Showing posts from March, 2018

5G is Like the Tail on a Dog

5G is to networking as telecom is to the internet. That is to say, 5G is part of a larger shift of networking as "telecom" has become a tail on the internet dog.
Specifically, 5G is part of a larger transformation of global public networks involving much lower latency, much more virtualization and new roles for data centers. Those features, in turn, are required to lower the cost of running networks as well as create the foundation for new categories of services that will drive incremental revenue at scale.
Extremely low latency, high connection density, high reliability and gigabit speeds are driving the design of the whole new architecture, with implications for access, cloud computing and virtualization.
Virtualization is a key change, with separation of control and signaling functions from delivery of end user traffic becoming key. Lower cost is among the expected outcomes. Greater flexibility also is anticipated.
What might be relatively unexpected is that virtualization…

The Prejudice Against Bigness

It would be reasonable enough to argue that there is an almost-instinctive distrust of "bigness" in business, as such bigness is presumed to be responsible for destroying the fortunes of small and local businesses.

It must also be said that it is consumers who propel the rise of "big businesses," since it is consumers who prefer the products, prices or other attributes of bigger businesses, over those of smaller suppliers.

We might be tempted to decry bigness, but consumer choice is what produces bigness. And that means bigness is not always and inevitably bad.

Sometimes, in fact, bigness might be a survival requirement. Consider some foundations of business in the internet era. Among the key trends are a few that define internet market dynamics:

* Pricing and margin pressure
* New competitors from outside the existing value chain
* Winner take all market share dynamics
* Disintermediation of distributors in the value chain

In case you somehow missed the trend, the interne…

Antitrust The Wrong Solution for the Wrong Problem

At the risk of oversimplifying, the apparently-growing sense that “something has to be done” about the size of today’s firms (financial, retail, telecom, internet apps and so forth) is likely ill considered.
As profit is wrung out of all value chains affected by the internet, firm revenue and profits fall, if not to zero, then always in that direction. There is only a few long-term solutions for such margin compression: additional scale in existing businesses, and a move into new businesses, elsewhere in the value chain.
Both strategies require that firms get bigger. So attacking "bigness" also means attacking chances for firm survival.
The demand for scale is--virtually all agree--a byproduct and necessity in an era of price transparency, lower protections from market entry by “outsiders,” falling prices and profits in virtually all incumbent businesses and markets.
We cannot easily repeal the economic impact of the internet, even if we wanted to do so. And make no mistake,

5G Will Accelerate Mobile and Wireless Substitution for Internet Access

Up to this point, 4G has been a primary method of internet access for a substantial, but still minority of usage in developed markets, though it arguably has been a primary or exclusive form of access in developing markets.
But the 5G era is likely to accelerate those trends in a major way. For the first time, mobile or 5G-based fixed wireless networks will offer speeds and retail prices as good--or better--than fixed alternatives, with latency performance that is better .
Many of us would not be at all surprised if wireless substitution as much as doubled over the first decade of 5G commercial service. In some developed markets, that could mean that wireless access takes as 20 percent share of the residential internet access market. In other markets, wireless internet access could reach 30 percent or higher.
source: Deloitte
You might be tempted to think that it mostly is lower-income people who use their mobile devices as the sole means of internet access. In many countries, substanti…

Full Duplex for Cable TV is Another Example of Virtualization

Virtualization is becoming a core feature of next-generation networks. Consider how the cable TV industry is looking to use a form of virtualization in its access networks. Traditionally, cable TV networks have used frequency division for both upstream and downstream communications.
Telco networks have used time division. But the latest development is that cable TV networks are looking at a way to use “full duplex” techniques in place of frequency division, a capability that could reduce the cost of rebuilding physical networks to boost bandwidth.
To use full duplex, a hybrid fiber coax network would have to operate in “passive HFC” mode, which means no use of active signal repeaters in the distribution network, in all likelihood.
It is hard to see how full duplex could work through any set of bandpass filters, standard in a radio frequency amplifier.
Full duplex would allow all spectrum to be used for upstream or downstream communications at the same time. And that would be a form of …

How Does Private LTE (CBRS) Affect the WAN Business?

It is by no means clear how the availability of private (enterprise) 4G Long Term Evolution will affect the broader mobile market.
The ability to create indoor or campus LTE networks essentially complicates some elements of enterprise premises communications strategy. Where the typical network has been a cabled local area network, now supplemented with Wi-Fi and mobile access, the future might also include Wi-Gig as well.
source: Nokia Bell Labs
On one hand, enterprise indoor 4G, based on use of small cells, could help provide better mobile coverage indoors, with less capital investment than might otherwise be required. In other cases there might be some incremental increase in operating costs, especially when mobile operator access to the indoor networks is a lease arrangement with the private LTE operator.
On the other hand, the indoor LTE network could well, over time, build beyond support for mobile phones and include internet of things sensors. That could affect mobile business rev…

What is AI Job Impact? What's the Best Balance?

One possibly hopeful predication about how automation (artificial intelligence and machine learning) and human jobs can coexist is that there will some job loss, some job redefinition and some job creation.
In fact, some might argue that an optimal balance is to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to some degree, but not too much.
To be sure, some job categories will be more at risk, according to some researchers. As a rule, some believe, jobs most at risk to automation are those which are routine.
It probably also is fair to note that automation tends to redefine jobs as well, so overall impact is complex.

source: Gorlach and Wessel

source: Visual Capitalist

U.S. Will Adopt 5G Very Fast, Says GSMA

It is not hard to find skepticism about the size of 5G markets, for good reason. Not every market is equally well disposed to generate new revenue sources, at scale, and not every set of service providers in every market has the same level of actual need to find those new revenue sources.
That is why virtually everyone expects 5G to become a commercial reality first in just a handful of countries: the United States, Japan, European Union countries and China. Developed nations plus China, in other words. And some might question how fast most EU markets will adopt.
source: GSMA Intelligence
In part, that early deployment pattern is driven by expectations of financial upside from new applications not possible with 4G. GSMA Intelligence also notes some particularities of the U.S. market that also create a fertile environment.
In other words, opportunities might exist to drive aggressive 5G adoption in the U.S. market.
GSMA Intelligence notes that U.S. customers have been robust adopters of…

Internet Access Universal Service is Always an Issue for the Last 2% of Locations

Universal funding of “essential” telecom services always is difficult and expensive, since, by definition, there often is no private sector business model for rural areas. In large part, that is because there are too few potential customers, in relation to the cost of assets to serve those potential customers. In the continent-sized U.S. market, for example, the universal service problem largely is a matter of rural areas.  
Assuming a standard fixed network investment cost, that might not produce a positivebusiness case over a 20-year period, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has suggested.  And almost nobody makes investments with a 20-year payback in telecom, anymore. That is tantamount to “no investment return.”
In the United States, the cost of serving the last one percent of locations is astronomical, for example.
source: FCC
High infrastructure costs  are among the reasons wireless access is likely to play a bigger role in such universal service plans. Fixed networks cos…