Wednesday, March 15, 2017

AT&T Expects 5G Rollout in Late 2018

AT&T voiced support for the decision last week by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) wireless standards body to accelerate some elements in the 5G new radio (NR) timeline.

AT&T said it now anticipates launching standards-based mobile 5G services to consumers starting as early as late 2018 -- a year ahead of previously announced schedules.

The accelerated schedule includes a plan to complete key components of the 5G standards needed to start chipset development in December 2017. That’s 6 months ahead of the expected 3GPP full Release 15. These key components include the specifications for 5G NR along with the non-standalone option for the core network interface.
The 3GPP decision was backed by 47 global operators and vendors.

AT&T noted that about 137 petabytes of data traffic crosses its network on an average business day. Data traffic on its mobile network has grown more than 250,000% since 2007. Video now makes up more than half of its mobile data traffic. In fact, video traffic grew over 75% and smartphones drove almost 75% of data traffic in the last year alone.

Ciena Outlines Liquid Spectrum Vision for Optical Networks

Ciena outlined its "Liquid Spectrum" vision for empowering network operators to tune, control and dynamically adjust optical capacity in an on-demand world.

Liquid Spectrum will encompass a series of next-generation optical and software technologies, including Ciena’s reconfigurable photonic layer, WaveLogic Ai coherent optics, Blue Planet Manage, Control and Plan (MCP), and new advanced software applications. Liquid Spectrum will use APIs and standard interfaces to support operators’ requirements for an accessible, open architecture.  Ciena said its Liquid Spectrum helps ensure the ideal amount of bandwidth is used at any given time.

In its initial introduction, Liquid Spectrum will feature advanced software applications including:

  • Performance Meter helps operators proactively ensure optimal system performance by providing access, for the first time, to real-time, accurate planning data for both the existing hardware and new planned services.
  • Bandwidth Optimizer uses customer-defined service policies and suggests the ideal capacity, hardware configuration and spectral placement for any channel, across any network path.
  • Liquid Restoration increases service availability with flexible adjustment of deployed coherent optical capacity as needed to route affected services across any available path in the network.
  • Wave-Line Synchronizer accelerates service provisioning, reduces manual provisioning steps and eliminates associated human errors across multi-vendor optical deployments.

Ciena’s WaveLogic Ai and Blue Planet MCP – two key elements of Liquid Spectrum – will be available in the second quarter of 2017. Liquid Spectrum and its initial software applications are slated for delivery by the end of this year.

“There was a time when network operators could easily predict their network traffic demands and capacity needs at any given time. But we’ve entered a new world with new rules where networks are more complex and mobile and cloud applications can disrupt overnight. With Liquid Spectrum, we are sharing our full vision and blueprint for the way future optical networks should be built to tackle the challenges of the next 10 years and beyond,” stated Steve Alexander, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Ciena.

CNEX Targets Next Gen SSD Controllers for Hyperscale

CNEX Labs, a private semiconductor company based in San Jose, California, closed its Series C round of financing led by Microsoft Ventures and joined by existing CNEX investors, bringing total funding to over $60 million to date.

CNEX is developing solid-state storage controllers and software for cloud, hyperscale, and enterprise data centers.

The company said it is working with tier-one data center customers and manufacturers of solid-state storage, including NAND flash and other storage media, to create a ground-up re-design of the traditional SSD controller architecture.

“CNEX is developing the next big innovation for solid-state storage through semiconductor and software solutions,” said Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president at Microsoft Ventures. “As data generation grows, so too must storage systems. Our support will help CNEX accelerate its contribution to new breakthroughs in the evolution toward a cloud-first world.”

“We place a high value on the expertise that comes with this commitment from Microsoft Ventures,” said Alan Armstrong, CEO and Co-Founder of CNEX Labs. “The industry sees impressive leadership from Microsoft in shaping a new generation of data centers, and the strategic guidance from Microsoft Ventures will be a key asset to CNEX as we launch our storage products into mass production for the global data center ecosystem.”

Worldwide data generation is expected to leap from four zettabytes per year in 2013 to 40 zettabytes per year by 2020 (one zettabyte is one billion terabytes). The sheer volume, variety, and velocity of data is driving the need for innovation in data center technology to store and deliver this data.

Orange Business Adds Riverbed SteelConnect to SD-WAN Service

Orange Business will integrate Riverbed SteelConnect technology into its hybrid network portfolio. The two companies are working together to develop a virtual network function (VNF) that customers will be able to deploy on universal customer premise equipment (uCPE) at their site. Full compatibility will be maintained with existing services as enterprises transition applications to the cloud.

Riverbed said its SD-WAN offering, SteelConnect, provides an intelligent and simplified approach to designing, deploying and managing hybrid networks. Application performance is improved by real-time routing using the optimum links available between different networks. SteelConnect also enables zero-touch provisioning, allowing enterprises to set-up global networks quickly with easy management, providing a cost effective and superior end user experience.

The first Orange pilot customers will be connected during the second quarter 2017 using managed SteelConnect appliances. The VNF of the service is scheduled to be available at the end of 2017. This will provide full virtualization and orchestration managed through an easy-to-use ‘self-care’ portal to administer and prioritize applications.

“Historically, Orange and Riverbed have a strong relationship with joint innovation commitments to support developments in the network and cloud. Riverbed is a key partner, and we are working closely with them to integrate their SD-WAN technology into our network. This will provide our customers with yet more choice and simplicity in how they manage their infrastructure,” says Pierre-Louis Biaggi, vice president, Connectivity Business Unit, Orange Business Services.

“With the launch of our SD-WAN solution SteelConnect integrated into Orange’s hybrid network portfolio, Orange and Riverbed continue their journey of co-development aimed at rapidly introducing new services to the market in response to customers’ changing needs as they move more apps and services to the cloud. We look forward to even greater market acceleration as we leverage more of our joint portfolio and explore new options like the Service Delivery Platform announced at Mobile World Congress this year,” said Phil Harris, senior vice president and General Manager, Service Provider Vertical at Riverbed.

Digital Realty Adds Data Center Space to Atlanta Campus

Digital Realty Trust plans to add approximately 50,000 square feet of interconnected retail colocation data center capacity to its existing 160,000 square feet in the southeast technical hub of Atlanta. The new facility will be connected via fiber to Digital’s existing facility at 56 Marietta Street, the region’s largest stand-alone data center.

Digital Realty said the Atlanta metro area is and extremely appealing interconnection location for enterprises, telecommunications providers and cloud providers given its minimal risk of natural disasters, low cost, reliable power, strong fiber infrastructure and peering capabilities.

Barefoot Tests its Switch Performance with Ixia IxNetwork + Novus

Network testing solutions provider Ixia announced that Barefoot Networks, developer of high-performance, programmable switch solutions, has chosen its 100 Gigabit Ethernet test solutions to validate the Tofino series of programmable switches launched in June last year.

Utilising the Ixia solutions, Barefoot will be able to ensure that its Tofino switches deliver the performance network operators demand, as well as test the functionality enabled by its programmable packet processing pipeline, for example new or custom protocols, in-band network telemetry and load balancing.

Barefoot's Tofino switches are based on technology that is designed to enable a fully programmable Ethernet switch that does not suffer a performance penalty to its 6.5 Tbit/s traffic processing capability. To validate the performance, scale and quality of these switches, Barefoot test engineers can use Ixia's IxNetwork and Novus 100 Gigabit Ethernet solutions to recreate real-life traffic patterns and load characteristics.

Ixia's IxNetwork offers a complete chip, device and network infrastructure test solution that can be used to validate Layer 2/3 performance, interoperability and functionality. Capable of analysing up to 4 million traffic flows simultaneously, IxNetwork is designed to provide enhanced real-time analysis and statistics. Featuring eight native QSP28 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports, the Ixia Novus load modules can generate terabytes of data to simulate real-world network traffic and Layer 2/3 protocols.

In combination, the Ixia solutions provide a test platform designed to enable full line-rate 100 Gigabit Ethernet evaluation of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) designs, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and hardware switch fabrics.

Recently at MWC, Barefoot Networks partnered with Netronome, a provider of intelligent networking solutions, to demonstrate a solution combining the Agilio CX SmartNIC platform and its Tofino P4-programmable switch to deliver precise, real-time network telemetry data required to detect, root-cause and resolve network problems.

The joint solution showed how a DevOps approach can be used to triangulate performance issues to VMs and NICs in servers or network switches and thereby enable the detection of poorly performing virtual network functions (VNFs) in service chains.

  • In January, Barefoot announced that it was sharing its Wedge 100B series switches, including the Wedge100BF-32X 3.2 Tbit/s 1 RU 32 x 100 Gigabit Ethernet and Wedge100BF-65X 6.5 Tbit/s 2 RU 65 x 100 Gigabit Ethernet switches that are based on its technology Tofino, with the OCP ecosystem.

Finisar Introduces 100 GHz Balanced Detector

Finisar, a supplier of subsystems and components for fibre optic communications, has introduced a new product in its family of high-speed photodetectors, the 100 GHz balanced detector (BPDV4121), designed for next generation optical test and measurement equipment.

Finisar claims that the new 100 GHz product is the fastest detector available and enables coherent signal detection and characterisation at rates up to 160 Gbaud.

Designed for next-generation high bit-rate transmission systems, the new photodetector enables accurate measurement, characterisation and verification of performance in real-time. Finisar noted that the increasing baud rates inherent with coherent transmission demand high-frequency optical modulation analysers, sampling scopes and real-time scopes to perform the neessary verification tests.

Finisar's new BPDV4121 detector operates in the C-band and is delivered in a hermetic package equipped with a connector suitable for 100 GHz and-higher RF connections. Additional key features include high responsivity and low polarisation dependent loss (PDL) performance.

The new BPDV4121 product, which will be displayed at OFC 2017, is currently sampling, with general availability scheduled for later in March.

Finisar has also introduced its new WaveAnalyzer 100S compact optical spectrum analyser, designed to enable spectral measurements with advanced optical communication systems in R&D and manufacturing. Finisar's WaveAnalyzer 100S provides two measurements per second across the C-band for optical communications, with a measurement resolution of 1.8 GHz.

The new optical spectrum analyser utilises Finisar's established WaveAnalyzer GUI, which enables analysis functions such as OSNR measurement and WDM analysis, while a programming interface allows integration with automated test systems. The new WaveAnalyzer 100S is due to begin shipping in May 2017.

ADTRAN notes shipment of 10m Vectoring Ports

ADTRAN, a provider of next-generation open networking solutions, announced that it has now shipped 10 million vectoring ports as network operators in the U.S. and Europe seek to optimise their ability to deliver ultra-broadband services.

ADTRAN's stated that it has extended its leading position in the broadband services market over the past four quarters, claiming to have shipped more DSL and VDSL2 vectoring ports in North America than all other suppliers combined.

The company noted that VDSL2 vectoring technology is a key element in equipping network operators to expand their broadband services by enabling the provision of 100 Mbit/s bandwidth utilising the existing copper-based DSL infrastructure that may previously have been limited to supporting 10 Mbit/s bandwidth. Particularly suitable for urban deployments and multi-dwelling units, vectoring offers a scalable approach to increasing the DSL network capacity.

Vectoring enables the delivery of higher bandwidths over the installed access network, increasing service speeds up to 100 Mbit/s using VDSL2 vectoring, or to more than 300 Mbit/s leveraging higher spectrum Super-Vectoring technology. ADTRAN noted that service providers are increasingly adopting vectoring technology to enable the provision of higher-speed broadband where time-to-market or economic constraints mean that the deployment of new fibre infrastructure is not practical.

  • In October 2016, ADTRAN announced it was extending its Enabling Communities, Connecting Lives (ECCL) program to the entire EMEA region, noting that the program would support the European Commission's Connectivity for a European Gigabit Society initiative. The ECCL program is designed to bring ultra-fast and gigabit broadband services to communities based on its FTTP, and VDSL vectoring solutions.

  • In August last year, ADTRAN announced that it had shipped 50,000 units of its Total Access 5000 (TA5000) multi-service access node (MSAN) in North America. The TA5000 offers multi-service capabilities including gigabit service delivery over fibre, high-speed broadband over copper utilising VDSL2 vectoring and Super-Vectoring technology, plus support for mobile backhaul and Carrier Ethernet services. ADTRAN claimed that the platform was in use by over 50% of the top 100 U.S. network operators, including the seven largest providers.

ABI reports 2bn LTE Subscribers Accounting for 67% of mobile traffic

According to the latest Mobile Networks Biannual Update report from ABI Research, the mobile telecoms landscape is evolving rapidly, with national 4G deployments nearing completion in most markets worldwide and estimating that the 2 billion global 4G (LTE) subscribers as of early 2017 will increase to more than 4 billion in 2022, meaning that globally over 50% of people will be using an LTE network by that time.

However, ABI notes that the 4G market is continuing to develop, with the first gigabit-capable LTE networks beginning to arrive, offering mobile connectivity at speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s for end users.

Meanwhile, although 5G discussions and early developments are progressing ABI believes that LTE networks will continue as the backbone of broadband connectivity for many years yet as networks are upgraded to enable gigabit speeds and provide the foundation for 5G.

Further highlights of the ABI study include:

1. Mobile traffic totaled an estimated 109 Exabytes during 2016 and will reach 522 Exabytes in 2022, representing an average user consumption of 1.2 Gbytes per month currently, rising to over 5.7 Gbytes per month by 2022.

2. Over the period to 2022, LTE is expected to continue to be the dominant technology; at present LTE carries around 67% of total mobile traffic, and this is predicted to increase to 82% in 2022, while by that time 5G will account for only 13% of overall mobile data traffic.

3. Operator profitability is under pressure, with ARPU in the U.S., the most lucrative market, at around $43 currently, but expected to decline to less than $35 in 2022.

4. Network operator capex is also under pressure and looks set to continue to decrease until 2019, after which time it will rise as 5G deployments will ramp up.

5. 2G and 3G networks are expected to experience a double-digit subscriber decline for the second consecutive year; ABI notes that of the operators it tracks, 60 are twilighting 2G and 38 sunsetting 3G networks, meaning no more investments in upgrades, although consolidation of infrastructure and 2G/3G combinations with 4G continue.

Commenting on the report, Nick Marshall, research director at ABI Research, said, "Gigabit LTE appeared this month in Telstra’s network, and ABI expects more than 15 mobile operators to be offering gigabit speed services to subscribers by the end of 2017… this is a significant development, and one that will lead to new use cases from the increase in data speed available to end users".

SES-15 Preps for Launch in Kourou

The SES-15 satellite has arrived at the European space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, in preparation for its launch by a Soyuz vehicle in April 2017.

SES-15, which was designed and manufactured by Boeing, carries a hybrid payload, with additional Ku-band wide beams and Ku- as well as Ka-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capability. The satellite will be equipped with an electric propulsion system for orbit-raising and in-orbit maneuvers. The satellite will also carry the Wide Area Augmentation Systems (WAAS), a US government-funded hosted payload to augment the Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

SES-15 is the first SES hybrid satellite to be launched and is equipped with 16 Ku-band transponders (36MHz equivalent) as well as a 10 GHz high throughput payload. The all-electric satellite will operate at the new orbital position of 129 degrees West and will serve North America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

NeoPhotonics reports Q4 revenue of $109.84m, up 23.6% yr/yr

NeoPhotonics, a designer and manufacturer of optoelectronic solutions for high speed communications networks, announced financial results for its fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2016, as follows:

1. Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 of $109.84 million, up 6.3% versus $103.31 million in the third quarter and up 23.2% from $89.12 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

2. Gross income for the fourth quarter of 2016 of $31.03 million, up 13.0 % versus $27.45 million in the third quarter and up 23.6% from $25.11 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

3. R&D expenditure for the fourth quarter of 2016 of $15.17 million, down 13.1% versus $17.47 million in the third quarter and up 28.8% from $11.83 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

4. SG&A expenditure for the fourth quarter of 2016 of $12.58 million, down 20.2% versus $15.76 million in the third quarter and down 3.4% from $13.02 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

5. Total operating expenditure for the fourth quarter of 2016 of $29.19 million, down 13.6% versus $33.84 million in the third quarter and up 13.3% from $25.76 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

6. On a GAAP basis, net income for the fourth quarter of 2016 of $2.00, versus net loss of $7.19 in the third quarter and net income of $399,000 in the fourth quarter of 2015.

On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the fourth quarter of 2016 of $6.29 million, versus net income of $2.92 million in the third quarter and net income of $6.92 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.

7. Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments as of December 31, 2016 of $101.51 million, compared with $100.09 as at September 30, 2016 and $99.38 million as at December 31, 2015.

Additional results and notes

For the full year 2016, NeoPhotnics reported revenue of $411.42 million, compared with $339.44 million in 2015, with net loss of $205,000, compared with net income of $3.67 million in 2015.

For the fourth quarter of 2016, the company noted that sales of high speed products were $78.5 million (72% of the total), with network products and solutions representing $31.3 million (28% of total revenue), while revenue excluding low speed transceiver products for the quarter was $97 million, up 52% versus the prior year period and up 8% from the third quarter.*

On a geographic basis by shipment destination, in the fourth quarter Americas revenue was 18% of total sales, compared to 19% in the third quarter, China accounted for 65% of the total, compared to 61% in the prior quarter, Japan revenue was 4%, compared to 5% in the prior quarter, with rest of the world sales 13% of the total, compared to 15% in the prior quarter.

For the fourth quarter, NeoPhotonic's stated it had two 10%-or-greater customers, with Ciena representing approximately 14% of total revenue, compared to 15% in the third quarter, and Huawei Technologies accounting for 53% of total revenue, compared to 48% in third quarter.


For the first quarter ending March 31, 2017, NeoPhotonics expects revenue of between $67 and $73 million, representing a sequential decline of 36.2% at the midpoint.

* NeoPhotonics closed the sale of its low speed transceiver business in January 2017.

Picometrix to supply 100G Coherent Receivers to Chinese Vendor

Luna Innovations, a developer and supplier of fibre optic sensing and T&M products, announced that its Picometrix division has entered into a vendor managed inventory (VMI) agreement with a major Chinese provider of telecoms equipment and network solutions.

Under the agreement, Picometrix's technology will be more closely integrated into the customer's supply chain and manufacturing processes. As part of the deal, Picometrix will maintain in Hong Kong a dedicated inventory of 100 Gbit/s integrated coherent receivers and other future approved products that the customer will be able to incorporate into its manufacturing operation on a just-in-time basis.

Following the execution of the new VMI agreement, Picometrix has received an order for the supply of coherent receivers for 100 Gbit/s optical transport network equipment. The order is valued at approximately $1.4 million and scheduled to be delivered by June 2017.

Under the agreement, Picometrix expects to supply both its first generation CR-100D product and its next generation, Gen 2, CR-100F coherent receivers. The CR-100F device is the company's latest generation 100 Gbit/s coherent receiver that is compliant with the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) Implementation Agreement (IA) for integrated dual polarisation micro-intradyne coherent receivers (ICRs).

Picometrix noted that the Gen 2 CR-100F product is approximately one-quarter the size of its first generation CR-100D and also offers additional features including signal detect and a variable optical attenuator. The customer will deploy the CR-100F for long-haul and metro applications as an upgrade to support increasing bandwidth demand.

Previously, in October 2016 Luna Innovations announced that Picometrix had received a $2.8 million follow-on order from a leading telecoms company for its 100 Gbit/s ICR for applications in long-haul and metro networks.