Displaying items by tag: CommScope

CommScope forms multi-tenant data center alliance

Written on Sunday, 18 June 2017 09:22

The world’s increasing consumption of data, combined with the trend of businesses and service providers outsourcing their data center facilities rather than owning and managing them, has resulted in significant growth in multi-tenant data centers (MTDCs). In fact, one analyst firm has predicted that total operational square footage of global MTDCs can reach approximately 177 million by the end of 2018.

To address this shift in the data center market, CommScope has formed the Multi-Tenant Data Center (MTDC) Alliance as part of the PartnerPRO™ Network. MTDC Alliance members will be able to offer optimal network infrastructure solutions for customers who need to deploy this technology in multi-tenant environments.

“Over the years, a shift has taken place in which companies increasingly outsource IT needs to shared environments in which data centers are viewed as an operating expense,” said Stephen Kowal, senior vice president, Global Partners, CommScope. “By leasing third-party data center white space, enterprises can remain focused on their core businesses while enjoying optimal data center availability, reliability and cost control.”

Demand will continue for MTDCs from hyperscale data center operators, service providers, cloud providers and enterprises; however, with the increased competition, it is becoming harder to differentiate on build quality alone.

That is why CommScope, a leader in communications network infrastructure solutions, formed the MTDC Alliance, assuring customers who work with our certified partners in the PartnerPRO Network that quality enterprise solutions, like our industry leading SYSTIMAX®, NETCONNECT®, and Uniprise® solutions, are being deployed in MTDCs.

“With our global network of 179 data centers across 44 markets, Equinix is thrilled to be part of the CommScope MTDC Alliance to offer enterprise customers the optimal data center deployments that best fits their needs,” said Greg Adgate, vice president of global technology partners and alliances at Equinix.

“Our facilities offer the broadest geographic reach, the largest choice in cloud and network providers, and the most efficient interconnection options for companies looking to lease data center space. We look forward to working with CommScope and their customers as part of this initiative,” Greg added.

MTDC infrastructure makes advanced technologies such as cloud computing and virtualized data centers available to companies of all shapes and sizes; from small- and mid-sized business to large enterprises, while also allowing flexible and easy expandability as the business grows. By outsourcing data center services instead of building, hosting, maintaining and upgrading them, MTDC tenants can realize significant operating and capital expenditures saving.

Today, the PartnerPRO Network has active partners in 88 countries and serves as a resource with thousands of distributors, installers, integrators and consultants worldwide.

US-based communications infrastructure giant CommScope will focus on helping operators with their LTE and LTE-Advanced rollouts this year, says CommScope's Philip Sorrells, VP - Portfolio Marketing, speaking to Telecom Review at MWC 2017. The company is also looking towards 5G, building an idea of what infrastructure requirements the technology will demand, and how CommScope can help operators introduce it.

CommScope's main objective at MWC was to listen to the operator community and understand their current network issues, according to Mr. Sorrells. These problems, he said, are all built around the idea of a future 5G that's just beginning and operators are formulating what that means for them. Operators want to "understand the connectivity part of that future vision and what it will look like," he said.

However, focusing on the year ahead, Sorrells said CommScope's primary focus is helping operators with their LTE and LTE-Advanced rollouts. "Even in Europe, you still find significant areas where there's no LTE presence and still a 3G market," he said. "There are still a lot of LTE areas to be established and a lot of optimization capacity to be built, so we are very focused on seeing this through."

CommScope's solution for expanding LTE capacity involves sectioning microcells by going from a three sector site to a six sector site. Or, if you have a sector that's covering an area of high capacity, CommScope suggests splitting the sector into five.

"We have five-beam antenna technologies for example, where you can put one five-beam antenna in a particularly dense area in your microcell, and with relatively low risk and in a relatively short amount of time, you can solve a lot of capacity problems," said Mr. Sorrells.

"There are also different types of beamforming and different types of MIMO [multiple input, multiple output] all which can be used with variants of antenna technology and variants of the way cell sites are architected. These are all techniques that CommScope has in its toolkit today that we are providing and exploring with operators around the world."

The operator community wants to understand how to take their existing LTE network and use it for another 15-20 years with more efficiency, more capacity, and more profitability, according to CommScope. Therefore, a good deal of what the company showcased at Mobile World Congress this year were plans for the future - what connectivity will look like and how CommScope can help its customers optimize their existing resources to the benefit of their users.

One of the pressing challenges facing operators looking to introduce 5G is matching their infrastructure to meet 5G requirements. 5G is a "network of networks" and part of the 5G vision is how to make 2G, 3G and 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and the wireline protocols all work together in a seamless network of networks, Mr. Sorrells explained.

"It is far too early to say that 5G obsoletes 4G - I think most people in the industry don't see it that way - more of a complementary technology that builds up a stronger base of networks," he said."

"The operator community sees 5G as an addition to their offerings so that they can provide future consumer data rich applications that consume a lot of bandwidth. With 5G, you start thinking about things like autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, and all those things that require a huge consumption of bandwidth."

The other side of 5G, he explained, is the new radio technology that operates in the millimeter wave [mmWave] which is the band of spectrum between 30 gigahertz (Ghz) and 300 Ghz. Researchers are testing 5G wireless broadband technology on millimeter wave spectrum which will allow for super fast speeds.

The important thing to remember about 5G is that even when you take into account the software development, the virtualization technology, and the radio technology, and everything else that goes into it, all of these developments couldn't work without the practical issue of connecting point A to point B, and that's where CommScope brings value to the equation.

"One of the most exciting things we have seen at MWC this year is the concepts around 5G and how the architecture of the technology is starting to have some boundaries," said Mr. Sorrells. "A big area to be solved in terms of mobility and capacity density is what happens inside buildings. One of the things we are quite excited about is the progress that our small cell technology has made in terms of being in line with the vision of the architecture that's needed for 5G."

CommScope's 2015 acquisition of TE Connectivity's Telecom, Enterprise and Wireless businesses expanded the company's portfolio significantly. The all-cash transaction, valued at approximately $3 billion, strengthened CommScope's position as a leading communications infrastructure provider with deeper resources to meet the world's growing demand for network bandwidth.

The transaction created a stronger company with greater innovation, employee talent and overall capabilities to serve customers in the areas of indoor and outdoor wireless networks; data centers and central offices; connected and efficient buildings; and access and backhaul networks. The company now holds a portfolio of approximately 9,800 patents and patent applications, with research and development investment of more than $200 million a year.

"With the integration of that portfolio we were able to strengthen our fibre connectivity," said Mr. Sorrells. "Now, no matter what the application is, if the right way to solve the application is with copper, we have a copper solution; if the right way to solve it is with wireless, we have a wireless solution; and if the right way is with fibre, we now have a whole portfolio of fibre solutions. That enables us to bring much more value to our clientele."

CommScope now boasts one of the leading portfolios of wireless infrastructure equipment in terms of antenna technology, filtering technology and cable transmission technology. The company plans to do more operator testing and trialing of 5G technology in the future, said Mr. Sorrells. CommScope will also help to conduct small rollouts of 5G within the next few years. 

Published in Interviews

Whether it is the use of smartphones, laptops or tablets, a recent survey by CommScope shows that mobile devices are playing a larger part as game changers in today’s businesses, as enterprise IT managers struggle to keep pace with mobility’s dramatic effects on workplace productivity and requirements.

Meanwhile, cloud-based IT services and applications also have grabbed the attention of those responsible for enterprise networks, according to the CommScope study. While nearly three-fourths of respondents confirmed they already are deploying some cloud-based applications, the shift to the cloud is far from slowing.

The seventh edition of the CommScope Global Enterprise Survey, released today, found that enterprise mobility and cloud services beat out infrastructure intelligence, 40/100GbE and green power initiatives as the top challenges facing company networks around the world. More than 1,100 IT professionals from 63 nations participated in the tri-annual research.

The survey found a noticeable gap between usage of mobile devices within enterprise facilities and the capability of those buildings to enable wireless traffic. According to the survey, an average of 43 percent of all phone calls originating within an enterprise facility involves a mobile phone, yet only 30 percent of these businesses say their carrier-provided in-building signal coverage and capacity are sufficient to handle the mobile traffic. This had more than three-quarters of respondents admitting that employees had to roam around the office, or even go outside, to get an adequate signal for a call.

“It’s clear from the survey that bring-your-own-device is a growing trend and places a heavy demand on organizational infrastructure, while weighing heavily on the minds of most network IT professionals,” said Kevin St. Cyr, senior vice president, Enterprise Solutions at CommScope. “The pace of mobility adoption by consumers—and thus the workforce and company visitors—has outrun the infrastructure and practices in place within enterprise facilities to support it. This also factors heavily into the uptick in a majority of survey respondents confirming deployment of cloud-based applications.”

Key findings from the CommScope Global Enterprise Survey include:

  • Enterprise mobility: Forty-four percent of surveyed participants see the widespread use of mobile technology as a game-changer. About a third of respondents reported having a distributed antenna system (DAS) deployed on site to support the indoor wireless traffic, while another 36 percent reported no capability to provide adequate indoor mobile coverage or capacity.
  • Cloud services: Forty-four percent of surveyed respondents also pointed to cloud services as a top game-changer and expect that importance to grow. While 21 percent currently rely on cloud technology to run more than half of their applications, 52 percent believe that by 2017 more than half of their applications will reside off-site in the cloud.
  • 40GbE and 100GbE: Nearly a third of respondents indicated that 40GbE and 100GbE would have a significant impact on their future operations, with a majority citing the emergence of laser-optimized multimode. There was also consensus among the respondents as to their installation strategies for future data centers. Sixty-one percent of operators favored a pre-terminated data center solution as opposed to a field-terminated solution.
  • Infrastructure intelligence: Nearly one in three of surveyed participants mentioned the need for intelligent infrastructure as an IT infrastructure game-changer. The key driver, cited in 61 percent of the surveys, is the increasing demand for greater productivity.
  • Green, reliable power: Energy usage is still near the top of many respondents’ minds. One-fourth of respondents indicated that energy and green initiatives would be a game-changer over the next five years. On average, respondents are looking to reduce energy consumption by 18 percent; their strategies involve server virtualization, consolidations and cloud computing.

The survey is conducted every three years, made available in 10 different languages and is online to maximize the number of completions. The survey respondents represent a wide variety of industry sectors. Thirty-five percent are involved in a technology or IT-related business. IT professionals within the finance/banking, industrial/manufacturing, education and government sectors accounted for a combined 36 percent of responses.

“We are trying to capture what’s important to IT managers, and the impact of trends in network planning and connectivity on the jobs they do,” said St. Cyr. “This survey is part of our ongoing commitment to fully understand our customers’ needs while getting a better perspective on how they view and manage their evolving enterprise networks and data centers.”

Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) allow for improved network capacity in both indoor and outdoor crowded areas such as sports arenas, hotels, shopping malls, conference centers and hospitals. DAS is a way to deal with isolated spots of poor coverage by installing a network of relatively small antennas throughout an area to serve as repeaters. Leading global wireless providers are adopting the technology at a steep price because the usefulness of DAS is groundbreaking.

Expectations for consistent wireless network availability are growing faster than ever. Sports events today are filled with people filming, uploading and downloading high levels of voice and video content with their smartphones or tablets, driven by the BYOD phenomenon. Demand is soaring, which is great for wireless operators, but how can they ensure that they have enough capacity to supply this heavy demand? One of the best solutions to this issue is Distributed Antenna System Solutions, more commonly known as DAS.

A DAS system uses a cluster of antennas designed to rapidly boost cellular network coverage where there is weak or no signal in the area. The perfect scenario for using a DAS is in areas with poor line-of-sight to existing towers, for example, an area deep within very large facilities or inside underground transportation systems. Another scenario where DAS is useful, which is becoming more common today, is in areas with concentrated demand that would otherwise overwhelm existing network coverage, such as large hospitals, airports and, of course, sports arenas.

DAS technology was first introduced about 20 years ago, but today, the need to do more with fewer assets is driving innovation in DAS and optical networks. DAS solutions not only address the need for small cell delivery, but also address efficient small cell backhaul. Mobile operators are keen to implement DAS and fiber technologies to create leaner, more cost-effective deployments. The systems are commonly used in urban subways, airports, stadiums, office buildings and other venues where enhanced coverage capacity is needed.

DAS is a system of managed hubs and remote antennas that distribute a wireless signal to a series of connected indoor or outdoor multi-band, multi-technology radio heads. Service providers typically locate base stations to provide the cellular signal. A main hub then takes the signal and distributes it to other hubs and radio heads via a high bandwidth fiber optic network. A DAS can transport mobile signal at full-strength to any remote antenna connected, no matter how far away it is from the main hub and base station. Some DAS provide vast coverage and support thousands of subscribers. To keep the systems out of sight, DAS remote antennas can be attached to lampposts, street furniture, telephone poles, etc.

One of the leading manufacturers of DAS systems is CommScope which manufactures energy efficient integrated distributed coverage and capacity systems. CommScope’s Andrew Integrated Management and Operating System (AIMOS) helps to manage DAS by allowing the user to monitor and control a network from one central location or multiple hubs.  

TE Connectivity is another DAS leader, with solutions that operate as seamless extensions of a wireless network. Another vendor, Axell Wireless, provides coverage and capacity around buildings or facilities by taking single or multiple operators’ base station resources and re-distributing them. Eighty of the world’s largest subway systems have deployed DAS networks with Axell Technology. Axell’s DAS network powers the Chunnel connecting London and Paris, as well as Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and the Department of Homeland Security campus.

In 2013, Ericsson introduced its own DAS technology dubbed the Radio Dot system, a radio that can fit in the palm of your hand and hook up to a full-size base station via conventional LAN cables. The system allows carriers to fill large and medium-sized buildings with strong voice and data signals while keeping their equipment and management costs low. Buying and installing specialized DAS equipment is expensive and managing and coordinating a collection of small individual cells around a building is complicated. Therefore, Ericsson attempted to solve those problems by putting the core components of a macro cell into a building and spreading the radio parts of the cell throughout the rooms as Radio Dots.

In January 2016, American operators Verizon and AT&T reportedly invested heavily in DAS and also cell on wheels (COWs) which are portable mobile cellular sites that provide temporary network wireless coverage to locations where cellular coverage is minimal or compromised. The investments were made to ensure the companies could handle the 75,000 football fans who gathered in the San Francisco metro area for the Super Bowl 50 in February.

Verizon is said to have made a $70 million long-term investment to more than triple LTE wireless data network capacity for key areas throughout the Bay Area for the Super Bowl. AT&T invested more than $25 million, while also upgrading its DAS to provide 150 percent more LTE capacity than the start of the 2015 pro football season, upgrading new DAS systems at 26 locations throughout the Bay Area. Many businesses were also able to benefit from the improved connectivity, such as hotels, airports and convention centers where large numbers of people gathered.

The millions spent on DAS by Verizon and AT&T is a testament to the technology’s worth. To justify these high costs, providers and carriers often prefer long contract terms, with ten years becoming the industry norm. In most cases for a carrier-owned DAS system, a wireless service provider, such as Verizon, will pay for the equipment and installation costs, as well as maintenance and upgrades.

As a result, the carrier has access to exclusive improved network service in any given area, unless the carrier voluntarily allows its competition to make use of it. When a third-party neutral-host provider installs a DAS, this entity typically bears all of the costs, which can be recouped by charging any or all of the service providers to have access to the system.

The advantages of DAS systems are plentiful because they can be deployed indoors and outdoors, because DAS antenna node installations are compact. The size and power requirements of DAS systems also allow for installation in areas where traditional cell towers cannot be placed due to zoning restrictions.

DAS systems also hold credit regarding safety. For instance, cell phones aren’t simply used for convenience, but also for reaching out to authorities when in trouble. Cell phones can only be used when there is an effective signal. In this way, making a call from a DAS is better than using WiFi, because WiFi was never designed to provide location information, which is required when an emergency call is made to authorities.

Since the inception of commercial wireless technology, network operators have been working hard to obtain the maximum number of users. This has resulted in a struggle to maintain the quality of service for increasing the number and usage of cellular systems, as well as providing wireless service to people located in isolated areas or to those in very dense areas. Although expensive, Distributed Antenna Systems have emerged as the most promising solution to address these issues.

Published in Featured

By Anis Khoury, operations manager, MENA Distributed Coverage & Capacity Solutions (DCCS)

Buildings are important to us; we spend a large portion of our lives inside buildings. Indeed, the Royal Institute of British Architects has stated that we spend an average of 20 hours each day inside commercial or residential buildings. As the planet’s population continues to expand beyond the current seven-and-a-half billion people, so too will the buildings in which we live and work. They will naturally become more numerous but also more dense (people per area) as land value increases. Estimates for the total number of buildings in the world vary, but a rough estimate is that there are at least one billion buildings across the world. Whichever way we slice and dice the data, it is clear that buildings, particularly those in which we work, are a vital part of our lives.

Last year we highlighted trends pertaining to the internet of things (IoT), sensor networks, Category 6A and fiber technologies, all of which have become more topical this past year, especially in buildings. Here is a summary of what I believe are some of the key trends influencing intelligent buildings as we move forward into 2016.

People are obsessed with their mobile phones and see indoor wireless coverage as important as having access to water and electricity. Although there are about two billion smartphone users globally and about 80 percent of cellular data sessions originate or terminate inside a building, 98 percent of commercial buildings do not have dedicated systems to guarantee reliable indoor cellular coverage. Why is that?

CommScope recently commissioned a study, carried out by research firm Coleman Parkes, to find out. We surveyed the professionals who design and manage buildings—including building managers, facilities managers, real estate managers and architects—to explore their attitudes and insights about enterprise mobility.

The results show that, whilst the driving force for reliable cellular connectivity in a building is clear, the reality on the ground is that stakeholders are not invested enough in dedicated indoor systems. This is especially surprising considering that survey respondents estimated the value of a property could increase by an average of 28 percent with the implementation of a dedicated in-building wireless system.

The commercial imperative for investing in dedicated in-building wireless systems is becoming clearer as challenges associated with system costs and technical complexity are confronted and overcome. Cellular connectivity in the building is now as important as making available any basic utility for a building. After all, would you refuse to invest in a water supply within your building because it was deemed too expensive or complicated to do? 

Engaging with architects, facilities managers and enterprises at an early stage will ultimately save money – as well as providing an enhanced user experience.

The need for energy efficient low voltage power in buildings

Power loads in commercial buildings are increasing; much of this is due to the proliferation of active field devices such as: wireless access points and in-building wireless antennas; internet protocol (IP) network cameras and VoIP phones; LED light and environmental controllers.

Understanding how we power these devices efficiently and effectively in a building is a growing challenge. Traditionally the power supplied to buildings has been alternating current (AC) which is then stepped down or converted to direct current (DC) using inefficient transformers/rectifiers in order to power devices inside buildings. However, with governments now demanding that carbon dioxide emissions associated with buildings be minimized, attention has turned to improving the efficiency of low voltage power distribution network inside buildings.

In most instances, active devices in buildings are IP-enabled, driven by the need for convergence. For these devices, power can be provided via low (or extra low) voltage DC. For decades, Ethernet cabling deployed for data network connectivity in buildings has also provided DC power, an approach that has the benefit of being standards-based. IEEE Power over Ethernet (PoE) 802.3af and IEEE Power over Ethernet Plus (PoEP) 802.3at are the current standards. An IEEE taskforce is now discussing the next evolution of the PoE standard (IEEE 802.3bt) with a stated aim of 49W minimum power levels and a likely maximum of 100W. Power over HDBase-T (POH) is another approach developed by an alliance of consumer electronics manufacturers that offers a maximum power level of 100W. As DC power levels increase more and more, different IP devices will emerge, driving the need for even more efficient low voltage DC power in buildings.

Environments that improve the employee or tenant experience

The office is no longer only a place to go to work between the hours of nine to five, but also a venue where employees collaborate, create and connect at any time. Businesses understand that, in a globally competitive world they will attract employees and tenants by offering a ‘best in class’ work space that positively influences health/wellness and productivity.

In fact, respondents to the Coleman Parkes survey titled, “Wireless in Buildings: What Building Professionals Think”, cited indoor wireless coverage as having benefits for the enterprise tenant, including an increase in workforce productivity (77%), supporting the recruitment of more talented individuals (46%) and even attracting more visitors (39%). Two-thirds of respondents also rated indoor wireless connectivity as ‘essential’ for employees. 

To improve an environment we need to understand its current state; this means being able to measure environmental, space and energy metrics. Embedding increasingly sophisticated sensor technology into the fabric of a building enables this data to be instantly collected, processed and acted upon. This approach offers:

  • Capability to automatically manage space relating to desk sharing (hot desking) or conference rooms in a user friendly and optimized way
  • Management of ambient room/building conditions, including light level, temperature and humidity, for more comfortable and productive working environments
  • Ability to help minimize a building’s carbon footprint by optimizing energy consumption in real-time; thereby improving not only operating costs but also corporate social responsibility indices or “green” credentials.

Integrated Workplace Management Systems and other software platforms will feed off this type of data to help create a superior workplace.

The workplace of the future will have a plethora of choices for connecting, and dedicated indoor cellular systems will become the norm in buildings of all sizes.

Integrating devices on a common network infrastructure

The IoT is a tangible phenomenon. If you look around any commercial building, you will notice hundreds, if not thousands, of connected devices. The reduction in costs, sensor miniaturization, plus advances in device connectivity capability has enabled a massive network of interconnected devices. However, as the IoT concept mushrooms, so do its challenges.

Going back just a few years, a commercial building had multiple, proprietary subsystems for its various management systems. The dominance of IP networking and associated global standards (like IEEE 802.3) across almost all aspects of technology has allowed all building management systems and associated devices to be interconnected through common wired or wireless infrastructure.

There is a myriad of connected devices, but are they communicating? The lack of a generally accepted protocol for device-to-device communication leads to inefficiencies. This communication ‘failure’ means that buildings are ‘dumber’ than they should be. Interoperability standards are progressing, with the AllSeen Alliance and the Industrial Internet Consortium being two of the larger groups working on this.

Devices that speak the same language and utilize the same network infrastructure can aggregate and process real-time data about their immediate environment in a highly efficient way.

As we move into 2016, I am convinced that buildings are more important to us than ever before, affecting not only our professional lives but also much of what we do personally. Organizations will start tackling the challenge of not just gathering the data, but making better use of that data to make better decisions to improve the efficiencies of the building and the people living or working in it.

Published in Featured