Recent Posts

#Festive500 to finish off 2020

The global pandemic this year changed a lot of plans for families over the Christmas period. We were no exception, our normal Christmas plans were not possible due to the restrictions within the UK at the moment. Normally we travel to Devon and Scotland to spend time with our extended families.

A small consolation of not being able to do our normal travels to visit extended family this Christmas break was having a bit more time to get out on the bike between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

So I thought I would attempt the Rapha #festive500 challenge. I have attempted it in the past but never quite made it. Snow, freezing rain, sub-zero temperatures make it a tough challenge.

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5G and edge computing: Why these complementary technologies will optimize enterprise businesses

5G deployments are starting to expand beyond the few city-wide showcases of the last couple of years. And new use cases for consumer and enterprises are being developed all the time. But it will take the parallel implementation of edge computing in the next few months for 5G to truly reach its potential.

What is the edge? Where is the edge? How does it benefit 5G? What is the sum of these parts? Can we have one without the other?

These are valid questions as we move from initial limited implementations of 5G towards a future where it becomes essential not just for consumers and lifestyles, but businesses chasing market opportunities. As we move into that future, the defining characteristics

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5G Techritory Talk – Intelligent Connectivity to make 5G a reality

I was invited to speak at the 2020 5G Techritory hosted out of Lativa. Due to the Covid -19 pandemic, the event was a virtual conference. I recorded this presentation to discuss how connectivity requirements.

What type(s) of Intelligent Connectivity is required to make 5G a reality?

In Enabling the 5G Era, Mark will share insights on the necessary steps operators and wholesalers alike need to take to provide connectivity that will provide for todays and future requirements.

Looking back in order to look forward; what does this new decade hold for the wireless industry?

This blog post was originally published on Colt.net on January 7th 2020.

The end of one year and start of another often sees people look back and reflect upon the last 12 months as well as start to think about the year ahead.

This year though, I find myself not only reflecting on last year but the decade that has now come to an end. The last decade saw the way we communicate dramatically change and mobile technology and handsets played a huge role in that. The wide-spread roll out of 5G that is said to come in this new decade will drive further reinvention – so what are the parallels between the last decade and where we are today?

As the ‘Naughties’ drew to a close, we were just a couple of years into the smartphone revolution, with the real growth still yet to come. The latest handset on the market was the iPhone 3G S, which was launched in the Summer of 2009 and ran on the 3G network with a top speed of 7.2Mbps download and only 384Kbps upload.

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5G backhaul requires more symmetry than previous wireless generations

This interview originally appeared in FierceWireless author – Linda Hardesty October 10th 2019.

Backhaul requirements within current wireless networks are largely asymmetrical with most traffic flowing from the core to the handset, according to Mark Gilmour, VP of mobile connectivity solutions at Colt Technology Service. But 5G networks will require more symmetrical backhaul capability.

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The 5G revolution begins

This blog post was first published on Colt.net June 2019.

It’s been a whirlwind few months since I joined Colt, particularly in the last month with speaking assignments at three big events on the future of 5G and mobile connectivity.

First I attended the Big 5G event in Denver, where I was part of a panel on ‘Virtualization & the 5G Cloud’. It was clear from the discussions that the route to full virtualization is underway but there are a number of unresolved questions on how the mobile & cellular network will be fully impacted and the timeline to get there.

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MWC at a glance; are telcos ready for the 5G evolution?

This Article was originally published on the Colt.net blog March 19th 2019.

The dust has settled on another Mobile World Congress (MWC) and what a brilliant event it was once again.

Over 100,000 industry professionals descended on Barcelona in the last days of February for the event that defines the mobile and cellular industry for the year to come.

This year’s theme centred around Intelligent Connectivity, with the event exploring the powerful combination of flexible, high bandwidth networks, IoT, AI and big data.

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So what’s next – a new year begins

I have been asked this question quite a few times since completing the Haute Route Alps this last summer.  Is there more to do or should I hang up my cycling shoes and say I am done.  [Un]fortunately I am the sort of person that needs a purpose to motivate me so the prospect of me just calling it a day doesn’t really sit with me, I know that if it wasn’t a cycling challenge then it would be something else, I suppose I have somewhat of an obsessive personality.  I don’t like to do anything half-hearted.

One of the great things about cycling as a hobby is that there are so many different avenues to go into, whether that be road cycling, mountain biking, BMX, Cross, touring, racing, etc….    so there is always an option and plenty of challenges to take on.

So what about 2018, well for 2018 my attention turns to epic one day rides.   At the moment there are two earmarked on the calendar.

The first is the Mallorca 312 in April, traditionally this used to be a 312km race around the island of Mallorca but was changed a few years ago to a circuit of the Tarmuntana mountains with a loop to the south eastern coast before finishing back in Alcudia.  Still covering 312 km and over 5500m of climbing it will be a big day out for Scott and I.   

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The other epic day out will be the Vatternrundan in June,  a 300km circuit around Lake Vattern in Sweden with 23,000 other participants.   This one I am riding with a few friends from Rapha Cycling Club.

illustrerad-bankarta-VR-20171
map courtesy of Vatternrundan.se

So I am sticking to the road cycling for now and will focus on getting ready for long days in the saddle.

Here is a final look back at my statistics from 2017 and have a wonderful, safe & prosperous new year.

veloviewer2017stats

What’s in the box? – Reflections of a business traveller cyclist


What’s in the box? ……………………………………………….I get asked this a lot as I travel across the world for work with my bike in tow.

I work for the technology and strategy company Ciena. Ciena is one of those companies who everybody uses but nobody knows about. The equipment and solutions Ciena builds light up the fibre optic cables and networks all over the world that provide access to the internet and data networks. I work in a team that looks at different market segments and works out where Ciena fits and how to shape the products, solutions and technology to meet the customers needs. I specialize in the mobile world and in particular what is happening for 5G and it involves speaking to Ciena’s customers and potential customers, industry partners and bodies, standard forums and other technologists all over the world. It is fascinating, exciting and at the same time daunting. I am a firm believer that technology can be used to do so much good in the world and am excited by the possibilities and experiences that it can open up.
As I travel a lot and enjoy cycling, (I took up cycling again a few years ago to offset the spread of middle age (see this post ), I decided that wherever possible I would take my bike with me. My first business trip with my bike was a couple of years ago to attend a technology forum at Ciena’s R&D labs in Ottawa. The trip was successful in that my bike made it safely to Canada and with the early morning jet lag I also got the time to go out on the bike ahead of meetings. Since that first successful trip I have endeavored to do the same again, with varying degrees of success.
Here are some things I have learned along the way.

1
. Plan Ahead, do some research. Not every business trip is going to be conducive to having the bike along. I ask myself a few questions before deciding to take the bike or just opt for the hotel indoor bike. These questions include,

  • Will I feasibly be able to get out for a ride during the trip?
  • Will it be dark in the morning before meetings and get dark early in the evening after the working day which means cycling would be hazardous.
  • Is this a city/place where cycling is feasible ? (this doesn’t always stop me)
  • What will the weather be like while I am there? (is it going to be persistent wet, windy, snowy, 45 deg Celsius etc)
  • Am I staying in one place or doing a multi-city/country visit? This means will I have to pack/unpack the bike many times.
  • Will I be able to transport the bike box from the airport? (many “intermediate” rental cars especially in the US don’t have fold down seats)
  • Do the airlines that serve that country/city allow bike transport? (this is a blog piece all of itself). Being a frequent flyer with airlines helps.

If all that works out, then I also try and plan a few rides using information from the web or local sources. I then save these rides in strava and load them onto my bike computer (Garmin 810) with an updated basemap created from the openstreetmap project on the web.   I’ve written another blog piece on planning routes and the sources I use, click here to read it. 

2. Use a hard shell bike case. I use a Polaris Bike Pod, which is supplied by my local bike shop, The Bike Centre. Previously I have also used the BikeBoxAlan. Both are great hard cases which I have found protect my bike and the contents really well. Both are lightweight which helps with the airline baggage weight limits but sturdy. I have a slight preference for the Polaris bike pod as it is a bit more streamlined than the BikeBoxAlan and so fits in cars better and is a little easier to tow around the airport. I have found these hard cases to give just a little more resilience to the sort of travel I do.

3. Add extra bubble wrap and padding to whatever is supplied. It will keep your precious stead from getting scratched or worse. I normally add a generous amount of bubble wrap around the rear derailleur , seat post, drivetrain and around each fixing/attachment/strap point to give a little extra protection. Also when packing my helmet, shoes and clothing I put them in bags that I don’t mind getting a little oil on if they become in contact with greased parts of the bike.

4. Pack a spare rear hanger – It’s good practice anyway regardless of traveling but it can save a bike trip.

5. I include a bike towel, I don’t feel comfortable getting grease and stuff all over the hotel towels or hotel room carpets when building or packing my bike.

6. I pack my bike computer in my laptop bag. 

7. At the airport take the carry/tow handle off the bike box when handing over to baggage handlers and carry the tow handle in hand luggage. The bike box I use has a detachable pull handle to help when wheeling the box around the airport. Unfortunately this can get snagged in the baggage systems of airports. I had the misfortune to have this happen to me when the baggage ticket was attached to it on a trip from Atlanta to the UK via Toronto. The handle was snagged in the machine which broke one of the latches and the baggage tag slipped off at Toronto meaning they had no idea where to send it on to for the connecting flight to London. It took 8 days to find and ship back to the UK the bright green bike box with distinguishing stickers on it. This leads me on to the next two points.

8. Have the check-in clerk attach the baggage tag to the side of the box and not the handle (if the box has one). Also then take the individual little stickers that are on the baggage tag (there are normally at least two more) and distribute them around the box. Just in case the main baggage tag gets ripped off by something. For the consequences of not doing this see the previous point.

9. Customize the bike box, to make it easily identifiable when explaining to a baggage clerk. The one I use has stickers on it from all the places I have visited with it and it also has my rider details on it. Just in case it ever doesn’t make it onto the connecting flight then at least it can be described and identified. (See previous points)

10. Be prepared to wait a bit longer at the baggage claim carousel. Invariably the oversized luggage area is not near the carousel that your flight has been assigned too and the quality of the oversized luggage areas & service varies immensely. The longest I have waited and the bike box has arrived has been 65 minutes. (That was at Sydney airport).