Thursday, June 29, 2017

Nokia – IP networks re-imagined

Recently we have seen Cisco predict that busy hour global IP traffic will grow 4.6-fold (35% CAGR) from 2016 to 2021, reaching 4.3 Pb/s by 2021, compared to average Internet traffic that will grow 3.2-fold (26% CAGR) over the same period to reach 717 Tb/s by 2021. The latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, released earlier this week, calculates that the total traffic in mobile networks increased by 70% between the end of Q1 2016 and the end of Q1 2017. And now, Nokia Bell Labs has just announced its own prediction: IP traffic will more than double in the next five years, reaching 330 exabytes per month by 2022 while growing at a 25% CAGR. The company anticipates that peak data rates will grow even faster at nearly 40% annually. Nokia Bell Labs also predicts that 3D/4K/UHD will experience a 4.79x growth from 2017 – 22, that wireless traffic will experience 7.5x growth from 2017 – 22, and that worldwide IoT devices to grow from 12bn in 2017 to 100bn in 2025.

Nokia unveils next gen networking processing engine

Nokia's processing engine sets the stage for perhaps the most significant announcement from the company since the merger of Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks in 2015. In a press event entitled 'IP networks reimagined', Nokia unveiled its FP4 silicon, featuring the 'first' 2.4 Tbit/s network processor, up to 6x more powerful than processors currently available. The proprietary chipset is designed for a new class of petabit-class routers.

Core routers traditionally have been the 'big iron' that powers the heart of the Internet. It is a product category dominated by Cisco, Huawei, Juniper and Nokia, including via its existing 7950 XRS routing platform. However, the market has been in flux. Earlier this month, Dell’Oro Group reported a significant break in Q1 17 with Huawei taking the top spot from Cisco in the core router market for the first time. The report also found Huawei taking over second spot from Nokia in the SP edge router and CES market. The primary reason cited for this shift is that the SP core routing business is only growing at a low single-digit rate, while China Mobile is defying the trend with significant investments in their IP core backbone, for which Huawei is the lead supplier. Nevertheless, the overall predictions for rapid growth in IP traffic over the coming five years makes it more likely that service providers will need a significant refresh of their core backbones to handle hundreds of 100 or 400 Gbit/s connections at major nodes.

Nokia's previous generation FP3 chipset, unveiled by Alcatel-Lucent in June 2011 and launched in 2012, packed 288 RISC cores operating at 1 GHz and leveraged 40 nm process technology; the FP2 chipset offered 112 cores at 840 MHz and was built in 90 nm. This network processor lineage can be traced back to TiMetra Networks, a start-up based in Mountain View, California that launched its first carrier-class routing platforms in 2003.

TiMetra, which was headed by Basil Alwan, was acquired by Alcatel-Lucent later in 2003 for approximately $150 million in stock. The product line went on to become the highly successful 7450, 7750 and eventually 7950 carrier platforms - the basis for the IP division at Alcatel-Lucent. Not bad for an idea from a small start-up to grow into the star platform underpinning all of Alcatel-Lucent + Nokia Siemens Networks.

In a launch day webcast, Basil Alwan, now president of Nokia's IP/Optical Networks business group, said we are moving into a new phase of the Internet requiring 'cloud-scale routing'. First, he noted that there is market confusion between Internet-class routers and core data centre switches, which are being used to power the hyperscale infrastructure of the Internet content providers. High-end, data centre spine switches are capable of routing packets at high rates and can handle access control lists (ACLs). Likewise, conventional big iron core routers can switch data flows, and are sometimes deployed in data centres. However, there have been tradeoffs when this role reversal happens. Nokia's new FP4 chipset aims to fix that.

First multi-terabit NPU silicon

Six years have passed since the FP3, or roughly two cycles in the evolution of Moore's Law, so naturally one would expect the new silicon to be smaller, faster and more powerful and efficient. But Alwan said the company took its time to rethink how the packet processing works at the silicon level. To begin with, Nokia redesigned the onboard memory, employing 2.5D and 3D layouts on 16 nm Fin Field Effect Transistor (FinFET) technology. The single chip contains 22 dies, including memory stacks and control logic. It runs at 2.4 Tbit/s half-duplex, or 6x more capacity than the current generation 400 Gbit/s FP3 chipset. The FP4 will support full terabit IP flows. All conventional routing capabilities are included. Deep classification capabilities include enhanced packet intelligence and control, policy controls, telemetry and security.

The FP4 could be used to provide an in-service upgrade to Nokia's current line of core routers and carrier switches. It will also be used to power a new family of 7750 SR-s series routers designed for single-node, cloud scale density. In terms of specs, the SR-s boasts a 144 Tbit/s configuration supporting port densities of up to 144 future terabit links, 288 x 400 Gbit/s ports, or 1,440 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Absolute capacity could be doubled for a maximum of 288 Tbit/s configuration. It runs the same software as the company's widely-deployed systems. The first 7750 SR-s boxes are already running in Nokia labs and the first commercial shipments are expected in Q4.

Nokia is also introducing a chassis extension option to push its router into petabit territory. Without using the switching shelf concept employed in the multi-chassis designs of its competitors, Nokia is offering the means to integrate up to six of its 7750 SRS-s routers into a single system. This results in 576 Tbit/s of capacity, enough for densities of up to 2,880 x 100 GBE ports or 720 x 400 Gbit/s ports. Adding up the numbers, it is not truly petabit-class, but at 576 Tbit/s it is more than halfway there.

Network telemetry leads to security
Another interesting twist concerns security and petabit-class routing. In December 2016, Nokia agreed to acquire Deepfield, a start-up specialising in real-time analytics for IP network performance management and security. Deepfield, founded in 2011 and based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has developed an analytics platform that identifies over 30,000 popular cloud applications and services. Its Internet Genome tracks how traffic runs to and through networks to reach subscribers, in real time, and without the need for probes, taps and monitors in the network itself. At the time of the deal, Nokia said it would integrate Deepfield big data analytics with the dynamic control capabilities of open SDN platforms, such as the Nokia Network Services Platform (NSP) and Nuage Networks Virtualized Services Platform (VSP).

Expanding on this idea, Alwan said Deepfield can really leverage the routers rather than probes to understand what is happening to the traffic. Fewer probes mean lower investment. More importantly, Deepfield could be used to track DDoS attacks passing through the core of the network rather than at the edge destination target. The new FP4 silicon is said to be a very good match for this application.

AT&T Demos 650 Mbit/s using LTE + LAA

AT&T and Ericsson announced that they have conducted a live LTE-LAA technology field trial, during which initial wireless data rates of more than 650 Mbit/s were achieved in downtown San Francisco.

AT&T noted that LTE-LAA technology is expected to play a key role in its push to achieve theoretical peak speeds of 1 Gbit/s at selected small cell sites by the end of this year. In addition, the technology also constitutes a key element as the operator works to upgrade the network and increase speeds in its 5G Evolution markets.

The operator stated that while 5G standards are yet to be finalised, it is seeking to lay the foundation for future wireless networks leveraging the 5G Evolution program and technologies including LTE-LAA as it aims to begin delivering 5G wireless data speeds as early as late 2018.

AT&T previously demonstrated the ultra-fast speeds enabled by LTE-LAA at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where it showed mobile user speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s utilising LTE-LAA combined with carrier aggregation, 4 x 4 MIMO and 256QAM.

LTE-LAA combines unlicensed spectrum with licensed spectrum through carrier aggregation to increase overall network capacity and enable faster, more reliable wireless speeds. The technology is designed to co-exist with other unlicensed spectrum technologies such as WiFi via a feature termed 'listen before talk', which allows fair coexistence between LTE-LAA and WiFi.



  • AT&T announced in April that as part of its 5G Evolution program it planned to begin offering higher speed, lower latency services for wireless customers with the latest devices in 20+ major metro areas by the end of the year. The new wireless capability was initially available in parts of Austin, where AT&T wireless customers with a Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+ are able to access faster 5G Evolution Internet speeds.
  • AT&T stated at that time that the higher speed service would be expanded to Indianapolis in the summer, with plans to extend it to markets including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville and San Francisco.

Huawei Marine Selected for Cameroon-Brazil Subsea cable

Huawei Marine, the joint venture between Huawei Technologies and UK-based Global Marine Systems, announced it has been contracted by China Unicom and Cameroon government-owned infrastructure operator Camtel to construct the South Atlantic Inter Link (SAIL), marking the official commencement of the SAIL cable system implementation phase.

Funded with investment from China Unicom and Camtel, the SAIL system will link Cameroon and Brazil and span around 6,000 km. The cable system will comprise 4 fibre pairs and offer a design capacity of 32 Tbit/s based on Huawei Marine’s advanced 100 Gbit/s technology.

The SAIL system will be the first direct access cable to connect Africa and South America, and on completion is designed to provide a reliable, high-quality intercontinental communications infrastructure between the two developing regions.



  • Huawei Marine originally announced that it had been commissioned to construct the Cameroon-Brazil cable system, initially called Cameroon-Brazil Cable System (CBCS), in October 2015.
  • Also in 2015, Huawei Marine announced it had started marine installation of the Nigeria-Cameroon Submarine Cable System (NCSCS), Cameroon's first wholly-owned submarine cable and part funded by the Cameroon government. Spanning around 1,100 km, the NCSCS directly connects Kribi in Cameroon with Lagos in Nigeria and will deliver 12.8 Tbit/s of capacity.
  • Camtel states that to date it has deployed more than 8,000 km of fibre that connects the ten regional chief towns in Cameroon, as well as around 60 divisional/sub-divisional chief towns and hundreds of rural communities; it also provides connectivity to CEMAC region countries including Chad. The company is aiming to build a network spanning over 20,000 km.

Spectra7, providing chips for high-speed connectivity, raises $4.6m

Spectra7 Microsystems of San Jose, California, a developer of high performance analogue semiconductors, announced that it has closed its previously announced bought deal offering of 11,500,000 units at a price of 40c per unit, including the full exercise of the over-allotment option, for aggregate gross proceeds of $4.6 million.

Spectra7 stated that the public offering was underwritten by a syndicate of underwriters led by Canaccord Genuiy and including Eight Capital and Echelon Wealth Partners.

In addition to the public offering, the company announced that it has closed the first tranche of its private placement of units, as previously announced on June 7th, pursuant to which it issued 3,280,750 units for additional gross proceeds of $1.31 million, including subscriptions by its CEO and certain directors of the company.

Each unit issued through the offerings comprises one common share and one-half of a common share purchase warrant, with each warrant entitling the holder to acquire one common share for 55c per share for a period of two years after closing of the offerings.

Spectra7 stated that the net proceeds from the offerings will be used to fund R&D and for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Separately, the company announced amendments to its $6.50 million senior secured term loan facility with MidCap Financial. The amendments include extending the commencement date for principal payments under the loan facility by a year to June 1, 2018, and the option to extend the maturity date of the facility by a further year upon satisfaction of certain conditions.

In relation to the amendments, Spectra7 has issued warrants to purchase up to 750,000 common shares, with each warrant exercisable for a period of five years into one common share at a price of 39c.

For its most recent quarter ended March 31, 2017, Spectra7 reported revenue of $2.7 million, up 8% versus $2.5 million a year earlier, with gross margin as a percentage of revenue for the quarter at 60%, flat sequentially.


* In January, Spectra7 demonstrated what it claimed as the first QSFP28 Double Density (QSFP28-DD) active copper cable (ACC) integrating its new GaugeChanger Plus GC2502 silicon. It also stated it would begin sampling GaugeChanger Plus QSFP28-DD active copper modules to data centre cable assembly companies during the quarter.

Using the linear design of its GC2502, Spectra7 noted that the modules can support both NRZ and PAM4 signalling, enabling 200 or 400 Gigabit Ethernet transmissions over the same cable.

* Spectra7 also announced sampling of IEEE COM-compliant SFP28 and QSFP28 active copper modules to Tier 1 cable assembly and data centre customers in North America and Asia. It noted the modules were available for evaluation and qualification by customers such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Baidu and Alibaba, as well as data centre equipment manufacturers such as Cisco, HP, Dell and Hauwei.


* Spectra7 is an analogue semiconductor company delivering solutions enabling high bandwidth, speed and resolution for electronics manufacturers addressing broadband connectivity markets. Based in San Jose, the company has design centres in Markham, Ontario, Cork, Ireland and Little Rock, Arkansas.

PacketFabric partners with Internet exchanges

PacketFabric, provider of a scalable network-as-a-service platform and a NantWorks group company, announced it has partnered with multiple Internet exchanges (IXs) to extend Internet exchange services to users across the PacketFabric network.

Under the agreements, PacketFabric is initially partnering with multi-metro IXs including AMS-IX and DE-CIX, as well as regional organisations IX-Denver and United IX's Chicago Internet Exchange (ChIX) to launch its IX extension service.

The partnerships will allow PacketFabric to offer an expanded range of interconnection services via its network, as well as enabling its ecosystem partners to reach additional markets and new customers.

Recently, Netrality Properties, owner and operator of network-neutral carrier hotels and colocation facilities, announced that PacketFabric had established a presence at four of its data centre properties nationwide.

Netrality specifically announced the deployment at the following locations: 325 Hudson Street, New York City; 401 North Broad Street, Philadelphia; 717 South Wells Street, Chicago; and 1301 Fannin Street, Houston.


* PacketFabric's software-defined networking (SDN) platform is designed to allow instant, reliable, scalable and secure connectivity between two or more locations. Under the agreement, Netrality customers at the four locations can dynamically design and deploy any network configuration leveraging cloud-based network connectivity to meet their unique and growing network demands.

* PacketFabric, which launched in January this year, offers coast-to-coast connectivity between 130 key colocation facilities across 13 U.S. markets and enables cost-effective and scalable network deployment via its advanced API and web-based portal.


Cavium unveils FastLinQ 41000 10/25/40/50 GBE NIC

Cavium announced the introduction of the FastLinQ 41000 Series products, its low power, second generation 10/25/40/50 Gigabit Ethernet NIC that is claimed to be the only such adapter to feature Universal RDMA.

Cavium's FastLinQ 41000 Series devices are designed to deliver advanced networking for cloud and telco architectures; the products are available immediately from Cavium and shortly due to be available from Tier-1 OEMs/ODMs in standard, mezzanine, LOM and OCP form factors.

The FastLinQ QL41000 family of standards-compliant 25/50 Gigabit Ethernet NICs offer support for concurrent RoCE, RoCEv2 and iWARP - Universal RDMA. The FastLinQ adapters, coupled with server and networking platforms, are designed to enable enterprise data centres to optimise infrastructure costs and increase virtual machine density leveraging technologies such as concurrent SR-IOV and NIC Partitioning (NPAR) that provide acceleration and QoS for tenant workloads and infrastructure traffic.

The new FastLinQ adapters also support network function virtualisation with enhanced small packet performance via integration into DPDK and OpenStack, enabling cloud and telcos/NFV customers to deploy, manage and accelerate demanding artificial intelligence, big data, CDN and machine learning workloads.

For telco and NFV applications, the products provide improved small packet performance with line rate packets per second for 10/25 Gigabit Ethernet, MPLSoUDP offload and integration with DPDK and OpenStack using the Mirantis FUEL plug-in. This allows telco's and NFV application vendors to deploy, manage and accelerate demanding NFV workloads.

Additionally, integrated storage acceleration and offloads such as NVMe-oF, NVMe-Direct, iSCSI, iSER and FCoE enable upgrades from existing storage paradigms to next generation NVMe and persistent memory semantics.

The products also offer zero-touch automatic speed and FEC selection via Cavium's FastLinQ SmartAN technology, which is designed to significantly reduce interoperability challenges in physical layer networks.

Further Features of the FastLinQ 41000 Series inlcude:

1.         10/25/40/50 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity across standard and OCP form factors.

2.         Stateless offloads for VxLAN, NVGRE and GENEVE.

3.         SmartAN to provide seamless 10/25 Gigabit Ethernet interoperability.

4.         Storage protocol offloads for iSCSI, FCoE, iSER, NVMe-oF and SMB Direct.

5.         Management across heterogeneous platforms with QConvergeConsole GUI and CLI.


Regarding the new products, Martin Hull, senior director product management at Arista Networks, said, "Arista… has partnered with Cavium to ensure availability of tested and interoperable solutions for hyperscale data centres… Cavium's FastLinQ 41000 Series of NICs and Arista’s portfolio of 25 Gbit/s leaf and spine systems deliver backward compatibility and investment protection with standards compliance".


China Telecom and Orange Business Services Target IoT

China Telecom and Orange Business Services announced the extension of their strategic partnership into the IoT space during the launch event of eSurfing on the Silk Road, IoT with the World in Shanghai, China, with the new cooperation designed to enable the companies to serve enterprise customers via a combined footprint across three continents.

Through the expanded agreement, multinational customers of China Telecom and Orange will be able to deploy IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) services across each other's networks.

China Telecom enterprise customers with outbound IoT businesses can deploy their assets and offerings on the Orange networks in Europe and Africa, while Orange's global enterprise customers can access the Chinese market utilising China Telecom's IoT network resources and business capabilities. In addition, both partners propose a global solution to address local IoT connectivity requirements leveraging eUICC capabilities and the commonly deployed Device Connectivity Platform from Ericsson.

China Telecom and Orange plan to cooperate commercially and technically to create new service models designed to address global IoT opportunities. Under the agreement, Orange will become one of China Telecom's preferred partners for connectivity in Europe and Africa, while China Telecom will support Orange in delivering connectivity in China.

The agreement also encompasses joint exploration of the potential for enhancing existing IoT capabilities and the application of new technologies such as mobile IoT in the global market.

Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Deng Xiao Feng, MD of global business department of China Telecom, said, "China is one of the fastest growing markets for IoT applications, China Telecom is working with Orange to push for the building of an advanced IoT solution to capture global IoT opportunities… China Telecom (and) Orange will address the increasing IoT demand and… support enterprise customers with the IoT Open Platform".

ZTE and China Mobile showcase 5G eMBB

ZTE announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai the launch of a live 5G field test in Guangdong, deployed with China Mobile and designed to showcase an enhanced 5G Mobile Broadband (eMBB) experience using 100 MHz bandwidth and delivering a single-user rate of up to 2 Gbit/s.

China Mobile and ZTE conducted the 5G field test in Guangzhou University Town, selected to represent a typical high-traffic scenario and also a key 'pilot field' for enhancing the user experience in 5G eMBB scenarios. ZTE noted that its 3.5 GHz NR (new radio) base station product was used for the 5G field test in Guangzhou.

For the next stage of testing, the companies will carry out multi-site networking tests to evaluate wireless coverage, throughput, mobility, delay and other 5G networking indicators.

As one of China Mobile's strategic 5G partners, ZTE is providing the operator with a range of products, including 5G RANs and virtual core networks (VCNs). In addition, ZTE has been providing support for research covering key technologies, the definition of product specifications and testing of pilot networks to help China Mobile meet its strategic goals.

ZTE and China Mobile have previously carried out collaboration in the areas of 2G, 3G and 4G, as well as currently into 5G. As part of this work, in 2016 ZTE signed a 5G strategic cooperation memorandum with China Mobile, and ZTE's Pre5G massive MIMO base stations have been deployed into the existing network of China Mobile.


* In February this year, ZTE, Qualcomm and China Mobile jointly announced that they planned to conduct interoperability tests based on 5G NR specifications and over the air (OTA) field tests designed to facilitate large-scale verification and commercialisation of the 5G NR technology. ZTE noted that in 2017 it initiated the non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) project, a core element of the 5G NR program.

* Recently, ZTE and China Mobile Quanzhou Branch announced the commercial deployment of 3D-MIMO, also termed Pre5G massive MIMO, in the city of Quanzhou, Fujian province. ZTE stated that with 16 commercial terminals connected, it achieved single-carrier downlink peak cell rate of 730 Mbit/s, with a single-carrier 16-stream downlink peak rate using 3D-MIMO of up to 700 Mbit/s. In addition, a three-carrier rate of up to 2.1 Gbit/s was achieved.

See also