The Economist Takes a Deep Dive into our Industry’s Future

Business transformation is on every network operator’s mind as demand for voice levels off while demand for data continues to grow exponentially. As a result of this shift, the industry is being forced to reinvent itself. Fourth generation network technologies promise to bring capital and operating costs in line with the world of data, but for most operators, that’s at least a year or two away and in the meantime, we’re forced to contend with the world around us changing very quickly.

Sponsored by amdocs, The Intelligence Unit of The Economist assembled a team to interview senior executives of network operators and independent industry experts. As expected, there is a global perspective with input from Europe, North America and China. The result is Fighting Smart. Strategy Options for Telecoms Operators.

In a quest to move beyond conclusions of our industry being relegated to “dumb pipe” status, the report delves into five potential business models.

  • Smart Pipe
  • Efficient Pipe
  • Pricing Pioneer
  • Defender of the Realm
  • Transformer

WireIE has been engaged in the conversation of our industry’s future since the company’s inception and is a strong supporter of the philosophy of Open Mobile.

We invite visitors here to read the report, judge for themselves and by all means, comment here. The report is available for download by clicking on the image below. Again, our thanks to amdocs and The Economist.

New Terms for a New Reality

WireIE was founded on the basis that significant change was imminent in the world of wireless network technology, our company’s core expertise. This change would impact the way services would be delivered. In fact, the very nature of the services themselves would significantly change. New approaches to designing, deploying and managing networks would result, and WireIE was ideally positioned to be a leader in this changed market.

At WireIE we always have our sights set on the next generation. Of course, “next generation” is a relative term because from the client’s perspective it doesn’t necessarily mean transforming to 4G. As a global company, some of WireIE’s clients operate in markets where the business case for 3G – ‘their’ next generation – is only now becoming valid. Regardless, our industry is well on its way in it’s transformation from the legacy of circuit-switched voice infrastructure to frame/packet data networks based on the Internet Protocol (IP). And it’s not just the infrastructure that’s transforming. So too is the business itself.

As with any transformation, some are challenged to let go of the old and familiar, and embrace the new. Others may be tempted to take experience from the old and superimpose it on the new.

The Telco in a World Dominated by IP

At WireIE, we’re promoting minor adjustments to terminology that we feel more appropriately capture the reality of the transformation our industry is going through. For example, most of our clients have traditionally been telcos – an abbreviation for telephone company, ortelecommunications company. In most jurisdictions, telcos are common carriers. A common carrier is an entity that transports goods or passengers for a person or company. The common carrier is usually licensed and regulated by a government authority and is responsible for protecting against any potential loss of goods during transport. Implicit in a common carrier’s obligations are corresponding regulatory protections to ensure the common carrier is financially sustainable.

While we don’t dispute the common carrier aspect of telcos, we believe the historical context of the telco term under-represents and potentially misrepresents the nature of their transformed business.

With the integration of IP into the very core of our networks, it could be argued the nature of our business begins to have more in common with Internet Service Provision (ISP, or in the case of a wireless network, WISP). Sure, there is inevitably underlying telco infrastructure supporting an ISP, but in the world of IP where routing is highly dynamic and adaptable, and therefore tolerant of carrier facility disruption, we feel it’s more valid to talk in terms of the network. As such, we choose to refer to telcos as network operators.

As a company that transforms networks, there’s a method in our madness. Network transformation of the magnitude we’re seeing as a result of data usage, also means business and operational transformation. Using a term like telco reinforces the cultural inertia some are experiencing in our industry. In our view network operator modernizes the language.

There’s So Much More to Wireless IP Networks Than Wi-Fi

WireIE offers a number of solutions for wireless network access, along with an innovative suite of IP Packet Radio solutions for backhaul. Because of the broad adoption of Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11) as a wireless IP access technology, many are naturally inclined to assume that when wireless and IP are mentioned in the same breath, we’re talking about Wi-Fi. In this day and age, and certainly going forward, nothing could be farther from the truth.

4G wireless technologies are entirely IP based and 3G/3.5G technologies have significant IP infrastructure supporting their wireless data services. 3G, 3.5G and 4G are macro networks offering ubiquitous coverage and mobility. They support roaming. They also offer predictability and reliable service levels. Designing, deploying and operating a wireless macro network requires highly specialized expertise, along with sophisticated design tools. WireIE extends and transforms macro networks using the industry’s best-of-breed.

Join the Conversation

Feel free to share your views on transforming terminology, or any other topic in our blog by commenting.

The “Disruptive” Impact of TD-LTE

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There has been much discussion lately about spectrum limitations in light of the market’s ever-increasing appetite for mobile data services. As we look ahead to fourth generation technologies, we recognize that asymmetrical duplexing associated with TDD (Time Division Duplex) will yield some efficiencies over the inherent symmetry of FDD (Frequency Division Duplex). TDD has the additional advantage of being unpaired from an RF channel perspective — allowing for more spectrum allocation flexibility for fourth generation technologies.

LTE’s TDD specification known as TD-LTE is gaining momentum in light of these advantages. Inthis article, from Fierce Broadband Wireless, Monica Paulini gives us a superb snapshot of the current state of 4G technologies, and what the future likely holds in light of where we are today. She views TD-LTE as “disruptive”.

List of Technical Terms & Acronyms

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Hi readers,

Acronyms can be confusing. At WireIE, we constantly like to keep an up-to-date, ongoing list of all the terms that relate to our business and industry.

Click here to access the PDF. We will be updating it again in the coming weeks and will be sure to blog and tweet about it once again.

Please leave us a comment if we are missing any on the list or if you have any requests!

Capacity North America – Silver Sponsors

WireIE is a Silver Sponsor of the 10th Annual North American wholesale telecommunications conference this fall in Toronto.

Please click here for more information about the conference including the agenda.

Globe & Mail Article on Canada’s Rural Broadband

The article entitled, “Canada’s Digital Divide” by Iain Marlow and Jacquie McNish appeared in Saturday, April 3, 2010′s Globe & Mail Report on Business section.

This is a passionate topic for us at WireIE so our President & CEO Rob Barlow decided to write a letter to the editor, as well as participate in the live blog discussion on Monday, April 5, 2010.

Our Letter to the Editor:

I read with great interest your article “Canada’s Digital Divide” by Iain Marlow and Jacquie McNish.

While referring to the time required to load a static web page serves well at making an important point, it is important to note that the accelerating trend toward the consumption of Internet-delivered rich multimedia will place significantly greater demands on networks going forward.  The bandwidth problem certainly isn’t going away and is indeed, becoming a greater challenge in rural areas.

There are a number of tools that can address the rural broadband disadvantage.  WiMAX, for example, is a broadband wireless technology that has proven itself in bridging the digital divide in many parts of the world. In fact, there are over 500 WiMAX networks in over 145 countries.  Many of these of these are in the developing world, meaning that rural Canada many actually lag certain areas of the rural developing world.

I propose the Federal government do an inventory of available broadband wireless technologies (such as WiMAX) and establish policies that make rural deployment a more profitable venture.  The barriers need to be reviewed so this productivity and economic disadvantage to rural areas can be resolved for good.  For example, backhaul license fees make many rural deployment business models not feasible. These, and other related fees need to be factored into the discussion in light of the fact the rural disadvantage is affecting Canada’s GDP.

Rob Barlow

President & CEO

WireIE Holdings International Inc.

Broadband Wireless Takes on Legacy Broadband

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As experts in next generation networks, WireIE has been a strong promoter of WiMAX from the start.  As the impact of Clearwire’s WiMAX network roll-out takes hold, trends in customer behavior are beginning to emerge.

In this article by Marguerite Reardon, the question is asked, “Can 4G wireless take on traditional broadband?”  WireIE believes the answer for many users is “yes”.

WireIE’s Backhaul Project

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WireIE is currently deploying a 20-site backhaul project that entails installing and testing Dragonwave microwave equipment.

The result of this project will be an all-IP HSPA network, which will pave the way to an LTE network in the future.

The project also utilizes WireIE’s best-in-class Project Management expertise for the defined installation process and methodologies. WireIE has created a streamlined installation of one site per day, in comparison to the 3-4 days previously required to complete a site install.

WireIE’s engineering team enhanced the quality of the installs they previously received from other subcontractors through staging and an implementation test plan.

Press Release – George Kaichis Joins WireIE Team as Director of Radio Network Services

RICHMOND HILL, ON, Sept. 22 /CNW/ – WireIE Holdings International Inc. is pleased to welcome George Kaichis to the team as Director of Radio Network Services.

WireIE is a global provider of IP-based broadband wireless network solutions. With unique expertise in wireless/IP integration, WireIE offers whole product solutions in support of many wireless and carbon neutral technologies including but not limited to WiMAX, GSM, UMTS, CDMA, and EV-DO. In addition, WireIE has in-depth knowledge and experience in the design and deployment of IP-based point-to-point and point-to-multipoint microwave networks.

“I am thrilled to have such an accomplished professional join our team. George will leverage our Radio Frequency (RF) Services offering for future growth in LTE, and reinforce WireIE’s position as a centre of excellence”, said Robert Barlow, President & CEO of WireIE.

Kaichis, an Ontario-licensed professional Engineer, brings over 20 years of proven telecom experience at major Canadian wireless operators, most recently at TELUS as Director of Contract Management. He was previously the Director of RF Technology, where he was responsible for evaluating and selecting new wireless technologies and vendors.

Kaichis will be focusing on managing RF design, network extensions, and network transformations in Canada and the Caribbean.

Kaichis has worked with many technologies such as CDMA, 1xRTT, EV-DO, UMTS, iDEN, and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto.

Article – “Why Transform Your Network”

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The below article was recently published in The Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organisations’ CANCION Second Quarterly Magazine of 2009.

“Why Transform your Network?”

By Jennifer Marron
Marketing & Communications Specialist, WireIE Holdings International Inc.

The Internet and the World Wide Web have revolutionized society. The quality of a user’s experience on the web depends directly on the quality of the communication channel. Today, Next Generation Networks are revolutionalizing the world of communications and are becoming more common, as both consumers and businesses are realizing their long list of benefits. These beneficial qualities include using a great variety of devices and experiences, while promoting economic development at the same time. An opportunity exists to leverage this technology transformation throughout the Caribbean. These networks, supported by the Internet Protocol (IP), have the capability to transport any information or service we associate with the web.Today, IP has become an adopted standard for almost any service or application. IP-based networks are both flexible and economical methods of creating a solution that integrates with established and future network technologies. Transforming to an all-IP network is very beneficial as it extends network coverage, enables operational simplification, allows for rapid disaster recovery, and reduces costs. It is therefore time for the Caribbean to make a change to an all-IP network platform.

Network extensions are an essential part of Next Generation Networks as they improve and extend coverage and coverage areas. These wireless extensions allow client bases to be built for approximately one third of the price of extending traditional cable-based infrastructure. It is difficult and very costly to extend cable-based infrastructure in the Caribbean, as it involves trenching, and rigging for the build of poles, cables, and plants in a very diverse and environmentally sensitive ecosystem. These traditional approaches are quite vulnerable to weather-related damage, and subsequent network downtime. Legacy infrastructure based on Time Division Multiplex (TDM) limits the operator to circuit-switched voice and relatively inflexible data configurations. On the other hand, IP extensions have infinite flexibility. Extending existing networks also allow local clients and users to access the Internet and web-based services at exponentially increased speeds. Additionally, the “IP pipe” empowers multimedia experiences – bringing the user way beyond voice. In addition, IP networks offer significant network redundancy and diversity configurations, and are much more flexible and reliable overall.

The Caribbean has a unique need for rapid deployment of communications networks in the event that a hurricane hits a certain region and connectivity is lost. Being non-reliant on traditional legacy infrastructure allows networks to be up and running quickly if disaster or weather-related incidents occur. IP-based wireless remote sites are fast, easy, less expensive, and have more “plug and play” features than what we are currently used to with traditional technologies. Furthermore, an all-IP philosophy has the greatest degree of design flexibility while also retaining relative simplicity, meaning it can be set up to cater to the specific environment. Channelized voice and circuit switching infrastructure is also no longer needed, since IP utilizes Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) instead. IP networks also enjoy a very wide selection of network equipment choices at comparatively low prices. They facilitate simplified device connectivity and configuration in a deployment process that is repeatable. Therefore, relying on an IP-based network rather than legacy infrastructure-based networks allows for rapid recovery time should a hurricane or other weather-related incident occur.

The primary benefit of adopting an all-IP network are the cost savings, in that they diminish hardware costs and offer operational improvements since one converged network is used, rather than a patchwork of disparate networks using other less standardized equipment and protocols. This process is much simpler and costs less. New applications can also be added and used, which is another benefit from switching to IP. These applications can be used as a source of new revenue by providing value to enterprises and users. Among other things, IP standards allow for seamless interconnectivity of both network devices and user devices. An example of this is demonstrated utilizing the power of “cloud” computing where applications are served, documents are created and collaborated upon within the application, and ultimately stored, a popular example being Google Docs. on the Gmail platform. Cloud computing allows users to store files on the web, making it an ideal environment from which to share and collaborate. Innovations such as the cloud computer dramatically reduce the cost of end-user equipment (e.g. Netbooks). With these kinds of networks, many different users are able to communicate via a standardized connection. The web offers enriched services targeting capabilities of new wireless mobile devices. Rich onboard applications draw on web resources wirelessly. Web browsers’ power mobilizes the web, which allows for infinite capabilities for the end-user. IP is also essentially future-proof, in that it allows growth to be a relatively seamless, non-disruptive task. Therefore, transforming to an IP network allows for cheaper operations and network maintenance overall.

Next generation IP-based networks are rapidly emerging as the fundamental starting point in exploiting the full potential of the web. This technology is now reducing costs without sacrificing any capabilities or benefits from older IT platforms. IP networks address many of the problems associated with traditional wireless technologies, as well as providing an elegant solution for today and tomorrow’s future communication needs. IP-based architecture creates great opportunities for new applications, in that the ones that were previously impossible to implement can now be successfully launched and completely integrated. Transforming into IP-based networks permits virtually effortless interconnection with neighbouring networks – even if it is a different operator. However, the length of time required for this overall transformation will depend on the size of carrier. WireIE can add value to a carrier as we offer turnkey solutions, network design and deployment. WireIE is a global leader in providing professional services and innovative solutions for the wireless network operator. WireIE offers a consistently high level of skill and experience in the design, deployment, and management of radio access, backhaul, and IP core network solutions. Where appropriate, WireIE will support a legacy network’s transition to IP by designing customized hybrid solutions. Therefore, IP-based networks – the most popular network protocol in the world – are truly the way of the future, as their benefits far outweigh those of traditional networks. There has never been a better time for the Caribbean to take advantage of the benefits of IP networks in order to realize the full potential.