Thursday, August 24, 2017

China Unicom launches LTE-Broadcast and Gigabit LTE with Ericsson

China Unicom commercially launched a Gigabit LTE network.

On August 23, passengers on a Hainan Island high-speed train were able to watch the lauch ceremony via LTE broadcast over the Gigabit wireless network. Ericsson, as China Unicom's strategic partner, is the exclusive provider of the LTE broadcast solution, which is China's first LTE broadcast commercial deployment. Ericsson also provided the Gigabit LTE network upgrade.

Hao Liqian, General Manager, Hainan branch, China Unicom, says: “This remarkable achievement will fulfill our strategy to offer the most advanced services to individuals and enterprises on the China Unicom network. Our launch ceremony today is important, innovative and fun, since we’re using Virtual Reality on a high-speed train over a high-speed network to prove the worthiness of this launch.”

Chris Houghton, Head of Market Area North East Asia, Ericsson, says: “We’re literally putting the network into the hands of the subscribers on day one.  People will be able to immerse themselves in their video experience and not just understand, but feel, the difference with a Gigabit LTE network while they are moving at very fast speeds.  It’s the perfect combination of thrilling speeds – physically and virtually.”

Ericsson said LTE broadcast will revolutionize video delivery in mobile networks enabled by the combination of three new standards: eMBMS, HEVC (H.265) and MPEG DASH/

Recently, Ericsson supported China Unicom in setting up a 1Gbps network in Guangdong, Hainan, Shandong, and Beijing with peak speeds of up to 979Mbps. With that speed, it takes just 13 seconds to download a 1080P high-definition movie. There are more on-going 1Gbps trials in Sichuan, Hubei, Shanxi, Jilin and Jiangsu province. A high-speed mobile broadband network will enable businesses and services using Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and other big data operations.

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2017/8/gigabit-network-launched-in-china


Flash Memory Summit – big changes in non-volatile memory part 3

Hyperconverged platforms, such as those offered by Nutanix, have proven to be extremely successful in the market because they integrate compute, networking and storage in a single, scale-out box. They are a new way of looking at the old problem of how best to connect these three resources. In a similar fashion, the Open Compute Project, which was launched by Facebook six years ago, set out to rethink how compute, storage and networking could be optimised at the rack level to build hyperscale data centres.

What we’re seeing now, as evidenced by the 2017 Flash Memory Summit in Silicon Valley, is that non-volatile memory is advancing at a faster pace than other storage technologies, and at faster pace than compute (CPUs and GPUs), or networking. Ethernet has continued to progress in either 10X or 4X steps, but recently, these have taken time. In data centres, 10G backbones are common. Carrier backbones typically run utilise 100G links.

These statements were true a year ago – or even two years ago. We see some 400G pluggable transceiver apparently ready for market this year. But will 400G be rapidly adopted in either data centres or carrier networks? For a variety of network engineering reasons, implementing 400G in a network is not as easily done as deploying new SSDs with 4 times the capacity as last year’s model.

More importantly, Samsung Electronics has a ten-year roadmap showing how its 3D NANDs will evolve from 4th generation to 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th over the course of a decade.

The company says the physics of the last two generations in this progression have yet to be solved but so far look possible. At this point, it seems likely that this rapid evolution will deliver 2X or 3X capacity improvements every two years of less. On the networking side, we’ve seen the Ethernet Alliance publish an Ethernet Roadmap that envisions a proliferation of new interface speeds. This roadmap predicts terabit speed interfaces by 2020, scaling up to 10 terabits/second by 2030. Storage innovation may be winning this race.

Here are some other interesting observations on the storage market.

Western Digital pushes 3D NAND to 96 layers

Western Digital, which received the Flash Memory Summit ‘Best of Show’ award for its BiCS4 technology, has now pushed its 3D NAND technology to 96 layers of vertical storage capability. This marks several years of continuous improvement. In 2016, WD announced 64-layer 3D NAND after achieving 48-layer 3D NAND in 2015. Last month, the company also announced the development of its first four-bits-per-cell (X4) 3D NAND technology. More layers translate into more capacity.
Toshiba faces uncertainty but moves to 64-layer, triple-level Flash

Toshiba’s semiconductor division has been a state-of-turmoil due to restructuring and likely sale. Various suitors have been suggested and apparently rejected either by the company or the Japanese authorities.  Most recently, Toshiba’s management appears to be nearing a deal to sell the business to a consortium led by Bain Capital, although this too may be at an impasse.  The joint venture with SanDisk (a division of WD) focused on flash memory has become mired in legal disputes. Apparently, Toshiba will not ship its latest generation of 96-layer BiCS modules to SanDisk.
Nevertheless, at Flash Memory Summit, Toshiba America Electronic Components (TAEC) introduced its first enterprise SSDs utilizing the 64-layer,3-bit-per-cell TLC (triple-level cell) technology flash memory: the PM5 12Gbit/s SAS series and the CM5 NVM Express (NVMe) series. Toshiba’s PM5 series will be available in a 2.5-inch form factor in capacities from 400GB to 30.72TB], with endurance options of 1, 3, 5 and 10DWPD (drive writes per day). Toshiba also introduced its own consumer SSDs for PCs and laptops based on the same 64-layer technology. Capacity options include 256GB, 512GB, and 1024GB.

Toshiba is also introducing the first MultiLink SAS architecture, enabling up to 3350MB/s of sequential read and 2720MB/s of sequential write in MultiLink mode and 400,000 random read IOPS in narrow or MultiLink mode.

Mellanox looks to NVMe over Fabrics

Mellanox Technologies is pushing ahead with its BlueField System-on-Chip (SoC) for NVMe over a network fabric. BlueField integrates all the technologies needed to connect NVMe over Fabrics flash arrays. It provides 200 Gb/s of throughput and more than 10 million IOPS in a single SoC device. In addition, an on-board multicore ARM processor subsystem enables flexible programmability that allows vendors to differentiate their software-defined storage appliances with advanced capabilities. The BlueField chip can be used to control and connect All Flash Arrays and Just-a-Bunch-Of-Flash (JBOF) systems to InfiniBand and Ethernet Storage fabrics. The Mellanox SoC combines a programmable multicore CPU, networking, storage, security, and virtualization acceleration engines into a single, highly integrated device. Refence storage platforms are now ready.

“By tightly integrating high-speed networking, programmable ARM cores, PCIe switching, cache, memory management, and smart offload technology all in one chip; the result is improved performance, power consumption, and affordability for flash storage arrays. BlueField is a key part of our Ethernet Storage Fabric solution, which is the most efficient way to network and share high-performance storage,” stated Michael Kagan, CTO of Mellanox.

Seagate revs its Nytro Flash storage

Seagate Technology introduced enhanced versions of two flash technologies to boost performance and capacity for mixed data center workloads. The updated solid-state drives — including the 2 TB Nytro 5000 M.2 non-volatile memory express (NVMe) SSD and the Nytro 3000 Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) SSD — address different segments of the cloud and data center markets. The latest Nytro 3000 SAS SSD offers a dual-port SAS interface to maintain data integrity in the event of an unexpected communication channel loss. Capacity is 15TB, more than four times the capacity of the previous version.

Seagate also previewed plans to offer a 64-terabyte (TB) NVMe add-in card (AIC). This forthcoming product boasts a read speed of 13 gigabytes per second (GB/s) — the fastest and highest-capacity SSD ever demonstrated.

“Large-capacity SSDs are in high demand in hyperscale computing, a market that is growing faster than any other sector,” said Jim Handy, general director of research firm Objective Analysis. “Seagate’s new SSDs, with their high-performance interfaces and high capacities, should find ready acceptance in this market and other data center applications.”

WekaIO, a start-up based in San Jose, California with R&D in Israel, introduced a cloud-native scalable file system that scales to exabytes of data in a single namespace while delivering a big performance boost to applications, processing four times the workload compared to IBM Spectrum Scale measured on Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) SFS 2014. A key innovation is that WekaIO eliminates bottlenecks and storage silos by aggregating local SSDs inside the servers into one logical pool, which is then presented as a single namespace to the host applications. A transparent tiering layer offloads cold data to any S3 or Swift cloud object store for unlimited capacity scaling, under the same single namespace.

In partnership with Intel, WekaIO is now demonstrating a native NVMe-oF system using the new “ruler” form factor for Intel SSDs. The companies said this enables a storage capacity of beyond 1PB in 1U while delivering more than 3 million IOPS.

Apple picks Iowa for $1.3 billion data center

Apple will build a 400,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art data center in Waukee, Iowa, a town with a population of about 14,000 located in the center of the state, near Des Moines.

The investment is valued at $1.3 billion. Construction is expected to start early next year and be completed in 2020.

The new facility will run entirely on renewable energy from day one.

“At Apple, we’re always looking at ways to deliver even better experiences for our customers. Our new data center in Iowa will help serve millions of people across North America who use Siri, iMessage, Apple Music and other Apple services — all powered by renewable energy,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Apple is responsible for 2 million jobs in all 50 states and we’re proud today’s investment will add to the more than 10,000 jobs we already support across Iowa, providing even more economic opportunity for the community.”

“At Apple, we’re always looking at ways to deliver even better experiences for our customers. Our new data center in Iowa will help serve millions of people across North America who use Siri, iMessage, Apple Music and other Apple services — all powered by renewable energy,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Apple is responsible for 2 million jobs in all 50 states and we’re proud today’s investment will add to the more than 10,000 jobs we already support across Iowa, providing even more economic opportunity for the community.”

https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2017/08/apples-next-us-data-center-will-be-built-in-iowa/


  • Google operates a major data center in Council Bluffs, Iowan


Facebook Plans 4th Expansion of Iowa Data Center


Facebook announced the fourth major expansion of its hyper-scale data center campus in Altoona, Iowa. Specifically, Facebook will add cold storage capabilities to the complex.  The expansion will add more than 100,000 square feet to building 3. Cold storage of Facebook photos and other archival media is currently done at Facebook data centers in Prineville, Oregon and Forest City, North Carolina. 

Verizon adds Checkpoint to its Virtual Network Services -

Verizon has added Check Point Software Technologies to its growing list of enterprise security companies to imbed their security offering within its Virtual Network Services ecosystem.

This means that global enterprises facing security concerns inherent in managing network reliant applications in an on premise, public or hybrid cloud environment can now rely on Verizon Virtual Network Services - Security with Check Point. The virtual service is designed to protect traffic, assets, data and workloads hosted in corporate data centers, customer locations or virtually in the cloud, protecting traffic both inside and outside the enterprise perimeter. Companies can help secure their physical network and cloud with the same policies, simplifying security management and accelerating the secure delivery of applications.

Other enterprise security companies offering solutions with Verizon Virtual Network Services include Palo Alto, Fortinet, Juniper and Cisco. Verizon said it is creating a software-defined technology ecosystem which makes it easy for global enterprises to deploy and manage virtual networks which require flexible bandwidth and trusted security.

"Cyber security in the cloud is currently fragmented, made up of mainly 'detection only' based solutions and fails to protect enterprises from current or future cyber-attacks," said Pierre-Paul Allard, head of worldwide sales, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. "Check Point Infinity is a fully consolidated cyber security architecture that provides the high-level, pre-emptive threat prevention across networks, cloud and mobile devices, and we are delighted that it is now available to users of Verizon Virtual Network Services."

"We add virtual network services to our portfolio to give our customers choice and flexibility to manage and secure their networks as they see fit," said Shawn Hakl, Verizon's VP of new products and innovation. "With Verizon Virtual Network Services, our customers can deploy network services as applications that traditionally are provided over multiple appliances, on demand, via a centralized orchestration engine complete with closed-loop service assurance."

http://www.verizon.com

Is throttling evidence that U.S. mobile networks are capacity constrained?





by James E. Carroll

Verizon is taking heat in the media this week for changes to its “unlimited” data plans. The new throttling policy that should sharply cut down the volume traversing its network. Customers of Verizon’s lowest-cost unlimited plan will find the video streaming is now limited to 480p resolution (approximately 1.5 Mbps) and that data tethering is limited to 600 Kbps. Higher priced unlimited plans support streaming at 720p on smartphones and 1080p on tablets. A business-class tier provides a higher standard of service. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint also have throttling policies in effect.

We know streaming video is data intensive. We also have seen mobile operators boasting of how fast their 4G LTE access speeds have become. Now it looks like the carriers want to restrict the performance experienced by the majority of their subscribers. In the case of 480p video streaming for subscribers with the latest smartphones, the visual experience could be worse when they use the LTE than when connected by Wi-Fi.  Why would the carrier’s do this?

When word of Verizon’s newly restricted unlimited service plan got out, Net Neutrality advocates immediately warned once again that we are witnessing the end of the open Internet: service providers eager to launch special content bundles with favored partners, are now pushing other content into a throttled and capped slow lane.

But there is another way to look at this.  Over the past few months due to competition from T-Mobile and Sprint, AT&T and Verizon have jumped into offering unlimited data plans too, perhaps before their networks were truly ready to support the traffic.  Unlimited plans must have increased traffic on their networks.  Before the launch of unlimited, mobile data traffic was already surging.  Now it must be growing even faster.  Have investments in the network been sufficient?

A recent study from OpenSignal found that a significant decrease in 4G speeds for both Verizon and AT&T in the months after they introduced unlimited speeds. OpenSignal found that Verizon’s average LTE download test fell 2 Mbps to 14.9 Mbps. T-Mobil and Sprint, which have been offering unlimited plans for a while, have only seen their average download speeds increase over the same period. OpenSignal now says that T-Mobile now offers the fastest download speeds with an average of 17.5 Mbps and an overall speed of 16.1 Mbps.

Lots of talk about super-fast access

Rarely a week goes by without a press announcement from Qualcomm, a network equipment vendor or a major carrier about a field trial delivering super-fast access to a mobile handset. For example, a few days ago, Verizon, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies announced a new peak downlink speed of 1.07 Gbps using the Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem, the first announced modem to support Category 18 LTE speeds. The Ericsson lab trial used 12 simultaneous LTE streams, which allow for up to 20 percent increase in peak data rates and capacity with a corresponding improvement in average speeds. Multiple technologies were combined to achieve the improved performance:

·         12 LTE streams with 3 cell carrier aggregation of FDD spectrum

·         4x4 MIMO per carrier (multiple in, multiple out), which uses multiple antennae at the cell tower and on consumers devices to optimize data speeds

·         256 QAM per carrier

Verizon said this 1.07 Gbps achievement builds on its recent announcement about Gigabit LTE with support for License Assisted Access (LAA). Also of significance, the 1.07 Gbps speed was achieved using only three 20MHz carriers of FDD (Frequency Division Duplex using separate transmit and receive frequencies) spectrum, achieving new levels of spectral efficiency for commercial networks and devices. These efficiencies will enable the delivery of the Gigabit class experience to more customers and lead to new wireless innovations.


In Australia, Telstra says it already has gigabit LTE running in some neighborhoods of Sydney.  Before long, peak downlink speeds for the big four U.S. mobile operators could also break the 100 Mbps barrier and zoom up into gigabit-class service.

But meanwhile, if Verizon is capping mobile video for most users at 480p that means that most of the traffic for most of their users is flowing at around 1.5 Mbps - far below the potential of current 4G LTE, not to mention these superfast access speeds on the horizon.

Why bother to restrict or block 1080p streaming at 4.5 Mbps if you are capable of delivering 100 Mbps to that same user? What gives? Where is the bottleneck? All four operators publicly say that they have sufficient spectrum, at least for now. Could it be not enough bandwidth to the towers or remote antennas? Not enough small cells? Are the mobile networks capacity constrained in the metro? Or are they lacking sufficient caching at the edge?

If mobile operators are throttling because they are capacity constrained, the weakness in the network could be at any one of these levels. We know that the mobile operators are engaging in network densification, another term for deploying small cells. But the intensity of these deployments is perhaps too low. Anecdotally, we've heard of small cell deployment schedules numbering in the thousands or tens of thousands for a national network. In comparison, Comcast recently boasted of having 18 million Wi-Fi hotspots available to its users. Maybe that's the size of small cell installation really needed to support a truly unlimited mobile plan.

Capacity constraints could be growing at the metro level. It's not hard to see how these could become saturated with millions of consumers on unlimited plans watching Netflix all day. As the 1G backhaul links to each base station become saturated, the next move would be to scale up until reaching to 10G links.  A robust metro transport network is needed with the ability to carry lots of 100Gs and perform intelligent switching. Are the mobile networks sufficiently prepared at this level?

Network equipment vendors have been saying for some time that service providers are underinvesting in their network infrastructure, at least compared to historic CAPEX-to-revenue levels. Maybe there is a case to be heard.

Protecting the 5G fixed line for residential video service

One further possibility is that mobile operators really fear video streaming will move from the small screen to the big screen without their permission. Truthfully, 480p video streaming to a 5” smartphone looks OK.  Streaming at 720p to the same device is better, especially on newer smartphones. At 1080p to the handset or higher, you reach the point of diminishing returns. The pixels are too small to make a big difference. However, on a 50" flat screen TV, there is a huge difference in quality. Tethering 480p streaming video from your phone to your TV is not visually compelling. But with a Gigabit LTE connection and an unlimited plan, streaming video at 4K could be very nice.

In Texas, AT&T is already testing residential, fixed-line 5G for delivering its DIRECTV NOW service. From a marketing perspective, maybe the plan is to preserve serious video watching as a premium service and to position mobile viewing as a casual service regardless of how fast the handsets become or how the networks perform.


OpenSignal mobile test report – August 2017 - https://opensignal.com/reports/2017/08/usa/state-of-the-mobile-network 

PCCW Global launches Restoration On Demand service

Hong Kong's PCCW Global, the international operating division of HKT, launched a Restoration On Demand service.

The Network-as-a-Service offering enables its customers to rapidly re-route their connections to an alternate network path in the event of an undersea cable failure, thereby restoring their international connectivity at the click of a button.

PCCW said its Global Restoration On Demand service leverages its SDN capabilities to enhance network resilience and service performance in order to meet the needs of global enterprises. The service complements PCCW Global’s existing premium always-on protected International Private Lease Circuit (IPLC) service by offering customers a quick-to-deploy and cost-effective business continuity service alternative. Link setup, traffic restoration and billing are automatically activated, ensuring the customer's traffic is safely protected until the original fiber service is restored. Once the primary circuit has been repaired, the customer can elect when to revert to the original service.

“Our Restoration On Demand service represents a massive step forward for our enterprise customers, providing them with peace-of-mind via a cost-effective and reliable business continuity alternative. Leveraging PCCW Global’s extensive fiber network, we have designed an online portal which allows our customers to restore their international connectivity with one click of a button. It is a backup capability that, once activated online, allows capacity to be provisioned automatically by our systems in near real-time and with no human intervention required,” stated Mr. Jordick Wong, Senior Vice President, Product and Vendor Management, PCCW Global.

https://pccwglobal.com/zh/

Broadcom posts quarterly revenue of US$4.463 billion, up 18% yoy

Broadcom reported quarter net revenue of $4,463 million, an increase of 7 percent from $4,190 million in the previous quarter and an increase of 18 percent from $3,792 million in the same quarter last year. Gross margin was $2,149 million, or 48.2 percent of net revenue. Operating income was $648 million, or 14.5 percent of net revenue. This compares with operating income of $474 million, or 11.3 percent of net revenue, in the prior quarter, and operating loss of $264 million, or 7.0 percent of net revenue, in the same quarter last year.

“We continue to execute consistently and delivered strong financial results for our third fiscal quarter, with revenue growth of 6 percent and EPS growth of 11 percent sequentially” said Hock Tan, President and CEO of Broadcom Limited. “We are expecting revenue growth to further accelerate in the fourth fiscal quarter, led by robust content gains and seasonal strength in our wireless segment.”

http://www.broadcom.com


Infinera Intelligent Transport Networks available to U.S. federal agencies

Infinera announced that its full portfolio of optical transport networking equipment and services is now available to all U.S. federal government agencies via General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule 70, NASA Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement V (SEWP V) and Air Force Network-Centric Solutions-2 (NETCENTS-2).

The federal government estimates spending $86B on information technology services in 2018 and relies on GSA Schedule, SEWP V and NETCENTS-2 for procurement of optical transport solutions. The federal government and many state agencies utilize GSA Schedules to pre-negotiate prices and contract terms to ensure the purchasing process flows smoothly. Infinera maintains a relationship with immixGroup, the largest value-added distributor of enterprise software and hardware products to public sector solution providers, systems integrators and U.S. government agencies, to offer Infinera’s solutions to government agencies on immixGroup’s contract vehicles.

“All federal agencies now have access to Infinera’s Intelligent Transport Networks,” said Wray Varley, Vice President of Government Sales at Infinera. “Thanks to support from immixGroup, we are making it easier to bring scalable and reconfigurable bandwidth and network efficiency to the government sector.”

https://www.infinera.com/intelligent-transport-networks-available-us-government-agencies/

VIVA Dominicana awards 5-year contract to Ericsson

VIVA Dominicana awarded a five-year, full end-to-end network modernization project to Ericsson.

The contract covers deployment of Ericsson Revenue Management products, including the Ericsson Charging System 16, Ericsson Multi Mediation, and all systems integration services and consultant services. The solution is part of Ericsson’s Digital Support Systems (DSS) portfolio and supports VIVA’s 4G 4X4 MIMO network modernization. LTE 4x4 MIMO enables enhanced mobile internet user experience and increases operator spectral efficiency by delivering up to twice the downlink data rate without the need for additional spectrum.

The modernization of VIVA’s IT environment supports monetization of voice and data services, including different options for the configuration of new plans, as well as the path to operator’s short-, medium- and long-term business evolution. Financial terms were not disclosed.

http://www.ericsson.com

Derek Aberle to step down as president of Qualcomm

Derek Aberle will step down as President of Qualcomm Incorporated effective December 31, 2017 following a 17-year with the company.

As part of its transition plan, Qualcomm announced that executive vice president and QTL president Alex Rogers, who has run QTL since March 2016, and is a member of Qualcomm’s Executive Committee, will report directly to Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf.

“On behalf of the Executive Team, I want to thank Derek for the vision, creativity, dedication, and judgment he brought to the company and wish him all the best in the future,” said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated. “Under his talented leadership, the QTL division has significantly grown in both revenues and profits, established its 4G licensing program and enabled significant competition across the industry. I believe the company is well positioned to build on Derek’s record of success and continue to deliver solid results in the future.”

http://www.qualcomm.com



See also