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August 2020

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In This Issue

The logo of Chinese company Huawei at their office for Serbia in Belgrade, on May 25, 2018. - Source: Jerome Cid, 123rf.com
From The Editor

What Is True About Huawei?

The China-based multinational company Huawei Technologies has enormous importance in the w...
Immersive Experiences: 5G makes AR and VR powerful tools in training and communicating information to employees and customers. - Source: Nokia 5G Use Case Research Summary PDF
5G

Research Reveals What’s Behind 5G Demand for Enterprise Information, Operational Technology

Nokia conducted research in partnership with Parks Associates that highlights 5G wireless ...
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FirstNet

FirstNet Network Expands Across Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland

First responders in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland are receiving a boost in their wir...
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Business

Elliott Management Recommends Changes at Crown Castle

Seeing a significant value opportunity as 5G wireless communications network deployments a...
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Business FCC Security

FCC Bans Spending Universal Service Fund Dollars With Huawei, ZTE, Because of National Security Threat

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released two similar orders on June 3...
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Security

U.S. to Evaluate Chinese Communications Technology Used Abroad

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. government wants to ensure that the Chin...
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Security

China Greatest Threat to U.S. Economic and National Security

Speaking during a video event from the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., on July 7, FB...
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Safety Site Lighting

Improving Nighttime Safety for VFR Pilots

In U.S. airspace, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported almost 27.5 million f...
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Edge

Edge Computing and the Towers of the Future

ExteNet Systems provides converged communication infrastructure-as-a-service. The company ...
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COVID-19 Safety

Public Safety Communications in the Wake of the Pandemic

The telecommunications industry plays a key role in crisis response, public safety and rec...
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FCC Security

FCC Should Use Its New Tools to Make Wi-Fi Safer

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shown that broadband networks are essential. Peopl...
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Business

Eight Useful Steps to Reach and Engage the Decision-maker

Are you pitching a new idea or concept? Looking to attract new business? Seeking to boost ...
The logo of Chinese company Huawei at their office for Serbia in Belgrade, on May 25, 2018. - Source: Jerome Cid, 123rf.com
The logo of Chinese company Huawei at their office for Serbia in Belgrade, on May 25, 2018. Source: Jerome Cid, 123rf.com
From The Editor

What Is True About Huawei?

The China-based multinational company Huawei Technologies has enormous importance in the world of 5G wireless communications. It is a supplier of superior core network, base station and antenna products. Its ownership and its potential and actual intelligence-gathering capability are matters of concern. They affect the suitability of its equipment and software for use in capitalist countries governed as democracies. This concern has led several countries to reverse their previous acceptance of Huawei and to bar its future participation in their communications networks.

Huawei’s website says its employees own the company. Huawei says that it operates without Chinese government control, and thus without obligations to serve the purposes of the Chinese Communist Party or the People’s Liberation Army. Last year, Christopher Balding and Donald Clarke presented research results that contradict the assertion of employee ownership. Their research into the complex documentation of employee, trade union, founder, management and government relationships involved concludes that Huawei effectively is state-owned.

Huawei disavows receiving much in the way government subsidies that would account for its research and development surpassing its competitors. However, the Wall Street Journal found that the company had access to as much as $75 billion in state support. The weight of revelations about perceived national security threats led Congress to adopt the Secure and Trusted Telecommunications Act. The Act bars U.S. carriers from accessing and using funds administered by the FCC to purchase equipment from Huawei and other companies. The president signed the Act into law on March 12. On April 29, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the 5G Clean Path. It restricts Huawei, ZTE and other untrusted vendors that are required to comply with directives of the Chinese Communist Party.

National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorney General William Barr individually delivered speeches in June and July. In their speeches, they gave details about China’s theft or acquisition by coercion of intellectual property. They gave U.S. government assessments of economic and security threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party and companies it owns.

When he spoke during an appearance on CNN on July 19, Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, said that the fundamental question is simple: “Is the United States ready or willing to live with another country with very different culture, very different political and economic systems, whether the United States is ready to live with it in peace and cooperate on so many and still growing global challenges.”

The answer is that the United States should be able to live in peace with China. The United States should be able to do that without helping the Chinese Communist Party advance its different political and economic systems by making use of untrusted vendors.

Don Bishop, Executive Editor of AGL Magazine

Immersive Experiences: 5G makes AR and VR powerful tools in training and communicating information to employees and customers. - Source: Nokia 5G Use Case Research Summary PDF
Immersive Experiences: 5G makes AR and VR powerful tools in training and communicating information to employees and customers. Source: Nokia 5G Use Case Research Summary PDF
5G

Research Reveals What’s Behind 5G Demand for Enterprise Information, Operational Technology

Nokia conducted research in partnership with Parks Associates that highlights 5G wireless communications plans and expectations and what motivates U.S. and UK businesses in key industries to use 5G wide-area and local-area networks. The study surveyed 1,000 information technology (IT) decision-makers and covered energy, manufacturing, government/public safety and automotive/transportation enterprise segments.

Most are aware of 5G and almost half are planning nowMost are aware of 5G and almost half are planning now. Source: Nokia, Mapping demand: the enterprise 5G opportunity

Results reveal that two-thirds of participants surveyed (65 percent) are familiar with 5G, and one-third (34 percent) report they are already using 5G and are highly satisfied with the service. Although nearly half (47 percent) of IT decision-makers say their organizations have already started planning for 5G, others are waiting for more widespread 5G availability (54 percent), and nearly one third (30 percent) reported they would also like to better understand the value of 5G before developing a strategy to use it in their organization.

The research also identified video as the so-called killer app for 5G across verticals and different business sizes, with 83 percent finding it compelling and 48 percent citing 5G-enhanced video monitoring as a near-term (0 to 4 years) opportunity. Respondents can readily grasp the additional value that 5G can bring to video, with 83 percent finding video alerts such as detecting and recognizing who is on premise as valuable capabilities. Video was followed by remote-controlled machinery with 77 percent of participants interested, and connected cars at 73 percent.

The COVID-19 pandemic started as operators around the world were ramping up 5G network rollouts, exploring new use cases and business models, particularly for enterprises. With survey respondents revealing that 61 percent of businesses would look to a mobile operator for direction when planning 5G services, CSPs have an opportunity to position themselves with those enterprises that are looking for 5G expertise during these uncertain times.

CSPs are well placed to succeedCSPs are well placed to succeed – but will find strong competition. Source: Nokia, Mapping demand: the enterprise 5G opportunity

Josh Aroner, vice president marketing for Nokia’s service provider business, said: “We conducted this survey to demystify 5G hype and to get to the crux of what will drive enterprises to adopt 5G for their WAN and LAN applications. It also reveals how CSPs can grow revenue by offering the services that enterprise customers are willing to pay for.”

Aroner said Nokia anticipates requirements born out of the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate longer-term 5G plans with a focus on digitization, automation and analytics, which he said perfectly lend themselves to physical distancing, monitoring and remote working. “Now we have a better understanding of what is happening in the network, there is a clear call to action for CSPs to invest in vertical expertise and guide their enterprise customers with more 5G education” he said.

Energy and Manufacturing are leading the wayEnergy and Manufacturing are leading the way. Source: Nokia, Mapping demand: the enterprise 5G opportunity

Other key findings of the research include:

  • Energy and manufacturing firms show the highest awareness of 5G and are exploring its potential for advanced WAN/LAN use cases including infrastructure maintenance, remote machine control and cloud robotics.
  • Over half of respondents (55 percent) find immersive experiences (5G-enabled augmented reality or virtual reality) appealing. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, 52 percent of professionals found 5G AR/VR for employee training appealing. Over two thirds (67 percent) of education respondents found the ability to provide access to interactive education experiences as appealing.
  • Seventy-seven percent of companies that already use connected equipment find 5G-enabled remote control machinery appealing, and 82 percent of respondents who already use cloud robotics find the concept of 5G-enabled cloud robotics highly appealing.
  • Among organizations that use vehicles, 74 percent found connected vehicles using 5G appealing. Across industries, Nokia found that 5G holds the most appeal where the vehicles are being used for safety and security purposes — such as monitoring premises and public safety — or for transporting paying customers.
  • Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is the top use case for small and medium-sized business, 73 percent of whom show a strong interest in FWA if cost and performance can match their existing wired broadband service.

The survey was fielded to 1,000 Enterprise IT decision-makers in the United States and the United Kingdom. Respondents were required to have a role in IT decision-making for their organizations. To ensure representation, soft quotas were set for each company size category: small (less than 50 employees), medium (50–499 employees), large (500 or more employees); and for core industry types: energy, retail, manufacturing, government and public safety, automotive and transportation, media and advertising, and education.

Source: Nokia

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FirstNet

FirstNet Network Expands Across Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland

First responders in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland are receiving a boost in their wireless communications with the addition of purpose-built cell sites and other network enhancements statewide, according to information released by the First Responder Network (FirstNet) Authority, an independent authority within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The FirstNet Authority (FA) said the new infrastructure also would improve connectivity for residents and visitors. An FA statement said the FirstNet public safety broadband wireless network supports public safety agencies’ COVID-19 disease pandemic emergency response.

Purpose-built FirstNet cell sites and other network enhancements form part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the three states. FA said that the FirstNet network is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. The authority is building the network with AT&T in a public-private partnership.

“That’s why AT&T has a responsibility unlike any other network provider,” the FA statement reads. “And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband when needed with always-on priority and preemption for first responders. This helps ensure the states’ first responders connect to the critical information they need — every day and in every emergency. Plus, it’s giving first responders unthrottled access to the nation’s fastest overall network experience.” In describing the network experience, FA cited AT&T’s analysis of Ookla Speedtest Intelligence data median download speeds for the first quarter of 2020.

Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in the three states, the FA said, the agency is actively extending the reach of the FirstNet network to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. FA said network construction is well ahead of schedule.

In Delaware, eight new FirstNet cell sites, identified by state and public safety stakeholders as priority locations, have launched in the following communities:

  • Kent County: A new site in Kenton provides coverage to the town and helps fill the gap between Pearsons Corner and Cheswold. A new site in Felton provides coverage in rural Delaware, covering Sandtown, Petersburg and Route 12 between Felton and the Delaware-Maryland border.
  • New Castle County: A new site in Newark improves coverage at the University of Delaware Science & Technology building, as well as boosting capacity at athletic facilities along S. College Avenue. A new site in Townsend improves coverage around scenic Highway 9 and Saw Mill Branch Road.
  • Sussex County: A new site in Milford improves coverage in and around downtown Milford. A new site in Milton (adjacent to Dogfish Head Brewery) boosts coverage for the retail business area along Main Street and residential homes in the downtown area of Milton. A new site in Dagsboro enhances coverage along Routes 113 and 26 and in downtown Dagsboro. In addition, a new site in Millsboro improves coverage along Routes 24 and 23.

“I am pleased to see FirstNet staying true to its promise of expanding coverage in our area with the new site builds,” said Jay Jones, president of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association. “As a third-generation firefighter, this technology and service brings us to a whole new level of fire suppression. We have been able to get reliable coverage in areas where we have previously struggled. With 60 volunteer fire companies in the state, knowing our members can easily subscribe to public safety’s network. It’s changing the game for us.”

State and local agencies in the three states on FirstNet also have continuous access to a nationwide fleet of 76 land-based and airborne deployable network assets. These portable cell sites can be deployed either for planned events or in emergencies at no additional charge. FirstNet Response Operations — led by a group of former first responders — guides the deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets based on the needs of public safety.

In its information release, FA said it has expanded the benefits of FirstNet for state and local agencies, spanning law enforcement, fire, emergency medical service (EMS), health care, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 911 operations. According to FA, these agencies can stay up-to-date with free smartphones for life at no additional cost on their FirstNet Mobile — Unlimited plans. The federal authority said this means first responders across agencies of all sizes will have affordable access to their network for decades to come.

“Delaware’s first responders deserve reliable coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents,” said Denis Dunn, president of AT&T Delaware. “And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting. We couldn’t be more pleased to support the public safety mission and bring the state’s first responders and residents greater access to the connectivity they need. Working with public safety, we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale for even the most severe situations as we’re seeing currently with COVID-19.”

The COVID-19 health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet, according to the FA. “Where public safety goes, we go,” the agency’s statement reads. “We’ve answered the call for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. But with COVID-19, it is like experiencing a perpetual emergency in every community across the country. Public safety’s network is being tested in a completely new way, and it’s hitting the mark.”

Edward Parkinson, the FA’s CEO, said that the FirstNet network is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety. He said the federal agency worked hand-in-hand with the three states’ public safety communities to understand their needs for the network. The network enhancements are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality, Parkinson said.

In Pennsylvania, the FA launched new cell sites in the following communities:

  • Huntingdon County: This new site provides coverage around Broad Top City and along SR-913 and Broad St.
  • Lycoming County: A new site offers new coverage in Barbours, as well as Route 87 throughout the area.

“FirstNet has opened up a new level of data transmission service for the public safety world,” said Rich Caschera of the North Central Regional Task Force. “Loyalsock Volunteer Fire Company No.1 enjoys the data speeds and call preemption service in the regions command unit as well as our tablet used in our EMS and Fire units. We enjoy a great working relationship with the FirstNet Pennsylvania Sate Interop Team and the FirstNet support team at AT&T. We saved on costs and gained service.”

  • Sullivan County: This new site in Forksville enhances coverage along East Bear Mountain Road and Route 154 as well as surrounding areas.

The latest group of FirstNet sites to be publicly announced in Pennsylvania followed Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to opt into FirstNet in November 2017, to advance its public safety broadband communications with FirstNet.

“My team worked to help identify the areas of Pennsylvania where we needed more mobile broadband coverage for our first responders,” said Pennsylvania State Police Major Diane M. Stackhouse, Gov. Wolf’s appointed FirstNet single point of contact for the network. “These new sites are good news for public safety in Pennsylvania. I look forward to continued collaboration with the FA and AT&T as the buildout continues.”

In Maryland, eight new FirstNet cell sites have launched in the following communities:

  • Allegany County: This new site in Cumberland offers new coverage around Brown Ave. and Adelaide Ave. near the Army National Guard Recruiting Station.
  • Calvert County: A new site in Huntingtown provides new coverage around Wilson Road and All Day Road.
  • Charles County: This new site provides new coverage in Southern Charles County, including Rock Point and Cobb Island.
  • Dorchester County: The new site in Church Creek improves coverage around Golden Hill Road near South Dorchester Elementary School.
  • Garrett County: This new site in Oakland provides new coverage around Sang Sung Road and Bray School Road.
  • Queen Anne’s County: A new site on Romancoke Road in Stevensville provides new coverage on the south end of Kent Island.
  • St. Mary’s County: A new site in Hollywood improves coverage along White Elm Court and Wildewood Parkway.
  • Wicomico County: This new site in Salisbury boosts coverage around Firetower Road and Nanticoke Rd.

“I am excited to see FirstNet expanding coverage and tower sites in the state of Maryland,” said Pete Landon, the director of the Maryland governor’s Office of Homeland Security. “As a retired lieutenant colonel of the Maryland State Police and still an end user, I continue to work with allied law enforcement agencies and first responders across the state. Given Maryland’s diverse geography, from beaches to mountains and the vast Chesapeake Bay, FirstNet’s innovative technology brings us to a whole new level of connectivity and reliability.”

Source: FirstNet Authority

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Business

Elliott Management Recommends Changes at Crown Castle

Seeing a significant value opportunity as 5G wireless communications network deployments accelerate, Elliott Management recommends for Crown Castle International a return on investment (ROI)-focused fiber investment approach and an increase in dividends per share to $7 in 2021 and $8 or more in 2023. Elliott Management is the management affiliate of American hedge funds Elliott Associates and Elliott International.

On July 6, Elliott Management released a letter and presentation outlining a path to greater strategic focus and value appreciation as part of a plan it calls Reclaiming the Crown, which is intended to substantially enhance corporate governance and oversight at Crown Castle. Elliott Management sees what it calls a uniquely compelling value opportunity represented by Crown Castle’s U.S. tower portfolio and the substantial improvement available in the company’s fiber business.

Elliott Management has been engaged in a private dialogue with the Crown Castle for over a month, according to the letter, which it said was made public to facilitate a broader discussion of the best path forward for Crown Castle. This would interest Elliott Management because, the letter said, it manages funds that collectively own an economic interest of $1 billion in Crown Castle. According to the materials, Crown Castle has benefited from its ownership of one of the largest portfolios of domestic tower assets but has underperformed its potential and comparable peers by a wide margin for more than a decade. “This consistent underperformance is directly attributed to the company’s fiber strategy, which has yielded disappointing returns despite $16 billion of investment,” a news release from Elliott Management reads.

Elliott Managements four-part Reclaiming the Crown planElliott Management’s four-part Reclaiming the Crown plan says Crown Castle’s underperformance can be remedied and requires improved performance in its fiber business. “With readily achievable fiber targets and enhanced oversight, Crown Castle can deliver compelling returns to shareholders,” the plan reads.Source: Elliott Management

In the materials, Elliott Management recommends a series of initiatives to improve Crown Castle’s performance and better align corporate governance and management incentives with shareholders:

  • ROI-focused fiber capex: Crown Castle’s return on investment in fiber is well below industry benchmarks, according to Elliott Management. It said Crown Castle should refocus on its highest return opportunities and target a fiber capex revenue ROI of at least 40 percent.
  • Optimized incentive plan: Crown Castle’s current incentive program is not aligned with the capital intensity of its fiber strategy, the news release reads. In Elliott Management’s view, Crown Castle should incorporate return-on-invested-capital (ROIC) to align capital allocation decisions with compensation appropriately.
  • Enhanced returns: The “Reclaiming the Crown” plan will increase free cash flow by 35 percent while still allowing for $600 million per year of discretionary fiber capex, providing capacity to increase the dividend by 46 percent to $7 per share in 2021 and growing 7 to 8 percent thereafter ($8 per share or more in 2023).
  • Improved oversight: Elliott Management said that Crown Castle should address what it calls the company’s extraordinarily long-tenured board of directors to improve oversight of its capital allocation approach and ensure Crown Castle’s underperforming fiber business has the appropriate management skill set to deliver improved results.

“Additionally, Crown Castle’s board would meaningfully benefit from greater diversity to improve its performance, culture and value for all stakeholders,” the news release reads.

Elliott Management stated that it believes the implementation of these steps will highlight the value of Crown Castle’s U.S. tower portfolio and lead to a refined fiber investment strategy with greater investment returns, higher cash flow and, ultimately, more value for Crown Castle and its shareholders.

The July 6 letter, signed by Elliott Management partner Jesse Cohn and portfolio manager Jason Genrich, says Crown Castle’s pivot to fiber led its shareholder returns to underperform in comparison with competitors American Tower and SBA Communications’ shareholder returns on a consistent basis for more than a decade. “The level of underperformance is profound, and the power of compounding has resulted in a staggering gap between Crown Castle and its comparable peers,” the letter reads.

Crown Castle responded in public to the Elliott Management letter by way of a news release the same day, referring to its portfolio of towers, small cell networks and fiber as unmatched and as integral components of communications networks shared among multiple tenants. The news release does not single out the return on investment in fiber that Elliott Management said is below industry benchmarks. Instead, it describes Crown Castle’s portfolio of assets as unique, with unparalleled capabilities and strong customer relationships that position the company well “to capture the upside of the anticipated decade-long investment cycle required to meet the increasing demand for mobile data and deploy 5G in the United States.”

The Crown Castle news release does not address Elliott Management’s suggested dividend increase of 46 percent in 2021, except to state Crown Castle’s confidence in the company’s ability to generate what it called compelling value for its shareholders, including growing its dividend per share by 7 percent to 8 percent per year.

“Members of our board and management team have met with Elliott multiple times to fully understand and extensively evaluate their assumptions and proposed changes to our strategic plan,” the Crown Castle news release reads. “While we firmly believe our strategy best positions Crown Castle to deliver near- and long-term value creation, we remain open to having continuing dialogue with Elliott, as we do with all shareholders.”

 

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Business FCC Security

FCC Bans Spending Universal Service Fund Dollars With Huawei, ZTE, Because of National Security Threat

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released two similar orders on June 30 intended to protect America’s communications networks and the communications supply chain from the national security threat posed by ZTE Corporation (ZTE) and by Huawei Technologies Company (Huawei). According to the orders, effective immediately, money from the Commission’s $8 billion Universal Service Fund may no longer be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by ZTE or Huawei.

The Bureau released a public notice announcing publication of initial designations of ZTE and Huawei as national security threats on Jan. 3. The federal agency said it found that they posed unique threats to the security and integrity of the United States’ communications networks and communications supply chain because of their size, their close ties to the Chinese government and the security flaws identified in their equipment. The FCC noted that the two companies’ ties to the Chinese government and military apparatus, along with Chinese laws obligating them to cooperate with requests by the Chinese government to use or access their systems and the Chinese government’s general non-adherence to the law in any event, make them susceptible to Chinese governmental pressure to participate in espionage activities.

The FCC said it also relied on reports highlighting known cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities in ZTE and Huawei equipment, which have led other countries to bar the use of such equipment. Furthermore, steps taken by Congress and the executive branch to restrict the purchase and use of ZTE and Huawei equipment influenced the FCC to issue the orders, the Commission said, including the U.S. Department of Defense’s decision to remove ZTE and Huawei devices from sale at U.S. military bases and from its stores worldwide.

Pointing to legislation, the FCC order referred to the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019 (the Secure Networks Act) that became law on March 12. The Secure Networks Act directs the Commission to publish a list of covered equipment or services that pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security. The act requires the Commission to include on the list telecommunications equipment or services covered in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (2019 NDAA). This requirement includes telecommunications equipment produced by ZTE and Huawei or their subsidiaries and affiliates, as long as the equipment or service is capable of routing or redirecting user data traffic or permitting visibility into user data or packets, causing network traffic to be disrupted remotely, or otherwise poses an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security or the security and safety of U.S. persons. The Secure Networks Act further prohibits use of federal subsidy funds, such as the Universal Service Fund, to purchase, rent, lease, or otherwise obtain, or to maintain, listed communications equipment or services, and further designates reimbursement funds for eligible service providers to remove and replace such listed equipment or services.

On June 9, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) told the FCC that the executive branch fully supports the initial designations of Huawei and ZTE. NTIA provided the executive branch’s analysis of matters including the legal framework in China, the national security risks posed specifically by Huawei and ZTE, and the national security interests demonstrated by their violations of U.S. law.

Michael HaydenMichael HaydenSpeaking about Huawei in July 2013 in an Australian Financial Review interview, Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, said, “I stand back in awe at the breadth, depth, sophistication and persistence of the Chinese espionage campaign against the West. ... God did not make enough briefing slides on Huawei to convince me that having them involved in our critical communications infrastructure was going to be okay. This is not blind prejudice on my part. This was my considered view based on a four-decade career as an intelligence officer.”

Kadri Kaska, Henrik Beckvard and Tomáš Minárik, researchers at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), a NATO-accredited cyber defense hub focusing on research, training and exercises, authored “Huawei, 5G and China as a Security Threat,” a 2019 report.

“Huawei staff members have recently been linked to espionage allegations, with Australian intelligence reports in 2018 indicating that Huawei personnel were used ‘to get access codes to infiltrate a foreign network’ in an operation that took place within the last two years,” the report reads. “Canada and Poland have in recent months detained two Huawei officials, one related to the U.S. investigations involving Huawei’s chief financial officer, daughter of the founder and president of Huawei, and the other on grounds of espionage. Huawei has denied that the latter case had any relation to the company’s business. The Czech national cybersecurity authority (NCISA) relied on accessible findings of the cybersecurity community regarding Huawei and ZTE activities in the Czech Republic and around the world in issuing a warning for the use of the companies’ technologies.”

The FCC said it concluded that Huawei poses a national security threat based on its finding that Huawei is highly susceptible to coercion by the Chinese government; the risks highlighted by U.S. policymakers and the intelligence community, as well as allied nations and communications providers; and known security risks and vulnerabilities in Huawei’s equipment. The agency said it concluded that ZTE poses a national security threat based in part on its substantial ties to the Chinese government and military apparatus, as well as Chinese laws obligating it to cooperate with any Chinese government request to use or access its systems for intelligence surveillance.

Geoffrey StarksGeoffrey StarksGeoffrey Starks, an FCC commissioner affiliated with the Democratic Party, said the orders would help secure U.S. communications networks against new threats from Huawei and ZTE equipment. “We must not, however, lose sight of the untrustworthy equipment already in place,” he said. He stated that the FCC must establish an expedited plan for the removal and replacement of untrustworthy equipment. “That plan should seriously consider leveraging Open RAN technology, which will use standardized hardware and interoperable interfaces to enable networks to combine equipment from multiple vendors.”

The Open RAN approach, Starks said, could advance American technological leadership, enhance competition and reduce reliance on foreign vendors, all while bringing down replacement costs. He said he has long championed Open RAN technology as a potential solution to the security problem that will help to ensure that the next technological revolution advances safely and securely. “Funding is the missing piece,” Starks said. “Congress recognized in the Secure Networks Act that many carriers will need support to transition away from untrustworthy equipment, but it still has not appropriated funding for replacements. I look forward to working with Congress and my colleagues to ensure there are sufficient funds to get the job done.”

Brendan CarrBrendan CarrAn FCC commissioner affiliated with the Republican Party, Brendan Carr, said that the agency formally determining that Huawei and ZTE pose a national security threat is “the latest step that the FCC has taken to secure America’s communications networks from the threats posed by Communist China and bad actors that might do its bidding. Those efforts include prohibiting a company linked to Communist China from connecting to our communications networks, directing numerous other entities to show cause why their authority to remain connected to our networks should not be revoked, and launching a proceeding aimed at removing Huawei and ZTE gear from our communications networks.”

The commissioner said that the United States could not treat Huawei and ZTE as anything less than a threat to its collective security. “Communist China intends to surveil persons within our borders and engage in large-scale, industrial espionage,” Carr said. “Nothing short of prohibiting subsidized Huawei and ZTE gear from our networks could address this serious national security threat. After all, Chinese law does not meaningfully restrain the Communist regime, given its authoritarian nature.”

In Carr’s view, “the United States has turned the page on the weak and timid approach to Communist China of the past. We are now showing the strength needed to address Communist China’s threats. And our efforts will not stop here. The FCC will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to secure America’s communications networks from bad actors that would do us harm.”

Meanwhile, the Rural Wireless Association (RWA) said it was stunned by the FCC orders that finalize the designations of Huawei and ZTE as national security threats and that immediately barred the use of Universal Service Fund support to purchase, maintain or otherwise support Huawei or ZTE equipment and services in rural carriers’ networks.

“As a result, rural carriers who have deployed Huawei or ZTE equipment or services in their networks will now lack the ability to support their critical networks that are serving hundreds of thousands of rural Americans and those traveling through rural America,” an RWA statement reads. “Given the difficulty in demonstrating where specifically their USF support is being utilized in their networks, this puts rural carriers in a precarious situation while they strive to offer extended payment terms for their customers as requested by FCC Chairman Pai, adjust to the fallout of the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, and continue to keep rural Americans connected to broadband and telephone services during the COVID-19 pandemic. RWA members appreciate the opportunity to submit waivers of this prohibition but ask the Commission to give them sufficient time to submit such waivers before pulling away their USF support, which is scheduled to start July 1.”

Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhen she spoke in February at the Munich (Germany) Security Conference attended by foreign and security leaders, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks after the FCC already had initially designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats on Jan. 3. “China is seeking to export its digital autocracy through its telecommunication giant, Huawei, threatening economic retaliation against those who do not adopt their technologies,” Pelosi said. “The United States has recognized Huawei as a national security threat by putting it on our entity list, restricting engagement with U.S. companies. Nations cannot cede our telecommunication infrastructure to China for financial expediency. Such an ill-conceived concession will only embolden [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] as he undermines democratic values, human rights, economic independence and national security.”

Zhao LijianZhao LijianPhoto: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China Information posted on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China includes a transcript of Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s July 1 press conference. A representative of Phoenix Television, a partially state-owned Chinese TV network, asked Zhao for a response to the FCC orders designating Huawei and ZTE as national security threats.

“The United States has made a habit of abusing its state power to oppress certain countries and companies for unjustified and untenable reasons in the absence of any evidence,” Zhao said. “Acting like a bully in the economic sector does not suit its self-portrayed image as a guardian of the market economy. Banning U.S. carriers from purchasing Huawei and ZTE products will not help improve the country’s cyber security in any meaningful way, but will certainly have profound negative effects on connectivity for Americans in rural and disadvantaged areas across the United States. The relevant U.S. agency knows that clearly.

“Once again, we urge the United States to stop making everything a matter of national security, stop its malicious slandering and accusation against China, and stop its unjustified oppression of certain Chinese companies. It should offer a fair, unbiased and non-discriminatory environment for the normal operations of Chinese companies in the United States,” Zhao said.

 

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Security

U.S. to Evaluate Chinese Communications Technology Used Abroad

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. government wants to ensure that the Chinese Communist Party does not have a way to easily access U.S. citizens’ data.

“We are now evaluating each instance where we believe that U.S. citizens’ data that they have on their phones or in their system or in their health care records — we want to make sure that the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t have a way to easily access that,” he said, speaking on July 8 at a press conference held at the State Department.

Mike PompeoThe infrastructure of this next hundred years must be a communications infrastructure that is based on a Western ideal of private property and protection of private citizens’ information in a transparent way. — Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State “This doesn’t relate to any one particular business or company, but rather to American national security,” Pompeo said. “We have been in constant evaluation in making sure that we protect the privacy of American citizens and their information as it transits. So, this doesn’t relate to any one particular business or company, but rather to American national security. We are striving to get that right. The comments that I made about a particular company earlier this week fall in the context of us evaluating the threat from the Chinese Communist Party. We have talked about it in the context of ZTE; we have talked about it in the context of Huawei.”

Pompeo said that the administration will take actions to preserve and protect that information and deny the Chinese Communist Party access to the private information that belongs to Americans. “We have a big project, because we have partners all around the world where our infrastructure crosses Chinese technology and then comes to the United States,” the secretary of state said. “One should think about this as a project of real scale and real importance. We must get this right. The infrastructure of this next hundred years must be a communications infrastructure that is based on a Western ideal of private property and protection of private citizens’ information in a transparent way. That is not the model that Chinese Communist Party hardware and software companies are engaged in.”

 

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Security

China Greatest Threat to U.S. Economic and National Security

Speaking during a video event from the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., on July 7, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the greatest long-term threat to the United States’ information and intellectual property, and to its economic vitality, is the counterintelligence and economic espionage threat from China. “It’s a threat to our economic security — and by extension, to our national security,” he said.

FBI Director Christopher WrayFBI Director Christopher Wray discusses the threat China poses to U.S. economic and national security during a July 7, 2020 video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. “We cannot close our eyes and ears to what China is doing — and today, in light of the importance of this threat, I will provide more detail on the Chinese threat than the FBI has ever presented in an open forum,” Wray said. “This threat is so significant that the attorney general and secretary of state will also be addressing a lot of these issues in the next few weeks. But if you think these issues are just an intelligence issue, or a government problem, or a nuisance largely just for big corporations who can take care of themselves — you could not be more wrong.”

The FBI director said that the people of the United States are victims of what amounts to Chinese theft on a scale so massive that it represents one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history. “If you are an American adult, it is more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data,” he said.

Wray explained that in 2017, the Chinese military conspired to hack Equifax and made off with the sensitive personal information of 150 million Americans, nearly half of the American population and most American adults. He said it was hardly a standalone incident. “Our data isn’t the only thing at stake here — so are our health, our livelihoods and our security,” he said.

According to Wray, the FBI is opening a new China-related counterintelligence case about once every 10 hours. Of the nearly 5,000 active FBI counterintelligence cases currently underway across the country, he said, almost half are related to China. He said China is working to compromise American health care organizations, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions conducting essential COVID-19 research. Wray emphasized that he was not speaking of the Chinese people as a threat, saying he meant the government of China and the Chinese Communist Party.

Exploiting American Openness

Wray emphasized that China’s closed system is fundamentally different from the open U.S. system, which gives it a distinct advantage. “Many of the distinctions that mean a lot here in the United States are blurry or almost nonexistent in China — I'm talking about distinctions between the government and the Chinese Communist Party, between the civilian and military sectors, and between the state and the ‘private’ sector,” he said.

Wray said that for one thing, many large, Chinese businesses are state-owned enterprises that literally are owned by the government, and thus by the Communist Party. Even if they are not, he said, China’s laws allow its government to compel any Chinese company to provide any information it requests — including American citizens’ data.

Moreover, he said, Chinese companies of any real size are legally required to have Communist Party cells inside of them to keep them in line. Even more alarmingly, Wray said, Communist Party cells have reportedly been established in some American companies operating in China as a cost of doing business there.

Huawei Mobile World CongressHuawei at Mobile World Congress “These kinds of features should give U.S. companies pause when they consider working with Chinese corporations like Huawei — and should give all Americans pause, too, when relying on such a company’s devices and networks,” Wray said. “As the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer, Huawei has broad access to much that American companies do in China. It’s also been charged in the United States with racketeering conspiracy and has, as alleged in the indictment, repeatedly stolen intellectual property from U.S. companies, obstructed justice and lied to the U.S. government and its commercial partners, including banks.”

The FBI director said that the allegations are clear: “Huawei is a serial intellectual property thief, with a pattern and practice of disregarding both the rule of law and the rights of its victims. I have to tell you, it certainly caught my attention to read a recent article describing the words of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, about the company’s mindset. At a Huawei research and development center, he reportedly told employees that to ensure the company’s survival, they need to — and I quote — ‘surge forward, killing as you go, to blaze us a trail of blood.’ He’s also reportedly told employees that Huawei has entered, to quote, ‘a state of war.’ I certainly hope he couldn’t have meant that literally, but it’s hardly an encouraging tone, given the company’s repeated criminal behavior.”

In our modern world, Wray said, there is perhaps no more ominous prospect than a hostile foreign government’s ability to compromise American infrastructure and devices. If Chinese companies like Huawei are given unfettered access to our telecommunications infrastructure, he said, “They could collect any of your information that traverses their devices or networks. Worse still: They’d have no choice but to hand it over to the Chinese government if asked — the privacy and due process protections that are sacrosanct in the United States are simply non-existent in China.”

Scope of Chinese Regime and Its Ambitions

“China — the Chinese Communist Party — believes it is in a generational fight to surpass our country in economic and technological leadership,” Wray said. He said that China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world’s only superpower by any means necessary.

China uses a diverse range of sophisticated techniques — everything from cyber intrusions to corrupting trusted insiders, according to the FBI director. He said they have engaged in outright physical theft and have pioneered an expansive approach to stealing innovation through a wide range of actors, including not only Chinese intelligence services but also state-owned enterprises, ostensibly private companies, certain kinds of graduate students and researchers, and a whole variety of other actors working on their behalf.

Economic Espionage

“To achieve its goals and surpass America,” Wray said, “China recognizes it needs to make leaps in cutting-edge technologies. But the sad fact is that instead of engaging in the hard slog of innovation, China often steals American intellectual property and then uses it to compete against the very American companies it victimized — in effect, cheating twice over. They’re targeting research on everything from military equipment to wind turbines to rice and corn seeds.”

Referring to what China calls the Thousand Talents Program, a talent recruitment program, Wray said the Chinese government tries to entice scientists to bring U.S. knowledge and innovation back to China secretly — even if that means stealing proprietary information or violating U.S. export controls and conflict-of-interest rules.

Citing the case of scientist Hongjin Tan, 36, a Chinese national and American lawful permanent resident, Wray said the scientist applied to China’s Thousand Talents Program and subsequently stole more than $1 billion worth of trade secrets from his former employer, the Oklahoma-based Phillips 66 petroleum company, and was caught. A few months ago, he was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison.

Another case Wray cited is that of Shan Shi, 55, a Texas-based scientist, also sentenced to prison earlier this year. He said Shi stole trade secrets regarding syntactic foam, an important naval technology used in submarines. Shi, too, had applied to China’s Thousand Talents Program, and specifically pledged to “digest” and “absorb” the relevant technology in the United States. “He did this on behalf of Chinese state-owned enterprises, which ultimately planned to put the American company out of business and take over the market,” Wray said.

Clandestine Efforts

The Chinese government is also making liberal use of hacking to steal U.S. corporate and personal data, using both military and non-state hackers to do it, Wray said. The intrusion into Equifax led to the indictment of Chinese military personnel, and he said it was hardly the only time China stole the sensitive personal information of huge numbers of the American public. Wray cited examples including a 2015 incident in which China’s hackers stole the personal data of 80 million of health insurer Anthem’s current and former customers or one of its associated insurers. He said that in 2014, China’s hackers stole more than 21 million records from the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management.

“Why are they doing this?” Wray asked. “First, China has made becoming an artificial intelligence world leader a priority, and these kinds of thefts feed right into China’s development of artificial intelligence tools. Compounding the threat, the data China stole is of obvious value as they attempt to identify people for secret intelligence gathering. On that front, China is using social media platforms — the same ones Americans use to stay connected or find jobs — to identify people with access to our government’s sensitive information and then target those people to try to steal it.”

Threats to Academia

According to the FBI director, China pays scientists at American universities to bring U.S. knowledge and innovation secretly back to China, including valuable, federally funded research.

To put it bluntly, this means American taxpayers are effectively footing the bill for China’s own technological development. — Christopher Wray, FBI Director “To put it bluntly, this means American taxpayers are effectively footing the bill for China’s own technological development,” Wray said. “China then leverages its ill-gotten gains to undercut U.S. research institutions and companies, blunting our nation’s advancement and costing American jobs.” In May alone, Wray said, the FBI arrested both Qing Wang, a former researcher with the Cleveland Clinic who worked on molecular medicine and the genetics of cardiovascular disease, and Simon Saw-Teong Ang, a University of Arkansas scientist doing research for NASA. The FBI alleged that both were committing fraud by concealing their participation in Chinese talent recruitment programs while accepting millions of dollars in American federal grant funding.

Malign Foreign Influence

Another tool that Wray said China and the Chinese Communist Party use to manipulate Americans is what the FBI calls malign foreign influence. “Traditional foreign influence is a normal, legal diplomatic activity typically conducted through diplomatic channels,” Wray said. “But malign foreign influence efforts are subversive, undeclared, criminal or coercive attempts to sway our government’s policies, distort our country’s public discourse and undermine confidence in our democratic processes and values.”

Threats to the Rule of Law

Wray explained that since 2014, Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping has spearheaded a program known as Fox Hunt. He said China describes Fox Hunt as some kind of international anti-corruption campaign, but it is not. Instead, he said, Fox Hunt is a sweeping bid by General Secretary Xi to target Chinese nationals whom he sees as threats and who live outside China, across the world. “We’re talking about political rivals, dissidents and critics seeking to expose China’s extensive human rights violations,” Wray said.

Hundreds of the Fox Hunt victims that China targets live in the United States, Wray said, and many are American citizens or green card holders. He said the Chinese government wants to force them to return to China, and he described China’s tactics to accomplish that as shocking.

Responding Effectively to the Threat

The Chinese government is engaged in a broad, diverse campaign of theft and malign influence, the FBI director said, and it can execute that campaign with authoritarian efficiency. He said that they are calculating, persistent and patient, all the while not being subject to what he called the righteous constraints of an open, democratic society or the rule of law. “China, as led by the Chinese Communist Party, is going to continue to try to misappropriate our ideas, influence our policymakers, manipulate our public opinion and steal our data,” Wray said. “They will use an all-tools and all-sectors approach — and that demands our own all-tools and all-sectors approach in response. Our folks at the FBI are working their tails off every day to protect our nation’s companies, our universities, our computer networks, and our ideas and innovation. To do that, we’re using a broad set of techniques — from our traditional law enforcement authorities to our intelligence capabilities.”

Wray noted that the FBI is having success. He said that with the help of many foreign partners, the FBI has arrested targets all over the globe. He said the agency’s investigations and the resulting prosecutions have exposed the tradecraft and techniques the Chinese use, raising awareness of the threat and American industries’ defenses. The arrests also show American resolve and the ability of the United States to attribute these crimes to those responsible, he said.

“It’s one thing to make assertions — but in our justice system, when a person or a corporation is investigated and then charged with a crime, we have to prove the truth of the allegation beyond a reasonable doubt,” Wray said. “The truth matters — and so, these criminal indictments matter. And we’ve seen how our criminal indictments have rallied other nations to our cause — which is crucial to persuading the Chinese government to change its behavior.” The FBI also is working more closely than ever with partner agencies in the United States and abroad, Wray said. “We can’t do it on our own; we need a whole-of-society response,” he said. “That’s why we in the intelligence and law enforcement communities are working harder than ever to give companies, universities and the American people themselves the information they need to make their own informed decisions and protect their most valuable assets.” Confronting the threat effectively does not mean the United States should not do business with the Chinese, Wray said, nor does it mean the United States should not host Chinese visitors, welcome Chinese students or coexist with China on the world stage. However, he said, it does mean that when China violates U.S. criminal laws and international norms, the United States will not tolerate it, much less enable it.

“The FBI and our partners throughout the U.S. government will hold China accountable and protect our nation’s innovation, ideas, and way of life — with the help and vigilance of the American people,” Wray said.

 

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August 2020

Site Name: Christmas Pass

Site Owner: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Height: 52 feet

Location: Christmas Pass, Arizona

Year Constructed: 2017

Photography by Daniel Lander

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Safety Site Lighting

Improving Nighttime Safety for VFR Pilots

Here is what to look for when it is time to invest in an infrared LED tower lighting system to obtain aviation obstruction lighting products that are FAA-compliant.

In U.S. airspace, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported almost 27.5 million flights by more than 633,000 certified pilots in its 2019 “Air Traffic by the Numbers” report. Visual flight rules (VFR) governed 10.8 million of those flights, including law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency transport and other civilian aviation applications.

Commonly referred to as “see and avoid,” the FAA defines VFR in terms of specific values for visibility distance and altitude ceiling. Pilots using VFR fly at lower altitudes and use visual cues to guide them. They rarely use instruments to guide their flight path. When flying at night, aircraft under VFR frequently use night vision goggles (NVG) or night vision imaging systems (NVIS) for their visual cues.

NVG and NVIS equipment are equipped with filters to remove the adverse effects of cockpit lighting. These filters, especially Class B filters, prevent the pilot from seeing red LED obstruction lights that emit outside the combined visible and near-visible spectrum.

As approximately 123,000 communications towers in the United States gradually convert from incandescent to LED obstruction lights, pilots using NVGs with a Class B objective lens filter may not be able to see the tower. The FAA addressed this situation by requiring the use of infrared emitters in all new red LED obstruction lighting.

Infrared Lighting Specifications

To help ensure pilots using NVGs in both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft can navigate night skies more safely, the FAA issued Advisory Circular 150/5345-43J. The circular outlines standards for infrared (IR) obstruction lighting, and these new regulations go into effect in September 2020. All obstructions certified after this date are required to conform to the new circular.

This circular requires that whenever an L-810, L-864 or L-885 obstruction light emits visible red light, integrated IR strings or a standalone IR emitter must also release infrared light of a minimum intensity.

The output wavelength of IR light extends from the nominal red edge of the visible spectrum of 700 nm to 1,000 nm. The FAA requires an IR output in the range of 800 nm to 900 nm, which coincides with the spectral response range of NVGs and ensures the fixtures will be visible by all current NVGs regardless of the class of objective lens filter used

The IR vertical and horizontal beam widths should be identical to the visible red beam width. If the visible red light flashes at 30 flashes per minute per FAA AC 70/7460-1L, the beamwidth and duration of infrared light must be consistent with the flashing light. This continuity prevents issues with depth perception, or binocular disparity.

The intensity specification of red obstruction light fixtures is based on the distance required for pilots to acquire and safely avoid the obstruction. The FAA determined that the pilot needs to clear the structure by a minimum of 2,000 feet to prevent collision with structural elements of the tower, like the guy wires. The FAA also conducted studies to determine a minimum IR intensity needed for the instance that a pilot was using NVG. As a result, the minimum radiant intensity for L-810 side marker lights is 4 mW/sr (0.004 W/sr). For L-864 and L-885 beacons, the minimum intensity is specified to be 246 mW/sr (0.246 W/sr).

All light fixtures must be certified to meet FAA specification by an FAA authorized third-party laboratory. Products that receive the certification are listed in AC 150/5345-53D, Addendum by the Airport Lighting Equipment Certification Program (ALECP). In addition to the standard qualification tests, the FAA has added two new IR tests to ensure that the output wavelength and beam patterns meet specifications.

Vanguard Medium FTS 370x beaconA Vanguard Medium FTS 370x beacon goes through quality testing before shipment. Infrared LEDs are standard on the FTS 370x product line.Source: Flash Technology

The FAA stipulated that monitoring IR LEDs can be done independently or as part of the red LED monitoring. Failure of the IR light requires a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) be filed. If visible and IR light are coupled, visible red light is de-energized when the IR string fails. If lighting is de-coupled, visible light remains energized with an IR failure.

Upgrading to Infrared LED Obstruction Lights

On September 11, 2020, only obstruction lights that comply with 43J standards will be listed in 53D addendum. At that time, all newly filed or refiled structures must employ obstruction lights listed in the 53D addendum to comply with federal lighting regulations.

Sites with existing FAA determinations are not required to upgrade to IR lighting. These structures must continue to be marked in accordance with their current FAA determination.

When it is time to invest in an IR LED lighting system, look for obstruction lighting products that are FAA-compliant and that integrate the following attributes for longer service life:

  • IR LEDs must use the same optics (beam pattern) as red and white LEDs. This ensures pilots using NVGs will not become disoriented when an IR output is at an improper beam angle. Pilots recognize a clean beam pattern as an obstruction light.
  • Monitor IR circuitry separately. If monitoring capabilities are limited, combine the IR LED alarm with the night alarm. IR failure is a NOTAM-worthy event.
  • An IR string that uses the same bypass circuitry as the red and white LEDs. If a single LED can fail without losing an entire string, truck rolls are prevented, and the life of the beacon is prolonged.

In 2019, IR LEDs became standard in Flash Technology’s Vanguard Medium FTS 370x and Vanguard Red FTS 371x beacons as well as the new Vanguard High FTS 270 lighting system. The FTS 270 high-intensity system and FTS 370x medium-intensity system already boast 43J certifications. The FTS 371s is currently undergoing certification testing and will be completed prior to the September deadline.

Karen Ledford is a marketing communications specialist with Flash Technology, Franklin, Tennessee, and Ivor Lewis is a product manager with the company. For more information, visit www.flashtechnology.com.

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Edge

Edge Computing and the Towers of the Future

Power, space and transport are important factors that influence the strategy used to select macro tower sites and small cells as locations for edge computing infrastructure.

ExteNet Systems provides converged communication infrastructure-as-a-service. The company also designs, builds, owns and operates distributed networks both outdoors and indoors. The company’s customers are mobile network operators, service providers, enterprises, municipalities and venue owners. Outdoor and indoor distributed antennas systems (DASs), Wi-Fi access points and small cells are examples of what the company deploys.

Edge computing overcomes excessive latency that results when networks transfer data or queries far from the user, all the way to the cloud — a data center full of servers connected with the internet. “The natural solution is to bring computing, processing and storage closer to the users,” said Keyur Brahmbhatt, senior product manager at ExteNet. Speaking in January at the Seattle AGL Local Summit, Brahmbhatt said the company uses two classifications of the edge cloud that brings cloud resources for analytics or computing processing close to the edge of the users.

Two Classifications

“One classification is network-based edge computing in which mobile network operators deploy edge computing as part of their network infrastructure,” Brahmbhatt said. “The second classification is premises-based edge computing in which an enterprise or venue owners deploy edge computing as if it were part of their IT infrastructure.”

Network-based edge computing encompasses cell towers and small cell hubs at utility or municipal poles, Brahmbhatt said. He said these become micro data centers, and because they are so close (just a hop away) from their mobile and nomadic users, they provide network operators with excellent locations for ultra-low-latency services. Examples he gave include immersive augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), vehicle-to-everything (V2X) autonomous vehicles and edge analytics.

Mini Data Centers

At a greater distance are mini data center and local aggregation hubs for metro deployments, where data from access-based networks comes together (connected via fiber) for routing and switching, Brahmbhatt said. The mini data centers support real-time low-latency applications that have a little more latency tolerance, he said. As examples, Brahmbhatt mentioned the control and monitoring of automated guided vehicles at a seaport and super robots used in a distribution warehouse. He said edge data centers or edge computing procedures can manage those systems.

Machine learning, data analytics, virtual PCs (virtualization programs for Microsoft Windows) and 5G end-to-end network slicing are found at an even greater distance at regional data centers because they are not so sensitive to latency. Even further away, operators can use regional data centers to provide edge data centers for the support of latency-tolerant and non-real-time applications such as end-to-end (E2E) network orchestration, cloud-based services and content delivery network (CDN) and virtualized Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) solutions. “This is where ExteNet can also play a big role,” Brahmbhatt said.

You can expect to see enterprises and venue owners evolve existing IT infrastructure to support the low-latency services where 5G end-to-end network slicing is found and where virtual machine (VM)-based containers or architectures on generic hardware have been deployed, Brahmbhatt said. He said that ExteNet has been active in that business for several years, using its virtualized packet core to enable its Tier 3 mobility along with fixed wireless customers using the first ExteNet computing platform. Moreover, Brahmbhatt said, ExteNet has been active with enterprise and venue owners to migrate existing 4G network service to the 5G network.

Use Cases and Site Selection

When it comes to use cases and site selection, Brahmbhatt said that Extent starts with a survey.

Keyur BrahmbhattUse cases, deployment models and business factors together are going to be important in making site selections. — Keyur Brahmbhatt, senior product manager at ExteNet Systems “ExteNet actively participates with various industry forums active in small cell deployment. Small Cell Forum is a leading organization that works with the global operators to understand what the requirements are for small cell densification, and edge computing is a big part of it,” Brahmbhatt said. He said in 2017, the organization conducted a large survey to understand the key use cases and motivations for using edge computing.

Part of the information collected pointed to the importance of the ability to deploy small cells where opportunities can derive the most value, and that means enterprise customers, he said. For ExteNet, Brahmbhatt said, relevant enterprise sectors include commercial real estate, sports and entertainment, municipalities, health care organizations, hospitality and transit.

“Premises-based edge computing is important because of the need to collocate edge computing on a converged infrastructure where the traditional Internet Protocol (IP) local-area network (LAN) infrastructure exists,” Brahmbhatt said. “What that allows is a myriad of new use cases and deployment models.”

Previously, Brahmbhatt said, the radio access network (RAN) with its eNodeBs and gNodeBs was more distributed. With 5G, he explained, the RAN is split at the protocol layer. “You have your central unit and your distributed unit,” he said. “That central unit is now coming closer to the edge. This is your new centralized location. So you have the opportunity to virtualize the central unit and locate it at the edge of your premises. That is another opportunity to offer network-based service on edge infrastructure. It is network-as-a-service.”

As Brahmbhatt explained, infrastructure owners can offer centralized units. They can put them as virtual machines (VMs) on a virtualized VM-based platform or on a container-based platform. Linux Foundation’s edge project, Akriano, is developing the framework for edge computing use cases, he said.

At the other end is the core network, which Brahmbhatt said is typically more of a centralized platform, but he said that is changing. “The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is splitting the core network at the control plane and at the user plane,” he said. “The user plane is coming closer to the edge. The user plane also can be virtualized and it can be at the edge. So you have the opportunity to provide the central unit for the RAN and your user plane for the core network. You can do local breakout and other network-based services, so that’s a new opportunity for edge-based network services. This is your network-as-a-service on top of your platform infrastructure-as-a-service. And then you have the opportunity to do platform-as-a-service. Essentially you have your edge domain name services (DNSs) (for resolving edge server names), edge policy enforcements, application discovery services and edge storage services. Value-adding services also include radio network information service for analytics of the underlying radio network, presence and location services for detecting the presence of and possibly tracking the location of the user equipment (UE) devices), video compression services, video analytics services (such as facial recognition) and encryption services.”

Furthermore, Brahmbhatt said, with the service model called platform-as-a-service, the operator can add another layer with the edge-based applications that are specific to or tailored for the uses or devices at the edge. Examples he gave included augmented reality or virtual reality in a museum and robotic control in an industrial factory.

“All those services can yet be another layer of service on top of the edge computing infrastructure, so essentially new models and business cases will evolve,” Brahmbhatt said. “This is essentially the 3GPP 5G vision. As you go and explore these other opportunities beyond your typical tower site and the data center models, these are some of the new areas of opportunity. You just need to break the barriers.”

Brahmbhatt pointed out that in the classical cell tower case, beyond site selection, location is paramount because it must be within one hop to the mobile and nomadic user. He said ground space also is important for positioning servers, hardware and other infrastructure. It can be an existing space, a purpose-built space or an enclosure for edge-computing infrastructure.

Citing the need for adequate back-up, Brahmbhatt said edge computing equipment should have backup generators. He reminded the audience that the power requirements of 5G small cells are high. With the bandwidth requirements of 400 megahertz to 800 megahertz for 5G small cells and with multiple small cells and three-sector 5G antenna configurations, he said the power requirement can be as high as 2 kilowatts to 4 kilowatts per site.

With ExteNet Systems in the business of providing neutral-host service, Brahmbhatt said the company likes to collocate tenants. Having multiple operators, multiple technologies and multiple collocated small cells could extend power requirements to 10 kilowatts to 150 kilowatts per micro data center, he said.

Also required is adequate transport for backhaul and front-haul, Brahmbhatt said, explaining that very low-latency, high-bandwidth applications require a lot of fiber. He said that each cell site for a 5G location may require 12 to 24 strands of fiber and transport, and SFP, SFP+ and QSFP-type high-bandwidth-capacity transceivers. Power, space and transport are important factors that influence the site selection strategy, Brahmbhatt said.

“Use cases, deployment models and business opportunities together are going to be important in doing site selections,” Brahmbhatt said. “You need to make sure that the fundamentals and required essentials of site selections for next-generation sites are taken care of.”

What’s Ahead for Edge Computing

Speaking at the Seattle AGL Local Summit in January, Keyur Brahmbhatt, senior product manager at ExteNet Systems, said that the topmost challenge for edge computing deployment is the size of the investment required. He said this information comes from a global survey conducted by the Small Cell Forum using services from Rethink Research. The investment, Brahmbhatt said, must be done over an extensive point of presence for the required application and for customers who may not have immediate need.

“That’s a fact,” he said. “That’s a reality. This tremendously increases the risk of investment with little to no reward for return on investment. That is a big challenge.”

To address the challenge, Brahmbhatt said that ExteNet Systems believes that the coexistence of traditional edge data centers and centralized radio access network (C-RAN) hubs can become a potential adjoining bridge such that the edge computing infrastructure can provide the processing power for a collective of baseband units (BBUs), sometimes known as a baseband pool. In that way, it is possible to reduce the processing and fiber power footprint, he said.

Another step to reduce the footprint is to load the software-defined network (SDN) management software for different networks on VM-based applications where they can reside on an active server without taking more servers or more space.

“In these ways, you’re adding value, you’re reducing your footprint and you’re justifying your investment for edge data centers,” Brahmbhatt said. “That is one concern — how do you take the risk of something that is unknown for return on investment?”

The myriad of new developers poses a second challenge, Brahmbhatt said. “You have OpenFog, OEC, ETSI-MEC, Amazon Greengrass and Facebook-led TIP, 3GPP CUPS (control and user plane separation) architecture,” he said. “Many organizations are developing edge-computing architecture, but they are sort of siloed or they are developing on their own. There is a need, so standards are still developing. There is a potential problem with fragmentation.”

Brahmbhatt said it is necessary to devise a common set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for different third parties and application owners to use to take advantage of the infrastructure. “In the coming years when participants work together and agree on a common set of APIs, that will bring an opportunity,” he said. “That is when you are most likely to see — in the next two or three years — where edge computing can leverage.”

A third hurdle involves the operators saying they are unsure what technical solution is right for them, Brahmbhatt said. They fear selecting a particular edge computing architecture, only to find that it does not monetize the investment for them, he said. If, for instance, it turns out that it monetizes instead for an enterprise or a venue owner, he said there could be millions and billions of dollars of investment that went wrong.

“We are early in the game, but when 3GPP Release 16 comes out, when fully defined architecture becomes deployed and when there is more agreement and a common set of APIs has been developed, that’s when we’ll see there is more appetite to make more edge computing investments,” Brahmbhatt said.

— Don Bishop

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COVID-19 Safety

Public Safety Communications in the Wake of the Pandemic

As preparations continue for the months ahead, it is essential for cable, wireless, power companies, offices of emergency management and government officials all to be at the same table to coordinate recovery efforts and disaster relief.

The telecommunications industry plays a key role in crisis response, public safety and recovery, as well as the daily routines of people and businesses around the world. Without systems in place for emergency communications, communities are in danger of going dark — unable to send distress signals, receive crisis alerts, communicate vital instructions or facilitate a coordinated effort to return to a sense of normalcy.

Although it is typical to think of public safety communications in the context of storms and other natural disasters, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of keeping people connected in all sorts of crises. The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of the telecommunications industry subsectors to work together to create a layered response in times of crisis.

Connectivity is Essential

Recent stay-at-home orders have propagated a message to the public that telecommunications professionals already know: Connectivity plays a vital role in an emergency. COVID-19 has also underscored new roles for connectivity in the face of an emergency.

One only needs to look at the communications issues of the 1918 flu pandemic to understand how modern connectivity has improved our ability to cope with a pandemic. In 1918, without modern communication, people relied on white scarves to signal that someone within a home was infected and postal workers, Boy Scouts, and teachers to distribute public health materials. But unlike today’s communications methods, first-generation telephone systems of 1918 largely relied on operators — sitting in tight quarters — to manually connect callers. It was only a matter of time until operators became sick and telephone communications became a restricted resource.

Today, with broadband and wireless networks offering reliable sources of connectivity, people are relying on these services to not only connect them with emergency responders and vital information, but also to remain in communication with loved ones, seek mental and physical medical attention, order essential supplies, conduct business, entertain children and so much more.

Unlike other emergencies, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods that create acute periods of connectivity demands, during the ongoing pandemic, people are working to maintain their “normal” lives for an extended period while remaining at home. This concentrated activity has tested the strength of telecommunications services as never before. Luckily, since the crisis began, broadband networks have supported significantly more traffic and continued to function without notable interruption, as documented by NCTA – The Internet & Television Association. Connectivity is essential for modern life, and service providers are rising to the challenge.

Although the telecommunications industry has managed the increase in demand to date, public health experts have indicated a need to continue social distancing tactics and prepare for a second wave of increased infection. This creates a likely scenario of the current pandemic overlapping with portions of the hurricane season. Such a layered challenge will present new challenges and further underscore that reliable telecommunications capabilities are mission-critical. Layered challenges must be met with a layered response, one that makes use of the power of telecommunications alongside other essential industries.

Layered Challenges, Layered Solutions

As part of the telecom ecosystem, cable and wireless have a dynamic relationship that must be used to rise to the layered challenges ahead. With what may lie ahead, a plan that engages wireless and wired telecommunication companies, as well as the power sector and first responders, is needed to maintain the network.

It was only three years ago that Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico, disabling the island’s power sources and leaving citizens and emergency personnel without a means of communication. Devastation was unprecedented, and those left after the storm had no traditional means to call for aid. Luckily, a few members of the Department of Homeland Security SHARES’s program resided on the island and could relay messages to the mainland. This communications method of last resort composed of radio, antenna, power source and operator allowed a stopgap solution until military-like solutions were deployed and ultimately, traditional communications networks could be restored. This all-important program depends on the successful coordination of several organizations, including SCTE•ISBE, which represents cable.

It is no secret among telecom professionals that to maintain reliable wireless infrastructure, a strong wired infrastructure is required for backhaul. This connection, and therefore collaboration, is increasingly important as the demand for high-capacity connectivity to support technologies overlaps with emergency situations.

When personnel arrive to address debris-clearing needs, it is all too easy for them to cut the fiber cabling alongside other wires, thinking that cable is nonessential or merely an entertainment service. The unintended consequences are the reduction of access to mission-critical communications that responders themselves rely on. Additionally, for more than 66 million subscribers, cable broadband is the primary source of internet connectivity and the primary way many communities gather and share life-saving information. When disaster strikes, network traffic increases exponentially; we can expect this to be exacerbated if hurricane season does indeed overlap with COVID-19-related stay-at-home orders.

One thing that will continue is the varying of challenges presented to the communications providers and communities they serve. As storms grow larger, and as they are layered with other challenges such as COVID-19, creative approaches will be needed to help enable restoration efforts. One solution could be cable operators deploying a mobile small cell or cell-on-wheels solution outfitted in trailers or trucks that would make use of the surviving backbone for continued communications. This mobile solution could also include Wi-Fi hotspots to make connectivity accessible to more devices beyond traditional smartphones.

As preparations continue for the months ahead, it is essential for cable, wireless, power companies, offices of emergency management and government officials all to be at the same table to coordinate recovery efforts and disaster relief.

The Future of Connectivity

Consider this: Ten years ago, it would not have been possible to meet the demands that society is placing on networks today. Work, entertainment, community and even medicine all have migrated to the digital world and show no signs of slowing down. With strengthened networks come greater risks associated with the loss of connectivity, but also endless possibilities for the future. Future networks will enable services that have yet to be developed, and in some cases even to be imagined. Advancements in telemedicine and smart cities, supported by a multitude of wireless solutions and cable’s 10G platform, will undoubtedly make it easier to cope with future incidents while also increasing demands for a reliable, low-latency network.

Hopefully, the COVID-19 pandemic will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But, acting now to prepare for future challenges will only serve to advance the industry for the benefit of all.

Derek DiGiacomo is the senior director of energy management programs and business continuity at SCTE•ISBE, the global not-for-profit membership organization for cable telecommunications. For more information, visit www.scte.org.

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FCC Security

FCC Should Use Its New Tools to Make Wi-Fi Safer

The FCC should step up security by restricting risky vendors on unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum and make more licensed spectrum available for 5G wireless communications.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shown that broadband networks are essential. People have used wireless networks to work, learn and obtain health care services. However, they face greater security risks when accessing enterprise applications and sensitive data with unsecured networks and devices, as may be the case when they are working at home.

The most common cyberattacks — data breaches, phishing and hacking — are driven primarily by organized crime and state-sponsored actors for financial and espionage reasons. Cyber attackers are looking for valuable personal and financial information, intellectual property and proprietary product information, corporate account information about key employees and customers, and corporate network access. Individuals having endured extensive isolation during the pandemic are further vulnerable to phishing and social engineering attacks together with hacking when they increasingly multitask on a mobile device connected to Wi-Fi, a usable but architecturally unsecured network.

In the past year, the FCC adopted significant national security policy, including a prohibition of using Universal Service Funds to purchase equipment or services from companies posing threats to communications networks or supply chains. This move was designed in part to restrict Huawei and ZTE from 5G networks, which already have better security because of a superior architecture. The FCC has not stated a similar plan for Wi-Fi, even though Wi-Fi is teeming with vulnerable vendors, and Huawei itself touts its leadership role in Wi-Fi 6. Now armed with a super-charged presidential executive order to deny and revoke licenses and applications from risky vendors, the FCC should use its authority to make Wi-Fi safer.

Why 5G Has Better Security Than Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is ideal for local-area networks and enterprise deployments in office buildings. 4G LTE and 5G NR, on the other hand, are suited to wide-area networks and infrastructure deployments that require connection management to ensure reliability and predictably for millions of users at once. These differences reflect the economic choices inherent in licensed and unlicensed spectrum. 5G providers, having spent billions of dollars to purchase the right to transmit data across the airwaves, steward the resource wisely and safely to ensure a good experience for their customers. Unlicensed spectrum, free and open to anyone, has few incentives to be stewarded well. As such, those who value security, pay for it.

Where other users are known, security is less important, and devices can manage their own connections. Users accessing an open, no-password-required Wi-Fi access point take enormous risks. As Wi-Fi access points grow, it is prudent to adopt rigid security protocols where the network manages the device connection. A connection-oriented or connection-managed protocol (WiMAX, 4G LTE, 5G NR) requires that an end-to-end data link between the sending node and receiver node be established both before and while data is transferred.

Connection-managed protocols have better reliability, predictability and security because the encryption key exchange is end-to-end and must be completed before data is transferred. In a connection-less protocol, like Wi-Fi, data is sent from the sending node to the network without requiring an end-to-end link. Users can employ security technologies to protect data from being lost, misrouted or intercepted, but many threats are managed more efficiently at higher levels in the network. Although forthcoming Wi-Fi 6 equipment offers better security, it will take time for every Wi-Fi router to be upgraded, leaving Wi-Fi users at risk in the meantime. With 5G, however, users have built-in advanced security, regardless of the device.

Connection-managed wireless networks such as 4G/5G allow mobility, moving quickly across a large space while keeping a secure, consistent connection. This mobility is provided by a hand-off system that shifts the connection to the best possible tower or site. On unlicensed, connection-less systems, the client will remain attached to the access point until the connection is so poor that it fails. Although some solutions try to make Wi-Fi better, they typically require upfront investment, which can add cost to the proffered free-and-open business model.

4G/5G offers patented features to ensure a high-quality experience: centralized authentication (intelligence in the device ensures network authentication), network rules for security of data transmission; protocols to avoid congestion, spectrum/channel steering, and resource allocation management. 5G security is not perfect — attacks using cellular site equipment (either repurposed or deliberately built to allow state-sponsored surveillance) could harm subscribers, but hacking the firmware of a consumer-grade Wi-Fi access point is a lot easier — and far less expensive — than constructing a cellular site.

Restricting Risky Vendors Can Improve Wi-Fi

Although improving the architecture of Wi-Fi is difficult, Wi-Fi security can be immediately improved by restricting risky vendors and equipment from networks. The FCC has been dogged about restricting malicious Chinese government-owned technology on 5G. Consumers deserve the same security on Wi-Fi, and the FCC should hold Wi-Fi providers to the same standards as required on 5G. Historically, any device could use unlicensed networks, provided it complied with the FCC’s regulated power levels, a certification that comes with the FCC sticker on the back of the device. However, the new “Team Telecom” order allows the FCC to deny or revoke device applications for security reasons.

U.S. policy has clamped down on Huawei for good reason, but it is hardly the only Chinese government-owned technology firm to worry about. American Wi-Fi networks and standards organizations are teeming with such companies, including Lenovo, Panda Electronis, Skyworth, SVA, TCL, Xiaomi, BOE, Changhong, Haier, Hisense, Konka and DJI. The security threats of backdoors and viruses from devices from these companies are considerable. Moreover, they all operate under China’s draconian internet and espionage laws that assert China’s sovereignty over the internet and its authority to collect any data on any Chinese-made device anywhere in the world. These companies are restricted on federal government networks, but their equipment presents the same vulnerabilities on commercial networks and on state government networks, where they are currently unrestricted.

Mid-band Spectrum Improves 5G Security

By opening the 6-GHz band, the FCC quintupled the spectrum for unlicensed technologies: some 1200 megahertz will be available for Wi-Fi. Not only does the FCC need to step up security by restricting risky vendors on unlicensed spectrum, it needs to make more licensed spectrum available for 5G, a more secure technology than Wi-Fi. China has some 500 megahertz of mid-band spectrum in use today and has deployed some 160,000 5G base-stations in 50 cities. The United States must wait until December for an auction of 250 megahertz and yet another year thereafter to repack the spectrum, a slow pace which is itself a national security concern. As COVID-19 has shown, we needed networks yesterday. At the least, the FCC has more tools to use to improve security and should use them to make Wi-Fi safer.

Roslyn Layton is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. David Witkowski is founder and CEO of Oku Solutions and author of Bridging the Gap – 21st Century Telecommunications Handbook.

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Business

Eight Useful Steps to Reach and Engage the Decision-maker

In conducting the business of wireless, it helps to have a plan to help you reach decision-makers who hold the keys to your sales success. Here are steps to help you reach a key individual to start a conversation leading to negotiation.

Are you pitching a new idea or concept? Looking to attract new business? Seeking to boost current sales figures? Identifying the correct decision-maker can be quite the challenging task. You have this great idea or product, so line up your leads and set out to accomplish the daunting task of reaching decision-makers. Establishing rapport is essential in gaining the undivided attention of your target. However, it is important to acknowledge it when someone is not interested. Then, it could be a good time to proceed with the next lead.

It has been often said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results. How do you move things beyond the cold email or phone call? Although the following steps will not guarantee a successful deal-closing, they are helpful in identifying deficiencies to refine your next pitch. Regardless of your professional career level, one or more of these steps might be useful when attempting to reach a key individual to start a conversation leading to negotiation.

  1. Do your homework.

    Learn as much as you can about the organization or individual you are about to contact. Include language such as: “I followed your recent project …” – show that you are familiar with the person in some form. This is not only useful because it demonstrates that you have performed legwork and are somewhat acquainted with your target subject. Also, this is ideal timing to learn whether this person is still in the same position, remember people move on from positions, companies and so on.
  2. Start with a concise yet informative note.

    Visuals are always helpful and essential, however be wary of bombarding the addressee with links, information, images, multimedia, etc. Excessive use of multimedia can backfire and be counter productive towards your efforts. Be careful not to overwhelm the recipient, which might confuse instead of explain. Have you ever attempted to read an email so long that it resulted in mental confusion? In your initial communication, do your best to not cause an unintentional case of sensory overload.
  3. Practice the art of incremental steps.

    Once you establish contact with your intended target, exercise prudence by not asking for too much at once. The lack of familiarity magnifies differences between the respective parties. Have you previously collaborated? Many times, this is the primary cause of failure, especially if no trust has been established. Take your time and carefully evaluate each communication, testing the possibilities. Learn what is effective and eliminate what does not work. Most important, learn and prioritize your target’s needs. If your target does not feel you understand his or her position then needless to say, this will not lead into an active negotiation.
  4. Thoroughly organize your content.

    Try to limit your content to three core points and describe in as concise language as possible. Do not ramble on providing extra unnecessary information. Instead, gradually introduce new information through follow-up communications. This is also an excellent opportunity to engage your target in an active negotiation.
  5. Whenever possible, do not call first.

    Imagine if every time we required communication, we picked up the phone. Is this the best way to familiarize the target with your content? Is this the most effective use of your time? Some people prefer to do business while relying on the organized structure of scheduled phone calls. Not to mention, who enjoys having their ear randomly talked off? While establishing a connection is essential, whenever possible do engage in phone calling as a follow-up task rather than initial pitch.
  6. Indicate how this is beneficial to the overall strategy.

    Does your idea or product align with the organization’s audience? Is it being presented on a timely basis? Is there reasonable timing to allow for proper evaluation by respective teams? Is there considerable time to ensure a swift event execution? Be mindful of these factors when attempting to introduce your ideas. Remember that oftentimes, the bureaucratic structure of many organizations is conducive for delays in getting answers. Thus requests take time to get approved so allow for ample for the organization or individual to get things approved in time. Learn the cycles of their decision making deadlines so you do not find yourself attempting contact at the wrong spectrum of the fiscal year.
  7. Do not send mass emails.

    Take the time to customize your content. How do you feel when you receive a mass email? Does it compel you to reach out and engage with the sender? A recipient almost always knows when you are sending mass content, so it is helpful to familiarize the recipient via the practice of citing specific references applicable to the organization or refer to any previous interaction. This will set you apart from other senders. Picture yourself at the receiving end of an organization and receiving an email from a stranger. You must incrementally establish familiarity and proceed at a reasonable pace.
  8. Call and ask for a direct assistant.

    Oftentimes, support staff can be your biggest obstacle as de facto gatekeepers; however, in my experience as a sole practitioner I have learned the art of enlisting assistants as my allies. In certain instances, ask an immediate assistant to pass the material(s) along to the decision maker. You will be pleasantly pleased that regardless of the final answer, you will have completed your initial task of reaching that key individual.

Gil Rodriguez is a communications strategist at Impacten Media in Miami. Their email address is gil@impacten.com.

Follow Gil Rodriguez: @MiamiPR on Twitter www.twitter.com/MiamiPR

 

Product Showcase

Lighting & Security

Two-Hole Washer for Ground Lug to Buss Bar

Bondwasher

New from Bondwasher: Our 2-hole lug washer line now includes the NEW BLOCKWASHER. Like the famous 2-hole Bondwasher, our new washer is used for the installation of a ground lug to the buss bar. The only difference is Blockwasher has two tabs, one on each end and is installed on the bolt head side of the buss bar opposite of the Bondwasher. The “Tabs” keep the bolt from turning, just as the lock washer keeps the nut from turning. Using both the Bondwasher and Blockwasher as a system ensures the integrity of the ground lug to buss bar connection. An additional bonus of using the Bondwasher System is easier and faster installation, as the Blockwasher Tabs act as a tool to hold the bolt head while tightening the nut with a wrench.

www.bondwasher.com

A Suite of Concealment Solutions

Comptek Technologies

Accelerate small cell deployments with full, partial and non-concealment solutions. Comptek solutions combine the structural, thermal and RF requirements of the wireless carriers with the aesthetic guidelines of communities. In addition to the CityPole® concealment smart pole solution and standard poles, Comptek’s suite of mounts, cabinets, architectural shrouds, and 5G shroud systems complement the company’s wireless infrastructure product portfolio.

www.comptektechnologies.com

LED Obstruction Solutions

Dialight

Dialight is the market leader in LED obstruction solutions with over 20 years of design and manufacturing experience. Dialight offers the industry’s most reliable, energy-efficient and comprehensive line of LED-based obstruction systems in the world. Precision patented optics ensure maximum safety with minimal ground scatter for community friendly illumination. Dialight systems offer a small, lightweight flash head for ease of installation, and our low maintenance fixtures virtually eliminate tower climbs and unplanned site visits for years, dramatically reducing maintenance costs and non-compliance risk. Dialight obstruction solutions can be seamlessly integrated into operation and control centers while providing additional valuable information.

www.dialight.com

Obstruction Lighting and Solutions

Drake Lighting

Drake Lighting is dedicated to providing innovative solutions with a product line that has been strategically engineered with the end user in mind. Our ground-based systems provide our customers with cost savings by eliminating the need to climb. We are a customer-focused distributor of ETL certified FAA obstruction lighting, electrical supplies and monitoring solutions. Located in Mayfield, KY, Drake Lighting is the American distributor for Technostrobe, Inc. Our goal is simple: provide our customers with FAA obstruction lighting solutions that are “Easy to Order, Easy to Handle, Simple to Install.”

www.drakelighting.com

Lighting Compliance Solutions

Flash Technology

As leaders in lighting compliance since 1970, Flash Technology provides turnkey solutions with a collaborative approach—ensuring you receive a reliable, cost-effective solution that meets your lighting needs. The legacy continues with the Vanguard Medium series. The FTS 370x ships with a suite of standard features and is available in dual, red or white. Features include: NVG and NVIS compatible flashhead per FAA AC 150/5345-43J; interleaved LEDs and by-pass circuitry provide longer life by allowing the loss of individual LEDs up to 25%; surge immunity of 25kA withstands 99% of all lightning strikes; real-time performance intelligence and diagnostics; and 5-year warranty.

www.flashtechnology.com/obstruction

Obstruction Lighting Systems and Components

International Tower Lighting, LLC (“ITL”)

Founded in 1998, International Tower Lighting, LLC (“ITL”), is a recognized industry leader in the design and manufacture of obstruction lighting systems and components. ITL has a strong reputation for efficient and courteous customer service and is the only company of its kind to offer in-house equipment training programs to its customers on most US-made lighting systems. Please contact our sales department for more information on all of our services: Obstruction lighting, Monitoring services, Training, Replacement parts, Technical support, Lighting repairs.

www.itl-llc.com

Smart Light Pole Mounting Conversion

L70 Technologies

Ready for IoT? The HUB™️ from L70 Technologies is your cost-effective way to future-proof light poles for smart technologies while upgrading to LED lighting. It is a universal light pole mounting platform to convert your pole into a smart pole while (1) being adjustable to fit 3 inch to 6 inch round, square, or hexagon poles, and (2) reducing installation times for LED fixtures, cameras, 5G, wi-fi, environmental monitors, and other smart technologies by up to 50%. See our case studies on the website for retailers, airports, and difficult installations.

www.L70Technologies.com
 

Company Showcase

Shelters, Enclosures, & Security

American Products, LLC

American Products specializes in offering high quality, competitive enclosure and shelter solutions for protecting sensitive equipment in the field. Call us for your environmentally controlled cabinets, cell sites, wireless back haul, fiber optics and custom enclosure needs.

Comptek Technologies

Comptek Technologies, an Aero Wireless Group company and developer of CityPole®, designs and manufactures innovative aesthetically‐pleasing 4G/5G concealment poles, shrouds, and mounts. Comptek solutions integrate smart infrastructure systems engineered to the technical and aesthetic standards of wireless operators, utility providers and municipalities.

Fibrebond

For more than 35 years, Fibrebond has led the way in building innovative and reliable structures that protect mission-critical equipment. During the emergence of wireless communications, Fibrebond focused on the development of solutions to protect sensitive equipment. Today, Fibrebond has more than 48,000 shelters deployed worldwide.

Peabody Engineering: The Cell Site Disguise Guys®

Industry Leader developing quality modular concealment solutions for cell sites including macro, DAS, small‐cells and raw fiberglass shapes and components for field fabrication. Our design and engineering team will ensure each detail matches existing architecture & keep installation simple. Pick, place & connect! Top of the line and cost effective.

Shelter Works

Shelter Works' buildings are perfectly suited to service a variety of different applications in the telecommunications industries. These maintenance‐free fiberglass composite field equipment shelters are constructed using our trademarked FiberBeam™ technology and are insulated, weather‐tight, durable, and secure.

In This Issue  
The logo of Chinese company Huawei at their office for Serbia in Belgrade, on May 25, 2018. - Source: Jerome Cid, 123rf.com
From The Editor

What Is True About Huawei?

The China-based multinational company Huawei Technologies has enormous importance in the w...
Immersive Experiences: 5G makes AR and VR powerful tools in training and communicating information to employees and customers. - Source: Nokia 5G Use Case Research Summary PDF
5G

Research Reveals What’s Behind 5G Demand for Enterprise Information, Operational Technology

Nokia conducted research in partnership with Parks Associates that highlights 5G wireless ...
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FirstNet

FirstNet Network Expands Across Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland

First responders in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland are receiving a boost in their wir...
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Business

Elliott Management Recommends Changes at Crown Castle

Seeing a significant value opportunity as 5G wireless communications network deployments a...
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Business FCC Security

FCC Bans Spending Universal Service Fund Dollars With Huawei, ZTE, Because of National Security Threat

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau released two similar orders on June 3...
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Security

U.S. to Evaluate Chinese Communications Technology Used Abroad

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. government wants to ensure that the Chin...
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Security

China Greatest Threat to U.S. Economic and National Security

Speaking during a video event from the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., on July 7, FB...
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Safety Site Lighting

Improving Nighttime Safety for VFR Pilots

In U.S. airspace, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported almost 27.5 million f...
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Edge

Edge Computing and the Towers of the Future

ExteNet Systems provides converged communication infrastructure-as-a-service. The company ...
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COVID-19 Safety

Public Safety Communications in the Wake of the Pandemic

The telecommunications industry plays a key role in crisis response, public safety and rec...
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FCC Security

FCC Should Use Its New Tools to Make Wi-Fi Safer

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shown that broadband networks are essential. Peopl...
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Business

Eight Useful Steps to Reach and Engage the Decision-maker

Are you pitching a new idea or concept? Looking to attract new business? Seeking to boost ...