Thursday, June 8, 2017

ONAP Adds Members and Cites Significant Technical Progress

The Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project, which unites two major open networking and orchestration projects, open source ECOMP and the Open Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O), announced its latest members: Accenture, CertusNet, Coriant, Juniper Networks, Mavenir, Mirantis, PCCW Global, Red Hat, VEON and Windstream joined as new members to contribute to the open source framework for network automation.

The group is meeting June 8-9 in Beijing. Later this year, ONAP plans to release an architecture that seamlessly integrates open source ECOMP and the Open Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O) to support the coming wave of 5G, IoT and cloud applications and services.

“I’m incredibly pleased with the technical energy behind ONAP and the progress the community is making,” said Arpit Joshipura, General Manager, Networking at The Linux Foundation. “The turnout at our first face-to-face developer gathering was amazing. With today’s news, the ONAP braintrust continues to expand, representing more than 35 organizations from around the world. ONAP enables a new business model of faster innovation and is now an integral part of all major vendors in Networking Community.”

Current members include: Amdocs, ARM, AT&T, Bell Canada, BOCO Inter-Telecom, Canonical, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Ciena, Cisco, Cloudbase Solutions, Ericsson, GigaSpaces, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Metaswitch, Microsoft, H3C Technologies, Nokia, Open Networking Foundation, Orange, Raisecom, Reliance Jio, Tech Mahindra, VMware, Wind River and ZTE.

Introducing ONAP - the Open Network Automation Platform

What is ONAP?

The Open Network Automation Platform is a project hosted by The Linux Foundation that aims to automate the entire network.

Presenters in this video include: Chris Rice, Senior VP of AT&T Labs;  Arpit Joshipura, General Manager for Network & Orchestration at The Linux Foundation; Madam Yang, Deputy General Manager of China Mobile Research Institute; Alla Goldner, Industry Alliances & Standardization at Amdocs; and Dave Reekie, SVP for Research and New Technology at Metaswitch.

Video sponsored by Metaswitch.

PacketFabric Signs NTT Com for its Layer2 Platform

NTT Communications (NTT Com) and PacketFabric, a NantWorks company and provider of next-generation Ethernet-based cloud networking services, announced that they are partnering to extend the availability of NTT Com's IP transit services to more locations in the U.S. across PacketFabric's network.

The partnership is designed to enable NTT Com to reach more customers and leverage PacketFabric's automated software-defined networking (SDN)-based network platform.

Leveraging the PacketFabric platform, NTT Com can extend its Tier-1 Global IP Network and provide fast, secure and reliable network connectivity services to customers in the 130 locations across 13 metro markets served by the PacketFabric network. Through the partnership with NTT Com, PacketFabric gains another ecosystem partner, enabling it to expand the over-the-top services offered to its customers.

NTT Com operates network infrastructure, including its global Tier-1 IP network, Arcstar Universal One VPN network, which reaches 196 countries/regions and 140 secure data centres. The company's solution offering also leverages the resources of NTT Group companies including Dimension Data, NTT DOCOMO and NTT DATA.

  • PacketFabric, based in Culver City, California, emerged from stealth to launch an Ethernet-based cloud networking platform in 11 metro markets across North America in January 2017. The SDN-based, neutral Layer-2 connectivity platform combines an automated network with terabit-scale performance, and is designed to provide customers with instant provisioning of highly scalable connectivity between two or more points across its private backbone.
  • PacketFabric allows users to dynamically provision capacity as needed to hundreds of networks and major data centre locations using the any-to-any, SDN-powered coast-to-coast network facilitates linking 130 carrier-neutral colocation facilities in 13 U.S. markets. PacketFabric leverages an advanced API and web-based portal that provides visibility and control over the network traffic and services.

PacketLight unveils 200G ADM/Muxponder/Transponder

Packetlight Networks, a provider of DWDM and optical fibre networking solutions, has launched the PL-2000ADS, a 200 Gbit/s 1U multi-protocol, multi-rate ADM/muxponder/transponder designed for short-haul and encryption applications.

The new solution is designed to provide enterprises and data centres with a modular, cost-effective and compact platform delivering transport capacity of up to 200 Gbit/s by aggregating 10/40/100 Gigabit Ethernet, 8/16/32 Gbit/s Fibre Channel, STM64/OC192, OTU2/2e and OTU4 into dual 100 Gbit/s OTU4 uplinks.

Packetlight's PL-2000ADS can also function as a standalone 200 Gbit/s Layer-1 encryption solution, allowing enterprises with a DWDM network to implement security without altering their infrastructure. The product complies with FIPS 140-2 Level 2 security requirements and provides GCM-AES-256 bit encryption and key exchange based on the Diffie-Hellman (DH) protocol without restricting performance.

The PL-2000ADS specifically targets short-haul 100 G bit/s connectivity and Layer-1 encryption applications, including:

1.         Last mile access/aggregation CPE for 10/40/100 Gbit/s managed service.

2.         High capacity, short-haul enterprise and campus networks.

3.         Dynamic add/drop of services in ring and linear add/drop topologies.

4.         As a feeder solution to third party OTU4 transponder cards.

5.         Up to 200 Gbit/s Layer-1 encryption for 10/40/100 Gbit/s service.

6.         High bandwidth connectivity for data centre and cloud computing.

* In November 2016, PacketLight announced the launch of the PL-2000M platform for data centre interconnect (DCI) and metro networks. The muxponder/transponder supports carrier-grade coherent 200 Gbit/s tunable uplink capacity for serving multiple applications and protocols such as data, storage, OTN and TDM.

The PL-2000M enables transport of 20 x 10 Gbit/s over a single wavelength. removing the need to replace existing infrastructure, with the 200 Gbit/s uplink tunable across the ITU 50 GHz and 100 GHz grids, allowing adjustment by the operator to fit the required wavelength.

Ixia enhances CloudLens to provide visibility into subscriber traffic

Ixia, a provider of network testing, visibility and security solutions, announced it has extended the capabilities of the CloudLens Private integrated cloud visibility platform via its MobileStack features.

The new MobileStack software provides end-to-end visibility into subscriber traffic, which enables mobile operators to assure the QoS for key Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and data services in both software defined (SDN) and traditional networks. CloudLens Private with new MobileStack capabilities enables mobile operators to manage QoS for subscribers by:

1.         Eliminating potential blind spots, thereby helping to ensure that all subscriber traffic from physical and virtual networks is delivered to QoS monitoring probes.

2.         Identifying and tracking mobile subscriber sessions and load balancing to probes in a subscriber-aware fashion, allowing the monitoring infrastructure to scale as traffic increases.
3.         Enabling operators to filter traffic based on type, such as VoLTE, subscriber identity, device or geographic location.

4.         Improving the total cost of ownership of monitoring tools through offloading the correlation of GTP sessions, so enabling these tools to focus on monitoring tasks.

Ixia noted that the capabilities of the MobileStack application were initially offered as part of its GTP Session Controller (GSC), a physical solution that provides subscriber-aware visibility. GSC, currently deployed with mobile operators worldwide, including at a large U.S. carrier, can handle hundreds of Gbit/s of throughput and tens of millions of subscribers.

LightRiver acquires Unique to enhance transport network

LightRiver Software, and sister company LightRiver Technologies, the provider of Factory Built Network design and commissioning for multi-vendor packet-optical networks, announced it has acquired Unique Computer Services, a company specialising in the development and support of multi-vendor transport network systems software, with hundreds of thousands of nodes currently under management.

LigtRiver noted that Unique's advanced product, netFLEX, is designed to enable transport network operators to efficiently provision and manage from a few up to several hundred thousand network elements, with FCAPS support across a range of legacy and next generation vendors and devices.

In combination with LightRiver's Transport Lab, Network Factory, preferred access to major equipment vendors and ongoing investment in Tier 1 software defined networking integration, the joint solution is intended to expedite the benefits operators can gain from next generation transport technologies and network orchestration, together with Webscale 2.0 elasticity. The combination also integrates resources to provide a single entity for the design, delivery and management of complex software controlled transport networks.

Unique's netFLEX system provides a Layer 0/1/2 transport network controller, either implemented on premises or in a hosted cloud model, that provides multi-vendor management across a range of technology domains, including WDM, OTN, SONET, TDM, Ethernet. The solution also supports products from vendors including ADVA, Nokia (Alcatel-Lucent), Ciena, Cisco, Coriant, Fujitsu and Infinera.

netFLEX can also serve as a single platform enabling support for transport domain management and services provisioning and SDN multi-domain service orchestration enablement.

  • In May, LightRiver announced a partnership with Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) to offer communication networking technology, solutions and services designed to deliver the performance and security required for industrial control system and utility applications. LightRiver noted that the partnership would focus on providing turnkey solutions based on SEL's software-designed networking (SDN), managed Ethernet and Integrated Communications Optical Network (ICON) platforms.

BT creates new CIO positions

UK telco BT announced it has appointed a new team of chief information officers (CIOs) following a review and overhaul of the company's approach to serving major corporate and public sector customers.

BT stated that a key function of the new CIO team will be to act as the 'voice of the customer' within the company, to help ensure that suitable solutions are developed to meet customers current and future needs. As part of this effort, the new CIO team devote significant time to liaising directly with the CIOs of major customers with the aim of creating a long term shared plan for how technology can improve their businesses.

Led by Philip Baulch, CIO of BT's Major Corporate and Public Sector division, the new team also comprises a number of CIO industry leads who will focus on delivering the IT and networking requirements of customers in specific sectors, including central government, defence, and corporate, as well as those based within the English regions and devolved nations.

Additionally, a chief technology officer (CTO) and chief operations officer (COO) will provide additional support for complex deals and ensure that the right propositions are developed to meet customers' needs into the future. Reporting to the regional CIO, there will also be six new positions focusing on specific geographic areas within the UK, covering Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the South West; London and the South East, the Midlands and the North of England.

The other appointments include Ian Simpson as CTO, David Petty as COO, Paul Ryder as CIO, Central Government, Phil Brunkard, CIO, Regional, Gary Moore, CIO, Defence, and Tom Baker as CIO, Major Business.

The initiative follows the recent appointment of six new regional directors serving the same geographic areas, and also reflects BT’s shift towards adopting a more devolved approach to serving its public sector customers, in line with evolving market trends. The CIO leads will work closely with the regional directors to support the new strategy and to develop a shared technology vision in conjunction with customers.

Washington's Rainier Connect selects ECI for upgrade to 100 Gbit/s

ECI announced that in cooperation with Rainier Connect, a family-owned, telecommunications service provider offering high-speed Internet, cable TV and telephone services to more than 15,000 customers in the western U.S. it has upgraded Rainier's optical transport network to 100 Gbit/s capacity utilising the Apollo family of products.

ECI noted that the upgrade project was funded in part by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Rainier Connect, based in Tacoma, is a gigabit fibre, broadband and telecommunications company that serves business and residential customers in the South Puget Sound area of Washington state, including the communities of Tacoma, Puyallup, Centralia, Eatonville and Graham.

For the project, Rainier Connect selected the ECI Apollo platform, which is designed to provide transparent and flexible DWDM transport combined with integrated packet services. Apollo is designed to enable efficient networking by combining the performance and low-latency of OTN transport with software-configurable optical switching.

Through deployment of the Apollo solution, Rainier's network architecture is able to provide 100 Gbit/s interfaces, multi-degree ROADM capabilities together with scalability up to 88 channels. The complete solution is managed via ECI's LightSOFT network management system (NMS).

* Recently, ECI announced that Italy's Lepida, a regional broadband network in the north of the country, had selected its Apollo platform to enable a 10/100/200 Gbit/s regional WDM network featuring 96 channel, tunable flex grid and OTN cross-connect functionality in its main network PoPs.

* ECI also announced recently that Media Commerce, based in Bogota, Colombia and the largest operator of optical network infrastructure in Colombia, had completed the deployment of packet-optical metro and aggregation networks based on its Apollo and Neptune (NPT) family products, with management provided by the LightSOFT NMS solution.

Big ambitions for next gen satellite networks – part 2

While SpaceX is planning to encircle the planet with thousands of satellites for delivering broadband Internet access, another venture, known as Ligado Networks, has come up with a plan to salvage the power of the largest commercial satellite ever launched to deliver connectivity over North America for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) sector, and possibly as a boost for 5G networks.

Ligado Networks is a privately-backed company based in Reston, Virginia, with investors including Centerbridge Partners, Fortress Investment Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co. From the big hitting industry execs on the leadership team it is clear the company is serious. Ivan Seidenberg, a former chairman of Verizon Communications, serves as chairman. Also on the board of directors is Timothy Donahue, former executive chairman of Sprint Nextel and former president and CEO of Nextel Communications, and Reed Hundt, the former Federal Communications Commission. Doug Smith serves as Ligado's president and CEO; he is known for his work in engineering and launching nationwide networks for GTE, Nextel, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire.

Picking up the pieces from LightSquared, SkyTerra and Mobile Satellite Ventures

Ligado Networks, previously known as LightSquared, emerged from bankruptcy reorganisation in 2016 with a new plan, or rather a new version of an old plan. The company controls 40 MHz of nationwide spectrum licenses in the L-Band (1500 to 1700 MHz), which it acquired in 2010 through its purchase of SkyTerra, another bold start-up that envisioned transforming the U.S. mobile scene with satellite communications.

Prior to 2008, SkyTerra was known as Mobile Satellite Ventures and had successfully operated the MSAT-1 and MSAT-2 satellites for over a decade. As 4G LTE technologies neared, the company set its sights and going big. The business plan evolved from pure mobile satellite to a hybrid design where the satellite connectivity would be used to augment terrestrial mobile communications. This would mean using the same spectrum bands from ground based base station as well as from the satellite. The company changed its name to SkyTerra and was acquired by Philip Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners acquired SkyTerra in March 2010. Harbinger invested about $2.9 billion in assets and soon raised more than $2.3 billion in debt and equity financing.

SkyTerra soon became known for its massive SkyTerra 1 satellite, which weighed a record 6,910 kg. The satellite was built at Space Systems/Loral's Palo Alto, California facility. It operates in two 10 MHz blocks of contiguous MSS spectrum in the 2 GHz band throughout the U.S. and Canada. Notably, the satellite uniquely features an 18-metre reflector and an S-band feed array with 500 spot beams. In November 2010, SkyTerra 1 was successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

SkyTerra changed its name to LightSquared and in January 2011 was granted a conditional waiver by the FCC to test its network if it could be shown that the service would not interfere with GPS signals. This alarmed many GPS advocates, who argued that the L-band spectrum was simply too close to its own and that even a little interference could have serious consequences for the military, aviation, agriculture and other vertical sectors that rely on precise navigation.

In February 2012, the company received its greatest setback when the FCC withdrew its conditional approval for LightSquared network due to the potential interference concerns with GPS receivers. In June 2012, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed securities fraud charges against Philip Falcone and Harbinger Capital Partners; the case was settled in June 2013. For LightSquared, the game was over and it was soon forced into the bankruptcy courts. In addition to the technical, legal and financial challenges, LighSquared also faced allegations of political favouritism. Nevertheless, it still had the spectrum licenses and a fully functional Skyterra1 satellite parked in geostationary orbit.

Ligado Network is the new entity that in December 2015 emerged from this decade-long mess. Significantly, the company reached a settlement with the GPS industry on a technical plan to avoid interference issues by reducing the transmission power. It is not clear why a similar compromise could not have been reached in 2012. Ligado is now awaiting clearance from the FCC.

Ligado looks for its market

So back to square one, and Ligado Networks is now moving ahead with the plan to combine Skyterra1 satellite coverage with a ground-based network should FCC approval come. The goal is a ubiquitous national network whose footprint requires far fewer ground-based towers than would otherwise be required for universal coverage. The company says its mid-band spectrum is well suited for things that move, such as planes, trains and automobiles.

In its original iteration, LightSquared aimed to either compete with or partner with 4G LTE mobile services. At least one mobile handset model was developed that incorporated specialised silicon for tuning in the L-band frequency in addition to standard cellular bands. It seemed that a distribution partnership with AT&T was also in the works. For consumers, this would have meant being able to use the AT&T LTE network where available and then seamlessly roam onto the SkyTerra1 satellite service when that signal was stronger. Unfortunately, this handset was based on an old Nokia design and was not an iPhone or Android device. Even without the legal and financial issues, this business plan was not going to work.

Meanwhile, as the number of autonomous vehicles on the road rises, the strain on the mobile infrastructure will rise. Mobile operators are working to 'densify' their networks in preparation for 5G. This might mean more of the capex is focused on the cities and less on rural places. Satellite coverage could really help here, although the issue of latency may prove problematic for fast moving vehicles needing to connect to a geostationary bird. In addition, there is the issue of creating end-point devices tuned for the L-band spectrum. Perhaps Ligado will introduce specialised solutions for the types of vehicles it is targeting. A further issue to consider is the aging Skyterra1 satellite. It has now been in orbit for six and a half years, and most satellites are designed for a 15-year life. By the time the Ligado Network is up and running it may be approaching mid-life status and time to start planning a new one.

Analog Devices updates RadioVerse to support transition to 5G technology

Analog Devices (ADI) has announced an update to its RadioVerse technology and design ecosystem, which is intended to simplify and accelerate radio development for wireless carriers and telecom equipment manufacturers as they transition cellular base stations from 4G to 5G technology.

ADI's expanded RadioVerse portfolio features new radio transceiver hardware, software tools and a robust design environment designed to enable the more compact and lower power radios required for next generation networks. The new solution allows customers to evaluate and develop radio designs for 4G small cell and Pre-5G massive MIMO systems, which will be key elements in the transition to 5G.

Supporting radio design across the circuit, architecture, system and software levels, the updated RadioVerse release includes the AD9375 RF transceiver, the latest addition to ADI's integrated wideband RF transceiver series. The AD9375 device is claimed to be the first RF transceiver to incorporate digital pre-distortion (DPD) algorithm on-chip to help reduce DPD power consumption by up to a claimed 90% versus competing solutions.

ADI stated that re-partitioning the DPD system from the FPGA to the transceiver reduces the number of JESD204B serial data interface lanes by half, resulting in a significant power saving, particularly as the number of antennas per base station increases from two to 128 in support of Pre-5G massive MIMO radio-channel density requirements.

Further benefits of the new design include a more compact radio circuit layout enabling simplified routing and system design, reduced base station size and allowing the use of lower-cost, less complex FGPAs. Applied to small cells, these advantages can allow more frequency bands per cell for higher network capacity.

ADI's AD9375 transceiver allows a common radio platform design that is tunable over a range of 300 MHz to 6 GHz, operates on a 6 Gbit/s JESD204B interface and consumes less than 5 Watts. As with the AD9371 product, the AD9375 features two 100 MHz receivers, two 250-MHz transmitters, a two-input observation receiver and a three-input sniffer receiver. In addition, integrated DPD can support 3G and 4G waveforms with instantaneous signal bandwidth up to 40 MHz.

In addition to the AD9375, the RadioVerse transceiver hardware portfolio features wideband devices for base station architectures ranging from macro- to pico- and femto-cell form factors, in addition to ultra-low power, narrowband transceivers targeting industrial Internet of Things applications.

ADI noted that it is continuing to expand RadioVerse through partnerships with power amplifier (PA) suppliers including NXP Semiconductors and Skyworks Solutions.