One of the more surprising – and to many people, nicest – stories of last year was that BlackBerry, under the leadership of CEO John Chen, appeared to have turned a corner. Or, if not quite turned, it has approached the corner in preparation of soon heading in the right direction.
At CES, Chen outlined the plans for next year. They include “just one or two new devices,” according to InformationWeek. Moreover, the new devices, like the Priv, will run Android and come with security and other features from BlackBerry.
There will be Priv moves as well. The story says that the successful phone to date has only been available from AT&T. That will change: Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon will offer the phone at some point during 2016.
Almost a Gigabit Network per State
Telecompetitor said that the goal set by former Federal Communication Commissions (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski that there be at least one gigabit per second (Gbps) network in each state is on the verge of being fulfilled.
The site says that at least one such network is either operational or announced in each state. Most states do have an operational network. This is even true in rural states such as Wyoming, West Virginia and Maine.
Major cable players are Comcast, with its Gigabit Pro 2 Gbps service, and smaller carriers such as Cable One, Suddenlink, Mediacom and Troy Cable. Telcos that are bringing services to areas that lacked it before include Windstream, Consolidated and Fairpoint.
The Truth About SD-WANs
A software-defined wide-area network (SD WAN) is, according to Network Computing’s Faisal Khan, a way to “bond multiple WAN connections — Internet, MPLS or any other transport pipe — effectively making the best use of bandwidth and reducing dependency on expensive” multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) links. It is the networking wave of the future because of its efficiency and low cost.
Khan presented what he said are four myths about SD-WANs. The first is that SD-WANs will replace MPLS. This isn’t true because SD-WANs alone can’t provide guaranteed bandwidth. The second is that SD-WANs can guarantee quality of service (QoS). This also is not true:
Truth: SD-WAN can detect and measure latency, packet loss and Jitter. It can compensate for packet loss but not for latency and jitter. It can switch you to the best paths among the paths available. If all paths are bad, it cannot guarantee you QoS.
The third is that cost is the only benefit SD-WANs enjoy over MPLS. The truth is that while SD-WANs indeed are cheaper, they are also “easier to manage, operate and maintain.” The final myth is that SD-WANs and WAN optimization are the same thing. This isn’t so: The two are distinct and can be used discretely or in combination.
Wearables in the Workplace Making Small Gains
Tech Pro Research took a look at BYOD, IoT and wearables in the workplace. Perhaps the most interesting topic was the last.
The ITworld story on the report said that a bit more than half (52 percent) of the 206 respondents have no interest or plans to deploy wearables at work. That number is down 19 percent from the 71 percent who said last year that they have no interest.
There was another small positive sign for wearables at work. The percentage of respondents who are active users jumped from 7 percent to 12 percent. That’s still a small percentage – but an increase of almost 100 percent in a year. Twelve percent of respondents are in the midst of implementation and 23 percent plan to do so within the next year
Will IoT Standards Work Accelerate in 2016
One of the potential clouds on the horizon for growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is the absence of a common, accepted and accessible set of standards enabling the billions of pieces of the ecosystem to communicate as needed.
At CES, the AllSeen Alliance named the 12 products that would be the first to try to be certified by the AllJoyn framework it oversees. The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) announced a partnership with the ULE Alliance, which promotes Ultra Low Energy technology.
There is still a lot of work to do, however. The eWeek story did not note any progress on settling on ways to communicate, as needed, between standards families.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.