Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Coriant Introduces SDN Hierarchical Controller

Coriant introduced its Transcend Hierarchical Controller designed for enhanced orchestration of multi-layer, multi-domain, and multi-vendor transport networks.

The Coriant Transcend Hierarchical Controller, which builds on the company's existing Transcend Software Suite, leverages SDN automation and programmability to accelerate service activation, optimize Layer 0-3 resource allocation and resiliency, and improve multi-vendor interoperability and end-to-end control in open, disaggregated network environments.
Key features and benefits of the Coriant Transcend™ SDN Hierarchical Controller include:

  • Orchestration of multi-layer transport resources to bring SDN-enabled efficiencies, optimization, and control to Layer 0-3 access, aggregation, and core networks
  • Open standard interfaces for flexible integration into diverse workflow orchestration and OSS environments, including multi-vendor integration through open southbound RESTful interfaces to third-party controllers
  • Context Optimized Routing Engine (CORE) that provides path computation for multi-layer performance-aware services
  • Shared Risk Link Group (SRLG) awareness of transport services that supports optimized resource assignment and multi-layer service status aware routing

“As more and more IP and optical elements become virtualized and distributed, network operators need a more efficient and flexible way to manage and orchestrate a diverse ecosystem of service-dependent transport resources,” said Uwe Fischer, Executive Vice President, R&D and PLM, and Chief Technology Officer, Coriant. “Our new SDN Hierarchical Controller significantly enhances efficiencies in integrated IP-Optical networks with advanced automation and programmability. These field-proven capabilities represent key enablers of Coriant’s visionary Hyperscale Carrier Architecture, which provides operators a pragmatic means to transform multi-layer infrastructure for a new generation of end-user services, including 5G, IoT, and virtual reality.”

NEC/Netcracker partners with Infinera and Juniper on Transport SDN

NEC and its subsidiary Netcracker Technology, a provider of OSS/BSS and service orchestration solutions, announced that, in partnership with Infinera and Juniper Networks, they have released a new Transport SDN solution designed to transform how networks are managed and controlled.

Combining Infinera's expertise in building Intelligent Transport Networks, Juniper's capabilities in IP/MPLS, physical/virtual network functionality and domain orchestration, and NEC/Netcracker's multi-layer control and service orchestration expertise, including NEC's advanced network transport products, the partnership is intended to deliver a compelling new Transport SDN solution.

The integrated solution provides functionality spanning visibility across all IP, optical and microwave domains, including SDN and traditional network environments, optimises network utilisation and automates service provisioning and path restoration.

The solution is designed to equip service providers to implement network transformations that can intelligently adapt to the dynamic requirements of end users, with the ability to provide network slices for specific services end-to-end cross the network. This capability allows providers to accommodate changing traffic patterns and on-demand customer requests and improve quality of services for customers, as well as enabling cost savings by optimising capacity usage.

The solution additionally allows service providers to automate the network service infrastructure, thereby enabling them to focus resources on addressing new revenue opportunities and optimising service costs.

NEC/Netcracker, Infinera and Juniper Networks noted that they joined to demonstrate the combined solution as part of the Optical Interworking Forum (OIF)/Open Networking Foundation (ONF) Transport API project earlier this year. Participants in the project executed a multi-domain path selection and recovery test plan with intra-lab and inter-lab testing across multiple global carrier labs, including those of Verizon and Telefónica.

During the demonstration, NEC/Netcracker's Multilayer SDN Controller used the new Transport API defined by the ONF to communicate with Juniper's NorthStar Controller at Verizon's lab and the Infinera Xceed optical SDN domain controllers at Telefónica's lab. As part of the event, NEC/Netcracker's Service Orchestration solution successfully created and managed Ethernet point-to-point private services across multiple vendor and multiple operator domains.

Qualcomm unveils Mesh Networking Platform for the connected home

Qualcomm, through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, announced the Qualcomm Mesh Networking Platform, combining technologies designed to enable OEMs and broadband carriers to deliver next-generation connected home services.

Devices based on the Qualcomm Mesh Networking Platform can deliver connectivity to smart home devices throughout the home, as well as supporting voice control capabilities, centralised management and security and a range of mesh system features required for carrier-grade networks. Qualcomm is also offering the Mesh Networking reference design to help OEMs in the development of next-generation networking products.

The Qualcomm Mesh Networking Platform is based upon the Qualcomm IPQ40x8/9 network system-on-chip, which the company claims is used in the majority of mesh networking products currently available, and offers features including:

1.         Qualcomm WiFi self-organising (SON) suite, designed to ensure comprehensive WiFi coverage, simplified set-up, automated management and traffic optimisation, plus security features.

2.         Carrier-Grade features designed to help carriers enhance broadband services via WiFi SON, with APIs available for easier porting of SON to other silicon platforms and cloud-based diagnostics to enable remote monitoring, diagnostics and analytics for troubleshooting.

3.         Integrated voice capabilities that allow consumers to control and interact with devices on their network using voice commands, as well as support for APIs for popular cloud-based assistant applications.

4.         Backhaul flexibility that allows a variety of backhaul options to help maximise the performance of mesh networks, including 802.11ac, 802.11ad, 802.11ax or Powerline technologies.

5.         Qualcomm IoT Connectivity Feature Suite, designed to help ensure compatible and simultaneous use of WiFi, Bluetooth, CSRmesh connectivity and 802.15.4-based technologies across a network, while also supporting communication protocols, cloud services and software frameworks.

ADTRAN introduces RFoG solution with OBI mitigation technology

ADTRAN, a supplier of next-generation open networking solutions, announced the introduction of its new Radio Frequency over Glass (RFoG) solution featuring Optical Beat Interference (OBI) mitigation technology.

ADTRAN's new RFoG solution is designed to accelerate MSO FTTH initiatives by allowing the reuse of existing CATV assets within both the headend and home. The solution can help to extend the return on investment cycle while supporting the transition from hybrid fibre coax and CATV-based triple play to gigabit FTTH and IPTV-ready deployment models.

ADTRAN noted that as RFoG deployments increase in density, the likelihood of OBI affecting performance greatly increases. OBI is caused by simultaneous upstream optical transmissions by multiple cable modems, resulting in impaired reception at all upstream frequencies impacting key applications such as voice, live video streaming and social media interaction.

ADTRAN offers a portfolio of RFoG solutions that feature an OBI mitigation MicroNode that does not require new centralised cabinet construction, which can be delayed by right of way and power sourcing issues. The scalable ADTRAN RFoG OBI solution offers a distributed approach to OBI mitigation designed to facilitate the transition to FTTH networks and IPTV-based triple play services for cable operators.

ADTRAN's RFoG products are designed to allow cable operators to retain the headend and CPE when upgrading to fibre-based networks. With this model, RF signals generated by the headend and CPE are converted at each end of the link into the optical domain for transmission over fibre, with conversion at the customer premises carried out by an RFoG micronode. ADTRAN offers both standard RFoG micronodes and OBI mitigating versions.

Regarding the new solution, Hossam Salib, VP of cable and wireless strategy at ADTRAN, said, "By deploying the MicroNodes, cable MSO customers (gain) a simplified approach to OBI mitigation and FTTH expansion… that is compatible with both 1 and 10 Gbit/s EPON and transparent to the existing CATV assets like in-home set top boxes".

ADTRAN Acquires Commscope's Fiber Access Portfolio

ADTRAN has acquired CommScope's key fiber access products, technologies and service relationships. Financial terms were not disclosed. The key components of the acquisition include: Active EPON and 10G-EPON product platforms, which include infrastructure and customer premises equipment that deliver CableLabs DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON (DPoE) certification – ADTRAN will now sell, support, and develop these product lines for new and existing MSO...

Huawei releases CloudFAN prototype for cable MSO market

Huawei has introduced at ANGA COM 2017 its CloudFAN prototype for MSOs and demonstrated service provisioning capabilities and smart home applications based on the cloud leveraging cooperation between open protocols and network controllers.

Huawei noted that bandwidth demand is increasing with the adoption of new services such as HD video, over the top (OTT), bring your own device (BYOD), cloud services and Internet of things (IoT), so that operators need to increase the bandwidth of their networks to enable the Gigaband era while also coping with issues such as the time and cost relating to network construction and declining return on investment (ROI).

To address these issues, operators need to explore how to deliver new services efficiently, as well as revamp their business models. Huawei believes that agile, intelligent and open cloud-based networks will be key for operators seeking to transform their businesses.

Huawei is releasing the CloundFAN prototype for the MSO market as part of its All-Cloud Network solution. Based on the distributed converged cable access platform (D-CCAP) solution, the CloudFAN prototype is designed to enable the evolution to the cloud. Via capabilities including support for agile services, converged architectures and intelligent O&M, the CloudFAN prototype is intended to help MSOs to transform their networks.

For home users, the cloud platform of CloudFAN, combined with intelligent terminals, is designed to enable the delivery and flexible configuration of advanced features such as one-touch bandwidth acceleration, intelligent WiFi, home safeguard, security surveillance and parental control.

For enterprise customers, the CloudFAN prototype offers cloud management, which enables automated E2E configuration of business services over DOCSIS (BSoD) and Layer 2 VPN leased lines. Leveraging this platform, enterprises are able to self-deploy new services, adjust bandwidths flexibly, improve new service provisioning efficiency and enhance network security.

Huawei noted that the cloud platform underlying CloudFAN provides support for product integration and interoperability via NetConf and Yang interfaces. This enables the platform to bridge the different requirements of CMTS, I-CCAP, R-MacPHY, R-PHY and DPoE architectures to facilitate network integration.

In particular, next-generation optical line terminals (OLTs) offer support for both FTTH and D-CCAP solutions, as well as providing for interconnection with the CloudFAN cloud platform and network controllers, thereby meeting cloud architecture requirements for the transition to all-optical access in the future.

In addition, the cloud platform of CloudFAN supports intelligent O&M for HFC networks. The O&M functionality includes proactive detection of network-wide faults, automatic identification and demarcation of typical faults, lightweight and visualised web pages and smartphone apps, removing the need for handhold testers and helping to improve network reliability and O&M efficiency.

Huawei noted that its HFC network–based D-CCAP solution has been commercially deployed by MSOs in 30 countries, including Denmark, New Zealand, Spain, Mexico, France, Japan and Brazil, and serving over 50 million home broadband users.

Cisco launches Infinite Broadband Remote PHY for cable access networks

Cisco announced the availability of its Infinite Broadband Remote PHY solution (RPHY) for cable access networks, part of its distributed access architecture strategy, targeting cable operators seeking to address the broadband needs of customers via support for new applications such as OTT streaming video and 5G mobile backhaul as HFC plant is transformed into a wireline aggregation network for all types of access.

Cisco noted that Remote PHY and DOCSIS 3.1, two CableLabs standards, can be combined to expand capacity of the cable HFC plant. Building on the Cisco cBR-8 converged broadband router and GS7000 node platforms, RPHY is designed to enable reduced power, cooling and hub site space requirements to offer significant cost of ownership benefits. The technology provides the foundation for Cisco's virtualisation and full duplex DOCSIS strategy.

Cisco's new RPHY solution is based on open, standard software that was contributed to Cable Labs OpenRPD forum in 2016. The open source initiative provides an ecosystem of remote PHY device (RPD) vendors and allows operators to select the RPD vendor that best meets their specific requirements without becoming locked into a single vendor's proprietary technology.

Cisco stated that it is planning to conduct interoperability testing between OpenRPD vendors at a third-party testing facility. Among the companies cited as planning to participate in the testing are VECTOR Technologies, BKtel networks and Teleste.

Cisco noted that the RPHY solution has been shipping to customers in multiple countries since April this year and cited comments from companies evaluating or deploying the technology including Cox Communications, Liberty Global and Comcast Cable.

In conjunction with the launch, Cisco has also introduced its RPHY deployment automation software, based on model-driven network configuration protocol (NetConf) and Yang technology. The cable automation software is designed to ensure that the new RPHY devices can be automatically provisioned, delivering savings in terms of time and cost compared with manual provisioning.

LightCounting reports optical component supplier profitability up to 9% in '16

In its latest State of the Optical Communications Industry report, market research firm LightCounting finds that in 2016 profitability for optical component and module suppliers rose substantially to 9%, compared with around 2% in 2015 and 0% in 2014, having previously dropped from 5% in 2010 to negative 2% in 2012, recovering to 2% in 2013.

LightCounting reports that the sales-weighted average profitability of publicly-traded optical component and module suppliers reached 9% in 2016, exceeding the average net profitability of communication service providers (CSPs) and suppliers of networking equipment, their main customers. Meanwhile, profit margins reported by Internet content providers (ICPs) and semiconductor IC vendors remained higher in 2016 at around 17% and 13% respectively.

The research firm notes that many ICPs have recently become customers of optical component and module vendors, which contributed to the financial improvement for the segment.

In monetary terms, aggregate net income for the publicly-traded optical component and module vendors tracked by LightCounting progressed from a $22 million loss in 2014 to a $72 million gain in 2015 and positive $422 million in 2016, driven by large increases at vendors Acacia, Finisar, Lumentum and Oclaro.

LightCounting states that of the ten companies that were operating independently in 2016, nine reported positive net income for the calendar year, while NeoPhotonics essentially achieved breakeven. In addition, Applied Optoelectronics and Innolight reported significant profits, with most of their business conducted with the cloud companies.

Meanwhile, profitability for the network equipment vendors declined by 26% in 2016 to around 9% from 12% in 2015, having risen steadily from 5% in 2012. Lower mobile network spending with the completion of major LTE deployments in China and North America in 2015 was the main factor affecting revenue growth.

More specifically, LightCounting reports that the largest changes in net income by vendor were reported by Nokia (with a $2.4 billion change) and Ericsson ($1.4 billion change), both of which are heavily dependent on mobile RAN equipment sales. Cisco and Brocade also reported significant declines in net profits of $500 million and $232 million, respectively, while Arista and Ciena bucked the trend and reported higher net income in 2016.

The research firm notes that demand for 100 Gigabit Ethernet optics exceeded supply in 2016, limiting price reductions and competition and helping optics suppliers to reach record profitability, with a number of vendors also reporting record revenue for multiple quarters in 2016.

However, LightCounting forecasts that weak demand for optics in China will lead to slower market growth in 2017, negatively affecting supplier's profitability, although demand from cloud companies is expected to remain strong, helping to keep profits significantly above breakeven in 2017. It also expects profitability to improve further in 2018 with the return of demand in China.

Update on the Irish Telecoms Market - part 1

Preamble - Ireland in great shape though economic statistics confusing and Brexit impact uncertain 

Ireland remains an ambiguous term, sometimes referring to the whole island but also to the politically separate southern majority part of the island, often referred to by its Celtic name of Eire and more generally as the Republic of Ireland. Ireland/Eire/RoI is a small but strategically situated and relatively rich country but its actual size and growth-rates have been bedevilled by its role as an international tax haven with a corporate tax rate of only 12.5%, which has resulted in many manoeuvres by large international companies such as Apple and Tyco and plane-leasing groups that have nominally moved their HQs or significant groups of assets to Eire for tax purposes. 

For example, the Irish economy was originally predicated by the IMF to grow by 7.8% in 2015 but ended up at a disconcerting, difficult-tounderstand 26.3% after foreign companies that had switched their base to Ireland were included in the value of its corporate sector, pushing up the value of the state’s balance sheet (which then had to be justified by an on-paper increase in the country's GDP). The RoI's official actual or predicated growth-rates in 2014, 2016 and 2017 (all probably also including at least some similar artificial asset-increase components due to this factor) are 4.8%, 4.9% and 3.2%, respectively. As a result Eire's nominal GDP in 2016 is quoted by the IMF as over $317.917 billion, which would rank it the 37th richest nation in the world in absolute dollars and giving its average 4.68 million population in 2016 a GDP per capita of about $68,000, ranking it with the world's wealthiest populations such as Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Kuwait, Singapore, Oman, UAE, Brunei, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland. 

On the other hand, the World Bank estimates its GDP to have been only around $238.020 billion, which would still make it the 43rd richest nation in absolute terms, but reduces its GDP per capita to around $50,000. However this would still rank its citizens at around the 12th richest in those terms out of 34 OECD countries. 

According to the European Commission's Europa website, the Republic of Ireland has probably been the European country which has benefited the most of the 28 members since its accession to the EU in 1973, at which time it was a rather poor, largely agriculturally-dependent country. Apart from the more general benefits to the Irish economy and people such as free movement of people and preferential access to a huge market, these benefits have included an increase in Foreign Direct Investment into Ireland from just Euro 16 million in 1972 to more than Euro 30 billion, as well as the fact that between 1973 and 2014, it received over Euro 72.5 billion from the EU but contributed only about Euro 30 billion to the EU budget. 

The decision by the UK, Ireland's largest trading partner, as a result of its national referendum on June 23, 2016, to leave the EU looked on the face of it likely to be a huge disaster for the country. However, an article of January 17th in the Financial Times (entitled Ireland could yet benefit from Britain's Euro-divorce) pointed out that once Britain left the EU Ireland would be the only English-speaking EU member still sharing many legal and institutional structures with the UK, as well as the same time zone, and noted that since the Brexit vote the head of Ireland’s Industrial Development Agency had reported more than 100 inquiries from potential 'Brexit refugees', and had also received the first visit for 25 years from the Foreign Minister of Japan, whose companies employ 140,000 workers in the UK, some of whom might be interested in moving next door. 

Irish regulatory and government issues 

ComReg is the statutory body responsible in the Republic of Ireland for the regulation of the electronic communications sector (telecommunications, radio communications and broadcasting transmission) and the postal sector. Although ComReg works closely with Ireland's Department of Communications, Climate Action, and Environment (DCCAE) it operates autonomously in terms of its decisions. 

In June 2016, as required by law, ComReg Commissioner Gerry Fahy published the agency's Radio Spectrum Strategy for 2016 to 2018. In a summary statement Fahy commented that Ireland’s radio spectrum was a highly valuable national resource, the use of which based on 2014 data, was estimated to make a contribution of Euro 4.7 billion to Ireland's GDP and supported almost 29,000 jobs. More specifically, Fahy said that the challenging strategy could see the radio spectrum available for wireless broadband delivery increasing by almost 200% by 2019. Indeed, the upcoming release of the 3.6 GHz band, plus the planned release of further spectrum bands (700 MHz, 1.4 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 2.6 GHz) could go a significant way to meeting the increasing demands for mobile data, including supporting broadband availability for all users and in as many locations as possible. 

In late August 2016, ComReg announced that following an earlier consultation an auction of spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band was expected to take place by the end of Q2 2017. A total of 350 MHz of spectrum will be offered using a TDD band plan in two blocks, separated by a frequency block currently allocated to state services: 325 MHz (3475 – 3800 MHz) above state services, and 25 MHz (3410 – 3435 MHz) below. The frequencies will be allocated on a regional basis, with a total of nine distinct regions (one for each of the five largest urban centres - Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway), with the rest of the country split into another four regional areas. Each bidder is allowed to bid for up to a maximum of 150 MHz of spectrum in any given region. 

In early October 2016, Irish Communications Minister Denis Naughten announced that the government had allocated a further Euro 5 million for the National Broadband Plan in 2017, bringing the plan's total allocation in 2017 to Euro 15 million. 

In late December 2016, the Irish government announced that following the formation in late July 2016 of a national Mobile and Broadband Task Force, whose mandate was to consider how the development of Ireland's national communications infrastructure required to support specific customer-facing programs such as the National Broadband Plan could be accelerated, the Ministry now had a list of 40 specific measures which would be implemented for that purpose. 

On January 31st, in reply to a couple of parliamentary questions in the Dail on the issue of when 700 MHz frequencies would be available for use in mobile broadband, and particularly for use in rural areas, Minister Denis Naughten noted first that the European Commission had brought forward proposals to co-ordinate the release of the 694 – 790 MHz (700 MHz) spectrum band in all member States to June 30, 2020, and these proposals would allow mobile broadband services to use this part of the spectrum band. However, he confirmed that In Ireland the 700 MHz band was currently used by digital terrestrial television services (DTT) and the migration of these broadcasting services had not yet happened, and that the move to the lower part of the UHF band by the DTT services that currently used the 700 MHz band would require a significant amount of work on the transmission network. He added that In consultation with ComReg and 2RN (formerly known as RTÉ Networks), the aim was to achieve the release of this spectrum in advance of the June 2020 date, in coordination with the UK. 

Ireland's National Broadband plan 

Fibre coverage of Ireland is being primarily implemented by an organisation operating as Open Eir, which plans to cover 80% of the country with an open wholesale fibre network available to any supplier. In June 2015, the company announced that it was committed to enabling 1.9 million premises by the end of 2020, as well as supporting the Department of Communications, Climate Action, and Environment (DCCAE) in its implementation of the National Broadband Plan in underserved rural areas. 

(NB: in early February 2017 it was announced that the Irish government planned to set up a new regulator, the Digital Safety Commission, which would have the power to require any social media organisation such as Twitter or Facebook to remove content which it deemed distasteful or abusive.) 

Telekom Austria and Nokia demonstrate 850 Mbit/s LTE data rate in Slovenia

Telekom Austria Group has announced further progress towards its goal of implementing 5G mobile technology by 2020 via a demonstration by its subsidiary A1 Slovenija in Slovenia, Central Europe, which has demonstrated data transfer rates of up to 850 Mbit/s over what it believes is the fastest live LTE network currently operating in Europe.

The latest test was conducted in partnership with Nokia at the premises of A1 Slovenija in Ljubljana, where a maximum speed of 877.5 Mbit/s was achieved over the Slovenian A1 LTE network. The data rate was enabled through the implementation of multi-component downlink carrier aggregation functionality in the downlink.

To achieve the downlink throughput in a live network, rather than in a lab setting, a total of 55 MHz of the Slovenian A1 frequency spectrum was used, with 35 MHz on band 7 (2,600 MHz) and 20 MHz on band 3 (1,800 MHz). The frequency band 7 was additionally supported with 4 x 4 MIMO in the downlink, while 256QAM modulation coding was implemented on both frequencies, increasing the maximum peak data rate by an further 30%.

Telekom Austria stated that the enhanced utilisation of frequency spectrum in the A1 LTE network was achieved in cooperation with Nokia, its technology partner. As the next step toward delivering 5G, Telekom Austria Group has stated that it is aiming to increase the peak data rates at its subsidiaries by implementing further technical innovations such as massive MIMO, beam forming and beam steering.

Commenting on the latest test, Peter Wukowits, country senior officer and head of Central Europe at Nokia, said, "With this 4.5G Pro demonstration, utilizing Nokia's 5G-ready AirScale platform, Nokia and A1 Slovenija reached a milestone towards 5G... speeds above 850 Mbit/s are approaching a gigabit society, where mobile networks will provide fibre-like speeds close to 1 Gbit/s".

  • In December 2016, A1 and Nokia announced that as part of the move towards 5G they had achieved a data rate of 513 Mbit/s over the A1 live network on a mobile router and 463 Mbit/s on a smartphone at Austria's University of Klagenfurt. The trial involved 3 carrier aggregation with frequencies in the 2,600 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 800 MHz ranges, plus 256QAM modulation.
  • Recently, also working with Nokia, Telekom Austria Group subsidiary A1, which serves the Austrian market, announced a demonstration carried out in the city of Vienna during which transmission rates of more than 10 Gbit/s were achieved over installed copper cable in its fixed line network.
  • The fixed network transmission speed achieved with Nokia leveraged an advance in the existing copper-based technology, XG-FAST. The test specifically involved 30 metres of copper cable and test equipment supplied by Nokia Bell Labs, and demonstrated that the existing copper cables between the street or basement of a building to houses or apartments can potentially support speeds in excess of 10 Gbit/s.