Big Data: What’s the Network Impact?

Network Instruments - Big Data: What's the network impact

According to Gartner® 42 percent of IT management has either already invested in big data technology or plan to do so in the next year. But given the overuse of the term by everyone from media pundits to IT vendors, will it really impact the network? The short answer is yes.

Within the next two to four years it will drive every aspect of IT, from infrastructure design to network and application management. In this article, we define big data, assess its impact, and provide advice on how network teams can best prepare.

The key factor behind big data is cheap storage to house the data-crunching results of applications that generate huge volumes of unstructured data. This data can include everything from high-definition video streaming to oil and gas exploration metrics to results from genome mapping and pharmaceutical research. For companies involved in these efforts, these activities require vast amounts of compute power and storage, real-time delivery of research, and well-defined access and security protocols. For network operations teams, this demands effective management of capacity, latency, access, and security.

Challenge Key Considerations Network Team Takeaways
Where do we store all this stuff?
Handling petabytes of information requires scalable infrastructure with the ability to quickly add or subtract capacity in a manner that’s transparent to users. The most common methods for achieving this are via public Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud platforms or private cloud with automated resource provisioning. Tracking big data performance requires visibility into cloud storage, and benchmarking component performance and response time.

Also, confirm that your monitoring solution can track high-speed link performance without dropping packets.

How fast can I have it?
Real-time delivery of results is key to big data. When serving up custom content to users, instant results are needed. Regardless of web content or number crunching, late delivery directly impacts the bottom line. To identify bottlenecks means having a performance platform capable of providing integrated views of your overall big data services. Upon pinpointing choke points, infrastructure can either be optimized or upgraded.
Who needs the data? Are there database compatibility issues that prevent comparisons between data sets?
Big data often draws new parties into the data sharing loop. First determine who needs authorization to run queries or processes. The new consideration is whether data sets held on multiple backend storage platforms can be compared and correlated. To address this, the storage team will deploy some type of global file system. Utilize retrospective analysis to validate on-time resource access by authorized users and to track performance and potential breakdowns between database systems.
How do regulations impact data handling and storage?
First, privacy and security regulations impact how financial, medical, and government information can be housed and accessed. The co-mingling and comparison of sensitive data sets will create new headaches for IT managers who will need to track how this new intelligence is shared and utilized. And as data becomes largely created or housed externally, security policies will need to be drafted to take this into account. Stream-to-disk technologies like GigaStor complement existing security tools by acting as a network surveillance camera. Applying stream reconstruction and network forensics to relevant time periods allow you to investigate, verify, and document malicious or accidental security breaches.

Big Data Resources

For more in-depth information on rolling out big data initiatives, addressing storage and security concerns, and key monitoring challenges, check out the following resources:

Thanks to Network Instruments for this Article

Fongo bid a sandwich short of a picnic, scoffs Wind

Canadian mobile VoIP provider Fongo has announced that it plans to table a bid to take over cellular network operator Globalive Wireless (Wind Mobile), although the proposed offer – a token one dollar purchase price plus a 49% stake in Fongo’s business – has been dismissed as a publicity stunt by industry analysts quoted in the media, while a Wind spokesperson appeared to pour scorn on the idea. Simon Lockie, Wind’s chief regulatory officer, took to Twitter to comment: ‘I hereby publicly offer to buy Fongo for a dollar and half my sandwich. Hopefully the story gets picked up before I get too hungry to deliver.’

Fongo offers cheap VoIP calls and messaging via mobile users’ existing 3G/4G data plans and over Wi-Fi connections, including calls to mobiles, landlines and other Fongo phone numbers; its Fongo-to-Fongo free calling network covers over 85% of Canada including 30 of the largest metropolitan areas in all ten provinces. Users may also port an existing mobile or landline phone number to Fongo for a CAD25 (USD24.60) one-time fee. Fongo said its takeover plan involves migrating Wind subscribers to Fongo’s IP calling services ‘within a year’. It claims that over the last twelve months more than a quarter of a million users in Canada have signed up for its VoIP services, accessible via a mobile app. The Financial Post writes that Fongo has publicly disclosed CAD1.7 million in venture capital investment from Tech Capital Partners and angel investors and also received a repayable loan of up to CAD850,000 from FedDev Ontario in November 2012 for research and development of the next phase of its mobile service. However, the supposed takeover target Wind is estimated to be valued at roughly CAD750 million, with its 2100MHz wireless spectrum alone costing CAD442 million in 2008, while it has over 600,000 subscribers.

It was recently reported that Wind’s parent group Vimpelcom is putting the cellco up for sale while it waits for approval of a deal to take overall control of its shares; Wind’s Canadian founder Anthony Lacavera and original financial backer Naguib Sawiris are tipped to buy back the company

Thanks to TeleGeography for this Article

Rogers expanding LTE to 44 new markets this spring, including 2600MHz coverage

Rogers Communications has announced that it will expand its 4G LTE mobile network to 44 additional markets this spring, and it intends to reach a total of 95 markets by the end of the year. Rogers also stated that it will make 2600MHz LTE coverage available in all areas covered, augmenting its 2100MHz-based services, while 34 of the 44 new LTE markets will be capable of maximum theoretical network speeds of up to 150Mbps.

Among the 44 LTE markets launching this spring will be Saint John, New Brunswick; Medicine Hat, Alberta; Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; Guelph, Ontario; Muskoka, Ontario; Collingwood, Ontario; and multiple cities in Quebec, while Rogers said that these rollouts will give over a million Canadians in Atlantic Canada, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec access to its 2600MHz 4G services.

Current Rogers ‘exclusive’ 2600MHz-enabled devices include the LG Optimus G 2600, the Rocket Stick modem, Rocket Hub and Rocket Mobile Hotspot, while it says it will announce more 2600MHz-enabled smartphones in the coming months.

Thanks for TeleGeography for this article

SaskTel lines up 50 more rural communities for broadband

Saskatchewan telco SaskTel has revealed that it is expanding broadband internet to 50 additional rural Saskatchewan communities in 2013. At the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) Conference in Saskatoon on Tuesday, it was also announced that a further 200 rural communities that currently have broadband will see their service speed up this year, while SaskTel will also be building 31 new wireless towers in rural parts of the province.

Thanks to TeleGeography for this Article

Videotron’s cable broadband revenues up 10.6%

Quebec-based quadruple-play cableco Videotron, part of the Quebecor group, has reported its annual results for 2012, in which total revenues grew by 8.4% to CAD2.64 billion (USD2.57 billion) and operating profit climbed by 11.5% to CAD1.23 billion. Cable broadband internet revenues rose by 10.6% to CAD772.5 million in full-year 2012 and cable telephony turnover increased by 4.2% to CAD454.9 million, helped by an increase in corporate/SME customers, while mobile revenues grew by 52.3% to CAD171.6 million.Cable TV revenue was up 6.6% to CAD1.08 billion helped by higher monthly rates as well as digital and HD service migration.

Videotron reported 4.92 million revenue generating units (RGUs) at 31 December 2012, including 1.86 million cable TV customers, 1.39 million broadband lines in service and 1.26 million cable telephony users; mobile customers reached 402,600 by the end of the year. In the fourth quarter the company added 2,100 cable TV connections, 18,100 internet subscribers, 15,200 fixed telephony customers and 24,300 mobile subscribers.

Thanks to TeleGeography for this Article

Telus expands LTE to Saint John

Telus has expanded its commercial 4G LTE mobile broadband network to Saint John, following other recent LTE launches in the Atlantic Canada region, including St. John’s, Moncton, Charlottetown and Halifax. Telus says its LTE service now covers nearly 70% of the Canadian population.

Thanks to TeleGeography for this Article

Do Your Contingency Plans Work?

Think about it – If a key system component or an entire site fails, your contingency plans have to work. Period!

You can be sure they do work. And don’t you owe it to yourself to be confident?

If your Disaster Recovery plan fails, your entire solution may completely malfunction, drop all current calls, shut down incoming calls & transactions across all your touchpoints, and paralyze customer contact altogether. Think of the impact on you & your company – upset customers, lost revenue, ulcers, and your career up in smoke.

So Try out Your Contingency Plans – here’s how you do it!

The simplest and most effective way to ensure your contingency plan works is to test it under real load while simulating infrastructure failures or a disaster within your system. IQ Services’ Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Testing process provides real traffic to rigorously exercise your system so you know what happens at every step of the contingency plan.

We can provide real traffic to your systems via voice, Web, fax or e-mail. Traffic volume can be as great or small as you require. Once your systems are loaded with real traffic, you disable system elements or even entire sites in any fashion you choose, exercise your contingency plans and validate your recovery procedures. IQ Services has a patented testing technology and is used to determine the outcome of every call and browser session.

Exercising your systems under adverse conditions is easy and accurate. With Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Testing, you have control over the volume of traffic, the pace of the test and the elements of your system that are functioning or temporarily disabled. You end up with a clear and comprehensive look at how your system will react under conditions simulated during the test. You learn exactly what your customers will experience in the event of a disaster.

So Just prove that your contingency plans to work.

IQ Services’ Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Testing gives you confidence your contingency plans & procedures are solid, which in turn protects your customer relationships, service levels and your career.

Adopted by Mike Burke from IQ Services

700MHz auction on 19 November; government consults on spectrum transfers, amends tower sharing rules, updates spectrum policy

Industry Canada has released its final timetable for the auction of the digital dividend 700MHz 4G mobile broadband spectrum band in November this year. The ministry’s ‘Licensing Framework for Mobile Broadband Services (MBS) — 700 MHz Band’ set the timetable as follows:

-Deadline for receipt of clarification questions, 27 March 2013.

-Publication of responses to clarification questions, 20 May 2013.

-Deadline for receipt of applications, 11 June.

-Publication of the list of applicants, 18 June.

-Publication of the list of provisionally qualified bidders, 26 July.

-Publication of final list of qualified bidders, 23 September.

-Opening of bidding, 19 November 2013.

-Announcement of provisional licence winners, within five business days following cessation of bidding.

As previously announced, Canada will award 700MHz mobile licences split into 14 geographical areas, each zone offering five blocks of paired spectrum and two blocks of unpaired spectrum, making a total of 98 licences on offer. A spectrum cap of two paired frequency blocks will apply to all licensees in each of the 14 zones, therefore allowing scope for new or less established entrants in the mobile market; the unpaired blocks will not be subject to a spectrum cap. Furthermore, a spectrum cap of one paired spectrum block from within certain blocks – B, C, C1 and C2 – will apply to all large wireless service providers – i.e. the nationwide operators Rogers, Bell and Telus.

Alongside the timetable, Industry Canada yesterday released the ‘Revised Frameworks for Mandatory Roaming and Antenna Tower and Site Sharing’, including conditions of licensing to prohibit exclusive site arrangements, which expand requirements to offer roaming to all licensees while encouraging more tower sharing. The measure is aimed at accelerating 4G mobile broadband expansion following the digital dividend auction.

In another move to ramp up 4G competition in all areas and facilitate widespread mobile broadband service rollouts, the ministry simultaneously launched a public consultation on ‘Considerations Relating to Transfers, Divisions and Subordinate Licensing of Spectrum Licences’, which is aimed at reviewing existing rules on spectrum transfers. Responses are due by 3 May 2013.

Christian Paradis, Canadian minister of industry – with ultimate responsibility for managing the use of spectrum in accordance with the provisions of the Radiocommunication Act as set out in the 2007 Spectrum Policy Framework – also presented the government’s new ‘Commercial Mobile Spectrum Outlook’. The purpose of the document is to provide stakeholders with an overview of Industry Canada’s overall approach and planned activities in order to ensure additional spectrum resources are available to help meet demand for commercial mobile services over the next five years. The Outlook will be updated again following the auction of spectrum in the 700MHz and subsequently the 2500MHz band as well as after the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference is held.

According to the Outlook, projections estimate that Canada will require at least 473MHz and as much as 820MHz of spectrum to be allocated to commercial mobile services by 2017. Based on these projections, Industry Canada has set an objective of allocating a total of 750MHz of spectrum to commercial mobile services by the end of 2017. Taking into account the already-announced auctions (including 700MHz and 2500MHz bands), Canada currently has plans in place to have a total of 528MHz of spectrum available for commercial mobile services. This means that an additional 222MHz of spectrum will have to be allocated to commercial mobile services over the next five years in order to meet this objective.

Taking into account action being taken by countries around the globe to identify additional spectrum for mobile, Industry Canada has identified 300MHz-415MHz of additional spectrum in the following bands that could potentially be allocated to commercial mobile services by 2017:

-AWS 2, 10MHz;

-AWS 3, 50MHz;

-AWS 4, 40MHz;

-WCS, 20MHz;

-600MHz, 80MHz-120MHz;

-3500MHz, 100MHz-175MHz.

Industry Canada will have separate and comprehensive consultations with industry stakeholders before making any specific decisions with respect to these bands. It is also recognised that not all of these spectrum bands will be available by 2017, and that the timing of specific decisions will be subject to international developments.

Industry Canada adds that Wi-Fi is playing an increasingly important role in the wireless networks by offloading data traffic from cellular networks onto wired networks. It is estimated that by 2015, Wi-Fi networks will carry half of all internet traffic. As a result, Industry Canada is taking steps to provide additional spectrum for licence-exempt equipment. Canada recently announced a decision to allow the use of TV white spaces, and is joining other countries in examining the potential of making additional spectrum available in the 5GHz range for use by licence-exempt equipment.

Further information on all the above announcements can be found at:

Thanks to TeleGeography for this Article

Competition Bureau OKs Bell’s Astral takeover but must still face CRTC scrutiny

BCE, the parent of Bell Canada, has received Competition Bureau clearance for a revised proposal to take over broadcasting group Astral Media and merge it with its Bell Media division. However, the transaction also requires approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which rejected BCE’s earlier purchase offer last October on anti-monopoly grounds.

The Competition Bureau approved a new proposed deal under which Bell would divest various Astral TV services while retaining eight TV channels: The Movie Network (including HBO Canada), TMN Encore and six French-language channels – SuperEcran, CinePop, Canal Vie, Canal D, VRAK TV and Z Tele. A similar compromise was proposed regarding radio assets. Overall, BCE says the transactions would result in Bell Media having a French-language TV viewing share of 23.0%, below competitor Quebecor’s 30.5% share, while in English-language viewership, Bell Media would gain two percentage points to give it a 35.7% share. Under the proposal, Corus has agreed to acquire Astral’s share of six TV joint ventures, valued at a total of CAD400 million (USD389 million), subject to regulatory approvals, while Bell plans to sell five other channels through an auction process that is already under way.

The CAD3.38 billion deal to join Astral and Bell Media was originally announced in March 2012, but due to the need to gain regulatory approval, Astral and Bell extended the date for closing the transaction to 1 June 2013, with both parties having the right to postpone it further to 31 July 2013. The CRTC will this week set a date for public hearings on the latest proposals.

Thanks to TeleGeography for this article