Even a wireless network needs wires – Next Generation Optical Networking Conference

Recently I attended and spoke at the Next Generation Optical Networking Conference held in Nice, France.

Key topics discussed during the conference included

  • 100G in the Metro,
  • SDN in the transmission/transport layer
  • IP/Optical Convergence
  • 200/400G Evolution.
  • Datacentre evolution & geographical spread

I spoke at two sessions during the four days.  First in one of the pre-conference workshops WDM-PON Networking. In this session I introduced Three UK and discussed WDM in the access environment for mobile backhaul and participated in a panel discussion with Fabienne Saliou of Orange Labs on the subject.

On the final day I presented to the conference during a section on Fronthaul & mobile backhaul. The title of my paper being “Even a Wireless Network needs Wires.”

I gave an example of a complex mobile backhaul environment and discussed some of the future requirements that architectures such as C-RAN may bring to the transport network.



The Rising Tide of Mobile Data.

Just recently I spoke at my first industry conference of the year, Transport Networks for Mobile Operators Conference held in London.  A good opportunity to strike up some new contacts and business relationships.

In my address I put forward the case for demonstrating that the global rise in mobile data traffic was no longer a tsunami but in fact more of a rising tide with the sea levels rising each year.  I presented statistics from the last 7 years within the Three UK network which has been leading the market in mobile broadband volumes in the UK to illustrate my point.   Being a scuba diver, one who looks for the turning of the daily tides and slack water, I found it interesting that whilst in UK waters we experience two tides (High, Low, High, Low) a day, in the terms of Mobile data usage, there is only one tide in a day.

The Mobile Data Tide
The Mobile Data Tides of the Day

The slide on the right taken from my presentation illustrates a typical midweek day in March 2014, with a low water mark around 5am and a high water mark around 10pm. Weekends also look like this with the axis shifted one hour to the right.  It seems the UK consumer likes to stay in bed an hour later on the weekend and stay up an hour later using their mobile devices.  Month on month, year on year the overall volume of data traffic has continued to rise and overall market and industry trends bear this out and the outlook towards the end of the decade and the development of 5G indicates this will continue.

Michael Carroll, reporting on TNMO 2014 for Fierce Wireless picked up on the analogy for one of his reports on the conference.  Link to report , thanks Michael.

There was a quite a lot of debate on the need for and use of backhaul for small cells, this will be explored further no doubt at the upcoming Small Cells World Summit and Backhaul summit at the Excel Centre, Dockland, London.  I will feature on a couple of panel discussions at that conference, debating the Small Cell Backhaul Demand and how to prepare for small cells.

In the next few weeks I will be attending and participating in the Mobile Network Performance Management Conference, Small Cells World Summit and The Next Generation Optical Networking Summit.


Working through the snow

Once again the country has been gripped by adverse weather conditions and in some areas that grip has been a strangle-hold. Just yesterday the reports from Scotland included people stranded for hours on end and overnight on the motorways & a-roads of the central belt.
For me the weather has an impact on three fronts, my employment, my calling in the church and family life.

Family life.
The effect on the family is the ability to move around safely for things such as school for the children, purchasing of food etc and heating in the home.
Conditions such as those experienced in the last two weeks highlight the providence of good preparation & planning ahead of time. The motto of a “stich in time saves nine” and the idea of being self-reliant are important pragmatic principles in such times. Having an adequate food storage or larder stocked with food can help alleviate the need to have to journey out when the weather closes in.

The need to heat the home is also important for basic survival and if one can have a back up way of generating heat then all the better. It is almost inevitable that the boiler will break as soon as the temperature drops! Oil filled raditors, calor gas heaters are useful to have around the house to provide back up if necessary.
Now if you were going the whole hog how about a little generator to provide electricity should the mains fail. Unfortunately we haven’t got to that level of preparedness yet but it is possible and I am sure there are those who do have the ability at home.

I am fortunate and blessed that I work in an environment that enables me to have a virtual office. Through secure VPNs, the Internet, voice telecoms, mobile networks and video conferencing I can take my office wherever there is connectivity to the internet. With advances in mobile data speeds through 3G mobile networks and enhanced coverage access is more readily available. When the weather closes in though all of this technology allows me to set up my computer and work from home, so long as there is electricity and I have the will power and discipline to do so.

So work can go on and in my case with this recent weather, even increase in productivity as the normal distractions in the office environment such as people approaching one’s desk and endless, all encompassing meetings seem to dwindle. It appears that because one is not physically there then sometimes problems that another came to see you about no longer seem that important and one is left to continue the work that is important to oneself.

Church Life

The final area for me affected by the weather is my responsibilty in the church.
My role neccesitates a number of meetings and interviews and some of these may have to fall by the wayside when travel becomes difficult. I have found though that a lot of this work can also continue by the use of web, telephone & video conferencing. I have even tried my hand at webcasting during this cold spell.

In much the same way as work life can continue then also can the work of the church.  It may require some adaption though as this technological solution does not replace the need and desire to meet often to uplift, edify & instruct one another. There is a warm edifying feeling that comes from meeting face to face and enjoying human interaction. This is an important and vital part of ministering to people that is so necessary when dealing with spiritual and emotion needs of individuals which is a lot of what religious worship caters for.  What the technology allows is for the administering of the church to continue so that the precious time that is available for ministering is not consumed with the necessary administration.


“Technology won’t make people interact.

It only gives them a forum to do that.

If you want people to use technology to collaborate,

let them get to know each other first.”

– Maridan Clements

So the I-Phone is now in the UK – is it the Invention of the Year??

iphone1.jpgThis week the IPhone arrives in the UK and it seems that a lot of commentators are agreeing with my verdict on it when it was launched in the US in January , see my post here

Last week I watched the Gadget show on Channel 5 compare it to the Nokia N95 in a series of usability tests in Rome. It was quite interesting to watch, not at all scientific, but probably more useful as it tested the phone in a real life user situation. 

The Guardian’s article on the UK Iphone Deal was a particular eye opener, http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/sep/17/mobilephones.apple citing the bidding process that went in to trying to secure the deal.  A deal that will be “madly money-losing” for O2.  It would seem that it will be Apple raking in a large proporation of the £899 that UK customers will be paying out for the device and it is rumoured that Apple will also see revenue from customers usage as well. 

The Guardian this week is running a full review on a UK iPhone and it makes very good reading. Todays review is on the exterior and the mobile phone, tomorrow they will be covering the internet and wifi. 

As I am not one of the chosen few to beta test one of these phones I shall post the links as they appear.

Some other interesting reviews of the IPhone can be found by a quick search on google. for example , The Guardian, The Observer, techcrunch, a very pro-iPhone site – iPhoneUKlaunch.com

However my favourite article is this one from Time magazine calling it the invention of the year. 

Quote: “But when that day is over, Apple’s iPhone is still the best thing invented this year. Why? Five reasons:

  1. The iPhone is pretty
  2. It’s touchy feely
  3. It will make other phones better
  4. It’s not a phone, it’s a platform
  5. It is but the ghost of iPhones yet to come.  “

Click on the link to read the full article http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1678581,00.html