Telecom Analytics With Bad Data?

November, 2014

On the landline side, the incumbent service providers have been notoriously lousy at record keeping. There are still in place very antiquated inventory systems along with a high level of ignorance about whether a large number of circuits are either working or connected in networks. At least with wireless technology, it has been around for a much shorter period of time, and would not be nearly as burdened with ineffective solutions in the back offices. What is the biggest reason for bandwidth on demand not taking off in a significant way after about three decades of hype? Again, it is about the lack of adequate knowledge by these carriers concerning their networks. How can executives be sure that rapid change will not adversely impact services with them all toppling on to each other? While there have been workarounds, modifications, as well as reductions in the use of Ma Bell’s Trunk...

Read More

Surviving in a 10G World

February, 2015

Given that the lion’s share of the discussion in telecom forums is about vaporware, it is not surprising that a lot people in the industry would probably be amazed to hear that R&D spending on 10G devices is still happening. While the really compelling drama within suppliers is occurring with mature or even declining market situations, including on 1G and on VCSELs, in which substantial revenue is on the line, the obsession on analyzing the accounts of the various futuristic, sexier solutions can sound repetitive, and at the end of the day, they have a tendency to be quite boring. In contrast, the struggle for 10G transport equipment vendors to survive is a captivating narrative involving a data rate, which will remain a mainstay in public and enterprise networks for a very long time -- in which there is still an overabundance of participants (partially because financing going back to...

Read More

Monetizing Older Networks: An Overreach?

March, 2015

Although one of the most thought-provoking panels at OFC 2015 will be on the monetization of optical networks, which will include seasoned experts who are vigorously involved in building new revenue models, it is not easy to imagine the kind of cultural metamorphosis that would be required for incumbent service providers to change their long-standing, bureaucratic behavior. In addition, while it is only commonsense to switch from a model that requires a lengthy period of time to install a circuit with a long-term commitment to more of a cloud-driven, network-on-demand paradigm, in which files can be loaded for say, a couple hours to be analyzed, we have discussed the very legitimate structural defects that would frighten executives away from moving in such a direction. Nevertheless, maintaining the status quo is also out of the question for these well-established carriers and seeking...

Read More

Ciena Probably Overpaying for Cyan

May, 2015

A prima facie case can be made that the $400 million price tag on Cyan is out of line. In effect, Ciena should have problems justifying it is worth at almost half as much as Nortel’s Metro Ethernet Networks business (adjusted for inflation) and about four times Cyan’s revenues in 2014 – in an optical environment in which it has been recently difficult sometimes to command even 1x sales on an acquisition. Also, with the prospects for SDN in the public network space increasingly getting dimmer, the purchase at a premium is even more of a head scratcher. With the exception of the buyouts of the Nortel assets (a necessity to keep revenues up sufficiently) and the pickup of Lightera Networks, which led to the successful CoreDirector (a steal at the 1999 price of a little over $450 million), Ciena has in general not had a good track record on buyouts of companies. Since its founding,...

Read More

AT&T’s “Transformation” Begs Disbelief

September, 2015

In general, AT&T is a competent service provider with the most established brand in the industry, and thus, no manager needs to fear ever getting fired for selecting the company over other competitors. At the same time, no other carrier in the world is close to being as encumbered on such a large scale with so many layers of antiquated technology that it actually cannot even come close to pinpointing the myriad possibilities for a major crash of services with an aggressive “Network on Demand” transition. While AT&T can do workarounds with virtualization to some extent, we doubt that executives at companies like Verizon, CenturyLink, Level 3 Communications, and Zayo Group are losing any sleep over a firm, which has not historically been inclined to be a mover and a shaker. AT&T certainly has been actively promoting itself as a new company and some people in the press and at...

Read More