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OPINON: Trump Looks to Pile on Chinese With 5G Ban

BY Ernest Worthman, AWT Exec. Editor, IEEE Sr. Member

Every evil act is perpetrated by China.That is how it seems if one listens to the present U.S. position. One has to wonder if there is not some hidden agenda on the part of the current administration to discredit them.

On this Valentine’s Day President Donald Trump is one day closer to kissing off China, signing an executive order that bans the use of 5G telecom equipment from Huawei and ZTE.

Granted, China is not a country that plays by the rules. However, they are simply like the ill-begotten child that will cheat at every opportunity. Cheating is part of their philosophy and they do not necessarily see it as evil. They believe that using whatever means to accomplish the goal is fair. So, making it seem like it is the root of all evil in the world seems a bit ridiculous. I have been aware of that for years. Why is this all of a sudden, the number one issue for this Administration?

It seems the United States is like the pot calling the kettle black, here. What about all the underhanded (even illegal) activities that carriers have exacted on us, over the years? They have been handed their lunch more than once over charges of illegal activities, lying to users, bait and switch tactics, and many other activities.

Then, there are the social media companies. Stealing data and selling it, illegally, while hiding it in EULAs or terms of usage, for years now. Yet, to date, there has been no legislation to stop them or actions taken against them.

That is only one tiny slice of it. This kind of activity spans markets, industries and technologies, as well as nation-states all over the world. So why is the United States picking on them with such vehement aggressiveness?

Could it be that the United Sates’ rabid anti-China sentiment has to do with jittery nerves? Is the current administration afraid that we cannot maintain the hype of being the leading economic superpower of the world, and attacking other leading technology companies to hedge our bets? Is this like a petulant child acting aggressively against others who they know are better at the game they are playing?

These are interesting angles, and I believe they have merit. This aggression against Chinese international expansion seems to be one of the strategies the administration is using to try to convince the world of that they are the new epitome of evil.

Is it working? The jury is still out. The ramifications of success in booting China is going to do more harm than good, according to a number of sources.  For example, the Rural Wireless Association is trying to persuade officials to scrap plans for a ban. They estimate that such a move could result in replacement costs between $800 million and $1 billion if they cannot get hardware from Chinese vendors. There have been all kinds of other warnings, as well, pointing out that the result will be that such actions will place the United States further behind than other countries in 5G technology and deployment.

On top of the China issues, the current economic and political instability has done nothing but place burdens on business across the board. This has resulted in increased uncertainty, disruption of commerce and advances the specter of a recession. If these factors do not improve in the near term, they could result in bad news for the timeline of 5G.

There are a couple of allied countries that are caving in to the administration’s ban arm-twisting – Australia and New Zealand specifically. However, most other allies are trying to figure a way to appease Washington while looking for workarounds to keep Washington off their backs while, simultaneously, keeping a working relationship with China.

Believe me, I am under no illusion that China is behind a lot of cheating and nefarious activities in the high-tech segment. However, we want cheap goods so that comes with the territory. We have always been aware of that so why is everyone so surprised.

China certainly deserves admonishment if all of this is true. So far, there has been a lot of noise but little hard evidence. Once the truth is laid bare, dealing with any “petulant” child, even if it is a nation-state, has any number of options.

However, the punishment needs to fit the crime. Should some, or all, of this prove out, I believe that actions such as placing tight regulations on companies that use Chinese goods and requiring tighter scrutinization of companies, both here and there, that have workers with access to confidential information are some of the options. There is a variety of other options as well, up to, and including, a ban.

This early, heavy-handed approach is not working as well as they would like. That is why they are on a mission to pressure allies to fall in line. This president has proven himself to be a loose cannon with little self-control and no real understanding of international relationships. Therefore, to expect any kind of a reasonable approach to this problem is academic as long as he has control.

While I am not worldly, by any stretch of the imagination, I do have contacts abroad, that I have pinged, in places like Germany, Great Britain, and India that have much different opinions of how this should be handled.

The fact that there has been little support for a ban is telling as well. Most other counties are taking a much more analytical approach. No doubt, if they feel that a ban is warranted, they will do it, with, or without, U.S. pressure.

Unfortunately, corruption is a way of life, and of business. It is not going to end. When someone is caught with their hand in the cookie jar, there should be ramifications. In less civilized areas, they chop off heads. That, of course, is barbaric. However, the opposite is true elsewhere. How many people went to jail after the banking “crisis” of 10 years ago?

The problem is that when hotheads knee jerk at a national level, the potential for collateral damage percolates across, and down, many levels – and the damage affects a lot of innocent factions; just ask the 800,000+ federal workers. Therefore, in the end, just how well hardline national policies will work, here, is up for a lot of debate. Moreover, if continued, it will have a detrimental effect on the emerging 5G ecosystem.

Data Center Activities Accelerate Ethernet Test Equipment Market

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan shows that the explosion of network traffic in China is forcing network operators and network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) to search for higher-speed technologies to break the bandwidth limit. Higher-bandwidth applications have popularized 10GbE networks, while the 40/100GbE market is expected to grow considerably. With the rapid uptake of these networks, the Ethernet test equipment market is expected to exhibit double-digit growth rates through 2018.

The Chinese Ethernet test equipment market earned revenue of $109.5 million in 2011, and revenue is estimated to grow to $264.9 million in 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan.

The extra bandwidth created by the increased use of smart terminals and the widespread application of data/video/voice services is compelling service providers and NEMs to move toward Ethernet technology, which offers significant opportunities to test vendors.

Service providers and carriers are the biggest end-user groups in the 1GbE and 10GbE test equipment market, therefore, their cost consciousness affects the market for test equipment.

“Due to the increasing price-performance ratio of instruments, test equipment vendors are competing on price while offering the highest level of product performance,” said Frost & Sullivan Research analyst Wei Wei, in a company statement. “In addition, they offer specialized customer service and technical support to ensure quality of service.”

Test equipment vendors are constantly investing in R&D to keep pace with technological advancements. They will also gain from operators moving away from traditional time-division multiplexing (TDM)-based mobile backhaul networks to Ethernet mobile backhaul to scale and simplify provisioning and management.

“Additionally, the deployment of a 10G passive optical network for mobile backhaul traffic will boost the Ethernet test equipment market,” noted Wei, in a company release. “Telecom infrastructure upgrades enhance the need for testing and thereby, push up the sales of Ethernet test equipment.”

LightPointe, GCI Science & Technology to Pursue China Market for Wireless Backhaul Solutions

LightPointe has signed an agreement with GCI Science & Technology Co., Ltd. to purchase and distribute its fourth-generation free space optics wireless bridges and millimeter-wave e-band 4G/LTE backhaul radios in China.

“We are excited that a major public corporation in China, recognized as one of the leaders in CDMA and GSM mobile telecom products and services, has selected LightPointe technology for rollout to key enterprise and 4G carrier customers,” stated Heinz Willebrand, president and CEO for LightPointe, in a company statement. “With a market cap of over CNY$2 billion, experience in telecom manufacturing, system engineering, distribution, and broadband network deployment, GCI is well positioned in China and already has key relationships with such leading companies as China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.”

“After a thorough review of available wireless backhaul technology partners, and numerous meetings with both free space optics and millimeter-wave companies in the United States, we chose LightPointe due to their broad range of point-to-point wireless bridges, their performance and feature advantages, quality U.S. and Germany components, and leadership position in many parts of the world,” said Qiyue He, president of GCI, in a press release.

LightPointe produces all three of the leading wireless bridge technologies, including free-space optics bridges, 60/70/80- GHz backhaul solutions and patented hybrid optical radios, which combine the advantages of laser transmission with RF backup for up to 99.999 percent reliability. The company’s point-to-point solutions are designed for enterprise building connectivity and for 4G/LTE carriers in their small cell backhaul infrastructure.