Tuesday, March 13, 2018

OIF hosts Interoperability demos of FlexE, 56G PAM4, 112G per lane

This week at OFC in San Diego, the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) is conducting a series of multi-vendor interoperability demonstrations showFlexE), 112 Gbps per lane live electrical signaling and end-to-end optical links using CEI-56G-VSR electrical interfaces.
casing three significant technologies; Flex Ethernet (

There are 14 participating companies including Amphenol, Credo Semiconductor, Fiberhome Telecommunications Technologies Co., Ltd., Finisar, Huawei Technologies Co., Inphi, Keysight Technologies, Molex, TE Connectivity, Tektronix, VIAVI Solutions, Xilinx, Yamaichi Electronics, and ZTE Corporation.

Flex Ethernet Demo -- the FlexE technology from the OIF extends standard Ethernet with bonding, subrating, and channelization features and is defined in the FlexE v1.0 Implementation Agreement. The demo features interoperability among member companies using combinations of these three features over multiple types of 100 GbE.

56 Gbps Demo -- this demo features multiple silicon suppliers operating over a 56 Gbps PAM4 VSR (chip to module) link reflecting the recently published CEI 4.0 document that includes this 56 Gbps PAM4 channel definition. The 56 Gbps demo will electrically drive interoperating optical modules, interconnected with fiber, showing a full multi-vendor electrical-optical-electrical link from host-to-host. The broad range of technologies and suppliers participating in the demo indicates the maturing industry ecosystem around 56 Gbps signaling.

112 Gbps Demo -- the OIF recently began new projects to define 112 Gbps per lane interoperable serial electrical channel definitions. As part of that effort, the OIF will be presenting two 112 Gbps serial electrical demos at OFC 2018. The first demo will include a silicon chip driving a VSR (chip to module) channel and the second will have a silicon chip driving a direct attach copper cable assembly. 112 Gbps electrical signaling is regarded as a necessary technology to enable future signaling bandwidth requirements.

“The OIF continues to test and validate the implementation agreements the forum is working on or has recently completed,” said Steve Sekel of Keysight Technologies, Inc. and the OIF’s Physical and Link Layer Interoperability Working Group Chair. “The OIF recently published both CEI revision 4.0 which includes CEI-56 Gbps requirements and the FlexE revision 1.0 specification. The forum also started work on four CEI-112 Gbps projects so this demo provides important insight into the potential technical solutions.”

Acacia demos coherent module for DCI, Metro and Long-Haul

At OFC 2018 in San Diego, Acacia Communications demonstrated its AC1200 Coherent Module, which supports transmission speeds of up to 1.2 Tbps in a footprint that is 40% less than the size of the 5” x 7” modules supporting transmission speeds of 400 Gbps today.

The module is based on Acacia’s Pico digital signal processor (DSP) ASIC, which is operating at 600 Gbps transmission speed, using 64QAM modulation for the demonstration, and utilizes two wavelengths that can be configured to support from 100 Gbps to 600 Gbps capacity each. Advanced three-dimensional (3D) shaping features may be optimized to enable performance approaching theoretical limits on a wide range of network configurations.

Acacia said its 3D shaping allows fine-tuned adjustment of the modulation characteristics to provide network operators with the flexibility to customize the AC1200 transmission to their network requirements. The key features enabling 3D-shaping include:


  • Shaping of the constellation points’ probability to optimize capacity using Acacia’s patented Fractional QAM modulation;
  • Shaping of the constellation points’ location to optimize reach; and
  • Shaping of the spectral width to match the available channel passband by adapting the baud rate.


Sampling is underway and commercial production is slated to begin in the second half of 2018.

Juniper unveils 5G-ready metro fabric

At OFC 2018 in San Diego, Juniper Networks unveiled its new Metro Fabric architecture for simplifying service delivery through automation.

Juniper’s Metro Fabric architecture leverages a disaggregated programmable photonic layer along with new versions of its ACX Series Universal Metro Routers and PTX Series Packet Transport Routers. The goal is to enable service providers to easily build and manage distributed clouds for new 5G and IoT services.

Some highlights of the announcement:

  • ACX5448 Universal Metro Router:  features 48 10GbE aggregation ports and four high-capacity 100GbE uplink ports, supporting full Metro Ethernet and IP/MPLS VPN services in a space- and cost-optimized platform. 
  • ACX6360 Universal Metro Router: Built to bridge between a secure packet-optical transport layer and IP/MPLS networking, the ACX6360 gives service providers the ability to collapse multiple layers into a single platform to simplify their metro networks. The ACX6360 combines industry compliant 256AES MACSec encryption for 10Gbps, 40Gbps, 100Gbps and 200Gbps CFP2-DCO coherent DWDM interfaces for mobile backhaul, DCI, cable distributed access architectures and various other transport applications. The ACX6360 provides the versatility to eliminate the two-box solution typically found with packet optical and IP deployed next to each other.
  • PTX10002 Packet Transport Router: Scale-out is a key design principle for many cloud providers as they distribute service delivery closer to subscribers for a consistent and high-quality user experience. The PTX10002 is purpose-built for scale-out exchange and cloud architectures with high-capacity, cost-optimized 100GbE interfaces to support growing network traffic demands.


Juniper’s Metro Fabric also incorporates the previously announced programmable photonic layer, including the Juniper Networks TCX1000 Series Programmable ROADM and proNX Optical Director to bring high levels of flexibility, cost control and multi-layer visibility to packet-optical transport.

Ciena debuts packet aggregation switch and reconfigurable line system

At this week's OFC in San Diego, Ciena introduced a new 8180 Coherent Networking Platform and a 6500 Reconfigurable Line System (RLS).


The 8180 Coherent Networking Platform is a high-density stackable packet aggregation switch that combines the density, openness, and programmability of a data center switch with the industry-leading capacity and embedded optical intelligence of Ciena’s WaveLogic coherent optics. The 8180 offers powerful optical and packet capabilities with support for 400G wavelengths and scales to 6.4 Tb/s of packet switching.

The 6500 Reconfigurable Line System is a programmable, open and modular line system that scales to support the highest bandwidth requirements of metro and long-haul DCI as well as cable access applications. Designed to provide choice in how providers deploy their line systems (integrated or disaggregated), it also reduces footprint and expands fiber capacity with L-Band.

Ciena said both the 8180 and the 6500 RLS are designed for ease-of-use with an IT-operational model, and include common open APIs for software programmability, automated provisioning and streaming telemetry as well as simpler integration with back-office systems. With these new products, Ciena is further expanding choice for customers and addressing the diverse technology consumption models present in today’s on-demand environment.
Both products will be generally available in the second half of 2018.

“We live in a fast-paced, ‘app-driven’ world where users have insatiable bandwidth needs and want on-demand services. Survival means offering an incredible customer experience that can only be delivered through more adaptive networks that deliver content and services with on-demand agility. Ciena’s new 8180 and 6500 RLS help operators satisfy this need by focusing programmable and highly scalable resources at fiber dense points in the network,” stated Steve Alexander, Chief Technology Officer, Ciena.

NeoPhotonics demos Nano-ITLA ultra-compact external cavity tunable laser

At this week's OFC in San Diego, NeoPhotonics is demonstrating its Nano-ITLA ultra-compact external cavity tunable laser.

The NeoPhotonics Nano-ITLA, which is based on the same external cavity technology used in the company's Micro-ITLA product line, maintains the ultra-narrow linewidth, the low frequency phase noise performance, and the low power consumption of the current product in a compact package approximately one half the size.

The Nano-ITLA utilizes an ASIC control IC that reduces the size of the electronic control circuitry.  The laser can also be used separately with the ASIC mounted on the customer's circuit board.  Using both approaches, the Nano-ITLA is well suited for use in 400ZR small form factor pluggable coherent modules, including OSFP and DD-QSFP, and for compact daughter cards for 600G and 1.2T applications.

NeoPhotonics says that increasing the symbol rate to 64 Gbaud and using higher order modulation, such as 16 QAM to 64 QAM, can increase the data rate per wavelength to 400G or 600G for coherent communications, but will require the most stable, ultra-narrow linewidth laser sources.

"We are pleased to demonstrate our new ultra-compact Nano-ITLA at OFC.  By doing so, we are assuring our customers of the superior features of this uniquely capable laser, which enables the next generation of 400G and 600G compact optical modules.  This Nano-ITLA delivers all of the performance advantages our customers currently enjoy with our external cavity design, but with the laser size reduced by half," said Tim Jenks, Chairman and CEO of NeoPhotonics. "Shrinking the size while maintaining performance is made possible by our Advanced Hybrid Photonic Integration technology," concluded Mr. Jenks.

First 802.11ax Home Gateway ready for 6.5 Gbps Wi-Fi and 10G WAN

Qualcomm, KDDI, and NEC announced the shipment of the first draft 802.11ax home gateway product.

The unit, which is based on Qualcomm’s IPQ8072 family of 802.11ax chipsets and designed by NEC Platforms, envisions powerful home Wi-Fi networks capable of supporting bandwidth-hungry applications like video streaming services, and 4K/8K video and VR.


Qualcomm’s 802.11ax chipset can support up to 10 Gbps wide-area networks and up to 6.5 Gbps peak physical (PHY) layer rates on Wi-Fi. The 14 nanometer Wi-Fi system on chip (SoC) features advanced 8x8 sounding. Its MU-MIMO allows multiple users to be simultaneously connected to an access point.

“Qualcomm has been leading the market in the development of innovative 11ax solutions that solve consumers’ most pressing demands for better Wi-Fi and advanced user experiences,” said Rahul Patel, senior vice president and general manager, connectivity and networking, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Our 802.11ax solution is a testament to that innovation, powering the world’s first carrier-class home getaway with the industry’s highest performing 802.11ax chipset. As KDDI and NEC Platforms continue to push boundaries with this powerful solution, we are thrilled to be partnering with them to revolutionize Wi-Fi connectivity and deliver unmatched performance to their customers.”

Google plans free public Wi-Fi in Mexixo

Google is launching free public Wi-Fi at locations across Mexico.

Initially, Google Station will be available in 60+ high-traffic venues across Mexico City and nationwide, including airports, shopping malls and public transit stations. Google plans to reach 100+ locations before the end of the year.

Google already provides public Wi-Fi in India and Indonesia.

The tower companies will let us know when 5G rollouts gets real - part 2

Preamble: Network densification is a key premise of 5G architecture. Once the rollouts of 5G networks begin in earnest, we should expect to see many more cell sites in urban areas across the world, so one way to measure the progress of 5G rollouts will be to keep an eye on the companies that actually will handle the deployment of physical equipment on the streets.
American Tower is one of those companies.

At this week’s Mobile World Congress, American Tower, in partnership with Philips Lighting, is announcing a street ¬¬¬pole designed to meet the capacity challenges in dense urban centres. This “Smart Fusion Pole” combines LED street lighting with mobile connectivity. Integrated antennas are concealed and can support services from multiple mobile operators on a single pole. American Tower says the design is 5G and IoT ready.

The City of Huntington Beach, California will be the first to deploy this street pole from American Tower, which has an agreement with the city for exclusive access to 200 smart pole locations. It is a start.

Although we do not know the financial terms of such an agreement, cities will soon realize that the cost of upgrading their street infrastructure in an aesthetically pleasing fashion, in this case street lights, can be paid for by the mobile industry. If the public accepts it, we could soon see thousands of such street poles even in a fairly small and lightly populated (by world standards) city such as Huntington Beach (population 200,000).

So let’s say a tower operator has 5,000 fibre-connected street poles equipped for 5G in Huntington Beach. How much can they charge Sprint or Verizon or AT&T for monthly rent? And what impact will this have on the OPEX budget of mobile operators? Will 5G networks be more costly to operate and maintain than 4G?

Expansion in Mexico

In November, American Tower American Tower acquired a subsidiary of KIO Networks that controls more than 50,000 concrete poles and approximately 2,100 route miles of fiber. The purchase price was $500 million in cash. Most of these facilities are located in dense urban areas. Mexico’s population tends to be more urban than rural.

KIO Networks is one of the major data center operators in Mexico. The company is owned by Maria Asuncion Aramburuzabala, whose family holds investments in many industrial sectors of the country.



Mexico’s Red Compartida project

Mexico’s Red Compartida (shared network) project is a private-public initiative that aimed to break-up the dominance of America Movil by providing a shared infrastructure that would allow competition in mobile services to grow. Red Compartida is sometimes described as the largest construction of a new public access network in the world, although it is eclipsed by the FirstNet emergency response project in the U.S. The primary contractor for the project is ALTÁN Redes.

Key facts of the initiative include:

•   Red Compartida will only offer wholesale mobile services.

•   Red Compartida will build a new national network covering at least 92.2% of the population.

•   Red Compartida's largest investor at 33% is Marapendi Holding BV, an indirect subsidiary of North Haven Infrastructure Partners II, an infrastructure fund with a value-add strategy to invest in OECD countries around the world, managed by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure; Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec(CDPQ), one of North America's largest pension fund manager holds a 12.68% share; Mr. Miguel S. Escobedo holds a 9.35% share; and Mr. Eugenio Galdón, Chairman of Multitel, holds a 3.34% share.

•   Axtel and Megacable also hold a stake in ALTÁN Redes through a series of non-voting shares and without involvement in management; each has a participation of 4.01%.

•   In March, ALTÁN Redes selected Huawei and Nokia as turn-key technology providers for Red Compartida, a pure IP + LTE network.

•   Huawei technology will be used for central and southern Mexico (telecommunications regions 6 to 9), as well as providing the backbone.

•   Nokia's technology will be rolled out in the northern part of the country (regions 1 to 5). Nokia will also supply the network Core, which includes the Network Operation Center (NOC) and Security Operation Center (SOC).

As of 30-January-2018, ALTÁN Redes confirmed that the project was on target to begin operations with 30 percent coverage of Mexico’s population by 31-March-2018.

Presumably, American Tower’s newly acquired facilities will play some role, as that is the basis of the acquisition, but it remains to be seen how the economics of Red Compartida will ultimately play out. The key question ultimately is if smaller competitors will be able to challenge America Movil, and if AT&T Mexico will be able to participate in Red Compartida, and if so, to what extent it does so.

One interesting observation is the presence of Huawei as a principal vendor for Red Compartida – could that be an obstacle for AT&T Mexico?

NTT DOCOMO picks Ericsson’s virtual infrastructure manager

NTT DOCOMO will deploy Ericsson’s virtual infrastructure manager (VIM) solution at commercial sites in Japan.

The installation of Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment (CEE), which is based on OpenStack, is expected to improve installation, sanity testing, and deployment times for Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVi).

Ericsson said its Fulfillment-OSS NFVi Provisioning solution will significantly reduce manual CEE deployment time and will enable end-to-end and efficient project implementation across NTT DOCOMO’s network function virtualization platform system.

Chris Houghton, Head of Market Area North East Asia, Ericsson, says: “Cloud automation is rapidly gaining attention among service providers as they address their digital transformation needs. We have worked very closely with NTT DOCOMO in their NFV engagements to date, so we have a great deal of insight and understanding, as well as the technical and innovative leadership to drive their cloud automation provisioning.”

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