NCN April 2018

Page 1


Network Communications News

April 2018

Is the green truly in the grey? Janne Paananen, technology manager at power control specialist, Eaton, takes on the challenge of power consumption

inside... Wireless Networks

UPS and Power Management

Knowledge Network

Where now for wireless?

Do you have power control sorted?

Nokia tackles bandwidth


In this issue… Regulars

Knowledge Network

4 Editorial

12 Taking It To The Edge

When will we see the 5G phenomenon, and will it be as much of a culture shock as anticipated?

NCN had the privilege of speaking with Mike Wilkinson of Edgewater Networks, delving into the company’s recent expansion and combatting key issues the sector finds itself up against

6 Industry News What’s the latest?

10 On the Case W ho’s s teppin g into the l im e l ight t hi s month, a nd what a re t h e y u p to?

22 Q&A Next to follow suit in NCN’s insightful Q&A, Alastair Winsey at ThousandEyes talks about thriving in a connected world

24 Project Focus NCN takes a look at what Colt has been up to with the help of Cisco. Has a key milestone been achieved?

36 Company Showcase

14 Bandwidth-hungry Culture D o n Re c k l e s of No k i a ta ke s o n t h e t h o r ny issu e of b a n d w i d t h a nd h ow to so l ve t h e eve rgrowing d e m a n d


18 Retail Revolution Will SD-WAN be a major player in the retail revolution? Vanessa Armstrong of Hughes Europe explains why it will


20 Connected Culture In The IoT Age Craig Riegelhaupt at Tangoe talks to NCN about how to adopt an effective Telecom Expense Management strategy in the age of IoT and the connected enterprise

Getting a handle on the latest innovations in the industry

38 Know How David Trossell of Bridgeworks explores whether the ongoing impact of the changing data centre, and the lower networking costs will eventually make the impossible, actually possible


@NCNMag 2 | April 2018



Network Communications News

April 2018

April 2018

Is the green truly in the grey? Janne Paananen, technology manager at power control specialist, Eaton, takes on the challenge of power consumption

Wireless Networks 26 Wireless Vs Fibre Jamie Flick of Mimosa Networks assesses new technologies that are narrowing the quality divide

inside... Wireless Networks

UPS and Power Management

Knowledge Network

Where now for wireless?

Do you have power control sorted?

Nokia tackles bandwidth

Editor-in-Chief: Daniel J Sait

28 Indecent Exposure Could Wi-Fi be a business’ weakest link? Greig Schofield at Netmetix explores how and why it could be

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30 T hink Smart, Think Smart Power

Editorial Coordinator: Jordan O’Brien

Could these new smart product lines by Schneider Electric fill the industry gap?

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32 Case Closed Alan Luscombe at Uninterruptible Power Supplies Ltd argues the case for VRLA technology

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34 Environmental Impact Is the green truly in the grey? Janne Paananen of Eaton takes on the challenge of power consumption


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April 2018 | 3


Culture shock


e return this month to the prospect of a huge rise in computing at the ‘edge’, driven in part by increasingly intelligent networks and a desire from service providers to deliver new and significant changes in the products and services they deliver. When 5G begins to bite in a few years’ time, then that phenomenon will only increase. Some of these advances will deliver significant changes to the lives of the people using them through improved connectivity, entertainment, and communications with work and family. However, with some of the services now beginning to appear on the horizon, particularly in the sphere of automation, these new network-driven technologies have the power to deliver huge cultural change affecting the lives of millions, but also the built and natural environment too. Automation of vehicles, machines, increased machine intelligence within networks, and the large rise in the number of data centres will deliver huge cultural change at

4 | April 2018

Daniel J Sait, editor-in-chief, ATM

home and at work, not to mention environmental impact. In the past when huge technological changes have driven cultural change, that change was often left to manage itself. Large amounts of workers having to adjust to new urban styles of living is just one example where better planning and a more enlightened approach to sharing the wealth could have delivered less painful, more positive change. These were times when (perhaps apart from more recent changes in Chinese population concentration) corporate responsibility and environmental responsibilities were concepts unknown to most. The Digital Infrastructure industry cannot make that claim and is fully aware of the need to behave responsibly in terms of the changes it will deliver and how to help deliver positive, managed change. It is possible to argue that the responsibility of manging this change is ultimately down to governments and the large providers at the front-end who deliver the services. However, as those who are providing the technology that will deliver those changes, this industry cannot

stand apart and claim there is no role for them to play; we have an insight into the possible impact that nobody else really has and input should be seen as an opportunity. I would go further and say digital infrastructure companies can take a lead, and we are already seeing companies providing ways of making their customers more efficient with things like Energy Saving As A Service, and making a profit from them too. The concept of corporate responsibility should never be seen as a box to tick to ensure companies protect themselves from bad press, but as a business opportunity. The customers of the future will be far more environmentally and culturally aware than before, and will use companies that closely mirror their own beliefs and concerns. Those infrastructure companies that can deliver energy efficiency, positive as opposed to painful cultural change, will put themselves ahead of their rivals. We in this industry have the privilege of seeing a future that most have not yet dreamed of, if we don’t plan for positive change, who will?

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Broadband blamed for poor pupil performance C an slow ho me broa db a nd re a l l y i mpact a child’s educat io n? We l l , new su r vey res ul ts unveil ed b y u S wi tc h su g ge s ts it ca n … Homework is a crucial part of a child’s education, and parents have noticed that it increasingly requires access to the internet. In fact, according to the survey conducted with 1,000 UK parents of children aged 5-8, around 1.9 hours of homework requires internet access every week. With so much homework requiring internet access, it’s no wonder that 15% of respondents (claimed to represent around 1.2m children) think that slow broadband speeds are ‘negatively impacting their child’s education’. The government has already recognised the problems facing households and businesses across the UK, which is why it announced a new Universal Service Obligation (USO) for ISPs. This would give UK citizens the ‘legal right’ to request a broadband connection with at least 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload. Unfortunately, that won’t go into effect until 2020, despite 69% of parents noting that the internet is now ‘essential’, rather than ‘optional’.

local networks/computers. Interestingly, parents in towns and cities were found to be five times more likely (28%) to blame internet problems for damaging their child’s education than that of the 5% living in rural areas. Notably, the findings in this survey were somewhat unexpected; this is because 95%+ of the UK is estimated to enjoy or be within reach of a fixed 24Mbps network. The remaining 4-5% is said to reflect rural areas.

Additional highlights of the survey Admittedly, the education system has not always worked this way with such a strong reliance on pupil access to the internet to complete assignments; those who worked without the internet suffered few problems, unless of course you lost your text book, although the current digital curriculum is rather different. Whilst 36% of parents also reported that their child has experienced ‘internet problems’ when attempting to complete their homework, the survey does not delve into whether these issues experienced by pupils are related to the broadband connection or faulty

4% of parents believe their child’s 2 ability to do homework is being impacted by slower connection speeds at peak times (in the evening). 7 % said their child doesn’t utilise online resources. 4 0% say their child uses YouTube, while 38% noted use of Wikipedia and 32% turn onto BBC Bitesize. 6 1% agreed that laptops are the most common devices used for doing homework, with parents also reporting ‘educational’ use of tablets (54%), mobile phones (37%), games consoles (11%) and smart TVs (11%). uSwitch

UK government branded as the ‘biggest barrier’ to 5G Could government policy and regulation really be hindering the UK move towards 5G? At an event hosted by law firm Herber t Smith Freehills, 50% of attendees – which included representatives from major telecoms, broadband and technology companies – argued that government policy and regulation are the reason for the 5G standstill we now find ourselves in. But why and how? Whether knowingly, or not, the government fails to lend itself

6 | April 2018

as an enabler in installing new largescale full fibre infrastructure investment in the UK, which, is instrumental for a successful 5G rollout. The event saw many telecommunications experts coming together to discuss this and similar issues, exploring such avenues as funding and economical challenges. Though the aforementioned factors proved to be the predominate ones, 4% blamed market conditions and structure. Wit h f ib re o pt i c i nf ra st r u ct u re s e e n a s v i ta l fo r f u t u re w i re l e ss m o b il e p h on e n et wo r k s su c h a s 5 G – wh ic h wil l p rov i d e b ro a d b a n d - sp e e d d ownl o a d s fo r mo b i l e p h o n e u se r s – D a na To b a k , M D at Hy p e ro pt i c sa i d , “O ne of o ur b i g ge st c h a l l e n ge s i s a ct u a l l y get t i n g wa y - l e ave s i n l o c a l a u t h o r it y b u i l d i n g s. * “There seems to be a disconnect in appreciating that in order to get full fibre; you actually need to put fibre in there”

Head of public affairs and policy at Virgin Media, Daniel Butler, affirmed that whilst the government talked a good game on fibre installation, some of its policies were distinctly unhelpful. “There’s been somewhat of a mismatch between the government’s enthusiastic rhetoric to get as much infrastructure-based competition as possible in to the UK market and some of the policy decisions we’ve seen emerge,” said Butler. Butler cited an increase in business rates and wholesale price controls on super-fast broadband as the types of government policies that were slowing the installation of fibre networks. * ‘Not granting wayleaves’ – not granting right of way. In essence, Dana Tobak suggests that the government is slowing its installation programme. Herber t Smith Freehills herber


Ready, steady, 5G A new report from consulting and research specialist in telecoms, media and technology, Analysys Mason, a consulting and research specialist in telecoms, media and technology, suggests that China holds a narrow lead in overall 5G readiness, ahead of South Korea and the US. Accentuating the importance of America maintaining its global wireless leadership, additional research by Recon Analytics found that US 4G leadership drove significant economic benefits. In the contents of the report, the company ranked 10 countries on their 5G readiness, with the findings showing China, South Korea, the United States and Japan as the lead competitors – and in that order. Analysis Mason says that China’s narrow lead is due to a combination of both proactive government policies and industry momentum. The study attributed the United States’ high ranking to the fact that America’s wireless industry is a global leader in preparing to deploy 5G commercially, with significant investments in these next generation networks. “The United States will not get a second chance to win the global 5G race,” said Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA president and CEO. “I’m confident that America can win and reap the significant economic benefits of 5G wireless due to our world-leading commercial investments. This research highlights the importance of policymaker action in 2018 to reform local zoning rules and unlock access to mid-band spectrum as part of a broader spectrum pipeline plan. I’m optimistic we will leapfrog China because key leaders in the Administration, on Capitol Hill and the FCC are focused on the reforms needed to win the race.” In evaluating the current status of the global race to 5G, Analysys Mason studied 5G spectrum and infrastructure policies, as well as the commercial industry plans of 10 countries.

Key report findings ll major Chinese providers have committed to specific launch A dates. The government has committed to at least 100 MHz of midband spectrum and 2,000 MHz of high-band spectrum for each wireless provider. C ountries around the world are moving quickly to make spectrum available for 5G. This year alone, the UK, Spain, and Italy are all holding 5G spectrum auctions. A t the end of 2018, the US will rank sixth out of the 10 countries in mid-band (3– 24GHz) spectrum availability. A critical band for 5G. The US joins Russia and Canada as the only countries currently without announced plans to allocate mid-band spectrum on an exclusive basis to mobile by the end of 2020. C ountries like the UK and regions like the European Union are taking significant steps. To modernise infrastructure rules to facilitate the deployment of 5G networks. Analysys Mason

The Chinese are currently the front runners in 5G roll out

Planes, trains and smart mobiles Exemplifying that connectivity really is key, Vodafone customers will now be able to access 4G inside all terminals, trains and tunnels. Making up a stag gering 78m passengers that take off and land at Heathrow each year, which is a substantial percentage of passengers, Vodafone boasted that it won’t just be the airpor t passengers that will reap the benefits of the major network improvements; 6m of the annual users of Heathrow Express will also enjoy the luxury of connectivity too – though the term ‘luxury’ is used loosely. The new Vodafone system sets to provide customers high quality voice connections and faster mobile data speeds throughout the airport’s terminals, even on days when more than a quarter of a million people could be passing through. Vodafone said that travellers will be able to quickly reply to emails, download business presentations or update their social media status, giving them more time to relax and ensuring they never miss important emails or calls. The airport plans to have the latest technology across the 1,227-hectare site, with engineers working through the night to avoid any disruption to passengers. As well as this, 4G coverage is being extended along the 8km of tunnels connecting the airport’s terminals. The company said travellers on Heathrow Express trains will also enjoy uninterrupted voice and data on any of the 150 services which run every day to and from London Paddington station. Vodafone UK’s chief technology officer Scott Petty, added, “Heathrow is an extremely important hub for our millions of customers worldwide, whether they are travelling on holiday or on business. This major improvement is part of our multi-billion investment programme to build our strongest UK network. It will give customers great coverage from the moment they step on or off their flight, to traveling on the Heathrow Express.” John Arbuckle, head of property at Heathrow, enhanced this view and added, “This update, in partnership with Vodafone, is another step towards ensuring a seamless experience for passengers, as well as secure connectivity for business partners across the airport.” Fraser Brown, Heathrow Express director, explained, “Heathrow Express may be the fastest way to reach Heathrow from central London, but customers still want to use this 15 minutes to call colleagues, family or friends on the go. These upgrades mean passengers can stay connected with uninterrupted coverage on board our services through the tunnels and into Heathrow.” Vodafone

April 2018 | 7


High-speed networks for hotel complexes R&M, developer and provider of cabling systems for network infrastructures, has announced it will be providing an opportunity to hotels by opening up the way to the future of digital infotainment and full-coverage high-speed data traffic. Even high-end hotels often struggle to deliver audio visual experiences that match the opulence of the rest of the experience. R&M is hoping to help end that with 21 st century backbones around which systems can be built. R&M said the key to a Gigabit connection for every hotel room consists of a modern fibre optic infrastructure called Passive Optical LAN (POLAN). This involves laying fibre optic cabling a long way into wide-reaching hotel floors, conference rooms, suites and outdoor facilities. “With POLAN, you can quickly supply top bandwidth everywhere with a comparatively low degree of installation,” explained the company. The Swiss cabling specialist said it will be supporting the hotel trade all over the world with dedicated POLAN solutions which cater to the growing need for highly available, convenient broadband IP data transmission. A new solution catalogue provides details of the POLAN range and fibre-optic based building cabling. “Guests’ expectations and convenience requirements are making it necessary to provide higher bandwidth in the entire complex from the lobby through guest rooms and banqueting rooms to the pool bar,” said R&M product manager Lars Züllig. Market surveys confirm that a very large percentage of customers take a hotel’s ‘connectivity’ into consideration when

deciding where to book. R&M has already equipped numerous hotels and tourist complexes. These include, for example, Saraya Aqaba, a tourist and leisure destination on the Red Sea, the Millennium Hotel in Amman, the Kempinski Hotel Al Mouj in Muscat and the Marina Port Vell, a harbor for luxury yachts in Barcelona. Due to the specific POLAN structure, decentral distributor rooms often become surplus to requirements. The company argue that this gives hotels more space to use for other purposes. Usually small distribution boxes in floors, ceilings or cabinets and at the end points of the cabling links are quite sufficient. R&M also recommended using the zone cabling principle for guest rooms. This involves installing mini distributors outside the rooms and laying Cat. 6 twisted-pair cables over the last meters to connect the end devices.

Going the distance R&M explained that the distances in hotel complexes and resorts are irrelevant. With POLAN, Gigabit speed can be provided over several kilometres virtually free of loss. There are virtually no limits to transmission potential thanks to the singlemode fibres used in POLAN. When active devices and transmission speed are upgraded, the fibre optic network can still be used. R&M

5G devices set to overcome smartphone slump Will the smartphone slump continue into 2018? CCS Insight thinks its will, but all hope is not lost yet. The promise of 5G devices has the industry betting on a smartphone sales spike, though we shouldn’t expect that anytime soon – not until 2021, in fact. The global demand for mobile phones is at a bit of a standstill compared to previous years, with sales steadily grinding to a halt. According to CCS Insight, only 1.95bn mobiles will be sold worldwide in 2018, up by only 0.2% from 2017. The company said its assessment comes from the combination of a gloomy picture in developed markets and a more positive outlook for some emerging markets, notably in AsiaPacific and Africa. Commenting on the latest forecast, Marina Koytcheva, CCS Insight’s VP, forecasting, noted, “After a challenging 2017, our analysis suggests it’s going to be a rough ride for phone-makers in 2018, particularly those targeting western markets. In 2018, we expect the Western European market to drop a further 7% and the North American market is starting to slow down too, dropping 3% year-on-year”.

8 | April 2018

With new smartphones offering little more than an incremental update on previous models, the company expressed its fears that demand is unlikely to grow significantly for the next few years. Marina added, “Consumers in mature markets have been underwhelmed by the latest crop of flagship smartphones. Price hikes for top-end devices, with some of the latest and greatest devices hitting $1,000, have certainly not helped, and it’s little surprise more customers have decided they might as well stick with the device they already own.” The research firm reported that, until recently, the North American market had remained somewhat sheltered from the smartphone downturn, primarily as a result of carriers pushing consumers toward upgrade programmes. However, now this upgrade cycle is almost complete, CCS Insight expects the US market to go in a similar direction to Western Europe, with the market facing a steady decline in the coming years. It’s not all doom and gloom, however as Marina noted, “Although mature markets are suffering, there’s still growth potential in Africa, the emerging markets of Asia-Pacific, and India.

Looking further into the future, CCS Insight believes the balance between developed and emerging markets will remain relatively stable, resulting in the global market for mobile phones edging up very slightly over the next five years, eventually delivering sales of more than 2bn units in 2022. With this in mind, CCS Insight believes that manufacturers are increasingly looking to 5G technology to reignite growth in mature markets. Marina comments, “The arrival of 5G handsets offers a glimmer of hope for embattled smartphone makers. They’re betting that this new, faster technology will give consumers a reason to upgrade their phones.” With all that said, Marina is quick to caution phone-makers to be patient as they wait for this next wave of upgrade activity saying, “Although we expect the first 5G smartphones will hit the market in 2019, really significant demand won’t start until 2021, eventually having a positive impact in 2022, when we expect over 600m 5G phones will be sold, accounting for 31% of the global market.” CCS Insight


Is it lights out time for 2G? Launched way back in 1993, Vodafone Australia’s 2G GSM network has had a good run; but is now the right time to turn the switch off? Vodafone made a statement a few years back that 2G would be no longer after September 2017, so why is it still going? And, more importantly, what will it mean when for us when 2G’s borrowed time does eventually run out? T h e g o o d t h i n g fo r eve r y Vo d afo n e c u s to m e r l i v i n g i n E u ro p e , we h ave t i m e to f i n d o u t – u nt i l 2 0 2 5 at t h e e a r l i e s t i n fa ct . Fo r o u r f r i e n d s f u r t h e r af i e l d , h oweve r, o r o n a d i f fe re nt n et wo r k , y o u m a y , i f y o u h ave n ’ t s u c c u m b e d to t h e eve r- evo l v i n g te c h n o l o g y y et , n e e d to i nve s t i n a n ew h a n d s et . T h o u g h i t i s n ota b l e t h at J a p a n h a s a l re a d y m a d e t h e l e a p , a s it abandoned all 2G services back i n 2 01 2 ; t h e f i r s t c o u nt r y t h at f u l l y j u m p e d to 3 G & 4 G n et wo r k s . AT&T has also switched off its 2G network, while rivals such as Verizon and

T-Mobile reveal plans to do the same. Sunrise, the Swiss network, plans to turn off 2G by the end of next year, while Swisscom and T-Mobile Netherlands have scheduled shut downs by the end of 2020. So, what is the reason behind Vodafone letting 2G live on in Europe until 2025? According to Erick Brenneis, CEO at the company, the reason is a simple one. It is the need to support legacy machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) connections that run on 2G. Vodafone is one of the leading IoT providers globally, according to Gartner, with that segment of the business producing more than €700m in revenue per year. Brenneis explained that although new IoT technologies, such as narrowband IoT, can offer similar benefits to 2G connections, there are still a lot of legacy connections that will not be renewed for several years.

“We are encouraging customers to develop new applications on the technology that is best for them,” Brenneis said. “Our plan is that we won’t switch off 2G networks in Europe until the year 2025, which is longer than the life time of most of the IoT connections even if you bring them into the market now,” he added.

What will the 2G shutdown mean for me? This news makes Vodafone the second of Europe’s mobile giants to rule out a switch off in the next five years, after Telefonica CTO Enrique Blanco said the same at this year’s Mobile World Congress in February. Many operators require more spectrum for 4G and 5G deployments, so something has to give, unfortunately it just so happens to be 2G. Vodafone

April 2018 | 9


Smart thinking, smart coverage Opengear, provider of solutions that deliver secure, resilient network access and automation to critical IT infrastructure, has announced a successful project with Protec Fire Detection plc, an independent fire detection and security manufacturer that utilises Opengear solutions to deliver a robust IT continuity strategy and streamline remote access across multiple sites. Since its founding back in 1968, Protec has grown both organically and through acquisition. The company says its reputation has and continues to be built upon solid and reliable systems meeting the needs of a variety of applications. With six sites across the UK, and over a thousand staff members, the company has established a significant IT infrastructure with around 50 servers delivering critical service management, CRM, ERP and CAD applications in support of its product and services portfolio that includes planning and design, optional installation, and project management, through to the commissioning and maintenance. Acting as part of its strategy, Protec professes to have a long-established ISO ISO 900:2015 certification plus seven complementary accreditations and thirdparty product approvals; the company says that such certifications ensure all its products and services meet industry needs and best practice guidelines. Acknowledging its need to further its

efforts and to protect against the loss of critical IT systems, the company – in mid-2017 – approached trusted IT solution partner Flow Communications Ltd for advice on strengthening its remote access and remediation capabilities. The emerging networking and security integrator, Flow Communications, was called upon to provide the solution. Assisting in creating operational efficiency for its customers through innovative technologies, such as Opengear, Flow Communications acts as a business enabler. Vinod Varkey, IT manager for Protec Fire Detection plc explains, “We already use a combination of leased lines and VPN to connect all our sites, but we wanted to improve our business continuity position through the implementation of an out-ofband remote access solution that would automatically failover if we had any issues with WAN connections.” Based on advice, experience, testing and recommendations from Flow Communications, Protec decided to

select Opengear ACM 7004-2 appliances with 4 serial Cisco Straight pinout, external power, 2GbE Ethernet and 4G LTE cellular capability. The Opengear Smart-OOB appliances are connected to firewalls at each site to allow for remote monitoring and configuration using the Opengear Lighthouse 5 Centralised Management platform. “ T h e i n sta l l at i o n p ro c e ss was re l at i ve l y st ra i g ht fo r wa rd , a n d we have co n d u cte d a n u mb e r of fa i l over tes ts to o u r o u t - of- b a n d 4G co n n ecti on an d eve r y t h i n g h a s wo r ke d a s ex p ected, ” sa y s V i n o d . “ We st i l l u se o u r V P N as t h e p r i ma r y met h o d of m o n i tori n g an d u p d at i n g o u r F i rewa l l s, b u t O p en gear p rov i d e s u s w i t h a n a d d i t i o n al layer of se c u r i t y t h at we k n ow we c an rely on i f t h e re a re a n y i ssu e s at a re m ote s i te.” Vinod is said to now be examining the possibility of extending the Opengear Smar t-OOB coverage to include a number of critical ser vers at a few key sites. Opengear

Interoute’s dark fibre steps into the light Interoute, the global cloud and network provider, has announced that it has been selected by a global internet technology company to deliver over 1,000km of dark fibre across south west Europe. With growing European end-user requirements, the expanded capacity from Interoute is set to provide business critical assurance for the internet technology company’s platform. This, the company says, will enable the organisation to deliver a high performance for a range of bandwidth and processingintensive application workloads. Joel Stradling, research director at Global Data, says, “Interoute stands out in the market with its wholesale dark fibre. As owner-operator of a large and advanced pan-European fibre and

10 | April 2018

data network, its strong Mediterranean presence supports customers including OTTs and internet giants with getting close to new and existing cable systems coming into the region.” Jonathan Wright, VP of commercial operations at Interoute, comments, “In a competitive marketplace we are proud to be a preferred provider for global companies with substantial data demands. With billions of dollars being invested into the online and cloud space, we will continue to provide the underlying infrastructure needed to support their growing expectations.” As capacity requirements continue to grow worldwide, Interoute’s network infrastructure is able to deliver reliable and versatile solutions for its customers

and their end-users in turn. Customers use Interoute’s ser vices to access its pan-continental footprint which links all four corners of Europe to the rest of the world. Interoute offers a homogenous, predictable ser vice experience across its large footprint, which is a key advantage for wholesale and large enterprise customers. Interoute


Small cells mobilise connectivity movements Arqiva, UK communications infrastructure company, and O2 have announced plans to deploy up to 300 small cells across London; this is supposedly one of the biggest outdoor small cell deployments by O2 in the UK to date. Set to enhance mobile data capacity and coverage, the small cells – once installed – will benefit all those living and working in some of the capital’s busiest boroughs. The long-term agreement is set to make use of some of Arqiva’s comprehensive concession contracts with 14 of the London Boroughs, including the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth, Camden and Lambeth, and that’s just to name a few. With deployment continuing up until 2020, both companies boast that some of the initial sites will be ready as early as summer 2018. Designed to be installed on street assets, such as lampposts, the 300 small cells aim to deliver targeted coverage and increased capacity in areas where mobile data demand is

particularly high – a major shopping area or an outside transport hub, for example. In addition to its immediate customer benefits, the companies acknowledge that the agreement will lay the foundations for a rapid deployment of 5G connectivity when it becomes available. O2 research revealed that 5G will ‘update the operating system’ of the UK’s cities, making them smarter and creating tangible benefits for citizens and local councils – as well as generating £6bn worth of productivity savings for the UK economy. David Crawford, managing director, Telecoms & M2M at Arqiva, says, “New types of mobile infrastructure are now required to meet the needs of the mobile network operators and their customers. As demand for data continues to increase, the requirement for network densification will grow and use of street furniture and small cells will play a critical role in delivering the mobile networks of the future. “The agreement between O2 and Arqiva represents the start of this journey and we look forward to working

together to deliver an enhanced experience for O2 customers.” Brendan O’Reilly, chief technical officer, O2, added, “National 5G infrastructure – when it arrives in a few years’ time – will not only have a crucial impact on our economy, it will change the way we live our lives. Our partnership with Arqiva reflects this belief and demonstrates our commitment to exploring opportunities to provide the increased capacity and denser coverage our customers deserve in the areas they need it most. Only by working together, with industry partners, regulators, and government policy makers, will we be able to continue delivering the best for our customers and to help the UK maintain the digital leadership we have all worked so hard to establish”. Arqiva

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Taking it to the edge NCN spoke with Mike Wilkinson, VP International for Edgewater Networks, about the company’s expansion across the European market and how the company can combat some key issues facing the sector.


ormed in October 2002, Edgewater Networks is a specialist in delivering real time communications ser vices for ser vice providers with its Network Edge Orchestration solution. The company says its approach uses a Hybrid Cloud/Edge structure to deliver security, ser vice quality management and analytics. Edgewater Networks’ customers use Network Edge Orchestration to power their hosted unified communications and SIP trunking offers. The company is also active in the SD-WAN provision market and in particular using the technology to help companies who are providing or need Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). Mike explains, “The UCaaS market has got a lot bigger in recent times, so our aim is to help out there and grow our share of the market. We believe our reliability and points of difference are what companies are looking for.” Service providers are able to offer the company’s solutions direct to the channel, and, of course, some channel’s have the capacity and right staff to handle it themselves. Mike argues, “Our systems allow us to look at a UCaaS system and assess the quality of what is going on, as soon as there is an issue we can provide the ability and information needed to act on it and stop issues becoming problems. We can go deep into a system looking local and wider too so we can prevent and fix issues fast.”

12 | April 2018

A n ot h e r a re a t h e co mp a n y fe e l s i t i s st ro n g i n i s p reve nt i n g c u sto me r c h u r n , a t h o r n y i ssu e t h at M i ke b e l i eve s co m p a n y ’ s n e e d to co nf ro nt mo re o p e n l y a n d ef fe ct i ve l y . Mike says, “Customers are judging the system before they get it up and running. The provision and deployment stages have to be as seamless and issue free as possible. Often this can be make or break in gaining a long term customer. We automate a lot of this part of the process to make sure its as pain free as possible.” At the deployment stage the company’s systems are mapped in detail, a kind of digital birth certificate, so if there are any issues at a later date, technicians can compare exactly what is happening now, to what the system looked like at birth. Once a system is up and running, the company also prides itself on being able to spot problems before they arise. The triggers are based on the quality of what is happening within the deployment. With UCaaS systems higher thresholds can be set at the start to make absolutely sure everything is running smoothly and then can be rowed back once the system is established. Mike says, “If there are any issues, we can look right inside a deployment and see what is going on – just like a CCTV system – we

can see what went wrong, not just where, but when.” AI and machine learning is also an area the company is excited about. Mike continues, “For lots of customers you need to automate as much as possible, only the stuff that needs human insight should be presented. Systems should be able to cross reference and build answers to the most common issues that arise. For instance, if there is a regional issue within the deployment, the system can route around until the issue is fully resolved. Or if a system suffers a Denial-ofService (DoS) attack, it should, in many instances, be able to auto config to find a solution even if it only temporary until the attack is repelled fully. Ul t i m ate l y , t h e co mp an y b e l i eve s w i t h i t s Net work Edge Orc h e st rat i o n a p p ro a ch, i t i s a b l e to ra p i d l y p rov i d e s er v i ces f ro m a c e nt ra l co nt ro l centre, m i n i m i se t r u c k ro l l s, e n s ure se r v i c e q u a l i t y , i n c re as e c u sto m e r sat i sfa ct i o n , an d, mos t i mp o r ta nt l y , ra p i d l y scale to meet c u sto m e r d e ma n d . T h e p lat form i n c l u d e s t h e Ed ge V i ew Ser v i ce C o nt ro l C e nte r, I nte l l i gent Edge so l u t i o n s, a n d t h e Qu i ckCon n ect c e r t i f i c at i o n p ro g ra m . Edgewater Networks

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How to solve a problem like bandwidth Don Reckles, marketing director, cable access at Nokia, takes on the thorny issue of bandwidth.


n a world where digital technology rules all, the hills are alive with the sound of cries for more and more bandwidth. Consumer behaviour is ever-changing due to the rise of digital entertainment, and expectations are higher than ever for bandwidth-hungry end-users who are constantly connected via their phones, tablets and smart TVs. To keep up with the increasing need for bandwidth, cable operators must deliver faster and better networks to satisfy consumer appetites and deliver more responsive services. Keeping up with cable access capacity demands is a challenge in itself, but operators also need to do so in a cost effective way.

Crunch time The time is now for operators to respond to the changes in the industry, increase network capacity and performance, and reduce operational expenses. Fortunately for them, two key technological advances are singing in harmony. DOCSIS 3.1 (D3.1) and Distributed Access

14 | April 2018

Architectures (DAA) enable operators to continue using installed Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) networks, rather than making the costly and time consuming move to Fibre-to-theHome (FTTH). Multiple System Operators (MSOs) are looking to FTTH as a long-term strategy, but they realise it will take decades to come to fruition, especially where there are legacy networks. In the meantime, cable access capacity demands must still be met. Operators also must find a way to improve the fidelity in the outside plant (OSP), as well as increase capacity density in the headend to reduce excessive space and power consumption.

Making the most of D3.1 D3.1, the next-generation version of the Data Over Cable Service Specification (DOCSIS specification), finalised in 2013, aims to make multi-Gbps speed possible over the existing HFC, by broadening the spectrum used to add capacity (up to 1.2Ghz) and increasing efficiency to deliver more bits per hertz. Developed by CableLabs and its members, DOCSIS has served the cable industry well


over the past 20 years, by enabling data transmission over the cable network. Huge progress has been made since version 1.0 was introduced and D3.1 can deliver speeds of up to 10Gbps downstream and 1Gbps upstream; significantly boosting the original specification’s 42Mbps downstream and 10Mbps upstream. D3.1 is backwards compatible with D3.0 and can be introduced gradually into current infrastructure. However, to make the most of D3.1’s significantly

greater network capacity, many cable operators will need to make improvements and adjustments to existing services and networks. For example, operators may need to reclaim spectrum by migrating longtail content to IP delivery, or removing analogue TV. Improvements in network fidelity and better signal quality are needed to utilise D3.1’s Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) and higher order modulations. Additionally, customer premise equipment

(CPE) will need to be replaced with D3.1-compatible modems. Networks that continue to use traditional HFC will be restricted by the limitations of current analogue optical technology. Furthermore, increasing capacity and improving fidelity will require new and additional nodes to be added to the outside plant, while CMTS ports, along with the associated optical and combining platforms, must be added in the headend, which only creates more demand for space and power.

“The time is now for operators to respond to the changes in the industry, increase network capacity and performance, and reduce operational expenses.”

April 2018 | 15

KNOWLEDGE NETWORK the same functions in software. When applied to the cable access network and DAA, virtualising the CMTS eliminates the need for cable-specific headend hardware. Not only does virtualisation use off-the-shelf servers, which saves on capital expense, space and power, but it also provides greater flexibility in service creation. Because the MAC is simply software, it can be implemented on servers in the headend, on the node itself, or anywhere else in the access network. With the MAC on the node, the headend is left with only standard data centre switches and routers, and the controller running on a server. Intelligently implemented, a virtualised DAA can support other access technologies, such as 10G EPON, on the same controller and network.

Virtualised distributed access architecture with unified cabe access: R-PHY, R-MACPHY and EPON together

Cable broadband technology evolution, 1990s to present

Putting it all together

DAA to the rescue Fortunately, DAA, another showstopping innovation, has arrived to address many of these issues and deliver superior spectral efficiency and faster speeds. DAA takes key Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) functions and distributes them to other parts of the network, such as moving the DOCSIS PHY to the node. This shift pushes IP/Ethernet deeper into the access network, replacing the analog optical signal from the headend to the node with a digital 10Gbps Ethernet connection. Creating a digital link between the headend and node enables much greater reach, as the power budget limitations of traditional analog optics no longer apply. Additionally, the standard RF signal that cable modems ‘look for’ now begins in the node, close to the end-user, which results in a much higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), a superior experience for the

customer, and fewer truck rolls for the operator. Driving Ethernet deeper into the network also makes it easier to use IP to deliver the wide range of services that end-users crave, such as voice, video and data. However, some DAA implementations, such as Remote-PHY, still require a large, cable-specific piece of hardware, known as a CCAP-core, which houses the DOCSIS MAC. While more efficient than legacy cable infrastructure or a standard CCAP implementation, the headend space and power requirements are significantly greater than those of more contemporary solutions, such as vir tualisation.

The virtualisation lifeline Virtualisation makes use of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) techniques to cast aside hardware and per form

A strategy that leverages DOCSIS 3.1, DAA and vir tualisation overcomes issues including limited network capacity, outside plant fidelity, and headend space and power, among others. Eliminating the need for analogue optics pushes IP closer to the customer, suppor ts 10Gbps Ethernet links, and delivers greater customer satisfaction. This combination of strategies enables what once may have seemed impossible – meeting the increasing customer demands for bandwidth, while keeping costs down and ensuring networks are scalable and future-proof. This is a much needed solution for cable operators who need to quiet the rising chorus of gigabit-hungry end-users, providing a seamless evolution to an all-fibre, all IPnetwork, while supporting gigabit services on their existing HFC. Nokia

Broadband generation







Initial cable broadband technology

Added voice over IP services

Higher upstream speed

Greatly enfanced capacity

Capacity and efficiency progression

40 Mbps

40 Mbps

40 Mbps

1 Gbps


10 Mbs

10 Mbs

30 Mbs

100 Mbs

1-2 Gbs






Downstream capacity Upstream capacity Production date Source: CableLabs

16 | April 2018





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Why SD-WAN will be a major player in the retail revolution Managed SD-WAN is vitally important to the success of retail’s digital transformation. Vanessa Armstrong, head of marketing for connectivity provider Hughes Europe, explains why.


oftware defined Wide Area Networking might be a newcomer to Europe’s technology stage, but retailers must be fully aware of its potential impact. With the network becoming more strategically critical, and companies finding it difficult to deliver a network that supports increasingly demanding commercial objectives, SD-WAN might be a ready-made solution in waiting. The problem though is that with so much noise about this new concept, it can be difficult to figure out its true merits. Robust and reliable network connectivity is a crucial part of achieving a seamless customer

18 | April 2018

journey. Without an intelligent solution in place, the omnichannel environment will remain out of reach and retailers will struggle to provide world-class customer experiences. Providing a network that can support all manner of connected technologies across a retailer’s physical and digital estate – from headquarters to physical stores, warehouses and delivery hubs – requires security, resilience and flexibility. SD-WAN is a key player in enabling digital transformation, and is proving essential to European retailers who want to maximise existing network infrastructure to take advantage of the retail revolution.

Recent shift to cloud applications To truly appreciate the oppor tunities that SD-WAN can bring, retailers need to understand how it will help them overcome the pain points associated with delivering worldclass customer experiences through digital transformation without requiring them to increase current network provision. The recent shift towards the adoption of cloud applications and services has significantly increased network demand, impacting both availability and speed. Factor in the consumer demand for free Wi-Fi in-store and it’s easy to see why networks are increasingly


“Robust and reliable network connectivity is a crucial part of achieving a seamless customer journey.”

In the competitive retail environment, increasing the budget to overcome these pain points is another challenge in itself. With limited financial resource, retailers must find a cost-effective way to provide predictable availability to each individual site across their multiple estates with the certainty that the quality of service across that network remains as high as possible. Retailers need to place their confidence in a solution that will maximise bandwidth and protect the quality of service across their estates without the requirement to invest in increased bandwidth.

How SD-WAN manages network traffic Designed to address these very pain points, SD-WAN offers management capabilities that deliver predictable application availability and guarantee a continual high quality of service. SD-WAN manages network traffic dynamically and autonomously based on flow behaviour, eliminating the historically time-consuming process of manually configuring and maintaining rules to classify and prioritise specific applications at an individual site level. For example, business-critical applications such as payments and the flow of stock data back

to headquarters are given priority over less critical applications. Those applications deemed less critical aren’t simply abandoned until enough bandwidth becomes available, but, are instead, provided with an alternative source of bandwidth so they are still delivered but slightly later. SD-WAN effectively provides smart, autonomous decision making to prioritise applications and manage bandwidth effectivley. The management capability of SD-WAN enables clear visibility of when all bandwidth is fully optimised – making it much easier to assess whether additional bandwidth is really a requirement. Given both the rise of cybercrime and GDPR coming into play, retailers should demand confidence in the security of their networks. The right SDWAN solution provides this through unparalleled visibility of the applications present on the network and applies security protocols with cloud and local security measures, creating a robust security policy across the entire dispersed network. For retailers ready to prosper through digital transformation, SDWAN is the solution that can help them deliver. Hughes Europe 01908 425 300,

under strain. Fulfilling consumer expectations while ensuring all business-critical applications are functioning at full capacity, has become a balancing act. For retailers with hundreds of sites, sometimes dispersed across different countries and regions, this challenge increases significantly. Ensuring each individual site can function at optimal performance, while providing the best possible customer experience, is just half the challenge. The other half is ensuring those sites are constantly connected and networking effectively with head office or distribution centres. When factors such as remote sites and the varying quality of connectivity is brought into the equation, the challenge becomes even greater.

April 2018 | 19


As we continue to embrace the new reality of pervasive connectivity, it is imperative that we address the inherent challenges and opportunity that come with it.

Cultivating connected culture in the IoT age Craig Riegelhaupt, director of product marketing for mobile solutions at Tangoe talks about how to adopt an effective Telecom Expense Management strategy in the age of IoT and the connected enterprise.


I Intelligence’s the Internet of Things (IoT) report, says there will be over 22.5bn IoT devices by 2021, up from 6.6bn in 2016. The continued proliferation of mobile and connected devices continues to transform how teams interact and work together, increasing the efficiency of business processes. Organisations have essentially become ‘connected enterprises’, where the quantity and quality of their connections have a direct impact on progress. However, for IT teams this brings many complexities to the management of IT and telecom assets as both

20 | April 2018

the number of connections and the various ways the connections are entering the business are increasing. For example, managers wanting their teams to seamlessly connect to data – to collaborate and share information – are often enabling the use of services without involvement from IT. With more devices connected to a network, many of which are entering through the lines of business, visibility decreases. It is increasingly difficult to distinguish who owns what, where these devices are, and optimising expenditure becomes almost impossible as IT teams cannot see how much is being spent on each contract.

How does an organisation stay connected and agile without causing a chaotic, unmanageable environment? How can a business trying to increase productivity and revenue do so without falling victim to wastage?

What is a connected world? Historically, we would consider a company ‘connected’ if it simply had a few phone lines. Decades later, companies quickly implemented email and internet protocols to increase productivity and enhance their connectivity. Today, we have more ways to connect than ever before, and the

KNOWLEDGE NETWORK quantity and types of connections have experienced exponential growth and vast improvements in accessibility. Connected enterprises are embracing social strategies and flexible technology options, which allow workers to easily and effectively communicate and collaborate. The savviest organisations use these connections to connect and innovate cooperatively, cultivating a connected culture across organisational boundaries and time zones to realise competitive benefits and forge stronger relationships with employees, customers and business partners.

The challenges connected enterprises face As important as it is to acknowledge the rise of connected enterprises, it’s also crucial to understand the challenges they face as a result. If we look back at IoT alone, the BI Intelligence IoT report forecasts that there will be nearly $15tn in aggregate IoT investment between 2017 and 2025, with survey data showing that companies’ plans to invest in IoT solutions are accelerating. IoT will revolutionise some industries by slashing costs and bolstering profits, but enterprises will experience severe growing pains if they do not have the proper tools to track, manage, secure, and support the infrastructure of these connections. Gartner predicts that throughout 2019, enterprises will overspend on IoT connectivity services by more than 30% because they lack central management and usage analytics.

How can IT teams respond? The connected enterprise puts enormous pressure on IT leaders to reduce spending and tighten control over the connected landscape, while also increasing expectations on value and ser vice. Many IT teams are responding by leveraging thirdpar ties to do the work they previously did, then redirecting their effor ts towards higher value tasks such as delivering analytics and cross-depar tmental suppor t associated with these thirdpar ty ser vices. In many ways, IT

becomes a steward of the vital data that can positively impact a company’s per formance. E nte r p r i s e s n e e d to o l s , s t rate g i e s , a n d m et h o d o l o g i e s to ga i n c o nt ro l a n d v i s i b i l i t y of t h e i r a s s et s , ex p e n s e , a n d u s a ge a s s o c i ate d w i t h t h e e nt i ret y of t h e i r c o n n e ct i o n s . T h e a b i l i t y to d o t h i s c re ate s virtually limitless possibilities fo r i m p rov i n g ef f i c i e n c i e s , c o s t s s av i n g s , e m p l o y e e a n d c l i e nt s at i sfa ct i o n , a n d s t re a m l i n i n g t h e o n b o a rd i n g p ro c e s s e s fo r a l l e nte r p r i s e c o n n e ct i o n s . Few qualified organisations have endeavoured to provide tools with the power, scope and the processes needed to address the pressing issues of the connected enterprise. Businesses need to anticipate what is needed and a great place to star t is by analysing the ser vices and applications brought in by the lines of business. For example, rather than disconnect a connection that brings value, IT leaders can look at how these connections are being used and the value they’re bringing to the business to determine what the business needs. IT leaders can then create a catalogue of acceptable connections with policies and provide a centralised process to manage contracts and invoices globally. It is imperative to have a modern IT policy that accounts for all IT and telco connections as well as ensuring a business has all the tools to enforce that policy. Carrying on without one can have a significant impact from a financial, operational, and security perspective.

The continued proliferation of mobile and connected devices continues to transform business processes.

“Today, we have more ways to connect than ever before, and the quantity and types of connections have experienced exponential growth and vast improvements in accessibility.”

F inancial: without clear visibility into who is spending what across the organisation, there is no hope of maintaining an accurate accounting of costs. That means waste and overages. With the right policies and processes businesses can eliminate waste through accurate and timely inventory management for assets and licenses and leverage buying power with suppliers O perational: if IT doesn’t have the ability to track what is in use, it can’t take full advantage of the benefits of these connections. For instance, if you can’t ‘fire up’ a new employee on day one and provide access to all the assets they need to do their job, you are not taking full advantage of technological benefits and aren’t delivering the support needed to keep endusers productive. S ecurity: because of the sensitive nature of business information, enterprises must work to ensure the security of these connections.

Keep in step with the connected world The vast amounts of new connections, platforms, services, and communication channels are re-shaping the very fabric of today’s business world and transforming traditionally structured companies into connected enterprises. As we embrace the new reality of pervasive connectivity, we must also address the inherent challenges and opportunities that come with it. The shifting landscape of IT devices, IoT, cloud computing, and mobile concepts are just some of these issues. Companies need to continue to or begin to develop trends and technologies to help keep the connected enterprise safe, secure and streamlined through innovative methodologies, strategies, and software. Enterprises will experience severe growing pains if they do not have the proper tools to track, manage, secure, support and optimise the expenses of these connections. Tangoe

April 2018 | 21


Thriving in a connected world Alastair Winsey, head of sales EMEA at ThousandEyes, is next to follow suit in NCN’s insightful Q&A. How and why did you pursue a career in the data/comms industry? I always found technology interesting, and, even now, I like to adopt new technologies early as I’m fascinated to see how they evolve. I had the opportunity to join a Cisco reseller called Hydra at the start of my career and I soon realised what a big opportunity there was in IT. The internet was in a period of rapid expansion and I met a lot of great people working in the industry. This inspired me to work with some of the big companies shaping the market such as Cisco, and Hewlett Packard at the time.

What exciting projects or product launches do you have going on at the moment; is there anything noteworthy in the pipeline that we need to be on the lookout for? I think we’re at a stage now where big data is starting to be turned into actionable insight, and companies are starting to realise how this can help them transform their business. Our customers and partners are currently excited about our Internet Intelligence initiative, which looks across the internet and consolidates the performance data we see from vantage points all over the world. In the future our customers may be able to see an issue before it even impacts their services, and customers in competitive industries, such as finance, are already considering how this can add to their competitive edge.

What project/work achievement are you most proud of in your career and why? We have a massive opportunity at ThousandEyes to help our customers and partners deliver an exceptional digital experience for their customers and employees but my time at MobileIron is

22 | April 2018

probably my proudest moment of my career so far. I moved from Cisco as their first sales hire in EMEA, so it was a massive change, and a risk, but learning how to build our operations in EMEA and contribute to getting to an IPO was a big achievement. At the time we were ranked as the fastest growing technology company in the world over a 5-year period by Deloitte, so that was a lot of fun.

“We’re at a stage now where big data is starting to be turned into actionable insight, and companies are starting to realise how this can help them transform their business.”

What (if any) is the one thing you’re tired of hearing either at work or about your job? I don’t find this at ThousandEyes as we have a great positive culture, but I have found during my career that people tend to lead too much with failure in organisations. Fear of failure, due to a previous bad experience or an inability to take risks, can hold companies back, especially when they’re in a growth phase. You can’t always get things perfect, but when you have to progress and develop quickly you can’t live in fear of something not working.

What is your favourite piece of technology right now? I’m a big music fan and I enjoy using music technologies like Sonos at home, so I can stream music around the house. The ability to play almost any song in any room in the house almost instantly, without ever necessarily owning it, has transformed how people consume music. We’re seeing cloud adoption really take off in our customer base too, and I think some companies have been surprised how quickly this is gathering pace. Cloud brings with it great benefits in terms of ease of consumption, scalability and agility, but people will only continue to use the services that give them the experience and performance they expect.

What product/s or concepts do you think will be the next big thing in the industry? As I mentioned earlier, I think with things like Big Data and Analytics, but also with connected devices and IoT, we’re only just at the very start of that journey. Companies are connecting more and more devices to the internet and increasingly a corporate network is a complex map of integrations, eco-systems and interactions that come together to deliver a customer or employee experience. The potential for automation and personalisation is huge but there’s an increasing reliance on the internet and connectivity in general that needs to be mapped and understood.

Finally, a bit of a fun question… You can invite three people living or dead out for dinner (not including family & friends) Who are they and why? My first would still be technology related as I have a lot of respect for certain CEOs I’ve worked for in the past, my former CEO at Mobile Iron, Bob Tinker, was someone who the organisation looked up to, and it’d be fascinating to get his perspective on how he successfully grew companies and took them to IPO and acquisitions. As my second guest, I would definitely go for Lawrence Dallaglio. I’m a big rugby fan and lived in Twickenham for a long time. I think you have to admire the strength and determination that’s needed to pull a team together, working as a pack as opposed to as individuals, and I’d love to hear some stories around what they achieved when they won the World Cup. The third person would have to be Winston Churchill, I think the leadership that he displayed in that period of uncertainty to help bring the country together and the statesmanship and diplomacy needed to unite the Allies was amazing and I’ve read several history books covering the period. I also imagine he’d be good value as a dinner guest. ThousandEyes


IP security

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Next time‌ In addition to its regular range of features and news items, the May issue of Network Communications News will contain special features on IP security and cloud computing and virtualisation. They will comprise major articles and comprehensive product round ups which will be used as a reference point by network cabling infrastructure installers, integrators and end users. To make sure you don’t miss the oppor tunity to adver tise your products to this exclusive readership, call Ian on 01634 673163 or email

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April 2018 | 23


Colt gallops into action with the help of Cisco Cisco and Colt Technology Services have successfully achieved a key milestone in upgrading Colt’s pan-European, US and Asian packet network. NCN takes a look.


his recent project lays the foundation for the Colt IQ Network to deliver further differentiated, highbandwidth connectivity solutions. Cisco and Colt revealed in December 2016 that they were working on a system-wide, multiple 100Gbps upgrade to Colt’s IQ Network. The companies say this will enable the system to rapidly deliver high-performance connectivity for cloud-scale, business-critical applications to its enterprise, carrier and webcentric customers. By combining segment routing and Ethernet VPN (EVPN), Colt’s IQ Network now benefits from faster convergence time, increased network

24 | April 2018

availability, and resiliency for any topology; while enabling the service provider to deliver highbandwidth solutions much faster. Colt’s next-generation packet network uses end-to-end segment routing technology to simplify and automate network operation and significantly reduce operating costs. “Colt is focused on providing best-in-class, high-bandwidth connectivity solutions to meet our customers’ ever-growing business needs,” says Peter Coppens, vice president, Product, Colt. “Aligning with these overarching goals, we worked closely with Cisco to design a network architecture that is simple to operate, highly available, and capable of delivering innovative network services.

“Colt’s IQ Network now benefits from faster convergence time, increased network availability and resiliency for any topology.”

“This also enables Colt to benefit from faster time-to-market. Segment routing significantly decreased complexity in the IQ Network and helped us start offering differentiated network services such as disjoint path. EVPN further contributed to operational simplification and made the delivery of services much more efficient.” Peter adds, “The project was undertaken as part of Colt’s ongoing investment in our Colt IQ Network. This partnership with Cisco saw multiple 100Gbps upgrades made to our pan-European, US and Asian packet network, with the end goal of this project being to ensure that Colt can deliver scalable, high bandwidth

PROJECT FOCUS connectivity solutions faster and with a much-improved unit cost. “It’s less of a new approach, rather a continuation of Colt’s customer-oriented strategy. Colt’s upgraded packet network uses endto-end segment routing technology to simplify and automate network operation and significantly reduce operating costs.” Peter continues, “This segment routing technology meaningfully decreased complexity in the IQ Network and helped us start offering differentiated network services such as disjoint path. EVPN further contributed to operational simplification and made the delivery of services much more efficient. “One thing that was also critical as part of this upgrade was to ensure that Colt could provide a uniform offering across the breadth of our Colt IQ Network. So, as a business, we would be providing the same quality service from Madrid to Frankfurt, as from Hong Kong to Tokyo; as well as to the rest of the 800 data centers around the globe, and the more than 25,000 on net buildings that Colt’s IQ Network is made up of.” Leveraging those 800 data centres and more than 25,000 on-net buildings, high-bandwidth network and voice services for enterprises and wholesale customers are delivered in Europe, Asia and North America. EVPN

drives the next level of simplicity by offering a unified control plane protocol (Border Gateway Protocol – BGP) for all services types, including both Layer 2 VPN and Layer 3 VPN services. It also provides faster convergence times that enhances the customer experience. Segment routing reduces the network complexity, as it cuts down the number of protocols required. It also improves network availability with 50ms protection mechanism, covering 100% of the possible network topologies using TI-LFA SR, enables better utilisation of the network with simple and scalable MPLS segment routing traffic engineering for the data plane and makes the delivery of innovative network services possible, offering on-demand real time delivery capabilities. The Cisco Network Convergence System (NCS) 5500 series and the Cisco Aggregation Services Router (ASR) 9,000 platforms will form the main components of a unified fabric powered by IOS XR and its software innovations – segment routing and EVPN. “We have been working on this initiative with Colt for more than a year, and we are proud to bring additional benefits to its network, as well as lay the groundwork for new opportunities,” says Jonathan Davidson, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider Networking, Cisco. In selecting

Recent project lays the foundation for the Colt IQ Network to deliver further differentiated, high- bandwidth connectivity solutions

Colt IQ Network says it connects organisations to all the key business hubs in Europe and Asia

Cisco’s Cloud Scale Networking technologies such as the Cisco NCS 5500, segment routing and EVPN, Colt is now in a position to deliver the high bandwidth and customer-oriented experience that defines the network of the future.” Amongst the standout achievements from the project, Peter highlights, “Colt worked closely with Cisco to design a network architecture that is simple to operate, highly available and capable of delivering innovative network services. Critically this enables Colt to benefit from faster time-to-market, allowing us to deliver high bandwidth capacity in a matter of days, rather than a matter of weeks. With the quality, speed, capacity and flexibility to meet application-specific service quality requirements, Colt’s customers can now benefit from an infrastructure designed for enabling digital businesses.” Colt Technology Services Cisco

April 2018 | 25


Wireless vs Fibre: New technologies narrowing the quality divide Jaime Fink, CTO and co-founder of Mimosa Networks, assesses the state of the fixed wireless market compared to traditional fibre broadband, and compares the development challenges of both moving forward.


h e f ixe d wire l e s s m a r ket h a s evo l ve d s ignif ic a nt l y s inc e t h e ind u s t r y f ir s t ex p e r im e nte d wit h the te c h no l o gy in t h e e a r l y 2000 s . O nc e re l e gate d to a n af ter t h o u ght of fa il e d l a s t - m il e exper im e nt s , b et te r te c h no l o gy a nd m o re ava il a b l e s p e ct r u m , co mb ine d wit h eve r- inc re a s ing

26 | April 2018

c u sto me r d e ma n d , h a s f u e l l e d a re su rge n c e i n f i xe d w i re l e ss t h at w i l l d r i ve to a $10 b n e q u i p m e nt ma r ket b y 2 0 2 2 . While fibre is still the preferred option when it’s available, the economic factors and challenges of deployment have created an exploding market for more affordable, and rapid to deploy broadband solutions.

With internet demand higher than it has ever been, existing wireline infrastructure simply does not support current demand for internet access. Legacy copper DSL networks are in rapid decline, and the promise of fiber-tothe-home has felled even the largest, most well-capitalised service providers with sky-high deployment costs.


Are we closer to narrowing the wireless vs fibre divide?

“Many ISPs and municipalities insist that fibre is the only option because they must deliver gigabit services to consumers – this is fundamentally flawed.”

Fundamentally flawed facts Many I SPs a n d municip a l it ie s i nsi st t h at fibre is the o nl y o pt io n bec au s e they mus t del ive r gi gabi t s er vices to co ns u m e r s – thi s i s funda menta l l y f l awe d for t wo impor ta nt rea s o ns . Fi r st , even finicky co rd - c u t t ing consu mers ca n not dif fe re nt iate why t hey need s peeds a b ove 2 5 Mbp s , a n d con s is te nt l y wil l

n ot p a y fo r 10 0 M b p s o r g i ga b i t se r v i c e s w h e n t h e y h ave l owe r co st o pt i o n s t h at m e et t h e i r n e e d s. F i n a l l y , n ew w i re l e ss i n n ovat i o n s h ave set t h e sta ge fo r g i ga b i t se r v i c e s at a f ra ct i o n of t h e co st of f i b re . By deploying a hybridfibre-wireless network, where fibre carries connectivity into a neighbourhood and then fixed wireless provides the last-mile connectivity into a building, consumers and businesses can receive affordable fibrefast services, with none of the disruption, budget overruns, and delays of the past. Criticisms of fixed wireless have previously been aimed at its shortcomings in terms of speed, latency and reliability. Early technology failed to meet the speeds of fibre broadband and suffered from latency issues that would make modern tasks like video streaming frustrating for consumers. However, not only has technology improved to the extent that fixed wireless can now match the speeds of its fibre counterpart, it is also now capable of providing upload speeds to match download speeds – an increasingly important consideration as businesses increase their reliance on VoIP and cloud-based applications.

Diminishing the divide W h i l e i t i s d i f f i c u l t to p re c i se l y matc h t h e re l i a b i l i t y of a f i xe d w i re l e ss n et wo r k w h e n m atc h e d a ga i n st f i b re , t h e co mp a r i so n i s mu c h c l o se r t h a n i s w i d e l y t h o u g ht . M a j o r a d va n c e me nt s i n w i re l e ss M a ssi ve M I M O ( M u l t i p l e I n , M u l t i p l e Ou t ) te c h n o l o g y co mb i n e d w i t h t h e ava i l a b i l i t y of n ew sp e ct r u m a n d va st l y re d u c e d d e p l o y me nt co st s, h ave c re ate d a n at t ra ct i ve e co sy ste m a n d R OI fo r I S Ps to d e p l o y w i re l e ss b ro a d b a n d . Use of l owe r b a n d f re q u e n c i e s a n d sof t wa re te c h n o l o g y i m p rove m e nt s e n su re

t h at si g n a l s c a n co nten d wi th n e a r l i n e of si g ht a p p l i cati on s , a n d p rov i d e r s c a n n ow deli ver a co n si ste nt l y re l i a b l e con n ecti on w i t h o u t a c l e a r l i n e of s i ght b et we e n re c e i ve r s. Eq ually, t raf f i c ma n a ge m e nt c an b e i nte l l i ge nt l y a n d p ro a cti vely h a n d l e d i n si t u at i o n s w here large n u m b e r s of u se r s o r s p i kes i n t raf f i c o cc u r. Given the favorable economics, new independent ISPs are finding lower barriers to entry and building out new wireless broadband networks, creating much needed market competition against the large incumbents. With traditional wireline solutions, the installation, maintenance and upgrading of physical fibre-optic cables can be both costly and time consuming; not to mention causing disruption to the surrounding landscape. By contrast, fixed wireless requires minimal set-up and the lack of equipment required to install and maintain a network makes it attractive to independent, regional and rural ISPs and businesses alike. Meanwhile, incumbent telcos, armed with government stimulus funding aimed at solving the digital divide, and faced with the cost-prohibitive option of fiber deployment, are also choosing to deploy wireless broadband services in those rural, hard-toreach areas. Given the rapid technology improvements, operators have discovered that fixed wireless technologies can now deliver the broadband consumers need, with fiber-fast speed and reliability. In the US, the burgeoning 5G cellular industry has shifted the focus of 5G technologies to fixed wireless applications. As a result, investors have followed to fund the opportunity as a key last-mile technology of the internet across the globe. Mimosa Networks

April 2018 | 27


Indecent exposure: could Wi-Fi be your weakest link? Greig Schofield, technical manager at cloud network specialist Netmetix, explores how Wi-Fi could expose businesses and employees to ‘Man in the Middle’ cybercrime.


magine you’d spent a for tune making your home physically secure, only to discover you’d been quietly robbed by thieves who never set foot on your proper ty. You thought you’d built a for tress, but didn’t notice the gap in the fence that left you wide open to intruders. It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare. But it’s also a real-world metaphor for many UK businesses who, despite being increasingly vulnerable, have left the door to cybercrime unwittingly ajar. With IT security now a corporate priority, organisations are investing heavily in sophisticated firewalls that make their systems vir tually impenetrable. But many fail to spot the hole in their defences that leaves both the business and its employees dangerously exposed: Wi-Fi. Flawed Wi-Fi practice, along with poor awareness of the tell-tale signs of cyber threats, can gift criminals surreptitious access to commercially sensitive business information. Moreover, it can inadvertently expose workers to the catastrophic risk of identity theft, phishing and other cyber scams. A high percentage of businesses believe that expansive security infrastructure makes them immune to the threat. However, many don’t realise that their Wi-Fi can negate their efforts to safeguard assets. Welcome to the unsavoury world of the ‘Man in the Middle’ (MITM) attack. It’s a global epidemic with destructive implications. If you think it cannot happen in your workplace, think

28 | April 2018

again. It can. But with the right organisational awareness and simple technology, it can easily be prevented.

Targeting users Online crime is changing. Cyber criminals are moving on from targeting organisations and are instead focusing their attention on individual users. One of the easiest ways to do this is via ubiquitous technology that everyone uses: Wi-Fi. In our digital world, connectivity is king. Wireless access is no longer a luxury, it’s an expectation. And it’s an expectation that online opportunists are seeking to exploit. Our hunger for connectivity – and our willingness to instinctively join a network if it satisfies our need for speed – has provided a stimulant for MITM attacks that largely thrive on Wi-Fi connections. One of the most common is Wi-Fi eavesdropping, where hackers unscrupulously intercept information that travels across wireless hotspots and use it for criminal gain. The approach takes advantage of cheap technology that allows hackers to set up ‘rogue’ access points – fake networks masquerading as legitimate WiFi hotspots with familiar-looking names – then monitor keystrokes and steal personal information from anyone who connects to them. Since these rogue networks are unencrypted, all activity across them is open and visible. The stealth-like interception of usernames and passwords can facilitate illegal access to online

banking, credit card details or corporate permissions. A hacker may not use them instantly, but could violate these accounts at any time. Users are often concerned about confidential documentation stored on their devices. Hackers are rarely interested in this – they’re more focused on lateral movement from a victim’s email account. For example, access to email allows them to activate password notifications from PayPal accounts and monitor keystrokes as the user nominates new log-in details. It’s scary stuff. Global incidence of Wi-Fi eavesdropping is increasing. Hackers have snared numerous high-profile victims, breaching the wireless networks of brands like American Airlines, TalkTalk and Starbucks. The trend has even forced the FBI to warn users to evaluate their surroundings before jumping on a Wi-Fi network. These developments have reinforced a misconception that eavesdropping is limited to public Wi-Fi, fuelling a false sense of security that office-based networks are not susceptible to attack. This is wrong. Wi-Fi is as likely to be compromised in an office as it is in a shopping mall, a hotel lobby or an airport. A hacker with the appropriate technology could be sitting in the next room, the carpark outside or the building next door. They don’t discriminate between public or corporate Wi-Fi. Their goal is simply to lure unsuspecting users to their rogue networks and launch their attacks from there.


Protecting the workforce Despite its rise, surprisingly few businesses have done enough to address the threat of Wi-Fi eavesdropping. Many believe that password encryption provides adequate protection. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Encryption is only relevant when a user chooses a legitimate network – if they select a rogue hotspot, the Wireless Key protecting your network is never required. Businesses are legally responsible for traffic that passes over their network. However, since rogue activity doesn’t actually touch their network, addressing the problem is complex. Employers have a duty of care to staff and must do all they can to ensure their networks are secure. But, given the challenges, how can they mitigate the risk of MITM attacks? A multi-layered approach that combines technology and education is required.

Raising awareness Perhaps the greatest emphasis should be placed on ensuring users understand the risks and recognise unusual behaviour. Although hackers are becoming more sophisticated, their modus operandi often follows familiar patterns that, if individuals are vigilant, should raise alarm bells. Here are some simple considerations:

Reinforcing security

the ordinary. Being redirected to a por tal, par ticularly in an office environment, is generally a red flag event. #2: Look out for the padlock If you’re remote working and accessing public Wi-Fi, it’s not unusual to be redirected to a log-in portal. The majority aren’t malicious. Look out for a ‘padlock’ in the address bar – that’s normally the sign of a legitimate site. #3: Know your network Your device will constantly look for recognisable Wi-Fi networks you’ve previously used. Hackers will mimic these – setting up rogue hotspots with the same name in the hope you will connect. Be alert. If you’re surfing in Starbucks and are invited to join your corporate Wi-Fi, it’s most likely a hoax.

“Despite its rise, surprisingly few businesses have done enough to address the threat of Wi-Fi eavesdropping.”

Technology can provide added protection against MITM attacks. Rogue Access Point Detection tools can help identify, ring-fence and lock out rogue hotspots. These solutions, which are run from legitimate access points, log and audit activity across your Wi-Fi network and can alert you to suspicious behaviours. They provide visibility and security. Additionally, some companies have introduced policies to ensure client machines can only connect to certain Wi-Fi networks, eliminating rogue risk. The most proactive have opted for ‘certificate-based authentication’ to assure users that their security is being effectively protected. Good examples of this can be seen on the High Street, where retail outlets are reassuring customers that they have ‘Wi-Fi Friendly’ certification. It’s an example that corporate organisations may be well advised to follow. In an age where mobility and connectivity have become crucial to global communication, Wi-Fi is an essential component of the digital workplace. Users expect it. But they also expect that their online communications are secure from the threat of MITM attack. It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that they are. Let’s fix the fence. Netmetix,

#1: Get familiar with your company Wi-Fi Signing up to a rogue hotspot typically requires unorthodox behaviour. Hackers will generally redirect you to a malicious, non-secure website that mimics a legitimate log-in page. That’s rogue behaviour. These pages are unencrypted: if you sign-up, all your transactions become visible. So, familiarise yourself with your company’s WiFi SOPs; know what happens and stop if anything appears out of

April 2018 | 29


Get wise to smart power Schneider Electric announces the launch of two key new smart product lines.


chneider Electric, specialist in digital transformation of energy management and automation, has announced the availability of Smart-UPS with APC SmartConnect in the UK & Ireland. The maker says this new solution is the first and only cloud-enabled uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for distributed IT environments and enables businesses, par ticularly small and medium sized (SMBs) that have limited IT staff and resources, to proactively and effectively manage the health of their UPS systems. Schneider underlines that, of course, UPS failures are undesirable, but on the most business-critical technology it could mean catastrophic business delays and profit loss. To compound the criticality, today’s IoT-enabled world means these devices are likely supporting onsite and remote edge computing environments that must provide the same level of availability and security as the largest and most mission critical data centers. Available as a standard feature with select models in APC’s Smart-UPS portfolio of uninterruptible power supplies, Schneider says SmartConnect delivers the power reliability, security and certainty that SMBs need to stay connected to the technology and information that powers their business. SmartConnect leverages the Schneider Electric cloud-enabled EcoStruxure IT architecture to: ather and send data about G the health and status of a customer’s UPS devices including battery replacement, warranty renewal and UPS performance notifications.

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rovide a secure, cloud-based P web portal where customers can view the status of their UPS, accessible from any internetconnected device. S end customisable automatic notifications, firmware notification updates and advanced troubleshooting support through an easy-to-use remote monitoring inter face. D eploy right out of the box – no configuration required – making it easy for even non-technical users to install. SmartConnect cloud-powered technology is also designed to enable managed service providers (MSPs) to expand their offerings to deliver remote UPS monitoring for SMB clients. This provides MSPs with a greater opportunity to better serve their customers through value-added power infrastructure services while generating new revenue streams – all with minimal effort and no additional cost, says the maker. MSPs can easily integrate SmartConnect with remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions such as ConnectWise Automate and Kaseya, or via a mobile ready web portal, so they can manage customer portfolios from a single platform. No coding, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) traps, or software agents are required, meaning MSPs can quickly deploy their services and begin generating revenue.

EcoStruxure ready solutions Connected APC Smart-UPS with SmartConnect is one of the latest products available as part of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IT Data Center Management as a Service architecture. The foundation of EcoStruxure IT is

built on intelligent, connected solutions that leverage datadriven insights to simplify the maintenance and operation of IT physical infrastructure by improving performance operation; enabling remote visibility and monitoring, and providing expert services capabilities.

APC Smart-UPS with Li-Ion Technology A n ot h e r n ew of fe r i n g fo r t h e UK a n d I re l a n d , a n n o u n c e d re c e nt l y at t h e Data C e nt re Wo r l d eve nt i n Lo n d o n , i s t h e A P C S ma r t UP S w i t h Li - I o n Te c h n o l o g y . A s we k n ow, b u si n e ss- c r i t i c a l a p p l i c at i o n s a n d I o T sy ste m s a re b e i n g move d c l o se r to t h e e d ge of t h e n et wo r k to re d u c e l ate n c y , e n h a n c e co n n e ct i v i t y , a n d i m p rove p e r fo r m a n c e . A s a re su l t , t h e c r i t i c a l i t y of t h e se d i st r i b u te d I T e nv i ro n m e nt s h a s b e co m e p a ra m o u nt to eve r y d a y b u si n e ss o p e rat i o n s. While effective power management is essential, these sites often lack dedicated IT staff with the proper expertise to tackle the task at hand. This means regular maintenance of power protection equipment, such as a UPS, can be overlooked, potentially leading to unplanned downtime that can affect business performance and lead to costly replacement due to poorly maintained equipment. S c h n e i d e r sa y s Li - I o n b at te r y te c h n o l o g y of fe r s a h o st of b e n ef i t s t h at ma ke i t a n at t ra ct i ve a n d af fo rd a b l e o pt i o n fo r a g row i n g set of b u si n e sse s re l i a nt o n d i st r i b u te d I T i nf ra st r u ct u re . En d u se r s n e e d


A Smart-UPS with SmartConnect

b et te r p e r fo r ma n c e i n a sm a l l e r fo ot p r i nt w i t h e a si e r ma i nte n a n c e , a l l w h i l e l owe r i n g tota l co st of ow n e r sh i p ( TCO) ove r t h e l i fe of t h e i r d ev i c e , i t i s, fo r t h i s re a so n , t h at t h e co m p a n y i s exp a n d i n g i t s A P C S m a r t - UP S p o r t fo l i o w i t h a Li - I o n b at te r y o pt i o n fo r i t s si n g l e - p h a se of fe r.

Smart-UPS powered by Li-Ion For years, Schneider Electric has featured Li-Ion across its portfolio of power protection solutions, including its three-phase UPSs and APC Back-UPS offer. Now, it is expanding its use of Li-Ion technology for its single-phase Smart-UPS portfolio with APC’s new line of Li-Ion Battery UPS. W i t h Li - I o n e m b e d d e d te c h n o l o g y , t h e c o m p a n y s a y s S m a r t - U P S O n - Li n e o f fe r s s eve ra l m a i nte n a n c e a n d c o s t s av i n g b e n e f i t s :

Schneider Electric has introduced APC Smart-UPS with LiIon Technology

L onger life span: Li-Ion batteries can have a service life upwards of 10 years. S maller size and weight: due to higher energy densities, Li-Ion batteries have a much smaller footprint and weigh about 30% less than sealed lead acid batteries. L owe r m a i nte n a n c e a n d tota l co s t of ow n e r s h i p : w i t h d o u b l e t h e b at te r y l i fe , t h e a m o u nt of m a i nte n a n c e a n d a s s o c i ate d co s t s re q u i re d ove r t h e l i fe of t h e U P S i s re d u c e d b y u p to 5 3 % .

S afety: APC’s proven record of safety and best-in-class design and adherence to safety regulations (UL 1973, UL1642/ IEC62133) provides added peace of mind. B etter per formance at higher temperatures: Li-Ion batteries can operate at higher average temperatures (e.g., 40°C/ 104°F) without degradation to UPS performance of runtime. E xtended runtime: Smart-UPS OnLine can be configured with multiple Li-Ion battery packs to meet aggressive runtime demands based on IT and business needs. Remote management capabilities: available with a preinstalled Network Management Card (NMC) option, this solution can enhance visibility of edge environments with monitoring and control capabilities. This solution can also connect to Schneider Electric’s cloudenabled EcoStruxure IT platform. The maker also believes this new offering fills an industry gap by delivering better performance and longer shelf life that is not currently available with sealed lead acid battery technology. Delivering a Li-Ion solution, Schneider Electric says it is enabling customers to operate more efficiently and significantly reduce the cost and risk associated with managing their power protection equipment. Schneider Electric

April 2018 | 31


The advantages of VRLA batteries Alan Luscombe, director at Uninterruptible Power Supplies Ltd., power protection specialists, argues the case for VRLA technology.


ll UPSs depend on some form of stored energy technology that can accept energy during normal mains supply operation and release it as a backup supply during a power cut. Although some UPSs employ flywheels or hydrogen cells for this, most use batteries. Of these, lead-acid types remain the most popular choice for UPS manufacturers and users. Other battery technologies, particularly lithium-ion, are increasingly popular, but all have issues as well as advantages. One reason for lead-acid’s continued presence is the steady replacement of the original, vented flooded cell types with sealed or Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries from leading manufacturers like Yuasa. Several VRLA types are available, all offering advantages over the older-technology flooded cell type. Their common major benefit is their use of recombination; oxygen released from the positive plates during discharge, recombines with hydrogen generated at the negative plates, to form water. This eliminates the regular water top-up maintenance requirement of flooded cells, while also preventing battery gassing. Risks to personnel health or of damage to nearby equipment are mitigated. Additionally, the batteries also can be built as sealed units, and stored or used in any orientation.

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Ke y va r i a nt s o f V R L A b at te r i e s i n c l u d e : el types, which are G manufactured with a gel state electrolyte; a thick, putty-like gel comprising the electrolyte with added silica dust, that is not fully solid to contain acid and have no leakage. The modern gel battery was invented by Otto Jache of Sonnenschein in 1957. A GM or Absorbent Glass Mat batteries feature a highlyabsorbent, slightly undersaturated fibreglass mesh between the battery plates, which contains the electrolyte. The resulting design is compact with high vibration resistance. The first AGM cell was the Cyclon, patented by Gates Rubber Corporation in 1972 and now produced by EnerSys. In the mid-1980s two UK companies, Chloride and Tungstone, simultaneously introduced 10-year life AGM batteries in capacities up to 400 Ah, stimulated by a British Telecom specification for batteries to support new digital exchanges. T hin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology is a more recent and higher-performance version of the AGM type. It offers rapid charge and discharge capabilities, high charge density and a long operating life. The batteries also have a wide operating temperature range with superior performance at low temperatures. Additionally, their shelf life is over twice that of conventional lead-acid types.


“The VRLA advantages mean that the batteries can be used in cabinets alongside the UPSs, rather than in separate battery rooms.�

Battery life can be maximised by operating in well managed environment with regular maintenance

T h e V R L A a d va nta ges mean t h at t h e b at te r i e s c a n b e us ed i n c a b i n et s a l o n g si d e the U P Ss rat h e r t h a n i n se p a rate b attery ro o ms, eve n i f t h e UP Ss are o p e rat i n g w i t h i n a n of f i ce e nv i ro n me nt . Howeve r, V R LA b at te r i e s sh o u l d n ot b e en clos ed w i t h i n se a l e d co nta i n ers , b e c a u se t h e y c a n ga s i f a cc i d e nt l y ove rc h a rged. Thi s can ge n e rate e n o u g h p re ssure to c a u se a n exp l o si o n i f the gas es a re n ot ve nte d . While VRLA technology offers the advantages described, the batteries should still be regarded as the weak link in any UPS application, because they have a finite working life and will eventually require replacement. However, this life can be maximised by taking care to operate within a well managed environment, and setting up a regular maintenance schedule. The UPS design should protect the batteries from undercharging, overcharging and over discharging. The charging systems should completely eliminate AC ripple and have temperature-compensated outputs to prevent overcharging at elevated temperatures. The UPS operating environment should be maintained at around 20°C, as higher temperatures will reduce the battery life and possibly cause damage, while lower temperatures reduce battery per formance. The batteries should also be regularly tested for open-circuit and float voltage, and checked for corrosion, cracks, leaks, swelling, connections and cleanliness. However, with the correct environmental and maintenance strategies in place, VRLA batteries offer reliable, stable solutions with good per formance. Uninterruptible Power Supplies 01256 386 700

April 2018 | 33


Is the green truly in the grey? Janne Paananen, technology manager at power control specialist, Eaton, takes on the challenge of power consumption.


16.2 Terawatt hours of electricity – that is how much the world’s data centres consumed in 2017. And if current projections are true, it’s likely that the world’s data centres will consume at least three times the amount of electricity they do today in the next 10 years. The environmental impact of this of course cannot be ignored. Data centres all over the world are using 3% of the global energy usage and in turn, are responsible for 2% of greenhouse gases. What’s clear is that the industry has recognised the responsibility to reduce the combined carbon footprint as

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well as decrease energy usage. Many data centres are already taking steps to reduce their energy usage and prioritise energy efficiency, balancing both costs with the environmental impact. Webaxys, for example, is a data centre with a strong belief that reaching a low carbon future can be achieved by reusing old electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Furthermore, many data centres are currently experimenting with the process by which data centre waste heat is reused, a practice that is particularly gaining momentum in the Nordics. Finally, 2016 research released by Berkeley Lab in the US, revealed that after rising sharply

for more than 10 years, the US electricity consumption by data centre started to plateau in 2010, and has remained steady since - at just under 2% of total US electricity consumption. This shows that the data centre industry has the ability to make a shift to greater energy efficiency if the right techniques are applied. It’s of course positive news that more and more energy providers are moving towards renewable energy sources. In 2017, 24% of global electricity demand was produced by renewables such as wind, solar and hydropower. But here’s the catch. Renewable energy generation can be very intermittent.

UPS & POWER MANAGEMENT How can the world reduce the amount of power Data Centres use?

“Data centres all over the world are using 3% of the global energy usage, and, in turn, are responsible for 2% of greenhouse gases.”

How do we get around this? This intermittency needn’t be viewed negatively. As the energy market moves fur ther away from fuel-based energy to renewable energy, production itself could potentially become more volatile, harder to accurately predict, and balance electrical supply. Moreover, the iner tia and the natural frequency stabilisation mechanism of the grid is decreasing and this makes for faster and greater frequency transients, especially during major faults. The instability of a fluctuating electricity supply is not good for data centres as they rely on a steady and reliable supply of energy. With the rise of renewable energy sources and an ever-rising demand for electricity, we expect to see more fluctuating power quality in the grid.

So, what does this mean for data centres? It means that they have the ability to play a critical role in helping energy providers maintain power quality by balancing consumption with power generation. More organisations in the energy sector need to help businesses immediately respond to grid-level power demands to keep frequencies within confined boundaries. This will avoid gridwide power outages. In summary, data centres can be paid back either for not drawing power, or for offering capacity back to the National Grid. More organisations need to look to UPS-as-a-Reser ve (UPSaaR) data centre solutions that allow them to earn from their UPS investment. This works because it puts data centres in control of their energy, selecting how much capacity to offer at what times and at what price. The typical returns can be up to 50,000 euros per MW power allocated to the grid to suppor t per year.

Making the process work A UP S a a R se r v i c e e n a b l e s d ata c e nt re o p e rato r s to p u t t h e UP S to wo r k a s p a r t of a v i r t u a l p owe r p l a nt t h at e n a b l e s t h e m to ta ke p a r t i n t h e d e ma n d - si d e m a r ket a n d i n h i g h - va l u e F C R . T h e UP S c a n b e u t i l i se d to su p p o r t t h e g r i d b y re p l a c i n g d e m a n d w i t h t h e p owe r ta ke n f ro m b at te r i e s. T h e p owe r t h at h a s

b e e n d i sc h a rge d i s ef for tles s ly re g u l ate d i n p a ra l l e l w i th the U P S re ct i f i e r to p rov i d e a n accurate re sp o n se , w h i c h i s i n dep en dent of l o a d l eve l . Data c e ntre o p e rato r s c a n t h e n sup p or t the g r i d i n re g u l at i n g f re q uen cy, c re at i n g ext ra reve n u e to of fs et t h e tota l co st of ow n ers hi p of t h e UP S , o r a s p a r t of maki n g the d ata c e nt re mo re co mp eti ti ve f ro m a p r i c e sta n d p o i nt. Organisations, such as Eaton, have demonstrated that UPS systems and batteries can be safely and efficiently deployed to carry out demand-side response operations without any risk to the UPS’s primary function. The data centre would work with the likes of a commercial energy aggregator to offer its capacity to the National Grid or Transmission System Operator. A range of service provides can install the functionality and provide the right communication interface to the aggregator’s systems. Data centres can truly act as change agents – helping the UK transition to a low carbon economy. By helping energy providers balance consumption with the generation of power, and by selling electricity back to the grid, they can make a real difference on the UK’s carbon footprint. It’s time to see more data centres across the country adopt a smarter, greener approach to energy usage. Eaton

April 2018 | 35


Back to the future Aerohive Networks has announced new historical reporting capabilities for its network performance monitoring tool Comparative Analytics, a recently introduced big data toolset designed to help organisations anonymously benchmark infrastructure and client device metrics against similar sized deployments and industries. The company says its Comparative Analytics enables organisations to assess the state of their network beyond the information presented by their own network management system, which, due to the design approach taken by many vendors today, often leave IT administrators with a slew of subjective and unclear reports that don’t offer any real insight into how the network is actually operating. Comparative Analytics sets out to remove any ambiguity, offering organisations a broader scope of useful, objective, and actionable datasets that help them determine network correction or upgrade requirements. With Aerohive’s latest cloud updates, the company says,

organisations will be able to access a wider set of valuable real-time and historical measurements, focusing on bandwidth usage, unique client connections, technology types, devices with poor health, and upcoming wired and Wi-Fi metrics including WAN latency, switch utilisation, Wi-Fi connection success, and IoT device population profiling, that can be viewed within HiveManager or downloaded for offline consumption. The newly formatted Comparative Analytics historical reporting charts metrics over an extended period of time, which the company says will allow administrators to evaluate whether configuration changes made to the network are having a positive impact on the network over time. Professing to be an innovative approach to presenting network data in real-world terms, Aerohive says that Comparative Analytics is smarter than using cryptic streams of data. Ultimately, mobility-driven organisations want to know if their network infrastructure is performing

Aerohive helps customers look forward by looking back with historical comparative analytics

as expected, or not, and having a view of other networks helps to create a baseline for comparison. This big data service from Aerohive is also said to be akin to credit scoring, which is set to guide organisations as to where their network operations fall in relation to similar deployments. In drawing this comparison, it’s one thing to know your own credit score, but if everyone were to have the same score, then the bar for success criteria would change. The company says Comparative Analytics will reveal where your network performance bar is and how to stay above it. Aerohive

A flip of the smart city switch D-Link, the networking manufacturer, has announced its latest high-performance switches – the Industrial Gigabit Switches (DIS-100G, DIS-300G and DIS-700G Series). The company says that these switches have been designed specifically to support the rising demand for smart city applications, industrial automation and the growing adoption of Industry 4.0 techniques such as the Internet of Things (IoT). D-Link says that it is ideally suited for deployment by local authorities, transport operators, construction companies and the system integrators that support them. The switches are said to be able to withstand wide temperature ranges (-40° to 75°C), vibration and shock; which the company says makes them ideal for yearround outdoor deployment. Their hardened, robust design, combined with high availability network features, sets to enable the switches to reliably per form their vital role in the network infrastructure without the need for costly air conditioning and vibration isolation enclosures. The company recognises its switch series to be simple to install; delivering long service with low maintenance requirements. For industrial purposes, particularly automation, the company says its switches feature high EMI/EMC rejection enabling them to survive in high EMI environments such as welding bays, and support fast network recovery under 20ms to reduce downtime. Paul Routledge, country manager, D-Link UKI comments, “With many exciting national, regional, public and private sector projects underway that rely on Industrial Switches,

36 | April 2018

D-Link launches new industrial gigabit switches for smart city, factory automation and IoT applications

this is an excellent time for D-Link to maximise its three decades of network experience and apply it to this new range of Industrial Switches. Per formance, flexibility and dependability will be central to the Industrial Switches that lead the market, and for years these qualities have been at the heart of all D-Link’s solutions. We’re excited at the prospect of being at the forefront of many new services and applications that will define how we live, work and communicate both now and in the future.” D-Link


Simple, secure security Pulse Secure, provider of Secure Access solutions to both enterprises and service providers, has announced new cloud and virtual appliances to protect access and support applications in hybrid IT environments. The company recognises that enterprises are quickly moving to deploy hybrid IT, leveraging the cloud to introduce new user services and gain disaster recovery resiliency, as well as continuing to use the data centre when they must have total control of the application. The company says its latest cloud-based Pulse Secure Appliance (PSA) allows enterprises to adapt access security frameworks to address changing application environments that blend data centre, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-aService (SaaS) offerings. Pulse Secure says it helps enterprises accelerate this transformation. By using an adaptable access security framework, enterprises can confidently move applications to the cloud and leverage IaaS and SaaS to reduce operational costs and expedite new end-user services. In times of crisis or disaster, enterprises have a simpler and faster way to normalise user productivity without changing user behaviour. “Thousands of customers depend on Pulse Secure products to secure and enable easy access to their data centre. They love the reliability of the plat form and depend on its robust security to connect users to the information and applications they need to drive business,” says Prakash Mana, vice president of product management at Pulse Secure.

Deployment flexibility enables new user services, rapid data center scale and cost-effective operation

The company says the addition of virtual and cloudbased appliances gives customers greater operational freedom, peace of mind and agility. Customers have greater deployment choices for their hybrid IT environments with the price and per formance parity of the expanded PSA family. Consistent security is ensured for their hybrid IT deployments by extending their proven data centre security policies to applications hosted by Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Enterprises can use Pulse One centralised management for total operational control and visibility of access to their hybrid IT environment. Pulse Secure

Impressive antennae KP Per formance Antennas, a manufacturer of WISP antennae, has announced that it has released a new line of high-performance, 2 GHz sector antennae for use in WISP networks. KP’s new line of LTE (Long Term Evolution) 2 GHz sector antennae consist of three new models: KP-2DP120S-45, a 14 dBi sector with 120° azimuth beamwidth, the KPPA2GHZDP60S-17-45, a 15.1 dBi sector with a 60° azimuth beamwidth, and the KPPA-2GHZDP90S-45 which provides 17 dBi of gain with a 90° azimuth beamwidth. The company says these 2 GHz sector antennae utilise a 45° slant dual polarisation scheme and are specially designed with optimised front to back and side lobes that allow for frequency reuse. KP Per formance says its antennae feature heavy-duty weatherised sector brackets. Select models are also said to include jumper cables and radio brackets. The company say these LTE sector antennae also deliver high-gain in a compact shell for ease of deployment. All models in this line are said to operate in the popular 2.3 GHz to 2.7 GHz frequency range and deliver VSWR from 1.3:1 to 2.1. “Our new 2 GHz sectors are engineered to provide vastly improved coverage and spectral efficiency in LTE deployments through their high-gain, fixed electrical downtilt and optimised patterns with sharp roll-off past their 3 dB beamwidths and superior front-to-back,” explains Justin Pollock, Ph.D., antenna engineer at KP Performance Antennas. KP Performance Antennas

April 2018 | 37


The speed of light David Trossell, CEO and CTO of Bridgeworks, a company with a 35-year history of expertise in optimisation of data performance, explores the changing face of the data centre and the impact of networking costs.


attias Fridström, chief evangelist for Telia Carrier (telecommunication services specialist) says lower networking hardware costs are forcing datacentres and metro networks to fundamentally change how they conduct their business. “Any location with fibre can now become a data centre, opening up new opportunities for designing, managing, and operating cloud and on-demand computing resources,” he comments. In the past, the networking hardware costs were extremely prohibitive, and so connecting different datacentres to each was often an expensive exercise. Organisations such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Intel have been at the forefront of the software designed revolution in computing, and they are now moving into the networking arena with SDN and SD-WAN. This is displacing the traditional costly propriety silicon purveyors on network equipment. With lower costs and higher speed connections, the dynamics are changing. In turn this is

38 | April 2018

transforming the costs associated with datacentres, public, hybrid and private clouds – making them more accessible and more affordable.

Restricted capacity For years, the network capacity inside the datacentre has been restricted by their underlying technology, but with the advent of new silicon and signal processing, the costs have been pushed down. At the same time, network performance has increased inside the datacentre. In the past, that used to be restricted to 10Gb/s connectivity, but they now commonly have 100GB/s or higher at their disposal. So, lower costs and higher performance have become the new norm. This means it is now possible to exploit this new high capacity WAN connectivity. Cost is always an inhibitor. The reduction of commodity hardware. as well as the open source software-defined functionality brings flexibility to all sizes of organisations, while changing the dynamics of the WAN and the new possibilities that it can bring. A word of caution though: latency

and its effects must be considered when planning new installations.

Locate anywhere Mattias claims that fibre optics now makes it possible to build and locate a datacentre anywhere. In my view, you can now create global access to datacentres to mitigate disaster recovery (DR) geographical constraints. In doing so it becomes possible to move computing closer to the consumer, and perhaps even closer to the edge. However, the speed of light is finite (at the moment) and that can cause issues, making it harder to move volumes of data between datacentres. Network latency and packet loss remain issues that can diminish datacentre performance. Many organisations fail to factor in the effect of the speed of light when designing geographically dispersed solutions. For high speed trading platform data, the distance between datacentres affects the time between transactions. However, for low speed transactional data composed of a small number data packets, a few milliseconds of delay isn’t critical.

KNOW HOW Data accelerate When transferring large volumes of data, such as workloads or back up as a service transactions, latency and packet loss is a massive throughput killer. You can’t make the speed of light go faster, so you must find another way around the problem. Data acceleration solutions such as PORTrockIT, through the use of parallelisation and AI, can have a dramatic effect on restoring data throughput. Unlike WAN Optimisations, they can also permit encrypted files to be transmitted securely at speed between datacentres that are located outside of their own circles of disruption. WAN optimisation solutions often can’t deal with encrypted data, requiring the data to often be sent unencrypted to ensure that a speedier data transmission can be achieved. Moreover, while WAN optimisation and SD-WAN vendors often claim they deal will latency, they often don’t sufficiently make a difference to network performance at the higher WAN speeds that are now available. In contrast, data acceleration solutions use machine learning to mitigate the effects of data and network latency. With them, the possibility of having optimised datacentres and disaster recovery sites in different parts of the world, with impact of latency being much reduced, becomes more feasible.

New opportunities Yet, lower costs create opportunities for designing, managing, and operating ondemand cloud computing resources. Indeed, with service providers now thinking globally, fibre opens up a whole range of opportunities for organisations both large and small. Many still believe that public is the only cloud model available. However, the larger organisations with virtualised, distributed datacentres are linked with high speed fibre. So, they can create their own cloud infrastructure for cloud storage and cloud computing. This nevertheless will leave the debate about whether it’s cheaper for them to outsource to third-party datacentres, or whether it’s cheaper to have their own datacentres.

“Lower costs create opportunities for designing, managing, and operating on-demand cloud computing resources.”

So, with the changing datacentre in mind and the need for data acceleration still being important, here are my top tips: U nderstand the per formance and latency requirements of your applications, be these databases, DRaaS or BaaS of end-user application. E mploy data acceleration solutions such as PORTrockIT and to lower the SLA requirements of your WAN in terms of latency and packet loss SLAs. R emember that using SD-WANs is a great idea for managing WANs, but they won’t fix the latency and packet loss issues. S oftware-defined open source network software can considerably reduce both capital and operational costs.

Future-gazing Predicting technology ten-year period is as dangerous as spinning on a dime. However, looking forward at some of the current trends it becomes possible to theorise about the future from what is currently seen within today’s market. Firstly, with ever increasing data volumes, datacentre power and energy consumption is bound to increase exponentially. This will generate much heat too, which could be used to heat homes. Datacentres are going to have to tackle the greenhouse gases. Increased fibre coverage and performance networks allows data centres to be placed pretty much anywhere, but rural areas

are still not having their needs met in many countries. This means that datacentres are likely to remain within the vicinity of urban areas. However, improved Government investment in network infrastructure could enable more datacentres to be located in cheaper and less urbanised areas – whether that be in the UK or elsewhere in the world. It’s also worth remembering that the web is the cloud; with all this interconnectivity it will be possible for anyone and everyone, and not just large datacentres, to supply spare storage and compute capacity to a commodity brokerage the same way the electricity is bought and sold now. So, the changing datacentre may find that it faces an increasing amount of untraditional competition in the future – offering more choice to organisations and to the consumer. The changing datacentre will also be increasingly softwaredefined, hyperscaled and virtual. With the ascendency of artificial intelligence and softwaredefined infrastructure, there will be massive requirements for compute power. It will create the opportunity to have hyperscaled and virtual computer spread across multiple datacentres. This will solve many of the complex issues that people today think of as being impossible to resolve. So, the ongoing impact of the changing datacentre and of lower networking costs will eventually make the impossible, very much possible to achieve. Bridgeworks

April 2018 | 39

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