Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Verizon Award $1.05B Contract to Corning for Fiber and Related Hardware

Verizon Communications has announced a three-year minimum purchase agreement with Corning for the provision of fibre optic cable and associated hardware equipment to Verizon to ensure coverage and capacity for its nationwide wireless broadband network.

Under the new agreement, Verizon will purchase from Corning up to 20 million km (12.4 million miles) of optical fibre each of the three years from 2018 through to 2020, with a minimum purchase commitment of $1.05 billion.

It was noted that in recent months, Corning has announced plans to expand capacity and to invest more than $250 million in its optical fibre, cable and solutions manufacturing facilities to help address demand from carrier and enterprise customers worldwide. Corning expects that these capacity expansions will begin to come online during 2017 and become fully operational in 2018.

Verizon noted that it is engaged in revamping its network architecture based on a next-generation fibre platform designed to support all of the company's businesses. The new architecture is designed to improve Verizon's 4G LTE coverage, speed the deployment of a 5G network and enable the delivery of high-speed broadband to homes and businesses.

In an initial deployment, Verizon launched its One Fiber approach in Boston last year and plans to invest $300 million over six years to deploy it throughout the city. Verizon announced plans in April 2016 to build a new fibre network to support services including Fios in Boston, and invited expressions of interest from residents and small businesses in eight neighbourhoods in the city, which it calls 'fibre zones'.

In January of this year the company announced the launch for customers in parts of Boston, as well as Norfolk, Virginia, of the Fios Instant Internet service offering symmetrical 750 Mbit/s bandwidth.

Verizon also announced the launch of Fios Instant Internet in greater New York City and northern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Richmond, providing a total of over 7 million customers on the East Coast with access to its instant bandwidth offering.

Regarding the agreement, Viju Menon, Verizon chief supply chain officer, commented, "Verizon identified a shortfall in fibre supply and has been working with business teams to forecast demand and fill supply gaps with existing suppliers... securing the required volume of optical fibre and hardware solutions with Corning will ensure it can meet its planned rollout schedules".

Huawei presents Symmetric 25G PON, Calls for Unified Standards

At the recent Huawei Analyst Summit in Shenzhen, the company presented on the key symmetric 25 Gbit/s PON technologies that can enable multiple wavelengths to deliver N x 25 Gbit/s bandwidths over a single fibre and called on industry partners to support the creation of unified next-generation PON standards.

Huawei noted that single-wavelength 25 Gbit/s PON adapts fixed wavelengths that can be easily implemented. In addition, the established chain of single-wavelength 25 Gbit/s optical components are able to share the resources of data centre and Ethernet sectors, allowing further cost reductions and enhanced reliability for optical components.

As part of its strategy for 25 Gbit/s PON, Huawei is promoting the delivery of 25 Gbit/s upstream wavelengths based on reusing the existing 10 Gbit/s PON standards to allow compatibility with existing 10 Gbit/s PON terminals.

Huawei stated that it has developed a symmetric 25 Gbit/s PON prototype based on its MA5800 high-capacity OLT featuring a distributed architecture, which is in large-scale commercial use. Through the use of multi-wavelength binding, the prototype is able to support N x 25 Gbit/s bandwidth. In addition, optical distribution network (ODN) infrastructure can be reused and both GPON and 10 Gbit/s PON technologies can be deployed on the same network to provide investment protection.

For future PON standards and research, Huawei is promoting unified next-generation PON standards. Meanwhile, to expand the PON market, allow sharing of industry resources, reduce deployment costs and speed time to market, Huawei noted that standardisation organisations such as the ITU-T, IEEE and BBF, as well as major operators including China Telecom, are calling for unified next-generation PON standards.

Digital transformation brings about critical development opportunities. Network construction once driven by technologies is becoming business values driven. Technology evolution will gradually come back to the essence of business. The core of Huawei's All-Cloud Network solutions is to realize commercial values. By building agile, intelligent, efficient, and open All-Cloud Networks, Huawei is committed to facilitating customers’ commercial successes

Huawei unveiled what it claimed was the first commercial symmetric 10 Gbit/s GPON (also termed XGS-PON) solution in September 2016. The XGS-PON solution targets enterprise private line applications and is based on OLT and optical network unit (ONU) products.

At the central office (CO), the solution features Huawei's distributed smart OLT MA5800 equipped with XGS-PON boards to provide 10 Gbit/s symmetric bandwidth per port. It is also compatible with asymmetric 10 Gbit/s GPON terminals. At the user end, Huawei provides box-style and board-mountable ONU with upstream XGS-PON ports.

In addition, for demanding home users, Huawei provides a special ONT incorporating XGS-PON, Gigabit Ethernet and POTS ports, plus support for dual-band WiFi to enable gigabit bandwidth in FTTH scenarios.

ABI: Cloud Deployments to take off after 2020, driven by roll-out of 5G

ABI Research predicts in its Telco Cloud Framework and Deployment Roadmaps study that large-scale telco cloud deployments will attain critical mass after 2020, in parallel with the deployment for 5G networks.

ABI expects that the fifth network generation will require a new core network to support advanced concepts such as network slicing and services geared towards a variety of business verticals. However, the research firm believes that early 5G deployments will focus on delivering enhanced mobile broadband, which will mean there will be no immediate requirement for a new telco core network.

ABI notes that AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Verizon are currently refining their strategies for 5G and planning their networks as shared platforms, rather than a mix of individual network appliances. As a result, network resources will be virtualised, distributed and software controlled with the aim of creating a far more agile network. In turn, this model will allow the implementation of what it terms an 'untelco' strategy, involving the sale of tailored network resources to different verticals.

However, ABI finds there are signs that the deployment of end-to-end systems remains the end goal for operators. For example, Telefonica O2 UK has awarded Nokia an end-to-end contract for a cloud-native packet core. It notes that implementing a true vendor-agnostic, common-off-the-shelf (COTS)-based network in-house would present the operator with a considerable challenge. ABI anticipates the award of many more end-to-end telco cloud vendor contracts in the future.

Commenting on the report, Dimitris Mavrakis, research director at ABI Research, said:

-           "Although telcos are transforming their technology and business platforms to become more agile and to evolve past monolithic access-based business models, they are finding it much more challenging than anticipated… software, cloud computing and open source are promising and will simplify operations, but in the short term, telcos are preferring to rely on their trusted vendors".

-           "… open source projects are contributing valuable inputs toward the evolution of telco networks, (but) there is also competition among open source projects and the concept is misunderstood and in some cases misused… the golden ratio is somewhere between end-to-end systems and open source components, if vendors provide open interfaces and flexibility to integrate third-party and smaller vendors".

Riverbed to Acquire Xirrus for Wi-Fi Expertise

Riverbed Technology agreed to acquire Xirrus, a leading supplier of Wi-Fi networks. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The companies said the deal will expand Riverbed’s market leading SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) and cloud networking solution Riverbed SteelConnect with the integration of a robust and proven suite of advanced, high density and cloud-managed Wi-Fi solutions, offering Riverbed customers and partners the power of unified connectivity and policy-based orchestration that spans the entire distributed network – WAN, LAN/WLAN, data center and the cloud. Riverbed will also continue to offer Xirrus as a stand-alone enterprise WLAN solution.

“Xirrus is a strategic acquisition for Riverbed, providing us with a leading enterprise-grade Wi-Fi solution, and enhancing SteelConnect to deliver an unmatched SD-WAN offering that will help further fuel our growth in this hot market,” said Jerry M. Kennelly, Riverbed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “In today’s digital, cloud, and mobile world, enterprise networks are more complex and unpredictable than ever before and IT is struggling to manage all of this. A fundamental rethink to networking is required and with this acquisition, Riverbed and our partners are uniquely positioned to provide CIOs and businesses with a software-defined networking approach that delivers unified connectivity and orchestration across the entire network.”

“Legacy approaches to network management have become completely untenable. IT must move beyond the days of managing individual network devices using arcane CLI commands and scripts and instead move to software-defined approaches that are based on global policies, automation and orchestration,” said Paul O’Farrell, Senior Vice President of the Riverbed SteelConnect, SteelHead and SteelFusion Business Unit. “The SteelConnect offering is unique in that it is the first SD-WAN solution that has extended the power of policy-based orchestration out to the broader reaches of the distributed network. By combining the advanced Wi-Fi capabilities of Xirrus and SteelConnect’s intuitive and powerful orchestration, we’re taking a bold step to bring the power of policy-based network management out to the wireless edge.”

Telefonica Teams with Huawei on Operation Centers

Telefónica announced that, utilising the Huawei Smartcare SOC solution, it has deployed three dedicated Service Operations Centres (SOC), located in Argentina, Chile and Germany, designed to enable the intelligent management of its network.

The three service centres are already operating and represent the initial application of AI (artificial intelligence) to Telefonica's operations. The operator plans to launch such centres for all of the countries where it operates. Telefonica has a significant presence in 21 countries and serves around 350 million accesses worldwide.

The deployment marks a first step in a key project intended to enable the company to capture, in real time, the actual quality of customer service experience, initially for mobile services. Telefonica's aim is to be able to guarantee high quality connectivity and performance for customers. Through the project, Telefonica is seeking the ability to understand, manage and assure the end customer experience.

The SOCs use anonymous, aggregated information on the networks used by customers and are designed to enable the company to anticipate potential incidents and identify network black spots. This will allow the operator to proactively address identified issues to help enable better use of services, predictive maintenance and network optimisation, as well as respond faster and more effectively to customers with technical issues.

Leveraging the data-driven operational model enabled by the SOCs, Telefonica will be able to take decisions based on homogeneous criteria and calculations, in real time, and with accurate and comparable data, and so transform network maintenance from a scheduled to a proactive and predictive process.

As part of the strategy, Telefónica has selected Huawei's Smartcare SOC solution for its service operation centres, with the first deployments in Argentina, Chile and Germany. The Huawei SmartCare SOC serves as the bridge between network resource assets management and customer assets management, and is designed to provide a customer- and service-centric operations approach enabling enhanced customer experience and operational efficiency.

Huawei SOC solution specifically provides per-service, per-user (PSPU) visibility of the customer experience to identify and resolve faults before they become a problem for the customer. For the project, Huawei is supporting Telefónica with both the deployment of its Smartcare CEM platform and with the launch of the operational transformational program, encompassing process definition and the first year of operation.

BTC Broadband Deploys MRV for Oklahoma WDM network

MRV Communications, a provider of packet and optical solutions for service providers, data centres and enterprises, announced that fibre-based regional broadband service provider BTC Broadband based in Bixby, Oklahoma has selected it to deploy a WDM network within the state of Oklahoma.

With the deployment of MRV's custom WDM solution into its network, BTC Broadband will gain capabilities including scalable bandwidth capacity to meet its internal requirements, as well as growing demand from business and residential customers.

MRV noted that BTC Broadband has invested in rolling out fibre infrastructure in key residential and business areas of Oklahoma, including the city of Tulsa. The resulting regional fibre backbone network enables the service provider to launch service points in all business districts along its network route.

More specifically, BTC Broadband will be able to expand its fibre-based service offerings and enhance the quality of services for end-users leveraging MRV's OptiDriver optical transport solution, which will enable both increased capacity and greater coverage for the fibre network.

In addition, to facilitate deployment of the solution MRV also supplied its Pro-Vision life cycle service orchestration (LSO) software, which is designed to simplify network operations via a suite of automated tools covering functions from planning and provisioning to visualising and optimising packet and optical networks and services.

Earlier in April, MRV announced that Syndeo Network of Illinois, a fibre broadband communications service provider had selected MRV to upgrade its WDM network to address the growing traffic demands of its customers.

Syndeo provides telecom services across northern Illinois, and also owns a fibre installation subsidiary, DeKalb Fiber Optics, which serves education, enterprise and government institutions. For the network upgrade Syndeo selected MRVs 100 Gbit/s-capable OptiDriver metro optical transport solution and Pro-Vision service management and orchestration platform.

Mitsubishi Electric Unveils 28 GHz Massive-element antenna

Mitsubishi Electric announced the development of a compact massive-element antenna and RF module that deliver 800 MHz bandwidth and wide-angle beamforming and target 28 GHz communications in 5G radio base stations.

Mitsubishi Electric intends to verify the module's performance for applications in high-speed, large-capacity communication systems prior to commercialisation of the technology. The company will present the solution at the Brooklyn 5G Summit organised by Nokia and NYU Wireless in New York City.

Mitsubishi Electric cited key features of the solution including:

1. Wideband, high-frequency circuitry designed to support communication over a wide 800 MHz bandwidth.

2. Beam control technology combined with a proprietary massive 256-element antenna and RF device, enabling wide-angle beam forming at ±45 degrees horizontally to aid expanded area coverage.

3. Efficient integration of RF device to enable a compact solution.

The company noted that 5G is expected to deliver transmission at up to 20 Gbit/s, compared with 3 Gbit/s for 4G, leveraging key technologies including MIMO, which uses high frequency bands to enable wide bandwidth and spatially multiplexes multiple signals at the same time within the same frequency while also compensating for large propagation loss in higher frequencies employing multi-element antennas. The new antenna and RF module for 5G base stations is designed for massive MIMO applications.

Development of the Mitsubishi Electric solution was supported by 'The research and development project for realisation of the fifth generation mobile communications system', commissioned by Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.