Monday, July 2, 2018

CableLabs sets Point-to-Point Coherent Optics spec

CableLabs completed and published its first Point-to-Point Coherent Optics specifications for fiber access networks. The specifications enable the development of interoperable transceivers using coherent optical technology over point-to-point links.

The new specs, support 100 Gbps per wavelength, a 10X increase over the previous 10 Gbps rate, include:

  • P2P Coherent Optics Architecture Specification 
  • P2P Coherent Optics Physical Layer v1.0 Specification 

Coherent Optics technology uses amplitude, phase, and polarization to enable much higher fiber capacities which can improve streaming, video conferencing, file uploads and downloads and future usage needs for technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.

“CableLabs Point-to-Point Coherent Optics takes the existing fiber access network to hyper speed, boosting fiber capacity to meet the growing demand of broadband customers,” said Phil McKinney, president and chief executive officer of CableLabs. “Over half a billion people rely on CableLabs technology every day, and this breakthrough not only increases the capacity of the existing fiber system by an order of magnitude, it opens up wavelength resources to improve network quality and reliability, enabling advancements in cellular and wireless services.”

This announcement closely follows the launch of the CableLabs’ Full Duplex DOCSIS® specification in 2017, reflecting the company’s ongoing commitment to the broadband consumer community, cable and fiber providers and other key industry stakeholders.

https://apps.cablelabs.com/specification/P2PCO-SP-PHYv1.0
https://www.cablelabs.com/point-to-point-coherent-optics-specifications/

Vodafone tests Voyager whitebox for packet/optical transport

Vodafone has conducted a live network trial of a whitebox packet/optical transport solution based on the Telecom Infra Project’s Voyager design.

Vodafone used the Voyager devices with a network OS by Cumulus Networks and a NetOS Software Defined Network orchestration from Zeetta Networks on a live network in Spain.

ADVA played a key role as one of the architects of the platform.

Cumulus said the trial demonstrated how a Voyager whitebox can be implemented over an existing optical infrastructure. The results of the trial include:
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver 800 Gbps per rack
  • Demonstrated ability to dynamically adapt the system modulation as fiber conditions changed
  • Proved that “a live network can set up optical services and keep them running” 
  • SDN-based optical commissioning (modulation, power, frequency) to 200 Gbps, 16QAM, and 100 Gbps quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) 
  • SDN-based optical real-time monitoring with automatic modulation adaptation from 200 Gbps, 16QAM to 100Gbit/s, QPSK maintaining connectivity with 50% capacity of traffic in the case of optical line degradation and reverting automatically to 16QAM when the degradation was fixed 
  • Upgrade of a legacy 10 Gbps-based legacy WDM system with 4 x 200 Gbps wavelengths for a total of 800 Gbps of extra capacity
"We wanted to show how Voyager's variable-rate transceivers can be used to match speeds and modulation formats with actual line conditions,” said Santiago Tenorio, Vodafone’s Group Head of Networks Strategy and Architecture. “Thanks to a streamlined network operating system and SDN automation, we showed how our live network can set-up optical services and keep them running, reduce unnecessary and lengthy customer service interruptions, and improve network utilization."

“The successful results from Vodafone’s live trial represent a significant step toward how optical networks will be designed in the future,” said JR Rivers, Co-founder and CTO at Cumulus Networks. “Cumulus has found success bringing disaggregation to the data center and we are now applying that model to optical networks, which haven’t been disrupted in decades. We believe buy-in from top providers like Vodafone validates the importance of shifting to a disaggregated model in telecommunications. By sharing the success of the trial, we hope to encourage other providers in the optical industry to consider the benefits of moving away from traditional vendor lock-in and embracing open alternatives.”

Cumulus Networks recently announced early access of Cumulus Linux for Voyager for NYSERNet, Internet2, GRnet and CESNET.

https://cumulusnetworks.com/products/voyager/

https://blog.advaoptical.com/en/vodafone-deploys-tips-voyager-in-a-live-network-trial-to-transform-optical-networks

Cincinnati Bell acquires Hawaiian Telcom

Cincinnati Bell completed its acquisition of Hawaiian Telcom, the leading integrated communications provider serving Hawaiʻi, and the state’s fiber-centric technology leader. The deal was first announced a year ago.

“Today marks a tremendous milestone for Cincinnati Bell and Hawaiian Telcom as we take an important step together toward expanding our portfolio of next-generation fiber offerings and securing fiber density value for our customers and shareholders,” said Leigh Fox, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cincinnati Bell. “Fiber density remains a key market differentiator in an increasingly competitive environment. By allowing us to better anticipate and capitalize on the fast-growing demand for strategic fiber offerings, this combination positions our company to be at the forefront of innovation in telecommunications and establishes a platform for future growth.”

An unlikely merger – Cincinnati Bell and Hawaiian Telcom

It is not a surprise to see another telecom acquisition. The industry perpetually moves toward consolidation whenever greater efficiencies can be found by bringing more users onto a common network. But among all likely buyers and sellers in the telecom world, this combination is surely a bit odd: Cincinnati Bell and Hawaiian Telcom. Geographically, Honolulu lies 4,428 miles (7,126 km) to the southwest of Cincinnati, a six-hour time difference and a big cultural gap. There won't be many opportunities for network consolidation, joint customer integration or operational synergies.

The deal is structured as a cash and stock transaction in which Cincinnati Bell will pay approximately $650 million, including the assumption of Hawaiian Telcom's net debt. The offer is a 26% premium to Hawaiian Telcom's closing price of $24.44 on July 7, 2017. Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will have the option to elect either $30.75 in cash, 1.6305 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock, or a mix of $18.45 in cash and 0.6522 shares of Cincinnati Bell common stock for each share of Hawaiian Telcom, subject to proration such that the aggregate consideration to be paid to Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will be 60% cash and 40% Cincinnati Bell common stock. Cincinnati Bell shareholders are the prevailing party. After closing Hawaiian Telcom stockholders will own approximately 15% and Cincinnati Bell stockholders will own approximately 85% of the combined company.

Sovereignty has long been a touchy issue for the Hawaiian Islands. In this case, Cincinnati Bell said it plans to preserve the Hawaiian Telcom brand identity. It also promises to preserve the jobs of Hawaiian Telcom's 1,300 employees, to maintain local management, to honour existing union labour agreements, and to name two Hawaii residents to the combined company’s board of directors. There is also a commitment to invest in Hawaiian Telcom's Next-Generation Fiber network statewide, although this is not quantified in the press materials with any dollar figure or budget plan.

Hawaiian Telcom has been to this dance before

Hawaiian Telcom traces its roots all the way back to 1883, when Hawaii’s King David Kalākaua granted a charter to Mutual Telephone Company, which was owned by Archibald Scott Cleghorn, father of Princess Ka'iulani. In the years after Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state, Mutual changed its name to Hawaiian Telephone Company and was never formally a part of the Bell System empire. In 1967, General Telephone & Electric Corporation (GTE) of Connecticut acquired the company and it was renamed to GTE Hawaiian Tel. This marked the first time the company was controlled from the mainland U.S. GTE eventually merged with Bell Atlantic to form Verizon Communications, at which point GTE Hawaiian Tel. was renamed Verizon Hawaii. By 2004, Verizon wanted out of non-strategic landline markets, including Hawaii, and so Verizon Hawaii was sold to The Carlyle Group for $1.65 billion in cash. At the time, Verizon Hawaii operated 707,000 switched wireline access lines and annual sales of about $610 million, operating income of $58 million and depreciation expense of $111 million. By this measure, the Cincinnati Bell acquisition price is less than half the price of 13 years ago.

In 2008, the company filed for bankruptcy protection. A two-year period of reorganisation followed. In 2010, Hawaiian Telcom became a publicly listed company. In 2011, Hawaiian Telcom was granted a cable TV license. One geographic advantage on being in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is that there is limited satellite TV coverage. This has led to a duopoly market shared with the Oceanic/Charter cable network. Compared to typical U.S. cities, Honolulu is a far denser metro area. It has approximately 300,000 households. With an initial focus on Honolulu, Hawaiian Telcom currently has about 43,000 residential video subscribers on its IPTV platform, which is based on the Ericsson Mediaroom solution, compared to approximately 310,000 subscribers for Oceanic cable statewide.

With its Fioptics service, Hawaiian Telcom is looking for much better market penetration, higher ARPU and lower churn. The fibre platform also enabled Hawaiian Telcom to launch the first Gigabit residential service in the islands in 2015. Presumably, the acquisition by Cincinnati Bell will bring much needed capital to continue the residential fibre in the rest of Honolulu and then to the other Hawaiian Islands.

A stake in the new SEA-US transpacific cable system

Hawaiian Telcom is a consortium partner in the new $250 million, 15,000-km Southeast Asia – U.S. (SEA-US) cable system, which is designed to bypass congested, earthquake-prone regions (Luzon Straight) on the transpacific route. It will deliver an initial 20 Tbit/s capacity when it enters service later this year. Cincinnati Bell noted that this ownership stake provides it with direct access to the 2.6 Tbit/s of transpacific capacity.

Cincinnati Bell's history also goes back a long way. The company traces its start to the 1870s, when it gained exclusive rights to the Bell franchise within a 25-mile (40-km) radius of Cincinnati. Under the unified Bell System, the company maintained a degree of autonomy because AT&T held a minority stake. Since the historic 1984 AT&T break-up, Cincinnati Bell has fiercely remained an independent company, resisting the merger fever that spread amongst Bell Atlantic, Bell South, Nynex, Pacific Bell and Southwestern Bell.

Apart from its landline business, Cincinnati Bell operated a GSM network serving southeastern Indiana, southwestern Ohio, and northwestern Kentucky from 1998 to 2015, when the network was sold to Verizon. Cincinnati Bell also owned approximately 9.5% of CyrusOne, the wholesale data centre operator. The remaining 2.8 million shares of CyrusOne were sold in Q1 2017 for $141 million, resulting in a $118 million gain for the company.

Cincinnati Bell has been a very well-managed company but like many incumbent operators has experience the long-term challenge of declining revenues for legacy services, which often offset growth in new services. The company has been on the lookout for attractive opportunities to increase revenues from strategic services (currently >50%) and to alleviated its relative geographic isolation. Cincinnati Bell is focused on its Fioptics residential FTTH service, which is now available to 545,200 addresses in its territory - approximately 68% of Greater Cincinnati. With the Hawaiian Telcom deal, the company is hoping the positive traction it has seen with its Fioptics residential service in Cincinnati can be replicated in Honolulu.

Alibaba Cloud develops an EMEA Ecosystem

Alibaba Cloud is launching an EMEA Ecosystem Partner Program for foster collaboration with customers and partners in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The Program will focus on four key areas: the development of digital transformation in targeted vertical industries, supporting talent development, advancing technology innovation and enhancing marketplaces.

Initial participants include Intel, Accenture, Hashicorp, Ecritel, Altran, Micropole and Linkbynet.

“Our goal in EMEA is to bring powerful and elastic cloud services to our customers and create a well-connected, comprehensive ecosystem with our partners to accelerate cloud technology development in the regional cloud industry,” said Yeming Wang, general manager of Alibaba Cloud EMEA.

“As a global cloud industry leader, Alibaba Cloud brings to EMEA cutting-edge cloud technologies and experience and expertise to drive innovations across various verticals. We aim to empower our customers as they undergo their own digital transformation which will greatly improve their business efficiency and ability to provide a positive experience for their customers,” Wang said.

Orange demos 5G home services with Samsung, Cisco

Orange has been conducting a multi-vendor 5G fixed wireless trial in Floresti, Cluj, Romania..

The trial makes use of Samsung's 5G solutions including the virtualized RAN, one of the smallest 5G access units and multiple indoor and outdoor 5G routers (CPE), as well as Cisco’s Meraki Z3 WiFi Router and Ultra Gateway Platform, which delivers a 5G virtual packet core on top of Cisco NFV Infrastructure that brings enhanced throughput and flexibility.

The trial, which has been underway for a month and a half across multiple homes in Floresti, uses 26 GHz spectrum, massive MIMO and beamforming technologies.
The companies report coverage beyond 1 km at 1 Gbps speed for a single user in real live conditions. Measurements in these conditions also show aggregated cell downlink throughputs of 3 Gbps with few users, although the system capacity is significantly higher.

Orange is also testing Samsung’s Connectivity Node installed on a streetlamp to provide wireless connectivity for temperature and humidity sensors and security cameras. Sensors and cameras are connected wirelessly to the node, which is then connected to the core network via 5G. The Connectivity Node is a compact, high-capacity, easy-to-install and economical alternative for places where wireline deployment is unfeasible or costly.

SUSE sold to EQT for $2.35 billion -- enterprise Linux

EQT, a major international investment firm, has acquired SUSE from Micro Focus for US$2.535 billion.

SUSE, which is based in Nuremberg, Germany, is a leading provider of enterprise-grade, open source Linux solutions. The company was founded in 1992. It was acquired by Novell in 2003. Subsequently, Novell was acquired by The Attachmate Group, which later merged with UK-based Micro Focus.  SUSE is an acronym standing for Software- und System-Entwicklung.

SUSE CEO Nils Brauckmann says the company will move to the next stage of its corporate evolution and operate globally as an independent company. SUSE expects staffing, customer relationships, partnerships, product and service offering, commitment to open source leadership and support for the key open source communities to remain unchanged.

“Today is an exciting day in SUSE’s history. By partnering with EQT, we will become a fully independent business,” said Nils Brauckmann, SUSE CEO. “The next chapter in SUSE’s development will continue, and even accelerate the momentum generated over recent years. Together with EQT we will benefit both from further investment opportunities and having the continuity of a leadership team focused on securing long-term profitable growth combined with a sharp focus on customer and partner success. The current leadership team has managed SUSE through a period of significant growth, and now, with continued investment in technology innovation and go to market capability, will further develop SUSE’s momentum going forward.”

Apstra Live Cisco Live Automating Lifecycle Data Center

Carly Stoughton, Head of Technical Marketing at Apstra, illustrates how Apstra AOS handles the entire data center network lifecycle, including Day 2 operations.




Dell plots return to public market, VMware to pay $11 billion dividend

Dell Technologies will return to the public equity market by offering a new class of publicly listed common stock in exchange for existing Dell Technologies Class V tracking stock. The Class V stockholders will have the option to elect $109 in cash consideration per Class V share, up to $9 billion in aggregate, which represents a 29% premium to the Class V closing share price immediately prior to announcement.

As part of the plan, the Board of Directors of VMware announced an $11 billion one-time special dividend pro-rata to all VMware stockholders.

Michael Dell, who currently owns 72% of Dell Technologies common shares, stated: “I am proud to lead this great company into its next chapter as we continue to evolve and grow to the benefit of our customers, partners, investors and team members. Unprecedented data growth is fueling the digital era of IT, and we are uniquely positioned with our portfolio of technologies and services to enable the digital, IT, security and workforce transformations of our customers. Most importantly, I remain deeply committed to this company and working with our world-class team to build the long-term value of Dell Technologies and its businesses.”

Pat Gelsinger, chief executive officer, VMware commented, “We are pleased to be in a position to return capital to stockholders through this one-time special dividend, which is the result of the exceptional performance of our business and our broad-based portfolio’s strong cash flow generation. We remain laser focused on our strategy to deliver innovative software that drives customer success as a strategic and growing independent entity.”

Regarding VMware's status, Michael Dell, who is chairman of the VMware Board as well as the Dell Board, stated: “VMware has thrived as part of the Dell Technologies family and has seen tremendous traction and strategic relevance with all customers, resulting in significant revenue growth and financial performance. After the transaction concludes, I am looking forward to VMware’s continued independent status, strategy and capital allocation policy for organic investment, M&A and shareholder returns."

https://www.vmware.com/company/news/releases/vmw-newsfeed.VMware-Announces-One-Time-Special-Dividend-to-Stockholders.2205706.html

Marvell gets Chinese regulatory approval for Cavium acquisition

China's State Administration for Market Regulation has approved the Marvell's previously announced merger transaction with Cavium.

Marvell currently expects the merger to close in July 2018.

Marvell to acquire Cavium for $6 billion

Marvell Technology Group Ltd., which is a leading supplier of HDD and SSD storage controllers along with wireless and Ethernet components, agreed to acquire Cavium for $40.00 per share in cash and 2.1757 Marvell common shares for each Cavium share, representing a transaction value of $6 billion. Current Cavium shareholders would own approximately 25% of the combined company.

Cavium, which is based in San Jose, California, offers a portfolio of multi-core processing, networking communications, storage connectivity and security silicon solutions. For Q3 2017, Cavium reported net revenue of $252.0 million, a 4.1% sequential increase from the $242.1 million reported in the second quarter of 2017, and a GAAP net loss of $6.2 million, or ($0.09) per diluted share.

Marvell,  which is based in nearby Santa Clara, California but has its corporate headquarters in Bermuda, was founded in 1995 and has over 5,000 employees and over 9,000 patents. For its most recent fiscal quarter, Marvell reported sales of $605 million, and GAAP net income from continuing operations of $135 million, or $0.26 per share. The company underwent a restructuring in October 2016.

Marvell said the acquisition will give it scale and breadth to deliver end-to-end solutions across the cloud data center, enterprise and service provider markets.

A10 Networks completes internal investigation

A10 Networks completed its previously announced investigation into certain past accounting practices.

In a public statement, A10 Networks said the investigation uncovered errors in its financial statements relating to the recognition of revenue in a limited number of sale transactions between the company and its resellers, but that these errors do not have an impact on the aggregate amount of revenue recognized by the company. The company does, however, expect to shift the timing of recognition of revenue among certain quarterly periods.

In short, A10 said its total revenue was overstated by approximately $1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2016, overstated by approximately $3 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, and understated by approximately $4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017. The company’s Net Loss was understated by approximately $1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2016, understated by approximately $2 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, and overstated by

More information is posted on the company's website.

https://investors.a10networks.com/news/default.aspx

See also