Change in the way we work has never moved at a steady pace. As with life itself, evolution in business can happen very fast, but only if the conditions are right. Often this is at the moment when key technologies mature, such as with personal computing in the early 1980s, the Internet in the mid 1990s and mobile devices in the late 2000s. Over a few years, these developments triggered more change in the way businesses operate than had been seen in previous decades.
Now we are in the midst of another leap forward with the maturing of collaborative and converged systems creating the much acclaimed “cloud.” Like PCs, web and mobiles, the cloud fundamentally changes the way people and systems co-operate and communicate. The trigger for this is the falling price of bandwidth on the local area network and wide area network, coupled with the growing availability of storage capacity and access systems. These technologies break down the barriers between the device and the Internet, enabling the sharing not only of data but also applications, conversations and video.
Last year, the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) created an aggressive new strategic plan that would be challenging to implement for any organization. It would even be difficult for an organization that delivers services across the globe and has to collaborate with multiple government agencies.
If you are not familiar with what DISA does, its function is to deliver foundational infrastructure and communication transport services for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). In the corporate world, that typically means delivering voice and data to an office of workers. That’s much different for DISA. The agency must bring a myriad of data, voice, wireless and video capabilities to the tactical edge. In laymen’s terms, that means bringing communications to the battlefield.
Have you ever been to a restaurant that uses a digital menu instead of a printed version? Have you ever tried to order food through a mobile app, such as WeChat? If you have never heard of these applications, you may be a bit behind the times. Today, restaurants in many Chinese cities provide services like these and the benefits are obvious: cost savings by not printing the menu and employee workload reduction.
However, these services are based on a premise that everyone has a smartphone, or at least the majority of customers understand how to access the Internet through mobile devices. Five years ago, this might have seemed impossible. But now the “impossible” has become the reality.
As technology advances, so does the need for increased bandwidth to support streaming video, online gaming and smartphone apps. This list can go on and on. These amazing technological advancements are now driving cable operators to make major changes to their architectures. While their current architectures may be different, they all have one constant theme—push fiber deeper.
Whether it is being done with node splits or fiber-to-the-premise, the common challenge is managing construction costs. I know it is simple to say that, but it can be complex. The cost of building and/or reconstructing a network is what creates the biggest challenge. As construction costs continue to rise, this is driving brainstorming throughout the industry. Operators are challenged to not only answer today’s needs, but also to plan for future needs. One known fact is that bandwidth demands will continue to grow exponentially.
While I traveled this past holiday to spend time with
family, I found myself thinking about how often I rely on the mapping apps on
my mobile device. Some of the information I try to determine can include: the
best route to take, how to navigate around high traffic areas and what time
will we actually arrive. These are important bits of information I need so I
will not be late for dinner.
If you take a close look at automated
infrastructure management (AIM) systems, such as CommScope’s imVision,
it can provide the same type of
information with regards to directions
for your data center and your building’s physical network.
When I’m shopping on line I first like to research what I plan to buy. That’s what many people do when they come to www.commscope.com
. One of the most frequent questions people ask about our website and the Product Catalog
is “How do I create a custom product catalog?”
This can be done easily using our “My Projects”
feature on the website.
A recent news story reminded me about the never ending battle between humans and nature that a colleague wrote about in an earlier blog. Last November, USA Today reported that a power outage in Silicon Valley resulted in 2,000 customers going without power for two hours. So, what caused of the outage? It was a squirrel who unfortunately was electrocuted on the power lines, no doubt traveling out on the cable to chew on the jacket. That article cited a 2012 survey identifying 50 instances of squirrels causing damage to power lines in 24 states. In one case, 10,000 people lost power.
Communications cables are just as susceptible as power cables to squirrel damage. In an article written by Fred Lawler of Level 3 Communications, squirrels were given credit for causing 17 percent of the outages companies experienced in 2011. The bottom line is that these furry critters are fun to watch in the park; however, they wreck havoc with aerial cables. When a plant consisting of fiber optic cable carrying high capacity data, voice and video traffic goes down, the consequences to the operator in lost service revenue and operating cost can be tremendous—all because of a squirrel.
technology is always in a state of fast development, and the continuous
advancement of technology pushes constant disruptions of industry and business
models, thereby leading to an impact on society.
In the information
technology industry, there is a fresh vitality bringing new challenges that
come along with it. CommScope is at the forefront of these changes while
constantly working to best meet our customers’ needs. In order to survive in
the market, enterprise-grade information and communications technology (ICT) providers
must also possess key attributes of Internet
Thinking: equality, openness and interactivity.
Wireless network operators are under increasing pressure to provide more capacity, coverage and quality without increasing end user price. The key to success in 2015 is efficiency. I expect operators will continue to modernize their networks and upgrade to LTE while discussing more efficient future architectures. They will further increase capacity in their networks through cell splitting, the creation of a metro layer and continued focus on deploying the indoor coverage layer. Where there is quality, there is capacity. Here’s a summary of the key trends and big issues I anticipate operators will be facing in 2015:
1) Network Modernization Continues to Be Critical
LTE is the latest evolution of commercial cellular systems and boasts the greatest spectral efficiency yet. Efficiency improvements, however, are not limited to spectrum, but also to the ecosystem as a whole. To service customers with more data for the same price, each and every portion of the infrastructure
will be evaluated, negotiated, calculated and optimized—from the core
network to the remote towers at the end of the radio access network
(RAN), from power consumption to the amount of space used at a cell site
and the time it takes to acquire a site. When operators modernize their networks, they look to do so across all aspects of their ecosystem.
It’s hard to fathom that 2015 is already upon us, but what many
people do not realize is that it also signals the midway point of the decade. That’s
right, 2015 will mean that we are going to be as close to 2020 as we are to
2010. We’re closing in on the mid-point of the decade, but are we as an
industry any closer to comfortably handling the continuing “data deluge” that I
about a year ago?
It depends! Progress
has certainly been made on many fronts, and some organizations are in much
better shape than others in addressing bandwidth and network intelligence
requirements. However, I don’t have to
tell you that the pace of industry and technology change is unrelenting, and
will require a high level of agility and speed just to keep up.