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It’s all in the Bin: The bright future of Operator SLAs

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A growing number of Service Level Agreements (SLA) between customers and Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are being expressed in terms of percentiles. This practice gives CSPs the opportunity to both refine the SLA collaboratively with their customer and also to monetize performance information obtained from their network. It also enables customer to choose from a wider pool of SLAs and adapt them to their specific needs. Some operators even pay penalties if they fail to meet the conditions of the SLA.

What are SLA percentiles and how are they used?

 In the network environment, a percentile is a measurable percentage of performance either above or below an agreed level.   Percentile measurements are commonly performed over an agreed interval, to ensure they adequately represent the performance of all the packets delivered over that network. A good example is packet delay. Here a SLA might specify that 95% of the packets need to be delivered within 10ms, providing crystal clarity over when a SLA breach occurs. 

Calculating percentiles over a measurement interval, however, is resource intensive and, as a result, can prove cost prohibitive. One elegant way to bring the cost down is to obtain percentile measurements using Measurement Bins. A Bin is a kind of counter that increases every time a measured value falls within pre-determined boundaries. In their simplest form, two kinds of Bins can be defined: one for the measurement interval from zero to a threshold value, and a second from this threshold value upwards, infinitely. By just counting the number of values that fall within the first interval or Bin and dividing this value by the total number of values in the measurement interval, one can directly obtain the percentile of measurements that fall within the SLA. Performing this task is, comparably, very efficient, making it easy to verify whether or not the contractual SLA has been honoured.

Bin-novation

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When the Rubber (Finally) Hits the Road: 2018 Predictions

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Looking ahead to 2018, Pravin Mirchandani, CMO, OneAccess Networks, anticipates a year of challenge and opportunity for operators.

Europe Starts to Get Serious about Virtualization

After a long period of experimenting with virtualization technology in their labs, European Telcos (or at least some of them) will get serious about introducing virtualized services for their enterprise customers. This is clearly apparent at Deutsche Telecom, in particular, but also at Orange and BT. I’d still hesitate to predict that we will see many actual service launches in Europe but nonetheless decisions will be taken, budgets will be committed and the new product introduction (NPI) work for virtualized services will begin.

The Cost of White-Box CPEs will be Driven Down but Not by Price Reduction

It’s clear that all the big Telcos are convinced about the benefits of an on-premise white-box strategy and while in 2017 they debated about how to move from grey-boxes, principally from Cisco and Juniper, right now they have a different problem: cost, particularly for the appliance they need for the volume part of the enterprise market, commonly known as the ‘small uCPE’.

Yet if half the cost of a white-box derives from a monopoly vendor – Intel – then, in the absence of competition (hint: think ARM), the only way to reduce costs will be to moderate demands on it. This will come from two directions. The business managers at the Telcos will insist on a smaller set of VNF requirements to reduce the number of cores and memory required (the two key drivers of costs for a white-box appliance) and the VNF vendors will gradually reduce their resource footprint in response to the Telcos’ demands.

The Operators Will Realise that SD-WAN is Actually a Marketing Problem

SD-WAN puts choice in the hands of enterprises and does so at reduced cost with automation removing complexity, a winning combination that is taking business away from many Telcos. So far, the Telcos have looked at this principally as a technology problem: how to build self-select portals to introduce choice for their customers, how to automate their back-end processes and how to co-opt SD-WAN technology without vendor lock-in.

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Diverse Reality - A View from the MWC 2017 Walkway

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MWC is the biggest Telecoms event in the world and most of us were expecting the big theme this year to be 5G. Whilst 5G was present on many stands, it was upstaged by both a faster type of 4G and a phone from the past. The other takeaway from Barcelona’s mega tradefest was the huge diversity of people, exhibitors and themes on show. ‘Mobility’ may have been a connecting theme but only in the broadest sense.

Here are my impressions:

 Back to the Past

Samsung executives looked on aghast as Nokia, the European has-been of mobile phones stole the show with its latest or should I say throwback phone – the 3310. With 22 hours of talk-time and up to a month’s standby time and even a made-over Snake game, those of us that carry two or more portable battery chargers to get through the day couldn’t resist a nostalgic smile.

Gigabit LTE versus 5G

5G was on show on numerous devices but plastered over the billboards was the promise and reality of Gigabit LTE. Based on 4G technology and 4x4 MIMO, Gigabit-LTE is here, or at least it is in Australia we are told – other operators soon to launch. Expect only about 60Mb/s of real-life performance though.

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Can Smart, Hybrid-Access Technology be the panacea for delivering universal high-speed broadband services?

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OneAccess product marketing manager, Thierry Masson believes that the success of the European Broadband Access via integrated Terrestrial & Satellite Systems (BATS) project means that operators now have an alternative to fiber as a means of meeting the EU Digital targets as well as providing an improved QoE for all customers.

As time goes by with no sign that the major European operators have the investment appetite needed to extend their fiber networks to the outer reaches of their geographic coverage areas, it is increasingly clear that the EU 2020 target date for a universal 30Mbs broadband service is going to be increasingly difficult to achieve.

Although it is widely accepted that high speed broadband access for all is a critical factor for the long term economic success of individual EU member nations, the cost and technical challenges involved in connecting remote, hard to reach areas to a fiber network means that operators need to find another, more affordable solution to the problem if they are to meet (or even get close to) the target date.

This was essentially the remit for the European Union funded Broadband Access via Integrated Terrestrial & Satellite Systems project (BATS), which completed its three year research and POC programme in late 2015. As the name suggests the BATS consortium of partner companies was given the task of establishing a way for operators to efficiently integrate existing ADSL, MPLS, satellite and LTE networks so as to enable deployment of hybrid solutions capable of delivering fiber-like performance over a widespread geographic area.

As an active partner in the project OneAccess was able to bring its extensive R&D experience in multi-service access routers and customer premises equipment (CPE), gained through working closely with major operators and ISPs, to the table. This included the development of WAN optimized routers capable of supporting the full range of terrestrial access technologies and the latest high-speed satellite networks, both as a primary broadband access link or as a back-up/off-load option.

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Latest News

  • EKINOPS announces Q1 2019 revenue: +11% growth

    EKINOPS (Euronext Paris - FR0011466069 – EKI), a leading supplier of telecommunications solutions for telecom operators, has published its revenue for the first quarter of 2019.

     
  • Discussions with Nokia Corporation discontinued

    Following press reports, EKINOPS (Euronext Paris - FR0011466069 – EKI) had announced on 18 October, 2018, that preliminary discussions with Nokia Corporation had been initiated regarding a possible acquisition of Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN).

     
  • 2018 annual results: sharp rise in profit margins EBITDA margin of 12.4%

    EKINOPS (Euronext Paris - FR0011466069 – EKI), a leading global supplier of telecommunications solutions for telecom operators, has published its audited annual results for 2018 (FY ended December 31, 2018), approved by the Board of Directors at its meeting held on March 25, 2019.

     

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