CEO Rob Barlow Shares Direction for 2018 with Jaymie Scotto Cutaia

At PTC’18, one of the most important telecommunications events for the Pacific Rim, our CEO, Rob Barlow, met up with JSA TV’s Jaymie Scotto Cutaia to discuss the company’s latest developments and where it is headed for the rest of 2018.

Overall, throughout 2017, WireIE experienced continuous growth providing leading-class high-speed network solutions in underserved markets in Canada and around the world. We bolstered our reputation as an expert in underserved connectivity by consistently exceeding our network performance and reliability objectives throughout the year.

For 2018, we are maintaining our focus on making it possible for individuals and enterprises in underserved areas to take full advantage of the digital economy. By using both fiber and microwave technologies in the delivery of high-availability networks, we are a partner of choice for industry and governments in need of reliable, secure connectivity for their mission-critical applications. WireIE prides itself on its ability to extend carrier networks to remote and hard to reach locations, bringing the metropolitan broadband experience to the underserved and promoting regional economic development.

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Canada’s defence sector faces unique threats and challenges. From the growing number of cyber-attacks on the federal government to the country’s vast underserved regions, mission-critical government services across the country require networks with unparalleled resilience, availability and security.  As a wholesale network operator specialized in the deployment of MEF Certified Carrier Ethernet networks, WireIE is the provider of choice for mission-critical underserved network requirements.

In 2007, Rob Barlow created WireIE because he saw a gap in bringing high-availability network services to underserved markets where government assets and large enterprises need to function with the speed and reliability of those in major Canadian cities. The company addresses this need by working with its partners to deliver networks with unparalleled availability and ultra-low latency to enterprises and government installations of all sizes across Canada’s underserved regions.  WireIE’s MEF Certified Ethernet 2.0 certification gives its customers performance assurance that their applications and network data will run without interruption and to the highest standards of performance.

In 2016, WireIE worked with Tier 1 Canadian partners to replace the legacy service at a major NAV Canada radar station on Mt. Wallensteen, located 20 kilometres west of Salmon Arm, British Columbia. WireIE was the partner of choice since the station site is located two kilometers above the nearby community and is inaccessible during the harsh winter months. As a result, it was uneconomical to complete the upgrades using fiber technology. Even though the site could only be accessed via helicopter, WireIE successfully completed the installation of 10Mbps Ethernet service, exceeding the client’s expectations. The new network infrastructure provides the station with the redundancy and reliability necessary to ensure safe plane-to-ground voice communication for the many trans-Pacific flights coming into Canada on a daily basis.

This year, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) reported that the federal government faces serious cyber-attacks on a daily basis. As the capabilities of state-sponsored hackers and terrorist groups increase, secure networks for government assets in underserved regions become a high priority. The reliable and trusted service that WireIE delivers can be used for all types of assets that are crucial to the security of Canadians. Already working on behalf of fourteen government departments, WireIE is excited to offer its innovative, best-in-class services in support of the Canadian defence sector’s needs.  For more information on WireIE’s services, visit their resource centre here.

The tide is shifting on acceptance and adoption of microwave radio as a viable alternative or supplement to fibre and economics may dictate more of the same.

For many in the telecommunications industry the recognition of microwave as a viable alternative to fibre to create carrier grade bandwidth with industry leading latency is not old news.

It has been frustrating to witness that the marketplace has not recognized this fact in a substantial and meaningful way. That does appear to be changing.

Late last year, Jason Bunge of Dow Jones wrote about the pace and level of high speed microwave adoption that has taken place recently in the securities exchange markets in North America and Europe. His article highlights how the deployment of high speed broadband over microwave is about to outpace fibre network deployment this year. As Bunge notes this is an industry where milliseconds count and where the highest standards of speed and network reliability are considered essential.

What is driving the change is cost efficiency and timeliness as the exchange business needs to address declining trade volumes by increasing speed and efficiency in their markets without breaking the bank to do it.

Many consider the capital markets to be technology leaders in the Financial Services (FS) sector and highly influential concerning the use and adoption of technology and telecom innovation. If the leaders of the FS sector are ready to make the jump to microwave radio it bodes well for the broader adoption of this standard within that sector and beyond.

Consider for a moment that the economics is driving the shift away from fibre and it becomes clear that there are other sectors that could likewise realize the same benefits and make the switch. If not for primary connections to office locations, it will be used as secondary to locations that have fibre available. Industries like oil and gas extraction, mining, Manufacturing, retail and the public sector are all witness to both exponential growth in data and the opportunity to use data to quickly and effectively deliver innovative new products and services to an increasingly “high demand” business place. If it is also recognized as an alternative or supplement that is more cost effective than traditional fibre deployment, widespread adoption of microwave radio  is not far behind? It is not the innovation of technology that is the biggest driver of change but the “mother of necessity” economics that makes change all the more compelling.

– Rob Barlow, CEO

About WireIE: We deliver carrier-grade Transparent Ethernet Solutions backed by SLAs. With a custom blend of fiber and digital to suit your circumstances, we transform, extend and support your communications networks in rural and remote areas. +1.905.882.4660 | |

On June 8, 2012, the Government of Ontario took the next step in their Clean Energy Economic Development Strategy, with the release of the Clean Energy Institute (CEI). The new institute will bring together industry leaders and utility companies to build on Ontario’s strengths in smart grid technologies and other clean energy innovations.

In conjunction with the CEI, Mars hosted the Future Energy Summit focused on bringing some of the top minds in clean energy to give feedback and help design the Smart Grid we need. A smarter grid will spearhead better tools to manage electricity use, help utilities prevent, detect and restore outages and ultimately connect every home and building to a renewable energy grid, therefore, decreasing green house gas emissions.

WireIE contributes to the Smart Grid by partnering with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) to define the operational requirements of a communications network supporting Smart Grid. By modeling various rural and urban electricity distribution scenarios, communication network specifications have been developed. This collaboration continues as WireIE sponsors the study and modeling of new Smart Grid applications.

WireIE is now part of this new funding released today by the Energy Minister for a Durham region trial. This will advance our current research into a live production environment. As a Smart Grid future is enabled in Ontario WireIE will continue to lead with its partners.

For more information on Ontario’s Clean Energy Institute:

For more information on Smart Grid projects:

For more information about Microwave Technologies for Carrier Ethernet Services, download this MEF document

About WireIE: We deliver carrier-grade Transparent Ethernet Solutions backed by SLAs. With a custom blend of fiber and digital to suit your circumstances, we transform, extend and support your communications networks in rural and remote areas. +1.905.882.4660 | |

If you want to cause a stir, walk into a room full of seasoned technicians and mention microwave. Citing the twin fears of limited capacity and weather-dependent performance, many will offer stories of past problems without realizing that, like many other things in life, microwave has moved on.

The Future is not the Past

The legacy-based, analog solutions of the past bear no resemblance to modern microwave. Dismiss the new developments, and you could find yourself missing out on the many business benefits that today’s digital radio technologies bring.

Increasingly, organizations are discovering the advantages of a converged network platform that combines Carrier Ethernet and point-to-point digital radio to provide a new, highly effective method of voice and data transport. With the benefit of alternative thinking, smart solutions providers are overcoming terrestrial challenges and building advanced communications networks in some surprisingly remote areas – where often dial up had been the only option.

Two Strong Technologies

In response to our appetite for higher bandwidth and budget-conscious performance, over the past decade Carrier Ethernet has moved to centre stage – and continues to evolve today. Checking all the boxes, it’s a quicker, simpler and cheaper way to connect people with information. Plus, with Ethernet, it’s easy to build extensions or make adjustments down the road. And terrestrial microwave has proven to be an excellent partner for fiber in access networks – playing an increasingly valuable role in support of rich media applications like video, VoIP and disaster recovery.

The Question of Capacity

It’s time to dispel some of the myths and reveal the facts about microwave:

  • Gigabit capacity is already a reality – and it’s enough for most Carrier Ethernet applications.
  • Service-aware traffic management allows you to differentiate voice and data packets by type, to avoid bottlenecks and smooth demand.
  • Adaptive code modulation technology increases bandwidth capacity and also means you can deploy microwave equipment in densely populated areas.
  • Nodal function optimizes radio bandwidth resources and makes it easier for you to scale.
  • Packet technology is flexible, which means you can use microwave to get an optimal increase in data rates.
  • Over-air capacity is increased with microwave by using multiple transmission channels at different carrier frequencies. Capacity has also grown through enhancements like cross polarization, interference cancellation and data compression.

The Latest Weather Report

Although weather can affect microwave, technology enhancements have made it easier to deal with bad conditions, and custom-engineered links are specifically designed to account for the elements:

  • Adaptive modulation protects your network from weather effects by varying radio throughput, making adjustments according to the performance of air interface channels.
  • Frequency diversity makes your network resilient to bad-weather fading.

A New Form of Transport

The evolution of microwave technology offers a valuable opportunity to combine Carrier Ethernet services with digital radio to provide end-to-end network transport services. Offering limitless reach, this converged platform will give you the performance and capacity to communicate faster and more flexibly at a price that suits your CFO – even when geography is not on your side.

Ethernet has been in a state of perpetual evolution since its inception – with significant accommodation for backwards compatibility thanks to frame structure standardization. While exponential increases in throughput are perhaps most noteworthy, Ethernet has also seen improvements in the flexibility of Media Access Control (MAC) mechanisms at Layer 1. A number of physical (PHY) sub-layer developments have evolved, not the least of which is the increased breadth of transmission media choices for an Ethernet network.

Ethernet Evolution
StarLAN was the first implementation of Ethernet and used twisted pair copper wire. Known as 1BASE5 and developed by the IEEE as 802.3e in the mid-1980s, StarLAN ran at speeds of up to 1 Mbit/s. In light of the circuit switched, voice orientation of networks at that point, developers of 1BASE5 wanted to reuse previously installed cabling for telephony (PBX and/or key systems), thus minimizing the need to rewire office buildings and other enterprises. As the name implies, StarLAN was built around a hub-and-spoke topology – a direct emulation of circuit switched voice systems dominant at the time.

10BASE-T & Beyond
Introduced in the early 1990s, 10BASE-T supported up to 10 Mbit/s on 4 pair (8 conductor) twisted copper terminated on the now universally recognized RJ-45 modular connector. Both half and full duplex is supported as is the case with 100BASE-T (100 Mbit/s), and 1000BASE-T at 1Gbit/s (GigE). More than evolutionary, 10BASE-T arguably ushered in the broad adoption of LANs in the business environment.

10BASE-T was initially delivered over a shared coaxial cable in a bus topology, emulating a data radio network environment not unlike AlohaNet (described in the previous post). Thus the Etherin Ethernet. CSMA/CD played an essential role in managing channel contention resulting from packet collisions. Topologically, it was impractical to segment the network and as such, any number of single points of failure could bring down the entire network.

There were inefficiencies inherent in early Ethernet. Since a single coaxial cable carried all network communication (slotted Aloha), information sent by one device would be received by all devices on the network. It was the job of the Attachment Unit Interface (AUI) – essentially a pre-Network Interface Card (NIC) – to reject all traffic, other than that intended for the device it was connected to. Also, by confining all network traffic to a single shared cable, bandwidth can be quickly exhausted. Exacerbating the finite bandwidth was the broadcast nature wherein all stations on the network were sent all data regardless of whether it was intended for them or not. Finally, while elegant, CSMA/CD by its very nature has an impact on channel efficiency.

Switched Ethernet
As 10BASE-T hubs and bridges matured, the concept of Switched Ethernet developed. Switched Ethernet is significant in that it takes the concept of Token-Ring’s once superior network speed through the concept of one session (i.e.: two network devices) accessing all the LAN bandwidth for a given instant, as opposed to sharing network bandwidth as was the case with the broadcast model. Modern Ethernet switches could manage thousands of concurrent network segments. From the switch’s point of view, the only device on each segment is the end station’s Layer 1 interface (NIC). The switch’s intelligence is dedicated to managing frame delivery over the appropriate segment – often managing hundreds or thousands of segments in concurrence.

The Journey Continues
Ethernet has earned its universal adoption in the enterprise because of its speed, reliability, flexibility, uniformity and operational simplicity. The journey to ubiquitous Ethernet is advancing rapidly with Carrier Ethernet solutions such as WireIE’s Transparent Ethernet Solutions™leading the way.

WireIE’s Transparent Ethernet Solutions™ give carriers new and innovative ways to tap into hard-to-reach markets. And because TES scales so well, carriers are also discovering they can use TES to provide broadband services to enterprises where ROIs were previously prohibitive using antiquated leased facilities.WireIE is a Carrier Ethernet network operator and our TES solutions are backed up by an SLA.

Ethernet is ubiquitous. It’s in our businesses, schools, hospitals and homes. It’s in our cars, and it’s even the nerve system for the latest fly-by-wire airliners. Ethernet dominates in the datacenters where Internet and World Wide Web content is stored and served. Few would dispute that our modern world of communications runs on Ethernet.

Why Ethernet? In a few words; seamless, universal connectivity… There are certainly many secondary advantages, but this ‘plug and play’ aspect makes Ethernet particularly compelling when compared with other methods.

A wise person once said; “You need to know where you’ve been in order to know where you’re going.” Ethernet has been around a long time, but it’s entree into the world of telecommunications is fairly recent.
Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) was developed in the mid 1970s by Xerox. It was largely based on the Aloha system developed at the University of Hawaii.

AlohaNet, as it was called, used UHF radio as a data communications network medium. Transmission of packets across the radio channel was managed by Aloha’s random access contention algorithm. In the event of two (or more) data packets being sent on the same communication channel at the same instant, a collision occurs, the packets get corrupted, and no data is exchanged. Aloha manages this inevitability through the use of a random access timer. Should a collision be detected, a jam signal is sent over the network, notifying all other devices of the collision and to wait before sending further packets. The senders affected by the collision will then set a random self-timer to resume transmission, thus reducing the likelihood of a repeat collision. This mechanism is known as Collision Detection (CD).

To compliment CD, Ethernet uses a mechanism known as Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA) – commonly referred to as CSMA/CD. Combined with the benefits of Collision Detection, the CSMA function stipulates that sending data communications equipment must ‘listen’ to the channel prior to transmitting a packet.

In the early days of Local Area Networking, Ethernet competed with IBM’s Token Ring networking standard. Considered very efficient in many types of network configurations, Token Ring still fell into obscurity as most leading vendors other than IBM placed their loyalties in Ethernet. The galvanizer was the IEEE’s pursuit of a single LAN standard which for a number of reasons went to Ethernet in 1982. Global approval of Ethernet as IEEE 802.3 was granted in 1984.

In the ensuing years, Ethernet has become ubiquitous. This ubiquity has led to powerful network hardware at incredibly low prices – all in an ever shrinking form factor per unit performance. The vast majority of Internet services are hosted on Ethernet networks, as are the user communities linking to those services.

Now a mature, universal Local Area Network (LAN) access standard, hardware supporting Ethernet (Switches and Network Interface Cards etc.) is commoditized and as such comparatively inexpensive and largely self-configuring. The entire TCP/IP suite is seamlessly supported by Ethernet, carried on various media ranging from CAT5e cable to fiber to digital microwave/radio.

In the next installment we’ll look at the evolution of Ethernet. That will set us up to explore the reconciliation between modern day Ethernet as a packet based protocol, and the time domain orientation of legacy telecommunications infrastructure.