Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Orange Business and Cisco team on SD-WAN

Orange Business Services has expanded the capability of its global SD-WAN with the first onboarding of a Cisco SD-WAN virtual network function (VNF) on the Cisco Enterprise Network Compute System (ENCS). This platform, which delivers a fully functional virtualized solution for network services, is part of the Orange universal customer premise equipment (uCPE) offer.

Orange said that thanks to uCPE central orchestration, it can provide automated Cisco SD-WAN deployment, based on Viptela technology, in minutes on all enterprise sites, wherever they are located. The uCPE can run multiple additional functions, such as security, which can be orchestrated centrally and chained as required. This means that enterprises can dynamically adapt the branch office configuration to optimize user experience.

“This work strengthens our long-standing partnership with Cisco. Together we are bringing innovations in SD-WAN and the wider network to our customers worldwide. These developments will help realize the promise of intent-based networking, which will use artificial intelligence to automatically orchestrate networks based on predicted user demand. This will help improve application performance, security and business continuity,” said Pierre-Louis Biaggi, vice president, Connectivity, Orange Business Services.

“SD-WAN provides the essential foundation for Service Providers to transform their network services,” said Sachin Gupta, senior vice president, product management for Cisco Enterprise Networking. “One of the truly global providers, we are excited Orange is accelerating the adoption of SD-WAN technology leveraging Cisco’s ENCS platform. Our partnership will accelerate customers’ transformation to cloud and digital while delivering new-age capability for simplified operations, application visibility and performance."

QCT showcases Central Office 2.0

  • Quanta Cloud Technology (QCT) has opened a demonstration lab in San Jose, California to showcase its “Central Office 2.0” solutions, including:
  • QxStack NFV Infrastructure with Red Hat OpenStack Platform - with data plane calibration and Enhanced Platform Awareness (EPA) enabled for optimized network performance
    QCT Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD) Ready POD for central office and edge computing – the world’s first fully integrated open source infrastructure ready for customer validation
    QCT Rackgo R Vertical Integration with OpenStack – an Intel RSD-based full-featured rack level solution with easy deployment and scalability
QCT said “Central Office 2.0” represents its vision for the next-generation Central Office to advance edge computing for high-performance and low-latency 5G applications, such as IoT, autonomous vehicles and virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR).

“QCT’s long-term collaboration with Intel and Red Hat now extends to the Telco space,” said Mike Yang, President of QCT. “With our partners, we directly address emerging requirements in the Telco market with an optimized NFVI Platform that supports carrier-grade infrastructures and delivers a practical software-defined networking solution for disaggregating the control and data plane and providing performance consistency on IA-based systems. Through these strategic partnerships with industry-leading hardware and software providers in the 5G infrastructure space, we’ve developed high-performance open platforms that are aimed at lowering Telco CAPEX and provide a competitive OPEX advantage for increased margins over the long-term.

Pensa releases automation software for NFV

Pensa, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, released software for intelligent automation of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) services.

The company said its Maestro NFV uses intelligent automation and advanced modeling to help CSPs design, validate and deliver NFV network services. The software ensures that network designs are correct and that they will work as intended, reducing the risk of human error. The key benefits of Pensa Maestro NFV include:
  • Enabling CSPs to simplify and accelerate the deployment of NFV solutions
    Enabling CSPs to bring new revenue-generating services to market faster
    Enabling CSPs to intelligently automate NFV solution design, build and test processes to reduce manual errors, lower costs, and increase business velocity

"The digital services revolution has begun, but communication service providers are stuck with legacy infrastructure and processes that hold them back," said Pensa CEO Tom Joyce. "There are huge opportunities on the horizon for telcos and CSPs, but to participate they must use NFV. Before now, it has been very hard to make this technology simple, reliable, and fast. Pensa's mission is to help our customers transition to NFV faster."

"We began development of this solution for NFV back in 2014, before many people were thinking about the complexity of designing these networks," said Ujwal Setlur, co-founder and CTO of Pensa. "Today we have years of experience engineering customer solutions for NFV. Early customer deals and the introduction of Pensa Lab last years allowed us to harden our technology to the point where we are proud to call Maestro NFV carrier-class."

Open Compute Project measures its market impact

The Open Compute Project Foundation (OCP) has engaged IHS Markit to determine the adoption and impact of OCP gear in the technology industry.

IHS Markit interviewed OCP members, suppliers and service providers, as well as incorporated their own in-depth industry research to determine non-board member revenue by region and vertical, as well as provide a forecast through 2021. OCP Board member companies include Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Intel, Microsoft and Rackspace. Equipment markets explored in this study included servers, storage, network, rack, power and peripherals.

Some preliminary findings:
  • 2017 OCP YoY growth from non-board member companies was 103%
  • The 5-year CAGR (compound annual growth rate) is 59%, while the total market growth is expected to be in the low single digits
  • Servers account for almost 75% of non-board OCP revenue in 2017, with rack, power, peripherals and other (primarily WiFi and PON, or passive optical networks) expecting the highest growth rates
  • The America’s represented the majority of non-board OCP revenue in 2017, through hyperscaler, telco and financial industry adoption, while EMEA has a forecasted CAGR of 70%, primarily driven by telecommunications firms
    EMEA revenue from non-board member companies is expected to surpass $1 billion (US) by 2021, while Asia Pacific is expected to surpass EMEA in adoption as early as 2020

“OCP is excited to work with IHS Markit to get an independent view of our ability to influence the market through adoption. This study creates a baseline for us to measure our progress against, as well as gives us insight into projected growth in regions and markets. It also provides a view into perceived value as well as barriers for adoption. While we are pleased with the initial indicators, we also recognize we have much to do to continue our momentum,” stated Rocky Bullock, CEO for the Open Compute Project Foundation.

In th

MACOM and ST team to bring GaN on silicon to mainstream RF

MACOM and STMicroelectronics have agreed to develop GaN (Gallium Nitride) on Silicon wafers to be manufactured by ST for MACOM’s use across an array of RF applications.

MACOM said the deal provides it with increased Silicon wafer manufacturing capacity and improved cost structure. This could displace incumbent Silicon LDMOS and accelerate the adoption of GaN on Silicon in mainstream markets. ST and MACOM have been working together for several years to bring GaN on Silicon production up in ST’s CMOS wafer fab. As currently scheduled, sample production from ST is expected to begin in 2018.

“This agreement punctuates our long journey of leading the RF industry’s conversion to GaN on Silicon technology. To date, MACOM has refined and proven the merits of GaN on Silicon using rather modest compound semiconductor factories, replicating and even exceeding the RF performance and reliability of expensive GaN on SiC alternative technology,” said John Croteau, President and CEO, MACOM. “We expect this collaboration with ST to bring those GaN innovations to bear in a Silicon supply chain that can ultimately service the most demanding customers and applications.”

“ST’s scale and operational excellence in Silicon wafer manufacturing aims to unlock the potential to drive new RF power applications for MACOM and ST as it delivers the economic breakthroughs necessary to expand the market for GaN on Silicon,” said Marco Monti, President of the Automotive and Discrete Product Group, STMicroelectronics. “While expanding the opportunities for existing RF applications is appealing, we’re even more excited about using GaN on Silicon in new RF Energy applications, especially in automotive applications, such as plasma ignition for more efficient combustion in conventional engines, and in RF lighting applications, for more efficient and longer-lasting lighting systems."

MACOM's quarterly revenue dips to $131 million

MACOM reported revenue of $130.9 million for its fiscal first quarter ended December 29, 2017, a decrease of 13.7%, compared to $151.8 million in the previous year fiscal first quarter and a decrease of 21.3% compared to $166.4 million in the prior fiscal quarter.

The company cited difficulties in China.

The was a GAAP net loss from continuing operations was $17.0 million, or $0.49 loss per diluted share, compared to net loss from continuing operations of $2.2 million, or $0.04 loss per diluted share, in the previous year fiscal first quarter and net loss from continuing operations of $1,000, or $0.21 loss per diluted share, in the prior fiscal quarter.

Non-GAAP adjusted gross margin was 53.7%, compared to 57.2% in the previous year fiscal first quarter and 58.1% in the prior fiscal quarter;

“As expected, the first quarter was challenging across the board, as we dealt with the full impact of the geopolitical downturn in China,” remarked John Croteau, President and CEO of MACOM. "While it is still too early to call the exact slope of the recovery, we continue to believe that December was the bottom of the cycle for MACOM, and we expect demand will progressively strengthen through the remainder of the year.

“We expect 2018 will be a transitional year in our served markets, as the technology landscape shifts in anticipation of the next major wave of infrastructure investments in Cloud Data Centers and 5G Telecom. Although these shifts will likely moderate the pace of recovery, we believe they will ultimately lead to multiple breakout opportunities that play directly to our strengths."

Lumentum reports a record quarter, sales rise to $404.6 million

Lumentum reported record net revenue for the fiscal second quarter of 2018 was $404.6 million, with GAAP net income of $204.8 million, or $3.17 per diluted share.  Net revenue for fiscal first quarter of 2018 was $243.2 million, with GAAP net income of $7.1 million, or $0.11 per diluted share. For comparison, net revenue for the fiscal second quarter of 2017 was $265.0 million, with GAAP net income of $11.8 million, or $0.19 per diluted share.

Non-GAAP net income for the fiscal second quarter of 2018 was $107.8 million, or $1.67 per diluted share. Non-GAAP net income for fiscal first quarter of 2018 was $27.8 million, or $0.43 per diluted share.
"We achieved record revenue and profitability and exceeded our guidance for the second quarter driven by strong demand and execution in our 3D sensing, ROADM, industrial and telecom pump laser businesses. Our performance demonstrates the power of Lumentum's proprietary capabilities, which leverage many years of experience across multiple end markets," said Alan Lowe, President and CEO. "Our proven capabilities position us well for the future as demand for our industrial lasers and ROADMs is strengthening, and 3D sensing opportunities are broadening to more customers and end markets."

OPNFV verification program

The OPNFV Project is launching a verification program to facilitate both vendor self-testing and third-party lab testing or Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) components.
The OPNFV Verified Program (OVP) establishes an industry threshold based on OPNFV capabilities and test cases. The initial version will test and verify NFV infrastructure components and features, including NFVI, VIM, underlying cloud infrastructure, basic packet forwarding, IPv6, and VPN.

"We are breaking new ground by leveraging open source platforms to measure compliance of commercial products," said Heather Kirksey, VP, Community and Ecosystem Development, The Linux Foundation. "This is a huge step for the industry, and speaks to the power of open, community-driven solutions to help the ecosystem in real-world deployments. I am incredibly proud of the collaborative work that has gone into establishing this set of common NFV platform requirements to aid the industry on the path towards robust NFV deployments."

Chasing the next virtual network opportunity

by James E. Carroll

For tennis fans, all attention is currently on the city of Melbourne, where the final rounds of the Australia Open are underway. For those interested in the future of cloud connectivity, the focus goes to the city of Brisbane, where an Australian upstart is making a name for itself in the emerging Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) category. Potential users of NaaS could include large multinational, governments, other cloud providers. service providers including mobile network operators, and mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). We expect to see many mobile operators transition to virtual networks over time and this could be one model.

Founded in 2013, Brisbane-based Megaport has built what it considers to be the world's first SDN interconnection fabric linking enterprises with equipment in colocation data centres to leading cloud service providers.

Megaport says its elastic fabric is "the reason cloud connectivity will scale." The company developed and runs its own proprietary software stack for automating virtual connections across the fabric. It offers APIs that would enable customers to automate connections across its service. Megaport owns and operates its own core network infrastructure, including fibre and transport for each market and between inter-city data centres. This footprint now covers major cities in Australia, Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe – a total of 37 major markets in 19 countries. Unlike with best-effort public Internet access, Megaport is able to provide strict SLAs because it controls the transport network and the switching fabric, and the Layer 2 access inside the colo data centre.

The ASX publicly-listed company has reported steady revenue growth over the past year as it quickly scales its service. For its fiscal quarter ending 31-December-2017, revenue was A$4.68 million, up 12.7% sequentially. The total number of customer ports increased in the quarter to 2,259, up 9% sequentially.

From Virtual Layer 2 to Virtual Layer 3

Just this week, Megaport is unveiling a virtual router service that enables customers to rapidly and privately connect at Layer 3 without the need to own or manage routers or physical infrastructure.  The Megaport Cloud Router (MCR), which rides the company’s same physical network, aims to make it easier for companies to expand their service footprint through virtual Points of Presence (PoPs), and peer with ecosystem partners worldwide. It does so by removing the need to own physical routers or network infrastructure. Megaport said its service also enables cloud to cloud connectivity. Customers can use its cloud router to move workloads and data between Cloud Service Provider (CSP) environments.  Customers can create virtual routers within routing zones around the world to enable global coverage and support localized routing decisions. In addition, networks service providers connect to Megaport can use MCR to set up virtual PoPs around the world.

“As a Network as a Service company, it’s imperative that Megaport continues to innovate solutions that abstract complexities in the network buying experience,” said Vincent English, Chief Executive Officer, Megaport. We’ve moved further up the stack by expanding our SDN’s capabilities to address Layer 3 IP routing and support a broader set of customers with varying technical capabilities and business needs. With Megaport Cloud Router, there’s no need for a deep understanding of Layer 3 intricacies to take advantage of IP routing features. Cloud to cloud connectivity is one of several new use cases unlocked by MCR which provides powerful options for enterprises architecting next-generation multicloud and hybrid cloud solutions. Our customers can move beyond the constraints of their physical network and rapidly establish virtual Points of Presence to unlock unique peering and interconnection opportunities around the world.

Company leadership

Megaport was founded by Bevan Slattery, who currently serves as Chairman of the business. Over his career, Slattery built multiple successful Australian IT and telecommunications companies including Superloop and NextDC.  He also co-founded PIPE Networks which grew to become Australia’s largest Internet Exchange and Australia’s third largest metropolitan fibre network provider, selling to TPG in May 2010.

Megaport is headed by Vincent English, who previously was Chief Financial Officer for Digicel Group. Prior to joining Megaport, Vincent was for Digicel Group, the global mobile network operator active in  31 markets in the Caribbean and South Pacific.  Megaport’s engineering team is led by Tim Hoffman (CTO), who previously led the Global Network team at Twitter, responsible for worldwide infrastructure, including all interconnection, backbone and content distribution infrastructure, and global data centres.  In this role, Hoffman negotiated peering agreements with some of the largest Internet backbone providers. Eric Troyer serves Megaport's Chief Marketing Officer. Troyer previously was Director of Network Edge and Interconnection Strategy at Microsoft where he led planning and engineering teams tasked with network expansion and IP capacity acquisition to scale Microsoft’s cloud strategy. Working at Equinix, he drove the Equinix Internet Exchange product

Building the Ecosystem

Customers connect to its fabric via a single, physical "mega-port" at any of the 185 colo data centres in which is present. This physical port enables the set-up and tear-down of virtual ports to any of the other parties connected to the global Megaport network. The concept is simple. Once a sufficient number of parties are on-board, Megaport benefits from the "n-squared" magic of networks. The company is now poised to enter that rapid growth phase.

Megaport has been prolific in forming partnerships with key players for cloud. These can be sorted into the following categories:
  • Cloud Service Providers: Alibaba, AWS, Microsoft, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud
  • Data Centre Operators: now present in 185 data centres worldwide, including those of CyrusOne, Digital Realty, EdgeConnex, 4 Degree Data Centres, IO, Cyxtera, vXchnge, QTS, FORTRUST, Stream Data Centers 
  • Network and Managed Service Providers: Aqua Comms, Cloudlogix, GT, Seaborn Networks, Rackspace

In the last category of network service providers, we see two subsea cable operators. This is interesting because it means that enterprises attached to the Megaport fabric now have the ability to activate transoceanic capacity on a short-term basis and via a simple web portal. The partnership with Aqua Comms, which was announced in November 2016, allows customers to turn on elastic interconnectivity services to Aqua Comms’ transatlantic subsea network between New York, Dublin, and London.  Consumption is be based on cloud computing models, including month-to-month services – a huge gain in provisioning flexibility compared with the old system of negotiating 20-year contracts (IRUs).

In its home country of Australia, which is probably its most developed market, Megaport is already providing a similar capability to the U.S.  Dedicated capacity between Sydney and Los Angeles now enables its enterprise customers in Australia and New Zealand to connect to multi-national cloud nodes in North America.

Reliance Jio continues its rapid rise

by James E. Carroll

How fast can a network grow from zero to 160 million subscribers? Ask Reliance Jio, the brainchild of billionaire investor/entrepreneur/tycoon Mukesh Ambani and his Reliance Industries Ltd.
Reliance Jio only first launched commercial service on 5th September 2016.

Its market debut has been described as an earthquake for the Indian telecoms market, and the start of a price war that is drawing the casualties from the nation’s twelve mobile operators. In addition to cut-rate tariffs and the promise of unlimited LTE mobile data for an extended period, the company tapped into the energy and graces of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Chairman Ambani even dedicated the new company to “”realising the Prime Minister’s inspiring vision of Digital India for 1.2 billion Indians. Despite this connection, Jio immediately drew complaints from other operators for what they saw as anticompetitive behaviour.

From the starting line on 05 September 2016, Jio rocketed ahead to become the fastest growing mobile operator ever seen. In the first month, Jio enrolled 16 million lines. The 50 million threshold was passed on the 83rd day. The 100 million milestone came on 22 February 2017. As of 31 December 2017, Jio passed the 160 million subscriber milestone, adding 27 million gross user lines in the fourth quarter alone.

As the Indian market tends to experience greater churn rates and a higher percentage of prepaid users, Jio’s net additions for the quarter amounted to 21.5 million.  In Q3 2017, the company enrolled 19.5 million lines, indicating that Jio’s remarkable clip continues.

Six months after launch, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) ordered Jio to withdraw the 3 months complimentary, unlimited mobile broadband offer for new subscribers, arguing that such a generous offer distorted the market.

This week, Reliance Jio is reporting its second quarterly profit in its brief history and even as it continues to spend aggressively to build out its network.

For its most recently fiscal quarter, Reliance Jio reported standalone revenue from operations of  6,879 crore  rupees  (US$1.7 billion), and up 11.9% over trailing quarter. Standalone EBITDA  amounted to 2,628 crore rupees (US$411.8 million) and the EBITDA margin was 38.2% (trailing quarter at 23.5%).  Standalone net profit amounted to 504 crore rupees (US$78.9 million).
Before we become too enamored of this operator, it is critical to note the very low ARPU levels in the Indian telecoms sectors compared to those in developed economies.

Jio’s average revenue per user per month is just154 rupees (approximately $2.41)  

At these levels, continued investment in the latest generation of imported networking equipment will require commitment from the parent firm, Reliance Industries, or the emergence of adjacent opportunities, such as mobile banking or shopping services that could be commercialized with the very large subscriber base.

Additional metrics disclosed by Jio
  • World’s largest mobile data consumption network – first Exabyte network in the world
  • Total wireless data traffic of 43,100,00,000 GB (9.6 GB per subscriber per month) 
  • Total voice traffic of 311,130,000,000 minutes
  • Video consumption has crossed 2,000,000,000 hours per month on the network (13.4 hours of video consumption per subscriber per month)
  • On track to achieve 99% population coverage during the year
  • Only network to deploy pan-India 4G across the 800MHz/ 1800MHz/ 2300MHz bands 
Acquiring more infrastructure

Earlier this month, Jio agreed to acquire network infrastructure assets of Reliance Communications Limited and its affiliates. Jio was the winning bidder in a sale mandated by the lenders of Reliance Communications.

The sale includes assets under four categories – Towers, Optic Fiber Cable Network, Spectrum and Media Convergence Nodes, specifically:

122.4 MHz of 4G Spectrum in the 800/900/1800/2100 MHz bands
Over 43,000 towers, amongst the top 3 independent tower holdings in India
~ 1,78,000 RKM of fiber with pan India footprint
248 Media Convergence Nodes, covering ~5 Million sqft used for hosting telecom infrastructure

The deal was valued at US$$3.77 billion, according to media reports. Reliance Communications said it will use the proceeds for debt repayment and that it retains its other businesses including its enterprise networking practice, its data centers, and its subsea cable network.

Jio’s management said the assets are strategic in nature and are expected to contribute significantly to the large-scale roll-out of wireless and Fiber to Home and Enterprise services in India.

Here’s what we know about Jio’s physical network. 

The Jio All-IP digital platform is built on Cisco’s Open Network Architecture and Cloud Scale Networking technologies featuring IP/MPLS, spanning areas including Data Center, Wi-Fi, Security and Contact Center solutions. Jio has laid more than 185,000 miles (or 300,000 KM) of fiber, and built India’s largest cloud data center to build platforms for applications and vertical solutions. Cisco claims a leading role at this layer of the network.

Nokia provided optical core and metro solution for Reliance Jio Infocomm's (Jio) pan-India 4G LTE network to support traffic growth created by the operator's initiative to deliver broadband connectivity for all of India.  As part of this deployment, Nokia is providing a 100 Gbit/s transport network that spans 90,000 km designed to enable Jio to offer high-capacity broadband services to underserved regions throughout India, as well as support nationwide long-distance (NLD) service.

In March 2017, Ericsson announced that it was providing its OSS fulfilment suite as part of Jio's broadband network deployment.

See also