Providence Sniffing Wind

US-based private equity firm Providence is said to be considering acquiring a stake in Canadian cellco Globalive Wireless (Wind Mobile), Bloomberg reports, quoting sources with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity due to the information being private. Wind – which is Canada’s fourth largest mobile operator by customers yet has less than a 3% share of the market – is looking to attract a new owner or merger partner, as its main backer, Russian-controlled Vimpelcom, has drastically scaled back investment with a view to exiting the venture. Wind’s CEO Anthony Lacavera said last month the company needs to find an injection of up to CAD500 million (USD461 million) in investment to roll out a 4G LTE network in order to remain competitive.

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article. 

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Application Intelligence: THE Driving Force In Network Visibility

Ixia's Application Intelligence Network VisibilityBusiness networks continue to respond to user and business demands, such as, access to more data, bring your own device (BYOD), virtualisation and the continued growth of the Internet of Things.

Historically much of the traffic that runs through these networks has been known to network administrators but access to application and user data remains lacking.

Application intelligence – the ability to monitor application flows based on application type – provides the insight that is desperately required to get more visibility into what is happening on networks.

Application intelligence can dynamically identify all applications running on a network. In addition, well-designed application intelligence solutions generate a wealth of information, such as geo-location data, network user types, device types, operating systems and browser types.

The key to success is integrating application intelligence in to enterprises purpose-built monitoring tools without overwhelming existing processes. Offloading the packet processing required to generate this application intelligence to dedicated hardware visibility solutions enables the monitoring tools to work better, and deliver better insight into network anomalies, problems and concerns.

Network visibility: the paradigm shift

The ubiquitousness of mobile computing in everyday life now means that the use of networks, network access and applications over networks has exponentially risen. The huge challenge facing network managers and operators is how to effectively monitor the performance, incidents and problems that come with an increase in applications and services traveling across networks.

In addition, today’s network security threats are big business – motivated by financial gain and much more sophisticated, prevalent and insidious than in the past. There are now whole communities dedicated to the sole purpose of cracking network security, many of which have gained international notoriety.

IT security professionals are struggling to keep up with the ever-escalating war between those trying to break in, and those trying to keep them out. As a result, organisations need to increase the effectiveness of network monitoring and network security by using the following application intelligence controls.

Profile the network

A network profile is an inventory of all the assets and services using the network. As the profile changes over time, network operators and defenders can monitor for emerging concerns. Most modern data-centre applications require great communication performance.

However, often these applications experience low throughput and high delay between the data centre, users and back-end servers that perform other operations. Application intelligence can help to profile a network by identifying all applications, performance issues across the network and how application traffic affects overall network performance.

Ixia's Application Intelligence Network VisibilityNetwork spikes

One of the most common things that can kill network performance is a huge spike in traffic that overwhelms resources. These types of events can slow down or even disable an otherwise functioning network.

With application intelligence, monitoring tools can observe sudden spikes in a specific type of application traffic – and then take action to either mitigate the effect or alert the proper people that can address the issue. With this knowledge, monitoring systems and IT, enterprises can prevent localised or global outages, especially in mobile service provider environments.

Ixia's Application Intelligence Network VisibilityBYOD effects and issues

One of the biggest issues facing network operators in the age of mobile devices is the BYOD phenomenon. Unregulated devices suddenly linked to your network and using it in ways that are unauthorised, or just unexpected, can wreak havoc on network performance.

Application intelligence allows you to use operating system information troubleshoot and predict BYOD effects. By collecting user information about the browser types used for each application, business can understand the impact of devices and trends in user behaviour. Organisations can capture rich user and behavioural data about the applications that are running, and determine how, when, and where users are employing them.

Capacity planning

Planning for your network capacity can be the difference between a smoothly functioning network and a disastrous mess of a network. Application intelligence can solve this problem by providing the exact data you need – who is using the network, what applications are being run, and from what location they are being accessed.

Good application intelligence also provides geo-location of application traffic to see application bandwidth and data distribution across the network. With the right tool, geo-location information allows identification beyond country, county and town, right down to neighborhood locations.

Ixia's Application Intelligence Network VisibilityFilter for specific information

The biggest variable in a network are the users employing it. They are the ones that create the demand for resources, the traffic flows and the security threats that plague network operators on a daily basis.

Application intelligence allows network operators to audit for security policy infractions and verify network user activity in following set policies. Application intelligence also allows for protection against known bad websites.

Avoid the application tsunami

Getting an accurate picture of what is happening in the network in real-time, and understanding exactly what is causing it, allows a network operator to turn a potential network disaster into a mere nuisance.

Application intelligence allows a savvy network operator to prepare for network “tsunamis” from specific applications or events – setting up alerts or actions ahead of time.

The real role of application intelligence

More and more people are using networks for more and more functions – networking is a deeply interwoven part of our everyday life. However, with this use, comes increased demands and needs. Application intelligence helps you always get the right alert at the right time, with no alert storms that leave you guessing about the real problem.

Today, network operators must monitor all aspects of their networks to maintain functionality. That includes monitoring applications along with the critical parts of application delivery, for example, servers and services that are used across the network.

Recognising and reacting to easily identifiable, trouble-making applications can mean the difference between functioning and failing. Operators must proactively head off application issues with careful capacity planning.

Roark Pollock is vice president of visibility solutions at Ixia

Thanks to ITProPortal for the article.

4 Reasons To Use APM Tools

4 Reasons To Use APM Tools

The following are four reasons why you should utilize Application Performance Management (APM) tools:

1. INCREASED REVENUE AND PROFITABILITY

APM products ensure that bottom line costs are controlled through monitoring and discovery. APM technology also allows business to maximize the efficiency per employee by reducing downtime and increasing productivity per employee, which translates into retaining customers, better quality of service and improved brand positioning amongst potential customers.

Ultimately, APM helps CIOs, CTOs, CMOs and CSOs deliver revenue growth and build the reputation of their business. APM is therefore a strategic technological driver that helps deliver profitability.

2. REDUCED DOWNTIME

Real-time monitoring is essential, as according to Forrester 67.9% of CTOs rapidly respond to the root cause of application degradation to ensure rapid reduction in MTTR.

3. GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE AND BRAND REPUTATION

APM products ensure that customers have an excellent user experience through reduced MTTR, and quick identification of application downtime. 51.5% of management obtain performance indicator metrics and granular data to detect and eliminate impending problems. This ensures delivery of excellent customer service which translates into better word of mouth through traditional and social media.

4. REDUCED OPERATIONAL COSTS

The ability to monitor, detect, diagnose and resolve application degradation issues proactively should be the primary goal for CTOs and CIOs. In addition to breaking down silos, getting rid of war room scenarios, involving key technical teams to solve problems by proactively decreasing MTTD, involving cross departmental teams, sharing information and visibility.

When internal IT services develop an inter-departmental customer philosophy and apply it with passion, only then can 30% of random and unpredictable IT events be tackled efficiently therefore reducing the required manpower and reducing opex.

Thanks to APM Digest for the article.

Overcoming The Challenges In Business VoIP

Unified CommunicationsThe cost and efficiency benefits promised in business VoIP have led to widespread adoption among small businesses and enterprises alike. While advancements have been made in this technology area, there are still obstacles to quality of service (QoS) in the delivery of business VoIP. Here, we’ll take a look at a few of these obstacles and best practices for breaking through these barriers to improve overall quality.

According to an Internet Evolution article, the main obstacles to QoS in business VoIP include jitter, latency, data-oriented Internet service providers, inadequate IT equipment on corporate networks and network architectures that do not consider VoIP. Let’s explore these obstacles in more detail.

Jitter is the distortion that occurs when telecommunications and electronic timing signals deviate. Jitter is often targeted as the primary culprit for dropped or poor business VoIP calls. Latency refers to the time it takes for a voice packet to reach its destination. If too much latency is on the line, the VoIP packet delays can produce echo within the business VoIP environment.

ISPs tend to focus on the quality of the data connection and forget about the voice packets. When you rely on your data connection to support your business VoIP, voice quality has to be at its highest. Inadequate IT equipment, such as standard-issue broadband modems or service packages may not be able to support the desired high-quality, high-fidelity calls.

Even within your own environment, your IT may route both data and voice over the same network, failing to prioritize VoIP over data to drive premium QoS. While these challenges are real, business VoIP can still deliver benefits to the enterprise and the small business. To gain the most value from such a deployment, there are a few best practices you can implement to ensure QoS and get the most from your business VoIP.

The first best practice is to hire data-oriented Internet service providers. Ask providers about their voice QoS and SLAs. It’s critical that a provider can demonstrate an understanding that QoS for voice is more demanding than QoS for data. Examining your network hub and other entry points is also critical to quality business VoIP. Ensure your DSL is business class and use either ISDN or E1/T1 lines.

To drive high quality in your business VoIP, avoid those network architectures that are not optimized for VoIP. Corporate local area networks (LANs) put in place should be designed to limit latency to less than 200 milliseconds. They should also rely on a protocol that will recognize and prioritize voice packets. You’ll also need an appropriate balance between security and virus protection, and the flexibility in your lines as network firewalls can break up calls.

Pay attention to the details when you launch your business VoIP and you’re more likely to enjoy higher quality calls on a consistent basis.

Thanks to TMCnet for the article.

BCE Taking Bell Aliant Private In USD3.7bn Move

Canadian telecoms group Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) announced yesterday that it has decided to buy out public minority shareholders in its associated subsidiary telco Bell Aliant for a total consideration of approximately CAD3.95 billion (USD3.68 billion); the minority shareholders will receive cash and BCE common equity for a combined value of CAD31 per share in a transaction which the company said was ‘unanimously recommended by independent Bell Aliant directors’. Following the deal, BCE says Bell Aliant will continue to serve customers in the Atlantic Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island from its Halifax headquarters, while adding that the regional telecoms operations in rural Ontario and Quebec currently managed by Bell Aliant will continue to benefit from BCE investments in high speed broadband networks and other service initiatives. The announcement added that consolidating Bell Aliant into BCE will improve operating and capital investment efficiencies for Bell Aliant and its larger sister telco Bell Canada; via the elimination of Bell Aliant public company expenses and other duplicative costs, BCE expects to generate approximately CAD100 million in pre-tax annual synergies. BCE currently owns 44.1% of Bell Aliant with the remaining 55.9% publicly distributed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

BCE said the share offer (for a total of 127.5 million Bell Aliant common shares) will commence in mid-August and expire in the second half of September, while it expects the privatisation transaction to be completed by 30 November 2014, subject to more than 50% of Bell Aliant common shares held by public minority shareholders being tendered to the offer, as well as receipt of notification under the Competition Act. Telecoms regulatory and ministry approvals are not required because there is no change in control of Bell Aliant, and no transfers of wireless spectrum licences.

BCE will fund the cash component of the transaction from available sources of liquidity and will issue approximately 61 million common shares for the equity portion of the transaction. When the transaction is completed, Bell Aliant public minority shareholders will own approximately 7% of pro forma BCE common equity.

BCE added that it is continuing with significant investments in broadband wireline and wireless networks, services and employment across Atlantic Canada, with CAD2.1 billion in capital investment in the region planned over the next five years. BCE also announced that the next phase of its national build-out of mobile 4G LTE services will be in Atlantic Canada, with more than 100 additional small towns and rural locations across the region to receive enhanced mobile services by the end of 2015.

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article.

The 3 Key Attributes Of A Visibility Architecture

Ixia's Network Visibility ArchitectureA visibility architecture is essential for security, network and integrated, service-oriented operations teams to establish and maintain a continuous awareness of activity, health, and performance of applications and infrastructure. Such awareness is only possible with continuous, reliable network visibility. But this is not an easy task when network and security professionals must ensure security and proactively meet performance expectations in dynamic, virtualized environments with increasingly diverse mobile end points and application deployments. “Visibility is critical for all enterprise organizations, but especially for companies worried about security blind spots and corresponding compliance issues, and for companies struggling to deliver on their IT service level agreements and key performance indicators,” says Michael Scheppke, senior director of Sales at Ixia. With inter-virtual machine (VM) and cross-blade data center traffic becoming the dominant portion of data center traffic, organizations must overcome the challenge of end-to-end visibility. Network blind spots must be removed with a comprehensive architecture that integrates three key frameworks – network visibility, virtual visibility, and inline security.

Network visibility

The network visibility framework supports out-of-band monitoring in the physical network. Benefits include speedier network event diagnosis and automated service provisioning. Here, network packet brokers (NPBs) perform aggregation and filtering, packet deduplication and static/dynamic load balancing to optimize tool performance while supporting 10/100MB, 1GE, 10GE, 40GE and 100GE solutions. Additionally, carrier-class high-availability features provide mission-critical reliability and resilience as well as security. A visibility architecture that collects, manages and distributes packet streams for monitoring and analysis purposes is becoming the best approach to achieving cost-effective, reliable and resilient packet-based monitoring and analysis, according to Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), an industry analyst firm. Ixia’s Visibility Architecture, for example, offers an easy-to-use control panel to manage these network visibility features while its RESTful API allows for data center service provisioning and orchestration systems integration. A recently introduced Packet Capture Module also helps to capture and quickly analyze packets associated with service outages and to establish root cause.

Virtual visibility

Virtual visibility, when integrated with network visibility, provides a solution to support out-of-band monitoring of traffic across both the physical and virtual networks under a single management platform. Ixia’s single solution for virtual visibility and troubleshooting uses existing network, application, and security visibility tools to monitor inter-VM or east-west traffic, eliminating blind spots in virtualized environments.

Inline security

Multiple inline security enforcement tools – intrusion prevention systems, next-generation firewalls, data loss prevention systems, SSL decryptors, and web application firewalls – should not slow or block application traffic. Key considerations include fail-safe deployment of inline security devices at any point in the network and bi-directional heartbeat monitoring to prevent congestion, latency or failures of these devices from impacting network uptime and critical security postures. The downside is that data centers must reduce the risks of deploying packet-based monitoring and analysis tools fully, and ensure the tools’ effectiveness in security and in aiding network and application performance, EMA analysts point out. To minimize these risks, Ixia’s Application and Threat Intelligence (ATI) Processor delivers smart contextual metadata to monitoring tools enabling IT organizations to gain better network, application and security insights for better decisions. Real-time information about users and applications – raw packets, filtered packets or metadata – helps IT organizations within large enterprises and service providers to identify, locate and track network applications, including proprietary, mobile and malicious traffic. The ATI Processor enhances NPBs with Distinct Application Fingerprints and a patent-pending dynamic identification capability for unknown applications to track application success and failure. “Ixia’s ATI Processor [provides our] Network Analysis and Recorder appliances with not just packets, but rich data on applications, geography and users.” said Tim McCreery, president of WildPackets. “By offloading these vital CPU intensive tasks, [we] can provide even more real-time visibility into the entire network while recording high-speed traffic for advanced forensics. The joint solution allows customers faster troubleshooting, reduced time to resolution, and shorter network downtime.”

Essential elements

“The importance of understanding application performance, service quality and security integrity from the network perspective has been steadily rising in both enterprise and service provider settings,” said Jim Frey, EMA’s vice president of Research, Network Management. “Such visibility is essential for timely assurance and protection of complex applications despite growing traffic volumes and increasing diversity in how end users and subscribers access applications and services.” But not all technology vendors can deliver a complete visibility architecture solution that fully addresses the needs of today’s data centers. “While fully functional NPBs are the capstones of a visibility architecture”, EMA recommends that “network and infrastructure managers pay particular attention to vendors’ solution completeness, scalability, and flexibility, with further emphasis on manageability and integration per specific organizational context and needs”. “Ixia can help companies achieve end-to-end network and application visibility and security,” says Scheppke. “Ixia’s Visibility Architecture easily integrates into data center environments and delivers the control and simplicity necessary to improve the usefulness of existing tools. Companies no longer have to make compromises regarding network, application and security visibility.” Thanks to Network Asia for the article.

Rural Communities Invited To Grab Connecting Canadians Broadband Funds

Canada’s government yesterday (22 July 2014) invited rural and remote communities that lack high speed internet access to submit claims for a portion of the CAD305 million (USD284 million) broadband access rollout funding it has set aside over the next three years under the ‘Connecting Canadians’ programme. The government is aiming to extend internet access at connection speeds of at least 5Mbps – via fixed or wireless networks – to 280,000 households that it calculates currently lack access to such services. Reuters reports that many of the underserved areas shown on the government’s map are in the Prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta and farther west in British Columbia, while Ottawa has stated that the connection initiative should mean 98% of Canadian households will have broadband services by 2017.

Thanks to TeleGeography for the article.