Friday, November 30, 2018

Photos from AWS re:Invent 2018 in Las Vegas

IoT roundup: Retrofitting vehicle tracking, plus a new IoT standard

The Internet of Things has reached that fun phase in which everyone has started to figure out a wider array of meaningful use cases for the technology, but few of those uses are fully mature. From the industrial IoT and predictive maintenance to nebulous smart city tech the IoT’s hitting a new growth spurt, and one of the newest applications is headed to a highway near you.

Or, actually, it’s coming to a really big parking lot somewhere near you. Fleet management is one of the long-promised applications of IoT tech that’s starting to take off lately, with announcements this month from companies like Silicon Labs and Cognosos, who rolled out a vehicle-tracking system for lot operators.

The idea is to use a small SoC-based identifier tag, applied to the visor or rear-view mirror and scanned into the system by a smartphone app, to provide real-time location and status information about a tracked vehicle. There’s even an accelerometer to help provide pinpoint accurac, and to alert the user if a car is being moved.

The ability to graft meaningful intelligence onto vehicles that weren’t designed with any such systems in mind is a powerful one, and it’s a technique being used in other fields to “IoT-ify” existing hardware – witness aging industrial machinery sporting new connected sensors and older medical devices with asset tracking and diagnostic abilities added in via similar modules.

The internet part of the Internet of Things

The term Internet of Things has always been a partial misnomer. IoT devices talk to each other and to backends via a huge range of different connectivity technologies, from SMS to licensed cellular to specialist low-power WAN networks. Nevertheless, regular old Wi-Fi remains an important type of IoT connectivity. A newly released forecast from Cisco estimates that by 2022 more than half of all IP network connections around the world will be some form of IoT or M2M device, instead of a laptop or smartphone.

That’s a sharp increase from Cisco’s previous estimates of that number, but the company said that the profusion of high-bandwidth IoT use cases, including autonomous vehicles, connected health devices and video surveillance means that IoT’s share of IP traffic has spiked.

IoT and standards

With millions of devices communicating different kinds of information via different kinds of networks, the IoT is crying out for some standardization, to help unlock its true potential as a transformative technology. Unfortunately, there is also a profusion of different standards, whether they’re from industry umbrella groups, technical committees or vendors pronouncing their connectivity framework as “standards.”

Nevertheless, the International Organization for Standardization – a pan-industrial regulatory standards-setting body that’s been around in one form or another since the 1920s – has made its considerable presence felt in the world of IoT by ratifying the Open Connectivity Foundation’s OCF 1.0 specification as an international standard. The standard mandates public-key-based security, cloud management and interoperability for IoT systems in an attempt to create a useful, open framework for IoT.

Whether OCF 1.0 winds up being a meaningful way to cut through the wild undergrowth of competing IoT standards and technologies remains to be seen, but an official ISO seal of approval certainly lends credibility to the foundation’s efforts.

Announcements from Aruba and GE

Aruba announced earlier this month that its latest generation of new access points will boast ZigBee and Bluetooth 5 capabilities. The idea is to broaden the array of different IoT device types that can use their APs, and reduce the need for alternative network deployments to handle an IoT infrastructure.

That’s handy for businesses using those specific network protocols – and, as mentioned, plenty of them are simply using Wi-Fi for IoT tasks already – though there are still plenty of IoT networking standards for which you’ll need separate hardware.

And the path toward broader deployments, at least for IIoT companies, just got a little smoother with the news that GE’s Predix infrastructure will receive a new “Predix Edge” upgrade aimed at helping industrial companies adapt to an edge-focused environment by making the deployment process simpler and more automated.

It’s also got compliance and security features built-in, and can help enable the edge architecture’s key value propositions of remote processing and operation in limited-connectivity environments.

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Thanks to Jon Gold (see source)

IoT roundup: Retrofitting vehicle tracking, plus a new IoT stadard

The Internet of Things has reached that fun phase in which everyone has started to figure out a wider array of meaningful use cases for the technology, but few of those uses are fully mature. From the industrial IoT and predictive maintenance to nebulous smart city tech the IoT’s hitting a new growth spurt, and one of the newest applications is headed to a highway near you.

Or, actually, it’s coming to a really big parking lot somewhere near you. Fleet management is one of the long-promised applications of IoT tech that’s starting to take off lately, with announcements this month from companies like Silicon Labs and Cognosos, who rolled out a vehicle-tracking system for lot operators.

The idea is to use a small SoC-based identifier tag, applied to the visor or rear-view mirror and scanned into the system by a smartphone app, to provide real-time location and status information about a tracked vehicle. There’s even an accelerometer to help provide pinpoint accurac, and to alert the user if a car is being moved.

The ability to graft meaningful intelligence onto vehicles that weren’t designed with any such systems in mind is a powerful one, and it’s a technique being used in other fields to “IoT-ify” existing hardware – witness aging industrial machinery sporting new connected sensors and older medical devices with asset tracking and diagnostic abilities added in via similar modules.

The internet part of the Internet of Things

The term Internet of Things has always been a partial misnomer. IoT devices talk to each other and to backends via a huge range of different connectivity technologies, from SMS to licensed cellular to specialist low-power WAN networks. Nevertheless, regular old Wi-Fi remains an important type of IoT connectivity. A newly released forecast from Cisco estimates that by 2022 more than half of all IP network connections around the world will be some form of IoT or M2M device, instead of a laptop or smartphone.

That’s a sharp increase from Cisco’s previous estimates of that number, but the company said that the profusion of high-bandwidth IoT use cases, including autonomous vehicles, connected health devices and video surveillance means that IoT’s share of IP traffic has spiked.

IoT and standards

With millions of devices communicating different kinds of information via different kinds of networks, the IoT is crying out for some standardization, to help unlock its true potential as a transformative technology. Unfortunately, there is also a profusion of different standards, whether they’re from industry umbrella groups, technical committees or vendors pronouncing their connectivity framework as “standards.”

Nevertheless, the International Organization for Standardization – a pan-industrial regulatory standards-setting body that’s been around in one form or another since the 1920s – has made its considerable presence felt in the world of IoT by ratifying the Open Connectivity Foundation’s OCF 1.0 specification as an international standard. The standard mandates public-key-based security, cloud management and interoperability for IoT systems in an attempt to create a useful, open framework for IoT.

Whether OCF 1.0 winds up being a meaningful way to cut through the wild undergrowth of competing IoT standards and technologies remains to be seen, but an official ISO seal of approval certainly lends credibility to the foundation’s efforts.

Announcements from Aruba and GE

Aruba announced earlier this month that its latest generation of new access points will boast ZigBee and Bluetooth 5 capabilities. The idea is to broaden the array of different IoT device types that can use their APs, and reduce the need for alternative network deployments to handle an IoT infrastructure.

That’s handy for businesses using those specific network protocols – and, as mentioned, plenty of them are simply using Wi-Fi for IoT tasks already – though there are still plenty of IoT networking standards for which you’ll need separate hardware.

And the path toward broader deployments, at least for IIoT companies, just got a little smoother with the news that GE’s Predix infrastructure will receive a new “Predix Edge” upgrade aimed at helping industrial companies adapt to an edge-focused environment by making the deployment process simpler and more automated.

It’s also got compliance and security features built-in, and can help enable the edge architecture’s key value propositions of remote processing and operation in limited-connectivity environments.

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Thanks to Jon Gold (see source)

AWS, Red Hat move to shore up hybrid cloud environments

Two more signs it’s a hybrid cloud world: This week, Red Hat, in the process of being bought by IBM, acquired a startup that specializes in managing storage across multi-cloud environments. And Amazon launched a raft of hybrid storage services, as well as a service that allows customers to run Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud in your own data center.

Red Hat acquires data storage startup NooBaa

IBM is not expected to close the planned $34 billion purchase of Red Hat until the second half of 2019, so in the meantime, Red Hat continues on its way, grabbing cloud startups it sees as strategic. This week, it announced its acquisition of NooBaa, which specializes in managing data storage services across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.

NooBaa claims it can collapse multiple storage silos into a single, scalable storage fabric by its ability to virtualize any local storage, whether shared or dedicated, physical or virtual, and include both private and public cloud storage. It gives full control over data placement, so users can place data based on security, strategy, and cost considerations.

NooBaa’s support for unstructured data should complement Red Hat’s OpenShift container and Ceph storage platforms, which also cover data storage across private and public clouds, particularly object storage.

Amazon announces 8 new storage offerings

Amazon, which is holding its massive AWS re:Invent conference this week, announced eight new storage services and capabilities:

  • Amazon S3 Intelligent-Tiering: a new Amazon S3 storage class that automatically optimizes customers’ storage costs
  • Amazon S3 Glacier Deep Archive: a very low-cost service, just $1 per TB per month, aimed at replacing tape backup
  • Amazon S3 Batch Operations: a bulk storage management and automation feature for AWS Lambda
  • Amazon FSx for Windows File Server: to help customers lift-and-shift their Windows applications to AWS
  • Amazon FSx for Lustre: a fully managed file system optimized for HPC and machine learning
  • Amazon EFS Infrequent: a new storage class for Amazon EFS designed for files accessed less frequently, reducing storage costs by up to 85 percent
  • AWS DataSync: a data transfer service to make it easy for customers to automate moving data between on-premises storage and Amazon S3 or Amazon EFS
  • AWS Transfer for SFTP: a fully managed service that enables customers to transfer files directly into and out of Amazon S3 using the Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)

Amazon gets serious about hybrid cloud

All of these services reflect Amazon finally getting serious about the hybrid cloud. For the longest time, AWS had a pure cloud play mentality, and it is finally coming around to reality that most customers want or need a hybrid solution.

That’s especially true with DataSync, which the company says runs 10 times faster than as open-source data transfer schemes and automatically handles many of the tasks related to data transfers that can slow it down, such as managing scripts and handling encryption.

Another sign AWS is getting hybrid religion was the presence of VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, who joined AWS CEO Andy Jassy on stage to announce the new storage offerings and to announce VMware is building integration points into AWS Outposts, which is basically its answer to Microsoft’s Azure Stack. See our full coverage of the Outposts news here. Clearly AWS has gotten the memo about the hybrid cloud and is moving fast.

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Thanks to Andy Patrizio (see source)

Worth Reading: Back to Basics

I’m not the only one ranting about the need to get a firm grasp on fundamentals before doing the sexy stuff. Found an old blog post by Joel Spolsky (of the Law of Leaky Abstractions fame) on the exact same topic from programming perspective.

If you ever had to deal with a programming language, it’s definitely worth reading… but some of the details might make your head explode. You’ve been warned ;)

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Thanks to Ivan Pepelnjak (see source)

10 of the coolest and wackiest tech stories of 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Canadian Netflix Rate Increase: Up $3 to $13.99/Month for Standard Plan

Canadian Netflix subscribers will pay up to $3 more a month in the coming weeks for streaming video as the company raises prices to produce more original Canadian content.

The latest rate increase is the largest ever for the service in Canada.

New Rates for Netflix Canada

  • Netflix Basic increases $1 to $9.99 a month. No 4K video and one-stream only
  • Netflix Standard increases $3 to $13.99 a month. No 4K video and up to two streams at a time viewing
  • Netflix Premium increases $3 to $16.99 a month. Includes 4K ultra HD video and up to four streams at a time viewing

The new rates take effect today for new customers. Existing customers will be notified by e-mail about the rate increase and when exactly it will be applied to their account.

Netflix Canada has taken over distribution of the long running mockumentary filmed in Nova Scotia.

The last rate increase in 2016 raised the price of Netflix by $1.

Netflix Canada spent $3.3 billion on original content in 2017. That is more than any of Canada’s English language commercial networks or broadcasters spent on scripted productions. Netflix also films many of its original productions in Canada, which is less expensive than many American filming locations.

Netflix Canada appears to have found a formula that works for the streaming service: participating in co-productions with entities like the CBC (at least for English productions) and asking subscribers to pay more to cover the company’s costs. This has spared Netflix from having its service subject to the federal GST, which would come out of subscribers’ pockets.

The company has had a much more difficult time dealing with the provincial government in Quebec, which protested loudly that Netflix Canada failed to make specific French language content commitments. As a result, Quebec has slapped its 9.975% sales tax on Netflix and all other streaming services.

Canada is gradually catching up to the United States in cord-cutting options. Netflix Canada’s offering is just a few hundred titles behind Netflix’s catalogs in the United States and Japan.

Other services have entered Canada in the last year or so, including CBS’ All Access, Acorn TV, and BritBox.

In response, Canadian broadcasters and telecom companies are beefing up their own services, which include CTV Movies/CTV Vault and Citytv Now/FX Now (which are only for authenticated cable/satellite subscribers) and Bell’s Crave TV (which just launched CraveTV+, offering more movies and original HBO shows).

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Thanks to Phillip Dampier (see source)

AWS does hybrid cloud with on-prem hardware, VMware help

Amazon Web Services took square aim at the data center this week by tying in VMware technology and rolling out two new services and on-remise hardware  to help customers build and support hybrid clouds.

The new service, called Outposts, lets users choose between on premises servers and storage, which they can order in quarter, half, and full rack units.  Outposts can be upgraded with the latest hardware and next-generation instances to run all native AWS and VMware applications, AWS stated. A second version VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts lets customers use the a VMware control plane and APIs to run the hybrid environment.

“The AWS native variant of AWS Outposts allows you to use the same exact APIs and control plane you use in the AWS cloud, but on-premises. You will be able to run Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud and Amazon Elastic Block Store on Outposts,” AWS wrote on its website.

“The VMware variant allows you to run VMware Cloud on AWS locally on Outposts to use the same VMware control plane and APIs you use to run your on-premises infrastructure. This variant delivers the entire VMware Software-Defined Datacenter (SDDC) – compute, storage, and networking infrastructure – to run on-premises using AWS Outposts and allows you to take advantage of the ease of management and integration with AWS services.”

The idea with Outposts is that customers can use the same programming interface, same APIs, same console and CLI they use on the AWS cloud for on-premises applications, develop and maintain a single code base and use the same deployment tools in the AWS cloud and on-premises, AWS wrote.

Analysts said the AWS/VMware services are a step in the right direction for customers blending public and private-cloud entities.

“It’s no secret that AWS wants to rule the IT world, and this is one more step in that direction,” said Lee Doyle,  principal analyst at Doyle Research. "The significance here is that lots of applications and workloads are going to remain on premises for latency, legacy and security reasons, and Outposts will let customers more easily move between public and private clouds,” Doyle said.  “It is not an easy back-and-forth now in those environments.”

VMware earlier this month announced VMware Cloud on AWS, which tied together VMware’s enterprise class software-defined data center to the AWS cloud. VMware said that hybrid cloud service lets customers migrate VMware-based workloads to the cloud.

Outposts is available in the second half of 2019.

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Thanks to Michael Cooney (see source)

OFS’s Avon, Connecticut Facility is Now AS9100D Certified

AVON, CT — OFS, a designer, manufacturer and supplier of fiber optic products, has achieved certification of its Avon, CT facility to AS9100D. AS9100 is the internationally recognized quality management system standard specific to the aerospace, aviation and defense industries.

OFS has more than 30 years of experience manufacturing fiber optics products for the aerospace and defense markets and offers a wide range of optical fiber-based solutions that meet stringent Aerospace and Defense industry standards.

The AS9100 certification is in addition to OFS’s existing ISO9001:2015, and ISO13485 certifications. All certifications are published on the OFS website, https://ift.tt/2rd8gkb. If you have further questions about OFS’s Aerospace and Defense product offerings, please contact your local OFS representative.

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Thanks to BBC Wires (see source)

BrandPost: Top Ten Reasons to Think Outside the Router – No. 7: Exorbitant Router Support and Maintenance Costs

North Dakota’s Dickey Rural Networks Deploys Calix AXOS

SAN JOSE, CA — North Dakota-based Dickey Rural Networks (DRN) has deployed the Calix AXOS Platform to dramatically simplify its network operations and accelerate the rollout of new services. DRN is upgrading their GPON network to the AXOS E7-2 Intelligent Modular System and Services Management Connector (SMx) to increase their network capacity and their network’s capability to support the new services that their subscribers increasingly demand. DRN is coupling this network simplification strategy with whole home Wi-Fi capabilities delivered through the Calix Mesh-Enhanced Carrier Class Wi-Fi solution. This combination is designed to ensure that DRN’s subscribers can enjoy seamless video streaming, online gaming, and a full range of bandwidth-intensive services.

Reduce Operational Complexity
Because AXOS enables remote network diagnostics, automation of operational workflows, always on operation, and a single operating model across an entire network, DRN can significantly reduce operational complexity. This radical simplification of operations will help DRN reduce costs and move with greater agility to deploy new services. Historically, DRN has differentiated its offerings through high-quality customer service and an exceptional subscriber experience. With this deployment, DRN is now future-proofing its access network by deploying AXOS. Thanks to its modular design, AXOS will increase the speed at which DRN is able to add new functionality. AXOS will also support any physical network architecture that DRN chooses today and in the future. Finally, AXOS E-series systems support a wide variety of configurations to fit any deployment model that DRN requires including central office, cabinet, pole and MDU.

“When we invest in our network, we are investing in the experience it enables for our customers,” said Kent Schimke, operations manager for Dickey Rural Networks. “Throughout our longstanding relationship with Calix, their flexible solutions ensure that no matter our deployment scenario, we will be able to build a network that provides best-in-class services. As we simplify and increase the efficiency of our network to deliver gigabit connectivity, we are already looking forward to how we can provide 10G services in the future.”

About Dickey Rural Networks
Originally founded in November 1950 as Dickey Rural Telephone, Dickey Rural Networks delivers state-of-the-art telecommunications, internet, and television services to rural areas in southeastern North Dakota and northern South Dakota. Delivering services through two companies — Dickey Rural Telephone Cooperative and Dickey Rural Services — DRN serves 19 telephone exchanges in nine different counties within the two states. Dickey Rural Services provides high speed internet as well as web hosting, web design and television services.

“Dickey Rural Networks is a great example of a rural network operator focusing on its mission to provide top quality network services for the vitality of the communities it serves,” said Skip Hirvela, vice president of sales for Calix. “By placing particular emphasis on both the end user experience and customer service, DRN has been particularly aggressive in working to ensure that their network is comprised of best-in-class components. AXOS is enabling them to simplify their network operations, increase service velocity, and realize significant cost reductions. By coupling this with the only mesh-enhanced carrier class Wi-Fi solution on the market, they are well positioned to deliver exceptional experiences for their subscribers today and well into the future.”

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Thanks to BBC Wires (see source)

AIS Fiber Teams with Nokia for In-home Meshed Wi-Fi Service to Customers in Thailand

BANGKOK, THAILAND — AIS Fibre, a fixed broadband operator, is teaming up with Nokia to provide residential customers with a new premium service that ensures a seamless Wi-Fi broadband experience reaching every corner of the home. AIS Fibre customers in Thailand will be eligible to receive the Nokia WiFi Beacon 3 duo-pack for a special price which, once installed, quickly establishes a whole-home meshed Wi-Fi network that significantly enhances ultra-broadband coverage and performance.

Many homes suffer from poor Wi-Fi performance. Speeds and reliability can be impacted by the number of connected devices and by interference from appliances like microwave ovens or Wi-Fi networks from neighbors. In addition, coverage is often inadequate due to dead zones from indoor walls. Solving these issues can be difficult, often requiring several access points to be installed.

Delivering a Meshed Wi-Fi Experience
The Nokia Wi-Fi solution eliminates these common home networking challenges and provides AIS Fibre customers with a true meshed Wi-Fi experience that is easy to install and delivers the whole-home coverage and performance needed to support ultra-broadband services. Designed to detect 100 percent of both Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi interference sources, the Nokia WiFi Beacon 3 automatically connects devices to the strongest channel to ensure a flawless experience. Additionally, embedded software and analytic functions in the beacons automatically self-heal and optimize the Wi-Fi experience, eliminating the need for customers to manually manage the network to achieve optimal performance.

Once the Nokia beacons are delivered, AIS Fibre customers can get their network up and running in few minutes by simply downloading a mobile app and following the guided setup process. Once the network is up, customers can use the mobile app to see a visual representation including a heat map to easily locate and manage dead zones and identify the right place to add new access points to fill coverage gaps. Customers can also quickly access device lists and management capabilities to create guest networks and specific security settings.

“The Nokia Wi-Fi solution uniquely addresses the customer need for a better Wi-Fi experience while giving service providers the tools and visibility they need to quickly resolve issues and enhance customer loyalty,” said Federico Guillén, president of Nokia’s Fixed Networks Business Group. “We are excited to be teaming up with AIS Fibre to deliver a solution that will create a differentiated in-home Wi-Fi networking experience for their customers and ensure the ultrabroadband services they deliver can be used across the home.”

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Thanks to BBC Wires (see source)

Helsinki Seeks a Million Virtual Visitors in 2019

HELSINSKI, FINLAND — Virtual Helsinki is a digital twin of the city of Helsinki that has been created by means of 3D modelling. The aim is to profile Helsinki as a center of VR/AR expertise, as well as to attract a million virtual visitors to Helsinki in 2019. See Making of Virtual Helsinki —
www.virtualhelsinki.fi.

“Virtual tourism is a globally interesting and growing theme. Consumers are increasingly aware of the climate impacts of tourism and are keen to make responsible decisions. Virtual tourism also supports Helsinki’s own goal of being a pioneer in sustainable tourism while reinforcing our reputation as a city that utilizes the latest digital innovations,” explains Laura Aalto, CEO of Helsinki Marketing.

Urban Life, Design and Nature
Helsinki recently won the European Commission’s new European Capital of Smart Tourism competition, the evaluation criteria for which included the sustainable development of tourism, the use of digitalisation in tourism services, an interesting cultural heritage and innovative tourism offerings. VR-Helsinki combines the same themes.

In the virtual city experience presented at Slush, visitors can enjoy an exciting tour of Senate Square, the home of legendary Finnish architect Alvar Aalto in Munkkiniemi and the recreational island of Lonna. The tour is accompanied by music and changing seasons.

Service Providers to Add Content
While many actors in the tourism industry already market their destinations in 360-videos that can be viewed on VR headsets, the concept for Virtual Helsinki is broader. VR-Helsinki allows visitors to move about freely in the computer simulation of Helsinki, and various additional experiences can be created. In the future, VR-Helsinki will serve as a digital platform that also enables service providers to run their businesses.

“For example, visitors can tour Helsinki as it was in the early 20th century or purchase Finnish design products and have them delivered to their homes by post. In addition, as virtual reality becomes more social in the near future, friends from all around the world can meet and explore virtual destinations together,” explains Miikka Rosendahl, CEO of ZOAN.

“Helsinki wants to offer visitors more impressive experiences. The virtual city experience offers unlimited opportunities to visit Helsinki from the comfort of one’s own sofa. VR-Helsinki can also be used to promote Helsinki as a host city for congresses and events,” Laura Aalto adds.

VR-Helsinki will be available as of next year from VR content stores and at various events and venues around the world.

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Thanks to BBC Wires (see source)

Maneuvering the Data Privacy Maze

Wireless Companies Bid $336 Million and Counting for 28 GHz 5G/Small Cell Spectrum

Forty companies, including hedge funds, phone companies, and wireless carriers have collectively bid $336,265,480 so far for about 2,500 28 GHz licenses (out of 3,072 available) that will be a part of the buildout of 5G millimeter wave wireless service.

The FCC is currently auctioning off spectrum in the 27.5–28.35 GHz (28 GHz) band — a very large chunk of frequencies which can offer bidders the opportunity to launch a wide bandwidth cellular data service capable of very fast internet speed. But because the frequencies involved are line-of-sight, the winning bidders will have to invest in large networks of small cell antennas that will be required to reach customers.

Citigroup analysts reviewing the auction results so far told clients they suspect there are “two outsized bidders” winning many of the available licenses, including Verizon. This is not a surprise, considering Verizon already has significant spectrum holdings in the 28 GHz band. Verizon’s current 5G service relies on this millimeter wave spectrum, but is available so far only in a handful of markets. The identity of the second major bidder remains a mystery. The spectrum licenses getting no bids are mostly in rural areas with low population density.

All the other major wireless operators — AT&T, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular — are also bidders. Only Sprint, currently in a merger deal with T-Mobile, is missing. AT&T has not shown much interest in offering its customers millimeter wave 5G service, and T-Mobile is planning to use 5G’s technology upgrade to bolster its existing network with more capacity and speed. Dish Network, which already controls a substantial portfolio of unused spectrum, is also a bidder and could be seeking to stockpile 5G spectrum for a future venture or sales deal with one of the other wireless companies.

The qualified bidders:

8538 Green Street LLC MetaLINK Technologies, Inc.
Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative NEIT Services, LLC
Aries Wireless LLC Nemont Communications, Inc.
AT&T Spectrum Frontiers LLC Northern Valley Communications, LLC
BDCIH Wireless, LLC Nsight Spectrum, LLC
Beyerle, David E Nuvera Communications, Inc.
BroadBand One of the Midwest, Inc Panhandle Telephone Cooperative, Inc.
Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless Pine Belt Cellular, Inc.
Central Broadband 24/28 GHz Consortium Rock Port Telephone Company
Cityfront Wireless LLC SANN Consortium
Cordova Telephone Cooperative, Inc. T-Mobile License LLC
Crestone Wireless L.L.C. TelAlaska Cellular, Inc.
Day Management Corporation Townes 5G, LLC
Frontier Communications Corporation Trace Fiber Networks, LLC
FTC Management Group, Inc. Tradewinds Wireless Holdings, LLC
High Band License Co LLC Union Telephone Company
Horry Telephone Cooperative, Inc. United States Cellular Corporation
Inland Cellular LLC Universal Electrical Contractors
LICT Wireless Broadband Company, LLC Western Independent Networks, Inc
Mark Twain Communications Company Windstream Services, LLC

Bidding starts at $200 per available county, and many rural licenses could be won for precisely that amount, with only one interested bidder offering the minimum bid.

The highest bids are just over $10,000,000 each for two licenses in the Honolulu, Hawaii market. Bids in excess of $2 million are currently on the table in these counties:

California: Kern
Colorado: El Paso
Florida: Volusia
Illinois: Winnebago
Iowa: Linn
Louisiana: East Baton Rouge
Maine: Cumberland
Missouri: Greene
Nebraska: Lancaster
Nevada: Washoe
Oregon: Jackson
Pennsylvania: Lancaster, Berks, York, Lehigh, Luzerne, Northampton, Dauphin
Texas: Cameron, Hidalgo
Wisconsin: Dane

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Thanks to Phillip Dampier (see source)

What to expect of Linux in 2019

2019 just might be the Year of Linux -- the year in which Linux is fully recognized as the powerhouse it has become. With Linux playing key roles in IoT, cloud technology, supercomputing and artificial intelligence (AI), and with a plethora of conferences and new releases on the horizon, Linux is poised to have a very exciting 2019. Let’s examine some of what we can expect to see.

Linux behind the scenes

The fact is that most people today are using Linux without ever knowing it –- whether on their phones, online when using Google, Facebook, Twitter, GPS devices, and maybe even in their cars, or when using cloud storage for personal or business use. While the presence of Linux on all of these systems may go largely unnoticed by consumers, the role that Linux plays in this market is a sign of how critical it has become.

Most IoT and embedded devices -- those small, limited functionality devices that require good security and a small footprint and fill so many niches in our technology-driven lives -- are running some variety of Linux and this isn't likely to change. Instead, we'll just be seeing more devices and a continued reliance on open source to drive them.

Linux running the cloud

According to CIF, for the first time, businesses are spending more on cloud than on internal infrastructure. The cloud is taking over the role that data centers used to play and it's largely Linux that's making the transition so advantageous. Even on Microsoft's Azure, the most popular operating system is Linux. In its first Voice of the Enterprise (VotE) survey, 451 Research predicted that 60% of nearly 1,000 IT leaders surveyed plan to run the majority of their IT off-premises by 2019. That equates to a lot of IT efforts relying on Linux.

Gartner states that 80% of internally-developed software is now either cloud-enabled or cloud-native. Cloud-native software is specifically built to run on the cloud, thereby delivering the high availability and improved performance that is required as the competitive pressure builds. The Linux Foundation is a key collaborator in the cloud native community.

Simon Evans, CTO of Amido, adds: “What’s fascinating right now is the pace at which open source projects, from the likes of Google and Apache, are being embraced as managed offerings by all the big cloud vendors. These proven and open technologies are rapidly replacing the pioneering first movers in the cloud; projects like Kubernetes, Apache Kafka and Apache Spark are regularly available 'as a service' on the big cloud providers, and this is without doubt a good thing for the world. This convergence is the key to avoiding vendor lock-in while still enabling a business to focus on their digital USP. It is the enabler for a multi-cloud strategy.”

The formation of "data lakes"

The emergence of "data lakes" -- large collections of data largely in a raw format without transformation or loss -- is changing the way we analyze and solve problems. Data lakes give us a way to deal with an ever-increasing amount of unstructured data, critical in the big data views we're going to be tackling in 2019. They will become an enterprise-wide data access strategy for many organizations and you can bet your snorkels that Linux will be swimming in these lakes.

Linux and supercomputing

In 2019, Sierra will be assuming its role as the newest and second-fastest supercomputer and one that will play an important role in ensuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S.'s nuclear stockpile.

All supercomputers today are running some form of Linux. Sierra is running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

Linux driving AI

AI will revolutionize business models in 2019. According to Amido CTO Simon Evans, 2019 is the year that AI will go mainstream riding on the power of today's cloud. He describes "AI-driven businesses" with a vision of a trend that is set to grow in 2019 and beyond. Given the role that Linux is playing on supercomputers and data lakes, it's likely to be in the driver's seat in major efforts in the AI field as well.

Major releases

Linux releases will continue to provide important new features and to improve  performance and security. Some of the releases anticipated for 2019 include:

  • Debian 10 (Buster) early-to-mid 2019, with plenty of background improvements such as support for encrypted SMB3 shares mounted as CIFS/SMB.
  • Ubuntu 19.04 expected in April 2019 which might, if it’s ready, ship with Linux Kernel 5.0. It will provide Android integration using GSConnect. Maybe the open source Chromium web browser and Steam (the gaming client) as snap apps.
  • Fedora 30 end of April or early May 2019.

The 5.0 kernel

The chilled-out Linus Torvalds is suggesting that we'll be seeing the 5.0 kernel in 2019. We'll have to wait to see whether the changes will qualify as major. 4.20 is ready for testing now.

Conferences, conferences and conferences

The number and variety of Linux conferences is overwhelming and this list isn't necessarily complete. Conferences are lining up around the globe and focusing on everything from Linux "plumbing" to the cloud and from kernel maintenance to cars. Here's what I've noticed so far (in date order):

  • Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE), Pasadena, CA, Mar 7-10
  • Linux Foundation Open Source Leadership Summit, Half Moon Bay, CA, Mar 12-14, 2019
  • SUSEcon, Nashville, TN, Apr 1-5
  • Cloud Foundry Summit, Philadelphia, PA, Apr 2-4
  • Open Networking Summit, San Jose, CA, Apr 3-5
  • LinuxFest Northwest, Bellingham, WA, Apr 26-28
  • OpenStack Summit, Denver, CO, Apr 29-May 2
  • Red Hat Summit 2019, Boston, MA, May 7–9
  • KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Europe, Barcelona, Spain, May 20-23
  • KubeCon + CloudNativeCon + Open Source Summit China, Shanghai, China, Jun 24-26
  • O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention (OSCON), Jul 15-18
  • Open Source Summit Japan, Tokyo, Japan, Jul 17-19
  • Automotive Linux Summit, Tokyo, Japan, Jul 17-19
  • Open Source Summit + Embedded Linux Conference North America, San Diego, CA, Aug 21-23
  • Linux Plumbers Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, Sep 8-10
  • Kernel Maintainer Summit, Lisbon, Portugal, Sep 10
  • Cloud Foundry Summit Europe, The Hague, The Netherlands, Sep 11-12
  • Open Networking Summit (ONS), Antwerp, Belgium, Sep 23-25
  • Open Source Summit + Embedded Linux Conference Europe, Lyon, France, Oct 28-30
  • KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, North America, San Diego, CA, Nov 18-21

The variety of these conferences -- both in terms of location and focus -- has much to say about the importance on Linux around the globe. I can't look over this list without sitting back in my chair and saying "Wow!". There's a lot going on in Linux Land!

Linux 2019

In its domination of IoT, cloud technology, supercomputing and AI, Linux is heading into 2019 with a lot of momentum. From the perspective of the smallest of gadgets to those of the most powerful supercomputers, Linux will in 2019 be more important than ever.

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Using the Internet of Sound to transfer IoT data via speakers

Some kinds of data should be encoded onto an inaudible, near-ultrasound layer placed on top of normal, audible sounds — a process that could rapidly scale Internet of Things (IoT) adoption, says startup Trillbit.

The company says that by doing that kind of overlay, any microphone and speaker is turned into a data-transfer device that then could be used for payments transfers, user authentication, and smart city applications such as digital locks.

“There is no common universal protocol to connect Internet of Things,” Trillbit explains on its website. “Speakers [and microphones], which are already in place, and all around us” could perform connections.

Trillbit’s plan is to develop a system that weaves ultrasonic pulses, which it calls “Trill Tones,” into common sounds, such as music and public announcements. Ultrasonic is the type of sound that the human ear doesn’t register, but equipment can pick up.

Smartphones, or any microphone, then, could be used to receive the generated audio pulses and decode the data. In turn, a smartphone speaker within proximity could send a tone to any receiving microphone, such as one embedded in a door lock. Indeed, any specific action could be triggered, including a purchase or communicating with a robot.

Ultrasonic sound applications

One of the key applications, according to the company, and one that it is primarily pitching, is related to consumers passing through an environment and targeting them a la Bluetooth beaconing. Trillbit says its proximity intelligence technology would be better than existing beaconing because equipment deployment is already done — the retail store’s speakers, for example, are in situ. It’s cross-platform, too, because it can be used not only by multiple smartphone operating systems, but also legacy TVs and radios.

But that commerciality aside, it’s a lack of network dependency where it becomes intriguing for smart city IoT communications — nearly everyone has a smartphone. Transmissions can be highly secure in part because it’s contactless, the company promises. Plus it claims that the system will be zero-cost to deploy with existing city audio infrastructure such as public address systems already bulit.

Interestingly, Trillbit communicates even when smartphones are in Airplane Mode and data is turned off, so conceivably it has uses in the transportation vertical.

The company also points out that its system fixes congestion issues that might occur in a large crowd-gatherings, such as at a stadium. Traditional networks, such as wireless, can overload when important information needs communicating — such as during a public safety incident, it says. “Mobile towers and Wi-Fi networks fail as audience number increases.”

And “microphones need very little power. The associated software stacks to run the audio beacons need some power, but it is 300 percent less battery-intensive than Bluetooth,” the company claims of its retail eco-system.

Advanced audible data transmission

It’s not the first time audio has been used to transmit data, of course. The telephone Touch-Tone protocol is probably the most ubiquitous audible data transmission heard daily. That’s where multi-frequency tones are used to dial numbers over the voice-frequency band.

But it’s really the sub-audible nature of the Trill Tones idea, and the fact that IoT doesn’t actually have a standardized communications protocol yet — unlike the now aging traditional telecommunications, which needed one, and eventually universally adopted Touch Tone — that makes any network-less, Internet of Sound idea compelling.

“The biggest advantage of this technology is scalability,” Trillbit says in a blog post. “There are already more loudspeakers on Earth than people.”

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Interview: Active-Active Data Centers with VXLAN and EVPN

Christoph Jaggi asked me a few questions about using VXLAN with EVPN to build data center fabrics and data center interconnects (including active/active data centers). He started with an obvious one:

What is an active-active data center and why would I want to use an active-active data center?

Numerous organizations have multiple data centers for load sharing or disaster recovery purposes. They could use one of their data centers and have the other(s) as warm or cold standby (active/backup setup) or use all data centers at the same time (active/active).

Wondering whether you could use VXLAN with EVPN to solve your data center design challenge? Attend my workshop in Zurich (Switzerland) on December 5th.

It’s also possible to have a hybrid architecture where a subset of workloads is running in each data center, but none of the workloads runs in multiple data centers at the same time. Data centers are active/standby from the workload perspective (simplifying the application architecture or infrastructure requirements) but still fully utilized.

We covered these concepts in more details in the Designing Active-Active and Disaster Recovery Data Centers webinar.

What is VXLAN and what is EVPN? Are they independent of each other or do they always come as combination?

VXLAN is a simple data plane Ethernet-over-IP encapsulation scheme that enables us to tunnel Ethernet traffic across IP networks. It’s commonly used to implement overlay virtual networking in large-scale data center environments and private- and public clouds.

EVPN is the control plane for layer-2 and layer-3 VPNs. It’s similar to well-known MPLS/VPN control plane with added support for layer-2 (MAC) addresses, layer-3 (IPv4 and IPv6) addresses and IPv4/IPv6 prefixes.

VXLAN can be used without a control plane, and EVPN works with numerous data plane encapsulations including VXLAN and MPLS. Running VXLAN with EVPN is just the most popular combination.

For more details watch VXLAN and EVPN technical deep dive webinars.

What benefits does EVPN offer that might not be achieved when using a straight Ethernet underlay without additional VXLAN overlay?

Traditional Ethernet solutions have two challenges: stability (due to spanning tree protocol challenges) and scalability (every switch has to see know about every MAC address in the network).

VXLAN (but also VPLS, PBB, TRILL, SPB…) improves scalability - customer MAC addresses are not visible in the transport core.

Compared to most other solutions VXLAN also improves network stability, as the core network uses well-tested IP transport and IP routing protocols.

EVPN is the icing on the cake - it makes VXLAN or MPLS deployments better by replacing dynamic MAC address learning used in traditional Ethernet networks with a deterministic control-plane protocol tested across the global Internet (BGP).

For more details watch the layer-2 fabrics part of leaf-and-spine fabric architectures webinar.

What are the limitations and disadvantages of using VXLAN and EVPN?

Implementing VXLAN on hardware devices is still way more expensive than implementing simple Ethernet switching or 802.1ad (Q-in-Q). Hardware supporting VXLAN is therefore more expensive than simpler switching hardware.

EVPN is a complex control-plane protocol based on BGP. It also requires a well-functioning underlay (IP transport). It’s therefore harder to understand and implement than simpler VLAN-based solutions.

Wonder how complex EVPN is? Dinesh Dutt spent over four hours describing its data center intricacies without even mentioning EVPN-with-MPLS or typical service provider use cases.

Which vendors do offer VXLAN and EVPN support? Are the implementations fully interoperable?

Every single data center switching vendor (including Arista, Cisco, Cumulus, Extreme, and Juniper) has dropped whatever proprietary solution they were praising in the past (including FabricPath, DFA, VCS Fabric, IRF…) and implemented VXLAN encapsulation and EVPN control plane.

Unfortunately EVPN has many options, and vendors implemented different subsets of those options, resulting in what I call SIP of virtual networking (have you ever tried to get SIP working between VoIP products of different vendors?). While vendors claim their products interoperate (and participate in testing events to prove it), there are still a lot ways things can go wrong.

For example, the vendors can’t agree on simple things like what the best routing protocol is for the underlay, and how you should run BGP in the overlay. Each vendor is promoting a slightly different approach, making a designers' job a true nightmare.

Is the implementation straightforward or are there things that can go wrong?

We’re combining a hard problem (large-scale bridging) with a complex protocol (BGP) often implemented on a code base that was built to support totally different solutions (Internet routing with BGP or MPLS/VPN). There are tons of things that can go wrong, including subtle hardware problems and software bugs, more so if you’re trying to build an architecture that goes against what your vendor believes to be the right way of doing things.

What are the key things to look at when designing a data center solution using VXLAN and EVPN?

As always, start with simple questions:

  • What problem am I trying to solve?
  • Do I really have to solve it, or would redesigning some other part of the system (for example, application architecture) give us better overall results?
  • What options do I have to solve the problem?
  • Assuming you have to build large-scale virtual Ethernet networks spanning one or few data centers, VXLAN might be better than the alternatives.

You’ll find more information in the Define the Services and Requirements module of Building Next-Generation Data Center online course.

Next, you have to figure out whether to implement VXLAN in hardware (on top-of-rack switches, the approach taken by data center switching vendors) or in software (in hypervisors, the approach used by VMware, Microsoft, Juniper Contrail, many OpenStack implementations and most large-scale public cloud providers). We covered this dilemma in the VMware NSX, Cisco ACI or EVPN webinar.

If it turns out that it’s best to implement VXLAN in hardware (for example, due to significant amount of non-virtualized servers), you have to decide whether to use static configurations potentially augmented with simple automation, or deploy EVPN.

Keep in mind what I told you about EVPN interoperability challenges. Don’t mix-and-match different vendors in the same fabric. Build smaller pods (self-contained units of compute, storage and virtualization) and connect them with traditional technologies like IP routing or VLANs.

Last but definitely not least, while EVPN control plane used with VXLAN is become more stable, it’s not yet a rock-solid technology. Do thorough testing.

Interested? We’ll discuss all these questions in way more details during the day-long workshop in Zurich (Switzerland) on December 5th.

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Best Practices: How to buy technology expense-management services

Technology expense-management (TEM) is a service that is of ever-increasing importance to enterprise buyers because it touches on virtually all aspects of the technology lifecycle.

In the past, TEM was defined as telecom expense management, and it was largely focused on managing wireline and wireless telecommunications.  However, it has now emerged to encompass the ever-expanding universe of networking technologies and services spend including managed services, maintenance, hosting and cloud services.  As these technologies become more complicated and expensive, many enterprise users have availed themselves of third-party TEM services to help manage some or all of these expenses. 

Buying TEM services should be approached in the same way your enterprise purchases other technology services. To begin, you must determine which services will be subject to TEM oversight.  After determining the in-scope services, you should gather the important metrics for each service.  Finally, you should research the market and competitively source the services through an RFP process to achieve the optimal deal.

Define what you need

In determining the in-scope services, consider which technologies you would like the TEM to manage and then determine some basic metrics about that spend such as annual spend, number of invoices and number of suppliers. Quantifying the spend by technology or service type will assist you in determining whether a particular technology should be in scope. It is not necessary to use TEM services for services for which spend is trivial.

If your enterprise has a global reach, be sure to capture the above metrics by region (North America, Latin America, Europe/Mideast, Asia) as the quality, nature and price of each TEM provider’s services vary by region as does the service-delivery location by the underlying supplier. The good news is that if you have an incumbent TEM provider, detailed reports containing this information should be readily available. If you do not have an incumbent TEM provider, you will have a bit of research to do, but all this information should be available from your service providers and by coordinating with your internal accounts payable and finance departments.

After gathering data about services and spend, the next step is to educate yourself about the current market for TEM services. Up-to-date information is critical in this ever-evolving marketplace, as each new year brings:  Mergers and acquisitions in the provider roster; changes in scope for areas like wireless and technology spend management; and the changing global reach of each provider’s suite of services. Don’t rely on market-research information more than six months old, as the field of players is constantly changing. Once this market research is complete, you can determine which providers might best fit your requirements.

Pre-screen the providers

Prior to issuing an RFP, it can be surprisingly productive to spend a few days hosting meetings with a group of six to eight TEM companies and then objectively ranking them in terms of ability to meet your requirements. You can use these meetings to learn more about the specific services that the vendors can provide including invoice receipt, processing and payment, auditing and dispute management, provisioning and inventory management, as well as contract management functions. 

These sessions will be invaluable if you are new to TEM and will also be very educational for old hands, as the services

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Charter Expanding Service Areas in South Carolina; Town of Lamar Getting Spectrum in 2019

Population growth in South Carolina has opened up new opportunities for Charter Communications to extend cable service into areas that were formerly too unprofitable to serve. On Tuesday, the company announced a $1 million construction project to bring Spectrum cable broadband service to the town of Lamar in Darlington County.

Urban sprawl around the city of Florence, to the east of Lamar, and Columbia to the west, has made connecting the town of around 1,000 more economical.

The cable company plans to break growing in late spring of 2019 to launch residential and commercial internet access. At present, Frontier Communications is the only internet option for the community.

“Internet is obviously a necessity, it’s not a luxury anymore,” said Ben Breazeale, senior director of government affairs for Charter Communications. “Rural communities all over our country are struggling to try to retain young people and internet is a must. Access to our communications systems is a must for our youth.”

As part of the announcement, the cable company donated three Apple iPads to the Lamar Library and presented a $5,000 check to the Lamar Rescue Squad.

Lamar is a community located a short distance away from both I-95 and I-20.

Charter promises to make additional announcements about future expansion in early 2019.

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By 2022, Online Video Will Make Up 82% of Internet Traffic; 60% of the World Will Be Online

By the year 2022, 60% of the world’s population will be connected to the internet and 82% of online traffic will come from streaming video.

Those are the conclusions found in Cisco’s newest Visual Networking Index (VNI), based on independent analyst forecasts and real-world network usage data tracked by the networking equipment manufacturer.

“By 2022, more IP traffic will cross global networks than in all prior ‘internet years’ combined up to the end of 2016,” Cisco predicts. “In other words, more traffic will be created in 2022 than in the 32 years since the internet started.”

Key predictions for 2022

Cisco’s VNI looks at the impact that users, devices and other trends will have on global IP networks over a five-year period. From 2017 to 2022, Cisco predicts:

  1. Global IP traffic will more than triple
  2. Global internet users will make up 60 percent of the world’s population
    • There will be 4.8 billion internet users by 2022. That’s up from 3.4 billion in 2017 or 45 percent of the world’s population.
  3. Global networked devices and connections will reach 28.5 billion
    • By 2022, there will be 28.5 billion fixed and mobile personal devices and connections, up from 18 billion in 2017—or 3.6 networked devices/connections per person, from 2.4 per person.
    • More than half of all devices and connections will be machine-to-machine by 2022, up from 34 percent in 2017. That’s 14.6 billion connections from smart speakers, fixtures, devices and everything else, up from 6.1 billion.
  4. Global broadband, Wi-Fi and mobile speeds will double or more
    • Average global fixed broadband speeds will nearly double from 39.0 Mbps to 75.4 Mbps.
    • Average global Wi-Fi connection speeds will more than double from 24.4 Mbps to 54.0 Mbps.
    • Average global mobile connection speeds will more than triple from 8.7 Mbps to 28.5 Mbps.
  5. Video, gaming and multimedia will make up more than 85 percent of all traffic
    • IP video traffic will quadruple by 2022. As a result, it will make up an even larger percentage of total IP traffic than before—up to 82 percent from 75 percent.
    • Gaming traffic is expected to grow nine-fold from 2017 to 2022. It will represent four percent of overall IP traffic in 2022.
    • Virtual and augmented reality traffic will skyrocket as more consumers and businesses use the technologies. By 2022, virtual and augmented reality traffic will reach 4.02 exabytes/month, up from 0.33 exabytes/month in 2017.

Regionally, Asian-Pacific internet users are expected to use far more internet data than North Americans — 173 exabytes a month by 2022 vs. 108 exabytes in North America. Usage caps, usage-based pricing, and overall slower internet speeds in the U.S. and Canada have slowed growth in new high-bandwidth internet applications. The prevalence of low-speed DSL in rural areas also restricts potential traffic growth. Large parts of the Asia-Pacific region use very high-speed fiber to the home technology.

The slowest growing regions — Latin America and the Middle East/Africa, which lag behind in internet penetration, often apply low usage caps or bandwidth restrictions and often do not have the ability to financially scale growth to meet demand. Even by 2022, Latin America will generate only 19 exabytes of traffic per month.

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6 ways IoT is transforming retail

In the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this seems like the perfect time to look some of the many ways that the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the world of retail. The IoT is already in use in stores around the world, and according to estimates from Grand View Research, retail IoT could be a $94 billion market by 2025. Here are a half dozen ways that might come to pass:

  1. Cashiers are toast. From the expansion of Amazon Go and similar stores such as Zippin — which forego checkout lines in favor of apps — to scrappy startups looking to replace cashiers with cameras in all kinds of stores, the days of the traditional cashier standing behind a cash register are numbered. What’s behind this shift? Well, cashiers cost money, few shoppers really like dealing with them, and long, slow-moving lines drop that number to something approaching zero. At the very least, expect mobile point-of-sale (POS) terminals to proliferate in place of stationary cashiers.
  2. Retail management gets easier. Sure, online shopping is taking ever-bigger bites out of brick-and-mortar shopping, but the IoT also helps traditional stores modernize their operations, better managing inventory with technologies such as “smart shelves,” reducing shrinkage, and streamlining the supply chain.
  3. “Ambient commerce” mixes IoT technology with traditional retail stores to attract younger consumers. GlobalData predicts that what it calls Ambient Commerce — combining sensors and AI technology with the physical space associated with retail stores — will be the preferred destination for Generation Z.
  4. Beacons light the way to sales. These small Bluetooth devices can send discount coupons, invitations to special events, and other messages to nearby smartphones with the right apps installed. They’ve been in use for a while now, but they still have a long way to go before reaching their potential. That could be a problem — or an opportunity.
  5. In-car retail IoT gets rolling in self-driving cars. The upcoming AutoMobility LA event is exploring the role of retail in autonomous vehicles. The concept involves a vehicle-commerce platform where consumers can shop right from their vehicles via “a safe and convenient connected car experience without driver distraction,” according to an email from a representative. Ideas include a "digital wallet" for the vehicle — a digital glove compartment? — so that you don’t need to enter in their credentials for each purchase. I guess once cars become autonomous, people are going to do everything in them.
  6. Consumer IoT devices get better. I’ve written often about how many consumer-oriented IoT devices are so silly, poorly made, and insecure that they threaten to dampen overall enthusiasm for the IoT. Well, that trend continues merrily rolling along, but it’s not all bad news out there. The Mozilla Foundation’s annual list of connected devices highlights items that range from creepy invasions of privacy to totally awesome. Of course, it’s up to the buyer to determine whether clever but clearly oddball devices like bedbug catchers and diaper sensors help or hurt the cause. For a list of recommended IoT gifts, check out Stacy on IoT’s choices.

The six trends listed here cover a wide range, from what you buy to how it’s sold and even how stores work, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg — the retail trends we happen to be able to see right now. Over the coming months and years, look for the IoT to drive even more dramatic shifts in the retail landscape, moving things in directions we can’t yet imagine. Don’t say you weren’t warned. …

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4 Key Reasons Why Digital Transformation Is Not Just a Buzzword: Part Two

HPE edge offerings merge analytics, applications and IoT systems control

HPE aims superfast Memory-Driven Flash storage at real-time workloads

HPE is targeting a new class of storage it calls Memory-Driven Flash at enterprise data centers that are increasingly being called on to handle real-time analytics, high-speed transactions, big data and AI workloads that demand more storage performance than ever before.

To stay competitive, enterprises are moving to business models that require rapid analysis of an ever-widening stream of data. By 2020, as much as 70 percent of Fortune 200 companies will have at least one real-time big data and analytics application that will be viewed as mission-critical, according to IDC.

HPE's Memory-Driven Flash is built around NVMe and storage-class memory (SCM) and designed to meet performance requirements of these new workloads.

NVMe is an extremely fast communications protocol and controller designed to move data to and from SSDs via the PCIe bus standard. 

Storage-class memory for high performance

SCM, meanwhile, is a hybrid memory/storage technology that, like flash, is nonvolatile (or persistent) but offers a level of performance somewhere between today's NAND flash SSDs and DRAM. SCM offers up to 10 times lower latency than NAND flash technology, HPE says, and lower latency is crucial to meeting the performance requirement of real-time workloads.

"A number of storage vendors have started to ship enterprise-class storage platforms built around NVMe, but their continued use of NAND-flash-based storage devices leaves a significant amount of potential NVMe performance on the table," according to IDC analyst Eric Burgener in a white paper on the new HPE technology. Memory-Driven Flash "uses Intel Optane technology as a caching tier in the shared storage array controllers, delivering acceleration for potentially all workloads running on that platform," writes Burgener.

HPE has already engineered its high-end 3Par storage arrays to accept Optane-based expansion cards, made by HPE around Intel Optane media. The cards – block devices connected over an NVMe bus – will be available for 3Par system next month, HPE announced at its Discover conference in Madrid Tuesday. HPE's mid-tier Nimble arrays will work with the new class of storage early next year, the company said.

HPE leverages Intel Optane for storage

Up to now, Intel Optane cards were being used in PCIe slots on X86 servers, Burgener said in an interview. "What HPE did, simply put, was put PCIe slots onto their storage controllers so you could just take that card and stick it into a storage controller," Burgener said. "It's acting as

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Cisco predicts nearly 5 zettabytes of IP traffic per year by 2022

Cisco foresees a massive buildup of IP traffic – 4.8 zettabytes per year by 2022, which is over three-times the 2017 rate – lead by the increased use of IoT device traffic, video and sheer number of new users coming onboard. 

The company also says there will be 4.8 billion Internet users by 2022, up from 3.4 billion in 2017.Those predictions are from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, its annual look at the state of the Internet culled from actual network traffic reports and independent analyst forecasts.

It says that since 1984 over 4.7 zettabytes of IP traffic have flowed across networks, but that’s just a hint of what’s coming. By 2022, more IP traffic will cross global networks than in all prior “internet years” combined up to the end of 2016. In other words, more traffic will be created in 2022 than in the first 32 years since the internet started, Cisco says. (Remember, too, that an exabyte is 1 billion gigabytes and a zettabyte is a thousand exabytes.)
One of the more telling facts of the new VNI is the explosion of machine-to-machine and IoT traffic. For example M2M modules account for 3.1% of IP traffic in 2017, but  will be 6.4% of IP traffic by 2022, said Thomas Barnett, director of service-provider thought leadership at Cisco. By 2022, M2M connections will be 51 percent  of the total devices and connections on the Internet.

A slew of applications from  smart meters, video, healthcare monitoring, smart car communications and more  will continue to contribute to a significant growth in traffic. What that means is that customers and service providers will need to secure and manage M2M traffic in new and better ways Barnett said.

There are also some pretty interesting numbers around the software-defined WAN and overall IP WAN arenas.  For example Cisco VNI says that globally:

  • SD-WAN traffic was 9% of business IP WAN traffic in 2017, and will be 29% of business IP WAN traffic by 2022.
  • SD-WAN traffic will grow five-fold from 2017 to 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 37%.
  • Business IP WAN traffic will double from 2017 to 2022, a compound annual growth rate of 9%, and IP WAN traffic will reach 5.3 exabytes per month by 2022, the equivalent of 1 billion DVDs per month, or 2 million DVDs per hour.
  • Business IP WAN traffic was 3.6 exabytes per month in 2017, the equivalent of 889 million DVDs per month, or 1 million DVDs per hour
  • Business IP WAN traffic grew 17% in 2017 and IP WAN traffic was 3% of total IP traffic in 2017, and will be 1% of total IP traffic by 2022.
  • Business IP WAN traffic was 16% of business IP traffic in 2017, and will be 8% of business IP traffic by 2022.

While growth of devices and traffic are significant, the speed of the networks driving most of this growth is going up as well. 

“Broadband-speed improvements result in increased consumption and use of high-bandwidth content and applications. The global average broadband speed continues to grow and will double from 2017 to 2022, from 39.0 Mbps to 75.4 Mbps,” Cisco said.   

Globally, the average mobile network connection speed in 2017 was 8.7 Mbps. The average speed will more than triple to 28.5 Mbps by 2022.

“A crucial factor promoting the increase in mobile speeds over the forecast period is the increasing proportion of fourth-generation (4G) mobile connections. The effect of 4G connections on traffic is significant, because 4G connections, which include mobile WiMAX and Long-Term Evolution (LTE), generate a disproportionate amount of mobile data traffic,” Cisco said.

Then there’s Wi-Fi.  The average Wi-Fi network connection speed (24.4 Mbps in 2017) will exceed 54.2 Mbps by 2022. North America will experience the highest Wi-Fi speeds, 83.8 Mbps, by 2022, Cisco said.

Other predictions from the VNI:

  • Globally there will be nearly 18.3 billion IPv6-capable fixed and mobile devices by 2022, up from nearly 6 billion in 2017, a CAGR of 26 percent. In terms of percentages, 64 percent of all fixed and mobile networked devices will be IPv6-capable by 2022, up from 32 percent in 2017.
  • Looking to 2022, if 60 percent of IPv6-capable devices are actively connected to an IPv6 network, the forecast estimates that globally IPv6 traffic would amount to 132 EB per month, or 38 percent of total Internet traffic.
  • Live Internet video has the potential to drive large amounts of traffic as it replaces traditional broadcast viewing hours. Live video already accounts for 5 percent of Internet video traffic and will grow 15-fold to reach 17 percent by 2022.
  • Video surveillance traffic is booming. IT uploads continuously from homes and small businesses to the cloud.  It accounts for 2 percent of Internet video traffic today and will grow 7-fold to reach 3 percent by 2022. If use of video suveillance blossoms, they will generate a significantly more traffic, since Internet-enabled cameras can produce up to 300 GB per camera per month.
  • Globally, PCs will account for 4% (1.2 billion) of all networked devices by 2022, compared to 8% (1.4 billion) in 2017, (-2.5% CAGR). Tablets will account for 3% (790.2 million) of all networked devices by 2022, compared to 3% (615.6 million) in 2017, (5.1% CAGR). Smartphones will account for 24% (6.7 billion) of all networked devices by 2022, compared to 24% (4.3 billion) in 2017, (9.2% CAGR).
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Upcoming Webinars and Events: December 2018

December will start with three on-site events:

On the webinar front, December will be a storage month:

In January 2019 we’ll start with queuing theory (another math-in-networking webinar by Rachel Traylor) on January 15th, continue with deep dive into NSX-T security with Matthias Luft, and end the month with a totally revamped Data Center Interconnects webinar.

You can attend all upcoming webinars with an ipSpace.net webinar subscription. Online courses and on-site events require separate registration.

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Thanks to Ivan Pepelnjak (see source)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Frontier Left Residents in N.Y.’s North Country Out of Service for 10 Days

A snowstorm, in winter, in Upstate New York, was the excuse Frontier Communications gave for leaving scores of residents in the Minerva-Johnsburg area without phone or internet service for as long as 10 days this month.

“We are aware of a service interruption in Minerva and have been delayed by a snowstorm that impeded access and diverted resources starting Friday,” Javier Mendoza, vice president of corporate communications and external affairs at Frontier, told The Sun.

The company routinely blames external factors for wide scale service interruptions, which often impact Frontier’s rural customers, totally reliant on aging copper wire infrastructure the company has refused to replace.

“Often [service outages] are due to uncontrollable circumstances like commercial power outages, severe weather, construction crews damaging telecom cables, cars hitting telephone poles or telecom equipment cabinets,” Mendoza said. “These causes can also delay response and restoral efforts beyond Frontier’s control.”

But customers in several states where Frontier provides the only internet access around are just as concerned by poor service that is within Frontier’s control.

Johnsburg’s town supervisor is one of them, complaining regularly about the poor quality of Frontier’s internet service, powered by DSL. It suffers frequent service outages.

Minerva-Johnsburg, N.Y.

“It’s been widespread throughout the town,” Supervisor Andrea Hogan told the newspaper. “People can’t run businesses with that.”

Those who rely on the internet to work from home are challenged by Frontier’s DSL service and frequent service problems.

Greg and Ellen Schaefer retired to the community of North River and planned to do part-time work remotely over the internet. They pay Frontier $228 a month for a package of satellite TV, landline, and internet service. On a good day, they achieve a maximum of 3 Mbps for downloads and 0.5 Mbps for uploads. But in Frontier country, where good days can be outnumbered by bad ones, the couple has often been forced into their car in search of good Wi-Fi. Some days they work from the local library, others they park by an AT&T cell tower near the base of Gore Mountain to use their car’s built-in AT&T hotspot.

Predictably, the Schaefers question the value for money they receive from Frontier Communications.

Frontier’s name conjures up the notion of a phone company providing service in the rough and rugged Old West, but Glenn Pearsall told The Sun he prefers to think of Frontier as an antique three-speed car, offering customers the choice of “dim, flickering,” or “off.”

Pearsall pays Frontier for internet speeds advertised at 6-10+ Mbps, but receives 0.69 Mbps for downloads and 0.08 Mbps for uploads at his home in Garnet Lake. A typical Microsoft Office software update takes approximately 48 hours to arrive, assuming one of many frequent service outages does not force the upgrade to start anew.

The problem for most Frontier DSL customers, especially in rural areas, is the distance between the company’s local exchange office and customers. The further away one lives, the slower the speed.

Many rural telephone exchanges have tens of thousands of feet in copper wire between the central office and an outlying customer. As a result, in the most rural areas, no internet service is available at all.

Frontier is accepting millions in Connect America Funds (CAF) — paid for by ordinary customers on their phone bill, to expand internet access into unserved areas. Frontier has to replace at least some of its copper wiring with fiber optics, which does not degrade significantly with distance. It can then reach customers part of the way over its existing copper facilities, which saves the company millions in replacement costs.

Demand for internet service and constantly rising traffic volumes suggests Frontier must regularly upgrade its equipment and backhaul connectivity. But in some areas, the company has failed to keep up with demand, resulting in online overcrowding. Customers that access the internet during peak usage times in the evenings report dramatic slowdowns and web pages that refuse to load — both symptoms of oversold network capacity.

Frontier is an integral part of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s rural broadband initiative, which promises 99.9% of New Yorkers will have access to high-speed internet. The company collected $9.7 million in January 2018 to expand service to another 2,735 customers in the North Country, Southern Tier, and Finger Lakes region. The company claims it will deliver 100 Mbps internet speed to those customers in its news releases, but also warns what the company claims is never guaranteed.

“Our products state in our literature what you ‘may’ get. So it’s speeds ‘as fast as.’ You may not get 6 Mbps every moment of the day,” admitted Jan van de Carr, manager for community relations and government affairs.

It is that kind of mentality that has Pearsall keeping a bottle of champagne at the ready on the day he can disconnect Frontier service for good. But considering the alternative is likely to be satellite internet offered by Hughes, that bottle is likely to remain corked for a long time into the future.

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Thanks to Phillip Dampier (see source)