No, we don’t have Wi-Fi, talk to each other… It’s worth it

sdwan summitThis may seem an odd title for a post by a communications equipment manufacturer whose portfolio includes a complete range of Wi-Fi products. But the truth is that the title refers to a photo that went viral of a bar sign advising customers to take advantage of the bar’s lack of connectivity and engage in good old conversation.

This is what we at Teldat were doing at the SD-WAN summit held in Paris last week where we participated as exhibitors alongside leading players (manufacturers, operators, customers and analysts) in this new technology field.

And what is clear is that, as the title says, talking (and especially listening to others) has been worthwhile to find out, in detail, the real level of development of SD-WAN technology, what it should really be offering today, and how it is perceived by operators and businesses. And the truth is that there isn’t much difference between what we have learned and what we thought.

The first conclusion we have reached, clearly stated in the keynote opening address at the conference, is that there is no single widely accepted clear definition of SD-WAN or what constitutes it. Apart from what we already know, that it is the application of software-defined concepts to the WAN (as the name suggests),nowhere is there any specific mention of the minimum characteristics or functionalities that a network must meet to be considered an SD-WAN. At least to date. As described in the keynote speech, a good SD-WAN solution will depend on the extent to which it fixes the network connectivity problems of the organization for which it is providing a service. And this is why all of the presenting manufacturers at the fair have good SD-WAN solutions. Some of them are from the security environment. Others come from acceleration. Others from routing, others are new companies with disruptive models. And each solution presented focuses on solving corporate communications problems and SD-WAN strategies differently, depending on the point of origin. And given that each company will have different needs, the best SD-WAN solution will come from the manufacturer whose strategy best suits a company’s specific needs.  Clearly, the concepts of visibility, control, automation, and provision are common to all manufacturers’ offers. But, as we already know, the devil is in the detail. And the differences in interpretation and development of these concepts is where the offers differ and where customers should start searching for the solution that best suits their requirements.  

The second conclusion is that, apart from technology, an important factor when evaluating the differences between the manufacturers presenting their SD-WAN strategies, has been their position on telcos. Statistics and analyst reports show a significant reduction in operators MPLS revenues and many manufacturers are building an SD-WAN strategy that bases its message to companies on being completely operator-independent, either by setting up a proprietary SD-WAN to get excellent (!) MPLS cost savings, or by setting up an over the top network, managed by third parties over operator infrastructure. Some manufacturers, however, see these two approaches as being a major operational risk that could shoot up the TCO of the infrastructure. Instead, they are opting for a carrier friendly strategy that includes the operator as a fundamental part of the solution. At the end of the day, SD-WAN technology offers significant advantages for telcos, and a combined MPLS and SD-WAN offer could potentially be very interesting for both carriers and businesses. Especially if we accept that no matter how much SD-WAN evolves, it will not mean the end of MPLS networks, at least in the medium term.

What we do agree upon, all those of us who talked, is that we are at the beginning of a technological change where there is much to be done.  Almost all large companies are starting projects in this direction, and it is true to say that the needs and requirements of each company are different, as are their business models. For this reason, success for the various manufacturers will not only be about the technological quality of their offer. Other factors relating to their go-to-market strategy (like flexibility, adaptability, financing and the scalability of their offers) will be almost as important as meeting supposed standards that don’t exist. And that is why Teldat is positioned as a leading player in this new field.

Would you like to talk to us? It will certainly be worth your while.

 

Reasons for measuring communication link quality

QoSHow can we establish reliable measures for assessing service quality? An innovative QoS solution. 

One of the biggest headaches for a company’s network managers is verifying that contracted service levels are being met for their infrastructure. Carrier services usually include a series of contractual points which are summarized in service level agreements (SLAs). To determine whether a service meets expected quality standards, the customer and carrier will use the metrics stated in the SLAs as parameters for measurement.

To transfer this into practice, all end users need do when experiencing network problems (i.e., when the Internet isn’t working, connections with the central servers are slow, voice communications break up, etc.) is to open an incident triggering an alarm in the communications systems.  The user reports a quality of experience (QoE) incident. These kinds of incidents have a number of things in common, namely, they are often subjective, sporadic and difficult to measure.    

Quality of service (QoS) measures

Switches, routers, servers, etc., are equipped with built in analysis mechanisms that provide performance statistics and even report queue overflow problems, CPU usage, etc., caused by system anomalies.  But how do we measure the state of the communications network that we have contracted?

To perform the analysis, we need realistic information that can reflect the problem that led the user to trigger an alert. And the way to do this is through contracted quality of service (QoS) measures. These measures are based on a series of metrics that provide objective data that can be easily analyzed and compared against incidents, without having to rely on the subjective end-user experience.

Typical QoS metrics include:

  • Delay: length of time it takes for information to travel from source to destination. RTT – which is the length of time it takes for a data packet to make a round trip from source to destination and back- is often used as a measure.
  • Packet loss: percentage of traffic that fails to reach its destination.
  • Delay variation (Jitter): traffic flows may be delayed by the networks in different ways for different packets. This difference manifests itself markedly in multimedia traffic.

The service administrator can use these three values to get a basic idea of how a network is performing and even complete status reports. And if he has the right tools, he can add other types of metrics as well (e.g., bandwidth metrics).

Teldat and Naudit develop a new solution for measuring QoS

A practical application for the three aforementioned values might be that of a customer with n remote sites interconnected among themselves, or in a star topology with their head office, which might have a centralized measurement system showing the customer instantaneous values of these metrics and their accumulated values over time. Thus, an increase in user QoE incidents will likely cause an alteration of the normal QoS values of the network (and therefore the network administrator receives technical information backing a possible malfunction of the contracted service). 

Teldat and its technology partner Naudit, have developed a joint QoS measurement solution of customer infrastructure. The solution consists of a measurement probe placed in each Teldat router at remote offices and at a centralized software providing the administrator via a control panel quality results and from where he can obtain and export statistical information about his network with the metrics discussed above.

Apart from being integrated into the routers, it is a highly precise measurement solution, which at the same time is not intrusive.

Together, Teldat and Naudit offer innovative technological solutions to complex problems.

 

 

The role communications play in transport and the custody of securities

ipsecDespite the potential symbiosis between transport in armored cars and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), two factors have prevented both sectors from making the most of the opportunities available. The first has to do with the limited bandwidth cellular technologies offered up until recently; the second with the lack of integration and interoperability of existing services (GPS, video, communications, etc.). These two factors have helped perpetuate this problem, which is also present in public and private security forces.

However, the arrival of 3G and 4G/LTE in mobile technologies and the obsolescence of standards used over the past decade (such as TETRA) have spurred the emergence of new market solutions, which are able to meet these technically demanding requirements (such as on-demand video solutions and geolocation/tracking features).

In this context, is it possible to make use of state-of-the-art technologies, while keeping up to date, at a reasonable price and guarantee the levels of confidentiality and integrity the communications sector demands? Fortunately, the market is now able to meet these demands through integrated solutions that use 4G/LTE and Wi-Fi technologies to offer stable, safe and reliable communications with a performance comparable to wired lines.

Cutting-edge onboard communication platforms are at the core of this complex ecosystem, providing 4G/LTE connectivity to all vehicles everywhere. These communication platforms are made up of ruggedized devices specifically designed to work in such environments. Their most advanced versions include geolocation components (GPS) and allow for the integration of other key services such as:

  • Wi-Fi for communications during the handing and receipt of securities.
  • Video surveillance (CCTV), which automatically sends all data to the central operations room.
  • Tracking and fleet management, fully controllable in real time from the control center (remote shutdown, vehicle tracking, consumption levels, etc.).
  • Real time alarm monitoring when it comes to the opening and status of vehicles.
  • Panic button, to launch a coordinated alarm signal in emergency situations.

In economic terms, the use of third-party networks has helped optimize communication costs. However, this advantage proves to be a threat when guaranteeing the confidentiality and integrity of said communications. Thus, it is necessary to make use of data encoding mechanisms (such as IPSec), firewalls and advanced monitoring/supervision techniques. By implementing virtual private networks (VPN), local area networks operating on the Internet (and used by the fleet for communication) can be secured

Since wireless communications (Wi-Fi) must also be safe, advance accreditation technologies and certificates (AAA), together with Radius servers and captive portals, are used to allow connections from authorized members only.

Moreover, the platform must ensure communications are readily available at all times. There are several mechanisms for this:

-          Use of several simultaneous connections with more than one telecommunications carrier, so should a cellular network go down, another is automatically used as backup (failover mechanism).

-          Load balancing and bandwidth aggregation: if several cellular networks are available, their bandwidths accumulate to dynamically and intelligently increase the speed of vehicle connection.

-          The highest standards when it comes to the robustness and ruggerization,with noventilation slots,enable the devices to withstand shocks and vibrations. Moreover, this protects the equipment against the absorption of surrounding dust (bearing in mind that routers are not going to be operating in “clean and safe” environments).

-          Able to operate over a wide temperature range, with automatic shutdown when temperatures reach more than 70 ºC. Operation under said conditions must be supported by the relevant international certification.

-          Power supply straight from the vehicle’s battery, with protection against voltage peaks (also duly certified). Backup elements can be optionally added.

Like all newly-released solutions, management required from the end user must be kept to a minimum.

-          Automatic downloading of data on reaching a safe area (i.e. a bank) over a Wi-Fi connection (instead of consuming the LTE bandwidth): geo-fencing.

-          Plug&Play interconnection with additional onboard communication elements (such as satellite or WiMAX interfaces).

In short, these are the tools the ICT sector can deliver to companies that demand safe connectivity for vehicles in transit, offering maximum flexibility and sturdiness in sectors as critical as armored transport and security forces.

Teldat’s firm commitment to R&D allows us to provide this sector with the latest state-of-the-art technologies, converting complex techniques into simple, clear and transparent solutions for the benefit of our customers.

**This blog entry is based on the article published by Teldat in Securitecnia (June 2016 issue).

 

Wireless LAN in companies, a luxury or a must-have?

wlanFor some companies the question arises whether it is worth having wireless LAN in the company. Others are worried that a wireless LAN network could cause security risks and even attacks on IT systems could be easier.

For those who use tablet PCs in companies, wireless LAN is mandatory to provide Internet connectivity. Nevertheless, even standard notebooks become smaller and more and more manufacturers do without Ethernet connectivity on their devices. Anyone who absolutely needs an Ethernet connection is forced to have an additional adapter or a docking station.

Some companies have optimized their operation processes by using wireless LAN terminals. For example, retailers or logistics companies who do their order picking via Wi-Fi barcode scanners, which saves them time and money. Also hospitals who store patients’ records digitally and enable doctors’ on their rounds to have access to these records via tablet PCs. This simplifies the process of having the necessary documentation able. In restaurants, a seamless wireless LAN is already mandatory for taking customers’ orders at the tables and sending them to the kitchen. In this way, distances covered by the service staff are reduced, each waiter or waitress can take more orders without reducing the service quality. Moreover, even in the office, wireless LAN makes everyday life much easier, you can check your emails, for instance, during meetings.

In almost all applications, it is essential to have a seamless wireless LAN in all areas or rooms of the company to ensure a smooth operation. However, in order to guarantee a network without any interruptions or disturbances, it is mandatory to constantly monitor availability and performance. Therefore, only wireless LAN systems that have a corresponding management application included, should be considered. Consumer wireless LAN products are not well-suited for companies who want to use their wireless LAN for business reasons.

Are WLAN Wireless networks secure?

Some IT managers are still concerned about IT security in wireless networks but the days when data transmitted via wireless LAN could be read by unauthorized people are long past. WPA2 PSK and WPA2 Enterprise provide sufficient protection. Nevertheless, each wireless LAN does have weak points, especially because the radio network can be seen beyond the company. In this case, a professional wireless LAN management system has all the necessary functionalities in order to defeat such attacks. Besides, a wired network can also be attacked. For instance, open accessible Ethernet sockets for the internal network in meeting rooms and unencrypted switches are both security holes which enable industrial spies to access business data via mirror ports. Nevertheless, today’s industrial espionage is more likely to be carried out by Pishing emails in order to install Trojans or similar malware.

WLAN and cost efficiency

Let us have a closer look at the costs. A company who needs wireless LAN besides Ethernet wiring, could face additional costs. However, in case of a relocation or a company start-up, a company can even save on installation costs by switching PCs, notebooks and tablet PCs to the wireless LAN and keeping only printers and access points on the wired network. By using modern 802.11ac technology, one single access point can provide a high-performance connection for 10 to 20 work stations without any problem.

Coming back to the initial question, we come to the conclusion that wireless LAN in companies is now well established and has become a crucial part of IT systems. It has become a business-critical element which many companies cannot do without.

The telecommunications market continues to make progress in 2016

telecommunications marketAs we are past the half year mark for 2016, we have decided to take the opportunity to recap on what this year has meant so far for our industry.

The telecommunications market and technology are forging ahead even faster and on several fronts. A number of different factors may have had an impact on this acceleration of progress, including the new digital transformation, the incorporation of Big Data, the conversion to SD-WAN technology, or network providers and the deployment of new competitive services.

For whatever reason, the telecommunications market is evolving smoothly at present and everything appears to indicate that it will continue to develop at an ever increasing rate.

Teldat blog; the latest telecommunications industry news

We have always made every effort to be at the forefront of our sector. That means following closely the developments in communication technologies and carrying out continuous research, innovation and development of our products. Some time ago we decided to take a step further and share our wealth of knowledge and experience as a telecommunication company. Hence, the Teldat blog was born.

From the blog’s beginnings until now, we have posted interesting entries about a variety of topics related to corporate communications.

During 2016, we have continued to work on our blog, where bloggers known to Teldat have posted their articles. But we have also added some new highly motivated bloggers who add value to our communication efforts. Thanks to the large number of participating authors, we can cover highly diverse subjects, and we do so from very different perspectives which vary depending on each technician’s field of specialization.

Some of our readers may take a break over the new few weeks (or already have). But there is one thing for sure. From Teldat, we wish to thank our readers for their interest and loyalty. When you come back, we’ll be ready, reporting to our customers and followers all the latest news on a highly dynamic and constantly changing market, the telecommunications market.

 

 

 

ATM Security

atm securityBanks are currently one of the primary targets of criminals; quick access to cash or personal bank account information is a juicy haul. Automated teller machines (ATMs) are a security weak point and while bank-located machines usually have cameras and other security measures in place, off-site ATMs installed independently don’t have the same kind of infrastructure. There are plenty of articles on the Internet about ATM skimming, which is when a thief attaches an external device to an ATM to capture a card’s electronic data, including the PIN, in order to recreate an exact copy of the card. See this link to read an article from the North American press  on ATM skimming.

It is in this context that we need to provide remote management mechanisms that ensure thieves can’t gain access to confidential information, a bank’s network or impersonate an ATM.   While access control mechanisms, authentication, firewall ports, etc., can be used preventatively, a thief might still be able to gain physical access to an ATM.  If there is no way to remotely block the machine, an attacker may have sufficient time before the police or security services can arrive, especially in remote areas. Here there are two very effective mechanisms to physically control the status of the ATM from a general network center:

  • Access to a device that disables the ATM by turning off the power to the machine. By running a command in the communications device you can control devices that physically block the power and turn off the ATM or any connected devices, thus preventing attackers from operating or running operations that depend on electricity.
  • If thieves cut the physical communication cables to prevent remote access to the communications device, you can still connect to the device using wireless WAN backup. Thus, although you can’t communicate any data, if the SIM is active you can send commands via SMS that turn the ATM’s power on or off. You also benefit from a dual security mechanism, since precautions need to be taken to avoid just any number accessing the device’s controls, thus only one or a few numbers must be enabled to prevent unauthorized access.

At Teldat we have both preventative and reactive security measures in place on thousands of ATMs worldwide providing full control over the devices at all times, whether by fixed-line or mobile.

 

What’s the difference between a router and a PC?

482253443How does a personal computer (PC) differ from a router?

Many people believe they have completely different electronic systems, but this is not entirely accurate. While it’s true to say there are quite a few differences, they also have a series of characteristics in common.

First of all, routers fall into the so-called embedded systems category. “What is an embedded system?”, you may ask. Well, it’s simply a computer system designed to carry out a limited number of tasks, meaning their hardware and software is far more specific than that of a PC. Other examples of such systems are printers, GPS navigation systems or DVD players.

Both PCs and routers are computer systems equipped with bootware stored in a non-volatile memory (usually FLASH or EEPROM – Electrically Erasable Programmable Read -Only Memory) used to initialize hardware and boot the operating system. Let’s take a closer look at how this bootware works in the different systems.

PCs first execute a part of the software known as BIOS (Basic Input/Output System). Its main task is to boot the hardware, carry out the POST (Power On Self Test), which basically checks the hardware is in perfect condition, and load the bootstrap (boot manager) to upload the operating system into the memory.  BIOS can also serve as a layer between the operating system and the hardware.

router embebidoRouters, on the other hand, use embedded bootloaders. This software boots the processor (and surrounding devices) and loads the operating system in the memory. The latter is normally found compressed, together with the bootload, in flash. Aside from this, typical PC features (such as Power On Self Tests) are also added. The main advantage of embedded bootloaders is they occupy little space and boot far more quickly than the average BIOS (PC). Teldat equips each of their routers with specifically and individually designed embedded bootloaders ensuring their devices boot as quickly as possible.

Broadly speaking, PCs and routers are, at their simplest, two computer systems. Routers, however, are more feature-specific, their soft and hardware being designed to optimize certain characteristics. PCs, on the other hand, are just unable to carry out router functions despite their similarities.

The path has been cleared to make way for DRAM

dram memoryOur analysis of the evolution of memory begins in the dynamic memory era, that is, with dynamic random access memory (DRAM).

Without going into technology specifics such as the structure of a memory cell, the distinguishing characteristics of DRAM versus SRAM (static RAM) are basically twofold: (1) the full address is usually presented to SRAM just once, while it is multiplexed to DRAM, first the row and then the column; (2) DRAM also needs to be refreshed periodically to maintain the integrity of stored data.

This memory family kicks off with Fast Page Mode (FPM) DRAM.  In the early days, 5V technology and asynchronous memories were used as these memory devices did not require a clock signal input to synchronize commands and I/O. Data access time, from the moment that the memory controller (located in the CPU or chipset) supplied the row address, was around 35 ns, and 13 ns for the column address.  Right from the first implementations, once the row address had been supplied, it was possible to vary the column so as to have the data arriving every 13 ns. A further improvement came in 1995 in the form of extended data output (EDO) DRAM, which simply held the read data stable until the falling edge of CAS# in the next cycle, rather than putting them into high impedance at the rising edge of CAS#. With this precharge time (tCP) was gained, which allowed the bursts to be shortened from X-3-3-3 cycles of the front side bus (FSB) to X-2-2-2 cycles. This simple improvement enabled a ten percent increase in performance while maintaining the price. It was the Pentium era with a 133-200 MHz internal clock and 66 MHz FSB. 

The next step for the technology is synchronous DRAM.  Among the changes introduced with this type of memory we have:  (1) among the signals reaching the device is a 100-133 MHz (PC100 and PC133) clock signal (hence the name), (2) the power supply voltage is reduced  to +3.3V, marking the beginning of a continuous reduction, (3) signaling is LVTTL, (4) read and write access will be burst-oriented with the burst length, and other operating parameters, programmed during initialization[i], and (5) organized into four internal banks.  As in the case of FPM and EDO, accesses begin with the registration of an ACTIVATE command, which is then followed by a READ or WRITE command. The address bits registered at the same time as the ACTIVATE command are used to select the bank and row to be accessed. The address bits registered at the same time as the READ or WRITE command are used to select the bank and the starting column location for the burst access. Access time from row activation is 30 ns (tRCD + CL x tCK) and 15 ns (CL x tCK) from registration of the READ command until the first burst beat becomes available for the PC133 specification; the following three beats arrived at a rate of one per clock cycle: X-1-1-1. And now, on top of this, once a row in the bank is open, any column in that row can be accessed without having to wait for the row to be reopened; the burst under these conditions is: 2-1-1-1 compared with 4-1-1-1. However, by far the biggest advance over previous EDOs has had more to do with the possibility of initiating a second access in another bank while the previous one is still in progress, than to do with latency. Thus, bursts could be juxtaposed: X-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 compared with X-2-2-2-X-2-2-2, and at the same time the clock frequency increases from 66 to 133 MHz.  By the year 2000, this technology had completely replaced the former EDO.

The next improvement came in the form of Double Data Rate (DDR): (1) the power supply voltage is reduced to +2.5V, (2) signaling is now SSTL and continues to be so right through DDR3, (3) size increases to 1 Gb, (4) the clock becomes differential, (5) each byte/nibble is accompanied by a co-directional data strobe (DQS) used as a clock to capture data using, and hence the name, (6) both edges. This innovation allows us to double the amount of information transferred in each clock cycle. The voltage reduction and other improvements allow the clock frequency to increase to 167 MHz (although there were 200 MHz versions powered at +2.6V).  Although the access time from the row and the column to the first data beat is 30 ns and 15 ns, respectively, subsequent beats are received every 3 ns (tCK /2 @ 167 MHz). Thus, all of the information contained in a burst is received in 42 ns, or 24 ns if the row is already open.  

The evolution continues with DDR2: (1) the power supply voltage is reduced to +1.8V, (2) size increases to 2 Gb[ii], (3) the number of banks is doubled to eight, (4) DQSs become differential, and (5) dynamically activated on-die termination resistance (ODT) is included in data lines to improve signal integrity. The clock frequency increases to 533 MHz. Row and column access times to the first burst data beat vary little, being 26.25 ns and 13.125 ns respectively, but subsequent ones have far lower latency (0.94 ns). The entire 4-beat burst is transferred in 30 ns from row activation which is the worst case.

The next generation, and we are now nearing the present, is DDR3(L): (1) the power supply voltage is reduced to +1.5V, and even +1.35V in the low-power version, (2) capacity ranges from 4 Gb (+1.5V) to 8 Gb (+1.35V), (3) the number of banks remains the same, (5) the number of ODT termination values increases from three to five, (6) you can choose between two different memory driver strengths and, most importantly, (7) the bus routing paradigm between the DRAM and the memory controller changes. We pass from the symmetrical tree-type topology for command/address/control signals and static skew control between them and the data bus, to a “fly-by” topology for command/address/control and clock (CK) lines and de-skewing the DQS strobe to clock (CK) relationship at the DRAM, through a process that the controller, aided by the memory, must implement during the so-called Write Leveling initialization phase. This is when the controller adjusts each byte’s DQS strobe displacement in submultiples of the clock period until it is aligned with the clock signal. During each step of the process, DDR3 memory samples the clock signal at the rising edge of the DQS, returning the value at the least significant bit in the octet/nibble. The process ends when the controller receives a CK transition event from 0 to 1. The corresponding delay represents the value which de-skews the trace length mismatch between ADD/CMD/CTL/CK and the corresponding octet/nibble. The new topology allows us to double the operating frequency to 1066 MHz so that row and column access times of the first data beat are 13.09 ns and 13.13 ns, respectively, while the latency to the following one is reduced to 0.469 ns. Thus the burst transfer takes 28.1 ns from the row and 15 ns from the column.

Finally we come to the last step in the DRAM evolution, DDR4: (1) the power supply voltage is reduced once again to +1.2V, (2) signaling changes to POD, (3) capacity increases to 16 Gb, (4) the number of banks is doubled to 16[iii], (5) frequency is increased to 1600 MHz, and as a result, (6) we see an increase in the ODT values (with up to seven possible values). Performance increases proportionally with the increase in clock frequency.

In view of the calculated access times, which are always around 30 ns from the row and 15 ns from the column, you might be mistaken for thinking that performance has failed to increase significantly over time. However, such a perception does not do justice to reality since the controller usually maintains several active banks (up to sixteen with DDR4) so that while we still have the aforementioned latency, the controller can schedule the accesses so the bursts are placed back-to-back achieving a throughput that is two orders of magnitude higher than FPM and EDO.  Let’s take an example: suppose the program flow requires the activation of one row  followed by another and so on, and that, as a result, the controller activates the first row in the N cycle, the next one in the N+2 cycle and so on. Well, if we were using the DDR4-3200 we would have the first data available in the N+44 cycle, the second in the N+44.5, the third in N+45 and the fourth and last of the first burst in N+45.5. The first one corresponding to the N+2 activation would appear in N+46, the second in N+46.5 and so on. As you can see, the throughput is one data beat every 0.5 x tCK with tCK being the inverse of 1600 MHz (625 ps),  which expressed in transfers per second is 3200 MT/s compared to the 22 and 33 MT/s data rates obtained with FPM and EDO, respectively.

Teldat devices haven’t remained outside this evolution. The N+ used FPM DRAM to operate at 33 MHz; the ATLAS200, ATLAS 250 and ATLAS 150 used SDR SDRAM to operate at 50 MHz, 66 MHz and 100 MHz, respectively, depending on the version; the ATLAS160 and ATLAS360 use DDR2 at 200 MHz (400 MT/s) and 266 MHz (533 MT/s); the ATLAS6x inaugurated the use of DDR3 at 333 MHz (666 MT/s) and the more modern iM8 and i70 routers use the latter memory type to achieve 1600 MT/s transfers.


[i] Burst lengths of 4 are considered in the text.

[ii] Only parts of a single DIE are considered.

[iii] The sixteen banks are actually organized into four groups of four banks. New temporary restrictions relating to being part of a group or bank have implications for controller design.

 

Brand internationalization

Brand internationalizationIn a highly dynamic technological sector led by powerful multinationals that put considerable emphasis on branding, international presence and acceptance of any kind for small and medium-sized businesses is both noteworthy and appreciated.

At the same time, staying and even expanding in this market is an exciting challenge. Responding to this challenge requires adapting and even reinventing certain aspects of a business; some of them more obvious, like brand image or creating a powerful international network of offices and business partners to provide commercial services and local technical support. Furthermore, the impact on the product is quite clear, from product definition to marketing, through design, manufacturing and other product-related aspects. And it is on this topic that I wish to share with you certain aspects relating to brand internationalization.

First, starting with the product name itself, we need to think globally, keeping a watchful eye on legal cases like the one that forced “Dunkin’ Donuts” to change its name in Spain to “Dunkin’ Coffee” because Panrico had already registered the word “Donut”. The phonetics of different languages are another thing to watch and there are a number of funny anecdotes mainly in relation to car models; there’s the “Nissan Moco” or the “Mazda Laputa”, which failed to sell in Spain, and the “Fiat Marea” or the “Mitsubishi Pajero”, which ended up being called “Montero”.

Moving on to less humorous topics, I should mention the certification requirements of different countries for marketing and imports.  First, there are the internationally recognized CE, FCC and UL certifications carrying their own non-insignificant costs,  especially for devices incorporating radio communications (WLAN, WWAN) since they require testing in different bands and band combinations. Any slight component change or minor device modification will invalidate these certifications taking you right back to square one. Next, some countries have their own standards and certification requirements that require local tests and often duplicate certification efforts. And as if that were not enough, ensuring product compliance in some of these countries lies with the importer, with all the obstacles that implies. It is also quite common for import permits to have expiry dates, sometimes as little as six months, which in most cases requires a simple administrative process to renew the permit and a mandatory fee of course.

And I mustn’t neglect to mention the accessories. In the European Union, manufacturers and importers, for goods imported from developing countries, are responsible for ensuring product compliance. This is because according to regulation 768/2008/EC, non-EU manufacturers are excluded from all liability for a good; the liability falls on the importer (who is easier to pursue legally…). Having said that, according to the same regulation, everything is relative, and under certain marketing conditions a third party marketing goods under certain circumstances may end up being held liable.

The common legislative framework of the European Community clearly acts as a homogenizing element facilitating and driving the market.  But while affixing a CE marking to a product provides a guarantee of product safety and reliability, not everything that glitters is gold! Watch out for a strikingly similar “CE” marking that stands for China Export and only means that the product was manufactured in China. 

logo eu

The international presence of Teldat, which in 2015 alone helped the companies of fifty-five countries on five continents with their communications, bears witness to the efforts of this Spanish company in the process of brand expansion and international product and brand recognition. The company’s manufacturing experience, together with a tightly woven network of partners fully committed to customer satisfaction, ensures efficient communication solutions wherever customers choose to trust their communications to Teldat.

 

Digital transformation. Digital connectivity

digital transformationA couple of weeks ago, Madrid was the venue for what has been heralded as Europe’s largest digital transformation trade show. Leading multinationals and the smallest of startup companies took the opportunity to showcase their products and services related to this new technological revolution that aims to change the way we live and work… Or maybe not?

As usual, everything depends on how you define digital transformation and on how companies interpret the advantages and disadvantages that a digital transformation (in varying degrees) can bring to their business model.

Broadly speaking, digital transformation is about using new technologies to improve business. If we analyze the two words that make up the concept, a digital transformation is clearly, above all else, a transformation of sorts. That is, it is a change in the way things are done.

“User experience” enhancement, around which the majority of exhibitor presentations, demos, products and services revolved, was the theme on practically every stand and presentation at the event. And rightly so, because the consumer (or user) stands at the center of all processes undertaken by companies to digitally transform themselves. For two reasons:

1.      Cloud services and simplifying user interfaces and applications (thanks to Apple and other companies) have been behind the first phase of the digital transformation. This has allowed consumers to perform the tasks and jobs previously done by companies, and is called consumerization. New demand is generated for a different set of products and services that companies must find new ways of satisfying, leading them to transform their business model, processes and activities.

2.      Thanks to new technology, the method of reaching the user has changed dramatically in recent years. To start with, user access is more direct and less complicated, which has also led to a transformation of the distribution channels. A clear example are the retail chains and the problems they have in maintaining the level of store access against the push in online sales. In the end, the users or customers will be the ones that decide how the companies they buy from should act. Both for B2C companies and for B2B companies, which end up being B2B2C. 

But this is only part of the digital transformation process. The really revolutionary and disruptive fundamentals of these processes are “what we can’t see”. The inner part, the process, procedures, operations and maintenance that can mean huge savings and improved efficiency for businesses. As we have seen, some are imposed by consumer demands. Others are to be found among the infinite possibilities offered by the four technological pillars of any digital transformation process: mobility, cloud, the Internet of things and data networks, on which the whole structure holding these increasingly critical processes ultimately rests.

A simple example: Any large distribution chain that uses RFID tags on its products, that needs to equip its carriers with  tablet applications to monitor deliveries and delivery notes, and that stores its business data on a distributed cloud so that it can perform big data analytics to improve its business processes. None of these actions has a direct or significant impact on the customer, yet all of them have two things in common: they significantly improve internal efficiency, control and knowledge, and they employ different models of use of the data networks.

And this is where the data network becomes central to digital transformation processes. In recent years, the network’s purpose has been to provide reliable continuous bandwidth to support corporate data traffic.

In the current environment, networks must dynamically adapt to cater for specific needs across a company, providing distributed connectivity that is practically tailored to the different business areas. With regard to the operational departments, networks should be very simple to set up (regardless of how complex they are) and provide full control, in terms of both management and the total cost of owning and operating them.

This is the digital connectivity that digital transformation needs. The challenge to which the industry must respond. A challenge that we at Teldat are more than prepared to take on, with our SD-WAN solutions that not only solve the digital connectivity requirements of IT departments within organizations, but that can also be integrated into carrier business and supply models to create an integrated corporate communications platform, tailored to the transformation processes.