MEF Partnership, SDN a Panacea – Not!, CE Ascension, Et Tu Neutrality? & Industry Rumblings with a Dash of History!

Carrier Ethernet  Group: Weekly Round-Up: 08/03/2014


This was a momentous week, with so much happening in the Group and the industry that I needed to create an entire blog post to cover it all! (I exhausted LinkedIn’s 4,000 char limit in no time!) Here’s your chance to catch-up on it all, so you don’t feel left out of the action as comments on these discussions whiz by over the next week or two.

Thanks Contributors – Old and New – For Outstanding Content

We had 14 contributors (many of them for the first time or close to it!) to the Group. Thank you Roy Chua, Ian Hood, Gint Atkinson, Zia Askari, Ty Estes for opening your innings, and thank you long-time members Ray Sharma, Craig Matsumoto (SDN Central), Ray Le Maistre (LightReading), Lauren Menzies, Paolo Volpato, Bo Gowan, Chris Whiteside, Patrick Lopez, and yours truly 🙂 for posting on 18+ diverse topics (more on these in a minute) – providing the Group excellent content on critical goings-on in our industry. Proud to say that we ended the month of July with 69 discussions and 154 comments, a testimony to the increasing engagement in our Group.

And we had comments from many contributors, notably Michael Howard of Infonetics Research and John D’Ambrosia of Dell.

MEF Partnership Advances …

Daniel Bar-Lev, MEF's Director of Certification/Strategic Program's Presenting the CE Group Partnership Ideas @ MEF's Marketing Committee Meeting, Santa Clara, California. July 29, 2014

We concluded a very successful session in the Marketing Committee track at the MEF Santa Clara meeting, where Daniel Bar-LevMEF’s Director of Certification/Strategic Programs, presented some ideas about collaboration between the Group and the MEF (along the lines of what was announced here These were very well received, with positive support expressed by the likes of Ralph Santitoro (who many of you know as a familiar leader in the industry, and author of Fujitsu’s outstanding MEF CECP Study Guide, and one of the three Co-Chairs of the MEF Marketing Committee), Mark Durrett (also known to many in the Group for his contributions here and presentations at multiple industry events, and as the Co-Chair of the MEF Marketing Committee), and Stan Hubbard (known to many for his sharp insights during his tenure at Heavy Reading, and now Director, Communications & Research at the MEF).

During my brief presentation, outlining the philosophy and purpose behind our Group, I provided some statistics and mentioned that we have 7,850 members to which Matthew Duckworth of Verizon (Co-Chair of the MEF Marketing Committee) remarked that we now had 7,851, since he had just signed up! 🙂 More details will be forthcoming subsequently, but we’re off to a great start! Thanks to all of you for making the Group a great venue for industry discussions; looking forward to your continued participation and ideas …

SDN – A Panacea for Operators’ Network Control Ills? – Not! …

SDN was at the forefront again, with the Infonetics’ survey of the enterprises’ use or planned deployment of SDN, and some clarifications provided by Michael Howard himself to Phil Griston and my questions on where the 87% number for enterprises planning deployments by 2016 came from (thanks Michael!).

Gint Atkinson, VP Network Strategy & Architecture at KVH, announced that his team at KVH had launched an SDN and NFV-based private cloud (congrats Gint and team!)  but also commented on a Telecom Net Asia panel that operators who thought that SDN  might be a cure for their operational ills were in for some rude surprises!  I’ve asked Gint some questions by way of clarification and am awaiting his response.  You might want to read his piece and pose your own questions in the meantime. It’s a rare privilege to dialog directly with folks at the forefront of SDN & NFV deployment, and one that I wouldn’t waste if I were you! (Note to all the folks out there who wish to learn about SDN “from scratch” – one of the best ways to learn is by studying real-life examples and learning from the pioneers …)

… But Application-Centric Approaches and Virtual Switch Performance Bring Hope!

All this notwithstanding, Ian Hood posted a very nice presentation on emerging industry trends to make networks more agile and application-centric, something everyone’s been talking about with still some ways to go for sure 🙂 With a focus on service provider architecture, it would be good to get the Group’s views on what Ian’s saying (focus on the essence of the presentation and ignore the Cisco-centric material, if you’re squeamish about the obligatory vendor-specifics :-)).

Roy Chua meanwhile posted an interesting article by Charlie Ashton discussing how improving a virtual switch’s performance helps operator OPEX – definitely worth a read for its ideas Charlie shows, for example, how increasing the number of VMs per blade by a factor of 6.7 (possible with multi-core devices) allows one to serve the same number of customers (in terms of peak packet processing rates) with just 15% as many blades as required using a standard OVS (Open vSwitch) approach. Check the article for an excellent illustration

Carrier Ethernet Blazing Ahead – Says Michael Howard of Infonetics Research

Bo Gowan posted Carrier Ethernet News’s “Take 5 With Michael Howard” where we learnt that $38.5 Billion of the $62.6 Billion in IP/MPLS VPN and Ethernet services revenue in 2013 came from Ethernet (or nearly 2/3rd  of the total!), which is outpacing IP/MPLS VPNs.  Wholesale and retail Ethernet services are growing at about the same rate, but retail accounts for about 80% of services sold today. Michael also forecast a 3X growth in 10G and 100G services over the next 5 years, and, surprisingly, said that it is basic networking services (and not cloud services, not just yet anyway) that are fueling this growth. For more details check out Bo’s post and do share your views about the conclusions.

Zia Askari commented on how enterprises in India are riding high on Carrier Ethernet for their needs, not altogether surprising given global trends, while Bo also posted an article on 10 factors driving metro Ethernet growth – high-resolution video, need for energy efficiency, proliferation of cloud services (and corresponding data center interconnect) among them. Craig Matsumoto (SDN Central) wrote about the Cloud Ethenet Forum’s (CEF) DevOps approach to standardizing cloud services with the CEF’s and the MEF’s OpenCloud Project designed to provide a test-bed for it’s standard..

Where Art Thou Net Neutrality?

The recent agreements between Netflix and AT&T for paid, high-priority transit, and announcements by Verizon to throttle heavy-duty mobile data users brought to question the very notion of net neutrality, and whether the final nail in the coffin of uniform, unfettered access (which allows small but innovative application providers the same access to users as a giant like Netflix, and thus keeps the innovation cycle humming)

Maybe one can understand this in the light of John Hawkins’ post from Fierce Telecom where subscribers for cable broadband and video services stood at about 50 Million each, but with broadband subs slated to overtake the video subs by next year, as people move to the likes of Netflix, thus bringing us full circle to Netflix’s move to improve it’s service delivery via the AT&Ts and VZ’s of the world.

What do you think folks – is this a good thing or bad? Or, are you neutral to it all and couldn’t care less? I know folks that are extremely passionate about preserving the user’s ability to get equal access to content, so let’s hear your views too!

Industry News: Acquisitions, IPO’s, and Operator Takeovers

Ray Le Maistre of LightReading, shared the news about AlcaLu contemplating the IPO of its submarine business, while both Ray and Craig shared the news of Cavium’s acquisition of Xpliant thereby jumping on to the SDN bandwagon, and encroaching onto Broadcom’s turf!

Would love to hear the views of the Group on it – especially, those in the chip/semi-conductor segments – what do you think guys: is the battle for SDN pervading the chip space? How will it play out?

Robert Clark of LR reports that the Asian carriers Pacnet and Reliance Globalcomm, both looking for funds, are set to be bought by Citic Telecom International Holdings Ltd. (CTI) a unit of the Chinese government, making for some uneasiness in the region. Read Ray’s post for the full details

The Wireless Universe – Data for Revenue? … LTE-A Microwave Backhaul Tricks

Of course, no update is complete without word from the mobile world. And, today, we have two very interesting ideas: Ray Sharma posted an article talking of how the Indian operators plan to use data to gain revenues. With 815 mobile connections in 2014 (12% of the world’s total), but with revenues stagnating at US$19.2 Billion.  With the changing wave of data consumption on the go by throngs of young Indian consumers (music, videos, education), the Indian operators will, hopefully, attempt to capitalize on data delivery to prevent the OTT’s from eating their idlis! (FYI, an “idli” is a delicious, South-Indian, rice dumpling of sorts, eaten with savory “sambhar” and coconut “chutney” and is an eternal favorite throughout India no matter which part of the country one is from!)

My friend Paolo Volpato brought up a key question asking whether microwave backhaul would suffice for needs of LTE-Advanced With 300 Mb/s downlink and 100 Mb/s uplink speeds with LTE-A Category 6, backhaul networks are sure to be stretched. Thus, techniques such as cross-polarization interference cancellation (XPIC), adaptive H-QAM, advanced packet compression, multiple channel bonding, and ITU-T G8032v2 based networking would be needed to handle LTE-A RAN capabilities. With a combination of techniques, it is possible (see article) to increase capacity to 650 Mb/s, with 40% coming from packet compression, 25% coming from 1024 QAM adaptive modulation, and XPIC with 2+0 doubling throughput. Even this falls short of the 950 Mb/s macro cell backhaul capacity projected for 2017, but Paolo’s article provides some interesting solutions to reach that number.

Goings On …Webinars and Videos for Learning …

Ty Estes posted about an upcoming webinar (Aug. 6th Wednesday) discussing how to expand fiber access network capacity using CWDM, a key issue in bandwidth constrained regions (thanks Ty!), while Lauren Menzies posted links to videos from the recent IoT World 2014 in Palo Alto  a great way to catch up on some of the key thinking from the industry luminaries working on this exciting areas (thanks Lauren!).

Finally, a Bit of Tech History – Fairchild’s $1 Trillion Impact and the Demise of TCP/IP??

I pointed the Group to two intriguing articles. The first postulating that the companies that the rebellious 8 formed back in the ‘57: Fairchild Semiconductor, was responsible for an over  US$1 Trillion impact on the industry through the companies it spawned(Intel, AMD, LSI Logic, and National Semiconductor to name but a few) annlCRjN and the second a radical view proposing that TCP/IP is nearly dead, which many of you did not agree with and found rather untenable

Would love to hear your views on all of these, and remember you don’t learn if you don’t ask, and you can’t benefit if you don’t participate! So, do not be coy, be bold, be vocal  — and as Captain James T. Kirk of the Federation Starship Enterprise would say “Engage!”.

Until next time, may be bits in your byte and the bytes in your packets be profitable!


Dr. Vishal Sharma

Group Owner & Moderator, Carrier Ethernet@LinkedIn