Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Smart Grids

[ Smart grids - energy, IT, comms ]

Grid Week 2008 | A realization is emerging that a new view of energy, beyond oil, coal and other fossil-based fuels, will result in decentralized components of the electricity grid, a far cry from the central generation and structured system of the past. A smart information network for the electric grid is seen as necessary to manage and automate this new world.GridWeek is focused on this vision. (...)

Keynote Speakers and Conference Tracks Announced for GridWeek 2008

GridWeek 2008 is where U.S. electricity grid thought leaders will explore the smart grid's role in delivering sustainable energy. Energy policy makers and members of public utility and information technology industries will examine smart grid successes, role in carbon reduction, alternative distributed generation, and the implementation of the Energy Act of 2007. With speeches and other sessions about enabling energy and utility efficiencies, IT and grid interoperability, new business models, and energy security, GridWeek, produced by Clasma Events Inc., is the event to outline smart grid possibilities and expectations as the U.S. electricity system moves into the 21st century.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Singapore NGN - fibre grid


convergedigest.com | Singapore Chooses OpenNet for Next Gen Fiber Project 
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has selected the OpenNet consortium as its successful Network Company (NetCo). OpenNet will be contracted to provide passive fibre grid services for Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network (NGNBN). OpenNet will be making use of existing ducts and other underlying infrastructure, thereby minimizing disruption to the public and enabling the network to reach homes and buildings nationwide by 2012

Art Price, Chairman and CEO, Axia NetMedia, said: "OpenNet's approach is future-proof with no compromises from either the technology or business structure perspectives for the passive segment of the network. I believe that Singapore will be the showcase for how compelling the no-conflict open access fibre-to-the-premise solution can be for end-users in metropolitan communities."

Some key elements of the project:
  • As the selected NetCo, OpenNet will design, build and operate the passive infrastructure of the Next Gen NBN that will be capable of delivering speeds of up to 1 Gbps and beyond.
  • The Government of Singapore will provide a grant of up to S$750 million to the NetCo to support the network rollout.
  • OpenNet will offer attractive wholesale prices of S$15 per month per residential fiber connection and S$50 per month per non-residential fiber connection, to the Operating Companies or OpCos. Such wholesale prices are expected to bring about competitive retail prices in the ultra-high speed broadband market.
  • To encourage premise owners to connect their homes and businesses to the network, OpenNet is required to waive installation charges for home and building owners when the network first reaches their premises.
  • Under a Universal Service Obligation, which will take effect from 2013, OpenNet will also fulfill all subsequent requests to install fibre termination points in homes, offices and buildings.


Singapore is undertaking the world’s most radical structural separation of fixed telecoms following the award of the contract to build its National Broadband Network. (...)

OpenNet will design, build and operate a passive national broadband fibre-to-the-premises network with speeds of up to 1Gbps using up to S$750m provided by the government. 

SingTel is to transfer existing ducts, manholes and exchanges used for the NBN to an independent asset company by mid-2011 and sell down its stake in that entity by 2014. That independent company will be owned by a business trust working under a regulator-approved structure which in turn will lease those assets toOpenNet. 

However, OpenNet will directly own the fibre links. It will operate to a tight deadline —scheduled to reach 60 per cent of premises in Singapore by 2010 and 95 per cent of premises by 2012.OpenNet will also assume universal service obligations after 2013. 


The overall Singapore NBN plan is the most radical in the world. The duct and exchange network, the fibre and the electronics deployed on it, will effectively be split between three separated entities with a fourth layer of retail service provision.

Separation on this level has only previously been attempted on municipal rollouts in Amsterdam and Stockholm. The OpenNet win also provides both Axia NetMedia and SingTel’s Australian unit Optus with a credentials boost in their own RFP bids for the Australian national broadband network plan. 

The details of the structural separation arrangements, the progress of the build, and the business models the network fosters, will be watched closely by telco strategists and regulators in the rest of the world - especially in Europe where last week the European Parliament paved the way for national telecom regulators to push forward with structural separation arrangements.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

802.11v - alphabet

Wireless LAN standard to cut power useUpcoming 802.11v standard scheudled for ratification in 2010 will improve power savings in wireless LANs | By Mikael Rickn√§s, IDG News Service | September 19, 2008

(...) As the 802.11 group continues to develop more wireless LAN standards and uses the entire the alphabet, it's time to add another letter. "When the alphabet runs out, you start over, but with an 'a' in front: aa, ab, ac, and on up to az, followed by ba, bb, bc, bd, and on up to bz. In fact, there already is a task group aa at 802.11, which is developing a specification for video streaming," said Gast.

Open Access Networks for Wales - Gigabit capability

Welsh Assembly Government - ICT  

The FibreSpeed Project (...)
  • Open Access Networks for Wales | FibreSpeed will meet the demands of high-bandwidth users (supporting a minimum of symmetrical 10 Mbit/s services with Gigabit capability) and enable the setting of retail prices on a par with London and the South East of England. The project’s initial focus is on serving key strategic business parks as this is where the benefits will be delivered most rapidly, but it is also envisaged to benefit those outside of business parks, including other businesses communities, citizens and the public sector.

  • The project is also expected to have a positive impact on the telecoms market by making available an alternative infrastructure that could be used by other network operators, such as local loop unbundlers, fixed network operators, system integrators; wireless and mobile network operators. This will ultimately benefit end-users and the economy as whole.

NGA - role of government?

[ Next generation? ]

(...) The debate about having superfast access to homes has been going on for at least 25 years, when the first proposal (by BT to deliver huge capacity fibre optic threads to the home in exchange for being given a monopoly of delivering video-on-demand) was turned down by Margaret Thatcher's government in favour of competition by encouraging media companies to lay cables. Since then there have been regular cries, still heard today, that there will never be enough demand to fill the capacity" (...) 

How can we achieve the nirvana of being a world leader in superfast broadband? A recently published report by ex-Cable & Wireless chief executive Francisco Caio contained a wealth of practical proposals, but came out against government intervention on the grounds that the market solutions had so far delivered well. But today's report by Ofcom, while commending the success of the market, sensibly points out that it needed public intervention to get 99% internet capability and that if theBroadband Stakeholder Group is confident it could deliver broadband to two-thirds of the UK that would still leave a third without it, thereby aggravating the digital divide.

Broadband companies are asking the government for a stable regime so that they can plan without fear of government intervention. That is understandable but it would be a foolhardy government that decided not to intervene especially if the oncoming recession proves so deep that broadband providers start cutting back. The government has provided a lifeline to financial companies and it may find that it needs to intervene in a Keynesian counter-cyclical way to invest in superfast broadband during a recession in the knowledge that it will give Britain a competitive advantage afterwards. With the shrinking of the financial sector it becomes all the more vital to back Britain's creative industries, whose medium is the internet (...)


The European Commission | Brussels, 18th September 2008 | Broadband: Commission consults on regulatory strategy to promote high-speed Next Generation Access networks in Europe 

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the regulatory principles to be applied by EU Member States to Next Generation Access broadband networks (NGA). NGA optical fibre-based networks enable bitrates several times higher than those currently available on traditional copper wire networks. NGAs are required to deliver high-definition content (such as high definition television) and interactive applications. The objective of a common regulatory framework for NGA is to foster a consistent treatment of operators in the EU and thereby ensure the necessary regulatory predictability to invest. The Commission is consulting on the basis of a draft Recommendation, addressed to the regulators in the 27 EU Member States and suggesting definitions for harmonized categories of regulated services, access conditions, rates of return and appropriate risk premiums. The public consultation will be open until 14th November 2008. The Commission will then finalise the Recommendation in the light of comments received and formally adopt it in 2009.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The deployment of new fibre-networks will shape the competitive conditions of the future. We need an appropriate framework to give European companies fair access to the new networks. We want national rules that will not only encourage the necessary substantial investment in fibre investment but also strengthen broadband competition."

"For consumers, whether private or business, to benefit from the competitive provision of services over optical fibre, it is vital that the Commission provides the regulatory guidance the market needs", said Viviane Reding, EU Telecoms Commissioner. "We want to reduce the scope for divergences of regulatory approaches across Europe, in the interest of legal certainty. Uncoordinated or even contradictory action of national regulators as regards Next Generation Networks could seriously damage competition and undermine Europe's single market. We propose in particular that project-specific risk premiums should be applied, so that competition can flourish while those who invest are rewarded in line with the risks they have incurred."

The deployment of NGA is indispensable to deliver new broadband services to European consumers. While a number of operators, both incumbents and alternative operators, have launched large-scale rollouts of new broadband infrastructure in a number of Member States, Europe appears to be still lagging behind other economies, notably the United States and Japan.

The Commission is committed to ensuring that the transition to NGA takes place in a consistent, efficient and timely manner. To this end, it is consulting on the regulatory principles it considers the most appropriate to foster investment in NGAs, while at the same time strengthening competition.


EU Considers Strategies for Promoting Next Generation Access Networks 
| 19 Sept 

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the regulatory principles to be applied by EU Member States to Next Generation Access broadband networks (NGA). Specifically, the EC is seeking proposals on a common regulatory strategy best suited to promote the rollout of fiber-based access networks. There are 229 million copper lines in the EU, compared to slightly more than 1 million fiber connections. Analysts forecast a further EUR 20 billion spending on NGA by 2011.


image | news

mobile platform, open, smart phone, mobile v fixed-line internet, the wireless internet

cnet.com | Last modified: September 23, 2008 8:30 AM PDT | The Android era begins Tuesday | roundup T-Mobile's unveiling of the first phone powered by Google's Android software will be only the beginning of a long effort to rewrite the rules of the mobile communications industry.


ft.com | Android is set to take on smartphone market | By Paul Taylor in New York and Andrew Parker in London| Published: September 23 2008 03:00 | Last updated: September 23 2008 03:00

When Apple launched the iPhone 14 months ago it shook up the market for so-called smartphone handsets. The technology company highlighted the true potential of what has become known as the wireless internet - accessing internet-based services and content using a mobile phone rather than a personal computer.

(...) Today, Google is hoping to break the mould by unveiling the first smartphone running a fully "open" operating system, called Android.

The open format means that software developers can, free of charge, devise mobile internet services that run on the phone.

Made by Taiwan's HTC and called the G1, the Android smartphone is expected to be the first of many. Google sees these handsets as an integral part of its strategy to position itself as the mobile search and advertising market leader.

Google and many technology analysts believe the mobile internet - and the advertising revenues associated with it - could eventually eclipse the fixed-line internet. They argue the online advertising market has grown quickly in part because consumers were able to purchase PCs from multiple manufacturers, and then cheaply and easily hook them up to the internet so as to access content and services from a wide range of suppliers.

But there are only about 1bn PCs in the world, compared with 3bn mobile phones, so the advertising market on the wireless internet has huge potential.

Google's mobile strategy could have serious implications for at least three sets of players - handset makers, software companies responsible for smartphone operating systems and mobile operators.

In addition to HTC, Samsung and LG Electronics, two of the big five handset makers, are expected to launch Android-powered smartphones early next year. This will put extra pressure on Nokia, the world's largest mobile maker, whose smartphones run on the rival Symbian operating system.

Nokia responded to the threat posed by Android in June. It announced plans to take control of Symbian and make its operating system available to other handset makers on an open source basis, in a similar way to what Google is doing with Android.

Apple's move to enable software developers to create new applications for the iPhone and make them available through its iTunes "App Store" looks to be a step in the same direction as Google. More than 3,000 software applications can be found in the App store, launched in July. Google plans to emulate these arrangements - users of the G1 phone will be able to download applications from the company's website.

Some of the mobile operators feel uneasy about Google, and Nokia, getting into mobile internet services.

This is because the operators were hoping to provide the services themselves - and capture the associated revenues.

Ofcom - nga

Delivering super-fast broadband in the UK

Setting the right policy framework

Consultation published: 23|09|2008
Consultation closes: 02|12|2008

(...) / x

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

802.15 - PAN, BAN, mesh, etc

IEEE 802.15 | Wireless Personal Area Networks

  • wikipedia
  • Task group 5 (Mesh Networking) Mesh Networking of Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs)
  • Mesh Networking| An MIT Media Lab project has developed the XO-1 laptop or "OLPC" which is intended for under-privileged schools in developing nations and uses mesh networking (based on the IEEE 802.11s standard) to create a robust and inexpensive infrastructure. The instantaneous connections made by the laptops are claimed by the project to reduce the need for an external infrastructure such as the internet to reach all areas, because a connected node could share the connection with nodes nearby. A similar concept has also been implemented by Greenpacket with its application called SONbuddy.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/802.11s
  • While still in a preliminary development stage, the 802.11s draft is supported by a wide variety of industry leaders. The One Laptop per Child[2] project uses the 802.11s draft standard for itsOLPC XO laptop and OLPC XS school server networking. A reference implementation of the 802.11s draft is available as part of the mac80211 layer in the Linux kernel, starting with version 2.6.26[3].

  • Mesh Networking in Mining and IndustrialMines and industrial sites are becoming increasingly more networked. Emerging safety requirements in the US and internationally, demand real-time wireless communications for voice and data. Process control and other operations are increasingly monitored by hand-held data devices and/or centralized IP video. These new networking applications create expectations of high performance over many wireless "hops" (node to node relays), with dependable support for video, voice, and data. 

  • 802.15 | Task Group 6 (BAN) | This task group is focusing on BAN or Body Area Network Technologies. The goal is a low-power and low-frequency short-range wireless standard

  • IEEE launches new working group for Body Area Network tech | By David Chartier | Published: December 06, 2007 - 12:25PM CT | The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) this week approved the formation of a working group for IEEE 802.15.6. Otherwise known as a "body area network" (BAN), 802.15.6 is a low-frequency technology intended to endow a future generation of short-range electronics—both in body and on or around it—with a wireless communication standard for exchanging information. How far into the future this standard and any electronics that utilize it will arrive, however, is anyone's guess; presently, there is no official timeline for ironing out the standard. (...)

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_community_network
  • History | These projects are in many senses an evolution of amateur radio, and more specifically packet radio, as well as an outgrowth of the free software community (which in itself substantially overlaps with amateur radio). The key to using standard wireless networking devices designed for short-range use for multi-kilometre Long Range Wi-Fi linkups is the use of high-gaindirectional antennas. Rather than purchasing commercially available units, such groups sometimes advocate homebuilt antenna construction. (...)  As with other wireless mesh networks, three distinct generations of mesh networks are used in wireless community networks. In particular, in the 2004 timeframe, some mesh projects suffered poor performance when scaled up.
  • Organisation | Organizationally, a wireless community network requires either a set of affordable commercial technical solutions or a critical mass of hobbyists willing to tinker to maintain operations. Mesh networks require that a high level of community participation and commitment be maintained for the network to be viable. The mesh approach currently requires uniform equipment. One market-driven aspect of the mesh approach is that users who receive a weak mesh signal can often convert it to a strong signal by obtaining and operating a repeater node, thus extending the mesh network.Such volunteer organizations focusing in technology that is rapidly advancing sometimes have schisms and mergers. The Wi-Fi service provided by such groups is usually free and without the stigma of piggybacking (internet access). An alternative to the voluntary model is to use a co-operative structure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gigabit Wi-Fi

IEEE readies launch of gigabit Wi-Fi project

Intel, Nortel, Motorola among those active in Very High Throughput Study Group
By John Cox , Network World , 09/11/2008

The IEEE working group that is putting the finishing touches on the 802.11n 100Mbps wireless LAN standard is about to launch a new project, for a 1Gbps WLAN standard.

That would mean gigabit Wi-Fi.


UBB - Ultra Broadband


The Next Generation of Communications - The Dawning of the Ultra-Broadband Era | Friday, October 31st, 2008, 9 A.M.-6 P.M. | Columbia University Campus, New York City

With broadband penetration progressing rapidly, one must think ahead to the next stage, where broadband transmission rates of over 1Gbps on the consumer level will likely be the driver of major changes in ICT, mass media, and consumer electronics.

The Next Phase of Broadband UK

The Caio Report to UK government, Sept 2008:

(Francesco Caio, the Europe vice-chairman of Lehman Brothers and a former chief executive of Cable & Wireless:)

The Next Phase of Broadband UK: Action now
for long term competitiveness
( X: pdf)

"The evidence gathered through the process indicates that the case for any major public intervention at this time is weak at best."

- - - 

Broadband, until a few years ago a minor interest confined to the tech-literate, is today a domestic essential for millions across the UK. It has in a short space of time come to rival technologies established for a century as a vital component in the country’s communication, entertainment, and cultural life, and a crucial enabler of economic activity.
The government is proud to have helped foster development of broadband in the UK. In ten years, we have gone from no broadband connections to being one of the world leaders in coverage, with high up-take and consumer choice.
These factors are not coincidental. The development of a competitive market in broadband has been the cornerstone of the Government’s strategy.
We now stand at the edge of another rapid development in communications technology. Next Generation Access (NGA) marks a major change in the services people can enjoy. It also brings to smaller businesses the promise of high-speed connections previously only available to their much larger competitors.

- - - 

zdnet.co.uk | FRIDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2008, 11:14 AM | Govt fibre report to nix subsidies? | Posted by David Meyer


bbc.co.uk | No aid for next-gen network firms | Friday, 12 September 2008

There is no need to use public money to bankroll next-generation broadband in the UK, says a report.The six-month long review of the UK's readiness for high-speed net access said the case for government intervention was "weak".The review said there were "promising signs" that the market was already delivering high-speed broadband.But, it said, the government must oversee initiatives that will smooth the route to high-speed access.Speed boost"There is little evidence that in the short term the UK is going to suffer from the lack of an extensive next generation access network," said review author Francesco Caio as he unveiled his conclusions.

Government review set to advise against state aid for high-speed broadband network | Jemima Kiss | guardian.co.uk | Thursday September 04 2008 15:16 BST

A government review on Britain's broadband infrastructure looks likely to advise against major public investment in a high-speed network, with the inquiry's head, Francesco Caio, saying that this decision would not impair the competitiveness of Britain's digital market.

Caio, the Europe vice-chairman of Lehman Brothers and a former chief executive of Cable & Wireless, said he was minded to advise the government that it leave the development of a high speed broadband network to the market, rather than recommend state intervention.


CMA Adds Its Welcome to the Caio report on Next Generation Broadband

15 September 2008

The Communications Management Association (CMA) - speaking for its UK business broadband user membership - has welcomed the government's Caio report on Next Generation Broadband and supports the proposal that telecoms and internet companies should finance a new broadband infrastructure.

According to David Harrington, regulatory forum leader at the CMA, "Not only does the report endorse the need for broadband as a major enhancer of enterprise and creator of wealth, but it also emphasises that Ofcom (supported by government) must assume leadership in the process.

"The CMA believes that in rejecting the case for an immediate injection of government subsidy, but recommending an immediate start on policy initiatives (and their associated planning), this will encourage and facilitate national broadband coverage, thus echoing CMA's long-term stance. 
"CMA especially welcomes Mr Caio's positive approach to the issues. He identifies four main areas where government action is needed to support investment, further defined as ten initiatives, or specific and detailed actions, such as creating an overall framework and implementation path, accelerating the release of spectrum, resolving the long-running saga of unfair business rates on infrastructure, making new buildings fibre-friendly and ways of reducing civil works costs. 

"All of these things have been addressed or protested by CMA over the last few years and we are therefore delighted to see them reflected by Mr Caio. We sense that at long last the UK is off and running on the broadband track and we now await Ofcom's Statement on NGA together the government's response to the report."

Monday, September 15, 2008

802.11n rush

register.co.uk |Enterprises throw caution to the wind in 802.11n rush| Standards bodies far behind the WLAN adoption curve.By Faultline 13th September 2008 17:48 GMT

The wireless industry changes at the speed of light and so do the attitudes of its customers. Five years ago, amid the intense nervousness of enterprises about adopting pre-standard fast Wi-Fi standards or insecure - Wi-Fi at all - who would have predicted the carefree abandonment with which corporates are now embracing pre-standard 802.11n?

Yet survey after survey indicates that the corporate world is adopting the 100Mbps-plus wireless technology, once assumed to appeal mainly to consumers in the home media networks market, eagerly and casting aside the usual conservatism about systems that are not yet fully standardized.

This in turn indicates how irrelevant traditional standards making processes are becoming, in a world where the need to gain even a slight edge in price/performance, and therefore efficiency and competitive edge, trump the old worries about technology dead ends and long term investment risks. In the enterprise, as in the home, technology is becoming cheap, disposable and something that must be installed today, before the moment is lost. (...)

Friday, September 12, 2008

FT - Broadband access / QOS

ft.com | Broadband access comes under fire |Rob Minto |September 12 2008 09:34 

The quality of broadband internet access in some European countries, including the UK, Italy and Spain, is inadequate for running current web applications, a study has shown.

In a worldwide survey by Oxford University and Cisco, the high-speed internet access of some developed economies of western Europe, as well as Canada and Australia, was outperformed by Russia and several emerging economies of eastern Europe.


Fernando Gil de Bernab√©, director at Cisco, said the performance of some countries was surprising. “But we are looking at quality, not penetration. Some countries have leapfrogged others by laying fibre rather than trying to upgrade copper lines.” he added.

The only country to have broadband quality that was considered adequate for future internet applications, such as high-definition video and large file-sharing, was Japan.

The study also found a high correlation between broadband quality and a country’s ranking as a knowledge economy.

The highest ranked countries in Europe were Sweden and the Netherlands, which were second and third respectively behind Japan. Korea, which has a the world’s highest broadband penetration rate of 94 per cent, was ranked fifth