Monday, March 13, 2017

Intel to Acquire Mobileye for $15.3 Billion - Automated Driving

Intel agreed to acquire Mobileye, a developer of machine vision systems for automated driving, for $63.54 per share in cash, representing a fully-diluted equity value of approximately $15.3 billion and an enterprise value of $14.7 billion. The acquisition will couple the best-in-class technologies from both companies, including Intel’s high-performance computing and connectivity expertise and Mobileye’s leading computer vision expertise to create automated driving solutions from the cloud through the network to the car.

Mobileye, which is based in Israel, claims the leading market position in computer vision for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Its portfolio includes surround vision, sensor fusion, mapping, and driving policy products. Mobileye's EyeQ chips are already installed in ~16M vehicles as of 2016. Its upcoming EyeQ4 and EyeQ5 chips for Level 3/4 autonomous driving programs go into production in 2018 and 2020 respectively. Mobileye currently has OEM relationships with GM, VW, Honda, BMW, PSA, Audi, Kia, Nissan, Volvo, Ford, Renault, Chrysler, SAIC and Hyundai. Mobileye reported 2016 revenue of $358 million and gross margin of 76%.  The company has approximately 660 employees.

Intel said the merger will accelerate innovation for the automotive industry and position Intel as a leading technology provider in the fast-growing market for highly and fully autonomous vehicles.  Intel estimates the vehicle systems, data and services market opportunity to be up to $70 billion by 2030.

“This acquisition is a great step forward for our shareholders, the automotive industry and consumers,” said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO. “Intel provides critical foundational technologies for autonomous driving including plotting the car’s path and making real-time driving decisions. Mobileye brings the industry’s best automotive-grade computer vision and strong momentum with automakers and suppliers. Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving with improved performance in a cloud-to-car solution at a lower cost for automakers."

Intel also noted that it expects by 2020 autonomous vehicles will generate 4,000 GB of data per day.

New QSFP-DD MSA Targets 400G

The Quad Small Form Factor Pluggable Double Density (QSFP-DD) Multi Source Agreement (MSA) group has released a specification for the new QSFP-DD form factor, which is a next generation high-density, high-speed pluggable module with a QSFP28 compatible double-density interface. QSFP-DD pluggable modules can quadruple the bandwidth of networking equipment while remaining backwards compatible with existing QSFP form factors used across Ethernet, Fibre Channel and InfiniBand for 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps network applications.

Specifically, the new QSFP-DD form factor expands the standard QSFP four-lane interface by adding a row of contacts providing for an eight-lane electrical interface, each operating up to 25 Gbps with Non-Return-to-Zero (NRZ) modulation or 50 Gbps with Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM4). This adaptation allows the QSFP-DD form factor to address solutions up to 400 Gbps aggregate per QSFP-DD port, while providing backward compatibility to 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps. A single switch slot can support up to 36 QSFP-DD modules providing up to 14.4 Tbps aggregate capacity. With an advanced thermal design, the new QSFP-DD solution can support modules up to 12W, providing significant system design flexibility.

In total, 52 companies came together in support of the QSFP-DD MSA to address the industry need for high-density, high-speed networking solutions.

QSFP-DD MSA founder-promoters include Broadcom, Brocade, Cisco, Corning, Finisar, Foxconn Interconnect Technology, Huawei, Intel, Juniper Networks, Lumentum, Luxtera, Mellanox Technologies, Molex, Oclaro, and TE Connectivity.

Contributors include Amphenol, Applied Optoelectronics, APRESIA Systems, Celestica, Ciena, ColorChip, Dell EMC, Delta, Fujitsu Optical Components, Genesis, H3C, Innovium, Inphi, Ixia, Kaiam, LEONI, Lorom, Luxshare, MACOM, MaxLinear, MultiLane, NeoPhotonics, Nokia, Panduit, PHY-SI, Ranovus, Samtec, Senko, Semtech, Sicoya, Siemon, Skorpios Technologies, Source Photonics, Spirent, Sumitomo Electric, Xilinx, and Yamaichi Electronics.

Jonathan Davidson Jumps Back to Cisco from Juniper

Jonathan Davidson is joining Cisco to lead its Service Provider Networking organization as senior vice president and general manager, service provider networking. He will report to Yvette Kanouff, the senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s service provider business unit.

Davidson previously served as executive vice president and general manager of Juniper Development and Innovation, and earlier as SVP/GM for Juniper’s Security, Switching and Solutions.  Earlier in his career he was at Cisco.

  • Last week, Juniper announced an organization reshuffle and the appointment of Kevin Hutchins to the newly created position Senior Vice President of Strategy and Product Line Management. Juniper's engineering organization will now report into chief development officer, Andy Athreya. Both of these positions will report into chief executive officer, Rami Rahim.

ABI Reports 16.5m LTE-A Pro subs in 2016 and Forecasts 641m by 2021

ABI Research finds in its report, LTE-Advanced Pro/4.5G: Bridging the Gap to 5G, that as LTE-Advanced Pro deployments gain momentum the technology, which offers an upgrade from current LTE-Advanced networks, can enable the transition to 5G for mobile operators.

ABI estimates that global subscribers for LTE-Advanced Pro high-speed downlink services totalled 16.5 million at the end of 2016 and forecasts that global subscribers to high-speed data services will exceed 641 million by 2021, with 87% of the total in Asia Pacific, North America and Western Europe region,

The research firm notes that delivering downlink speeds of between 450 Mbit/s and up to 1.2 Gbit/s utilising LTE-Advanced Pro is dependent on a number of technology enhancements, namely a minimum of 3-component carrier aggregation (CA), 4 x 4 MIMO antennae and 256QAM downlink combined with 16QAM uplink modulation. The use of these technologies allows high speed user access as well as freeing up limited network resources and optimising the spectral efficiency of the mobile network.

ABI estimates that there are currently approximately 120 LTE-Advanced Pro trials or commercial deployments in place. Notably, Australia's Telstra launched its Gigabit-class LTE service in January 2017, while other operators with projects underway include AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S., NTT DOCOMO in Japan and SK Telecom in South Korea.

The research firm adds that while current smartphones are not yet capable of supporting gigabit LTE speeds, it expects that mass device production will begin later this year based on early announcements of flagship gigabit LTE smartphones by several established OEMs during the recent Mobile World Congress 2017.

Commenting on the report, Jake Saunders, VP at ABI Research, said, "LTE-Advanced Pro gives mobile network operators a capex-friendly option to continue upgrading their networks… 5G may be still out of the reach for many operators, but through incremental investment LTE-Advanced Pro guarantees features that will generate new business cases for operators and better user experience for end users, while preparing for 5G deployment".

Nokia Extends managed services Deal with Chorus New Zealand

Nokia announced that it has renewed the managed services agreement originally signed in 2014 with Chorus of New Zealand, the country's largest telecommunications infrastructure company that serves around 1.7 million fixed lines, including 1.2 million broadband connections, for a further three years.

Under the renewed contract, Nokia will continue to provide longstanding customer Chorus with fully managed end-to-end operations services to help enhance the services delivered to customers, as well as improve operational efficiency and quality of the national fixed line network. Chorus will also leverage Nokia's technical capabilities and global services expertise.

The agreement specifically encompasses managed services provision including end-to-end operations and network management utilising Nokia's global delivery centre in India, and real-time service management based on performance data and proactive correlation of network events to help prevent faults and improve network availability, as well as to reduce the number of incidents.

In June of last year, Nokia announced an agreement with Chorus for a three-year extension of their technology partnership to support the continued roll-out of the ultra high speed broadband program in New Zealand. As part of the deal Nokia was to deploy broadband access, including GPON and VDSL2 technology, IP routing and optical transport solutions. The agreement included Nokia's 7330 ISAM FTTN access node, 7360 ISAM FX fibre platform and 7367 ISAM SX-16 VDSL2 micro-node.

Additionally, to expand Chorus' backbone network capacity across the North and South Islands, Nokia was to deliver its 7750 Service Router, 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS) routing technology, 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS), and 5620 Service Aware Manager.

Recently, Chorus reported results for the six months ended December 31, 2016, noting that during the period it had upgraded nearly 100 rural broadband cabinets with fibre optic and VDSL, improving broadband service for around 7,000 mostly rural customers, while in urban areas it had reached a total of 681,000 customers with its fibre-based UFB network, meaning the UFB build was around 61% complete.

In January 2017, Chorus announced an agreement with the government to extend the UFB network to a further 169 areas to make fibre broadband available to a further 200,000 homes and businesses in addition to the 1.1 million customers in the existing UFB program areas.

Sprint Teams with Qualcomm, Motorola to launch Gigabit-class LTE

Sprint, which serves nearly 60 million connections in the U.S., together with partners Qualcomm Technologies and Motorola Mobility, a Lenovo company, have announced the debut of what they claims is the first U.S. deployment of Gigabit-class LTE on a commercial network using a forthcoming flagship smartphone.

The new gigabit class LTE service from Sprint employs three-channel carrier aggregation (CA) and 60 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in combination with 4 x 4 MIMO and 256QAM higher order modulation technology to deliver Category 16 LTE download data speeds on a TDD network.

As part of the launch, Motorola showcased the high-bandwidth capability of its forthcoming smartphone that is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile platform with an integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem to enable support for gigabit LTE capability.

Sprint stated that it plans to utilise its 2.5 GHz spectrum to offer gigabit LTE service in high-traffic locations across the U.S. as part of its strategy to provide a foundation for 5G by 'densifying' its network via the addition of small cells and smart antennas. The strategy is intended to enable Sprint to offer 5G-like services with gigabit-level performance over its LTE Plus network and to meet future demand for mobile broadband services.

Sprint claims that with 204 MHz of spectrum in the U.S. and more than 160 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in the top 100 markets nationwide, it holds more licensed spectrum capacity to support gigabit-class LTE than any other U.S. carrier. In addition, it noted that licensed spectrum enables a more reliable and higher quality service for LTE Plus customers through not relying on unlicensed resources.

The roll-out of Sprint's gigabit class LTE over the LTE Plus network will require a series of incremental upgrades, starting with three-channel CA, which is currently available in over 100 markets. The next stage will be implementation of Category 16 devices enabling support for 4 x 4 MIMO and 256QAM.

Sprint also plans to utilise Massive MIMO, a key element of 5G, to further enhance capacity and coverage for its 2.5 GHz TDD-LTE spectrum. Leveraging massive MIMO radios using 64T64R, Sprint expects to be able to increase capacity to beyond the 1 Gbit/s rate and deliver capacity of 3 to 6 Gbit/s per sector.

Sprint noted that working with Ericsson, at MWC 2017 it demonstrated 1 Gbit/s performance over 60 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum, while in collaboration with Nokia it demonstrated how massive MIMO can be used to increase cell capacity up to 8x compared to 4G LTE using 2.5 GHz TDD-LTE spectrum with 64T64R.

Andorra Telecom selects Huawei to upgrade to GPON

Huawei announced that Andorra Telecom has selected it as the sole vendor for the FTTH project designed to provide ultra-high speed Internet access service to end users through an upgrade of the existing FTTH network, with deployments scheduled to start in March this year and completion due around January 2018.

Huawei noted that Andorra is one of the most fibre-enabled nations in the world, and the leader in European fibre broadband development, becoming the first country to achieve 100% fibre coverage and to eliminate the use of xDSL technology in 2016. The operator announced in February that it had reached full fibre coverage, claiming that it had 38,000 fibre-based customers. Andorra Telecom serves a total of around 45,000 fixed lines, and over 71,000 mobile subscribers.

To meet the growing demand for ultra-broadband services, Andorra Telecom has selected Huawei to deploy a national FTTH network that will enable it to transition from EPON to GPON technology and to provide up to 300 Mbit/s Internet access to its residential and enterprise users in the initial phase.

The project will utilise Huawei's new flagship distributed OLT MA5800, which is designed to support not only GPON Internet access but also allow an evolution to NG-PON (XGS-PON and TWDM-PON) technology, which can deliver bandwidth of up to 10 Gbit/s and help the operator meet bandwidth requirements over the next 10 to 15 years.

Huawei noted the solution for Andorra Telecom will reuse existing ODN (optical distribution network) infrastructure to reduce costs, and for the end user will adopt its advanced ONT and high throughput WiFi router systems.

Aricent unveils ConvergedOS Open Hardware Operating System

Aricent, a global design and engineering company, announced the introduction of its intelligent network operating system, Aricent ConvergedOS, designed to provide network equipment and technology system providers with a ready-to-deploy, open hardware and Open Compute Project (OCP)-compatible software solution.

In addition, through its established partnership with Inventec, Aricent is introducing the new network operating system on the Inventec D7032Q28B 100 Gigabit Ethernet spine switch targeting data centre applications and enterprise and service provider network deployments.

The Aricent ConvergedOS provides support for a total of 32 x 100 Gigabit Ethernet QSFP28 interfaces with line-rate Layer 2/3 performance of up to 3.2 Tbit/s in a PHY-less design to meet growing traffic demands in data centres.

ConvergedOS is based on Aricent's Intelligent Switching Solution (ISS), a switching, routing and network optimisation software platform designed to enable connectivity in the data centre for storage area networking, 100 Gbit/s links and distribution of workloads across data centres via Ethernet VPN services.

Key features of Aricent's ConvergedOS solution include:

1. Data centre networking, with support for L2 switching VLAN, L2 multicast IGMP/MLD snooping, IGMP/MLD proxy, link aggregation, LLDP-MED, data centre bridging (DCB)-PFC, ETS, QCN and DCBX, LLDP.
2. BGP spine life architecture, enabling support for a faster convergence, cloud-ready management interface.
3. Support for L3 (IPv4/v6) unicast and multicast routing RIP, OSPFv, IS-IS, BGP4, IGMP (v1/v2/v3), MLD, router, PIM-SM, PIM-DM, PIM-Bidirectional, DVMRP and MSDP.
4. Platform protection via hot redundancy, VRRP (IPv4/v6), uplink failure detection (UFD), multi-chassis LAG, split horizon.
5. Data centre virtualisation and overlay, with VxLAN gateways, Ethernet VPN (VxLAN), edge virtualisation via 802.1Qbg, S-channel, MPLS VPN.
6. Data centre convergence, with support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), FIP snooping, FC direct attach.
7. Data centre telemetry with Broadview and agent software for collecting ASIC stats and counter for diagnosis.

Aricent recently announced new capabilities for its Autonomous Network Solution (ANS) for the automation of next-generation virtualised networks with new components based on standards including ETSI NFV, ETSI AFI GANA, MEF LSO and TM-Forum's Zoom.

ZTE and Turkcell extend Cooperation to GPON, DWDM, 5G

ZTE announced that it has entered into a strategic cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement with Turkcell of Turkey, which serves around 34 million mobile customers in Turkey and a total of over 66 million subscribers across its 9-country footprint.

ZTE noted that it has been working with Turkcell on developing the T-series of mobile phones for several years, and under the new MoU will build on the existing cooperation and extend it into other areas including GPON, DWDM and 5G. The new agreement is designed to strengthen the existing relationship between the two companies as well as extending it to fields including fixed network and wireless products such as CPE, GPON and 5G networks.

The MoU between Turkcell and ZTE was signed during the recent Mobile World Congress by Dr. Zhao Xianming, CEO of ZTE and Turkcell CEO Kaan Terzio─člu.

In July last year, Turkcell fixed-line subsidiary Turkcell Superonline, Vodafone Turkey, TurkSAT and members of TELKODER (Telecommunication Operators Association) began negotiations to establish a JV designed to enable more effective investment in fixed broadband infrastructure in Turkey. Turkcell stated that the aim was to make FTTH networks available to a further 21 million households.

Turkcell Superonline is the largest alternative ISP and the leading provider of FTTH in terms of customers, at that time claiming around 965,000 fibre-connected subscribers and around 2.5 million home passes with fibre.

Earlier in 2106, Turkcell announced it had achieved mobile broadband speeds of 1.2 Gbit/s based utilising 4.5G technology with the aggregation of five carriers in a demonstration carried out at its Istanbul headquarters. Turkcell utilised 79.8 MHz of frequency consisting of 29.8 MHz (20 plus 9.8 MHz) in the 1800 MHz band, 30 MHz (20 plus 10 MHz) in the 2100 MHz band, and 20 MHz in the 2600 MHz band. The demonstration was based on equipment from Huawei.

At the time, Turkcell stated it planned to launch 4.5G mobile networks in Turkey from April 2016 offering mobile data rates up to 375 Mbit/s using 3 carrier aggregation, and was aiming to offer speeds of 1 Gbit/s by the end of 2016.

Turkcell had previously announced a MoU with Ericsson to collaborate on 5G research and development.