ACG Research

ACG Research
We focus on the Why before the What

Monday, November 23, 2015

100% Visibility: An ACG HotSeat with with Dennis Cox

Dennis Cox, chief product officer of Ixia, and Ray Mota, CEO of ACG Research, discuss the need for true 100% visibility. Today, many vendors claim to provide 100% visibility, but many drop packets and create blind spots in your application performance. Understand what is needed for true visibility and providing a secure network for optimal application performance.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Juniper Analyst Day Report

Juniper Networks’ full commitment to virtualization of the network was clear at the NXTWORK 2015. Juniper introduced Cloud CPE, a fully automated end-to-end NFV solution to enable its customers to implement a smooth migration strategy for their existing purpose-built networks to a virtualized, more efficient infrastructure. 

Key Findings
  • Juniper’s Cloud CPE solution includes Contrail Service Orchestration, an important feature for both service creation and automation, that can greatly benefit their customers to gain competitive advantage in service introduction with faster time to market.
  • Juniper’s Cloud CPE solution is the first of many NFV use cases that blends both physical and virtual network services together to simplify the service creation process and automate the entire service delivery process.
  • Junos disaggregation is a good move by Juniper to decouple its software and hardware and place more value on Junos rather it hardware.
  • Juniper’s competitors are also working on similar solutions. Juniper’s professional services becomes a major team to ensure its customer can roll out their virtualized infrastructure in a predictable time frame.

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         Robert Haim

Innovation Drives Evolution: Video Industry No Exception

Analog over the air, on-demand and OTT experience are pushing vendors to evolve video technology and develop more sophisticated and viable business models

The first successfully demonstrated simple electronic television designed by Philo Taylor Farnsworth in 1927 transmitted a simple line. Philo T. Farnsworth, Vladimir Zworykin, C. Harles Jenkins and John Baird all made important contribution to this invention and contributed to what finally became television as we know it now, and which has helped spawn the huge video industry.

Back in time: TV history
In 1950 only nine percent of U.S. households owned a TV, but by 1960 87 percent owned one! Today, according to Nielsen, the number of TV households in the United States from 2010 to 2011 was estimated at 115.9 million and the average house has at least two televisions per household. 

In the 1950s the delivery method for content was over the air or terrestrial television in which the signal was transmitted by radio waves to the TV receiver from a television station, and received with an antenna. Viewers received significant benefit from this deliver method as content was easily accessible for the public. Using the antennas on the television, viewers would literally pull the signal out of the air. However, because the content was delivered over the air, there were distance limitations. An antenna could only transmit a signal so far, and if one was not within that range, one could not get the signal. Another limitation was that there was no way to institute a pay for access model. As the signals were being transmitted freely over the air, anyone with a reception antenna could view the signal. 

Next step in the evolution was the advent of cable television which delivered the video content to individual homes using coaxial cable. Large antennas were erected and coaxial cable ran from the antenna to individual homes. In coaxial cable transport, quality does not significantly deteriorate over distance, this delivery method also offered the ability for broadcasters and cable companies to create a subscription based model.

Then came satellite television, which delivered the video content to individual homes using signals relayed from communication satellites. The signals were received by  satellite dish which was then fed from the reception dish to inside the home through a coaxial cable. A satellite receiver, either a set-top box or a built-in TV tuner then decoded the program for viewing on a television set.
In 1984 digital video was invented and like OTA used radio frequencies to deliver video through the air. This technology allowed providers to compress video channels so that they take up less frequency space and offered two-way communication capabilities.

The most recent development is IPTV (live television, time-shifted television and VOD) which uses Internet Protocol for the delivery of video. This involves using hardware or software to encode the video and audio signals into an acceptable IP format that is then streamed in one direction or in a two-way scenario to provide users with interactive television. This development offers two advantages: Interactive ability where viewers can determine exactly what content they want to view and when and convenience. With wireless Internet and streaming capabilities, viewers can watch video content from their TV, laptops, tablets, and even their phones.

In IPTV, the subscribers have set-top boxes or other customer-premises equipment that talks directly over company-owned or dedicated leased lines with central-office servers. Packets never travel over the public Internet, so the television provider can guarantee enough local bandwidth for each customer's needs.

Shifting tide
Access on any device anywhere has prompted a shift from watching shows on TV to watching content on multiple devices. Additionally, high subscription costs, poor service, and the dismissive behavior from call centers are increasing the migration away from traditional cable services. Over-the-top content—film and TV services delivered directly over the internet to connected devices—has become a key part of the evolution of Video. Many consumers are opting to become “cord cutters” or are “cord nevers,” a generation raised on social media and Netflix that are used to any content, any time, on any device.

So how did OTT service become so enticing?
Convenience: Anytime anywhere consumption
Control: To choose what ,when and how to watch 
Content: Availability of large existing content libraries

Where do we go from here?
The industry is on the cusp of the next major evolutionary phase in visual entertainment People are switching from traditional cable companies to watching videos online on their mobile phones, or through streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, etc. Cord-cutting has grown by 44 percent in the past four years, with 7.6 million households using high-speed Internet for streaming or downloading videos instead of traditional cable or satellite television. The OTT market, already showing huge consumer uptake is expected to increase fourfold by 2019.

By leveraging OTT technologies and new business models, vendors and service providers are creating happier consumers, more profitable advertising, and a more efficient system overall. 

For more information about ACG’s video services, contact

Meghna Zutshi

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Migration of Services to the Data Center Driving Optical DCI Growth

ACG Research has released its Q2/2015 worldwide Optical Data Center Interconnect (DCI) market share analysis as well as its 2014–2019 worldwide forecast for Optical infrastructure platforms purchased by service providers for use in data center interconnect applications. Optical DCI product segmentation includes products designed for both long-haul and metro deployments, as well as a parallel view of the market based on large-scale multi-slot chassis platforms and small-form factor (SFF) optical appliances. The top three optical DCI suppliers worldwide in Q2/2015 are Ciena, Infinera and Alcatel-Lucent, respectively.

Purchases of Optical DCI equipment are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44.9% during the forecast period from just over $1.1 billion in 2014 to $4.7 billion in 2019. Sales of metro DCI platforms (supporting DCI connections up to 150 km) will continue to dominate over long-haul; both metro and long-haul will experience considerable growth at 51.5% and 24.6% CAGRs, respectively. Throughout the forecast period, the Americas and specifically North America remain the dominant geographical location for Optical DCI. EMEA and APAC regions demonstrate considerable optical DCI growth, but each remains about half the size of the Americas market.

Although the majority of Optical DCI deployments to date have been with multi-slotted chassis products, small-form factor Optical DCI appliances are entering the market at a rapid pace, led by Infinera’s two rack-unit (2RU) Cloud Xpress, which debuted in late 2014. Recent announcements from other vendors in the optical appliance category include Ciena’s Waveserver™ and Fujitsu’s 1Finity™ platforms. Adva also recently debuted its FSP3000 CloudConnect™ platform, though Adva is espousing a modular, 4RU chassis as “right-sized” for Optical DCI applications. Expect to see more product announcements in the future for this fast-growing product segment as revenue is projected to approach parity with large multi-slot chassis solutions in the last year of the forecast period.

“Uptake of Optical DCI is being driven by the migration of services to data centers and the cloud as service providers simplify deployment models and accelerate delivery of new and differentiated services,” says Tim Doiron, practice lead for Intelligent Transport Networking at ACG. “New and expanded data center deployments are being driven by a variety of service providers including Internet content providers (ICPs), network service providers (NSPs) and interexchange providers (IXPs) as well as enterprises themselves. As more functions become automated and virtualized, the need to interconnect data centers for capacity, resiliency and versatility will continue to grow and increase the need for reliable, cost-effective, high-speed data center interconnections.”

For more information about ACG’s data center interconnect services contact or

Click for more information about Tim Doiron or to discuss this topic contact Tim at

Friday, November 6, 2015

1Mainstream Acquisition Will Drive Cisco’s Infinite Video Roadmap

Cisco Systems has announced its intent to buy OTT cloud streaming service provider 1Mainstream to deliver improved cloud-based and live-streaming services

The San Jose-based startup 1Mainstream was formed in 2012 to eliminate obstacles for content providers to create compelling, ala carte, HD channels and applications. It operates on an OTT platform that uses sophisticated templating technology to enable companies to launch OTT services across multiple platforms. Although far from being a household name, 1 Mainstream has partnerships with top companies, including Apple TV, Samsung, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast, to provide seamless integration of their products to a customer base that includes Sky News, NOW TV, Acacia TV, etc.

Cisco has a strong portfolio with videos for PCs, tablets and smartphones but the company was unable to serve both the service provider customers and OTT players that wanted to get to the big primary screen and get there fast. With the acquisition of 1 Mainstream, Cisco will now have the startup’s platform. 1Mainstream’s technology complements Cisco’s new Infinite suite of cloud-powered video entertainment solutions, which are designed to help customers deliver TV services to multiple screens utilizing one cloud on any access network within and beyond the home. 1Mainstream's platform will allow service providers, broadcasters and media companies to configure and roll out the entire channel and content library available to their customers anywhere and on any device.

Acquisition of 1Mainstream is a good move for Cisco as IPTV supporting OTT video content viewing has significantly disrupted the pay TV industry and has become a primary channel for content consumption. The acquisition is expected to be complete in the second quarter of Cisco’s current fiscal year and once the acquisition is complete, 1Mainstream will join the Service Provider Video Software and Solutions Cloud Engineering Group under the leadership of Conrad Clemson, senior vice president and general manager. Rajeev Raman, CEO of 1Mainstream, will become director of cloud engineering at Cisco.

For more information about ACG’s video services, contact

Meghna Zutshi

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Accelerating the Transformation to Virtual Network Services

The relentless pace of innovation is driving developers and service providers to redefine how they bring applications and services to users. Users’ demand for new applications is forcing a transformation away from limited function, tightly integrated and proprietary solutions toward a more fluid, programmable, adaptable service delivery environment. At the same time, competition for user engagement is fierce and operators need to find ways to become dramatically more efficient while they are also accelerating their pace of innovation.

Download Paul Parker-Johnson's whitepaper on what will fuel innovation and what F5 Networks is doing to unlock the potential in the always-on, fully-connected world and Accelerating the Transformation to Virtual Network Services.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

SDN & Multi-layer Transport SDN: Notes from Layer123 SDN OpenFlow World Congress

This year’s Layer123 SDN OpenFlow World Congress in Dusseldorf, Germany, was quite an expanded event from last year with over more than 1,500 people registering.

There was a great mix of presentations from equipment suppliers, services providers and open source organizations at the event. SDN and NFV were, of course, top of mind at the event. The number of SDN and NFV PoCs and trials continue to grow rapidly, but live commercial deployments outside the data center remain elusive. Our ideas and thinking about the application of this technology in our networks has, however, matured. The focus has shifted, correctly I believe, from minimizing capital costs with COTS hardware to agile revenue generation via network automation and programmability.

Although many challenges remain, the single biggest barrier to mass SDN commercial deployment is operationalization of the technology. It is not just commissioning either. A virtualized and programmable network must still be operated and managed throughout its life-cycle to meet changing networking demands and customer service level agreements. In one conversation with an equipment manufacture, we discussed the simple scenario of a fan failure in a server running multiple VMs and VNFs. Who would know of the failure? How would they know and when would they know? Part of the beauty of an NFV environment is that the VM/VNF can simply be moved to other physical machines. However, financial considerations will always dictate that there is a limit to the number of physical machines (COTS or otherwise) installed in a service provider network. The underlying physical network will have to be maintained and failures addressed lest they eventually lead to poor network performance and customer satisfaction.

The fact that there was broad acknowledgment about the need to close the operational gaps is encouraging and a major step toward increasing commercial deployments.

Multi-layer Transport SDN was another topic that generated a lot of chatter in both Layer123 sessions and at a lunch-time debating table. Is multi-layer only through Layer 2 or 2.5? Or does it involve Layer 3 and IP?

After some discussion, the general consensus emerged that in order to maximize the value of an agile SDN-enabled network, multi-layer SDN and associated path computation must be Layer 0-3. The value of a multi-layer control plane is significantly diminished if IP is not a part of the solution. Independent fault detection and recovery mechanisms (think path computation) is exactly what we have in today’s networks with the packet-optical layers doing their own detection and restoration while IP executes its own Layer 3 detection and restoration mechanisms with protocols such as BFD and EMCP. Break a fiber in a network and all layers work almost completely independently to restore paths and services at their respective protocol layer.

With SDN and centralized control, we have the opportunity to ensure that wavelengths, ports and paths are coordinated and utilized for maximum efficiency. We can simplify our networks and drive out complexity and operational costs. Must a supplier’s controller and path computation element (PCE) contain Layer 0-3 functionality? Not necessarily. The hierarchical nature of SDN control means that hierarchical-PCE across multiple PCEs is a viable option. Packet optical suppliers could focus on Layer 0-2 PCE but then interface in a hierarchical manner with a Layer 3 PCE partner/supplier. Alternatively, a monolithic Layer 0-3 PCE is also possible but might require tighter coordination and integration than an equipment supplier may want to pursue. Either way, packet optical suppliers need to drive their PCE thinking from a Layer 0-3 perspective if we are to simplify the network, improve equipment utilization/efficiency and create agility for the future.

Click for more information about Tim Doiron or to discuss this topic contact Tim at

   Tim Doiron

Monday, October 19, 2015

Evolution of Mobile Network Visibility: ACG HotSeat with Sanjay Munshi, Brocade

Sanjay Munshi, Senior Director of Product Management at Brocade Communications, and Ray Mota, CEO of ACG Research, discuss Brocade’s significant new network visibility product announcement: carrier-grade, physical and virtual network packet brokers, virtual TAPs, an SDN based session director and a single pane of glass management application. Sanjay highlights the challenges operators have in 4G/LTE visibility, how to address them in a cost effective manner and the critical need for new, next-generation network visibility architectures as mobile operators ramp up to virtual EPC and 5G with billions of M2M connections and Internet of Things in the not too distant future.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Deliver Dynamic Network Services: The Business Case for Carrier SDN, Webinar

Join ACG's Paul Parker-Johnson as he and other participants discuss traditional networks and why they are not optimized to deliver the on-demand bandwidth that enterprises need today. Traditional business processes used to plan, build and operate network infrastructure present obstacles to implementing an on-demand model. Read more about ACG's study and register for the Light Reading webinar.

Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2015,
Time: 2:00 p.m. New York / 7:00 p.m. London
Sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Set-top Box to Cloud: Thinking Outside of the Box

Until recently video viewing was done via a cable converter set-top box was required to receive extra analog cable TV channels and convert them to content capable of being displayed on a television screen. Although most U.S. customers still use cable boxes, video consumption is rapidly changing to “TV Everywhere,” where a streaming service allows you to see shows from networks and content creators anywhere, anytime and on any devices. 

Set-top boxes are no longer needed to perform the processing or recording when all these functions can now be done in the cloud. The delivery path for IP video is a direct IP connection from a consumer’s device to the content in the operator’s network. With high bandwidth and low-latency networks made possible by the roll out of fiber and the current DOCSIS standards, wireline operators are able to leverage these capabilities to offer cloud virtualization of set-top box.

Content has now migrated into the television with smart TVs offering Netflix, Roku, etc. With the growing popularity of streaming devices and the launch of new online TV subscription services from companies such as Sling and Sony, cord-cutters are increasingly moving from cable to stream everything to the screens of their devices of choice. Cable boxes may eventually become obsolete altogether, as pay TV evolves to become an app or online service. This is the virtualization of the STB in which all application execution and video streaming are in the cloud and by clicking a remote, the application is delivered as a running video stream to a client. 

There are various benefits of virtualization of STB:
Simplifies the STB, thus  drastically reducing  CPE complexity and cost 
Offers unlimited number of applications to customers 
Able to run applications from multiple, different operating systems on the same client hardware
Change the interface easily

Charter is one example; the company is upgrading its aging set-tops by using a cloud-based technology. Instead of replacing boxes in every single household, the company has built a user interface in the cloud that is being sent to existing boxes in the form of a video stream. A Charter customer can even continue to use an old remote control; the set-top box simply sends each key stroke to servers that take milliseconds to register updates as the customer browses the list of channels or programs a DVR.

ARRIS and TiVo have partnered to integrate TiVo software and cloud-based services with ARRIS’ set-top boxes to offer global service providers a variety of platform options for delivering multiscreen, TV everywhere, and DVR experiences to subscribers. The first product of this collaboration is the DCX3635 Video Gateway, which features six video tuners with eight DOCSIS downstream channels, carries one terabit of onboard storage and is capable of supporting dual simultaneous HD video transcoding sessions.

Consumers have demonstrated that they are willing to pay for high-quality premium content that meets their interests, witness the success of HBO, Showtime and other pay for content providers. The versatility of having numerous monetization options for these platforms creates the optimal climate for broadcasters to create a profitable business by streaming video through branded applications. The winners in the video race “are companies who can integrate across all devices, across all platforms with a common interface.” 

The cloud offers this opportunity, especially for those providers willing to think outside of the box.

For more information about ACG’s video services, contact

Meghna Zutshi