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Driving Customer Loyalty Through Network Service Quality – by Heavy Reading
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3/31/2015  | 

Loyal customers are valuable; churn is costly. These observations have become axiomatic and most communications service providers (CSPs) are conscious of the need to improve customer loyalty as measured by indicators, such as Net Promoter Scores (NPS).

According to Heavy Reading research into wireless CSPs, they widely agree that network service quality is the top driver of customer loyalty, trumping customer care and price, especially for high-value customers. They have made good progress in understanding the "outside in" view of customers towards their organizations. They routinely collect customer satisfaction data through a variety of channels and many already use NPS. They also feel they have satisfactory visibility into network service quality, although Heavy Reading research finds that the number of CSPs who say they have an excellent view of their network is still relatively small.

However, CSPs strongly aspire to go further: to invest in improving their understanding of network service quality and its impact on customer loyalty. They recognize that such knowledge can help them reduce churn and optimize customer lifetime value, target network investment accurately, launch successful marketing campaigns or prevent the degradation of service performance in the first place, avoiding the high operational costs of dealing with customer issues reactively.

CSPs with mature customer experience management (CEM) initiatives already have a strong ability to correlate customer loyalty and network service quality and are investing most aggressively in improving it, for example, by investing in big data- driven "next-generation" CEM architectures and analytical applications.

However, CSPs starting out on their CEM journeys have also identified this as a key capability. They have an opportunity to leapfrog "first-generation" CEM tools and approaches with a second-generation CEM solution.

This white paper reviews the finding of recent Heavy Reading research into wireless CSP attitudes to and plans for driving customer loyalty through control of network service quality. It discusses the features needed in a next-generation CEM solution that will support a real-time understanding of the impact of the network on individual customers' experience, enabling CSPs to take appropriate actions to maintain both loyalty and profitability.

Section II looks at why network service quality matters to customer loyalty and CSP attitudes to improving it.

Section III expands on the principles of a next-generation CEM architecture.

SkyLIGHT Intro Video
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3/31/2015  | 
Testing Small Cells (Video)
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3/31/2015  | 
Small Cell Backhaul Performance Assurance
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3/31/2015  | 

Small Cells – Big Impact

There is no doubt we are attached to our mobile devices, to the point where they now outnumber the global human population. Mobile data will increase 1000-fold between 2014 and 2020, with users expecting service quality to keep in step. RF capacity has its limits, and is unable to keep up with demand unless a new radio access model emerges.

Mobile access networks are strained to maintain quality as more subscribers run bandwidth-intensive applications from a variety of devices. With the annual throughput of mobile traffic expected to increase from 58 Exabytes in 2013 to roughly 335 Exabytes by 2020, brute-force over-provisioning of bandwidth is no longer an economically feasible solution. Operators must implement strategies to meet growing quality of experience (QoE) expectations even in the face of finite spectrum.

Small cells are the answer to dramatic mobile traffic growth, but new challenges in the backhaul accompany them. Small cells allow operators to spatially share precious spectrum, operating inside the macro cell footprint and effectively bringing the network closer to the majority of users indoors and in highly dense urban areas. Unlicensed spectrum, including WiFi, also relieves licensed-band saturation, and small cells typically employ multiple technologies to scale their capacity.

The solution is as effective as it is necessary. Mobile operators will deploy 5 million small cells annually by 2017, where over half of mobile traffic will be carried by more than 62 million small cells worldwide. ABI Research forecasts 125% year-on-year growth of units shipped in roughly the same timeframe for a $3.6 billion market.

SkyLIGHT(TM) VCX Controller
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3/31/2015  | 

SkyLIGHT™ VCX Controller is the industry’s first performance assurance controller employing Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to bring advanced monitoring capabilities network-wide, without the need for expensive, high-end test equipment.

This radically more efficient approach to network performance monitoring combines all the benefits of virtualization without compromising test speed or precision. By eliminating key cost, scalability, and coverage barriers to network performance visibility, service providers can now more cost-effectively ensure a better quality of experience (QoE) for users.

The VCX Controller works together with Accedian’s Nano smart SFP (optical transponder) and compact gigabit Ethernet Modules to deliver multi-flow traffic generation and ability to monitor the performance of thousands of flows. The Modules are easy to install and cost up to 90% less than existing solutions, enabling service providers to realize the significant capital and operational efficiencies promised by an NFV architecture, while their customers benefit from a fully assured network.

Designed to fit seamlessly into a service provider’s existing infrastructure and operational practices and procedures, the VCX Controller uses the same interfaces as Accedian standalone solutions to interoperate openly with standards-based network elements, management platforms, analytics platforms, and more.

The result combines centralized control with distributed firepower. This approach is unique in its scalability, and its ability to openly interface network-wide intelligence with existing infrastructure, management, and control platforms.

VoLTE Performance Assurance
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3/31/2015  | 

As operators roll out VoLTE, QoS issues can quickly degrade, interrupt or prevent calls and roaming.

In a world where “5-bars” performance is expected anytime & anywhere, anything less impacts customer loyalty and revenue. VoLTE MOS & R-Value, Latency, delay variation, availability, and packet loss are just a few key metrics that must meet demanding specs for successful VoLTE services.

A real-time view of network performance lets operators respond quickly to QoS threats - and offer the best possible VoLTE experience to their customers.

NFV's Biggest Barrier: Overcoming the Operations Challenge – by Heavy Reading
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3/30/2015  | 

NFV promises to enable greater flexibility in network design and operation, supporting the deployment of virtual network functions (VNFs) in new locations to reduce cost and optimize service delivery. But the ability to install, move and manage new VNFs in a timely way is only one dimension of network flexibility. Operators are also looking for greater service agility - the ability to deliver services on demand, not only across VNFs but also across traditional network elements, since physical network infrastructure is not going to disappear for the foreseeable future.

Service flexibility and agility across both physical and virtual infrastructure requires a new approach to service fulfillment and assurance. In February 2015, the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) issued a white paper that coined the term Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) to describe the combination of capabilities needed to support the agile definition, fulfillment and assurance of end-to-end services across a hybrid network infrastructure.

LSO spans both existing operations support systems (OSSs) and the NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO) stack, bridging the gap between them. LSO needs to sit on top of existing OSSs today to manage the portion of services supported by physical network elements. However, to the greatest extent possible, the objective is to evolve away from legacy OSSs as more of the network is virtualized.

On its own, however, the NFV MANO does not deal with end-to-end service lifecycle management. Its focus is the orchestration of the NFV Infrastructure (NFVI) and the instantiation and lifecycle management of VNFs – the virtual equivalents of individual network elements or groups of network elements that chained together create a complex network function, such as an Evolved Packet Core (EPC).

End-to-end understanding of services resides at LSO level: LSO contains an inventory of the services that it is managing and orchestrating, and it associates a service with its underlying resources, whether these are provided by a physical network element, a VNF or a third party provider.

This paper adopts the MEF's LSO terminology and explores LSO's purpose, relationship with ETSI NFV MANO and required set of capabilities.

Section II expands on the drivers for network flexibility and service agility.

Section III examines the requirement for LSO, its relationship with OSSs and the NFV MANO and fulfillment and assurance use cases that demonstrate their interaction.

Section IV looks at the high-level capabilities that LSO should implement.

Huawei’s Telecom Transformation Plan: Five Initiatives – by Heavy Reading
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3/30/2015  | 

Huawei Technologies is using Mobile World Congress 2015 as a venue for making a number of announcements regarding new solutions and product updates. This paper examines five areas that Huawei is focusing on:

  • The transition from 4G to 5G mobile networks
  • Enabling 4k video delivery through new core routing technology
  • Making business support systems (BSSs) more capable of meeting 21st century consumer and business demands
  • Embracing open source technology for NFV
  • Embracing open source for hybrid could management
Evolution of Rating, Charging, Billing Systems in Digital Era
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3/30/2015  | 
Open Source Controllers: Key Enabler of the New IP – by Heavy Reading
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3/27/2015  | 

The competitive landscape for service providers demands that you deliver more innovative services faster than ever. The New IP, including technologies such as SDN, helps you streamline service delivery while maximizing current network assets.

Open source SDN controllers allow you to automate provisioning across different network elements—a key advantage when you need to manage a wide range of physical and virtual assets. According to Heavy Reading, open source SDN controllers help you avoid vendor lock-in while you innovate at the speed of business. Download the white paper to learn more.

The New IP: Time to Move from PoC to Revenue – by Heavy Reading
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3/27/2015  | 

To keep up with Web companies, service providers need an architectural approach that provides the same level of agility. The New IP, including Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN), is a great way to get started. And, according to Heavy Reading, you already have the tools to begin today.

Embracing the New IP with NFV and SDN enables you to deploy services faster and automate provisioning. By taking advantage of virtualization and automation technologies on the network, you can compete more effectively against the cloud provider model. Download the Heavy Reading paper to learn more.

Making the Business Case: Network Analytics for the New IP
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3/27/2015  | 

The New IP enables agile, low-cost network analytics that help mobile operators control costs and increase revenue. For example, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) makes insights actionable through dynamic policy controls, while Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) helps you efficiently scale capacity upward and downward on demand.

ACG Research performed a TCO analysis of Brocade network analytics architecture, including NFV, SDN, and an elastic framework that incorporates orchestration. In this paper, ACG compares the Brocade architecture with appliance-based architectures in two use cases. Download the paper to view detailed TCO comparisons and learn the benefits of the New IP.

The Internet of Things-Ready Infrastructure
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3/25/2015  | 

Connected devices are here to stay—forcing us to move forward into this brave new world where almost everything generates data traffic. While there’s much to consider, proactively addressing these challenges and adopting new approaches for enabling an IoT-ready network will help you chart a clearer course towards success. Read this whitepaper to learn more about:

• How to take advantage of the IoT trend without a wholesale rip-and-replace of your existing technology
• How to prepare for the impact of IoT without crippling your network infrastructure
• How to not sacrifice the availability and security of your network, data and application resources

Never Mind the IoT….Here Comes the Third Wave
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3/25/2015  | 

Internet of Things is a disruptive innovation that will revolutionize the way information is accessed, shared and used. Implementing Internet of Things (IoT) will require a fundamental change in how products are designed, built and brought to market. Successful implementation of IoT will depend on understanding the impact of these changes.

The paper discusses the various attributes and capabilities that a product needs to possess to be successful in the rapidly growing IoT market. It also talks about how a distributed architecture can be leveraged for successful IoT deployments.

The whitepaper also describes how IoT will usher a third wave of computing that will make technology pervasive like never before. The paper provides key insights on IoT and describes how IoT is actually a series of vertical use cases with incredible diversity.

Aricent’s end-to-end portfolio of engineering services for IoT caters to multiple industry verticals including automotive, industrial automation, utilities, wearables and mobile and consumer electronics. Our IoT offerings portfolio includes software enablers such as IoT gateway - a middleware component, and IoT platform - a scalable hardware reference platform, which can be leveraged in various scenarios to accelerate the development of innovative IoT solutions.

Warehouse-based DC Service Solution
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3/24/2015  | 
4 steps to build a green, energy efficient data center
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3/23/2015  | 
4.5G – For the Next Five Years
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3/23/2015  | 
5G to a Super Connected World
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3/20/2015  | 
The ROADS to Providing Peak Service Experience
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3/19/2015  | 
Video: How EANTC Tested Cisco's Virtualization Solutions
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3/19/2015  | 
Next-Generation Platforms for Telecom Cloud Services – by Heavy Reading
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3/19/2015  | 

Telecom services are shifting to a cloud infrastructure, in which new services can be rapidly provisioned by deploying virtual network functions (VNFs) instead of physical boxes. This dramatically reduces the operating cost of carrier networks and allows carriers to invest in new infrastructure as revenue grows. To gain the full benefit of this new cloud infrastructure, carriers need to build a network of carrier-grade platforms that support network functions virtualization (NFV) from the data center and central office to remote base stations. This requires a new class of scalable platform that com- bines high-performance switching and server-class processing performance with five- nines availability, along with options that comply with the relevant equipment practice and power/thermal footprints of central offices and other telecom locations.

Traffic on mobile networks is expanding in both bandwidth and scope. LTE and LTE Advanced are becoming widely deployed with bandwidths of 10-100 Mbit/s today, growing to 1 Gbit/s or more in the future. This new capacity enables subscribers to view HD video on smart devices such as mobile phones and tablets but creates bandwidth bottlenecks between the mobile core and the application servers when many subscribers simultaneously view popular content. At the same time, we are seeing increased interest in the use of mobile networks to support low-bandwidth applications connecting household meters and other things to the Internet. The Inter- net of Things (IoT) places different constraints on the mobile infrastructure, requiring many low-speed connections and greater upstream traffic. Cloud infrastructures make it easier for carriers to support these developing applications.

NFV and software-defined networking (SDN) enable a virtualized infrastructure in which functions and resources are provisioned and reallocated to meet short-term requirements. Telecom services require some resources that are shared across the network and other resources that are very local to subscribers, such as the radio access network (RAN) and local caching to support video on demand (VoD) and other applications. The network needs to provide adequate backhaul from the RAN and high-speed networking between systems in the central office and data center as virtual environments can dramatically increase East-West traffic between servers.

The challenge in deploying telecom cloud services is to build a common software and hardware infrastructure that delivers the performance and flexibility required at different physical locations in the network. This can be best achieved using scalable solutions that have been developed specifically to support NFV and SDN in data centers, central offices and remote locations.

This white paper explores the benefits of deploying a telecom cloud infrastructure for both carriers and their customers and examines the changes in modular platform development required to meet the demands of virtualized environments. The paper goes on to review a new approach to this challenge from Advantech that uses a flexible processor module and software environment across multiple systems, including top-of-rack switches, enterprise appliance platforms and a carrier-grade appliance platform. This approach is intended to bring together the benefits of standard servers, high-speed switches and ATCA-like carrier-grade availability.

Whitepaper: Deploying Virtual Network Functions – The Complementary Roles of TOSCA & NETCONF/YANG – by Heavy Reading
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3/17/2015  | 

The agile and automated management of virtualized network functions (VNFs) throughout their lifecycles is a key goal for network functions virtualization (NFV). This white paper focuses on the first phase of the VNF lifecycle: the agile deployment and fulfillment of VNFs in the cloud. It explores the complementary roles played by cloud deployment templates, such as Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA), and the network data modeling language, YANG, and its associated configuration application programming interface (API), NETCONF.

Heavy Reading research consistently confirms that service agility is the top driver for NFV adoption, closely followed by operational cost reduction. Network operators want to be able to launch network services more rapidly and with much lower cost than they can today.

If the network functions that services depend upon are virtualized, they can be deployed very quickly, potentially anywhere in the network, without the delays associated with physical hardware procurement and installation. When VNFs are spun up on top of cloud infrastructure, they take advantage of the instant availability of virtual resources.

In addition, VNFs can be instantiated using cloud application lifecycle management techniques that automate deployment, reducing operational cost and time-to-launch. NFV taps into the agile application lifecycle management opportunity that cloud delivers to achieve operators' service agility goals.

However, VNFs need further configuration at runtime to fulfill customer-specific services. A cloud deployment template can help to turn up a new VNF instance so that it is operationally ready, but such a template does not have an API that can configure the VNF dynamically, on demand. This is where runtime configuration approaches are needed to complete the fulfillment process. NETCONF/YANG is an example of one such approach that delivers a programmatic configuration experience that can be harnessed to support the automated lifecycle management goals of NFV.

The Value of the Hyperscale Cloud: Understanding the Benefits for NFV – by Heavy Reading
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3/17/2015  | 

Hyperscale cloud has been developed by the Internet giants to support the creation and delivery of software-based services at blistering speed, and at the lowest possible cost. Since software is the foundation for service innovation in the 21st century, those players that master this capability will eat markets – the achievement to date of Amazon, Google, Facebook, et al.

The original ETSI network functions virtualization (NFV) vision was to adopt hyperscale cloud architecture and practices to accelerate the creation and delivery of soft- ware-based network services, restoring operators' ability to compete on a level playing field against new Internet rivals.

This vision has become somewhat obscured along the way, due to misunderstandings about the hyperscale cloud itself and how to migrate to it. The telecom industry has spent considerable effort on the development of a virtualized, programmable infrastructure that is fit for NFV. However, it has so far made little effort to address the other two cornerstones of hyperscale cloud: a highly modular ("microservice"- based), scalable and available application architecture and DevOps management approach.

Without all the cornerstones supporting each other, the cloud edifice is weak and doesn't deliver the transformational benefits enjoyed by rival Internet practitioners. This white paper defines what hyperscale cloud is, and points out the interdependence between each of its three cornerstones. It busts the three big myths about hyperscale cloud that are often used to distract operators and point them toward less transformational virtualization architectures. Finally, it looks at how hyperscale cloud is being applied to the network and what steps operators must take to ensure that they achieve what they hope for and expect from NFV, driving industry change rather than reacting to it.

Questions Every Service Provider Should Ask When Evaluating Identity Access Management
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3/16/2015  | 
Service provider networks have unique requirements that must be carefully considered when implementing an Identity Access Management strategy. Securing large, multi-vendor and multi-technology networks is a daunting task and requires a consistent set of security procedures and policies that are diligently followed. Hundreds of network operations personnel as well as external contractors and equipment vendors are required to access, manage and maintain large service provider networks consisting of hundreds of thousands of physical and virtual network functions and operations systems. This solutions brief identifies some of the questions service providers should ask and outlines the key capabilities of Nakina’s NI-GUARDIAN Identity Access Management solution.
Report: Validating Cisco’s Service Provider Virtualization & Cloud Portfolio
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3/16/2015  | 

The big question facing every communications service provider (CSP) right now is: How can I build and run a programmable, intelligent, responsive, efficient, flexible, secure yet open network that has a high degree of automation, enables me to configure and activate new services quickly, makes best use of emerging cloud capabilities, meets customers’ needs and helps me make money?

In British soccer circles, that’s called “a big ask.”

Yes, it’s a major challenge but it’s not insurmountable. There are many smart innovators in the global communications and networking technology sector working on the answers and coming up with solutions every day. What CSPs need to know is whether these new, next-generation, New IP technologies can meet their needs right now and in the future. As an independent and trusted media organization at the heart of the global communications technology community, Light Reading is best placed to provide some critical answers to these all-important questions.

As part of that role, Light Reading asked another independent and trusted organization, the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC), to visit Cisco Systems in San Jose, Calif., put itself in the shoes of a CSP and conduct a series of validation and verification exercises on a number of Cisco cloud, software-defined networking (SDN) and virtualization platforms, which Cisco has been developing during the past few years.

The EANTC team spent two weeks at Cisco’s premises, conducting multiple tests, asking lots of important questions and keeping track of what they did, why they did it and what the outcomes were.

This report is the result of those two weeks. On the following pages you will find the EANTC team’s blow-by-blow account of how they analyzed, verified and used Cisco’s technology in the same way as a network operator team, and the results of their findings.

What’s important to note is that the EANTC team adapted its modus operandi in a way that was relevant to the cloud environment it encountered. EANTC is known for testing the attributes, limits and multivendor deployment suitability of networking technology.

While many of the same techniques were used in this engagement with Cisco, EANTC found itself faced not so much with a set of boxes that needed to be evaluated for performance but instead with a more holistic service enablingarchitecture and environment that could be functionally explored and put through its paces.

What they found is that a number of complex provisioning and fault management aspects of service provider networks can be automated and programmed on demand, and that services can be rolled out much more quickly and easily than with traditional configuration and activation tools.

The following pages, then, deliver a detailed account of the EANTC team’s processes and findings. We hope you find the report informative and useful.

WHITE PAPER: LTE Advanced
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3/13/2015  | 
This whitepaper is a primer for anyone wanting to explore the evolution path of LTE and the key capabilities introduced by evolving standards that define LTE Advanced. It discusses the versions that have been introduced into the market, explores their advantages and history, and the regions where they are gaining traction.
Video: Cisco’s Virtual Managed Services Solution
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3/12/2015  | 
MWC 2015 Show Report
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3/12/2015  | 

Sponsored by F5

Mobile World Congress 2015 was something of a landmark event. Sure, every year there is something ‘new’ to see or talk about or experience. But this year there were a number of key advances that are setting the communications industry’s path to the future.

Without a doubt, virtualization and the role of cloud capabilities and applications are having a real impact on the wireless industry, in a number of different ways. Compared with a year ago, network operators have made great advances with their network functions virtualization (NFV) strategies and are now making the move from the lab to the network with virtualized functions from the core (evolved packet core and IMS capabilities) to the edge (radio access and customer premises equipment). There is also a very real sense that the data center is becoming part of the wide area network.

For the successful introduction of software-defined networking (SDN), NFV and cloud capabilities, though, the network infrastructure has to be much more flexible than ever before, be able to deliver faster transmission speeds, enable low latency and be secure.

Those are all significant challenges.

However, the industry is getting there as it takes its first steps towards what the industry is collectively referring to as 5G: This year’s MWC showed us how technologies such as carrier aggregation are helping mobile operators to offer downlink speeds greater than 300 Mbit/s with ever-decreasing levels of latency (creeping down from around 50 milliseconds towards the sub-10 ms levels expected in a few years’ time), while the subject of security was much more prominent than in the past.

The issue of security is particularly relevant to the various Internet of Things (IoT) developments taking place within the mobile community. While connected cars (as well as motorbikes and cycles) were still prominent on the show floor, there were many more devices (things!) on display that, in one way or another (via licensed or unlicensed spectrum), will become connected to the cloud. The expected tens of billions of connections need to be secure and the information flowing over those connections needs to be analyzed, which is why analytics (as it has been for a few years now) was another major theme at the event.

Those things include smartphones and other devices that we humans use, including watches and other wearables: MWC is never lacking new device advances.

Of course, many IoT connections will not require very high data transmission rates, but some of the applications on show at MWC most certainly will. The bandwidth demands of 4K video are already quite well known – an actual (not advertised) connection of around 25-30 Mbit/s depending on multiple factors including the use of compression and caching technologies – but there were a number of virtual reality demonstrations on the MWC show floor this year. That sort of application might be requiring connections closer to 1 Gbit/s, no matter what the delivery media.

What’s very clear is that all of the above developments will come to very little if network operators are not able to understand what’s happening in their networks and applications and then simply and easily manage the situation: Reliable and relevant management tools should now be at the top of every CTO/CIO wish-list.

This report provides some insights into the opportunities and challenges facing mobile operators today based on the presentations given, and discussions had, at this year’s MWC. We hope you find it of interest.

The F5 Security for Service Providers Reference Architecture
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3/10/2015  | 

Communications service providers (CSPs) must ensure that customers can successfully make calls and use their smartphone apps with reliable connectivity, and provide differentiated services that enhance competitiveness and can boost relatively flat revenue streams. Service providers therefore need to guarantee superior network quality without adding complexity or cost. Because security threats have a directly detrimental impact on network quality and customer experiences, security is a top priority, and CSPs must constantly defend against a growing number of threats.

Meanwhile, service providers are grappling with explosive data growth while competitive and industry pressures drive them to embark on time-consuming and costly upgrades for 4G LTE. This transition is changing the security threat landscape dramatically. In addition, IPv6 migrations and network functions virtualization (NFV) technology also are imminent or already underway. As a result, CSPs need multi-faceted support to ensure that their networks remain predictable, reliable, and available.

F5 offers a suite of dynamic, multi-layered security solutions capable of meeting these CSP needs across the entire service delivery architecture. This solution breadth, which is necessary to protect the entire CSP infrastructure, cannot be provided by traditional firewalls and point products. F5 security solutions help CSPs to optimize, secure, and monetize their networks by simplifying their delivery architectures and operations, boosting service availability and reliability, and providing application awareness and control while reducing costs.

NFV: Beyond Virtualization
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3/10/2015  | 

The service provider community is showing significant and growing interest in network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions. Service providers are looking to build on the groundwork put into place by cloud and software defined network (SDN) initiatives to augment the virtualization technologies of core service provider network services and functions. As service providers continue to define and drive towards NFV architectures, their interest has generated a lot of discussion surrounding the value of different aspects of NFV and what is required to realize the benefits NFV is designed to deliver.

As noted in the original NFV white paper from the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)1, the virtualization of functions can potentially reduce capital and operational costs, increase service agility, reduce time to market, deliver a common and consistent infrastructure for multiple applications, and introduce innovation by creating an open ecosystem that encourages new industry participants. As service providers and vendors look at the details of implementing NFV and accomplishing its stated goals, however, they’re raising concerns about the realization of some of these goals and whether implementation translates to the benefits initially expected.

Virtualization adds an extra layer of software and management through the virtual hosting infrastructure. While providing agility for improved service availability and reliability, it significantly increases the complexity of managing the infrastructure.

The F5 LTE Roaming Reference Architecture
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3/10/2015  | 

Global travel and communications are normal in today’s society, and consumers want to be able to make calls and connect to the Internet with minimal, if any, configuration changes no matter where in the world they are. In addition, an explosion of different devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and embedded computer systems have created a new landscape for data usage and availability. LTE networks are becoming the standard for 4G wireless networks because they deliver the high-speed data access required and help fill consumer demand for faster downloads and ubiquitous Internet availability.

LTE network architecture represents a major shift in how voice and data services are delivered and managed, from circuit-switched voice communications to a packet-based, IP network infrastructure. To be successful in serving roaming subscribers from these new networks, communications service providers (CSPs) must deploy a dynamic Diameter framework that can effectively manage policies for connectivity and keep costs under control, while making use of advanced capabilities and adhering to the telecommunications regulations now being implemented.

Infonetics Research Whitepaper: Four Diameter Use Cases for Operators to Consider when Planning for IMS
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3/10/2015  | 

As mobile operators migrate to all-IP networks (access to core), signaling is migrating from SS7 to Diameter protocol. Diameter is an IP signaling protocol defined by the IETF. At its core, Diameter enables transport and session management. Other standards bodies such as 3GPP and ETSI have used Diameter as the foundation for authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA) functions in IP-based networks. 3GPP has formally defined the use of the Diameter protocol for AAA, mobility management, and policy and charging control in all-IP networks.

The Diameter protocol is a peer-to-peer protocol enabling IMS and LTE (and some 3G) network elements to communicate. To help manage Diameter transactions, the IETF defined Diameter agents to facilitate routing, translation, and redirection of Diameter messages. This redirection of Diameter messages adds flexibility to an operator’s communication network infrastructure.

As LTE networks begin to deploy and grow, a key challenge is scaling the signaling and control plane due to the increasing number of Diameter messages passing among network elements. To help address these issues, 3GPP defined the Diameter Routing Agent (DRA), and the GSMA defined the Diameter Edge Agent (DEA). A host of products incorporating DRA and DEA functionality have been developed to address the scaling of the all-IP signaling and control plane.

As a result, a large number of Diameter products encompass a suite of functionality. The product names run the gamut from routers to routing controllers to signaling controllers. We have opted to classify this burgeoning product category "Diameter signaling controllers." The signaling controller provides centralized routing, traffic management, and load balancing among Diameter and non-Diameter elements within IMS and mobile broadband networks. It also supports protocol mediation and interworking functions between carrier networks. A fully loaded Diameter signaling controller will encompass the Diameter agents, DRA, DEA, load balancing, and IWF (Interworking Function).

Implementing NFV: Tips & Traps – by Heavy Reading
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3/10/2015  | 

Network functions virtualization (NFV) has made remarkable progress on many fronts. This includes market acceptance, architecture definition and supporting specifications.

As a result, the industry will very soon move into the commercialization phase, leveraging the many business and technical lessons learned in proof-of-concept (PoC) trials and more informal vendor lab trials.

Timelines, phases and even challenges for NFV implementation will certainly vary from operator to operator, but we believe that a common tapestry of implementation best practices will emerge, given the global nature of telecom customer and vendor relationships.

This whitepaper focuses on this topic, examining NFV implementation requirements as well as common tips and traps that operators must consider as they move head-long into the NFV implementation phase.

Building the Carrier Grade NFV Infrastructure – White Paper
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3/10/2015  | 

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) is the telecommunications company’s version of IT virtualization, achieved by augmenting the latter with the carrier grade capabilities required for high availability, security, and performance, as well as for more efficient network management. In NFV, software-based virtualized network functions (VNFs) run on one or more virtual machines (VMs) and are chained together to create communications services. NFV solutions consist of three layers: a VNF layer running on an NFV infrastructure (NFVI) layer, and an NFV management and orchestration (NFV-MANO) layer which manages the VNF and NFVI layers. The NFV server, the basic building block for NFV carrier grade solutions, consists of NFV software running on industry-standard hardware.

This paper discusses the benefits and challenges of NFV, and examines how Wind River® Titanium Server, the industry’s first feature-complete NFV server, achieves an extremely high level of reliability, providing a solid foundation for building carrier grade NVF network equipment, networks, and services.

Whitepaper: Deploying Virtual Network Functions – The Complementary Roles of TOSCA & NETCONF/YANG – by Heavy Reading
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3/9/2015  | 

The agile and automated management of virtualized network functions (VNFs) throughout their lifecycles is a key goal for network functions virtualization (NFV). This white paper focuses on the first phase of the VNF lifecycle: the agile deployment and fulfillment of VNFs in the cloud. It explores the complementary roles played by cloud deployment templates, such as Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA), and the network data modeling language, YANG, and its associated configuration application programming interface (API), NETCONF.

Heavy Reading research consistently confirms that service agility is the top driver for NFV adoption, closely followed by operational cost reduction. Network operators want to be able to launch network services more rapidly and with much lower cost than they can today.

If the network functions that services depend upon are virtualized, they can be deployed very quickly, potentially anywhere in the network, without the delays associated with physical hardware procurement and installation. When VNFs are spun up on top of cloud infrastructure, they take advantage of the instant availability of virtual resources.

In addition, VNFs can be instantiated using cloud application lifecycle management techniques that automate deployment, reducing operational cost and time-to-launch. NFV taps into the agile application lifecycle management opportunity that cloud delivers to achieve operators' service agility goals.

However, VNFs need further configuration at runtime to fulfill customer-specific services. A cloud deployment template can help to turn up a new VNF instance so that it is operationally ready, but such a template does not have an API that can configure the VNF dynamically, on demand. This is where runtime configuration approaches are needed to complete the fulfillment process. NETCONF/YANG is an example of one such approach that delivers a programmatic configuration experience that can be harnessed to support the automated lifecycle management goals of NFV.

Video: In the Lab – Cisco Service Provider SDN Test
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3/9/2015  | 
Video – In the Cloud With Telecom Italia
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3/9/2015  | 
Realizing Operators Digital Vision
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3/6/2015  | 
Overcoming the Delivery Challenges of ABR Streaming – by Heavy Reading
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3/5/2015  | 

For a number of years, service and content providers have sought the best way to make the dream of multiscreen video a reality by streaming live video, on-demand content and Internet video programming to laptops, connected TVs, tablets, game consoles, smartphones and other video-capable devices. However, as the number and variety of such devices have multiplied, providers have often been frustrated in their attempts to do so.

The next-generation technology designed to overcome these hurdles is adaptive bit-rate (ABR) streaming over HTTP. Unlike earlier video delivery methods such as progressive downloading over HTTP, ABR streaming enables service and content providers to adjust (or adapt) their on-demand, live and over-the-top (OTT) video streams to changing conditions – such as bandwidth fluctuations, the differences between playback devices, varying wired and wireless connection speeds and shifting wireless conditions. Thus, robust network connections and high bandwidth availability are no longer needed to stream video feeds to the growing array of IP- enabled devices.

This game-changing technology development has helped fuel the current explosion in video-enabled devices, by making it far easier and cheaper to distribute video to those devices. Thus, it has liberated consumers from their dependence on such proprietary formats as Flash, which relied on costly servers and couldn't sup- port as many video services. As a result, many consumers now expect any video content to be available on any device, over any network connection, at any time. Furthermore, consumers increasingly expect the quality of the video on their other screens to match the same high quality that they have long enjoyed on their home TV screens.

ICT Transformation Roundtable Executive Summary
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3/5/2015  | 
Bridging the Gap Between Physical & Virtual Networks: Combining OSS & NFV MANO for Successful Next- Generation Operations – by Heavy Reading
Information Resources  | 
3/3/2015  | 

Network operators recognize that they trail far behind Internet competitors when it comes to the speed and cost of service delivery. Network services are fundamental enablers of the modern economy but operators struggle to deliver them in the time-scales and with the cost profiles that spell success in today's world.

The goal of network functions virtualization (NFV) is to turn the network into an all-software environment that will enable network services to be delivered with the speed, low operational cost and agility of other digital services, including those pioneered by the Internet players. But this objective raises two challenges:

  • To implement NFV successfully, operators must put in place new management capabilities that were not previously needed in the physical network.
  • The network will not – for the foreseeable future, if ever – become an all-software, virtualized environment. Operators need to be able to manage network functions embedded in physical appliances in as streamlined a manner as virtualized network functions (VNFs). Otherwise, they will face a situation where the virtual components of an end-to-end network service can be provisioned and managed in a rapid, low-cost way, but the operations support system (OSS) for the physical network will act as a brake on overall service delivery.

This white paper discusses the new operational requirements for NFV and argues that operators cannot afford to apply these simply to VNFs, in isolation from the rest of the network. It looks at the need for a next-generation OSS stack that can converge virtual and physical network operations, based on a common service model and common capabilities. It suggests a starting point for such a transformation – activation, or service orchestration, as it is often called in a next-generation OSS environment – and a key area of focus – policy definition and management, which will be key to operational process automation across the hybrid network.

NFV Elasticity Brief: Extending NFV Benefits from Carrier-Grade Central Offices to the Network Edge
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3/3/2015  | 

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) enables service providers and operators to rapidly deploy new services with greater flexibility, improving capital and operational efficiencies. NFV decouples functionality from location which allows software-based services to be run where required in central offices, enterprises and data centers. However, a gap existed to extend the differentiating benefits of NFV to access points, small cells and base stations.

Advantech’s all-encompassing NFV Elasticity program closes this gap by supporting consistent, scalable platforms based on Intel® Architecture, with server-class processors that can run Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) at almost any location in the network. Service providers will now be able to cover peak loading using NFV-capable equipment in the core networks while efficiently provisioning a base line service capacity at the edge with enhanced access equipment running the same VNFs at lowest latency. This results in best subscriber experience and optimum resource utilization at the lowest cost.

This product brief describes the huge potential of Advantech’s NFV Elasticity initiative and the network platforms that make it possible.

Heavy Reading White Paper: Platforms for Accelerating the Virtual Infrastructure
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3/3/2015  | 

Network infrastructures are shifting from physical systems to virtual functions, and this requires a new class of network appliance that provides high-performance processing, balanced input/output (I/O) and hardware or software acceleration. Soft-ware-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are changing the way networks and services are provisioned. This new virtualized infra-structure requires a combination of standard server technology and modular systems that can be configured to support line-rate performance with network inter-faces up to 100 Gbit/s.

The increasing use of smart devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, and cloud-based services, such as remote storage and video on demand (VoD), is driving data bandwidth and requiring a much more flexible network. Mobile networks require a complex infrastructure that includes systems to handle data and voice connectivity, quality of service (QoS) and subscriber management. Data centers need high-speed connectivity and access to storage and other resources based on the services being provided. Conventional networks require significant investment and can take days or weeks to provision.

SDN and NFV enable a virtualized infrastructure where functions and resources can be provisioned and reallocated to meet short-term requirements. This gives service providers significant flexibility in deploying expensive hardware resources to meet customer demands. Service providers are expecting to drive new revenues and dramatically increase return on investment (ROI) by using standard server platforms that support virtual functions.

The challenge for anyone deploying SDN and NFV is delivering these benefits while still maintaining line-rate performance. Many network ports that are already running at 10 Gbit/s will quickly move to 40 Gbit/s and 100 Gbit/s as data rates continue to increase. Virtual environments extend this challenge by increasing the East-West traffic between virtual functions running on different hardware platforms. The key to meeting this challenge is to deploy hardware platforms that can support the SDN- and NFV-based virtual infrastructure and have integrated hardware and software to support high-speed network interfaces and the acceleration of critical functions, such as security processing and load balancing.

The purpose of this white paper is to examine these issues. The paper explores the requirements for delivering line-speed performance in a virtual infrastructure environment and reviews an exciting solution to this challenge that is based on a 2U rack-mount chassis with four Intel Xeon E5-4600 v2 series processors, with up to 12 cores per processor, and integrated support for up to 640 Gbit/s of I/O bandwidth. This highly-integrated solution provides the flexibility to implement security acceleration up to 400 Gbit/s and stateful load balancing across many virtual servers and networking I/O. The platform supports multiple high-speed network interfaces, including 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100GE). The paper also describes an off-the-shelf soft-ware solution for supporting NFV and other virtual environments on this platform with line-rate performance.

Service Chaining in Carrier Networks – by Heavy Reading
Information Resources  | 
3/2/2015  | 

Service chaining is an emerging set of technologies and processes that enable operators to configure network services dynamically in software without having to make changes to the network at the hardware level. By routing traffic flows according to a "service graph," service chaining addresses the requirement for both optimization of the network, through better utilization of resources; and monetization, through the provisioning of services that are tailored to the customer context.

This white paper examines why dynamic service chaining is useful and how it enables operators to dynamically create services using appliance-based and virtualized network functions (VNFs). It will analyze implementation options in carrier net- works, specifically addressing the role of the classifier, packet-header options and the importance of metadata.

Why "Network Ossification" Is a Problem

Service chaining is not a new idea. Insofar as network equipment is hardwired back-to-back to create a processing path, chaining of network functions in hardware is the de facto operating model. The challenge is that hardwired service chains are difficult to deploy and change. They are characterized by hand-crafted complexity, with lifecycles that are long and static. This leads to "network ossification."

In competitive markets, with rapid innovation at the application layer, this limits operators' ability to address emerging use cases and business models. Ossification, in effect, unnecessarily restricts the addressable market for telecom services – which is obviously a problem for a sector with modest top-line revenue growth.

The issue today is that the application layer (the services used by consumers) is very dynamic, with rapid evolution in end-user services, yet networks are static. To address this, network operators want to accelerate the transition to software-centric, programmable networks. Operators have seen what can be achieved within the software-defined data center networking paradigm, and they want to adapt those architectures and toolsets to bring these concepts to carrier networks.

DNS Security for Service Providers: An Active Approach at L7 - by Heavy Reading
Information Resources  | 
2/26/2015  | 

In the evolution to all-IP, the DNS has become a critical network protocol. In all but the smallest service provider networks, these transactions are now taking place at the rate of millions per second.

Because of its importance, a company's DNS infrastructure has for some time been one of the favorite targets of hackers. The attack type traditionally associated with the DNS has been a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which overloads the servers with an overwhelmingly large volume of communication requests, thus rendering them unavailable to legitimate service requests.

The motivation and organization of attackers has changed fundamentally. Whereas early attackers tended to be isolated individuals that bore a grudge or were just social misfits, today's attackers are far more organized, much greater in number and far more heavily resourced – including organized crime, terrorist organizations and even nation states. Attack tools have also been greatly simplified, so that the expertise needed to leverage them is much less than it used to be. Many attack tools are also available online at low cost.

As a result, attackers are investing a lot of resources in finding new ways to attack and manipulate DNS resources for criminal ends. Not only are attackers finding new ways to overwhelm the DNS resources of businesses and services providers and render them inoperable. They are also leveraging and manipulating the DNS protocol itself as one of the most effective attack vectors for the exfiltration – stealing – of highly valuable, proprietary information from consumers and businesses, including service providers themselves.

Huawei Storage Becomes an Industry Backbone
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2/26/2015  | 
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Networks of the future will rely on "white box" switches and servers rather than proprietary hardware and that's going to alter the shape of the communications industry. Who says so? John Chambers.
LRTV Documentaries
In Ericsson's 5G Lab

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Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders visits Ericsson's labs in Stockholm to find out about the vendor's 5G device prototype from the leader of the vendor's 5G product strategy, Hĺkan Andersson.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Power Play With GrupoGiro

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Daniel Heredia, CEO of Energiro, the power management services part of Spain's Grupo Giro, explains why his company has just struck a partnership with Huawei for uninterruptible power supply products and how he hopes it can take the partnership into other markets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Intros Smart Device for eLTE

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Huawei has developed a secure, location-aware multimedia smartphone for its eLTE trunked radio solution, says Huawei's Norman Frisch.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Win Video, Win All

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Video is going to be the next main source of revenue for operators. Operators have big opportunities and advantages to monetize video services. Globally, Huawei has helped more than 70 operators achieve over 30 million video subscribers. Watch this video for more.
LRTV Custom TV
The Benefits of HyperScale Clouds for NFV

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Hyperscale cloud has been developed by the Internet giants to support the creation and delivery of software-based services at blistering speeds, and at the lowest possible cost. The original ETSI NFV vision was to adopt hyperscale cloud architecture and practices. This vision has become somewhat obscured along the way, due to misunderstandings about the hyperscale ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
eLTE Rapid Meets the Need for Speed

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Designed especially for emergency and dedicated ad hoc local mobile communications coverage, Huawei's eLTE Rapid solution can deliver trunked voice, video and data coverage for multiple users over a 6km range and be set up in just 15 minutes, explains Huawei's Norman Frisch.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
On Videos: Challenges & Opportunities

3|26|15   |   5:56   |   (0) comments


Most everything is now connected. And along with 4K and 4G technologies, everyone could be creating and broadcasting video contents. Users are expecting better video experience with any screen, anywhere and anytime. Operators will meet new challenges, but also see some big opportunities.
LRTV Custom TV
JDSU: Delivering Dynamic Networks for a Personalized Experience

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Light Reading speaks to JDSU at Mobile World Congress 2015 about new solutions in the areas of HetNets, VoLTE, backhaul, virtualization, big data analytics, and real-time intelligence.
LRTV Custom TV
Smarter Service Chaining & New Ways to Benefit From Qosmos Technology

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David Le Goff, director of strategic and product marketing at Qosmos, explains how the company has added application awareness to subscriber information to make service chaining more efficient and reduce costs for networking and infrastructure. In addition, Qosmos technology, which has been delivered as C libraries, is now also available as a virtual machine, ...
Between the CEOs
Qosmos CEO: The Changing Face of DPI

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LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures. Also, how the comms market is becoming more like the automotive industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FC Schalke Scores With Its Agile Stadium

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Top German soccer club FC Schalke 04 has deployed a new, agile WiFi network from Huawei in its Veltins-Arena stadium and is reaping the benefits in terms of customer satisfaction and business opportunities, explains marketing chief Alexander Jobst.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Insights on Mobile Video

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More people than ever are now watching videos on smartphones. Seventy percent of mobile traffic will be video traffic until 2018. In this video, Huawei's exports give their insights on mobile video in terms of business model, network planning and 4G network construction.
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BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.
Chattanooga’s EPB publicly owned utility comms company has become a poster child for how to enable a local economy using next-gen networking technology. Steve Saunders, Founder of Light Reading, sits down with Harold DePriest, president and CEO of EPB, to learn how EPB is bringing big time tech to small town America.