Monday, April 30, 2018

Verizon simplifies with multiservice edge

Verizon is using SDN to combine all of its existing service edge routers for Ethernet and IP-based services onto a single platform. Verizon is working with Cisco and Juniper on this new multi-service edge. The solution features a disaggregated control plane and leverages external compute to enhance the capabilities of that control plane beyond that of a traditional router.

“Software defined networking continues to deliver on its promise to improve network management and also enables us to be more nimble in the ways we serve our customers,” said Michael Altland, director, Network Infrastructure Planning, at Verizon. “By decoupling the control plane from a carrier-grade provider edge routing platform and moving it to general compute servers, we can serve our consumer and enterprise customers from the same platform, giving them all the functionality they need, while running our networks far more efficiently. This will also allow us to take advantage of future advances in server technology as our networks continue to grow.”

“Verizon continues to cross key milestones in transforming its networking practices to maximize performance and simplify operations,” said Sumeet Arora, senior vice president of engineering, Service Provider Business, Cisco. “With this new flexibility, Verizon can develop and launch innovative services for its customers faster, with improved efficiency.”

“Next-generation services that require low latency and real-time response are moving closer to users at the network edge, creating new gains in performance and business agility,” said Bikash Koley, chief technology officer, Juniper Networks.

Company profile: Adolite, an optical components start-up in Silicon Valley and Taiwan

Unlocking manufacturing bottlenecks for optical transceivers may be key in the race to 400G

Nearly two dozen companies announced 400G capabilities of some sort at the recent OFC 2018 conference, including transceivers in various formats, active optical cables, backplane interconnects, interface cards, optical module drivers, test equipment, and even full-blown switches. 

A few months ago, Broadcom announced commercial shipments of its StrataXGS Tomahawk 3 Ethernet switch silicon, boasting 12.8 Terabits/sec in a single device – enough to drive 32 x 400GbE ports. It has since followed up with the commercial shipment of a 400G gearbox device for hyperscale data centre and cloud applications – the BCM81724. This device is an 8x56-Gbps PAM-4 to 16x25-Gbps NRZ forward and reverse gearbox designed to enable next-generation high-performance switches with PAM-4 I/Os to connect to the large existing ecosystem of switches and plug-in modules with NRZ interface. We should see data centre switches with 400G ports on the market soon.

Put all of these together and we have a 400G ecosystem that is primed for rapid growth. Hyperscale data centres say their networks are besieged with a flood of east-west data flows. They are ready to deploy 400G backbones.

However, volume production of 400G transceivers may be a gating factor that holds back mass deployment of 400G data centre backbones for much of 2018 and into next year. Simply put, the market may remain supply constrained until transceiver manufacturers bring more manufacturing capacity online. This is difficult to do because building the highest performance optical transceivers requires skilled labor and specialised equipment to precisely align light sources, lenses and fibre in a repeatable fashion. The manufacturing, especially when we are talking about the multiple lanes required to achieve 400G, is hard to do.

Adolite, a privately-held start-up with its head office in Santa Clara, California and its manufacturing base in Taiwan’s Hsinchu Science Park, was founded earlier this year with a vision to solve this problem. The company has developed a breakthrough optical interconnect solution that simplifies the manufacturing of optical transceivers and on-board optics in high volume.

Adolite’s key innovation is to embed optical waveguides and electrical circuits into a single layer of flexible polymer circuit (FPC). The process directly integrates lasers and photo diodes onto the FPC using flip chip bonding techniques, eliminating the need for lenses and difficult fibre alignment and bonding, which is time consuming. Conventionally, microscopes were needed for the difficult and imprecise fibre alignment step and this led to low-yields and high costs in transceiver manufacturing.
By directly embedding the optical waveguides and electrical circuits into the FPC, the manufacturing process is greatly simplified and yields should go up, leading to faster production and lower costs. 
 
While other companies are using FPC technology, their implementations have been electric-only FPC bonded to optical layers, still requiring lenses and complex alignment during manufacturing.

Much of Adolite’s innovation is centred on the process of integrating optical reflectors and polymer waveguides on a single FPC layer. Adolite says thermal management and material science techniques enable its FPC to handle 400G data rates and up. The polymer material is sourced from Japan. The company says its design also uses significantly less power – perhaps as little as 10 percent of its competitors – which would also be a strategic advantage in dense data centres. Patents are pending. The company is also on track to receive ISO 9001: 2015 certification in the 2nd half of 2018 for its manufacturing operations in Taiwan. Patent filings are underway.

Adolite is using its technology to build its own line of optical transceivers and on-board optic solutions for 25G, 100G, 200G, 400G and upwards. It product plans extend from 25 SFP28  AOCs to 400G QSFP DD PAM4 (FR4) transceivers. Adolite expects to have volume production of its 400G solutions by Q1 2019.

For a start-up, ramping up from prototype to manufacturing in only twelve months is a challenge.  In this case, there will be big rewards for companies that open up the 400G market. Adolite is headed by Abraham Jou (CEO), who worked five years on the R&D team at Apple and went on to found two start-ups, PayEase (payments and big data processing) and Silicon Valley Communications (optical communications). Its technical team includes Dr. David Chung, CTO, Dr. Paul Wu in the critical role of EVP of Production, and Dr. Kenny Young as Principle Engineer.. The company has not disclosed its investor or its funding level to date, but no doubt will attract the attention of the venture capital community as its transceivers based on its FPC technology are put to the test.

The Race to 400G

Adolite’s simplified production process could be especially useful to hyperscale data centres operators who find a constrained market for transceivers. Broadcom may already be shipping its 400G silicon to hyperscale data centre operators who are designing and building custom switches for their backbones. Clearly, a very large number of 400G ports will be needed in data centres hosting 100s of thousands of Xeon servers with 25G interfaces. Adolite’s flexible polymer circuit is a promising solution to ramp up manufacturing

Intel intros two AI software applications

Intel introduced two artificial intelligence (AI)-powered software applications that associative memory learning and reasoning to facilitate faster issue resolution. Target applications include issue resolution for manufacturing, software and aerospace.

The Intel Saffron AI Quality and Maintenance Decision Support Suite is comprised of:

Similarity Advisor finds the closest match to the issue under review, across both resolved and open cases, identifying paths to resolution from previous cases and surfacing duplicates to reduce backlogs.

Classification Advisor automatically classifies work issues into pre-set categories, regulator mandated or self-defined, speeding up and increasing reporting accuracy while improving operations planning.

“Testing is transforming into quality engineering where applied intelligence is at the core of driving productivity and agility,” said Kishore Durg, senior managing director, Growth and Strategy and Global Testing Services Lead for Accenture. “The Accenture Touchless Testing Platform is augmented with artificial intelligence technology from Intel Saffron AI that brings in analytics and visualization capabilities. These support rapid decision-making and help reduce over-engineering efforts that can save anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of time and effort.”

Intel Nervana Aims for AI

Intel introduced its "Nervana" platform and outlined its broad for artificial intelligence (AI), encompassing a range of new products, technologies and investments from the edge to the data center.

Intel currently powers 97 percent of data center servers running AI workloads on its existing Intel Xeon processors and Intel Xeon Phi processors, along with more workload-optimized accelerators, including FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays).

Intel said the breakthrough technology acquired from Nervana earlier this summer will be integrated into its product roadmap. Intel will test first silicon (code-named “Lake Crest”) in the first half of 2017 and will make it available to key customers later in the year. In addition, Intel announced a new product (code-named “Knights Crest”) on the roadmap that tightly integrates best-in-class Intel Xeon processors with the technology from Nervana. Lake Crest is optimized specifically for neural networks to deliver the highest performance for deep learning and offers unprecedented compute density with a high-bandwidth interconnect.

Keysight announces 5G NR Emulation

Keysight Technologies announced its PROPSIM F64 5G Channel Emulation Solution – the industry’s first 5G New Radio (NR)-ready channel emulation solution. Keysight’s PROPSIM F64 5G Channel Emulation Solution enables chipset, device, and network equipment manufacturers to characterize end-to-end system performance of the latest 4G and 5G base stations and mobile devices by emulating real-world radio conditions in the lab.

Keysight said its PROPSIM F64 5G Channel Emulation Solution supports all 5G NR signal bandwidths, carrier aggregation (CA) schemes, and offers the highest number of channels for massive MIMO channel emulation and testing. The solution integrates channel modeling tools for user-defined 3D spatial scenarios and dynamic modeling of movement. It supports both conducted and Over-The-Air (OTA) testing across sub 6 GHz and mmWave frequencies.

“With the PROPSIM F64 5G launch, Keysight is the first to deliver a portfolio of 5G NR-ready channel emulation solutions across all 5G new radio signal bandwidths and carrier aggregation schemes,” said Kailash Narayanan, vice president and general manager for Wireless Device and Operators at Keysight. “The new 5G Channel Emulation solution delivers end-to-end realistic and repeatable real-world performance testing in the lab, and enables real world emulation of networks essential for 5G deployment.”

http://www.keysight.com/find/5G


  • In December 2017, Keysight was also first to introduce a 5G NR-ready network emulation solution which allows the entire mobile ecosystem to benefit from a common scripting engine that uses interactive 5G stack and tools, breaking down the silos and disconnected workflows between teams, and achieving cost-efficient testing.



Dell Technologies Capital: One third of new bets focused on AI/ML

Since emerging from stealth a year ago, Dell Technologies Capital, the venture investment practice for Dell Technologies, has completed 24 new and follow-on investments as part of its $100 million average annual investment run rate.

The company reports that a third of its new investments are focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and the remaining investments focused on security, next-gen infrastructure and other technology areas strategic to the Dell Technologies family of companies.

Some other notes.

  • Dell Technologies Capital had 11 exits in the past year, of which three of its portfolio companies IPO'd in the past seven months. 
  • Dell Technologies Capital was the first institutional investor in Zscaler (NASDAQ: ZS), a leading pioneer in transforming network security for the cloud era; the startup went public in March 2018. 
  • Dell Technologies Capital invested in MongoDB (NASDAQ: MDB) which went public in October 2017 
  • Dell Technologies Capital invested in DocuSign (NASDAQ: DOCU), which also went public recently
  • Dell Technologies Capital's portfolio includes several startups currently experiencing growth rates of more than 100% and several exceeding $50 million in revenue. 

"Since coming out of stealth at Dell EMC World last year, we've had a very busy, and very successful, year," said Scott Darling, president of Dell Technologies Capital. "We are delighted with our continued strong performance and the market reception to the DocuSign, MongoDB and Zscaler IPOs. The real value we bring to Dell Technologies and our startup portfolio companies is through our joint work, which allows us to deliver best-of-breed solutions for our customers faster, especially in emerging tech areas."


https://www.delltechnologies.com/en-us/capital/ventures/portfolio.htm

Akamai continued to grow at 11% annual clip in Q1

Akamai Technologies reported revenue was $669 million, an 11% increase over first quarter 2017 revenue of $600 million and a 9% increase when adjusted for foreign exchange. GAAP net income was $54 million, a 28% decrease from first quarter 2017. Non-GAAP net income* was $136 million, a 19% increase from first quarter 2017.


  • Web Division revenue was $353 million, up 16% year-over-year and up 13% when adjusted for foreign exchange.
  • Media and Carrier Division revenue was $316 million, up 6% year-over-year and up 4% when adjusted for foreign exchange
  • Cloud Security Solutions revenue was $149 million, up 36% year-over-year and up 32% when adjusted for foreign exchange
  • Revenue from Internet Platform Customers was $44 million, down 14% year-over-year and when adjusted for foreign exchange.

"We are very pleased with the results of our first quarter performance, which featured continued outstanding growth in our security business, substantial improvement in our media business, margin expansion and accelerated revenue growth overall," said Dr. Tom Leighton, Chief Executive Officer.



ZTE posted a Q1 growth rate of 12% prior to export ban on its suppliers

ZTE reported revenue of RMB 28.879 billion (US$5.548 billion) for the first quarter of 2018, up 12% over the same period in 2017. Net profit after extraordinary items attributable to holders of ordinary shares of the listed company amounted to RMB 1.368 billion (US$216 million).

The company said it is still assessing the impact of the export ban imposed on its U.S. suppliers by the U.S. Department of Commerce, stating that this action will have adverse effects.

The 2018 First Quarterly Report was prepared prior to the issuance of the export ban order, therefore ZTE said it was unable  "to ensure the truthfulness, accuracy and completeness of the contents of this report" in light of the order.


Semiconductor sales top $111 billion in Q1, up 20%

Worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $111.1 billion during the first quarter of 2018, an increase of 20 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017, but 2.5 percent less than the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). Sales for the month of March 2018 came in at $37.0 billion, an increase of 20 percent compared to the March 2017 total of $30.8 billion and 0.7 percent more than the February 2018 total of $36.8 billion.

"The global semiconductor market has demonstrated impressive growth through the first quarter of 2018, far exceeding sales through the same point in 2017, which was a record year for semiconductor revenues," said John Neuffer, president and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association. "Sales in March increased year-to-year for the 20th consecutive month. All regional markets experienced double-digit growth compared to last year, and all major semiconductor product categories experienced year-to-year growth, with memory products continuing to lead the way."

Chris McGugan returns to Avaya as Chief Technologist

Chris McGugan has re-joined Avaya in a new role as Chief Technology Strategist.

In his previous tenure with Avaya, McGugan was Vice President of Emerging Products and Technology, and of Contact Center Solutions and Marketing. He has also held executive and management positions at Belkin, Cisco and Motorola/Symbol Technologies, in addition to several board advisory positions at technology companies around the globe.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Key points of the T-Mobile and Sprint merger agreement

T-Mobile US and Sprint reached a definitive agreement to merge in an all-stock transaction.  Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank Group will roll their entire economic ownership stakes into the new company, which retain the name T-Mobile. DT currently holds a 62% stake in T-Mobile US. Softbank currently holds an 83% stake in Sprint. The deal will require regulatory approvals.

Key points of the deal:

  • the transaction has a fixed exchange ratio of 0.10256 T-Mobile shares for each Sprint share or the equivalent of 9.75 Sprint
  • shares for each T-Mobile US share. 
  • the deal has an implied enterprise value of approximately $59 billion for Sprint and approximately $146 billion for the combined company.
  • the companies cite the ambition to build the most robust, nationwide 5G network as a primary driver for the deal, enabling the U.S. market to take a global lead in 5G.
  • the companies say a rapid rollout of 5G will drive job creation across the broader U.S. economy and will "be good for consumers, employees and investors." 
  • the companies are estimating a projected ~$40 billion in total capital investment over 3 years in achieving integration, expansion and building out 5G with significant labor investment
  • the companies are projecting to have more employees on the combined payroll than as standalone businesses
  • the network integration plan will use the T-Mobile infrastructure as the "anchor" network. The plan is to deploy 2.5 GHz spectrum on T-Mobile sites and the full T-Mobile
  • spectrum portfolio on Sprint “keep” sites
  • the new T-Mobile network will add approximately 85k macro sites and 50k small cells
  • the new company will be headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, with a second headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas.
  • John Legere, current President and CEO of T-Mobile US, will be CEO, and Mike Sievert, current Chief Operating Officer of T-Mobile, will serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of the combined company. 
  • Tim Höttges, current T-Mobile US Chairman of the Board, will serve as Chairman of the Board for the new company. Masayoshi Son, current SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO, and Marcelo Claure, current Chief Executive Officer of Sprint, will serve on the board of the new company.
  • there is no break-up fee for the deal
  • DT and Softbank have a lock-in agreement to maintain their ownership stakes for four years, subject to certain conditions.

“This combination will create a fierce competitor with the network scale to deliver more for consumers and businesses in the form of lower prices, more innovation, and a second-to-none network experience – and do it all so much faster than either company could on its own,” said John Legere. “As industry lines blur and we enter the 5G era, consumers and businesses need a company with the disruptive culture and capabilities to force positive change on their behalf.”

In November 2017, print and T-Mobile called off their previous merger discussions 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers to merge

Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers have agreed to combine their operations and properties into a pan-India company with over 163,000 towers across all 22 of the nation's telecom service areas. Indus Towers currently operates in 15 telecom service areas (“Circles”) and Bharti Infratel’s operations are focused on the remaining 7 Circles.

The combined company, which will use the name Indus Towers Limited and be listed on the Indian stock exchanges, will be the largest tower company in the world outside of China.

Indus Towers is currently jointly owned by Bharti Infratel (42%), Vodafone (42%), Idea Group (11.15%) and Providence (4.85%). It is intended that Idea Group will sell its 11.15% shareholding for cash concurrent with the completion of the deal. Vodafone will be issued with 783.1m new shares in the combined company, in exchange for its 42% shareholding in Indus Towers.


Wind Tre picks Ericsson to virtualize its core network

Wind Tre, which serves over 32 million mobile and fixed broadband customer lines in Italy, has selected Ericsson to virtualize its core network as part of the evolution of its network to 5G Core.

Ericsson will supply its core network and Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVi) solution, enabling the fast introduction of new services and providing full-service continuity. The five-year contract, which gets underway during the Q2 2018, includes the delivery of a self-contained project to deploy a virtualized core network and orchestration capabilities according to European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) open source NFV Management and Orchestration (MANO). The solution includes Ericsson Orchestrator, the virtual infrastructure manager Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment based on OpenStack, Ericsson Cloud SDN and software-defined infrastructure based on Ericsson HDS 8000. Ericsson will also be the prime system integrator and provide support services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Benoit Hanssen, Chief Technology Officer Wind Tre, says: “This is another big step in the journey that Wind Tre is making to provide the best quality network and high value services to our customers. We are transforming to be ready for the digital revolution that 5G and IoT will bring. We are pleased to partner with Ericsson on this important deal which secures a deep knowledge of the existing technology and will provide a state-of-the-art virtualized network.”

The contract encompasses Ericsson’s virtual EPC, virtual IMS and virtual UDC (User Data Consolidation). They will be deployed on Ericsson´s proven system verified NFVi solution which aligns with the ETSI NFV Architectural Framework and the ETSI Management and Orchestration (MANO) architecture.

NTT demos its photonic crystal fiber with high-powered lasers

NTT and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have demonstrated a kW class, high-power single-mode laser transmission over tens to hundreds of meters --
representing a breakthrough for laser processing technology.

The innovation leverages NTT's photonic crystal fibers (PCF) and MHI's high power laser processing technology.

NTT's photonic crystal fiber transmits light by using the confinement effect of air holes. PCF consists of silica glass and multiple air holes, and offers novel properties impossible with conventional optical fiber.

Laser processing requires the transmission of light whose power is more than 10,000 times that of conventional telecommunication light. However, maximizing the optical power and transmission distance encounters the physical limit created by optical nonlinearity. Applications include a range of infrastructure products, including in transportation, manufacturing, and precision cutting.

The achievement will be reported at the 89th lecture of Japan Laser Processing Society, which will be held at Suita Campus, Osaka University at 23-24 May 2018.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Mediatek halts shipments to ZTE

Following an order from Taiwan's Bureau of Foreign Trade, Mediatek has suspended shipment of its chips and components to ZTE, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

Mediatek is the second largest global supplier of systems-on-chip (SoC) solutions for mobile devices. It also supplies a range of connectivity chips for home networking and broadband CPE, along with a new line of optical components.

https://s.nikkei.com/2HFl4q4

Vertical Systems Group: 2017 U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD

Vertical Systems Group published the following 2017 U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD (in rank order by number of fiber lit buildings): AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, CenturyLink, Comcast, Cox, Crown Castle Fiber, Zayo, Frontier and Altice USA. These ten retail and wholesale fiber providers each qualified for this benchmark with 10,000 or more on-net U.S. fiber lit commercial buildings as of year-end 2017.

Twelve companies qualified for the 2017 Fiber Lit Buildings Challenge Tier as follows (in alphabetical order): Cincinnati Bell, Cleareon, Cogent, Consolidated Communications, FiberLight, FirstLight, IFN, Logix Fiber Networks, Lumos Networks, Unite Private Networks, Uniti Fiber and Windstream. These fiber providers each qualified for the 2017 Challenge Tier with between 2,000 and 9,999 U.S. fiber lit commercial buildings.

“With fiber footprint expansion in the strategic plans of every major network service provider, we’re seeing a significant ramp up in new lit building deployments,” said Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group. “Merger, acquisition and re-branding activity across the fiber provider landscape is so intense that it takes a scorecard to keep track. Nearly every one of this year’s Fiber LEADERBOARD and Challenge Tier companies has been impacted by one or more fiber-related transactions in the past year.”

2017 Fiber Lit Buildings Research Scorecard
Major transactions for 2017 Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD companies:

  • Verizon (#2) acquired XO (2016 Challenge Tier)
  • CenturyLink (#4) merged with Level 3 (#6 on 2016 LEADERBOARD)
  • Crown Castle Fiber enters at #7 with the acquisition of Lightower (#8 on 2016 LEADERBOARD) and operations consolidation that included 2016 Challenge Tier companies, Sunesys and FiberNet Direct
  • Zayo (#8) advances from #9 in 2016 with the acquisition of Electric Lightwave (2016 Challenge Tier)
  • Frontier (#9) advances from #11 in 2016 with fiber assets acquired from Verizon

Other 2017 Challenge Tier company activity:
Consolidated Communications acquired Fairpoint (2016 Challenge Tier)
Uniti Fiber acquired Southern Light (2016 Challenge Tier)
Entering the 2017 Challenge Tier: Logix Fiber Networks, moving up from the Market Players tier

Private investors to acquire Mitel

An investor group led by affiliates of Searchlight Capital Partners has agreed to acquire Mitel for approximately $2.0 billion in cash, including Mitel’s net debt.

Mitel shareholders will receive $11.15 per common share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 24% to the 90-calendar-day volume-weighted average price of Mitel common shares through April 23, 2018. 

Upon completion of the transaction, Mitel will become a privately held company.

Terry Matthews, Mitel Co-founder and Chairman, said, “Mitel has succeeded for 45 years because of persistent innovation and relentless focus on delivering shareholder value. Our Board determined that this transaction, upon closing, will deliver immediate, significant and certain cash value to our shareholders. It also affirms the tremendous value and market leadership of Mitel. We believe this transaction will provide Mitel with additional flexibility as a private company to pursue the company’s move-to-the-cloud strategy.”

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Amazon Web Services rockets ahead at 49% yoy pace

Amazon.com reported stellar net sales of $51.0 billion for Q1 2018, up 43% over last year, including $1.6 billion from favorable foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter. Net income was $1.6 billion in the first quarter, or $3.27 per diluted share, compared with net income of $724 million, or $1.48 per diluted share, in first quarter 2017.

As usual, Amazon Web Services (AWS) was a major contributor to this growth. AWS sales for the quarter amounted to $5.442 billion, up 49% year over year

“AWS had the unusual advantage of a seven-year head start before facing like-minded competition, and the team has never slowed down,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “As a result, the AWS services are by far the most evolved and most functionality-rich. AWS lets developers do more and be nimbler, and it continues to get even better every day. That’s why you’re seeing this remarkable acceleration in AWS growth, now for two quarters in a row. A huge thank you to all our AWS customers, and you can be sure we’ll keep working hard for you.”

During Q1, AWS launched two Availability Zones and one Local Region in Osaka, Japan. It now operates 54 Availability Zones within 18 geographic Regions, and one Local Region, with announced plans for 12 more Availability Zones and four more regions in Bahrain, Hong Kong SAR, Sweden, and a second AWS GovCloud Region in the U.S. coming online between now and early 2019.

Nokia reports flat sales in Q1 but cites building 5G momentum

Nokia reported net sales in Q1 2018 were EUR 4.9 billion, down from EUR 5.4 bn in Q1 2017. On a constant currency basis, net sales would have been flat year-on-year. Non-IFRS diluted EPS in Q1 2018 was EUR 0.02.

  • Nokia’s Networks business net sales were EUR 4.3bn, with operating profit of EUR 43mn
  • Q1 net sales and profitability were impacted primarily by lower net sales in North America. However, order intake and backlog were excellent in Q1. Therefore, Nokia expects the net sales trajectory in North America, as well as profitability, to improve significantly in the second half of 2018.
  • Based on firm orders, Nokia sees customer demand for 5G accelerating further, particularly in North America, where we expect commercial 5G network deployments to begin near the end of 2018.

Rajeev Suri, Nokia's president and CEO, stated: "We also see a clear path to market share gains this year given our success in 4G expansion, 5G deals, IP routing in both the service provider segment and adjacent markets, and optical, driven by 5G and webscale customers. While our Networks gross margin in Q1 decreased on a year-on-year basis, the primary underlying reasons for that – regional and product mix – are largely temporary in nature and expected to improve in the second half
of 2018. It is also important to understand that we did not see significant degradation of margins at the overall product level. We remain on track to deliver on our EUR 1.2 billion cost savings commitment."



Facebook's reach continues to grow

Despite the well-publicized uproar about data privacy, Facebook continues to add users worldwide at a rapid pace.

  • Daily active users (DAUs) – DAUs were 1.45 billion on average for March 2018, an increase of 13% year-over-year.
  • Monthly active users (MAUs) – MAUs were 2.20 billion as of March 31, 2018, an increase of 13% year-over-year.
  • Mobile advertising revenue – Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 91% of advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2018, up from approximately 85% of advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2017.
  • Capital expenditures – Capital expenditures for the first quarter of 2018 were $2.81 billion.

"Despite facing important challenges, our community and business are off to a strong start in 2018," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. "We are taking a broader view of our responsibility and investing to make sure our services are used for good. But we also need to keep building new tools to help people connect, strengthen our communities, and bring the world closer together."

Microsoft Azure grows 89% yoy in Q1

Microsoft reported Q1 revenue of $26.8 billion, up 16% yoy, operating income of $8.3 billion, up 23%; net income of $7.4 billion, up 35% yoy; and diluted earnings per share of $0.95, up 36%.

Cloud revenue was a major factor in the performance, with Azure growing 89% yoy in constant currency.

Some highlights

Revenue in Productivity and Business Processes was $9.0 billion and increased 17% (up 14% in constant currency)
  • Office commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 14% (up 12% in constant currency) driven by Office 365 commercial revenue growth of 42% (up 40% in constant currency)
  • Office consumer products and cloud services revenue increased 12% (up 9% in constant currency) and Office 365 consumer subscribers increased to 30.6 million
  • LinkedIn revenue increased 37% (up 33% in constant currency) with continued acceleration in engagement highlighted by LinkedIn sessions growth of over 30%
  • Dynamics products and cloud services revenue increased 17% (up 14% in constant currency) driven by Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 65% (up 62% in constant currency)
Revenue in Intelligent Cloud was $7.9 billion and increased 17% (up 15% in constant currency)
  • Server products and cloud services revenue increased 20% (up 17% in constant currency) driven by Azure revenue growth of 93% (up 89% in constant currency)
  • Enterprise Services revenue increased 8% (5% in constant currency)
Revenue in More Personal Computing was $9.9 billion and increased 13% (up 11% in constant currency)
  • Windows OEM revenue increased 4% (up 4% in constant currency) driven by OEM Pro revenue growth of 11%
  • Windows commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 21% (up 17% in constant currency) driven by an increased volume of multi-year agreements and the mix of products that carry higher in-quarter revenue recognition
  • Gaming revenue increased 18% (up 16% in constant currency) driven by Xbox software and services revenue growth of 24% (up 21% in constant currency) mainly from third party title strength
  • Surface revenue increased 32% (up 27% in constant currency) against a prior year comparable impacted by product end-of-life-cycle dynamics
  • Search advertising revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs increased 16% (up 14% in constant currency) driven by higher revenue per search and search volume

Baidu's Q1 revenues rise 31%

Baidu reported Q1 2018 total revenues were RMB 20.9 billion ($3.33 billion), increasing 31% year over year. Mobile revenue represented 78% of total net revenues, compared to 70% for the first quarter of 2017. Total revenues of Baidu Core were RMB 16.1 billion ($2.57 billion), increasing 26% year over year. Operating income was RMB 4.6 billion ($728 million), increasing 128% year over year. Operating margin reached 22%, compared to 13% for the first quarter of 2017.

"We had a strong start in 2018, with our core business exhibiting robust growth, and we continue to execute on our strategy to strengthen Baidu's mobile foundation and lead in AI. Through innovation, search plus feed is powering strong monetization, DuerOS is showing accelerated momentum with hardware partners and Apollo has a great potential to become a world-class technology platform," said Robin Li, Chairman and CEO of Baidu. "I would also like to congratulate iQIYI on a successful IPO and hope to incubate more businesses with large market opportunities and strong synergies with Baidu."

Digital Realty's Q1 revenue of $744 million, up 35% yoy

Digital Realty, a leading global provider of data center, colocation and interconnection solutions, reported revenues for the first quarter of 2018 of $744 million, a 2% increase from the previous quarter and a 35% increase from the same quarter last year. Net income amounted to $110 million, and net income available to common stockholders of $86 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, compared to $0.26 per diluted share in the previous quarter and $0.41 per diluted share in the same quarter last year.

"In the first quarter, we signed total bookings expected to generate $61 million of annualized GAAP rental revenue, including a $7 million contribution from interconnection," said Chief Executive Officer A. William Stein.  "As we look toward the remainder of 2018, we are confident in our ability to deliver sustainable growth for stakeholders, driven by broad-based demand across regions, verticals and product lines, along with growing local origination in key growth metros around the world."

Interoute connects the Vatican to its fibre backbonev

Interoute's fibre network is supporting the launch of The Vatican Communications Secretariat’s new online portal www.vaticannews.va, which combines radio, TV and publishing into a single interface.

Interoute owns and operates a global private network encompassing 72,000 route kilometres of fibre across Europe.

Francesco Masci, Head of the Technology Department of the Secretariat for Communication of the Holy See, said, "The rethinking of the Holy See's communication system meant an important technological shift as the worlds of web, broadcasting and publishing merge. Alongside the portal we will launch other services, and we are also considering further projects to distribute quality multimedia content directly to users, such as documentaries or other important productions. Interoute's new fibre network is the infrastructure basis for enabling this cutting-edge project.”

Gareth Williams, CEO of Interoute, commented, "We are honoured to support the Secretariat for Communication of the Holy See with our decades of experience. Interoute has built the pan-European backbone infrastructure which powers the digital transformation of global organisations. From our experience building and managing one of Europe’s largest networks, Interoute has gained the knowledge and competence to support this unique project, respecting delivery times and the constraints imposed by the cultural and artistic heritage of this important site."

Intel hires ex-Tesla exec to lead silicon engineering

Intel announced the appointment of Jim Keller to lead the company’s silicon engineering, which encompasses system-on-chip (SoC) development and integration.

Keller, 59, joins Intel from Tesla, where he most recently served as vice president of Autopilot and Low Voltage Hardware. Prior to Tesla, he served as corporate vice president and chief cores architect at AMD, where he led the development of the Zen* architecture. Previously, Keller was vice president of Engineering and chief architect at P.A. Semi, which was acquired by Apple Inc. in 2008.

“Jim is one of the most respected microarchitecture design visionaries in the industry, and the latest example of top technical talent to join Intel,” said Dr. Murthy Renduchintala, Intel’s chief engineering officer and group president of the Technology, Systems Architecture & Client Group (TSCG). “We have embarked on exciting initiatives to fundamentally change the way we build the silicon as we enter the world of heterogeneous process and architectures. Jim joining us will help accelerate this transformation.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Nokia launches AirFrame Open Edge Server for Cloud RAN and based on OCP principles

Nokia introduced an Edge Cloud data center server for low-latency data processing demands of Cloud RANs, content caching and next-gen mobile application.

The Nokia AirFrame open edge cloud server is designed for deployment alongside base stations in 5G networks. It supports acceleration modules powered by the Nokia ReefShark chipset for 4G and 5G functions and applications, including Cloud RAN and content delivery, crypto and other applications. The server uses the latest Intel Xeon processors. Nokia said the design is inspired by Open Compute Project principles.

The AirFrame chassis supports up to five servers, each with a single Xeon processor.

Nokia is also providing a real-time, Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV)-compatible, OpenStack-distribution built to run in small data centers while providing the performance and low latency required by the edge environment. Commercial shipments are expected in Q3.

"The edge cloud will play an essential role in delivering the compute power required for 5G. By expanding our AirFrame and 5G Future X portfolio we can provide a network architecture that meets the needs of any operator and their customers. Used with the Nokia ReefShark chipset and our real-time cloud infrastructure software, the Nokia AirFrame open edge server will deliver the right decentralization of 4G and 5G networks. We can work with operators to ensure that data center capabilities are deployed exactly where they are needed to manage demands as they expand their service offering," stated Marc Rouanne, president of Mobile Networks at Nokia.

In January 2018, Nokia unveiled its ReefShark 5G chipsets for radio frequency (RF) units such as the radio used in antennas. The chipsets, which were developed in-house, significantly improve radio performance resulting in halving the size of massive MIMO antennas. Nokia says its ReefShark chipsets also reduce power consumption in baseband units by 64%, compared to current technology.

The ReefShark chipsets comprise:

  • ReefShark Digital Front End for LTE and 5G radio systems supporting massive MIMO
  • ReefShark RFIC front-end module and transceiver: massive MIMO Adaptive Antenna solution
  • ReefShark Baseband Processor: All-in-one compute heavy design, capable of supporting the massive scale requirements of 5G. This is the brain power of baseband processing.

The ReefShark chipsets for compute capacity are delivered as plug-in units for the commercially available Nokia AirScale baseband module. The new plug-in units triple throughput from 28 Gbps today to up to 84 Gbps per module. Additionally, AirScale baseband module chaining supports base station throughputs of up to 6 terabits per second. Nokia said this level of performance will allow operators to meet the huge growing densification demands and support the massive enhanced mobile broadband needs of people and devices in megacities.

Nokia also announced that it is working with 30 operators using ReefShark and will ramp up field deployments during the third quarter of 2018.

Chairman of ZTE says U.S. export ban is "unfair and unreasonable"

The Chairman of ZTE, Mr. Yin Yimin, issued a public statement acknowledging that the company is "in a very difficult situation," stating that his team is doing its utmost to solve this situation through active communication, and imploring the company's 80,000 employees to "be stable-minded and perform their respective duties."

The public statement comes nine days after the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has imposed a denial of export privileges order against ZTE for false statements in the case of shipping restricted technologies to Iran and North Korea during a period of international sanctions. The order prohibits the export of any item from the United States to ZTE.

In his statement, Mr. Yin Yimin describes the decision made by the U.S. Department of Commerce as "unfair and unreasonable punishment" and that the U.S. side is making a trade issue into a political one.

ZTE also noted that it owns over 69,000 global patents and that it has been a major contributor to global 5G standardization.

"Certainly, we shall strengthen our technological investment to make us more competitive,” said Mr. Yin Yimin. ZTE has been insisting in the independent innovation of key technologies and extending its R&D investment. The company’s R&D expenditure was RMB 12.96 billion in 2017, covering 11.9 % of its revenue.  ZTE has been continuously extending its investment in 5G R&D and related fields. To date, ZTE has formed a 5G R&D team with more than 4,500 professionals and annually invested around RMB 3 billion in 5G wireless R&D."

http://www.zte.com.cn/global/about/press-center/press-clipping/201804/201804232355

WSJ: Huawei under criminal investigation by U.S. authorities

The FBI is investigating Huawei over possible exports of prohibited technologies to Iran in violation of international sanctions. The case could lead to a ban on the export of products from the U.S. to Huawei, as happened earlier this month with ZTE. 

There has been no official confirmation of an investigation. Huawei has not commented on the reports.

The news sent share prices down for many suppliers of silicon and optical components.

AT&T's Q1 revenue dips 1% yoy, but net income rises - FirstNet rollout underway

AT&T reported a slight dip in overall sales in Q1 but higher net income even as CAPEX rises for network upgrades, fiber upgrades, and FirstNet rollouts. The company said it is on track to launch 5G mobile services in a dozen U.S. cities this year.

“We’re off to a good start in 2018, both in growing our customer base and in building the world’s premier gigabit network,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T Chairman and CEO. “Our investment in customer growth and our integrated service offerings helped drive solid first-quarter subscriber gains across our wireless, video and broadband businesses. We also moved quickly to deploy FirstNet, and we expect the buildout to accelerate as we go forward. Our fiber deployments for business and residential customers now pass more than 16 million customer locations. And we’re set to launch our next-generation DIRECTV NOW platform, which will offer cloud DVR and an additional video stream.”

Revenues for the first quarter totaled $38.0 billion versus $39.4 billion in the year-ago quarter, primarily due to the impact of new accounting rules for revenue recognition (ASC 606) which included netting of USF with operating expenses. On a comparative basis, declines in legacy wireline services, domestic video, and wireless service revenues, were partially offset by growth in wireless equipment and strategic business services. On a comparative basis, revenues were $38.9 billion, a decrease of 1.1%. Operating expenses were $31.8 billion versus $33.0 billion primarily due to the netting of USF and other regulatory fee revenues and the deferral of commissions under ASC 606. Excluding those impacts, operating expenses were $33.4 billion, an increase of about $350 million due to higher wireless equipment costs.

Net income attributable to AT&T was $4.7 billion, or $0.75 per diluted share, versus $3.5 billion, or $0.56 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

Cash from operating activities was $8.9 billion, and capital expenditures were $6.1 billion. Capital expenditures included about $140 million in FirstNet capital costs and no FirstNet reimbursements.

Wireless highlights

  • Strong year-over-year improvement in postpaid phone net adds
  • Continued prepaid growth with 192,000 phone net adds
  • Nearly 500,000 branded smartphones added to base
  • Q1 postpaid phone churn of 0.84%
  • 3.2 million total wireless net adds, including 2.6 million in U.S., driven by connected devices and prepaid, and 543,000 in Mexico

Entertainment Group highlights

  • 312,000 DIRECTV NOW net adds to reach nearly 1.5 million subscribers
  • 125,000 total video net adds with DIRECTV NOW stabilizing total video customer base since DIRECTV acquisition
  • 154,000 IP broadband net adds; 82,000 total broadband net adds; more than 8 million customer locations passed with fiber

Belgium’s Proximus picks Skylane Optics for FTTH rollout

Skylane Optics, a privately-held company based in Belgium that supplies a wide range of optical transceivers and other photonic devices, announced a collaborative agreement with Proximus, a telecommunication & ICT company operating in Belgium and other international markets. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“We work with two-thirds of the major European telecommunications operators.  Being able to supply fiber optics to all Belgian homes is a first and we’re over the moon about it”, stated Quentin Bolle, Marketing & Communication Manager.

Earlier this year, Proximus announced a plan to invest EUR 3 billion to accelerate the rollout of fibre across Belgium.

Innovium raises $77M in Series D for its Switching Silicon

Innovium, a start-up based in San Jose, California, announced $77 Million in Series D funding for its high-performance switching silicon for data centers.

The new funding round included investment from Greylock Partners, Walden Everbright, Walden Riverwood Ventures, Paxion Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, Redline Capital, S-Cubed Capital and Qualcomm Ventures. This brings total funding in the company to over $160 million.

“Data center networks are experiencing dramatic traffic growth and face new requirements, driven by public and hybrid cloud, machine learning, analytics, storage and video. Innovium’s grounds-up innovations have enabled a revolutionary platform for a family of products, delivering the industry’s next generation of performance, programmability, cost/bit and robust features. We are excited to significantly increase our investment in Innovium, to help the company accelerate its production, roadmap, and go-to-market efforts,” said Asheem Chandna, Partner at Greylock Partners.

Innovium Unveils 12.8Tbps Data Center Switching Silicon

Innovium, a start-up based in San Jose, California, introduced its TERALYNX scalable Ethernet silicon for data centers switches.

Innovium said its TERALYNX will be the first single switching chip to break the 10 Tbps performance barrier, along with telemetry, line-rate programmability, the largest on-chip buffers and best-in-class low-latency. The chip is expected to sample in Q3 2017.

TERALYNX includes broad support for 10/25/40/50/100/200/400GbE Ethernet standards. It will deliver 128 ports of 100GbE, 64 ports of 200GbE or 32 ports of 400GbE in a single device. The TERALYNX switch family includes software compatible options at 12.8Tbps, 9.6Tbps, 6.4Tbps and 3.2Tbps performance points, each delivering compelling benefits for switch system vendors and data center operators.

Some highlights:

  • 12.8Tbps, 9.6Tbps, 6.4Tbps and 3.2Tbps single chip performance options at packet sizes of 300B or smaller 
  • Single flow performance of 400Gbps at 64B minimum packet size, 4x vs alternatives
  • 70MB of on-chip buffer for superior network quality, fewer packet drops and substantially lower latency compared to off-chip buffering options
  • Up to 128 ports of 100GbE, 64 ports of 200GbE or 32 ports of 400GbE, which enable flatter networks for lower Capex and fewer hops
  • Support for cut-through with best-in-class low latency of less than 350ns
  • Programmable, feature-rich INNOFLEX forwarding pipeline
  • Comprehensive layer 2/3 forwarding and flexible tunneling including MPLS
  • Large table resources with flexible allocation across L2, IPv4 and IPv6
  • Line-rate, standards-based programmability to add new/custom features and protocols
  • FLASHLIGHT telemetry and analytics to enable autonomous data center networks
  • Extensive visibility and telemetry capabilities such as sFlow, FlexMirroring along with highly customizable extra-wide counters
  • P4-INT in-band telemetry and extensions to dramatically simplify end to end analysis
  • Advanced analytics enable optimal resource monitoring, utilization and congestion control allowing predictive capabilities and network automation
  • SERDES I/Os for existing and upcoming networks
  • Industry-leading, proven SerDes supports 10G and 25G NRZ, as well as 50G PAM4, to provide customers a variety of connectivity choices, ranging from widely deployed 10/25/40/50/100G Ethernet to upcoming 200/400GbE
  • Up to 258 lanes of long-reach SerDes, each of which can be configured dynamically
  • Integrated GHz ARM CPU core along with PCIe Gen 3 host connectivity
  • ARM core enables development of differentiated real-time automation features
  • High speed host connectivity and DMA enhancements enable high performance packet, table and telemetry data transfers while minimizing CPU overhead
  • Two high-speed Ethernet ports for management or telemetry dat

F5's revenue rises 2.9% yoy to $533.3M

F5 Networks posted revenue of $533.3 million for the second quarter of its fiscal 2018, up 2.9% from $518.2 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2017.

GAAP net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2018 was $109.6 million, or $1.77 per diluted share, compared to $93.1 million, or $1.43 per diluted share in the second quarter of fiscal 2017.

“We had solid execution across the organization during the second quarter,” said François Locoh-Donou, F5 President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our software business had another quarter of outstanding growth, driven by deployments in the public cloud, and our Services organization continues to deliver tremendous value to our customers and strong financial performance.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Megaport's SDN now extends to Google Cloud's global network

Megaport has added support for Google Cloud's Partner Interconnect, a service from Google Cloud that allows customers to privately connect to Google Cloud Platform.

Google Cloud's Partner Interconnect is a new product in the Google Cloud Interconnect family. Last September, Google announced Dedicated Interconnect, which provides higher-speed and lower-cost connectivity than VPN, and has become the go-to solution to connect on-premises data centres with the cloud.

Megaport said it is now providing connectivity to the nearest Google edge Point of Presence at a variety of sub-rate interface speeds varying from 50 Mbps to 10 Gbps.

"Partner Interconnect gives Google Cloud customers even more connectivity choices for hybrid environments," said, John Veizades, Product Manager, Google Cloud. "Together with Megaport, we are making it easier for customers to extend their on-prem infrastructure to the Google Cloud Platform."

"Scalable connectivity to Google Cloud Platform ensures that cloud-enabled applications perform to meet mission-critical business requirements," said Vincent English, CEO of Megaport. "Google Cloud brings tremendous value to the Megaport Ecosystem and empowers our customers to address a wide variety of business needs. We have been working with Google Cloud since our inception and we are excited to grow and evolve our integration to ensure the next generation of business growth."

Verizon cites positive momentum and higher earnings

Verizon added 260,000 net retail postpaid connections in Q1 2018, including 220,000 postpaid smartphone nets, along with 66,000 new Fios Internet connections, giving the company positive momentum as it entered the year. Verizon said it is on track to launch a 5G residential broadband service this year.

For first-quarter 2018, Verizon reported EPS of $1.11, compared with 84 cents in first-quarter 2017. On an adjusted basis (non-GAAP), first-quarter 2018 EPS was $1.17, compared with 95 cents in first-quarter 2017. Verizon’s first-quarter 2018 EPS included approximately 21 cents due to tax reform and accounting changes for revenue recognition.

“We began 2018 with strong momentum, and we expect it to continue throughout the year,” said Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam. “We are positioning Verizon for long-term growth while executing our strategy today and leading the way for the next cycle of growth for the industry.”

Some highlights

Wireless results

  • Total revenues, excluding the impact of the revenue recognition standard, were $21.9 billion in first-quarter 2018, an increase of 4.7 percent compared with first-quarter 2017.
  • Service revenues for the quarter on a reported basis were down 2.4 percent. Excluding the impact from the revenue recognition standard, service revenues were flat. Service revenues improved year over year throughout the quarter, with results turning positive in the month of March when excluding the impact from the revenue recognition standard.
  • Verizon now has 81 percent of its postpaid phone base on unsubsidized plans, compared with 72 percent for the same period last year.
  • Verizon reported a net increase of 260,000 retail postpaid connections in first-quarter 2018, consisting of net phone losses of 24,000 and tablet losses of 75,000, offset by 359,000 other connected devices gains, primarily wearables. Postpaid smartphone net additions for the quarter were 220,000.
  • Total retail postpaid churn was 1.04 percent in first-quarter 2018, a year-over-year improvement. Retail postpaid phone churn of 0.80 percent was the fourth consecutive quarter of retail postpaid phone churn of 0.80 percent or better.


Wireline results

  • Total wireline revenues, excluding the impact of the revenue recognition standard, decreased 1.8 percent year over year in first-quarter 2018. Total Fios revenues, excluding the impact of the revenue recognition standard, grew 1.9 percent year over year, driven by growing demand for high-quality broadband service.
  • In first-quarter 2018, Verizon added a net of 66,000 Fios Internet connections and lost 22,000 Fios Video connections, indicative of the continued cord-cutting trend regarding traditional linear video bundles.


Nokia and NTT DOCOMO test 5G using 90 GHz

Nokia and NTT DOCOMO will undertake a joint study and trials on 5G using 90 GHz frequencies.

Nokia Bell Labs has already tested a first phased-array RF chip solution for the 90 GHz band to increase radio coverage in higher frequency bands and deliver multi-gigabit speeds at scale.

At this week's Brooklyn 5G Summit, Nokia, supported by NTT DOCOMO, will show two technology innovations being developed to address these demands:


  • The companies will apply a Nokia Bell Labs-developed compact mmWave phased-array antenna system scalable up to 256-elements using an integrated circuit (RFIC) solution in the 90 GHz frequency band to enable multi-gigabit per second speeds. The test will demonstrate how using 5G New Radio (5G NR) enhancements at higher mmWave frequency bands can manage radio complexity and a larger number of antenna beams, while enabling greater bandwidth. It will also show how using a larger number of antenna elements at higher frequency bands can minimize path loss to enable coverage similar to that found using lower mmWave bands.
  • A joint demonstration will also show how dynamic offloading relocation in a 5G core will enable the low-latency networks required to support time critical mobile broadband applications for future automation and augmented reality.

Marcus Weldon, President of Nokia Bell Labs, said: "At Bell Labs, we work with leading operators such as NTT DOCOMO to develop disruptive technologies that will redefine human existence. At the Brooklyn 5G Summit, we will show the world's first RF solution that addresses the challenge of delivering optimized coverage for future mmWave frequencies, using a pioneering RFIC design that can be scaled to any array dimension and deliver optimized connectivity to any set of devices."

Orange deploys Cisco NCS 5500 for its Open Transit Internet backbone

Orange is using the Cisco Network Convergence System (NCS 5500) to modernize and expand the Orange Open Transit Internet (OTI) service, which is a Tier 1 international Internet connectivity service offering direct access to the Internet networks in more than 100 countries through more than 50 points of presence (POPs). Orange's OTI targets both Internet service providers and content providers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The companies said this initiative expands Orange's OTI network in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, with reduced operational complexity and increased capacity using the new generation of routers on its OTI service.

“Our work with Cisco on OTI supports the further evolution of our network, allowing us to cope with huge traffic growth and improving the reach of our network,” said Jean-Luc Vuillemin, senior vice president, Orange International Networks Infrastructures and Services.


Cisco adds to its Service Provider routing portfolio

Cisco announced the addition of hardware, software and security options to its Service Provider routing portfolio. Highlights include:

Routing hardware 

Cisco NCS 500 Series: addressing converged wireline and wireless 5G-ready requirements for mobile x-haul and future evolutions of Carrier Ethernet networks, and various bandwidth needs ranging from 1 to 100 Gbps interfaces in small form factors.

Cisco ASR 9901: it supports applications such as distributed provider edge, Internet peering, metro aggregation and broadband network gateway (BNG) in a space-optimized platform; It delivers 456 Gbps of port capacity while also providing flexibility in terms of port speeds ranging from 1 to 100 Gbps with industry-leading MACsec encryption support across all ports.

Cisco NCS 5500 Series:

  • Two fixed chassis supporting 24 and 36 100GE ports 
  • A 36 100GE ports line card targeted at high-density core, mobile backhaul and data center interconnect use cases; Offers flexible port configuration supporting 10G/25G/40G and 100G per port with enhanced scale capabilities (external TCAM) 
  • A compact 2RU router targeted at high-density metro aggregation, mobile backhaul networks and long-haul connectivity use cases; Delivers maximum flexibility with the support of Modular Port Adapters (MPA) with options of different port types and MACsec encryption support.

Routing software additions

Segment Routing: Offers service providers more control over Internet traffic by delivering a unified transport fabric across aggregation, edge, core and data center network domains with unmatched simplicity, resiliency and scalability; With Segment Routing Flexible Algorithm, a new addition to the Cisco Segment Routing Traffic Engineering toolkit, service providers can:

  • Optimize the same physical network infrastructure along various dimensions such as low-latency, bandwidth or path disjointness. 
  • Custom fit 5G network slices to specific applications

Ethernet VPN (EVPN): Cisco is now offering seamless integration with Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS), helping service providers speed up migration from VPLS to EVPN as another method to provide Ethernet-based multipoint to multipoint communication over IP or MPLS networks; EVPN offers improved scalability, optimal forwarding and helps prevent traffic floods.

"Cisco continues to drive innovation in service provider routing to help our customers uplevel their architectures and be one step ahead in managing their network traffic demands,” said Jonathan Davidson, senior vice president and general manager, Service Provider Networking, Cisco.

ZenFi Networks and Cross River Fiber to merge

ZenFi Networks, which operates a high fiber count network across all five boroughs of the City of New York, will merge with Cross River Fiber, which operates high-capacity and latency-sensitive fiber optic backbone spans throughout New Jersey and New York. The deal will create a leading communications infrastructure provider in the New York and New Jersey metro areas with more than 700 route miles of fiber optic network, 130 on-net buildings, 49 colocation facilities and 1,700 outdoor wireless locations with more than 3,000 under contract.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

“The merger of ZenFi Networks and Cross River Fiber allows us to scale our communications infrastructure portfolio across the region, providing a robust fiber and colocation platform enabling the deployment of a wide range of digital services by mobile network operators, telecommunications service providers and large enterprises,” says Ray LaChance, CEO of ZenFi Networks. “The combination enhances our network reach, deepens our product portfolio, and delivers a next generation network infrastructure that is the foundation of tomorrow’s communications networks. In addition, our partnership with Ridgemont Equity Partners further strengthens ZenFi Network’s financial position by providing access to additional capital to continue to deliver on our vision of building the most pervasive and high capacity connectivity platform in the region.

“While both companies have achieved great success to date, as a combined business, our geographic footprint and product capabilities are greatly expanded,” says Vincenzo Clemente, CEO of Cross River Fiber. “We can now offer custom telecommunications solutions in New York, New Jersey and beyond to more wireless mobility, carrier and enterprise customers than ever before. Our teams are cut from the same cloth – we’re both builders and owners of purpose-built fiber optic networks and wireless infrastructure – and together we will provide that cutting-edge network architecture of both fiber and wireless services to an even bigger customer base.”


ACG: Network automation investments on the rise

Network automation investments are expected to grow by approximately 30 percent between now and 2021, according to an independent research report by ACG Research and sponsored by Ciena. The study, which surveyed 208 decision-makers from 200 different service providers and large enterprises across the globe, found that 75 percent of respondents expect to achieve full or significant network automation in the next five years.

“We all realize that network automation is happening, but we really wanted to delve deeper into service provider and large enterprise experiences, expectations and challenges with automation. One of the key survey findings that stood out to me was the need for trained, skilled personnel in the area of programmable networks and automation. Operators expect their vendor partners to be able to help them with not only products and services but also with bridging the skills gap between telecom and IT as they execute their automation journey,” stated Tim Doiron, Principal Analyst, Intelligent Networking, ACG Research.

Other Key Findings:

  • The top motivations cited for increasing automation include: faster service delivery, improved customer satisfaction, the ability to support more complex and innovative services, and increased business agility.
  • Respondents stated that the top concerns and gaps they must address to ensure the success of their network transformations are: security, intelligence/analytics, and a skilled workforce that not only understands traditional telecom networks but new IT and software innovations, as well.
  • All regions ranked analytics and security as top requirements when asked what elements are needed to increase automation, but there were some differences of opinion on other requirements. For example, 68 percent of operators in Central and Latin America named the ability to access network performance data as one of the top 3 important elements while 55 percent of respondents in the European region and 40 percent of respondents in the Asia-Pacific region pointed to open, programmable infrastructure as being in the top 3.
  • Overall, 60 percent of respondents across the globe indicate openness and interoperability as being “very important” for their automation solution and 82 percent plan to use open source software from vendors or a mix of sources.
  • When asked what superhero they want their future network to be associated with, respondents’ top three answers were: The Hulk, Spider-Man, and Black Widow. When asked why, the top responses included Strength, Speed and Intelligence.


“A new theme has started to emerge in our conversations with customers around the globe. Automation, programmability, and intelligence have become critical keystones of future networks. With the pace of growth in capacity, devices, and mobility moving exceedingly fast, adaptive networks, which combine these attributes, will allow organizations to not only survive, but thrive in the face of increasing complexity and unpredictable growth to support the services and applications of tomorrow,” stated – Joe Cumello, Vice President, Head of Global Marketing, Ciena.

See also