Thursday, June 1, 2017

AT&T Foundry and Caltech plan Alliance for Quantum Technologies

The AT&T Foundry innovation centre in Palo Alto, California announced that it is teaming with the California Institute of Technology to form the Alliance for Quantum Technologies (AQT), with the aims of bringing together industry, government and academia to accelerate the development of quantum technology and to address practical applications.

The collaboration will also establish a research and development program named INQNET (INtelligent Quantum NEtworks and Technologies), which will focus on meeting demand for capacity and security in communications leveraging advanced quantum networking technologies.

Under the new initiative, AT&T and Caltech, through AQT and INQNET, are seeking to create the model for technology development between academic institutions, industry and national laboratories. One of the first demonstrations of intelligent and quantum network technologies will involve quantum entanglement distribution and benchmarking and validation studies utilising commercial fibre provided by AT&T.

AT&T noted that quantum networking is expected to enable a new era of super-fast, secure networking, and through the AT&T Foundry it will support testing of relevant technologies for commercial applications.

AT&T explained that quantum computers will be unlike current systems, being effectively complex physics experiments employing cryogenics for cooling, lasers and other solid-state, electronic, optical and atomic devices. As a result, transitioning quantum computing from the R&D lab into the real world for practical applications will mean solving numerous technical and engineering challenges.

The science behind quantum computing is complex, extending across disciplines such as physics, engineering, computer science and applied mathematics, with the fundamental concept involving the application of the laws of quantum mechanics to processing and distributing information.

Such quantum computing systems are expected to provide exponentially greater computing power, while quantum networking entails linking quantum computers and devices together to create faster and more secure networks with capabilities beyond what is possible using conventional processors.

Ciena reports revenue of $707.0 million, up 10% YoY

Ciena reported revenue of $707.0 million for its fiscal second quarter 2017,  as compared to $640.7 million for the same period last year. Net income (GAAP) for the fiscal second quarter 2017 was $38.0 million, or $0.25 per diluted common share, which compares to a GAAP net income of $14.0 million, or $0.10 per diluted common share, for the fiscal second quarter 2016.

“We delivered outstanding second quarter performance across all financial metrics, underpinned by positive market dynamics and a growing competitive advantage," said Gary B. Smith, president and CEO, Ciena. "We continue to win as an innovation powerhouse with global scale and deep customer relationships across a broad set of applications and market segments."

Netnod deploys ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect with 400G

ADVA Optical Networking announced that Netnod based in Stockholm, the leading Internet exchange operator in the Nordic region, is deploying its FSP 3000 CloudConnect with QuadFlex 400 Gbit/s technology to establish its new Optical IX service.

The newly installed transport infrastructure, which also incorporates ADVA's ROADMs and FSP Network Hypervisor, is designed to enable Netnod to offer customers complete traffic control as well as connectivity options at rates up to 100 Gbit/s. Leveraging the new Optical IX service, operators will be able to access faster, more cost-efficient and more easily managed data transport services.

The new 96-channel infrastructure features ADVA's open optical layer technology, enhanced with FSP 3000 QuadFlex 400 Gbit/s capabilities, to deliver increased capacity via support for two 200 Gbit/s wavelengths operating at 16QAM within an optical super-channel.

Integrating dynamically operating ROADMs to provide automated control, the directionless optical transport system also provides greater flexibility. This capability allows Netnod’s customers to opt to interconnect across the optical, physical or data link network layer, as well as offering the facility to select single ports or use fully redundant options.

Additionally, utilising ADVA's multi-degree ROADM technology and FSP network hypervisor, Netnod is provided with the foundation for implementing software-defined networking (SDN).

Regarding the project, Lars Michael Jogbäck, CEO at Netnod, commented, "With a scalable platform built to accommodate significant increases in capacity, Netnod can offer more choice of how they connect and exchange traffic… with ADVA, Netnod is taking network automation to the next level… by offering a flexible, future-proof infrastructure with SDN in the optical layer, Netnod can continue as the choice for access to the highly-interconnected Nordic region, as well as the Russian and Baltic markets".

  • Separately, Netnod announced that it had selected ADVA and Arista as its technology partners for the new Optical IX service, designed for operator and CDN customers. It stated that the Optical IX platform was expected to launch in Netnod Copenhagen in the third quarter, followed by Netnod Stockholm in the fourth quarter of this year.

Comcast to offer DOCSIS 3.1 n Oregon and SW Washington

Comcast announced that it is launching a new DOCSIS 3.1-based Internet service providing speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s for residential customers throughout its Oregon/southwest Washington region, which it believes will be among the fastest and expansive service in the region, also offering access to its national WiFi network with more than 17 million hotspots.

The company's new 1 Gigabit internet service in Oregon/SW Washington area utilises DOCSIS 3.1 technology to deliver higher speed broadband over the existing communications lines installed in most customer's homes. To access the new service, customers simply need to install a new DOCSIS 3.1-compatible cable modem.

Earlier in May, Comcast launched Xfinity xFi, a platform designed to provide a simple digital dashboard that allows customers to set up their home WiFi network, see what devices are connected, troubleshoot issues and set parental controls. Outside the home, Xfinity Internet customers also have access to nearly 17 million WiFi hotspots nationwide.

  • The gigabit service launch in Oregon and southwest Washington follows Comcast's recent announcement that it was introducing DOCSIS 3.1-based gigabit Internet service for residential customers throughout Utah, specifically in the markets of Salt Lake City, Provo and North Ogden. In 2016, Comcast announced consumer trials of the DOCSIS 3.1-based gigabit Internet service in parts of Atlanta and in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • In January this year, Comcast Business announced it was offering DOCSIS 3.1-based Internet service to business customers in its Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Nashville service areas.
  • Comcast announced in February 2016 year plans to bring gigabit Internet speeds to residential and business customers utilising DOCSIS 3.1 technology, and during the year announced it was launching an advanced consumer trial of DOCSIS 3.1 technology-based Internet service offering speeds up to 1 Gbit/s to residential customers in Chicago and Detroit.

Mavenir and 6WIND collaborate on 4G/5G, NFV

6WIND, a provider of high-performance networking software, announced that Mavenir based in Richardson, Texas, which focuses on enabling network transformation for service providers, has extended its long-term partnership to deliver advanced solutions for 4G, 5G and network functions virtualisation (NFV) services such as media resource function (MRF), evolved packet core (EPC), virtual RAN (vRAN) and session border controller (SBC) products.

Under the expanded agreement, to enable high packet processing capacity and performance across its next-generation telecom networking solutions Mavenir has extended its license agreement with 6WIND to include the 6WINDGate TCP stack.

In addition to the 6WIND software, Mavenir is able to leverage 6WIND's Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) expertise, network software design skills and licensed support. The TCP stack addition complements a range of DPDK-based Layer 2 to Layer 4 6WINDGate stacks that are widely incorporated in the Mavenir product suite.

Mavenir's expanded partnership specifically provides access to the following 6WIND software and features:

1.         Networking performance acceleration and portability, including 6WINDGate source code for Linux networking; accelerated Layer 2 to 4 networking stacks for application performance and portability across hardware platforms; and the TCP termination module for scaling TCP-based application performance.

2.         Virtualisation readiness, enabling a smooth upgrade path from bare metal to virtual deployments utilising the same software.

  • Recently, 6WIND announced its Secure Site-to-Site VPN solution for data centre inter-connection, based on the 6WIND Turbo IPsec software for networking at rates of 10 Gbit/s and beyond. 6WIND Turbo IPsec is designed to enable IPsec VPNs on COTS servers with claimed costs of less than 50% that of legacy hardware systems. 6WIND Turbo IPsec can be deployed on bare metal servers or in a virtual machine to support the transition to virtualisation

Enea launches lightweight virtualisation platform for the network edge

Enea of Sweden, a supplier of network software platforms, has announced the introduction of Enea NFV Access, a lightweight virtualisation platform designed for customer premise deployment at the network edge.

Enea NFV Access is optimised to provide a minimal footprint, high throughput solution for virtual network functions (VNFs) running in KVM and Docker containers. NFV Access supports both ARM and x86 white box solutions, enabling operators and service providers to address a range of price and performance points while utilising a common platform and management interfaces.

Enea's NFV Access is designed to meet the specific requirements of enabling virtualisation on edge devices, eliminating the need for a full OpenStack deployment to provide a lightweight platform. The solution, along with VNFs, can run on as few as two cores without limiting throughput or performance, while support for container virtualisation enhances VNF density and reduces total system footprint.

In addition, NFV Access allows mixing of containers and virtual machines on the same platform, enabling both greater flexibility and offering a migration path from VMs to containers.

The key components of Enea NFV Access include virtualisation via KVM and Docker, optimised vSwitch, a full FCAPS management solution, VNF lifecycle management, service function chaining (SCF) capacity and an optimised data plane supporting 10 Gbit/s line rate from VMs and containers. The solution also features open, standards-based interfaces, making it hardware agnostic and fully portable, offering interoperability with popular VNFs.

NFV Access supports VNF lifecycle management and service function chaining via a range of northbound interfaces, including NetConf, Rest, OpenStack and Docker, which can either interface orchestration directly, or interface to a control node in a central office or point-of-presence (PoP). This functionality enables the solution to be integrated with existing networks and orchestration solutions, simplifying virtualisation of network functions at the edge.

In combination with the company's previously announced NFV Core platform, Enea now addresses three vCPE deployment scenarios: central office and PoP via NFV Core; customer premise deployment with Enea NFV Access; and distributed scenarios by combining both platforms.

  • Recently, Enea, together with China Mobile, ARM and Cavium, announced an agreement to collaborate in the China Mobile Open NFV Testlab via Enea's OPNFV-based NFV Core platform and Cavium's ARM-based ThunderX workload-optimised data centre server processors. The work was to include validation of NFV tests cases such as vCPE, vBRAS, vEPC and vIMS and support for Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP).
  • In April this year, Enea unveiled its NFV Core deployment-ready NFV software platform targeting central office virtualisation at the network edge.

DOCOMO Adds Nokia its 5G Test Plan

Nokia announced an initiative to develop the 5G ecosystem in partnership with major operator NTT DOCOMO in Japan as it prepares for the forthcoming introduction of the next generation, 5G wireless network.

The collaboration between Nokia and DOCOMO, which will utilise the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform, will commence with the key interoperability testing of multi-vendor technology using the 4.5 GHz frequency band. Under the agreement, Nokia will conduct trials of 5G technology with DOCOMO in the Tokyo metro area during 2017, with a particular focus on tourist, shopping and business locations and key public events hosted by the operator.

The tests will be based on the Nokia 5G FIRST solution, incorporating the Nokia AirScale base station transmitting over a 5G radio interface to the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform. The companies plan to test end-to-end applications over the air between the base station and the device on the 4.5 GHz frequency band, which is a candidate band for 5G services in Japan.
Nokia noted that the 5G FIRST solution is based on early-adopters radio specifications that define a common interface to allow equipment from multiple vendors to connect over a 5G radio network.

The collaboration with NTT DOCOMO will specifically involve Nokia's AirScale Active Antenna equipped with massive MIMO technology and digital beamforming, designed to provide enhanced cell range, maximised performance at the cell edge and increased spectral efficiency. The 5G FIRST platform, designed to support multi-vendor end user devices for 5G, incorporates the Nokia AirScale base station and AirFrame data centre technology.

A demonstration of the end-to-end tests supporting low-latency 4K video streaming and other demanding 5G applications was conducted during the 5G Tokyo Bay Summit 2017 earlier in May.

  • Earlier this year, DOCOMO announced plans to conduct interoperability testing and over-the-air field trials in Japan based on the 5G New Radio (NR) specifications under development by 3GPP, specifically involving mid-band spectrum at 4.5 GHz and millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum at 28 GHz. The trials were to be based on device prototype and base station solutions from Qualcomm Technologies and Ericsson, respectively.

ZTE implements large-scale virtual SDM for Banglalink of Bangladesh

ZTE, which in April announced an agreement with Banglalink, a major digital communications service provider in Bangladesh, to build a large-scale virtual subscriber data management (vSDM) platform, has now announced the successful migration of 60 million legacy users and formal commercialisation of what it claims in the largest vSDM platform implemented to date.

The newly deployed high capacity virtual SDM platform is designed to provide Banglalink with more efficient user data management and to enable enhanced service availability.

The vSDM platform installed by ZTE employs advanced virtualisation technology to enable hardware and software decoupling and is based on generic commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware to allow flexible and elastic on-demand deployment and help reduce investment and operation and maintenance (O&M) costs. The solution is also designed to support continuous network and service evolution for future applications such as 5G and IoT.

The platform uses a large-capacity multi-NE integration database solution to meet the requirements of multi-network integration and high capacity, while the virtualisation technology is designed to deliver faster speeds to help users realise their digital transformation objectives and provide Banglalink's 60 million subscribers with improved service quality.

  • Banglalink Digital Communications is a company of Telecom Ventures, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Telecom Holding, owned 51.9% by VEON (formerly known as VimpelCom). In April, ZTE and VEON announced a global framework agreement covering network function virtualisation infrastructure (NFVI) and virtual evolved packet core (vEPC), as a part of which they plan to cooperate on the development of virtualisation technology.

Update on the Irish Telecoms Market - part 2

Market statistics 

The latest statistics published by ComReg March 9th for the Irish communications market (Euro, subscriber units, traffic minutes, percentages): 

        Q4 2016   Q3 2016  Q/Q chg Annual chg 
Total retail market rev 786,979,056 771,259,282 2.00%  1.6% 
 Fixed line retail rev 352,168,098 343,428,620 2.50%  6.0% 
 Mobile retail rev 401,847,730 394,265,887 0 -0.40%
 Broadcast retail rev 32,963,228 33,564,775   (1.8%)   (15.8%) 
Fixed wholesale rev 139,675,999 144,195,780   (3.1%)   (4.5%) 
Mobile wholesale rev 49,649,788 66,702,057 -25.60%   (35.7%) 
Voice traffic mins 4,148,560,007 4,151,766,387 -0.10%   (1.7%) 
 Fixed voice mins 1,022,409,364 1,031,864,645 -0.90%   (6.6%) 
 Mobile voice mins 3,126,150,643 3,119,901,742 0.20%  0.1% 
Fixed b/band subscriptions   1,360,309 1,342,727 1.30%   3.9% 
Fixed subscriptions    1,805,923  1, 798,609 0.40%   (0.9%) 
Fixed voice subscriptions   1,475,661 1,468,960 0.50%   (0.4%) 
Total mobile subscriptions   5,969,928 5,937,883 0.50%   2.0% 
 M2M subscriptions    670,389   647,894   3.5%   21.0% 
 Mobile b/band subs    349,421   361,463   (3.3%)   (12.5%) 
 Other mobile subscriptions 4,950,118 4,928,526 0.40%   1.0% 

Breakdown by type of active broadband subscriptions for Q4 2016 and quarterly and annual growth-rates:  

      Q4 2016   Q4/Q3 2016 growth  Q4 2016/15 growth 
DSL Broadband   435,253   (5.3%)     (17.0%) 
VDSL Broadband   498,844   7.8%     40.0% 
Cable Broadband   366,699   0.1%     (1.9%) 
FTTP     7,623   20.2%     38.8% 
Satellite     5,291   (0.5%)     (9.5%) 
FWA Broadband   46,599   9.3%     7.6% 
Total fixed B/band 1,360,309 1.30%     3.9% 
Mobile Broadband 349,421   (3.3%)     (12.5%) 
Total Broadband   1,709,930 0.30%     0.1% 

(NB: ComReg notes the FTTP number is artificial due to some recent changes in methodology.) 

TV Homes by reception type for January 2017 vs January 2016 (thousands of homes): 

      Jan 2017  Jan 2016
Total TV homes   1,578   1,569 
 Irish terrestrial   191    186 
 Multi total   1,387   1,383 
 Analogue cable/sat 16    21 
 Digital cable/sat 1,371   1,362 
 IPTV     51    29 

Market share data by sector Q4 2016 

Fixed retail revenue market share by vendor for Q4 

Fixed revenue shares were as follows: Eir 43.5%, OAOs 12.5%; Virgin Media 14.7%, Vodafone 14.3%, BT 5.3%, Verizon 2.1%, Sky Ireland 4.9%, and Magnet 2.7% (OAO is other authorised operators with below 2% market share in a quarter; in previous quarters AT&T and Digiweb had market shares above 2%). 

Fixed voice subscriptions market share by vendor for Q4 

Voice subscriber shares were as follows: Eir 39.9%, Virgin Media 23.9%, Vodafone 15.3%, Sky Ireland=11.2%, Pure Telecom 2.9%, Digiweb 2.5%, and OAOs 4.4% (over the last three years Eir's market share has fallen 10 points from 49.9% in Q4 2013 and Sky Ireland's market share over the same period has risen 7.4 points from 3.8% in Q4 2013). 

Fixed broadband subscriptions market share by vendor Q4 

Fixed broadband shares were as follows: Eir 32.6%, Virgin Media 26.8%, Vodafone 19.7%, Sky Ireland 11.8%, OAOs 9.2%. 

Total mobile subscriptions market share in Q4 

Mobile subscriber market shares (including mobile broadband and M2M) were: Vodafone 38.5%, Three Group 34.9%, Eir Group Mobile 18.0%, Tesco Mobile 6.0%, OAOs 2.6%. 

Mobile broadband subscriptions market share Q4 

Mobile broadband subscriber shares were: Three Group 43.3%, Vodafone 43.9%, Eir Mobile 11.1%, OAOs 1.8%. 

Companies that make returns to ComReg data for its quarterly reports: Airspeed Telecom; AT&T Global Network Services Ireland; ATS Voice; Blueface; BT Communications Ireland; Casey Cablevision; Colt Technology Services; Crossan Cablecom; DigitalForge; Digiweb; Edge Telecommunications; Eircom; E-Net; Equant operations in Ireland (EGN BV and ENS); ESB Telecoms; EuNetworks Ireland Private Fiber; Europasat Satellite Ireland; Fastcom Broadband; Fulnett, t/a Strencom; ID; IFA Telecom; Imagine Group; Level 3 Communications (Ireland); Lycamobile Ireland; Magnet Networks; Meteor Mobile Communications; Modeva Networks; Nova Networks; Permanet; Postmobile; Pure Telecom; Rapid Broadband; Ripplecom; Sky Ireland; SprintLink Ireland; Tesco Mobile Ireland; Three Ireland(Hutchison); Virgin Media Business; Virgin Media Ireland; Verizon Ireland; and Vodafone Ireland (total 41).