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Next-generation communications


ADTRAN GmbH’s Managing Director and ADTRAN Inc.’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director of International Markets Dr. Eduard Scheiterer has been involved in the digital revolution since the late 1970s. He has experienced the changes in network technology first hand, first with the German technology firm Siemens and later with its Finnish partner Nokia as part of the joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks.

In December 2011, ADTRAN announced it was to buy Nokia Siemens Network’s broadband business. The deal was completed in 2012, and Dr. Scheiterer found himself in entirely new surroundings.

“Siemens has over 400,000 employees, and Nokia Siemens Networks had over 60,000 employees,” he explains. “In comparison, ADTRAN is highly focused on a market sector with 2,200 employees worldwide, so it is quite a different feeling but a very good feeling.”

Although it is a highly focused, less well-known player in the market, ADTRAN nevertheless occupies a position among the top three global companies in its field, holding its own against more high-profile competitors such as Alcatel Lucent and Huawei.

Building up the company’s presence and image has been one of ADTRAN’s strategic aims over the past three years with the result that now no one in the EU has any doubt that ADTRAN is one of the three global suppliers in the fixed access network communications market.

ADTRAN specializes in telecommunications networking equipment and Internet products. Its products enable voice, data, video and Internet communications across a variety of network infrastructures. In other words, it enables the connections that allow the digital revolution to take place.

“Our solutions are used by service providers, private enterprises, government organizations and millions of individual users worldwide,” says Dr. Scheiterer. “Our innovative network access products enable a wealth of applications ranging from Internet access and corporate connectivity to telecommuting and distance learning. They support modern lifestyles by enabling teleworking for parents who want to spend more time with their children and help people better their position by making it possible to study for qualifications from home. The applications and benefits are endless.”

The watchword on everyone’s lips when it comes to the Internet is broadband connectivity. “Service providers everywhere are faced with optimizing their existing network infrastructure to support advanced services, enabling not only voice and simple broadband connections to the Internet, but newer services such as IPTV and Ethernet,” explains Dr. Scheiterer. “ADTRAN offers a wide range of broadband access solutions to fit the needs of all customers.”

These solutions are divided into two categories: Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) and ultra broadband. FTTH refers to the optical fiber used for last-mile telecommunications. ADTRAN’s FTTH solutions are ultra-flexible, high-capacity, deep-fiber solutions that can be used for residential, business and MDU applications.

The company’s ultra broadband solutions are aimed at service providers and enable them to deliver profitable super-premium Internet and video services.

“Network architecture is still hugely diversified, and high-speed broadband coverage is not yet complete,” says Dr. Scheiterer. “If you look at the investment plans of institutions like the EU or Deutsche Telekom, they are talking about implementing 10 or even 100 Gbps Ethernet, so we don’t need to worry that the market may stagnate under our watch.”

The race to 10 Gbps may have been driven by the need to address Internet capacity bottlenecks as more customers signed up for bandwidth-greedy applications. However, the implementation of 100 Gbps infrastructure reflects a number of important economic factors including a desire to utilize bandwidth more efficiently.

“History has shown us that as soon as you create additional bandwidth, it is quickly soaked up by increasingly sophisticated applications,” says Dr. Scheiterer. “It is almost an unwritten law of the Internet that you can never have enough bandwidth.”

One of ADTRAN’s recent, greater successes was the conclusion of a major contract with one of the largest European carriers to implement the expansion of its broadband network. It is one of a number of contracts won by ADTRAN with major players on both sides of the Atlantic.

“There is no country in the world without a broadband initiative,” says Dr. Scheiterer. “It is a global trend from which we will no doubt continue to profit in the future.”

The German subsidiary serves the company’s customers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. In addition to its headquarters in Munich, it also has offices in Berlin, Greifswald, Leipzig and Bruchsal. A total of 380 people are employed in Europe, most of them engineers.

The company’s strategic goal for the future is to diversify its client base to balance the split between large accounts and small and medium-sized clients. “On the one hand, we want to build our key accounts in the direction of long-term strategic partnerships, but at the same time, we want to reduce the absolute share of turnover of our key accounts in order to spread our risk more widely,” explains Dr. Scheiterer.

Another key trend for the future is cloud connectivity. As more and more applications move into the cloud, the demand on network capacity is easy to predict. After 30 years in the business, Dr. Scheiterer is still excited about what the future has in store. “So much has changed in communications technology over the last three decades, but there is much more to come,” he says. “I can’t wait to see where technology will take us in the future.”

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