Cable vs. Wireless: Who's Closing The Gap In 2017?

Cable vs wireless

AT&T seems to be in a collision course with Comcast and other cable providers as it has acquired DirecTV to go into video and TV distribution, while Comcast is planning on rolling out their own mobile service. The telecommunications giant will be in a position to provide content and tap into a potential customer base courtesy of DirecTV customers. Comcast has been trying for years to get into the mobile telephone business which has proven to be a great source of growth for telecommunications giants.

According to Forbes, AT&T had recently bought DirecTV, the largest satellite TV provider in the United States. This broadens AT&T’s reach and expands its markets. On the other hand, the two largest cable TV providers, Comcast and Charter are planning to provide a bundled service in mid-2017. For Comcast, this is expected to be a mobile service where it will make use of Verizon’s cell services. Charter’s bundled plan is expected to follow the same route.

This may look like companies poaching on each other’s turf. However, there are several things to also consider. For one, Comcast and Charter have a prior agreement with Verizon to make use of Verizon’s airwave rights. For another, cable companies also happen to lead in providing broadband internet service. In addition, Comcast can also make use of their existing WiFi routers to route mobile calls. They have more than 15 million hotspots already installed.

For the consumers, this can be a big source of savings as they align their service preferences. Additionally, it can also be a way for those without cable to sign up with either DirecTV or with Comcast with compelling bundled service offerings. It is also expected that this trend would continue beyond 2020.

This is a competition based on convergence. Call centers, technical and customer support services have long been relying on information and communications technology convergence to run their businesses better. Voice-over-IP is based on a convergence of technologies.

Cable-vs-Wireless

The delivery of internet, broadband, cable, mobile and wireless services is about getting data, media content and voice from source to the end-user. For data and voice users, they don’t really care what technology is used as long as they can get online, or make a call. This kind of competition is happening all over the world, in different forms.

With an expansion in services, there is also a need for expanded support. Comcast and Charter will need to have support for their expansion to mobile, and WiFi, while AT&T will have to provide additional support for DirecTV Now.

The support itself will not only be for these companies’ customers but also for their own equipment. Smaller regional third-party companies provide the necessary support for end-user equipment installation. They lay down the cables up to the home or office installation point. They also install the equipment for the towers, cell sites, junction boxes and exchanges.

For these third-party companies, they can expand their services to better serve these mega companies. Alternatively, they can stick to their specialization and keep to their core business of providing a specific type of support.

The Danger Of The Internet Of Things

Smart-homes-and-businesses-at-risk-from-IoT

People are interested and fascinated with an intelligent home or business which enables remote monitoring/manipulation of the thermostat, the lights, an empty soda machine that can send a message to be re-filled or the driverless car you took to work this morning. The future of an intelligent home or business uses continuously evolving 'smart' technology and devices under the umbrella term of the Internet of Things (IoT) and it basically means that many of these smart devices can be interconnected and connected to a common network. The devices using the Internet of things (IoT) concept are thought to be built and used in a secure way. However, when there is a lack of thorough security regulations for the manufacturing of these smart devices, when individuals and businesses don't necessarily know what they are exposing themselves to, let alone how these devices operate and where they connect to, the security risks increase dramatically. 

Reports said that on October 21, 2016, a virus called Mirai was used to highjack an unknown number of IoT devices into flooding an Internet Service Provider (ISP) named Dyn. The company itself was relatively small. However, due to the nature of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, there was  a lot of collateral damage. People were not able to use their accounts on large websites and content providers like Netflix, Twitter and Spotify.

In this instance, IoT devices are being attacked in a similar way as devices were in the 1980s, when they were relatively new developments, and it can also be compared to the 1990s when viruses started to run through the internet. The tools and know-how for fighting viruses are already in place, but these are not being used enough due to the lack of information about how a 'smart' light bulb, as part of an IoT network of connected devices, can lead a hacker to gain access to other connected devices in your business and home.  

The simplest way to keep smart devices away from viruses is to update the device with the latest software/firmware. Unfortunately, users of these devices are unaware of the risks of not updating regularly. 

The-Danger-Of-The-Internet-Of-Things

IoT is about connecting things. This is a fundamental characteristic of the technology. For IoT to be secure, security has to be in the minds of everyone. The following are ways to keep your smart devices secure:

  • Buy trusted brands. In general trusted brands have teams of programmers constantly working on the code for these devices. They are also the same team responsible for updating the software, as well as testing the software for any security vulnerabilities.  

  • Trusted brands use security companies to test devices before releasing them to the marketplace.

  • Use passwords that are difficult to guess. The reason that smart devices have passwords is for security purposes. However, a majority of people do not change the passwords from the default, or worse, change the passwords to something which is easily broken. The first thing that you should do once you have a smart device is to change the default password to something you can easily remember but would be hard to crack.

  • Change passwords regularly. Besides changing passwords regularly, you should try to have different passwords for different devices. It is recommended that you change your password at least every 90 days.

  • Keep software on your devices updated. Updates have the latest security patches. In addition, there are regularly scheduled updates and there are priority updates. If you regularly check for updates, you would not be left behind without patches to known security vulnerabilities.

Security concerns are valid and should be considered as top priority. This ensures that your smart devices function as expected, and are not hijacked for nefarious purposes.

Businesses and organizations are at risk from unsecured IoT devices. Like any connected computer, the open connections of an unsecured network is like an open door for malware to enter. Owners must treat their IoT devices like any other computer: with a vigilant eye on security vulnerabilities. The threat is real and growing as more and more IoT devices get deployed. Users have to take the necessary precautions. For companies, they should also take the additional precaution of using a security agency to test for vulnerabilities regularly.

There are many benefits to the company of using a ‘white label’ provider to offer additional services to its customers.  Working with a partner to develop or deliver additional services includes:

·         Reduced costs (or none) of development

·         Speed-to-market

·         Learning new skill sets and market knowledge

·         Keeping focus on core offerings

·         Adding value to the customer

A ‘white label’ partner is often smaller, more nimble, and/or has a different core focus than the primary company.  If the company would like to deliver Security Services, but their core offering is around networks, they won’t already have security experts.  Some might argue that they need to build the offering themselves, but the go-to-market process for an in-house offering, often due to red tape and budgets, would likely be months if not over a year.  Another argument is that the service offering is already a proven commodity to the provider, with existing staff, who have the technical experience and the marketing knowledge to deliver effectively. 

 

When And What To Expect From 5G Wireless

Whats-next-for-wireless

From 3G, to 4G, then 4G LTE, what’s next?  5G. Who knew it was even going to get better than 3G? 5G brings even more power and transformation to our already connected world. With much higher speeds and more capacity than we have ever experienced before, 5G is what we never new we needed. According to Glenn Laxdall, CTO, Ericsson North America, “there will be 29 billion connected devices and more than 100 million 5G subscriptions by 2022.” 5G is expected to be complete in 2018 and fully rolled out in 2020. Though three years away, it will be more than worth the wait and here before we know it, but how did we get here?

Where It All Started 

Many of us remember the days we got 3G on our phones, then 4G then 4G LTE. When 3G came about it helped make our smartphones practical for us – allowing us to watch videos, use the Internet and listen to and download music. We though this was as good as it was going to get, but then we were introduced to 4G. Our phones instantly sped up, there were no more lags while streaming videos or shows and everything was simply much faster. We were then introduced to 4G LTE. This truly turned our phones into mini computers because of the speed we could experience. It was like being at home on our laptops and getting the same Internet speed on our phones. Now that we are slowly being introduced to 5G, we are about to enter into a connected world we never would have predicted would exist back in our 3G days. 

Where We are Headed 

According to Investor’s Business Daily News (IBD), 5G wireless is expected to provide internet connections up to 50 to 100 times faster than 4G and give four times more coverage worldwide. 5G will also give us the capability to have networks of small cells rather than the towers we are used to seeing everywhere. This will allow it to expand its capacity since this generation is no longer just for the mobile industry anymore.

With discussion of 5G-powered drones, racing 5G toy cars and virtual reality headsets linked to another person, 5G is not just for mobile. Each carrier has different rollout plans and timelines that don’t all include rolling out to our mobile phones first such as:

  • AT&T: Connect homes in Texas with high-speed wireless broadband links
  • Verizon: Plans to bring 5G to market in 2017, but is unclear how
  • KT/Samsung: 5G technology in phones at the Winter Olympics in 2018
  • Nokia: Launch “pre-standard” 5G products in 2017 for home broadband, but do a full launch in 2020
What-To-Expect-From-5G-Wireless

Matt Grob, Chief Technology Officer, Qualcomm, told IBD, “Chipmakers, network equipment makers and telecom service providers are investing heavily in the technology. With 5G, there are going to be more device categories.” For example, with 5G we can:

  • Download full-length movies in seconds
  • Use virtual reality to test drive a car or view a home we are looking to purchase
  • Have remote monitoring of EKG’s or blood pressure monitors
  • Use smart traffic signals

Adam Koeppe, vice president of technology planning at Verizon, describes the future of 5G perfectly: "Where 5G fits into the Internet of Things (IoT) equation is scale. IoT will be about tens of billions of devices connected to the network. When you think of truly connected societies — traffic lights, stop signs, parking meters and everything within a city connected and interacting with itself — that's where 5G comes into play."

How 5G Will Affect Your Business

Years from now we will be far past 5G, just like we are far past the 3G that existed years ago. This is a great progression for businesses and consumers, but it can be hard for businesses to keep up with the ever-changing technology. Businesses should continue to stay on top or ahead of the “trends” in technology so they don’t fall far behind and have time to understand the user experience ahead of time. Understanding technology from the user’s point of view will help your business even more to adapt to all the technology upgrades to come. As a business, embrace the changes and think ahead when it comes to technology, especially if you want to use 5G to its advantage. 

There are many benefits to the company of using a ‘white label’ provider to offer additional services to its customers.  Working with a partner to develop or deliver additional services includes:

·         Reduced costs (or none) of development

·         Speed-to-market

·         Learning new skill sets and market knowledge

·         Keeping focus on core offerings

·         Adding value to the customer

A ‘white label’ partner is often smaller, more nimble, and/or has a different core focus than the primary company.  If the company would like to deliver Security Services, but their core offering is around networks, they won’t already have security experts.  Some might argue that they need to build the offering themselves, but the go-to-market process for an in-house offering, often due to red tape and budgets, would likely be months if not over a year.  Another argument is that the service offering is already a proven commodity to the provider, with existing staff, who have the technical experience and the marketing knowledge to deliver effectively. 

What is IoT and why should we care?

internet-of-things

IoT stands for the Internet of Things, which has become the buzz phrase in recent years. Internet of Things is being used to describe devices that can connect to the Internet and with each other to exchange information. These devices can include ‘smart’ devices, or those with sensors, software, and other technology which allows connectivity.  

The idea behind IoT is to take every day items that were not connected to anything and to make them ‘smart’. Think of items such as your refrigerator, smoke alarm, and doorbell in your house to objects such as a vending machine, or a car, or traffic lights. For example, traffic lights have sensors and timers that allow traffic to be controlled to an extent but they lack connectivity to a system, which would make them ‘smarter’ accounting for more traffic-related information by communicating with other devices.

By taking devices/items and connecting them to the internet, you have what is termed, the Internet of Things. But how do you get everyday items connected to the Internet? A refrigerator is unlikely to have an in-built, direct connection to the internet, so how does it gain access? The refrigerator just needs a version of its own Wi-Fi modem, just like the one in your house today, to connect to your existing Wi-Fi modem in your house, the same way your PC or mobile device does.

Home applications: With the application (app) developed specifically for your fridge, you would be able to securely use ‘smart’ features and functions provided by the manufacturer to adjust temperatures or check contents.  

Business applications: Vending machines with connectivity would allow the easy, and real-time tracking of inventory, so suppliers know what is being sold and can react quickly by sending someone to refill it with the right stock.  The owner can then act more efficiently saving time and money, and the consumer is satisfied with their expectations being met.

Other IoT examples: Your car can also be ‘smart’ in terms of connectivity to the internet, which could allow your mechanic to remotely conduct diagnostics on your car and even fix them remotely. On top of streaming movies directly to an in-built video screen, connectivity to your car can even update you or warn you if something is happening in your house, such as a smoke alarm going off or a potential break-in. IoT devices from your car to your home appliances have the potential to be accessed from your phone so that you can control devices remotely while swiftly commuting through ‘smart’ traffic lights. Soon devices in your home, car and even the surrounding environment you travel in, will be connected for more convenience and efficiency.  

There are many benefits to the company of using a ‘white label’ provider to offer additional services to its customers.  Working with a partner to develop or deliver additional services includes:

·         Reduced costs (or none) of development

·         Speed-to-market

·         Learning new skill sets and market knowledge

·         Keeping focus on core offerings

·         Adding value to the customer

A ‘white label’ partner is often smaller, more nimble, and/or has a different core focus than the primary company.  If the company would like to deliver Security Services, but their core offering is around networks, they won’t already have security experts.  Some might argue that they need to build the offering themselves, but the go-to-market process for an in-house offering, often due to red tape and budgets, would likely be months if not over a year.  Another argument is that the service offering is already a proven commodity to the provider, with existing staff, who have the technical experience and the marketing knowledge to deliver effectively. 

Wireless Developments in the Workplace

wireless-in-the-workplace

Today, many businesses are increasingly moving towards wireless solutions, especially when it comes to network connectivity. Throughout any department of a business, wireless solutions can enhance employee and employer productivity from greater work flexibility in the office to high resolution video conferencing to facilitate meetings across different geographical locations. Along with flexibility, wireless networks ensure employees are connected to the corporate network at all times, fostering dependability and accountability. Wireless devices such as phones, tablets and other devices—with correct usage, give employees a framework for boosting their productivity as they are no longer confined solely to their desks.

Businesses are now more than ever looking towards wireless solution providers to maintain their corporate networks. Wireless networks are more adaptable to the emerging business needs than wired networks. Wireless solutions such as cloud computing can enhance capabilities from storage management to cyber security by ensuring that data is kept safe and secure.

BYOD

Rather than being merely a distraction, wireless devices can help to keep employees connected, saving on time, space and bolstering performance. Wireless solutions can improve staff morale especially at firms that offer data center services. This is because they enable staff to work from home, attend off-site meetings and access and diverge real time information to their respective departments. Some organizations allow employees to use their personal devices to access office resources through a strategy known as ‘bring your own device’ - BYOD.

This approach saves valuable productivity time for the company, since employees are already familiar with their own devices and can plan their work schedules more efficiently. However, it is imperative for business owners to understand the risks involved in allowing personal devices to access corporate networks. Some applications on Android’s operating system are susceptible to infection by malicious code, which may in turn lead to instances of email phishing and other cyber security threats.

Project Support

Businesses are constantly looking for wireless solution providers to proactively manage their wireless networks. Wireless solutions can help firms to establish customized network design and planning to better incorporate new and developing technology. Companies are able to map their wireless network design in an efficient and quick timeframe while taking steps to allow for future modifications. Through these customized plans, businesses are able to install and configure a reliable and efficient wireless system for the company.
The use of server migration companies can help businesses to update outdated programs and bring on board better software and hardware in the upgrading process. Wireless solution providers aid in network monitoring as well as responding to troubleshooting queries as part of a project support strategy engaged by some businesses to make the most out of their upgraded wired / hybrid / wireless networks. Cloud migration ensures onsite data processing and dissemination is instantaneous, allowing an organization’s computing resources to be shared in a virtual, secure and cost-effective way.

wireless-in-the-workplace

Wireless solution providers provide web application testing tools which carefully evaluate web-based applications for businesses. This ensures that your company’s apps are working as they should, before they go live. Web application testing services also cover functionality issues such as user interface, browser compatibility, handling traffic and server storage.

Wireless developments in the workplace also encompass security issues by conducting IT security risk assessments on web-based systems. Risk assessments help companies to adopt best practices for their web-based systems, while at the same time mitigating against attacks from malicious 3rd parties.

Boosting Signals

DAS (Distributed Antennas Systems) is an efficient way to increase network capacity and improve coverage. These antenna-feeder devices provide 100% coverage of 2G/3G and Wi-fi networks of one provider, but also allow other mobile operators to connect to DAS infrastructure. Possibilities of DAS are even greater due to the development of WiMAX/4G networks oriented on high speed data transfer. This provides an office with widespread cellular and wireless coverage by the use of an efficient set up of antennae to boost connectivity throughout. This means fewer troublesome ‘dead’ spots where signal is low or non-existent, and instead, employees and clients alike will have access to high performing wireless.

Wireless systems have a huge potential to transform businesses with innovative solutions. They offer employees flexibility for efficient and effective delivery of services. Wireless technologies through cloud computing eliminates extra work by providing real-time data reporting. A new wave of innovations in Wireless-LANs, wireless content sharing and 5G networks will greatly impact business in near future.

Get in Touch!

Telephone: (919) 439-5000
Email: info@mercuryz.com
www.mercuryz.com
1150 SE Maynard Rd
Cary, NC 27511

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