Tuesday, August 1, 2017

ONAP Project progresses towards Amsterdam release

The Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project announced that, building on its technical momentum and community growth, Comcast, Fujitsu, Infosys, NEC subsidiary Netcracker Technology and Samsung have joined as new members to contribute to the open source framework for network automation.

ONAP noted that six months after its launch it has doubled its community and projects to more than 900 contributors, 50 members and 30 projects. ONAP is working to deliver a neutral automation platform for network, infrastructure and services across service providers, cloud providers and enterprises as they seek to efficiently deliver on-demand services leveraging existing investments.

ONAP stated that it is progressing towards the first release, Amsterdam, which is due to be available later in the year. The Amsterdam release will integrate the original OPEN-O and ECOMP code bases into a common orchestration platform.

In addition, the ONAP community has established projects and technologies key to VNF orchestration that combine features from both the OPEN-O and ECOMP platforms. This effort includes tools and guidelines designed to help vendors create, integrate and validate their VNFs with ONAP; ONAP is also announcing the acceptance of ICE.

ICE, developed at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto, is an incubation and validation platform for VNF's that was recently made a part of ONAP. Now known as the VNF Validation Program (ICE) Project, it includes a defined validation process and scripts designed to form the basis of the certification and self-test programs for ONAP.

The new project, along with the VNF Requirements Project and VNF SDK Project that utilise code from OPEN-O and ECOMP, will define how VNFs can obtain an ONAP-compatible label. Further key areas of integration include service orchestration, deployment and monitoring of VNFs, plus closed loop automation. Additionally, uses cases required for future carrier networks have been approved by the TSC (technical steering committee), including residential broadband vCPE, vFW/vDNS and VoLTE.



Analysys Mason evaluates Telefónica's UNICA NFV/SDN

Telefonica, serving around 346 million accesses in 21 countries, announced that Analysys Mason, the global consultancy and research firm, has released a white paper commissioned by Telefónica that evaluates progress in implementing its Telco Cloud program, which includes UNICA, the foundational architecture designed to support future networks based on network function virtualisation and software-defined networking (NFV/SDN) technologies.

Telefonica noted that the paper covers its progress with the telco cloud initiative from its launch as an innovation project through to its current status with live deployments in Germany, Argentina, Colombia and Peru. Telefonica launched its UNICA program around four years ago.

The Analysys Mason study identifies Telefónica as amongst the first operator to see the potential of incorporating cloud technologies, general-purpose hardware and a programmable network control plane into its network architecture. Telefónica envisages eventually implementing a network that is fully virtualised and programmable that will enable it to efficiently and flexibly align capacity with demand, reduce network complexity and speed new services delivery.

The Analysys Mason study finds that Telefonica's UNICA platform features a well-founded architecture that does not compromise on the original ETSI NFV principles, specifically: independence from vendor-lock-in at all layers of the architecture; the use of commodity and, where possible, open-source, cloud technologies; and encouraging market innovation through sponsorship of open-source communities.

However, the research firm concludes that Telefónica faces two key challenges in implementing a program as large and advanced as UNICA - technology challenges associated with market immaturity and challenges around the organisational, cultural and process transformations needed to implement UNICA at scale.

To address these challenges, Analysys Mason recommends that Telefónica increase dialogue with business stakeholders to demonstrate the potential of UNICA and that it prioritise internal operational and organisational transformations to prepare its operating businesses from a technology perspective to effectively use the UNICA infrastructure.

The full Analysys Mason study, Telefónica's UNICA architecture strategy for network virtualisation, can be downloaded here:


Two long-term rivals in network policy control reach a merger agreement

by James E. Carroll

Broadband network policy control has often been a somewhat contentious issue in the U.S. and other western markets. Everyone agrees that good network management is essential and often that means prioritising valuable packets over others that are deemed to be lower value, not time dependent, or possibly malicious. On a private network, the good traffic can be sorted from the bad. Enterprise networks, for instance, are under no obligation to carry gaming traffic during business hours. Large academic networks, including those operated by universities and school districts, have legal responsibilities to filter the traffic and ensure that student have access to learning resources but not adult content. Broadband operators and ISPs have similar motivations for performing network management but must balance freedom of speech and other civil liberty interests.

The question of Net Neutrality has been debated for years. As a matter of public policy, the FCC under the Obama administration sought to enshrine several 'bright line' rules for net neutrality:

1.  No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, an ISP is not permitted to block it.

2.  No throttling. ISPs should not intentionally slow down some content or speed up others based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.

3.  Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs - the so-called last mile - is not the only place some sites might get special treatment.

4.  No paid prioritisation.

These Open Internet Rules of 2015, which were adopted by 3-to-2 vote along party partisan lines, were based on the FCC's authority under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. The rules allowed some leniency for reasonable network management, especially for mobile networks and unlicensed WiFi public services.

Under the Trump administration, the new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has moved quickly to reverse these bright-line rules, giving broadband network operators and ISPs much more leeway to implement more robust network policy controls. There have been numerous voices raised in opposition to this Pai reversal, including various online attention-getting statements last week from major tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and Netflix, but so far, we have not seen many serious cases of legitimate network traffic being blocked or put into a slow lane by major ISPs. One of the most vocal supporters of Net Neutrality under the old rules has been Netflix, whose traffic has continued to surge. The bottom line, at least for now in the U.S. market, is that more network policy enforcement may come into play. On the global stage, many countries explicitly allow network operators to segment and prioritise traffic for a variety of reasons.

The Sandvine Procera deal

Numerous network equipment vendors, including all the big players, have long offered policy enforcement solutions for public network operators. Two of the leading specialists in this domain have been Sandvine and Procera Networks – rivals for over a decade. This week, the companies announced a merger agreement. Under the deal, PNI Canada Acquireco Corp. (PNI), an affiliate of Francisco Partners and Procera Networks, will acquire all the issued and outstanding common shares of Sandvine for C$4.40 per share in cash. The price per share implies an aggregate fully-diluted equity value for Sandvine of approximately C$562 million ($440 million). The cash purchase price represents a 40% premium to Sandvine's closing share price of C$3.15 on May 26, 2017 and a 61% premium to the cash-adjusted closing price on May 26, 2017. Simultaneously, a previous acquisition deal between Sandvine and Scalar Acquireco Corp. has been terminated and Sandvine has agreed to pay C$16.9 million to an affiliate of Scalar.

Sandvine, headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, was founded in 2001 by a team that had worked together on a previous start-up called PixStream, a video networking start-up that Cisco acquired that same year for C$554 million. Sandvine's core expertise is in network policy management, including the control of spam, usage-based billing, quality of service, and P2P throttling over any type of access network, including cable/DOCSIS, DSL/FTTx, Satellite, 3G, LTE, WiFi, and fixed wireless. In 2006, Sandvine completed its IPO and shares are now traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol SVC.  Sandvine said its solutions are deployed by more than 300 CSPs worldwide.

For its second quarter of 2017, Sandvine reported revenue of US$27.5 million, net income of $1.1 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, and EBITDA1 of $3.1 million, or 2c per diluted share. Overall revenue declined by 18% compared to a year earlier. Highlights included:

•   Revenue by access technology market: wireless 55%; fixed telco 26%; fixed cable 17%; other 2%.

•   Revenue by geography: EMEA 37%; NA 29%; APAC 17%; CALA 17%.

•   Revenue by sales channel: direct 55%; reseller 45%.

Procera Networks, based in Fremont, California, was founded in 2002 and includes significant operations in Sweden. Its PacketLogic platforms use deep packet inspection (DPI) to deliver analytics, traffic management, and enforcement use cases for broadband network operators, mobile operators and the academic institutions. In 2007, Procera completed an IPO and in 2013 bought Vineyard Networks, a Canadian DPI company, for C$28 million. In 2015, private funds managed by Francisco Partners Management, a technology-focused private equity firm, acquired Procera Networks in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $240 million.This represented a premium of approximately 21% over the closing price of Procera's common stock on the previous trading day of April 21, 2015, and a premium of approximately 32% over the unaffected closing price from January 22, 2015, the last day prior to an article reporting the potential sale of the company. At the time its privatisation deal was announced, Procera was reporting quarterly revenue in the range of $19.5 to $20.5 million.

The new company

In announcing the deal, officials from both companies said the combined entity will retain the Sandvine name. It will serve over 400 communications service provider customers, with over 1 billion subscribers in more than 100 countries, as well as over 500 enterprise customers and more than 100 OEM and channel partners. It will be led by Procera's CEO Lyndon Cantor, and Procera CFO Richard Deggs. The mission is to be the 'premier provider of network intelligence solutions to communication service providers around the world'. Both companies have developed NFV-based implementations for network policy control, so we should expect to see further rollout of virtualised policy enforcement solutions.

Mavenir acquires Brocade virtual EPC business on undisclosed terms

Mavenir Systems, a supplier of technology enabling network transformations for communication service providers, announced that it has acquired assets associated with the virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) product family from Brocade Communications Systems on undisclosed terms.

The acquisition extends Mavenir's position in network transformation and enhances its next-generation core network offering with a feature-rich, virtualised evolved packet core and advanced network slicing capabilities required for 5G architectures, as well as expanding its customer base. The transaction includes all associated IP with 22 granted and pending patents, a research and development facility in Mumbai, India and customer support and maintenance contracts.

Mavenir noted that Brocade's differentiated vEPC solution features key architectural attributes that leverage cloud computing, network virtualisation and software networking technologies designed to deliver higher scale and efficiency on industry-standard x86-based servers.

The software can scale from a single microprocessing core to a rack of servers, depending on use case, as it maps dimensions of mobile workload independently to cloud resources, while retaining the capability to integrate with traditional node-based EPC architectures.

Combined with Mavenir’s existing network functions virtualisation (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) offerings, the vEPC acquired from Brocade will comprise a key part of a mobile edge computing and IoT strategy. Mavenir noted that the ability to support low-latency use cases at the network edge enables service providers and enterprises to connect mobile and IoT devices, data centres and public or private clouds.

As part of the transaction, Mavenir is hiring certain Brocade employees associated with the vEPC business. This team will work with Mavenir to support customers of Brocade vEPC as well as deliver end-to-end solutions in the future.

Regarding the transaction, Ashok Khuntia, GM and EVP of Mavenir's Access Products division, said, "Mavenir is building a 5G architecture with control plane-user plane separation and stateless VNFs, the small footprint, combined with a highly scalable architecture and built-in HSS, is ideal for fixed wireless access, private LTE and industrial IoT spaces… when bundled with its virtualised RAN product, Mavenir offers a complete, virtualised end-to-end next generation core and access network".

http://www.mavenir.com/press-releases

Extreme to Acquire Brocade's Switching Business for $55 Million



Extreme Networks agreed to acquire Brocade Communications Systems' data center switching, routing, and analytics business from Broadcom following Broadcom's acquisition of Brocade. The deal is valued at $55 million in cash, consisting of $35 million at closing and $20 million in deferred payments, as well as additional potential performance based payments to Broadcom, to be paid over a five-year term. The sale is contingent on Broadcom closing its...




AT&T completes acquisition of Vyatta network OS assets from Brocade


AT&T, which in early June announced it would acquire Vyatta, has completed its the acquisition of the Vyatta network operating system and associated assets of Brocade Communications Systems through an agreement that included the hiring of several dozen Brocade employees, mainly located in California and the UK.The transaction includes the Vyatta network operating system and vRouter product line. AT&T gains the Vyatta network operating system,...

UK's Jisc selects GTT to support national R&E network

GTT Communications, a major global cloud networking provider serving multinational clients, announced an agreement with Jisc, the provider of digital solutions for the UK research and education community and operator of the Janet network for the delivery of Internet services.

Under the agreement, GTT will provide high-speed Internet services for the Janet network to support the research and learning of its approximately 18 million UK college and university users.

GTT delivers Internet services over its Tier 1 global IP backbone, which features over 300 points of presence and enable the provision of flexible, high-capacity cloud networking services to major organisations worldwide.

GTT’s resilient Internet connectivity solution for Jisc is designed to guarantee high network availability, interconnecting via three geographically separated points of presence. The initial service agreement provides up to 120 Gbit/s of Internet capacity with the opportunity to further upgrade the service as Jisc's user demand increases. GTT noted that the Janet network is also the UK operator of Eduroam, the international roaming service for the education community with 70 million users.

Janet operates a network that includes over 5,000 km of optical fibre and a backbone that runs at 100 Gbit/s with interconnect capacity of around 40 Gbit/s.

ZTE, China Mobile and Qualcomm Demo Pre 5G on TD-LTE

ZTE, together with China Mobile and Qualcomm, announced the demonstration of a Pre5G gigabit rate solution on a TD-LTE commercial network in Quanzhou, Fujian in China leveraging multi-carrier aggregation, 4 x 4 MIMO, 256QAM and other advanced technologies.

During the latest demonstration, China Mobile and ZTE also verified the Pre5G gigabit solution utilising Qualcomm commercial Snapdragon 835 platform and achieved a peak rate of up to 700 Mbit/s using a 10-stream data transmission on a single phone.

ZTE noted that in a white paper assessing 5G vision and requirements, the IMT-2020 (5G) promotion group stated that 5G should support a user data rate of between 100 Mbit/s and 1 Gbit/s. One of ZTE's four-core Pre5G technologies, Giga+ mobile broadband (MBB), uses massive MIMO, multi-carrier aggregation and high-order modulation technologies to improve spectrum efficiency and network-wide capacity and is designed to deliver a peak rate of over 1 Gbit/s.

Previously, in June Quanzhou Mobile and ZTE jointly implemented a commercial deployment of 3D-MIMO in big video environments. With 16 commercial terminals connected, the single-carrier downlink peak cell rate achieved was nearly 730 Mbit/s, while the single-carrier 16-stream downlink peak rate for 3D-MIMO reached 700 Mbit/s, equivalent to a three-carrier rate of up to 2.1 Gbit/s.
ZTE noted that the use in the latest demonstration of 4 x 4 MIMO, multi-carrier aggregation and high-order baseband modulation (256QAM) technologies, together with commercial chips in the commercial network, is designed to significantly improve the efficiency of spectrum utilisation without increasing bandwidth, and can provide a user data rate of more than 1 Gbit/s.


ZTE's Pre5G solution involves both key 5G technologies such as massive MIMO and commercial availability on 4G networks, as well as enhancements to the LTE Advanced (LTE-A) Pro technologies in the 3GPP architecture, including massive CA, unified delivery network (UDN), 256QAM, licensed assisted access (LAA), WiFi link aggregation (LWA) and narrowband Internet of things (NB-IoT).

Interxion to build new data centres in Frankfurt and Marseille

Amsterdam-based Interxion Holding, a European provider of carrier and cloud-neutral colocation data centre services, announced it plans to construct new data centres in Frankfurt (FRA13) and Marseille (MRS2) and to further expand its facility in Vienna.

Frankfurt

As part of the expansion program, FRA13 will be built in two phases, providing 4,800 sq metres of equipped space and 10 MW of customer-available power when fully built out. The first phase of FRA13, which will provide approximately 2,300 sq metres, is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2018. The second phase, which will provide approximately 2,500 sq metres, is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2019.

Interxion stated that the capital expenditure associated with the FRA13 project is expected to total approximately Euro 90 million.

Marseille

Interxion noted that its Marseille data centre serves as a key gateway between Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and that the increased network capacity resulting from recent subsea cable landings has strengthened that position.

MRS2 will be constructed in three phases, providing a total of 4,300 sq metres of equipped space and over 7 MW of customer available power when fully built out. The first phase will add approximately 900 sq metres and is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018. Phase two will add approximately 1,800 sq metres of space and is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2018.

The capital expenditure associated with MRS2 is estimated at a total of approximately Euro 76 million.

Vienna


  • Interxion noted that Vienna is a key gateway market, providing cloud and connectivity services to Central and Eastern Europe. For the expansion, it will add another two phases (VIE2.7 and VIE2.8) together with upgraded power for its VIE2 data centre. When completed, the phases will add around 2,300 sq metres and 6 MW of customer power. The initial 300 sq metres is due to become available in the fourth quarter of 2017, with another 700 sq metres to be available in the second quarter of 2018 and another 600 sq metres in the third quarter of 2018.

The capital expenditure associated with the expansion of VIE2 is expected to total approximately Euro 45 million.

Interxion provides carrier and cloud-neutral colocation data centre services across Europe for a range of customers leveraging 45 data centres in 11 European countries.



In February 2017, Interxion announced that it was expanding its London campus, with a GBP 30 million investment in a third London data centre, LON3, and that it would build additional data centres in Frankfurt and Stockholm. In Frankfurt it announced plans to construct its FRA12 facility, and in Stockholm its new STO5 data centre.


Windstream closes acquisition of Broadview Networks for $227.5m

Windstream announced that it has completed the acquisition of Broadview Networks through a $227.5 million all-cash transaction originally announced April 13th, 2017.

Windstream also announced that following completion of the transaction, Brian Crotty, chief operating officer of Broadview, has been named president of its mid-market and small business division. In addition, the following senior Broadview executives are joining Windstream:

  • Mario Deriggi as senior vice president of sales.
  • Stephen Farkouh as senior vice president of cloud technology and platform development.
  • Sanjay Patel as vice president of platform development.
  • Tim Bell as vice president of integration management and Broadview operations.
Windstream stated that after the acquisition of Broadview it expects to realise approximately $30 million in annual operating synergies within two years. The transaction is also expected to improve Windstream's balance sheet by reducing leverage through the synergies and will be accretive to free cash flow in the first year.

Broadview Networks, headquartered in Rye Brook, New York, is a network-based business communications provider serving SMB customers with local and long-distance voice and data communications, patented hosted VoIP systems, data services and a suite of managed and professional services. It also offers a portfolio of bundled, hosted IP phone and cloud computing services. It also offers a suite of cloud-based services under the OfficeSuite UC brand.

Regarding the transaction, Tony Thomas, president and CEO of Windstream, commented, "The addition of Broadview advances Windstream's strategy to differentiate by delivering a superior customer experience using disruptive technologies… Broadview's unified communications solution, OfficeSuite, complements Windstream's SD-WAN offering… both are highly scalable, easy to customise and less expensive to deploy than traditional solutions".

See also