Tags: telecom*

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  1. Look at some of the key themes at MWC this year…. 5G for example. Many people see it as just another iteration in the 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G where what matters is the additional bandwidth for the end user. But behind the scenes a drastic redesign of the telco mobile network is underway where fixed function networking equipment laid out in a static / predefined architecture is being replaced by mini-data centres of generic servers whose function is responsive to the needs of the network. 5G is really about the software-defined telco network.

    Another key theme is IoT (Internet of Things). Many believe M2M (the ancestor of IoT) has been part of MWC since times immemorial, so why make a fuss about it all of a sudden? Once again the answer is software. M2M was simple with unidirectional exchanges of data, reflecting the simple nature of the software being run on M2M devices – images were sent down to a digital signage box and telemetry data was sent from an industrial gateway to a monitoring server. But today things are very different. The software run by all these devices has evolved drastically which has changed the very simple nature of these exchanges. For example, as well as displaying advertisements, a digital signage screen might be count the people that pass it or act as a wifi hotspot. IoT is reall about software-defined smart devices.

    Autonomous cars, another big theme this year, is yet another example of the software-defined nature of things to come.
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  2. why use your own microwave network?

    The first reason is somewhat obvious; if you have your own network connection, it's usually easier to guarantee things like security, quality of service, bandwidth, and other factors that businesses value highly.

    The second reason, as we've already alluded to, is that microwave networks—somewhat surprisingly—can have lower latency than fibre. With some advanced networks, that latency is only a few microseconds slower than the speed of light. Fibre can be pretty quick over short stretches, but it soon starts lagging over longer distances, such as between two stock exchanges or a multinational's offices.

    Fibre networks are hamstrung by the intertwining forces of money and geography. Laying a fibre network is incredibly expensive: you have to dig a trench that's hundreds (or thousands) of miles long, or lease access to ducts that have already been laid by infrastructure companies such as BT Openreach. You also have to respect the geography of the land; when faced with a mountain or river, do you go straight across at great expense, or do you make a diversion to the nearest bridge or tunnel? Combine these two factors and you'll understand why most of the world's terrestrial fibre networks slink alongside existing roads and railways—it's just the most sensible option.

    Every time a network architect makes one of these sensible decisions, there's a small increase to the end-to-end latency. Add them up, and you end up with a few extra milliseconds—which is when the low-latency microwave networks swoop in to pick up some business.
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  3. These investments, which give these companies dedicated capacity on these undersea cables, represent a big shift in how these cables are built and managed. Earlier this year, Jonathan Hjembo, a senior analyst at Telegeography, told us that private networks now account for about 60 percent of the capacity of trans-Atlantic traffic.
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  4. I fatti: il 16 maggio scorso, la multinazionale svedese Ericsson Telecomunicazioni indica, sul piano industriale, la necessità di adeguamento degli organici. 385 esuberi sul territorio nazionale, cifre che purtroppo si aggiungono a quelle degli anni precedenti per un totale di 13 procedure di licenziamento collettivo dal 2007 ad oggi. I siti maggiormente interessati sono quelli di Roma, Genova, Napoli, Milano e Pisa, ma la lotta più dura sembra essere quella genovese (nove scioperi a fronte di un solo sciopero romano). Ma andiamo oltre.

    Il problema non è “solo” occupazionale. I lavoratori lo stanno ripetendo da mesi fino allo sfinimento, eppure in pochi sembrano interessati ad ascoltarli.

    Ho parlato con un lavoratore in questi giorni. Progettista di software, appassionato del lavoro per il quale ha studiato e continua a studiare affinché il suo livello di competenze sia sempre in corsa. “Il concetto che sembra non passare è che se uno come me sta fermo anche solo sei mesi o un anno è fuori dai giochi – spiega – È come se dal punto di vista delle competenze ne perdessi dieci”.

    A lui preme far sapere che sta lottando con dignità per continuare a fare il suo lavoro, ma non solo: “Perché se la gente non sa cosa fa nella pratica un colosso come Ericsson e cosa potenzialmente è in grado di sviluppare nel nostro Paese, non può rendersi conto di quanto possa incidere sulla competitività nazionale il fatto di continuare a perdere risorse umane nel settore strategico delle telecomunicazioni”.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2016-08-08)
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  5. As we pointed out, the IP transition has been and continues to be a 'con' to shut off the copper networks (sometimes called "TDM") and replace it with the companies' wireless products, not because it is better but because the companies get to make more money.

    In fact, at the FCC there have been changes to allow the companies to 'shut off the copper' and the only question that remains is - how to notify customers? This is from AT&T's transition trial documents.

    These trials prove that we now need to rethink all of our communications policies and ask:

    How far have we fallen?
    How did we fall so far as to let these companies, the state-based utilities, not properly upgrade or maintain these networks? (Oh, did you forget that they were still utilities?)
    And how is it that U-verse is based on using the same 20-50 year-old copper wires that are part of the state utility, and yet AT&T is claiming that putting "IP" over the exact same wire should change its regulations?
    And why should AT&T et al. be allowed to shut off customers where the utility company doesn't even want to do the basic maintenance and upgrade to, say U-verse?
    And as these companies promised in the past, why haven't these networks been upgraded to fiber optic networks by now?
    And why are there no states investigating whether their state laws were changed over the last 20 years to have customers fund network upgrades that never happened?

    There are also a host of other questions we should ask, especially about the ties of AT&T's wired utilities and AT&T Wireless. We'll save that for another time.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2015-10-12)
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  6. one day, most people’s connections to the internet will be mediated by some of the richest companies in the world, namely telecoms (or telecommunications companies, to give them their full titles). Globally, there are about 900 of them and they take in $1.3 trillion in revenue each year, which is about four times the combined revenue of Google, Apple, Microsoft and Intel. Using a phone to, say, browse the web requires that digital data shuttles to and fro across these telecoms’ mobile networks, which is why if you want to use a smartphone you need a “data plan”. And – as you doubtless know to your cost – data plans don’t come cheap.

    For users in developed countries the high cost of mobile data is annoying but not a showstopper. In developing (ie poor) countries, however, it is. And since most of the next 2 billion internet users live in these countries, if the dream of ubiquitous connectivity is to be realised then some way has to be found to make that mobile connectivity affordable.

    The other big idea comes from – you guessed it – Facebook. Here the proposition is that the company does a deal with telecoms firms in developing countries which ensures that data rates for users of the Facebook app on their smartphones are zero, or at least capped, while the data going to and from other apps costs the usual arm and a leg. So when a new user in Somalia, India or Burma switches on her shiny new budget smartphone what she sees is a Facebook app which provides “internet” connectivity free, while other apps incur whatever charges are levied in the data plan agreed with the mobile operator.

    The term for this wheeze is “zero rating” and it’s fiendishly cunning. Sure (say its advocates), it effectively locks poor people into Facebook’s walled garden, where they can be “monetised” if they ever have anything worth monetising. But isn’t limited access to an online world made up of Facebook, Google, Twitter – and maybe Wikipedia thrown in as a gesture of goodwill – better than no access at all for people on the other side of the digital divide?

    This is a pernicious way of framing the argument, and we should resist it. The goal of public policy everywhere should be to increase access to the internet – the whole goddam internet, not some corporate-controlled alcove – for as many people as possible. By condoning zero-rating we will condemn to a lifetime of servitude as one of Master Zuckerberg’s sharecroppers. We can, and should, do better than that.
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  7. According to the paper, this wireless exec is considering a plan that involves blocking Google ads on millions of mobile phones “in an attempt to force the company into giving up a cut of its revenues.” His carrier would snuff Google’s ads “just for an hour or a day,” the exec tells The FT, saying this would be enough to bring Google to the negotiating table.

    It’s a ridiculous plan. Blocking ads in this ham-fisted way would spark an enormous uproar among public advocates and in the press on both sides of the Atlantic. After all, it would violate the idea of net neutrality—the notion that all internet traffic should be treated equally—and it may even qualify as censorship. But this is almost beside the point. The bigger issue here is that this plan has exactly zero chance of bringing Google to the table. The web’s most powerful company is not
    about to negotiate away the business model that drives its entire online empire

    “People pay for mobile internet packages so they can access the apps, video streaming, webmail and other services they love, many of which are funded by ads,” Google said in response to The FT story. “Google and other web companies invest heavily in developing these services—and in the behind-the-scenes infrastructure to deliver them.” Google would fight this in court, not at the negotiating table.

    The more realistic possibility is that this European carrier—and others like it—will install ad blocking tech in their data centers and then give smartphones owners the option of turning it on. In terms of net neutrality, such a thing sits in a (slightly) grayer area. The FT says this is on the way as well, reporting that several European carriers are set to deploy ad blocking tech from an Israeli company called Shine. Shine says much the same thing. “The story is accurate,” company spokesman Roi Carthy tells WIRED.
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  8. It's possible that some of you have never seen a rotary phone in real life. It's likely that many of you have never used a rotary phone: heard the pulse take the place of the tone, mustered your patience as the dial rolls back it its reset, cursed a number with so many zeroes in it because it takes so long to call. And that's a shame, because rotary phones are awesome: physical of a time when the home phone was home decor. Here are some of our faves.
    Tags: , , , by M. Fioretti (2015-06-02)
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  9. Today, SMS may be viewed as antiquated technology – but the reality is it that SMS plays a key role in connecting most modern technologies. From its high user engagement rate and 2FA benefits, to its disruption in the A2P sector, we won’t see SMS disappear anytime soon.
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2015-05-16)
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  10. instead of a network monopoly choosing what device you'll use, a device duopoly will choose what network you use.
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