Frontier Hikes Its Fiber Game

Carl Weinschenk

It was an odd week for this winter: The weather wasn’t in the news and there were no megadeals.

That lack of dramatics, however, didn’t stop the telecommunications and IT industries from generating a good bit of news and commentary. Here are some highlights:

The Lowdown on Network Virtualization

At Light Reading, Lee Doyle, the principal analyst at the firm that bears his name, describes yet another entry on the long list of acronyms: NV, which stands for network virtualization. He raises some key points about the nascent approach and provides a good definition:

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Mobile Development Trends for 2014

Network virtualization uses tunnels to create virtual networks on top of traditional (Ethernet) physical networks. Leveraging protocols such as VXLAN or NVGRE, NV provides Layer 3 tunneling which separates the virtual network from the underlying physical network hardware, thus enabling provisioning of virtual networks and accompanying services between servers in the datacenter.

The market is so young that it is uncertain whether it actually is independent or part of the software-defined network (SDN) segment. Doyle looks at NV’s potential benefits, the available technology options and issues that could impact the market.

The Rise of Telematics

ABI Research lays out two reasons that telematics (the use of mobile technology to manage field forces) is an area of growing interest and importance. Both are sound: Customer service is ever-more competitive and the amount of time workers spend on the road makes it important for companies to be able to prove that they are operating safely and not being forced to take chances.

Telematics is a key enabler of both efforts, according to ABI. The firm found that about 25 million vehicles will be equipped with telematics equipment by the end of 2019. This will represent more than 30 percent of the worldwide fleet.

Frontier Offers Fiber

Lots of the media coverage during the past week has been on the combination of Comcast and Time Warner Cable and Google Fiber’s pledge (to perhaps) provide high-speed services to 34 cities. Another move was made in the high-speed data realm, however: Frontier Communications introduced 10 gigabit per second (Gbps) service in local markets in 25 states.

Telecompetitor said that Frontier will provide fiber links to buildings that take the Frontier Optical Transport Service if they aren’t already linked. It will provide 10Gbps services to end customers or wholesale it to other carriers. The service can be used for Internet Protocol, Sonet, Ethernet or other protocols.

VoIP Spam Hits Small Business

VoIP spam aimed at small businesses increased 162 percent between January 2013 and last month, according to Marchex. The figure is based on almost 40 million such calls blocked by its Clean Call technology. ZDNet reports that the rapid rise is expected to continue.

New spam techniques seem maddening and hilarious. The callers use any means necessary to keep recipients on the line for 30 seconds or longer, including  anything from “computerized ‘robocallers’ to fraudsters known as ‘chipmunks’”  with high-pitched, “altered” voices. Such calls enable the spammers to earn more money in click-to-call campaigns.

The bottom line is never funny, however, especially for small businesses. According to the ZDNet story:

Small businesses are more dramatically impacted than large national businesses, which can direct incoming calls at scale through call centers. Answering spam calls wastes nearly 20 million hours a year for small businesses in the US—which translates to about $475 million annually.

Seeing the Value of Apps

And, finally, comes a story about keeping things in perspective. Or, perhaps, far better perspective. Instinctively, most people dismiss products that make extravagant claims as rip offs. An app called UltimEyes, which claims to improve vision radically, seems like just such a scam. But, according to University of California, Riverside neuroscientist Aaron Seitz, it works extraordinarily well.

The app runs on iOS, Android and Windows Phone, according to GigaOm:

The software is basically a game that shows you fuzzy patterns that you try to identify as quickly as possible from a similarly colored background. Faster speeds and repetition “teach” the brain to better process visual stimulation quicker, which can result in improved vision at farther distances.

Seitz worked with players on the school’s baseball team. He found that eyesight improved by an average of 31 percent and gave some vision of 20/7.5.., and, no doubt, an improved ability to hit a curve.

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