Today’s Telecom: Beyond Tin Can Telephones

shutterstock_225564307Welcome to 2016 – another year has flown by!  This will be my 40th year involved in some aspect of telecom (I’m not that old, I just worked through high school and college). Every year, we’re surprised at what new technology arrives in our space and the applications that are developed. It’s been quite a ride from the early days of working on mainframes, to the unbelievable computing power of today’s mobile world. A mobile world full of cellular devices, which without the bandwidth, are essentially as good as the two cans and one string approach.

What continues to astound us is our undying thirst for bandwidth. For something different this year, I decided to enjoy New Years in Las Vegas, which is quite an experience. While attending two performances, I was astounded by the proliferation of mobile devices in the theatres. Although no surprise that everyone, no matter their age, owns at least one mobile device, the interesting thing for me was what they were doing on those devices.  There were constant videos and pictures being taken and shared via Twitter, Vine, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram – just to name a few of the social media apps. For the new generation, as well as the old, this social sharing thing has become the norm. Read more of this post

Consolidation & Restriction of the Fiber Industry

AuctioneerAuctions have always fascinated me – not the bidding process or the organizational structure behind an auction persay, but more the auctioneers themselves.  Being from the Northeast, I naturally talk fast but I don’t hold a candle to auctioneers!  Spitting out numbers rapid fire while keeping up with the current bid and any new bids at the same time is astounding. Now everyone might be wondering, “How in the world is an auctioneer metaphor relevant to the topic of the consolidation and restriction of the fiber industry?”  In fact, the two correlate very well, just backwards.  What if an auctioneer allowed the participants to name their own price until they arrived at an agreement, or bargain at will for 2-for-1 deals, instead of climbing the price ladder?  That seems to be the new model of the fiber industry over the past few years.

About five years ago, there were multiple fiber network providers in the consideration set of our customers. Now there are but a finite number which seems to be shrinking with each passing year.  Through multiple mergers and acquisitions, larger conglomerates have overtaken many small, privatized fiber companies.  Consolidation has had several key impacts on the industry, some of which include pricing, route restriction, and product fluctuation. Read more of this post

Dark Fiber – Is the “Dark Side” the Right Side?

Dark Fiber - Dark SideAs Darth Vader continues his quest to strengthen “the dark side,” many Mobile Network Operators (MNO’s) have followed suit. MNO’s who previously viewed dark fiber as “the dark side,” are now seeing the force may be strongly in favor of dark fiber. If the demand fits, and fiber infrastructure providers can supply the required networks, then a dark fiber WAN may be preferable over carrier-based managed services.

With astronomical increases in consumer wireless demand (some 2.7 Exabytes projected by 20181), we are living in the evolution of the Wireless Carriers’ LTE 4G and beyond. In order to support this latest network technology, Mobile Network Operators have mostly moved away from copper wire DS1’s (otherwise known as T1’s) and upgraded their network infrastructures to fiber based solutions, ranging from 20Mbps to 100Gbps Ethernet bandwidth service levels for FTTT (Fiber To The Tower) and FTTC (Fiber To The Cell) operations. These types of Ethernet services, managed by the fiber infrastructure providers, are still dominant for MNO’s, while others have moved in the direction of dark fiber. Read more of this post

Private Fiber: The Cadillac of Network Solutions

Cadillac_Network_SolutionsWith a culture set in the ideals of over-achievement, we as a population are always pushing the boundaries towards the biggest and the best. Whether it is priority boarding on a business flight, the latest sports car model or eating at the hottest new bistro downtown, we desire only the best. So, why should our businesses and, in turn our network infrastructure, be any different? Cue, private fiber network solutions.

Private fiber network solutions, as compared with traditional public network services like those offered by the LEC or Cable Provider, utilize dedicated fiber infrastructure to provide a unique service devoted to each individual customer. Consider the following two examples: Read more of this post

The ABC’s of the E-Rate Modernization Order

ABCsofErateThe world of E-Rate regulations is ever-changing. Although the latest modernization order dates back to December 2014, the implications and processes being put in place are just coming to fruition in the months ahead.

First, the Program Funding Cap has been increased from $2.4 Billion to $3.9 Billion. This was one of the major changes sought positively by all parties. There was an increase to the USF contribution amount, however that was estimated to be about 3 cents per “rate user”; a loosely defined term since both residential and businesses pay into the USF.

Next in the adjustments, is a more streamlined view of eligible services. Eligible services have been redefined to limit funding use for services that provide for the “access” to advanced telecommunications and the Internet. This effort also allowed for the complete removal of school’s Technology Plans. Schools still have the flexibility of provisioning their networks as per their guidance and needs, but the funding for telecommunication services is now limited to those that directly “bring” those services to the students and staff. Read more of this post