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Are Small Cells and Wi-Fi Networks Complimentary or Competitive?

As an industry, we are starting to see a convergence of small cells and Wi-Fi to help solve coverage, capacity, and spectrum issues in our increasingly connected, mobile-dominated world. Today more than ever, mobile operators are increasingly realizing that Wi-Fi and small cells must be part of their traditional licensed network in order to realize the future of mobility.

This topic was especially evident during last month’s Small Cell Americas conference in Dallas, Texas. During the conference, I had the opportunity to discuss how small cells and Wi-Fi can work together, which proved especially timely as the Dallas conference also marked the launch by the Small Cell Forum of their Enterprise Release, comprising  of 25 documents to help overcome barriers to small cell deployment in the enterprise. Release Two: Enterprise is the result of over nine months of hard work by the Forum and its members!

As small cells and Wi-Fi bring corporate networks and mobile networks closer to each other, IT leaders and service providers are increasingly asking questions about how the convergence of small cells and Wi-Fi coexist, from a product, architecture and business model perspective. Some common questions include: Read More »

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Crowdsourcing Fiber Networks: Community Validated Investment in Action

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Fact: laying fiber communications infrastructure is expensive. Fantasy: the ability to know ahead of time how many property owners in a given neighborhood would pay for a new fiber infrastructure by subscribing to services or even – and here’s a real fantasy – paying more to get the fiber laid initially.

Except it’s not a fantasy. If you’re a telecom carrier, a cable company, a municipality, even a group of community activists, Greg Richardson is here to offer a compelling approach to capital investment in new infrastructure. And he’s done it with an idea that’s almost embarrassingly simple.

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Summary: Next-Generation Knowledge Workers

Accelerating the Disruption in Business Mobility

Business mobility is driving better productivity, heightened customer experience, and harmonious work/life balance. It also offers freedom for knowledge workers beleaguered by accelerating demands on their time and talents. Indeed, workers themselves have taken much of the initiative toward business mobility.

It is now up to enterprises to support and shape their further adoption of this key technology to capture its full benefits. Moreover, business mobility represents an opportunity for service providers (SPs) to generate new revenue and to deepen their enterprise customer relationships.

To gain a better perspective on the latest trends in business mobility, Cisco® Consulting Services (CCS) conducted an extensive survey in March 2013. Comprising 4,800 respondents across eight countries, it is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of the needs, interests, and behaviors of end users of business mobility.

Read the full article: Next-Generation Knowledge Workers – Accelerating the Disruption in Business Mobility.

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Creating a Wi-Fi Monetization Virtuous Circle

In the decade or so that Wi-Fi has existed, most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed it as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications.  Now mobile operators around the world are asking how they can effectively use Wi-Fi to help them cope with the huge surge in mobile data traffic and to meet customer needs and expectations.  In addition, they are all eager to understand how they can make money from Wi-Fi and to make the business case to justify investments in deploying Wi-Fi networks.

As many leading SPs are now discovering building a Wi-Fi network creates not only significant business value, but creates a virtuous circle that leads to ever-increasing sources of new Wi-Fi value. As the Wi-Fi Monetization Virtuous Circle outlined below shows, the reinforcing network and scale effects of Wi-Fi investments not only deliver unique business benefits at each of the levels, but also establish a valuable platform to exploit additional monetization opportunities at the next level.

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Cbeyond: Taking Our SMB Cloud Offering to the Next Level

By Chris Ortbals, Senior Vice President, Product Management , Cbeyond Inc.ChrisOrtbals

 

At the company’s inception in 1999, Cbeyond saw the potential in using IP technology to deliver enterprise-class productivity enhancing communications services to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Today, as a cloud and communications services provider, Cbeyond continues to live up to its brand promise as the technology ally to small and mid-sized businesses,

As Cbeyond witnessed the business value large enterprises were achieving from cloud computing, we sought to devise a new strategy and products that would  offer our SMB customers the same benefits in a secure, reliable and affordable way. Our competitors typically offer SMBs a commodity-grade or exclusively self-service type of cloud offering. However, we wanted to go further and provide a cloud service that would not only support end-to-end enterprise-grade production applications but also deliver a much superior experience for SMBs.

Our initial expansion into the cloud came with the 2010 acquisitions of MaximumASP, a hosting provider, and Aretta, a network-hosted VoIP provider.  We integrated and enhanced the technologies we acquired into TotalCloud, our flexible and highly customizable cloud services platform.

We’ve had a successful relationship with Cisco since 1999, when we launched the first Cisco-powered 100% IP network delivering services to SMBs. So naturally we considered partnering with Cisco as we made the move into the cloud services market.

In the search for the right partner, we did our due diligence and evaluated three vendors.  However, we found that only Cisco could help us deploy, provision, test and implement a cloud platform that not only met our requirements but that could also be launched within our aggressive timeframe.

Our TotalCloud Data Center, a service platform for public and private cloud solutions, is powered by Cisco technology, with Cisco Unified Computing System™, Cisco UCS Blade servers, and Cisco Nexus switches. This solution provides us with a repeatable, scalable architecture that can be used in our current and future data centers.

We collaborated with Cisco Services, for Data Center Optimization and Network Optimization Services since network performance is critical to running production applications in the cloud.

Other vendors would have pieced a cloud offering together from multiple sources so going with Cisco as a single vendor offered a clear advantage over using multiple vendors to accomplish the same task. Also,  many cloud platforms are built like an island with limited integration into other products used by a service provider, however the Cisco offering is the complete opposite. Cisco has architected its technology in partnership with us so that their technology not only supports how we want our business to operate but how we deliver services and value to our entire customer base.

And partnering with Cisco paid off. With the help of Cisco Services, Cbeyond’s time-to-market for our cloud offering was reduced by two months, and we were able to secure new revenue opportunities earlier than expected.

Read more in this new case study:  Services Provider Builds New Cloud Infrastructure for SMBs

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