30-01-2016, 14:02 #1
[EN] Dark fiber key to future of small cells, backhaul
Sprint's thirst for dark fiber-based small cell backhaul spells opportunity for Zayo, Level 3, others
January 28, 2016 | By Sean Buckley
Sprint recently said during its fourth quarter earnings call that it would be using a mix of 2.5 GHz spectrum and dark fiber for small backhaul -- a move that could potentially benefit various competitive wireline carriers who have aggressively built out fiber networks in anticipation of the emerging small cell backhaul trend.
Initially the majority of the dark fiber backhaul activity has come from Verizon, which uses it in small cell markets.
The opportunity will attract a host of different players: tower providers (American Tower and Crown Castle), traditional competitors (Level 3, Southern Light, Tower Cloud, and UPN) and dark fiber-centric players (Wilcon, SummitIG and Cross River Fiber). What's attractive about dark fiber for these providers is these agreements are multiple years long, providing a long-term revenue stream.
Despite being a more expensive solution and not revealing any partners yet, Sprint sees dark fiber as a way to control bandwidth allocations. Unlike a lit service where an operator has to request their wireline provider partner to provision bandwidth, dark fiber allows Sprint to make upgrades themselves.
By working with competitive providers, Sprint could also reduce backhaul costs it typically pays to the ILECs for special access circuits. The carrier recently said that it pays up above $1 billion a year for such circuits.
Sprint's small cell plans are sizable with plans to add up to 70,000 small cells to its network. Since the small cells will be placed in various parts of the U.S., various competitive providers could compete for Sprint's dark fiber business.
But providing fiber is one part of the small cell backhaul equation. A number of service providers are offering, or are in the process of developing, turnkey small cell services. These turnkey services, which have become Small Cells as a Service (SCaaS), include site acquisition, permitting, installation and even network management. However, none of their approaches are the same.
Recent examples include Cox Communications and Zayo. Cox launched a small cell service in November 2015. Being a cable provider, Cox offers wireless customers three outdoor options for small cell: strand mount, pole mount and ground cabinet in addition to providing necessary power from its existing HFC network. When it comes to turnkey services, the service provider will work with local and national partners.
Zayo also continues to make progress with small cell services, reporting in its third-quarter 2015 earnings that it had connected 1,200 small cell sites to its fiber network. Dan Caruso, CEO of Zayo said that he sees growing opportunities for dark fiber across four key categories: fiber to the cell sites, dark fiber to cell tower sites, small cell and emerging C-Ran opportunities.
While it provides a set of turnkey services, the provider told FierceTelecom that wireless operators remain divided on how much they want Zayo to manage their small cell backhaul deployments. Regardless, the service provider continues to win dark fiber deals for tower and small backhaul, including a recent deal to equip 78 sites in Indiana, for example.
Meanwhile, Crown Castle purchased Quanta last year for $1 billion with the aim of fulfilling what it says are over 3,500 small cell opportunities within its fiber footprint.
Regional Southeast players like Southern Light, TowerCloud and FirstLight Fiber are finding utility for dark fiber backhaul as well. Southern Light recently won a contract to provide fiber to 446 sites in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
Earlier this week, First Light Fiber completed a network upgrade in New York that is in the proximity to about 4,000 cell sites. However, it would not reveal if it had any dark fiber customers for backhaul. Nevertheless, it puts it in a good place as operators like Sprint look for dark fiber in the Tier 2 markets it serves.
But don't count out regional incumbent telcos like Cincinnati Bell, Lumos, FairPoint.
Lumos is in the process of completing its Project ARK initiative, a network that's specifically designed to target wireless backhaul needs in the Virginia and surrounding state markets. Likewise, Cincinntati Bell is seeing small cell backhaul activity in its operating market with what reports say is for Verizon.
FairPoint may not be an advocate of dark fiber, but it has begun offering a new set of construction services that it says were initially driven to serve small cell opportunities in the Northern New England region.
Sprint may be just in the planning stages of its small cell backhaul strategy, but given the size of its network plans it will give competitors a chance to compete on a wide-ranging project. Being able to provide a mix of dark fiber and turnkey solutions will give wireline operators a long-term revenue stream that they need as the market continues to consolidate.
30-01-2016, 14:07 #2
Metro Connect 2016
MIAMI -- Metro Connect 2016 -- This annual lovefest of competitive fiber network operators and the financial community that backs them is held each year in the historic Eden Roc hotel, with its famous circular bar dating back to the 1950s. But this year's event has a distinctive late-90s feel about it -- in a good way.
Many of the CEOs and other leaders gathered here are survivors of the go-go '90s and the crash that followed as the "build it and they will come" philosophy fell victim to business realities, vendor financing fails and the bursting of the Internet bubble. What they are seeing and doing is actually quite different -- if anything, the feeling is that today's fiber buildouts are just trying to keep up with demand.
It was fitting that Zayo Group Inc. Chairman and CEO Dan Caruso kicked off Metro Connect with a keynote he called "Demandwidth," looking at everything from teleportation to using human genomes to build personalized disease prevention to drone taxis -- all of which will require massive amounts of bandwidth, ensuring there is a need for fiber optics for many years to come, he said.
Event chair Andrew Lipman, senior partner with Morgan, Lewis and Bockius, and a telecom law veteran, pointed to the continued growth of conference attendance and the number of companies participating. Even with significant industry consolidation, he noted, the conference continues to get bigger, along with the industry it serves. "This is an industry driven by optimism," Lipman commented.
It's also an industry driven by practicality, given the reality of capex, opex and logistical requirements for building fiber optic networks. Yet that construction continues apace in places as diverse as Manhattan, where ZenFi is taking fiber to the intersection, and rural Florida and Georgia, where Tower Cloud Inc. is constructing a 1,500-mile network to connect cell towers and data centers.
Much of that construction is being driven by content providers, video and Internet, who need massive connections between their data centers and a growing demand for bandwidth at the edge of the network as more content and data needs to be available there. "Content providers are putting 24 conduits between their data centers -- the volume is unheard of," Kevin Coyne, CFO of FiberLight LLC , said on a Tuesday afternoon panel. Among the emerging themes here this week:
The network's edge is being transformed and massive fiber is part of that. This is the over-arching theme that emerged regardless of the specific topic -- small cells and wireless "densification", the merging of data centers and colocation, content players distributing caches closer to the customer and even, in some cases, backhaul to towers. Judd Carothers, co-founder of USA Fiber, noted the industry needs to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past in just putting fiber runs directly into cell towers, because "robust networks that run tower to tower don't solve some of the metro problems." So today's metro networks need to be built with many more access points, and the ability to connect multiple types of facilities. Multi-use builds seem to be the wave of the future.
Small cells are real, and potentially a really big market for fiber. The advent of C-RANs, which today mostly means consolidated radio access networks but will morph to be cloud RANs in the future, opens up new demand for connections between widely distributed antennas and consolidated base stations, notes Ray La Chance, president and CEO of ZenFi Networks. Going forward, however, companies like his are building fiber connections through the streets of New York City, while TowerCloud and other traditional backhaul providers are looking at new densities in other less populated areas as well. The driving force is the need of wireless carriers to densify their networks where bandwidth demands grow and additional spectrum isn't available.
Backhaul is still big biz. On one panel of CEOs, Consolidated Communications Inc. ' President and CEO Bob Udell and Chris Morley, president and COO of Strategic Business Segments at Zayo, used a baseball analogy to describe this market as "perpetually in the seventh inning" or, according to Morley, being reset now to the third inning. Basically their companies are still doing major fiber construction to cell towers.
Cable is coming. Multiple speakers mentioned the rise of cable operators in the business market, and the likely reality that these operators will be breaking out of their regional footprints to more national coverage. Interestingly, most saw that as a business opportunity and are ready to sell dark fiber or wavelengths to cable operators looking to interconnect their facilities. At worst, it's a neutral thing. As Hunter Newby, CEO of Allied Fiber LLC , pointed out, when telco or cable incumbents build fiber, they don't usually open it up to sell dark fiber or wavelengths, so they aren't really competitors to most Metro Connect attendees.
A variety of business models continue to thrive. Dark fiber is rising but lit fiber such as wavelength services, Layer 2 offerings such as Ethernet and Layer 3 Internet access are all represented here, on stage and in the audience. Global Capacity used Metro Connect to announce a significant expansion of its Ethernet offerings, while Dave Schaeffer, founder and CEO of Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: CCOI), says his company continues to grow selling one product: Internet access. Speaker after speaker drove home the need to tailor company strategies to target customers, and that's what this industry is becoming; a very focused set of business-driven players.
And finally, consolidation will continue in the sector and in some cases, will merge previously separate segments, such as the Crown Castle acquisition of Sunesys, which joined a tower company with a fiber operator. (See Crown Castle Bids $1B for Sunesys Fiber Assets.)
30-01-2016, 14:11 #3
ZenFi Brings Dense Dark Fiber to NYC
The operation is emblematic of the new edge networks, in that it supports edge computing and processing that puts colocation spaces deep into neighborhoods, and is much denser in terms of fiber access points.
Beneath the streets of Manhattan, a dark force is building in strength, spreading its reach and beginning to amass power.
Fortunately for the denizens of that great city, this is a dark fiber network, being built block by block by ZenFi , a carrier-neutral dark fiber network intended to power pervasive small cell deployments. The operation, which was launched in 2014 and began access network construction in earnest last year, is emblematic of the new edge networks, in that it supports edge computing and processing that puts colocation spaces deep into neighborhoods, and is much denser in terms of fiber access points.
"Our network is really for mobile processing, but it can support edge computing or edge caching," says Ray La Chance, president and CEO. He sees three key components to this new kind of network, only one of which exists pervasively today: backhaul into the core of the network.
What ZenFi is building is the fronthaul piece, aggregating the connections from the core to the antenna of the wireless network, establishing neighborhood colocation spots that become like mini data centers, capable of caching and processing data and content. These are placed similarly to telco central offices, and ZenFi plans four to six to start with in Manhattan and at least one in each of the other NYC boroughs.
The company is then running very dense fiber connectivity out of those locations, with much more frequent access points on the fiber than exist in today's network, so it is capable of supporting widely distributed antenna locations -- literally one in every Manhattan intersection -- for pervasive wireless connectivity.
ZenFi will also have a mesh backhaul network connecting its colo sites for resiliency's sake, La Chance notes. The fronthaul pathway is non-redundant to start, but the company is trying where possible to create ring-like deployments to enable traffic rerouting if problems develop.
"We are trying to build everything in a ring, but it may not make sense where some [network] extremities are concerned, just not financially feasible," he explains.
Speaking of finances, all of this requires new approaches to fiber architecture and construction, so that access points to the fiber are much more available and the kind of dense network ZenFi plans can be built in a place like downtown Manhattan. ZenFi is deploying new methods, including microducts and airblown fiber, that were first developed in Asia for dense populations areas there. It also has close ties to Metro Network Services, which builds networks in the Northeast US, including the Lexent Metro Connect network -- where La Chance first operated -- that was later sold to Tower Cloud.
Key to the process is driving down the cost of all the splice points required to have connections at every intersection. That's where ZenFi and its construction partner have focused their efforts, developing techniques that can be replicated to drop the typical fiber node cost from the $80,000 for a cell tower to one third of that for a DAS installation, La Chance says. He rents duct space from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) subsidiary, Empire City Subway.
"We developed some really unique techniques for [splice points] so we could replicate them over and over," La Chance says. "We do have to use highly specialized labor but we use it more efficiently. Our construction partners are working with us on this. We have been building the backhaul networks for the last year and a half and the local network starting six months ago."
The company's four-year build plan will cover about 70% of intersections in Manhattan, but it isn't waiting to sign up carrier customers for its fiber network, who may want to just light up buildings at this point.
What La Chance envisions for Manhattan is something he is already seeing in some Asian cities, which is tall, shiny buildings with essentially a cell site on each floor and pervasive high-speed wireless that can begin to displace wired broadband for residents.
That's why a dense, very high-capacity dark fiber network, with all those access points, makes perfect sense to build, even at high cost.
Última edição por 5ms; 30-01-2016 às 14:13.
30-01-2016, 15:36 #4
PR: ZenFi Establishes Presence at Sabey Data Centers' Intergate.Manhattan
ZenFi Dark Fiber Network to Provide Enterprise-Level Connectivity to Manhattan Streetscape
(Marketwired - Jan 18, 2016) - Seattle-based Sabey Data Center Properties today announces at Asia-Pacific's premier telecommunications event, PTC'16, that ZenFi, New York's carrier-neutral fronthaul and backhaul dark fiber provider, has signed a licensing agreement to support its expanding operations and provide dark fiber connectivity to existing and future tenants at Intergate.Manhattan, Sabey's data center at 375 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan.
ZenFi will deliver a highly flexible and scalable fiber network to both enterprise and data center customers at Intergate.Manhattan. The ZenFi Access Network architecture was built to deliver distributed dark fiber connectivity between carrier hotels, enterprise buildings, light poles, and street structures -- Any Pair. Anywhere™. The Company's latest installation at Sabey's 375 Pearl Street facility was selected for its proximity to the vibrant commercial district of downtown Manhattan and the Lower East Side.
"We look forward to helping ZenFi realize its vision of connecting 'any pair, anywhere' with dark fiber connecting carrier hotels, office buildings, and on-street locations," states John Sabey, President, Sabey Data Center Properties. "This strategic partnership will effectively empower the Internet of Things."
To date, the fiber optic network carriers who have signed licensing agreements with Sabey at Intergate.Manhattan have included multiple providers offering redundant and diverse paths to and from the building. As per this licensing agreement with ZenFi, Sabey can now offer Intergate.Manhattan's tenants dark fiber along with its full suite of facilities-based services, including lit transport, Ethernet, SONET, wavelength, IP services, Internet access, and carrier-neutral colocation and interconnection.
"One of ZenFi's unique offerings is our ability to install pole-top DAS small cell, and carrier WiFi nodes on light poles, traffic poles, street signs, and other fiber-to-the-curb applications as part of our Mobile Telecom Franchise Agreement with the City of New York," states Ray La Chance, ZenFi President and CEO. "The Intergate.Manhattan facility was an ideal hub to aggregate our Access Network that serves these pole-top applications. Tenants within Intergate.Manhattan can now leverage the ZenFi Network to connect anywhere in the City on a dedicated, dark fiber platform."
To request a meeting with Sabey Data Center Properties at PTC'16, email email@example.com. For more information about Sabey Data Center Properties, visit Sabey Data Center Properties.
To request a meeting with ZenFi at PTC'16, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about ZenFi, visit www.ZenFi.com or email info@ZenFi.com.
About Sabey Data Center Properties
With a portfolio of more than three million square feet of mission critical space, Sabey Data Center Properties is one of the oldest and largest privately owned multi-tenant data center owner/developer/operators in the United States. Sabey specializes in scalable, custom-built solutions including data center ready shell space and fully turnkey data centers managed by Sabey's award-winning critical environment staff. Consistently recognized for its reputation for operational excellence through its world-class data centers and sustained uptime, Sabey is proud to provide data center services to many of the world's top financial, technology and healthcare companies. www.sabey.com.
ZenFi owns and operates a carrier-neutral dark fiber network specializing in fronthaul, backhaul and wavelength connectivity to enable the Internet of Things (IoT). Its New York City purpose-built network is the infrastructure that underlies and enables connectivity in today's mobile world. For more information, please visit: www.ZenFi.com.
30-01-2016, 15:40 #5
Edge computing and caching
US 2010 - Population per square mile
Última edição por 5ms; 30-01-2016 às 15:47.
30-01-2016, 16:10 #6
What is a small cell?
‘Small cells’ is an umbrella term for operator-controlled, low-powered radio access nodes, including those that operate in licensed spectrum and unlicensed carrier-grade Wi-Fi. Small cells typically have a range from 10 meters to 1 or 2 kilometers.
14 January 2012
Small cells are fully featured, short range mobile phone basestations used to complement mobile phone service from larger macrocell towers. These range from very compact residential femtocells, the size of a paperback book and connected using standard domestic internet broadband through to larger equipment used inside commercial offices or outdoor public spaces. They offer excellent mobile phone coverage and data speeds at home, in the office and public areas for both voice and data. Small cells have been developed for both 3G and the newer 4G/LTE radio technologies.
The term femtocell was originally used to describe residential products, with picocell being used for enterprise/business premises and metrocell for public/outdoor spaces. As the underlying femtocell technology expanded to address this wider scope, the term small cell was adopted to cover all aspects.
Standalone or integrated femtocells
Early residential femtocell products look very much like WiFi broadband modems, needing only two cables - one for power and one internet connection.
In the past, several vendors such as Thomson, Netgear, Pirelli, Cisco and others integrated the femtocell with other features such as DSL modem, WiFi and even IPTV into a single box. Virtually none of these combined solutions have succeeded. The vast majority of residential femtocells sold to date are standalone.
Larger enterprise and metrocells are also standalone, having sturdy casing and better protection against weather and operating in unsupervised areas.
Locked to a single mobile phone network
Unlike WiFi, these devices use licenced radio spectrum, so must be operated and controlled by a mobile phone company. Thus it will work with only one mobile phone operator, and thus encourages all users in a household or business enterprise to switch to the same network operator.
When in range of the small cell, the mobile phone will automatically detect it and use it in preference to the larger macrocell cellsites. Calls are made and received in exactly the same way as before, except that the signals are sent encrypted from the small cell via the public or private broadband IP network to one of the mobile operators main switching centres. Making and receiving calls uses the same procedures and telephone numbers, and all the standard features (call divert, text messaging, web browsing) are available in the same way - indeed data services should operate more quickly and efficiently due to the short range involved.
Low power but high quality
Small cells operate at very low radio power levels - less than cordless phones, WiFi or some other household equipment. This substantially increases the battery life, both on standby and talktime. Since they are so much closer to the handset or mobile device, call quality is excellent and data devices can operate at full speed. The smallest femtocells can handle up to 4 simultaneous active calls from different users, with most indoor products having a standard capacity of 8. Larger small cell designs for business (enterprise) or public areas use can handle 16, 32 or more concurrent calls or data sessions. A few of the latest multi-mode 3G and LTE small cells can cope with up to 64 3G and 128 LTE concurrent active sessions. Some products can handle even more. These numbers are in addition to passive users not actively making or receiving voice or data calls.
Open or restricted access
Restrictions can be applied on who can access a small cell. Residential femtocell owners may be concerned about paying additional charges for wireline internet broadband where a quota applies - even though this would equate to many long voice calls or heavy data service use. For this reason, many residential femtocells include a facility to restrict service to a whitelist of up to 30 specified telephone numbers. Enterprise use is more commonly open to all, including visitors, but may prioritise phones belonging to the business itself. Urban and rural small cells are always fully open access.
Secure and self-managing
Small cells encrypt all voice and data sent and received, ensuring a high level of protection from sniffing or snooping.
In order to reduce operational and installation costs, these units are self installing and use a variety of clever tricks to sense which frequency to transmit on and power level to use.
Unlike large outdoor mobile phone basestations (masts), femtocells don't require specialist RF planning engineers to design, calibrate or configure themselves - minimising the ongoing cost of maintaining them. They do have remote management from the network operator, who can upgrade the configuration and software as required.
Doesn't require special phones
They are compatible with existing standard 3G and 4G mobile phones and are not restricted to any specific models. No additional software is required to enable the phone to work with a small cell.
Most of the excitement originated around the 3G UMTS/HSPA mobile phone technology, deployed in almost every country worldwide today and which includes the ability for high speed data services. More recently LTE small cells have become available, with a few models capable of handling both. Generally speaking, 3G is more widely used indoors, with urban small cells focussed mostly on LTE. This is because of the tighter integration and co-ordination between streetside small cells and nearby macrocells sharing the same frequencies, something with LTE was designed specifically to cope with although there are a few 3G urban small cell deployments.
01-02-2016, 09:53 #7
Small cell backhaul to contribute 25% of backhaul transport revenue by 2020January 29, 2016 | By Sean Buckley
With wireless operators like Sprint and Verizon moving forward with their respective small cell plans, a new Dell'Oro Group report has forecast that small cell backhaul will contribute about 25 percent of mobile backhaul transport revenue by 2020.
The research firm said that the mobile backhaul transport market, comprising of wireless and fiber/copper backhaul systems, is forecast to grow $5.3 billion annually over the next five years. Further, microwave transmission radio transceivers, used in a number of applications including mobile radios, is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 8 percent through 2020.
"While we do not envision topline market expansion in the next five years, we do believe a few dynamics are underway," said Jimmy Yu, Vice President at Dell'Oro Group., in a release. "Most notably, small cells have finally started to rollout, and though most are indoor units, we think operators will steadily raise deployments of outdoor small cells requiring additional backhaul links." Yu added that a near-term rise in wireless backhaul equipment will "energize" the microwave transmission equipment market. "Another dynamic underway is a slight mix shift to wireless backhaul from fiber/copper in the near term, which should propel microwave equipment purchases for the next three years," Yu said.
04-02-2016, 05:15 #8
FairPoint: operators must support lit & dark fiber to compete for small cell backhaulFebruary 3, 2016 | By Sean Buckley
FairPoint Communications, keen to get a piece of the emerging small cell wireless backhaul and services market being fueled by major wireless operators like Sprint (NYSE: S) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ), is doing an about-face on dark fiber.
Sprint said during its fourth quarter earnings call that it would be using a mix of 2.5 GHz spectrum and dark fiber for small backhaul
Similar to Verizon, an early advocate of dark fiber backhaul, Sprint sees dark fiber as a way to control bandwidth allocations. Unlike a lit service where an operator has to request their wireline provider partner to provision bandwidth, dark fiber allows Sprint to make upgrades themselves.
This could spell opportunity for a number of independent ILECs like FairPoint and competitive carriers like Level 3, Integra and an emerging host of dark fiber players like USA Fiber and SummitIG, which have built business models around providing dark fiber.
FairPoint says that service providers must be prepared to offer a mix of lit and dark fiber services.
"Within the next year, wireless carriers will likely select a preference for traditional lit services or dark fiber (or a hybrid of both) to support their small cell backhaul deployments," said Chris Alberding, VP of product management for FairPoint in a blog post. "Service providers must be ready to support either approach."
As an ILEC, FairPoint has traditionally been reluctant to sell dark fiber because it could put a strain on potential retail and wholesale revenue opportunities. At this point, the service provider has not revealed whether it will offer dark fiber services as part of it small cell backhaul business.
But providing traditional fiber services is only one part of FairPoint's overall small cell approach.
Already an active provider of wireless backhaul to towers in its Northern New England territory, FairPoint created a construction division in October 2015. Interestingly, the catalyst for developing a construction division was small cell services.
The company's Construction Solutions for wholesale customers can accommodate a host of wireline and wireless projects, including small cell construction and custom cellular locations, structured cabling and inside wiring, construction project management and custom-built network solutions.
"Wireless carriers may also start considering more turnkey "small cell as a service" options when evaluating small cell providers -- especially if they don't have an extensive profile in the market," Alberding said. "Outsourcing support for site readiness, power, permits and ancillary vendors, as well as ongoing operations and maintenance of small cells, may be the best option for wireless carriers that need to keep their networks running over the long term."
FairPoint: Growing demand for small cells prompted launch of construction business
Dark fiber creates new fortunes for ILECs, cable and CLECs