Monday, May 22, 2017

Windstream Launches SDNow Waves for Multivendor Optical Layer

Windstream launched a new service called SDNow Waves for Data Center Cloud applications that leverages the company’s ongoing SDN deployment strategy. The company said its agile, DevOps-style approach to automation development enables it to abstract the complexity of service delivery and offers a simplified view of the multi-vendor optical layer.

The SDNow Waves introduces optical wave services based on multi-vendor service orchestration and automated provisioning across the Windstream long-haul core network.  It is initially available at five major third-party carrier neutral data centers in Chicago, Dallas, Ashburn, Miami and Atlanta. Windstream plans to expand the service to 50 additional locations this summer.

The service is aimed at hyperscale web content and application companies in need of high capacity long-haul transport services.

“We are investing in strategic technologies that enable us to deliver flexible, on-demand services across our multi-vendor network,” said Mike Shippey, president of Windstream Wholesale. “Providing SDNow services to our customers via multi-vendor service orchestration and automated provisioning truly differentiates Windstream in the marketplace. Consumers of SDN-provisioned services will see improvement in their customer experience through the removal of human touch-points in the service fulfillment process, and improved accuracy through automated standard configurations.”

Leveraging open orchestration capabilities, Windstream utilizes its optical network as a programmable resource to accelerate the delivery of optical wavelength services.  Windstream’s

In addition, Windstream Wholesale plans to introduce additional services in 2017, integrating additional  third-party SDN controllers and enabling true intent-based service orchestration across multiple layers of the Windstream network.

Windstream Launches SD-WAN Wholesale

Windstream launched an all-new Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) solution for the reseller community. The company said its SD-WAN solution relieves the demanding pressures on today's networks by providing agility, visibility and control, as well as performance and operational efficiencies. "This significant addition of SD-WAN to the current available portfolio of Wholesale solutions - including MEF 2.0 Certified Carrier Ethernet, MPLS...

Windstream expands metro fibre network, launches fixed wireless service in Detroit

Windstream, a provider of communications services to consumer and business customers, announced a major expansion of its metro fibre network in Detroit to provide the business community with advanced fibre and fixed-wireless infrastructure that connects more local data centres and commercial buildings with the operator's national fibre network. Windstream's latest expansion of its local metro fibre network and the launch of fixed wireless service...

AT&T introduces national LTE-M network for IoT applications

AT&T announced it has completed the deployment of its nationwide LTE-M network ahead of schedule, providing a network designed to support a new generation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and applications.

AT&T's LTE-M network is now live across the U.S. on the operator's nationwide 4G LTE network following the completion of software upgrades, and marks a further move towards the provision of 5G and massive IoT. The new network leverages the global, 3GPP standard technology and uses licensed spectrum for carrier-grade security. AT&T stated that it plans to extend the LTE-M network across Mexico by the end of the year to create a North American footprint covering 400 million people.

LTE-M is designed to offer benefits over traditional IoT connectivity options including longer battery life (potentially up to 10 years), enhanced coverage for IoT devices underground and inside buildings, and smaller module size. LTE-M is intended to support large-scale IoT deployments such as smart city services, smart metering, asset tracking, supply chain management, security and personal wearables.

In conjunction with the launch, AT&T is introducing a new suite of rate plans for LTE-M, featuring monthly plans starting from $1.50 per month per device, with discounts available for yearly and multi-year plans and high volume commitments. LTE-M modules will be available from the supplier priced from $7.50 with the SIM card. AT&T noted that this price represents half the cost of the LTE Cat-1 module launched in 2016.

In addition, the company stated that current IoT starter kits with M14A2A modules will be software-upgradeable to LTE-M via a forthcoming firmware update.

  • In March this year, Verizon announced the commercial launch of its national 4G LTE Category M1 (or Cat M1) network covering an area of around 2.4 million square miles. At that time, Verizon stated it would offer multi-year plans for Cat M1 devices, with data plans starting from $2 per month per device.
  • Verizon noted the Cat M1 network was based on a virtualised cloud environment designed to enable rapid and agile IoT solution deployment and nationwide scaling.

Windstream Wholesale launches 5 new fibre routes

Windstream announced the launch of five new strategic fibre routes on its nationwide long-haul fibre transport network, expanding its ability to offer high bandwidth solutions for cloud connectivity between major interconnection points in Tier 1 cities, as well as Tier 2 and 3 markets, across the U.S.

Secured as part of Windstream's recent merger with EarthLink, the new routes offer customers access to greater network diversity options, improved reliability and higher bandwidth capacity for customers such as international carriers, content providers, data centre and cloud operators and ISPs.

Supporting Windstream Wholesale's portfolio of solutions that includes waves, MEF 2.0-certified Carrier Ethernet, MPLS and dedicated Internet access the newly-launched routes are as follows:

1.         Dallas to Atlanta: a low-latency, direct route linking the two markets and with add/drop capability in Birmingham, Jackson and Shreveport.

2.         Miami to Atlanta: running along the Gulf Coast via Tampa, the route complements the existing route traversing the Atlantic Coast via Jacksonville, while customers with traffic terminating in the U.S. at the Miami NAP landing station can gain diverse routing options.

3.         Raleigh to Savannah: termed the Beach Route, the route offers a further diverse, direct path along the eastern seaboard.

4.         Houston to Gulfport: referred to as the Gulf Coast Route, the route offers add/drop capability in Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

5.         Memphis to Charlotte: a route that utilises fibre-composite overhead ground wire, providing diverse routing over a reliable infrastructure.

In addition to the new routes, Windstream noted that the merger with EarthLink also provides wholesale and enterprise customers with access to more than 445 new point of presence (PoP) locations and multiple new data centres and carrier hotels.

  • Windstream announced it had completed its merger with EarthLink Holdings in February. Under the agreement, valued at approximately $1.1 billion, EarthLink shareholders received 0.818 shares of Windstream common stock for each EarthLink share owned, resulting Windstream shareholders holding approximately 51% and EarthLink shareholders approximately 49% of the combined company.

EXFO introduces tunable CWDM OTDR module

EXFO, the network test, monitoring and analytics company, announced the launch of the FTB-740C-CWDM product, a tunable optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) for testing all 18 ITU-defined CWDM channels using the compact FTB-1 platform and without the need to swap modules.

The new EXFO solution is designed to ensure that multiple-service operators (MSOs) and contractors have the CWDM wavelength required for characterising through multiplexers and demultiplexers (mux/demux) to provide end-to-end link characterisation and troubleshooting for commercial services, C-RAN networks and metro Ethernet deployments.

In addition, EXFO's latest OTDR is designed to scale in line with customer requirements and allows users to start with as few as eight wavelengths. From the base configuration, customers can add further CWDM wavelengths or other fibre characterisation features as required via software update in the field.

Key features of the new FTB-740C-CWDM tunable OTDR include:

1.         18 x CWDM channels covered on a single OTDR port.

2.         Support for in-service testing of active networks.

3.         Offers high-resolution and short dead zones.

4.         Facility to select favourite or imported channels list.

The OTDR is available in standard and Pro models, housed in the FTB-1v2 lightweight and compact test platform, enables field technicians to carry out dedicated optical, Ethernet and multi-service test applications.

Hi3G selects Ericsson to upgrade network to prepare for 5G in Scandinavia

Ericsson announced it has been selected by Hi3G Scandinavia, operating as 3 in Denmark and Sweden, for a project to upgrade parts of its radio and transmission network, expand 4G coverage and launch 5G technology.

Under the agreement, Ericsson will replace existing equipment with the advanced Ericsson Radio System solution, which is designed to enable Hi3G to implement higher order MIMO and massive MIMO technology to expand coverage and capacity in its network in Sweden.

Ericsson has also been selected to deploy its MINI-LINK microwave solutions, including the MINI-LINK 6363 and MINI-LINK 6352 for E-band platforms, into HiG3's microwave transmission network.

Ericsson's MINI-LINK 6600 portfolio is designed to deliver high capacity, low latency, support for large numbers of 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports and Layer 3 VPN in a compact platform. The deployment of MINI-LINK outdoor units and indoor units allows any network scenario to be supported, including multiband solutions, with high performance and low cost of ownership.

The combination of Ericsson Radio System and MINI-LINK microwave solutions will enable Hi3G to meet the demands of increasing traffic, as well as reduce latency and prepare its network for the move to 5G which is expected to result a massive increase in connected devices via the Internet of Things (IoT). Ericsson noted that the project marks a significant step towards expanding the capacity of the Hi3G network in Denmark and Sweden and it moves to 5G.

Mitsubishi Electric and Nokia Bell Labs develop GaN amplifier

Mitsubishi Electric, Nokia Bell Labs and the Center for Wireless Communications at UC San Diego have announced the joint development of what is claimed as the first ultra-fast gallium nitride (GaN) envelope-tracking power amplifier, offering support for modulation bandwidth up to 80 MHz and designed to reduce power consumption in next-generation wireless base stations.

To companies explained that to address demand for greater wireless capacity, mobile technologies are adopting systems that use complex modulated signals with high peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR) and extra-wide modulation bandwidth. This requires power amplifiers to often operate at backed-off power levels below their saturation levels, while power amplifiers are typically efficient near to their saturation power level and not at backed off levels, as with 4G LTE signals (>6 dB PAPR).

As a result, envelope-tracking power amplifiers have been evaluated as a means to enhance power-amplifier efficiency, although to date the supply-modulator circuit has proved a bottleneck limiting modulation bandwidth for advanced wireless communications, such as LTE-Advanced.

The newly-developed ultra-fast GaN envelope-tracking power amplifier delivers high performance leveraging Mitsubishi Electric's high-frequency GaN transistor technology and its design for the GaN supply-modulator circuit. Utilising Nokia Bell Labs' real-time digital pre-distortion (DPD) system, the power amplifier has demonstrated efficient operation, including with 80 MHz modulated LTE signals.

The partners claim that this represents the widest modulation bandwidth achieved for this application to date, and is around four times higher than signals used in other envelope-tracking power amplifiers. In addition, the technology delivers a drain efficiency of 41.6% in this wide-bandwidth operation, helping to reduce base-station energy consumption as well as increase wireless communication speed and capacity.

Additionally, the Nokia Bell Labs' real-time DPD system enables pre-distortion for wideband signals to correct the output signal from the power amplifier, resulting in an adjacent channel leakage ratio (ACLR) of -45 dBc for LTE 80 MHz signals, which is compatible with wireless communication standards.

Specifications of the GaN envelope-tracking power amplifier include: support for carrier frequency of 0.9 to 2.15 GHz; output power of 30.0-30.7 dBm; drain efficiency of 36.5-41.6%; ACLR of -45 dBc; and modulation signal of 80 MHz LTE Advanced with 6.5 dB PAPR.

The University of California, San Diego, is a leading university for mixed-signal, microwave and mmWave RFICs, digital communications, applied electromagnetics, RF MEMS and nano-electronics research and hosts the Center for Wireless Communications (CWC), is a university-industry partnership that includes Mitsubishi Electric and Nokia.

NTT Com expands presence in Europe with new Munich 2 data centre

NTT Communications (NTT Com) announced the opening of its Germany Munich 2 data centre (Munich 2) located in UnterschleiƟheim, a suburb of Munich 16 km from the city centre, with the facility managed by e-shelter, a NTT Com company and data centre services provider in Europe.

The two-story Munich 2 data centre initially offers 2,800 sq metres of server space, equivalent to 1,100 racks, with plans to expand the facility to 5,600 sq metres. The facility is operating under NTT Com's Nexcenter brand, which encompasses more than 140 sites worldwide.

NTT Com noted that Munich 2, the latest facility launched as part of e-shelter's growth strategy, follows the mid-April launch of the e-shelter innovation lab in Frankfurt, Germany. Through this expansion, e-shelter expects to open additional data centres in Europe in 2017.

The Munich 2 facility provides circuits from more than 10 providers utilising diverse paths, while all circuits are duplicated in the meet-me-room for telecom provider interconnection, the server room and the network racks. Customers have access to up to 10 Gbit/s Internet circuits and multiple carrier-neutral networks. Customers can also build ICT environments combining NTT Com data centres and cloud services worldwide.

NTT Com company e-shelter is a major data centre operator in Europe, with a presence in key cities of the DACH-region. e-shelter customers inlcude financial services companies, telecoms operators, IT service and outsourcing providers and cloud service providers. In Germany, Arkadin, Dimension Data, itelligence, NTT DATA and NTT Security are also part of the NTT Group. In the Europe region, NTT Com offers data centre services in Austria, France, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, as well as Germany.

Huawei notes call for industry convergence to support next generation PON

Huawei announced that during the first PON industry development workshop held recently in Beijing, a consensus was reached to propose a PON industry development forum to the Broadband Forum (BBF) to support coordination and collaboration among PON standards development organisations including ITU-T/FSAN, IEEE and BBF and thereby enhance industry convergence.

Huawei noted that due to the cost sensitivity of the PON industry, which primarily addresses home broadband access, it was proposed during the workshop that the deployment of next generation PON systems enabling 10 Gbit/s and higher bandwidth will need to take into consideration the external ecosystem spanning transport, Ethernet and data centre networks, Additionally, next generation PON will need to reuse the cost-effective optical/electrical components and technologies deployed commercially at scale.

In addition, it was proposed that to help expand the PON ecosystem, the community should take measures relating to areas such as PON industry development coordination, standard requirement and roadmap management and standardisation coordination and cooperation. Finally, the workshop participants agreed to host future workshops as necessary to enable discussion regarding key technical issues in PON industry development.

Huawei noted that PON is currently the mainstream access technology used by operators for FTTH ultra-broadband deployments. To date, two competing standards have been adopted, the IEEE's EPON/10 Gbit/s EPON and ITU-T GPON/XG(S)-PON, leading to duplication in types of system and related equipment installed in operators' networks, resulting in higher network construction and maintenance costs.

In order to promote a converged PON ecosystem, a group of standards development organisations (SDO) has jointly issued a statement on PON convergence, To help expand PON market scale, share industry chain resources and reduce deployment costs and time to market (TTM), and thereby create a sustainable PON ecosystem, the operator and vendor representatives at the workshop called for the convergence of standards for next generation PON.

The recent workshop in Beijing was attended by representatives from standard organisations such as the Broadband Forum (BBF) and Institute of Communication Standards Research (ICSR), operators including China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom, and system and optical module vendors including Huawei, Nokia Shanghai Bell, Accelink, FiberHome, Hisense, Source Photonics and ZTE.