Monday, March 27, 2017

Vodafone and Idea to Merge and Create Largest Operator in India

Vodafone India and Idea have agreed to merge to create the largest telecoms operator in India. The transaction is to be implemented as a merger of equals that will result in joint control of the combined company between Vodafone and the Aditya Birla Group.

Under the terms of the agreement, Vodafone will combine its subsidiary Vodafone India (excluding its 42% stake in Indus Towers) with Idea, an Indian stock exchange-listed company. Vodafone stated that the merger ratio is in line with recommendations from independent valuers, with an implied enterprise value of INR828 billion ($12.4 billion) for Vodafone India and INR722 billion ($10.8 billion) for Idea, excluding its stake in Indus Towers.

On completion of the transaction, Vodafone will own 45.1% of the combined company, after transferring a stake of 4.9% to the Aditya Birla Group for approximately INR39 billion ($579 million) in cash, concurrent with completion of the merger. The Aditya Birla Group will own 26.0% of the new company, with the right to acquire additional shares from Vodafone under an agreed mechanism, with a view to eventually equalising the shareholdings over a period of 4 years.

Vodafone stated that the transaction will establish a complementary combination that will be India's largest telecoms operator with the most extensive mobile network and a commitment to support the Indian government's Digital India initiative. The combination will result in an operator serving approximately 400 million customers, with a 35% market share in terms of subscribers and a 41% share in terms of revenue. The combined company will hold 1850 MHz of spectrum, including around 1645 MHz of liberalised spectrum acquired through auctions

The combination is expected to enable significant cost and capex synergies with an estimated net present value of approximately INR670 billion ($10 billion) after integration costs and spectrum liberalisation payments, with estimated run-rate savings of INR140 billion ($2.1 billion) on an annualised basis by the fourth full year after completion of the transaction.

Completion of the transaction, which is subject to approvals from relevant regulatory authorities, other customary closing conditions and approval by Idea shareholders, is expected in the 2018 calendar year. After closing, Vodafone India will be deconsolidated by Vodafone, reducing the group's net debt by approximately $8.2 billion.

ZTE Carries 400G Single Carrier over 2,125km

ZTE claimed a new record for long-haul 400 Gbit/s single-carrier optical transmission utilising patented compensation algorithms that enable transmission of 84 Gbaud WDM for PDM-8QAM signals over a distance of up to 2,125 km on standard single-mode fibre.

The test is designed to demonstrate the capabilities of ZTE's patented 504 Gbit/s PDM-8QAM technology for 400 Gbit/s transport. The test involved 84 GBaud PDM-8QAM signals generated and pre-processed by a 84 GSa/s digital analogue converter with joint pre-equalisation and look-up-table pre-distortion algorithms. Using receiver-side digital-backward propagation (DBP) fibre nonlinearity compensation, ZTE achieved eight-channel WDM transmission with EDFA-only amplification enabled.

ZTE noted that in 2015 it partnered with OFS to deliver transmission of 128.8 Gbaud WDM QPSK signals over 10,130 km and 6,078 km of terrestrial fibre at different spectrum efficiency, while in 2016 it demonstrated single-carrier 800 Gbit/s transmission with 120 Gbaud WDM 16QAM signals over 1,200 km terrestrial fibre links.

Expanding horizons for Google Cloud Platform

The most compelling case for adopting the Google Cloud Platform is that it is the same infrastructure that powers Google's own services, which attract well over a billion users daily. This was the case presented by company executives at last week's Google Next event in San Francisco – "get on the Cloud… now", said Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Google's parent; "Cloud is the most exciting thing happening in IT", said Diane Greene, SVP of Google Cloud.

Direct revenue comparisons between leading companies are a bit tricky, but many analysts place the Google Cloud Platform at No.4 behind Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and IBM in the U.S. market. Over the past three years, Google invested $29.4 billion for its infrastructure, according to Urs Hölzle, SVP, Technical Infrastructure for Google Cloud, on everything from efficient data centres to customised servers, customised networking gear and specialised ASICs for machine learning.

Google operates what it believes to be the largest global network, carrying anywhere from 25% to 40% of all Internet traffic. Google's backbone interconnects directly with nearly every ISP and its private network has a point of presence in 182 countries, while the company is investing heavily in ultra-high-capacity submarine cables.

The argument goes that by moving to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), enterprise customers move directly into the fast lane of the Internet, putting their applications one hop away from any end-user ISP they need to reach with less latency and fewer hand-offs. Two example of satisfied GCP customers that Google likes to cite are Pokemon Go and Snap Chat, both of which took a compelling application and brought it to global scale by riding the Google infrastructure.

One question is, does the Google global network give its Google Cloud Platform a decisive edge over its rivals? Clearly all the big players are racing to scale out their infrastructure as quickly as possible, but Google is striving to take it one step further – to develop core technologies in hardware and software that other companies later follow. Examples include containers, noSQL, serverless, Kubernetes, Map Reduce, TensorFlow, and more recently its horizontally-scalable Cloud Spanner database synchronisation service, which uses atomic-clocks running in every Google data centre.

Highlights of Google's initiatives include:

·         New data centres: three new GCP regions - California, Montreal and the Netherlands - bringing the total number of Google Cloud regions to six, and the company anticipates more than 17 locations in the future. The new regions will feature a minimum of three zones, benefit from Google's global, private fibre network and offer a complement of GCP services.

·         GCP the first public cloud provider to run Intel Skylake, a custom Xeon chip for compute-heavy workloads and a larger range of VM memory and CPU options. GCP is doubling the number of vCPUs that can run in an instance from 32 to 64 and offering up to 416 Gbytes of memory. GCP is also adding GPU instances. Google and Intel are collaborating in other areas as well, including hybrid cloud orchestration, security, machine and deep learning, and IoT edge-to-cloud solutions; Intel is also a backer of Google’s Tensor Flow and Kubernetes open source initiatives.

·         Google Cloud Functions: a completely serverless environment and the smallest unit of compute offered by GCP; it is able to spin up a single function and spin it back down instantly, so billing occurs only while the function is executing, metered to the nearest one hundred milliseconds.

·         Free services: a new free tier to the GCP that provides limited access to Google Compute Engine (1 f1-micro instance per month in U.S. regions and 30 Gbyte-months HDD), Google Cloud Storage (5 Gbytes a month), Google Pub/Sub (10 Gbytes of messages a month), and Google Cloud Functions (two million invocations per month).

·         Lower prices for GCE: 5% price drop in the U.S., 4.9% drop in Europe; 8% drop in Japan.

·         Google BigQuery data analytics service, including automated data movement from select Google applications, such as Adsense, DoubleClick and YouTube, directly into BigQuery.

·         Titan: a custom security chip codenamed Titan that operates at the BIOS level; Intel is also introducing new security tools to keep customer data secure. The chip authenticates the hardware and services running on each server.

·         Project Kubo toolset: a joint effort with Pivotal for packaging and managing software in a Kubernetes environment.

·         Engineering support plans ranging from $100 per user per month to $1,500 per user per month with a 15-minute response time.

·         Data loss prevention API to guard information inside the Google Cloud.

The Google Next event provided a number of sessions for looking over the horizon. In a 'fireside chat', Marc Andreesen and Vint Cerf speculated on the arrival of quantum computing and neural networking/machine learning services on the public clouds. Both possibilities are likely to augment current public cloud computing models rather than replace them. The types of applications could vary. For instance, a cloud-based quantum computing service might be employed to finally secure communications.

Google is also betting big that the cloud is the ideal platform for AI. Fei-fei Li, Chief Scientist for Cloud AI and ML at Google, observed that a few self-driving cars can put considerable data into the cloud. What happens when there are millions of such vehicles? Building on ramps for AI is the next step with API and SDKs that draw new applications onto Google's TensorFlow platform. The company discusses this in terms of 'democratising' AI, which means making sure its algorithms and cloud analytic systems become widely available before others move into this space.

A final differentiator for GCP is that Google is the largest corporate purchaser of renewal energy. In 2017, the company is on track to reach 100% renewal power for its global data centres and offices. One hopes that others will catch up soon.

Red Hat Hits Q4 Revenue of $629 million, up 16%

Red Hat reported Q4 revenue of $629 million, up 16% year-over-year. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $560 million, up 17% year-over-year. GAAP net income for the quarter was $66 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, compared with $53 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.Full fiscal year 2017 total revenue was $2.4 billion, up 18%.

“Our strategic position with customers is evidenced by the continued growth in large commitments to Red Hat. The number of deals greater than $1 million in fiscal 2017 grew by over 30% annually, and we closed a record number of deals over $20 million, including our first-ever deal of approximately $100 million in the fourth quarter,” stated Eric Shander, acting Chief Financial Officer of Red Hat. “This performance also drove a record backlog of $2.7 billion in U.S. dollars, up 28% year-over-year which contributes to our fiscal year 2018 revenue outlook of 13% to 14% growth and should help drive expanded GAAP operating margin of 15.2% and non-GAAP operating margin of 23.6%.”

ADVA Demos PAM4 100G Direct Detect with Corning SMF-28

ADVA Optical Networking and Corning demonstrated a 100 Gbit/s direct detect solution based on PAM4 technology using the newly expanded ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect platform and Corning SMF-28 ULL fibre. The demo showed how direct detect signals can be transported over 100 km while adhering to stringent optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) requirements.

ADVA noted that through extending the reach of direct detect signals, ICPs and CNPs can use the technology to cost-effectively address DCI bottlenecks as well as to enable the relocation data centres to lower cost locations.

The joint demonstration specifically used ADVA's recently announced direct detect optical layer, featuring its new SmartAmp and PAM4 technology, which is designed to provide ICPs and CNPs with an open and cost-effective DCI solution that is lower cost than alternative coherent options.

By combining Corning's ITU-T G.652-compliant SMF-28 ULL fibre with the ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect it is possible to extend the reach of PAM4 direct detect transmission beyond 100 km, leveraging the ultra-low loss performance of the fibre. Corning's SMF-28 ULL fibre, typically delivering performance of ≤0.16 dB/km at 1550 nm, is claimed to offer the lowest attenuation of any terrestrial fibre, which helps enable enhanced OSNR across greater distances than previously attainable.

In addition, ADVA 100 Gbit/s direct detection solution, integrated with the FSP 3000 CloudConnect DCI platform, is designed to provide error-free transmission at a lower cost per bit than coherent solutions.

In a separate demonstration, ADVA partnered with Inphi to show how disaggregated direct detect technology can be used to develop flexible 100 Gbit/s transport systems. The demonstration involved its FSP 3000 CloudConnect equipped with direct detect OLS with SmartAmp technology and Inphi's ColorZ 100 Gbit/s PAM4 solution in a QSFP form factor. The demonstration showed transport 3.6 Tbit/s of bidirectional data across 80 km of fibre.

Regarding the demonstration, Dr. Bernhard Deutsch, VP, PLM, optical fibre and cable at Corning Optical Communications, said, "Corning SMF-28 ULL fibre provides more than a 3 dB improvement in loss budget over 100 km compared to a link constructed with generic single-mode fibre… this enables a practical DCI link with workable margin to be installed over longer distances, interconnecting data centres spread over a larger territory".

Luxtera Begins Volume Shipments of 2 x 100G PSM4

Luxtera, a developer of silicon photonics technology, announced shipping in volume of what it claims it the first 2 x 100 Gbit/s PSM4 (parallel single mode fibre 4-lane) embedded optical transceiver, designed for cloud data centre, enterprise and telecom networking applications.

The company noted that the compact LUX62608 OptoPHY module was developed employing its patented and proven silicon photonics integration platform and is designed to deliver high density with long reach optics at significantly lower cost than using two 100 Gbit/s front panel pluggable QSFP modules.

Luxtera's OptoPHY 2 x 100G-PSM4 solution includes eight independently operating transmitter and receiver channels, integrating high-speed phase modulators, photodetectors, waveguides, grating couplers, high-speed electrical retimers and control circuitry and is powered by a single integrated laser. The components are packaged in a silicon photonics chipset, with no additional external elements required.

Key features of the product include: 200 Gbit/s aggregate bandwidth optical transceiver; compliance with 2 x 100G PSM4; 8 x 26 Gbit/s independently operating channels with full-duplex operation; multi-rate 1-25.78 Gbit/s per channel performance; extended reach of up to 2 km; and typical power consumption of less than 5 W.

Luxtera stated that the OptoPHY 2 x 100G-PSM4 optical transceiver has been selected by Ericsson as the optical interconnect for its Hyperscale Datacenter System, HDS 8000, a cloud computing system with a disaggregated architecture. OptoPHY serves as the optical interconnect for the HDS 8000's compute, networking and storage sleds and helps to eliminate tradeoffs between reach and cost performance.

Inphi unveils 64 Gbaud linear TIA/VGA amplifier

Inphi announced production availability of its IN6450TA 64 Gbaud dual channel linear TIA/VGA amplifier, and that its 32 Gbit/s quad linear TIA with analogue and digital SPI interfaces and second-generation single chip quad channel linear driver in bare die form will be combined as a chipset to address the requirements of 100/200 Gbit/s coherent systems for metro and long haul applications.

64 Gbaud linear TIA/VGA amplifier

Inphi has announced production availability of its IN6450TA device, claimed as the first 64 Gbaud dual channel linear TIA/VGA amplifier, offering support for data rates of 400 to 600 Gbit/s per wavelength and targeting long haul, metro and data centre interconnect (DCI) applications.

The company noted that with growing demand for bandwidth, service providers and data centre operators require more efficient technologies, such as flexible coherent DWDM transmission capable of changing transmission capacity and reach on demand. This capability is enabled through the use of components capable of supporting multiple modulation formats and baud rates; the IN6450TA is designed to work with modulation formats supporting data rates of up to 600 Gbit/s on a single wavelength.

Inphi stated that it worked with NeoPhotonics on the design of the IN6450TA and its incorporation into NeoPhotonics' 64 Gbaud micro-ICR targeting applications in high-density line cards and pluggable transceivers.

Chipset for 100/200 Gbit/s coherent systems

The IN3254TA and IN3226DZ devices are designed to be integrated to enable higher density, lower cost solutions for emerging coherent optical sub-assembly (COSA) components. COSA implementations are designed to enable delivery of the newly proposed CFP2-DCO form factor, as well as provide the more compact, lower cost ACO modules with higher port-count line cards for 100/200 Gbit/s coherent transmission applications.

Inphi noted that for 100 Gbit/s, a major part of the growth is attributed to the CFP2 coherent modules expanding the addressable market for pluggable transceivers. The company's new transceivers are intended to enable the next generation of 100 and 200 Gbit/s networking infrastructure for metro and inter-data centre markets, where smaller size, lower cost and pluggable modules are the key requirements.

Huawei Marine Shows Unrepeatered Ultra Long Haul

Huawei Marine presented a live demonstration of its ultra-long unrepeatered system and ZTE announced what it claims is a new record for long-haul 400 Gbit/s single-carrier optical transmission.

In September 2016, Huawei Marine announced it had achieved transmission of up to 648.9 km using an unrepeatered system. Based on its 100 Gbit/s technology, enhanced Raman amplifier (ERPC) and remote optical pump amplifier (ROPA), Huawei claims that ultra-long unrepeatered system transmission distance can be increased by up to 10%.

For the demonstration at OFC, Huawei Marine recreated its lab environment in Beijing. The company stated that by observing signal spectrum on the receiver side and signal power evolution across the link span, the system can deliver high reliability and transmission capabilities.

ColorChip Demonstrates 200G QSFP56 PAM4

ColorChip, a developer of integrated optical components and sub-systems for high speed networking, announced technology demonstrations at OFC 2017 including uncooled CWDM4 DML devices driving both PAM4 and NRZ modulation and packaged in QSFPx form factors; the company also announced volume production of its 100 Gbit/s CWDM4 QSFP28 product.

200 Gbit/s QSFP56 PAM4 with CWDM4 DML

ColorChip presented several demonstrations utilising uncooled CWDM4 DML technology, including the exhibition of 200 Gbit/s PAM4 featuring TOSA and ROSA based on the company's patented SystemOnGlass platform and leveraging field-proven 40/100 Gbit/s deployments, with extension beyond 400 Gbit/s.

ColorChip noted that the link demonstrates the building blocks that can enable a compact, low power 200 Gbit/s PAM4 transceiver using the CWDM4 grid, packaged in a compact QSFP56 form factor and with a standard duplex LC optical interface.

2 x 100 Gbit/s CWDM4 in QSFP-DD

ColorChip is also showing a 2 x 100 Gbit/s 'two in a box' solution based on its SystemOnGlass technology implementing an 8-channel TOSA and ROSA to create a dual CWDM4 transceiver in QSFP-DD or OSFP form factor. At OFC the 8 channel optical engines, which include dual embedded CWDM4 multiplexers, enable a 2 x 100 Gbit/s CWDM4 QSFP-DD transceiver with 8 x 25 Gbit/s NRZ electrical interface and dual duplex-LC optical connectors.

Mass production of 100 Gbit/s CWDM4 QSFP28

ColorChip also announced volume production of its 100 Gbit/s CWDM4 OCP-accepted transceiver, which offers an optical interconnect with low power consumption of 2.6 W and delivering reach of 500 metres, which can be extended to 10 km. Provided in the 4WDM-10 MSA specification, the transceiver targets inter-data centre and campus connectivity applications.

Manufacturing expansion

In order to meet growing demand for data centre networking, ColorChip stated that it has completed $60 million in funding over the past 18 months to support a significant expansion of its industrialised-optics TOSA/ROSA assembly lines in Israel. The company has also partnered with contract manufacturer Fabrinet for the optical module integration and final testing.

ColorChip stated that over the past 6 months, it has doubled production floor space to 20,000 sq feet and increased head count to more than 300 employees.