead, so why resuscitate it for a new network?  My short answer is that Visual IVR is not your parent’s IVR.

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Your Data is talking – It’s Time to Listen and Engage!

Guest blog written by Oded Sela, Technical Director EMEA, International Sales at Allot Communications

CSPs are under constant pressure to be proactive all the time, since they need to stay ahead of the competition and are facing challenges on a daily base. But first and foremost, they need to keep their subscribers happy – not an easy task!

What is the secret sauce that they can use for success? Simple: they must analyse and optimise!  Why is analysing so important? Analytics will help operators to find the right optimisation for improving the QoE (Quality of Experience) of their subscribers. It also enables creating and activating optimal use cases, which boosts the bottom line. Furthermore, it allows a CSP to stand out in the crowd, increasing its ARPU and revenues!

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PCRF: A Vital Component in the Service Provider’s Network

Guest blog written by Udayabhanu Parida, Product Manager, Simulators, Wireless Division, EXFO

Guest blog written by Udayabhanu Parida, Product Manager, Simulators, Wireless Division, EXFO

With the wireless industry moving toward a unified IP network carrying both voice and data traffic, policy and charging rules function (PCRF) will be taking on an increasingly important role in managing the service provider’s network resources and monetization of service usage. And, with the planned adoption of Voice over LTE (VoLTE), PCRF will be playing an increasingly vital role in the network.

A key component of building a fast and reliable wireless network includes extensive testing of the network elements (NEs), in this case PCRF in the test labs before deployment. In test labs, PCRF is normally tested with other real NEs, such as PDN GW. Such a test setup does not fully exercise the functionality, performance or capacity of PCRF, because PCRF not only communicates with single PDN GW, but multiple PDN GWs. PCRF also communicates with policy control enforcement function (PCEF), such as deep-packet-inspection (DPI), online-charging-system (OCS), and offline-charging-system (OFCS) functions, as well as other PCRFs (visited), call session control function (CSCF), serving gateway (SGW), gateway GPRS support node (GGSN), traffic detection function (TDF) and more.

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Carrier Strategies: The Impact of Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi)

This guest post was written by Arvind Rangarajan, Director, Vertical Solutions & Market Offers, Broadsoft

Arvind Rangarajan, Director, Vertical Solutions & Market Offers, Broadsoft

Arvind Rangarajan, Director, Vertical Solutions & Market Offers, Broadsoft

Carrier Challenges

The sheer number of Wi-Fi connected devices is growing at a phenomenal rate, and Wi-Fi is fast becoming the preferred method of connection – at least two thirds of consumers today prefer connecting over Wi-Fi as opposed to cellular, mostly due to cost and performance.

Mobile operators have been increasingly turning to Wi-Fi offloading as a cost-effective way to manage data capacity, and that trend continues. Many analysts are forecasting a steady annual increase in carrier hotspots to more than 7 million by the end of 2015. (Source: ABI Research)

However, data offload is just the tip of the iceberg. The real reason many carriers are out there securing hotspot locations and launching services is competition for new revenue opportunities, from both incumbents and “over-the-top” (OTT) players alike.

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Leaving a lasting legacy – 4G/5G Progress?

This guest post was written by Mike Hooper, Head of Sales at Eirteic

June is typically a very busy month, with a number of exhibitions to be attended. This year Eirteic attended TM Forum Live! in Nice and LTE World Summit in Amsterdam. The events created some interesting thoughts about how things are progressing around subjects such as: SDN, NFV, SON and 5G.

Mike Hooper, Head of Sales, Eirteic

Mike Hooper, Head of Sales, Eirteic

Given that we are 5 years since the first 4G rollout and 5 years from a 5G roll out, it got me thinking about how we are progressing with the management of LTE. The rollout is happening but how are we managing it? Service Providers are still using legacy platforms such as IBM Netcool and HP TeMIP.

So as we progress toward 5G, how is this going to really change? How do we manage legacy 2G, 3G services whilst maintaining LTE and assuring future 5G services.

Can we really do this using 20 year old platforms?

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The Red Pill…

“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” Morpheus, The Matrix (1999).

Red pill blue pillExperiencing the soothing hum of routers, switches and servers at the NOC, one imagines the green flashing lights assuring us all is well with the world ‘out there’ – the core, backhaul and RAN fully operational….keeping us calm and centered in our work. We know our job is done and we admonish any unbelievers with a stern, confident voice. When the customer support team calls in a panic because they have been flooded with customer complaints telling us the network isn’t working in the city, we smile and let them know they can stop worrying now, the NOC is fully operational and all systems are go. Then we sigh and hang up the phone on them when their tone of voice becomes, well, less than professional.

Yes indeed, all is well down here at the NOC, although, worryingly, even though I’ve full signal strength on my own phone, I can’t seem to connect properly to that Lync conference call because it keeps stuttering and dropping out. The director will be upset, but it’s ok- I’ll just say I just had network problems…

Is there a glitch in the matrix?

Are telco operators stuck in the “Blue Pill” world of The Matrix – the veil created by comfortable green lights and dashboards? On the surface the answer is “no”: Network monitoring and assurance tools are more sophisticated, incorporating big data, analytics and visualisation, providing richer and better information about the going-ons in the network. But what’s happening outside, in the reality of the customer? How do customers experience our network?

Operators should know; research demonstrates network customer experience to be the number one driver of both retention and churn. Customers want their applications to just work and they don’t care what’s happening deep in the NOC – and nor should they. If customers can’t use Spotify on their phone, then for them the network is broken and they will leave it in search of a better one.

What is a “Red Pill”? The view of the Wonderland of the customer:

  • A 100% customer-side view of the Customer Experience (CX) of applications and services on their phone.
  • A geographic view, in real-time and without long feedback cycles.
  • Correlating the customer experience to the state of the network
  • Benchmarking CX against the competition

By taking the “Red Pill”, operators can do some serious Bullet-Dodging. They’d be able to;

  • Conduct evidence-based network optimisation and investment decisions – the “outside in” network customer experience data can be used to guide network optimisation decisions or as supporting evidence for localised investments
  • Accelerate mean-time-to repair – by linking the customer experience perspective with their own network management capabilities, operations and assurance departments can isolate and correct network faults much more rapidly
  • Target local acquisition campaigns in those geographies where their own network is performing comparatively stronger than others

Operators who take the “Red Pill” see how deep the rabbit hole of network customer experience goes, understand the reality of the customer’s world and in the process gain significant competitive advantage.

Christian Rouffaert is the managing director of Teragence, a network customer experience benchmarking business and the winner of the LTE World Summit‘s Innovation Accelerator award. For more information about Teragence, please send an email to contact@teragence.com or go to our website http://www.teragence.com

Bringing Accurate Synchronization to Small Cell Backhaul

This guest post was written by Alon Geva,Timing & Synchronization Expert, CTO Office, RAD Member of the ITU-T SG15/Q13 Sync Standardization Group

This guest post was written by Alon Geva,Timing & Synchronization Expert, CTO Office, RAD & Member of the ITU-T SG15/Q13 Sync Standardization Group

Delivering sub-microsecond time accuracy to the cellular base stations is one of the major challenges facing cellular providers as they deploy their new LTE networks. This is exacerbated by LTE-A’s stringent synchronization requirements and the growing use of small cells in 4G networks, which create unique challenges in the backhaul segment.

Before the debut of 4G, the standard way to deliver a time reference was to install a Global Navigation Satellite System, or GNSS (e.g., GPS) at every cell site. A GNSS receiver is usually referred to as a Primary Reference Time Clock (PRTC). This approach is impractical in 4G, however, given the far greater number of cell sites, the intended indoor location of part of the antennas (e.g. shopping malls), as well as the growing concern about possible jamming and spoofing. Furthermore, considerations of CapEx and OpEx render this approach highly ineffective.

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Visualise your mobile sites, grow your network

This guest blog was written by Christain Knitterscheidt, Head of Product Management at Tarantula Global

This guest blog was written by Christian Knitterscheidt, Head of Product Management at Tarantula Global

The biggest driving factor for telecom operators is the ever increasing consumer demand for and faster data speeds from their mobile devices. This expansion of mobile usage presents a major growth opportunity to achieve greater revenue for telecom operators. However, this also means finding and securing a variety of sites and installing and managing complex combinations of equipment at these mobile sites.

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How to get a Net Promoter Score for all your subscribers

This guest blog post was written by Matthew Tworney, Head of Product Marketing, IBM Now Factory, IBM

NPS (Net Promoter Score) as a concept started in 2003. It was developed by Fred Reicheld as part of Bain and Company and Sametrix, and now is a registered trademark. After initial adoption, the main reason why NPS became so important is that it has, in many studies, been directly correlated with business growth. If satisfaction among using services is improved, then revenue grows, which of course makes intuitive sense.

A key difference between Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) indexes and NPS is the way that the questions are phrased. CSAT scores tend to work on questions such as “how do you feel now about the service you just had?” This question is good for judging how satisfaction for services varies over short time periods—think of satisfaction cards in restaurants that people fill out. However, NPS bridges a gap in which NPS looks at how the subscriber feels holistically about the service. This approach is a broader metric to identify those who are happy, those who are thinking of leaving and those who may not do business with you again.

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Adding Capacity Is a “Small Cell” Matter

Philip Sorrells, Vice president of strategic marketing, Commscope

Philip Sorrells, Vice president of Strategic Marketing, CommScope

This Guest Post was written by Philip Sorrells, VP of Strategic Marketing, CommScope

Everybody’s talking about them, but what exactly is a small cell? In many people’s minds, a small cell is a very low power femto cell, installed in a home or office. It’s a radio device. In my mind (and in many others, too), a small cell is anything that is not a typical macro site, deployed to solve a network capacity problem.

Small cells can be indoor or outdoor. They can vary in power level. Some are carrier grade, some are for consumers. But what defines a small cell is not one of these characteristics, but rather what a small cell is trying to do-add capacity in some manner besides a standard macro site.

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The Promise of Voice over LTE: Overcoming Today’s Challenges

Femi Adeyemi, PhD LTE Solutions Architect, Fujitsu Network Communications

Femi Adeyemi, PhD
LTE Solutions Architect, Fujitsu Network Communications

This post was written by Dr. Femi Adeyemi, LTE Solutions Architect at Fujitsu Network Communications

 

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is considered by many to be a revolutionary application, for both mobile operators and their subscribers:  Operators, once they establish VoLTE networks, will no longer have to maintain separate networks—circuit-switched for voice and packet-switched for data. As a result, they will see savings in both operational and capital expenses.  Subscribers who use VoLTE will be able to use high quality voice and data applications simultaneously, while enjoying greater clarity in voice calls.

However, VoLTE deployment has been slower than anticipated due to several challenges…

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LBO or not, I want to break out… (Part II)

This is Part II of Peter Nas’ blog post on local break out technology

 

Peter Nas serves as Senior Solution Architect at F5 Networks and draws from more than 20 years of telecom experience to advise operators how to leverage Diameter signaling solutions to enable the optimal LTE experience. Peter joined F5 with the company’s acquisition of Traffix where he was responsible for global business development.  Prior to joining Traffix, he worked at Tekelec focusing on market development for Diameter and SIP routing. In his days before Tekelec, he served as Core Network Engineering Manager at a prominent mobile operator in the Netherlands.

In my last blog post, I began looking at the slow progress for the deployment of LBO (local breakout) technology that will reduce mobile roaming revenues. In this post, I will suggest various ways to leverage LBO to offset the reduction in roaming revenues.

One interesting aspect of LBO is that the signaling for two additional Diameter interfaces, S9 for policy and Gy for charging, could be exchanged between visited and home networks, and if so, this will be done via an IPX network as per GSMA guidelines (IR.88). There are different views on whether or not using the S9 interface to exchange policy information between the visited PCRF and home PCRF, will be massively used once LBO is offered, but let’s assume it will be used. In this case, an IPX carrier can offer various services around Diameter interworking, security and perhaps also screening, overload control, prioritization and potentially adapting policy rules and more.

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LBO or not, I want to break out… (Part I)

This post is by Peter Nas, Senior Solution Architect, F5 Networks

Peter Nas, Senior Soltuion Architect, F5 Networks

Peter Nas, Senior Solution Architect, F5 Networks

 

For over ten years, the technology to offer local breakout (commonly known as LBO) has existed, allowing data use by roaming customers to be supported by the visited operator’s network. This is in contrast to the scenario in which data requests are sent back to the roamer’s home network, which of course, results in higher costs. However, despite the obvious fact that many people would like to get lower data roaming rates, a wish not limited to Europeans traveling in the EU, sadly it is not offered yet.

 

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Putting the pieces in place to make VoLTE work

Eyal Amit, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

Eyal Amit, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

This post is by Eyal Amit, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

There are over 300 LTE deployments around the world, each promising a better, faster and more engaging connected mobile experience. While LTE has brought great advancements with regards to fast data speeds, HD video availability, mobile shopping and gaming, by and large it has not lived up to the hype on voice.

Voice over LTE, or VoLTE should mean conversations in high definition, crystal clear video calls, and easy transitions into text messaging. Consumers should be able to see which of their contacts are available and which aren’t through their contact list, not through a voice message on the other end of the line. Mobile phones were originally designed to facilitate talk, so why have only under seven per cent of all LTE Service providers begun offering VoLTE services to their customers?

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Adding Capacity Is a “Small Cell” Matter

This post is by Philip Sorrells, Vice President, Site Solutions, CommScope

This post is by Philip Sorrells, Vice President, Site Solutions, CommScope

Everybody’s talking about them, but what exactly is a small cell? In many people’s minds, a small cell is a very low power femto cell, installed in a home or office. It’s a radio device. In my mind (and in many others, too), a small cell is anything that is not a typical macro site, deployed to solve a network capacity problem.

Small cells can be indoor or outdoor. They can vary in power level. Some are carrier grade, some are for consumers. But what defines a small cell is not one of these characteristics, but rather what a small cell is trying to do—add capacity in some manner besides a standard macro site.

With that definition in mind, I see four viable “small cell” paths for wireless operators to explore for expanding wireless capacity:

  • Distributed antenna system (DAS) – the original small cell. DAS has proven itself in the field for around for 25 years or so. DAS networks often are multi-operator, multi-technology, high capacity solutions. As Infonetics’ recent research predicts, the DAS market will continue to grow as DAS has already established itself in the operators’ toolkits.
  • Pico cells or mini remote radio heads. These solutions are targeted at adding capacity in medium to large buildings, for one operator only.
  • Multibeam antennas and sector splitting. Certain sectors in macro sites, or whole sites themselves, can be in locations that see tons of data traffic. Such hot sectors need new solutions for adding capacity, increasing gain to penetrate buildings better and/or cover more outdoor space. Splitting a sector in two about doubles the capacity, and with twin beam or multibeam antennas, one antenna can handle the job.
  • Concealed, integrated metro cells. These are basically mini macro sites, designed to address the common problems of site acquisition and licensing in congested areas. The remote radio unit, antenna and other RF path equipment are concealed in one monopole type structure.

All of these four solutions need to address the challenges of site acquisition, power, backhaul and network performance to meet operators’ needs.

What do you think of these small cell approaches? What advice can you give about deploying them in the field?

I will be talking more about them in my presentation at LTE North America on November 21 at 12:15 p.m. titled “So You Want to Go Small? – Practical Considerations for Adding Capacity in a Small Cell Approach.” (Quite a long title for a “small” subject, I know.)

The 3G/LTE Enterprise Opportunity Beyond Basic Coverage and Capacity

This post is by Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO of SpiderCloud

This post is by Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO of SpiderCloud

Small cells and enterprise are hot topics that inspire many well-known industry analysts. One of them, Joe Madden with Mobile Experts with Mobile Experts, sees the implications: “The in-building wireless market is the next frontier. That’s where data traffic happens, and the variety of building types and enterprise types will create a very dynamic market.”

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Are you ready to move to Voice over LTE?

volte6This post is by Catherine Lalanne, Product Manager, The Now Factory

LTE is being deployed all over the world at breakneck speed to cover the vastly increasing demands for data from people and their machines. LTE is primarily being sold as a data technology, but many people still tend to see their smartphone as a voice device first with data capabilities added on. When these oh-so-smart smartphones fall down on the job and have a hard time fulfilling their primary function as a voice phone, it becomes a bit of a joke.

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is designed to enable voice calls over a 4G LTE network, but a strange thing has happened: hardly anywhere in the word is Voice over LTE commercially deployed. Why is that?

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What’s the real upside of real-time BSS?

This post is by Dave Labuda, founder, CEO and CTO, MATRIXX Software

This post is by Dave Labuda, founder, CEO and CTO, MATRIXX Software

We’ve speculated many times that all billing ultimately will move to real time. It makes sense when you consider factors like pre-paid/post-paid convergence; increasing demand for account and spend controls; more on-demand services that utilise real-time triggers and transaction capabilities; and expanding applications for real-time notifications. The shift from traditional billing architectures to any new architecture can be viewed as painful but there is a huge upside to be had moving towards a real-time billing environment.

Mobile data is now driving real-time requirements because of the risks associated with failing to measure, notify, and charge for data services as they are consumed faster and faster. Standards like IMS and 3GPP have also introduced more real-time concepts as policy control, enforcement, and charging become essential to delivering application-based services that respond immediately to taps on a touch screen.

Technical considerations aside, what’s really driving the development of new real-time technologies, however, are the experiences that consumers gain from sectors outside of telecom. If we look at what’s happening in the online, over-the-top, e-commerce, and pay TV environments, we see that the successful players are using communications technology to drive group-oriented social interactions that translate into more revenue and more lasting relationships.

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Carrier aggregation for LTE-Advanced – revealed

This post is by Ashok Kumar, assistant vice president of technology for LTE Advanced carrier aggregation technology at Aricent.

LTE Advanced as a technology offers many new critical features. These include 8X8 MIMO in the downlink direction and 4×4 MIMO in the uplink direction, co-ordinate multi-point operation (COMP), multi-cluster transmission support in the uplink direction, carrier aggregation (CA), support of relay node, enhanced PDCCH channel, and enhanced ICIC.

In practice, some features of any new upcoming technology always get deployed much ahead of the other features, and in my opinion, carrier aggregation is going to be one such feature of LTE Advanced. The rationale behind this is that the demand for data is increasing fast and the realisation of this feature is cost effective. This is because only software upgrade is required on the network side and new user equipment devices supporting this feature.

Now, some of you may be wondering what exactly carrier aggregation is but simply put, CA is a mechanism to increase channel bandwidth, or in other words, achieve higher data rates than standard LTE, as shown in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1

Figure 1

LTE as a technology supports up to 20MHz channel bandwidth, but with CA, the same can be enhanced to 100MHz as five such channels (called component carriers), up to 20 MHz each, can be combined.

To achieve this, CA introduces the concepts of Primary cell (PCell) and Secondary cells (SCell). The CA-capable UE selects a PCell, just like a non-CA capable UE, making this feature fully backward compatible. The SCells are allocated to the CA-capable UE by the RRC layer, after due evaluation that these cells can also serve that particular UE. The activation/deactivation of these SCells is controlled by the MAC layer. The SCells may operate on the same frequency band as the PCell, or on a different Band. There are no changes made to the RLC and PDCP layers, except for the support of larger buffer sizes.

There are three new user equipment (UE) categories (6-8), defined in LTE Advanced, which indicate the support of CA by the UE, while previous UE categories, from 2-5, may also support CA. In LTE Release 10 specifications, the UE only has support for two serving cells (1 PCell + 1 SCell ) operating in the same band . Later LTE Releases add the support for more serving cells.

Aricent will be at available to meet at Booth 1 of the LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Local Breakout – A new challenge for networks

Michel van Veen, IPX business manager for SAP Mobile Services

Michel van Veen, IPX business manager for SAP Mobile Services

Going on holiday this summer? In this post, Michel van Veen, IPX business manager for SAP Mobile Services takes a look at the how Local Breakout and IPX will enable operators to meet the strategic challenges presented when customers roam.

As LTE rollouts gain pace, consumers will have access to new networks and higher data speed. While it will take time for the end-user market to catch-up with the industry’s perceptions, the industry still needs to address certain expectations around LTE.

 

At first glance the roaming advantages dominate the LTE experience. Local Breakout, a mechanism where roaming traffic does not traverse back to the home network and is handled by the local operator, allows for cheaper tariffs and will also bring increased localised revenue. The challenge for the network operators is to understand how and where the placement of Local Breakout can be advantageous for them.

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VoLTE – Why it’s Imperative for LTE

Kaushal Sarasia, Assistant Manager, Marketing for Aricent.

Kaushal Sarasia, Wireless marketing for Aricent.

This post is by Kaushal Sarasia, Assistant Manager, Marketing for Aricent.

While LTE has established itself as the technology of choice to cater to the ever increasing demand for bandwidth one of the key challenges it faces is voice.

Given that LTE is an all IP network, the challenge is to provide seamless continuity for voice and video calls while using packets. The complexity means that operators are choosing to provide voice services via circuit switching by falling back to their legacy networks. This method of Circuit Switch Fall Back (CSFB) however, is rapidly falling out of favour as operators now want to leverage the full benefit of LTE by providing high definition voice/video services over LTE.

VoLTE not only helps operators reduce cost by eliminating the need to maintain legacy networks but also enhances the customer experience by providing distinct advantages such as high definition voice quality, simultaneous voice and data usability for rich service experience and seamless connectivity. The highly portable and scalable core network of LTE is being extensively leveraged by governments and other agencies for deployments in niche areas such as public safety for disaster management; here VoLTE becomes absolutely crucial for enabling vital voice communication during life critical operations. Moreover, VoLTE can help define a single wireless core network for both data and voice thus allowing multimedia communication involving voice, video and data at the same time. This can be leveraged to provide exceptional customer experience and to share critical information during disaster management.

Implementation of VoLTE is a complex undertaking that requires leveraging the IMS network and implementing specific QoS to enable seamless carrying of data and high definition audio/video quality. Its introduction impacts network elements across the spectrum including User Equipment (UE) (IMS Client), RAN (eNodeB), Core (EPC) and IMS Servers. The standards for VoLTE are still evolving and coupled with the complexity of implementing it means that it provides a huge opportunity for equipment manufacturers to introduce differentiation in their VoLTE solution.

An optimal VoLTE solution delivers an enhanced customer experience by providing many distinct benefits such as seamless HD voice/video quality, while enabling operators to reduce infrastructure cost and complexity. It also enables LTE equipment manufacturers to target this highly lucrative market by offering highly differentiated products, thus providing multiple benefits to every stakeholder in the LTE space. VoLTE has thus become an imperative for the success of LTE.

Aricent will be exhibiting at the upcoming LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

The inaugural LTE Voice Summit, dedicated to telecoms voice issues, is taking place on October 1st-2nd at the Hilton Paddington, London. Click here NOW to download a flyer.

LTE Interworking: Is it really necessary?

This post is by Jim Machi, VP Product Management at Dialogic.

This post is by Jim Machi, VP Product Management at Dialogic.

In LTE there are many signaling interworking scenarios to consider. With more than one million Wi-Fi networks, over 1,000 2G networks, over 500 3G networks, over 400 cable networks, even more DSL networks, and 163 live LTE networks, the number of signaling interactions is simply enormous.

A spec called TS 29.305 covers interworking between Diameter and SS7/MAP, which would occur whenever an LTE and 3G/2G network need to interact.  Of course, interworking needs to happen between LTE networks as well, and there are many different Diameter variants are out there. Without universally-endorsed standards, it’s easy to either interpret or implement the spec a little differently.

pic3

Diameter interactions also need to occur outside of 3GPP networks. Interactions with Wi-Fi will need to occur when an LTE-enabled tablet moves into a Wi-Fi area, and the billing and authentication switchover needs to occur seamlessly. When this happens, interworking between Diameter and Radius needs to occur and similar interactions could occur even with cable and DSL networks.

Service providers will need to address all these interactions by adopting solutions that normalise protocols and facilitate any-to-any communications until LTE becomes the dominant network architecture – which is still several years away.

The next Signaling Day, focusing entirely on signaling issues, will be taking place ahead of the LTE Asia conference, taking place at the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

LTE and Beyond: CTOs expect 5G launch and content partnerships in near future

This post is by Francesco Radicati, Research Analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media, He is part of the Europe team, focusing on the key markets of Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, as well as Sweden and Denmark.

This post is by Francesco Radicati, Research Analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media, He is part of the Europe team, focusing on the key markets of Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, as well as Sweden and Denmark.

CTOs of leading mobile operators expect to be promoting a “5G” network within five years, and to be partnering with OTT and content providers even sooner. Speaking at the LTE World Summit in Amsterdam, the CTOs of four top-tier mobile operators discussed the future of LTE networks and beyond, as well as the challenges facing operators as network capacity increases and user demand for data grows. However, while the operators expect to be promoting 5G in the next few years, they were divided on the questions of whether their backhaul networks were ready for 5G, and on whether LTE-Advanced will present a significant boost in user experience compared to LTE.

One of the most interesting points to emerge from the session was that the operators mostly didn’t expect to turn off their 2G networks within the next five years. The CTO of a Tier 1 player from the Middle East was the only panellist who said unequivocally that he expected 2G would be switched off – the others noted that while they would be actively moving customers onto the 3G and 4G networks, the 2G network would still be needed for roaming and voice customers in the long term.LTE-and-Beyond-Table-for-Francesco-smaller

On the subject of partnerships with OTT players and content providers, the panellists agreed that MNOs would have to work with the likes of Google to remain a part of the value chain. However, they had differing opinions on what the best tactics were – one panellist from Malaysia, for example, stressed that for the more mature parts of the business, where customers have had access to mobile networks for a long time, the operators need to partner with content providers. He also noted that customers are increasingly coming to the internet for the first time using mobile products, presenting an opportunity for MNOs to create their own digital brands to distribute content similar to Netflix.

On the other hand, a speaker based in southern Africa questioned whether operators should really be producing content themselves, arguing that it is outside of their expertise. Yet he acknowledged that the content exists and users will access it, regardless of whether doing so takes revenue from operators. The key issue, for him, is the difficulty for smaller operators in negotiating with a company like Google, although he said operators have an opportunity to make deals with newer, smaller OTT players, bringing them into the value chain rather than attempting to compete with them.

Finally, the panellists were divided on whether LTE-Advanced would significantly boost user experience, compared to LTE. A CTO from a Netherlands-based operator questioned what benefits 5G could offer over 4G, beyond faster download and upload speeds. On the other hand, one of his fellow speakers pointed out that traffic will continue to increase, meaning that networks that don’t introduce LTE-A will lose out.

The Race to be the Fastest

This post is by Merav Bahat, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Flash Networks

This post is by Merav Bahat, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Flash Networks

Now that we’ve all recovered from the LTE World Summit, which was both informative and enjoyable (it was in Amsterdam after all), I want to share with you some insights, not from the conference speakers, but from you, the conference attendees. To make the most of our participation at the event, we took a survey among attendees wandering the exhibition hall to find out your perspective on how important speed is, and what your plans are to make your networks faster. We discovered that there’s one thing almost everyone agrees on – speed is everything. In fact, 75 per cent of respondents said speed is the primary factor in choosing an LTE network.

Interestingly, over 50 per cent of the 50 executives surveyed rated their network as “superfast” (20Mbps or more) but, despite this fact, over 60 per cent of respondents believed that their network was still not fast enough. And when we asked what rate of acceleration would make it worth your while to invest in technologies to boost your network’s speed, over 60 per cent of you said you would be satisfied with as little as 20 per cent acceleration. At Flash Networks, we find this especially interesting as our TCP-4TE LTE acceleration solution boosts network speed by up to 50 per cent, and sometimes even more, without any investment in additional network infrastructure – far exceeding your expectations.

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In addition, over 60 per cent of you indicated that you plan to implement technology to speed up your network within the next two years. These findings are consistent with a Computerworld  survey published last week, reporting that all four of the largest U.S. wireless carriers are planning to invest in LTE Advanced in order to boost speeds even further. This is not surprising, as most operators are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep raising the bar on quality of experience for their subscribers and win the race to be the fastest.

Finally, we asked participants what they think are the main challenges of LTE networks. Two of the top three answers were related to profitability (low ARPU and low ROI). So, while accelerating the network is certainly one of the best ways to differentiate your LTE network from your competitors, especially if it comes with a relatively low price tag in terms of network investment, by itself it’s not enough. Operators also need tools to monetise the mobile Internet experience.

For more information on how Flash Networks plans to tackle that issue, and how we can help you become the fastest network in your region, please visit our website or blog.

The Big Gear You Are Missing in the Big Data Conundrum: Real-Time Intelligence

Broken Machine - One Gear Falls OutLadies and gentlemen, its time to revamp your engines!

Are your traditional tools hindering your ability to grow in the telecom industry?

Ask yourself this, are your vendors meeting your criteria with the evolving needs of this Big Data world?

There are solutions out there that are already addressing the pains associated with Big Data. We believe you need to demand, embrace, and seek this new innovation! Don’t fall victim to being stuck in the now, focus on the new paradigm and future of the telecom industry.

Big Data in telecom should not be a nightmare. It’s an opportunity! For any type of industry, the need for growth and evolution is embraced and expected.  Learn how you can embrace a new paradigm and gear up to capture and manage this new, real-time opportunity.

The Race is On

It is universally understood that the nature of the mobile world today is far unsurpassed than what anyone had originally anticipated. Smart devices are released, revamped, and released again all while the OTT providers are quietly and quickly entering the market with their fast attention, adoption, market share, agility, customer focus, and degree of innovation; Smart devices are a vital part of daily life.

With rapid growth, comes a bottleneck situation, which we all know as the Big Data problem. Issues have risen such as: declining revenues, increasing churn, customer dissatisfaction, and a need for future consolidation.

If you sit back and wait, the evolving technologies will surpass you, and there will be no opportunity for a comeback. Room for improvement lies within increased innovation and customer experience all while drastically reducing the cost.

Stuck in Neutral

The leading CSPs have already realised what lies ahead and have begun investing in and adapting to the growing technology of LTE, SON, SDN, CEM, policy management, and more. These enabling technologies will unquestionably deliver significant benefits and facilitate a whole new set of opportunities. LTE in particular has a major discontinuity and a departure from the traditional way of doing things. LTE drives telecom to merge with IT and as a result, IT principles start to be applied to telecom.

Truth be told, CSPs have at best, barely scratched the surface of the full potential of these enabling technologies. The question is ‘why’. What impedes this? The vast majority recognise the challenge, but steer towards business as usual because vendors are not providing alternative paths.

Real-Time Intelligence is Key

There needs to be a fundamental shift of the current culture of CSPs.  We believe that CSPs need to develop the ability to gain access to actionable insights in true real-time, at a much lower cost, more easily, and in a way that leverages the broad variety and increasing amount of continuously-changing data that they have available.

As L. Gordon Crovitz said in a recent Wall Street Journal article in reference to Big Data, “society will need to shed some of its obsessions for causality in exchange for simple correlation: not knowing why but only what.” In other words, it’s less about explaining the science behind the observed data, it’s about quickly identifying patterns and events that, statistically, are significantly relevant.

To combat the Big Data issue, having both the “why” and the “what” is necessary in order to quickly adapt to and benefit from the innovation and convergence of LTE, SDN, SON, and policy management.

In this new, real-time Big Data world, intelligence becomes history within seconds and history is practically irrelevant. The ability to “see” and “understand” what happens “now” becomes paramount.

Revamp the Engines

There are vendors, such as Trendium, that are ready to enable the transformation of these new innovations for CSPs. Together, we have the potential to create scalable, efficient, real time intelligence for Customer Experience Assurance and Asset Monetisation.

When making your decision to select your future real-time intelligence partners and solutions, ask yourself, do they meet the criteria for:

–          cost

–          real-time analysis capabilities and in-memory computing

–          scalability and distributed computing

–          ability to deal with structured and unstructured data

–          ability to deal with large variety of data

–          proven ability to integrate data from existing and third-party sources

–          ability to quickly adapt to changing data structures

–          ability and willingness to feed real-time intelligence to third-party applications

–          advanced root-cause analysis capabilities

–          visualisation effectiveness and flexibility

CSPs that have, rightfully so, identified customer experience assurance and asset monetisation as their top priorities, need to know that in this new Big Data world it is possible, financially and technically, to gain real-time access to actionable intelligence and insights about network, services, and customers, in a way that is scalable, improves productivity, and with a fraction of the complexity, footprint, and cost of traditional solutions.

Trendium are sponsors of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event

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