Guest Speaker Presentation by Nan Chen, President, MEF – A Vision for Networking
The second day of the event opened with Chen presenting his vision for networking. His core theme was around the ability of the public service telephone network to offer the highest levels of reliability and service and fast interconnection, anywhere on the globe.
“You can always reach someone, no matter how many carriers are in the way,” he said. The quality of service is guaranteed though by limiting the number of users.”
In contrast, he said, today’s Internet technologies cannot come close to that, instead being non-deterministic and often slow to connect.
“The problem is there’s no guarantee of service,” he said. “We still use it for business communications and video etc but I pray that Webex will work every time, and often it doesn’t.”
So what we need, said Chen, is a third network combining the benefits of both the PSTN, with its fabled reliability, ubiquity and quality of service, and Ethernet networks, whose fast packet-based transport increasingly underpins global data traffic.
Chen said that the MEF is working to build that third network, using a number of building blocks to make what the MEF calls Carrier Ethernet 2.0 or CE2.0. The first is multi-CoS – multiple class of service – which standardises CoS so that each application experiences standardised delay and packet loss parameters, and enables availability when interconnecting across carriers.
“CE2.0 also has standard Ethernet management and interconnections between carriers, and simulates what the PSTN has done for years,” he said. “We hope to have a control plane just as good.”
When it becomes reality, Chen said CE2.0 would enable:
- Wholesale services – essential for inter-carrier connections
- Mobile backhaul – which needs interconnects and manageability
- Cloud computing – business class between datacentres
- Software-defined networking – this is just another service, but it helps to make Ethernet more dynamic
Chen said the wireline operators could make a lot of money out of this idea by selling guaranteed quality of service.
“Why do you have to go through slow Internet at home after work?” he said. “Wouldn’t be great if I can get guaranteed connectivity at home? I would pay for that, either per hour or per connection.”
He was joined on-stage by Manek Dubash, Editorial Director of NetEvents, for a quick-fire Q&A session.
Debate IV – Quick Fire Hot Seat
Chaired by Manek Dubash, Editorial Director of NetEvents, this debate session saw four vendors pitching their products or services for 10 minutes, followed by a question and answer session with both Dubash on stage, and members of the audience.
Topics were vendor-chosen:
“The network that knows you” – Shezhad Merchant, VP of Technology, Extreme Networks.
Merchant argued that the network needs to be aware of the identity of all users, machines and applications if it is to help to secure the enterprise.
Dubash questioned whether he was in danger of over-complicating the network and de-skilling valuable professionals, as well as removing privacy from individuals. A vote of the audience as to whether Merchant had convinced them was inconclusive.
“The Next Killer App” – Mike Banic, VP Global Marketing, Networking, HP Networking.
Banic argued that human middleware slows application deployment, and that the answer is to automate network configuration and deployment using Virtual Application Networks, an HP product.
Dubash questioned whether this was a proprietary technology, whether it could handle apps whose licensing requirements are complex and can be costly and – again – whether this would de-skill the datacentre. A vote of the audience as to whether Banic had convinced them was positive.
“The growth of bandwidth” – Claude Sassoulas, Managing Director for the Europe and Africa Region, Tata Communication Services.
Sassoulas presented the company’s global network ring around the globe which has, he argued, much more bandwidth than currently needed, in spite of exponential growth in data volumes. He said that the Tata network lowered latency, and provided quality of service and Ethernet services, as shown by its use by the Formula One racing organisation.
Dubash questioned whether it was democratic and reached everyone, and whether it could be robust in the face of a number of outages due to cable breakages. A vote of the audience as to whether Sassoulas had convinced them was positive.
“Harnessing the power of the global platform” – David Howorth, Area Vice President Global Services – EMEA, Verizon
Howorth argued that Verizon, though not a well-known consumer brand in EMEA, was strong in the enterprise market for cloud services. He said the company allows enterprises to get more value from their businesses, and be more flexible and agile. He said the company’s application platform, exposed through APIs, was robust and allowed customers to build and consume services securely with use-based billing, dynamic bandwidth, and route prioritisation.
Dubash questioned whether Verizon had anything to offer the vast majority of organisations, namely SMEs, whether Verizon complied with cloud standards, and how customers could retrieve their data easily. He also asked if Verizon’s SLAs were comprehensible by ordinary people. After questions, a vote of the audience as to whether Howorth had convinced them was positive.
Guest speaker presentation by José Luis Rocha Sousa, CIO, IBMC – Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular: Adapting in an ocean of complexity – the challenge for tomorrow’s IT systems
Sousa said research showed that one-third of CIOs said that they weren’t aligned with their organisation’s business objectives, and seven percent said the IT department and the organisation’s objectives were completely separate.
Sousa said the big issues of the day are the data tsunami, big data, and BYOD, and to resolve these issues, you need lots of components to make IT systems work. You also need integration, redundancy, variety, and learning, and that all these need to come together to achieve your goals. To do that you need systems design and the right information – data that produces value.
He drew a parallel with biology, including the human body, where organisms adapt to changing circumstances.
“What we want is predictive fitness,” he said. “We need to ask what components are needed to change environmental regularity. In IT, we have users, technology components and we combine them into solutions.”
He said IT managers need to build models of their data and ensure that their organisations mapped onto them.
Debate V – Rock Not Sand – Laying a Foundation for 4G Networks
Emeka Obiodu, Principal Analyst, Telco Strategy Practice, Ovum
Panellists: Ian Keene, Vice President, Gartner; Carsten Rossenhoevel, Managing Director Research & Development, EANTC AG; Nan Chen, President, MEF
Obiodu predicted that LTE will have one billion connections by 2017. “It is picking up,” he said, adding that it has beaten the competition, for example WiMax.
But, he asked the panel, is LTE worth it?
Keene said that some operators have gone for LTE. “Whether they do depends on the competitive landscape, the state of their networks, and their budget for building new networks.”
He noted that LTE offered less delay, lower jitter but that voice is still a problem. “There’s still plenty of life in 3G and HSPA,” he said. “However, the landscape has changed. Do mobile operators have a right to own the customer? I’m not so sure that’s true any more. That’s down to the cellular operator’s greed.
“We started with 2G and added data. So then WiFi came along and people started using hotspots. 3G came out and some used them in preference, then Apple brought out the iPhone and filled the networks. The operators’ response was to offload to WiFi hotspots, and that way they have lost control of the customer. 4G is a way of getting it back.”
Chen said that 4G is being deployed now in the USA by Verizon and AT&T among others. “The coverage is good,” he said, “as operators want to catch up and leapfrog the rest of the world, as they were behind on 3G.”
Rossenhoevel said: “We have started testing 4G equipment but LTE is now in Gartner’s trough of disillusionment. There’s still lots of work to do but in 10 years there will still be lots of 2G for machine-to-machine communications, but 3G will fade away.”
Obiodu asked who will pay for LTE and how carriers will make money.
Chen said that Verizon’s plan is to use voice and data to attract customers from AT&T because they have lowest churn (1.1%) as a result of their reliable network. “There is enough money to pay for it,” he said.
Rossenhoevel said that new technology is an opportunity for new operators as they try to avoid commoditisation. “They are trying to be creative with their price plans, such as removing Facebook usage from counting against your data allowance.
Keene said that there were few cases where the mobile operators have not made money.
Chen said that mobile backhaul is a key piece of the equation. “You need $1.5bn/year for the 40,000-60,000 cell sites in the USA,” he said. “This is where you need to use Carrier Ethernet and multiple classes of service.”
Obiodu said that LTE will help operators to optimise their processes but will banks lend the money to build systems required for LTE deployment? And why would they do that rather than use alternative like smaller cells or WiFi?
Chen said that the operators face competitive pressure so they have no choice. “They also want to provide a complete service,” he said. “4G is here to stay.”
Rossenhoevel said that small cell technology is independent of cellular but 3G is inferior so you have deploy small cells anyway. “LTE is a more efficient way to use the spectrum,” he said.
Keene said: “Frequency re-use is easier with LTE and that’s how the mobile market is going. But many operators struggle to cover the costs of backhauling lots of small cells. If you’re already using frequency for 3G, you have no choice – but if you have empty spectrum you can do that, so it’s country-dependent.”
Following audience questions, there followed discussion about whether LTE was truly 4G, and whether operators were likely to consolidate.
Keene said that carriers will go to 4G to get out of their 3G partnerships which can reduce their competitive edge. “Joint ownership is just one business model,” he said.
Rossenhoevel said: “In Germany, LTE is a technology race about the best network and the best engineers.”
Debate VI – A Rocking Round-up: Analysts look back over two days of solutions and propose disruptive innovations to rock the industry… and future NetEvents
Panellists: Keith Humphreys, Managing Consultant, euroLAN; Research; Ian Keene, Vice President, Gartner; Emir Halilovic, Program Manager, Networking and Infrastructure EMEA, IDC; Pim Bilderbeek, Analyst, The METIS Files
In the final session, chaired by NetEvents Editorial Director Manek Dubash, the analysts discussed the key take-aways from the event, and what topics would be hot in future.
All agreed that software-defined networking was by far the hottest topic of the event.