In the NXTcomm08 spotlight: Mark Wegleitner, Verizon
By Carol Wilson
Jun 18, 2008 12:00 AM
As senior vice president of technology for Verizon, Mark Wegleitner is something of a fixture at NXTcomm and has been participating in the annual chief technology officer panel with considerable regularity. Wegleitner is on the front lines of new technology and service deployment at Verizon, and he recently spoke with Telephony Editor-in-Chief Carol Wilson about a number of new initiatives, as well as ongoing efforts and his plans for NXTcomm08.
On the biggest challenge Verizon faces: Itís operationalizing the new technology. Once you get past getting the releases on time, the quality effort in the laboratory and testing and the systems integration, how do you execute on making it do something to customers?
On one of those new services, targeted advertising: The marketing and technology planning efforts have progressed at a very reasonable pace. Targeted advertising has morphed a little ó itís big; there are lots of different variations based on geography, segment of the population or even individuals ó all that thinking has continued. But itís not something we can do today. Itís not so much a technology issue as a matter of the business case.
On Verizonís IMS deployment: We have created our target [IP multimedia subsystem] architecture, and it is progressing with a first service application with IMS. We picked our own pace with IMS.
On home networking: One of the key things has been the work of the [Digital Living Network Alliance]. We need help with devices in the marketplace that are DLNA-ready. Once those are in the hands of consumers, they will be able to take advantage of many of the things we have in mind. We are also in the final throes of our next-generation home router, which is a key element in our strategy. Itís capable of higher speeds because as we go to [Gigabit passive optical network], itís faster than [broadband passive optical network], which is running today. It will be a faster network, with additional processing power and a little more connectivity ó consumers can use the USB ports or use the Wi-Fi thatís been there. The nice thing about additional processing power and memory is that they make it the connectivity manager we envisioned it would be as the brains of a home network, and we can start to pile on applications.
On Verizonís role in home networks: We see the home network as the fourth network: Thereís the broadband core, the metro aggregation, the access network and now the home network. Itís not just plugging a device in; itís a network that exists unto itself, and itís subject to many of the things we apply in a macro sense in the bigger network. We will be involved to whatever extent the customer wants us to be ó I mean, thereís not going to be someone from Verizon standing on the doorstep waiting to help out. But we will help the consumer through difficult configuration and management, and using [the DSL Forumís] TR-069 functions, we should be able to diagnose problems and even notify them in advance of a problem that is going to happen. Right now the [customer premises equipment] is still an art and not a science.
On pioneering the use of peer-to-peer technology as content distribution: We are still actively involved in the P4P group under [Distributed Computing Industry Association]. We just completed the study with Yale University and Pando Networks where we did experiments to improve network routing efficiency and the consumer experience, and we found some pretty revealing stuff in there. The promise is still there that we can get some good stuff out of peer-to-peer networks, and we will continue to run down that trail. Is it going to solve every possible problem? Nothing ever does, but it can contribute positively, especially when moving very highĖbandwidth stuff around.
On deep packet inspection technology: We have to be aware of need for [quality of service], and you have to wonder as to how that QOS should be applied ó by channel, application, port or whole facility. I donít think we know the answer for all those questions for all the use-cases that are being thrown around. We have a certain responsibility to be aware of all the applications, which is something DPI can do. Virtually any technology can be subject to abuse in theory. DPI gets more notoriety because of what has been written recently about it. But there is no foregone conclusion as to DPI as part of a solution ó it has been proposed.
On wireless broadband: Wireless is a key component of our overall broadband strategy. In the past, when WiMAX was a fixed broadband solution, we entertained using WiMAX, and now we think there is potential for [long-term evolution] in that, and [direct broadcast satellite] could play a role. The ultimate objective is to have a cost-effective triple play in low-density markets. We continue to look at technologies to do that.
On DSL technology: We continue to refine our DSL offering; we have come up with 7 megabits in many locations. We have not pursued VDSL for our access network, but as a [multi-dwelling unit] distribution mechanism. We take fiber to the MDU and then use VDSL in the riser distribution.
On Web services and IMS: There is not a clear road map on how that comes together ó there is so much innovation you could wrap up on both worlds ó but a clear road map would be neat thing to have. We continue to look for a way to tap the power of Web 2.0 services and incorporate that into an IMS-controlled infrastructure.
On what he does at NXTcomm: The nice thing is the concentration of technology. It sets a tone in a very specific time frame for suppliers to announce and discuss new product innovations, gives them a target to shoot at. We all come there, and for those three or four days, we are immersed in all of this stuff. Between the convention room meetings, the exhibit floor and all the appointments, itís something of a track meet.