Feature Article

April 16, 2009

Network Management in the Service Provider World � Part 6

This is a multipart series on how companies are rising to meet the challenge posed by the Next Generation Network (NGN) via advanced management products and services. Unlike the circuit-switched PSTN of old, the new packet-based NGN consists of a multitude of converged services, multimedia and other forms of digital traffic. As traffic monitoring and control become more automatic, attention shifts from the network infrastructure exclusively to maintaining a high quality of service for customers and their Service Level Agreements (SLAs) via performance assurance, traffic prioritization, bandwidth shaping, and related technologies.
 
 
NexAira
 
NexAira is a provider of 3G and 4G wireless broadband solutions offering mobile broadband data devices, routers, firmware, engineering/configuration and custom branding services. NexAira recently announced the NexWare I3 GUI firmware for its NexConnect SOHO and business class wireless 3G/4G routers. It’s said to be the first-ever iconic edge router empowering non-technical end users to conduct self-installations, auto-provisioning and auto-configuration. NexAira expects the I3 GUI will change the wireless experience for service providers.
 
NexAira’s Rusty Wright, Vice President of Marketing and Products, says, “We’re a sort of 3G/4G wireless data solutions provider, based out of San Diego, California. We’ve been doing customization of wireless data solutions, involving such things as cards, modules, USB modems, and so forth, for about four or five years now. We’ve been selling primarily into the Tier-2 MVNO space. For carriers that need customization to run authentication over someone else’s network — such as a VoIP managed service provider or a VPN managed service provider that’s also using the Sprint or Verizon network and so they have to authenticate on their network too — we can do all of that custom engineering and programming for them of those devices and have been doing that for some time now. The routers have been for us a natural evolution as data speeds have increased and you can now compare 3G services to wireline broadband services, both from a performance and a reliability standpoint. If you look at DSL, one of the major reasons why wireline devices makers won’t migrate to DSL is not necessarily because of the speed compared to a T1, but because of the reliability and repair issues. If DSL service goes down, it may take three or four days to get to the source of the problem because many times it has something to do with a cable or ‘hard wire’ that must be touched by technicians. In the case of a cellular service, however, you know that repairs can be done within minutes, if that long, simply because it’s wireless and you have much more reliable service to the towers than you have to a cable or broadband distribution system that goes all the way to each home. From a reliability, speed, and even from a pricing standpoint, we’re seeing that data solutions running over wireless technology — 3G/4G broadband services — are a good alternative, and that’s where we brought the router business into play.”
 
“We’ve got one device for the SOHO market,” says Wright, “and we’ve got one device that serves as our entry into the business class, and both of these units run our exceptional I3 GUI. If you read any of the research studies out there describing what our competitors are doing, at least one of them is trying to make their units easier to use. Philips did a study a couple of years ago which found that 30 percent of networked electronic devices end up being returned to stores. Accenture did a study last year which found that 11 to 12 percent of consumer electronics were returned to the stores, and of those, 95 percent of the products actually had no problems. About 50 percent of these ‘no problems found but returned’ products were returned because of the complexity of the device. So NexAira, has made the ‘three 3s’ in I3 GUI stand for Iconic, Intuitive and Interactive. We came up with an easy to use, very automated, graphical user interface, and we’ve paired that our desktop Google and Vista gadgets, so rather than attempt to run programs that run in the background that you must learn, as other people do, we’re going to leverage people’s knowledge of Vista, Google, Apple and Linux ‘sidebar’ technologies and run our Google/Vista gadgets in those sidebars that instantly tell you the status of your network. We combine the automated abilities of our setup wizards and the fact that you can literally plug in our cards and literally automatically connect wirelessly. Our product does all of the authentication for you, it will run on anyone’s network in North America, and, for that matter, pretty much anywhere in the world. You can use AT&T, Verizon, or whatever. You can take any card out and plug any card in and it will still run on our router. So we leverage the cards because we believe that, first of all, technologies change and, second, that in different areas different carriers provide better service.”
 
“So, with one of our products, you have the ability to plug-and-play with virtually any card on any carrier,” says Wright, “and we attempt to get those ‘no problems found’ devices normally returned to retail stores back into the hands of users. Accenture estimated that if you decreased the ‘no problems found’ devices by just 1 percent, you’ll impact the store returns by 2 to 3 percent, and you’ll impact the manufacturer’s revenues by 3 to 5 percent. So we think this is a big problem that we at NexAira can address with the I3 GUI and our automated setup wizard as well as the plug-and-play aspects of the NexConnect router.”





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Richard Grigonis is Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group. To read more of Richard’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek


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