Thursday, February 11, 2016

AT&T Unveils 5G Roadmap - First Trials This Year

AT&T will begin 5G trials this year.  The first lab test with Ericsson and Intel will begin in Q2, followed by outdoor trials over the summer. 5G field trials to fixed locations in Austin will begin before the end of this year.

AT&T expects 5G to deliver speeds 10-100 times faster than today’s average 4G LTE connections. Customers will see speeds measured in gigabits per second, not megabits. 5G latency is expected to be in the range of 1 to 5 milliseconds.

“New experiences like virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics, smart cities and more are about to test networks like never before,” said John Donovan, Chief Strategy Officer and Group President, AT&T Technology and Operations.

“These technologies will be immersive, pervasive and responsive to customers. 5G will help make them a reality. 5G will reach its full potential because we will build it on a software-centric architecture that can adapt quickly to new demands and give customers more control of their network services. Our approach is simple – deliver a unified experience built with 5G, software-defined networking (SDN), Big Data, security and open source software.”

AT&T said technologies such as millimeter waves, NFV, and SDN will be among the key ingredients for future 5G experiences. AT&T Labs has been working on these technologies for years and has filed dozens of patents connected with them.

Some additional notes:

Data traffic on AT&T’s wireless network grew more than 150,000% from 2007 through 2015, driven largely by video.
More than 60% of the data traffic on the AT&T network was video in 2015.
AT&T already has 14 million wireless customers on its virtualized network and will millions more this year.

Qualcomm Announces First Gigabit Class LTE Modem

Qualcomm introduced its sixth-generation discrete LTE multimode chipset -- the Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem, which is built on a leading-edge 14nm FinFET process -- and the Qualcomm RF Transceiver, WTR5975 - the world’s first single-chip RF IC supporting Gigabit Class LTE, LTE-U and LAA with 5 GHz unlicensed band support.

The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem represents the first instantiation of Qualcomm's new, advanced modem architecture and is the first commercially announced Gigabit Class LTE chipset designed to deliver fiber-like LTE Category 16 download speeds of up to 1 Gbps.  It supports up to 4x20 MHz downlink Carrier Aggregation (CA) across FDD and TDD spectrum with 256-QAM, and 2x20 MHz uplink carrier aggregation plus 64-QAM for uplink speeds up to 150 Mbps.

Qualcomm said this new architecture will enable it to rapidly evolve its modem product line to address a wide range of connected applications, ranging from ultra-fast mobile broadband to power-efficient connectivity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem also supports Licensed Assisted Access (LAA), the global standard for LTE in unlicensed spectrum, becoming the mobile industry’s first commercially announced LTE Advanced Pro modem. LTE Advanced Pro, beginning with 3GPP Release 13, marks an important next phase for 4G that will expand the technology into new applications and usage models, establishing the foundation for unified and more capable connectivity platforms into the next decade.

The Snapdragon X16 LTE modem is designed to reach Gigabit Class LTE speeds using the same amount of spectrum as Category 9 LTE devices. By using carrier aggregation and 4x4 MIMO, the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem can receive 10 unique streams of data using only three 20 MHz carriers. Its support for 256-QAM boosts the peak throughput of each stream from ~75 Mbps to ~100 Mbps, with additional gains possible with modem data compression. Additionally, with support for LAA as well as LTE-U, this combination reduces the amount of licensed spectrum required – to 40 MHz or less – to vastly expand the number of operators that can deploy Gigabit Class LTE speeds around the globe.

In addition to the advanced connectivity feature sets, the new modem and transceiver support Snapdragon All Mode, including all major cellular technologies (LTE FDD, LTE TDD, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, and GSM/EDGE), frequency bands, Carrier Aggregation band combinations, LTE dual SIM, LTE Broadcast, HD and Ultra HD Voice over LTE (VoLTE) with single radio voice call continuity to 3G and 2G.

“In addition to serving as a significant milestone for the mobile industry, the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem is a powerful testament to Qualcomm Technologies’ continued technology leadership in all things wireless,” said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and president, QCT. “Not only does the Snapdragon X16 blur the lines between wired and wireless broadband, but marks an important step toward 5G as we enable deeper unlicensed spectrum integration with LTE and more advanced MIMO techniques to support growing data consumption and deliver an even faster and smoother user experience.”

Sampling is underway and the first commercial products are expected in second half of 2016.

IBM Cloud Receives DISA Impact Level 5 Authorization

The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has authorized IBM Cloud services at the highest security levels – known as Impact Level 5 – for Controlled Unclassified Information as defined by the Department of Defense (DoD). This pavesthe way for DoD agencies seeking to take advantage of the innovations cloud can offer and manage sensitive data.

DISA has granted the company a Conditional Authority to Operate IBM Cloud services hosted at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory (ABL) data center in West Virginia, which is owned by the Department of the Navy and leased by IBM.

IBM noted that it is the first cloud provider with a direct connection to the DoD's internal network known as the Nonsecure Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet). The authorization granted by DISA will enable other DoD agencies the opportunity ultimately to streamline their authorizations by leveraging the thorough process DISA followed.

"Department of Defense agencies have the opportunity to embrace commercial cloud best practices and technology with the security of a government-owned facility," said Sam Gordy, General Manager for IBM Federal. "It will also provide DoD agencies with an ideal option to launch workloads in a hybrid cloud that can be easily integrated with their on premise systems. DoD is serving as a strong model to other cabinet level agencies in the federal government."

Qualcomm Shows Snapdragon Wear 2100 Processor

Qualcomm introduced its Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor for the next generation of wearable devices requiring always-on connectivity with low power usage for long battery life.

The processor is available in two versions: tethered (which uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) and connected. In the connected version, the processor’s next-generation LTE modem, which also includes low power Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, is engineered so users can stream music, answer calls, send messages, and much, much more, all directly via their wearable.

Some highlights:

  • CPU - Quad ARM Cortex A7 up to 800 1.2 GHz optimized for wearables
  • GPU - Qualcomm Adreno 304 GPU, OpenGL ES 3.0
  • DSP - Integrated modem DSP shared for modem, GNSS, sensor processing, keyword detection and audio
  • Audio - Fluence noise cancellation technology
  • Modem - X5 LTE
  • Wi-Fi - 802.11n (2.4 GHz)

Japan's Energia Comm Deploys with Nokia

Energia Communications (EneCom) is preparing the first commercial deployment of technology in Japan, initially in the Chugokua region starting in June 2016. The ICT service provider will use its existing copper networks to quickly deliver up to 1Gbps ultra-broadband access to residential subscribers.

The solution, developed by Nokia's Bell Labs, uses built-in vectoring technology to effectively reduce cross-talk interference that typically impacts data speeds over copper networks, enabling EneCom to achieve speeds close to 1Gbps.

The deployment includes:

  • The 7367 Intelligent Service Access Manager (ISAM) SX-16 which supports for multiple users and delivers 16 vectored ports in a climate-controlled and ruggedized housing unit
  • The 7368 ISAM CPE F-010G-P with non-blocking gigabit Ethernet connections for home devices
  • 5520 Access Management System which streamlines the management, configuration, maintenance and troubleshooting of the network

Tokyo Institute of Tech and Fujitsu Labs Develop Very High-speed Wireless Transceiver

Tokyo Institute of Technology and Fujitsu Laboratories have developed a CMOS wireless transceiver chip that can process signals at high speeds with little loss across a broad range of frequencies, from 72 to 100 gigahertz (GHz). The researchers report record wireless speeds of 56 Gbps over a distance of 10cm.

Some highlights:

  • The high-speed wireless transceiver technologies use the millimeter-waveband (30-300 GHz), where there are few competing wireless applications, and which are capable of large-capacity communications. 
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology developed a technology for broadband, low-loss transceiver circuits in which data signals are split in two, with each converted to different frequency ranges, and then recombined (Figure 2). Each signal is modulated into a band 10-GHz wide, with the low-band occupying the 72-82 GHz range, and the high-band occupying the 89-99 GHz range. 
  • The technology enables modulation on an ultra-wideband signal of 20 GHz, with low noise and a similar range in the ratio between input and output power as existing 10 GHz band methods, which results in high-quality signal transmissions.
  • Fujitsu Laboratories and Tokyo Institute of Technology developed an interface between the circuit board and waveguide that uses a specially designed pattern of interconnects on the printed circuit board to adjust the impedance for the ultra-wideband range, enabling loss in the desired frequency range to be greatly reduced.

Nokia Reports Strong End to 2015, Market Uncertainty in 2016

Nokia reported Q4 2015 net sales of EUR 3.6 billion in Q4 2015, compared with EUR 3.5 billion in Q4 2014.  Full year 2015 sales were EUR 12.5 billion, compared with EUR 11.8 billion in full year 2014.

Rajeev Suri, President and CEO of Nokia, commented: "2015 was another year of dramatic transformation for Nokia and I am pleased that in the midst of all this change we were able to close the year with solid performances at both Nokia Networks and Nokia Technologies.

I was particularly pleased with our progress towards completing the Alcatel-Lucent transaction in the fourth quarter, culminating with the start of combined operations in early January. Our work as a combined company has gotten off to a strong start. Teams are preparing joint bids, we are working closely with our customers to ensure we can make fast and effective decisions about overlapping areas of our portfolio, and we are on target to deliver on our previously announced synergy savings.

While the competitive environment in Networks remained generally stable in the fourth quarter, we do expect some market headwinds in 2016 as 4G/LTE rollouts in China and some other markets start to slow. The first quarter, in particular, looks quite challenging as customers assess their CAPEX plans in light of increasing macro-economic uncertainty. In this environment, we will continue our sharp focus on operational and commercial discipline, ensure we deliver synergies as quickly as possible, and focus our energy on targeting the growth segments within the overall telecom market."

Some highlights:

Nokia Networks

  • 5% year-on-year net sales decrease in Q4 2015 and 3% net sales growth in full year 2015. On a reported basis, Greater China and Middle East & Africa were the strongest regions. On a constant currency basis, 12% year-on-year net sales decrease in Q4 2015 and 6% net sales decrease in full year 2015.
  • Non-IFRS gross margin of 39.6% in Q4 2015 primarily due to elevated levels of software in Mobile Broadband, partially offset by the absence of non-recurring intellectual property rights net sales which benefitted Q4 2014.
  • Non-IFRS operating margin of 14.6% in Q4 2015. Nokia Networks delivered full year financial results towards the high end of its original 2015 targets, with a non-IFRS operating margin of 10.9% in full year 2015, through strong operational performance and continued focus on execution excellence.

Nokia Technologies

  • 170% year-on-year net sales growth in Q4 2015 and 77% net sales growth in full year 2015. On a year-on-year basis, non-IFRS operating profit grew 318% in Q4 2015 and 102% in full year 2015, primarily related to the growth in net sales resulting from a settled arbitration. This was partially offset by higher non-IFRS operating expenses.

Infinera is now on $1 Billion Annual Revenue Run Rate

Infinera reported Q4 2015 GAAP revenue of $260.0 million compared to $232.5 million in the third quarter of 2015 and $186.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. GAAP gross margin for the quarter was 44.5% compared to 44.2% in the third quarter of 2015 and 45.3% in the fourth quarter of 2014. GAAP net income for the quarter was $12.6 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, compared to $8.5 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2015, and $8.4 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2014.

GAAP revenue for the year was $886.7 million compared to $668.1 million in 2014.

"Our fourth quarter performance capped off an exceptional year of revenue and profitability growth, expansion of our product portfolio to serve the end-to-end market and the continuation of our commitment to deliver the Infinera Experience to our customers," said Tom Fallon, Infinera's Chief Executive Officer.

"With customers increasingly relying on optical transport as the foundation of their next generation networks, Infinera will continue to deliver the most innovative, scalable and programmable Intelligent Transport solutions in the industry. We exited 2015 on a $1 billion annual revenue run rate and are well positioned to address the significant future opportunities associated with this optical networking transformation."

CoreSite Posts 25% YoY Rise in Revenue for Data Center Services

CoreSite reported Q4 2015 revenue of $90.9 million, a 25.4% increase year over year and an increase of 5.3% on a sequential-quarter basis. CoreSite reported fourth-quarter net income attributable to common shares of $9.3 million, or $0.32 per diluted share.

Tom Ray, CoreSite’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “We're pleased to report continued execution of our business plan in the fourth quarter, delivering solid growth and finishing out 2015 as another strong year for our company.” Mr. Ray continued, “In addition to our solid financial results for the fourth quarter, we finished 2015 and began 2016 with positive leasing momentum.

Some highlights:

  • CoreSite executed 155 new and expansion data center leases representing $8.9 million of annualized GAAP rent during the fourth quarter, comprised of 42,089 NRSF at a weighted-average GAAP rental rate of $211 per NRSF.
  • CoreSite’s fourth-quarter data center lease commencements totaled 54,329 NRSF at a weighted average GAAP rental rate of $172 per NRSF, which represents $9.3 million of annualized GAAP rent.
  • CoreSite’s renewal leases signed in the fourth quarter totaled $10.1 million in annualized GAAP rent, comprised of 49,561 NRSF at a weighted-average GAAP rental rate of $204 per NRSF, reflecting a 3.8% increase in rent on a cash basis and 6.7% increase on a GAAP basis. The fourth-quarter rental churn rate was 2.3%.

Infinera Appoints Head of Engineering

Infinera named Srikanth (Sri) Hosakote as senior vice president, head of engineering, responsible for leading the Infinera Systems Engineering organization.

Hosakote He has been involved in the development of industry-leading and disruptive products, including Cisco’s Carrier Routing System (CRS) core router and its Aggregation Services Edge Router ASR9000. Prior to joining Infinera, he was the executive vice president and general manager for cloud systems and solutions at Seagate. Prior to Seagate, Hosakote served in various leadership roles at Cisco Systems, including senior vice president for the switching business in the Data Center Group.