Monday, October 1, 2018

AT&T releases spec for White Box Cell Site Gateway Router

AT&T published specifications for a "white box" cell site gateway router designed to serve its backhaul transport requirements in its next-gen network. AT&T has previously disclosed plans to deploy up to 60,000 such routers at cell towers over the next few years. The specs, which are being released to the Open Compute Project, could be used by network vendors as reference designs. AT&T is developing its own network operating system software, based on technology from its Vyatta acquisition, to control and manage the white box hardware.

“This transformation is about meeting the surging data demands of our customers as we head into this 5G world,” said Chris Rice, senior vice president, Network Cloud and Infrastructure at AT&T. “Data traffic on our wireless network has grown 360,000% since 2007. We now carry more than 222 petabytes of data on an average business day. The old hardware model simply can’t keep up, and we need to get faster and more efficient. We believe this white box approach helps us meet that demand while allowing us and others now to innovate faster than ever before.”

AT&T said its white box could be coupled with a separate, disaggregated software solution. This creates several advantages:
  • It decouples hardware from software, so providers have freedom to choose software implementations that best support their business and operational models.
  • It is designed to support a wide range of speeds on the client side including 100M/1G needed for legacy Baseband Unit systems and next generation 5G Baseband Unit systems operating at 10G/25G and backhaul speeds up to 100G.
  • It is designed to operate at industrial temperature ranges (-40C to +65C).
  • It features the Broadcom Qumran-AX switching chip with deep buffers to support advanced features and QOS.
  • It includes a baseboard management controller (BMC) for platform health status monitoring and recovery.
  • It includes a powerful CPU for network operating software.
  • It has timing circuitry that supports a variety of inputs and outputs to meet the evolving timing requirements and implementations in the 5G technology evolution.

“We’re very excited to be contributing our hardware specification to the Open Compute Project” said Michael Satterlee, vice president of Network Infrastructure and Services at AT&T Labs. “We’ve future-proofed it with high-speed interfaces and density, timing features, Quality of Service capabilities, and a powerful processor. We’re confident other mobile service providers will look at this spec and conclude, like us, that this platform can meet their needs.”

“Our product development and quality assurance processes are structured to ensure we deliver a reliable, feature-rich, and secure product into our production network” said Ken Duell, assistant vice president of Packet Edge Development at AT&T Labs. “We take our time and do it right because we know the stakes are high. We’re on track to meet the commitment made earlier this year to begin First Field Applications (FFA) this calendar year and in time refreshing our entire base of over 60,000 cell site routers to this new white box implementation.”

https://about.att.com/story/2018/5g_cell_specifications.html

The DANOS Project promises a Unified Network Operating System

The Linux Foundation will host a new Disaggregated Network Operating System (DANOS) project to enable community collaboration across network hardware, forwarding and operating system layers.

DANOS is initially based on AT&T’s “dNOS” software framework of an open, cost-effective and flexible alternative to traditional networking operating systems.

A first code release is expected the second half of 2018.

“We are pleased to welcome DANOS to The Linux Foundation community of open, collaborative innovation,” said Arpit Joshipura, General Manager of Networking, The Linux Foundation. “DANOS will provide an open NOS framework that leverages existing open source resources and complementary platforms such as switches and white box routers. We invite others in the broader ecosystem to join the effort to accelerate innovation and creation of an industry-standard disaggregated NOS.”

“As far as we know, DANOS is an industry first: an open-source, carrier-grade operating system for wide area networks,” said John Medamana, Vice President, Packet Optical Network, AT&T. “DANOS is a milestone for us and the industry, and we’re excited to see how developers and other users implement and build upon it.”

“ONF has been a champion of disaggregation, white boxes and open source and in this regard, we are happy to see DANOS launched as a carrier-grade, open source network OS for white boxes,” said Guru Parulkar, Executive Director, ONF. “We are looking forward to DANOS and ONF’s recent open source platform Stratum, thin switch OS, working together.”

AT&T’s whitepaper on the dNOS framework is available here: http://about.att.com/content/dam/innovationblogdocs/att-routing-nos-open-architecture_FINAL%20whitepaper.pdf

Infinera completes its acquisition of Coriant

Infinera completed its previously-announced acquisition of Coriant. Under the deal, which was announced on July 23, 2018, Infinera issued 20,975,384 shares of its common stock and will pay an aggregate amount of cash consideration consisting of approximately $230 million, of which approximately $154 million was paid upon closing.

Infinera said the acquisition significantly increases its revenue and customer base. The newly combined company serves nine of the top 10 global network operators and the top six global internet content providers as customers. The combined portfolio includes end-to-end packet optical network solutions for communications service providers and internet content providers.

“This is an exciting day for Infinera. The acquisition of Coriant is a major milestone, expanding the scope of our vertical integration strategy across a powerful suite of packet optical solutions for our customers,” said Tom Fallon, Infinera CEO. “The acquisition immediately strengthens our ability to serve a global customer base and accelerates delivery of the innovative solutions our customers demand.”

Infinera to acquire Coriant for $430 million

Infinera agreed to acquire privately-held Coriant, creating one of the world’s largest optical network equipment providers. Infinera will pay approximately $150 million in cash at closing, and estimated additional amounts of $25 million in the two quarters post-closing and $55 million over a period of years. Infinera will issue approximately 21 million shares, which when combined with the cash consideration, results in total transaction consideration of approximately $430 million. Coriant’s majority owner, Oaktree Capital Management, will be compensated largely in stock. Post-transaction, Oaktree will own approximately 12 percent of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.

Infinera said the acquisition significantly scales the company as the next wave of global network spending begins as operators transform their networks from 4G to 5G, from Optical Transport Network (OTN) to packet and from closed to open network architectures. The company also says its vertically integrated business model delivers higher performance at lower cost for customers and higher profit margins for stockholders. The acquisition approximately doubles Infinera’s revenue and expands the company’s customer base to serve nine of the top 10 global network operators (five new to Infinera) and the top six global internet content providers (three new to Infinera).

“Acquiring Coriant is a fantastic opportunity, strengthening our ability to serve the world’s largest network operators, accelerating our ability to leverage vertical integration and reinforcing our commitment to our long-term business model,” said Tom Fallon, Infinera CEO. “This powerful combination immediately benefits our combined customers by delivering the innovative technology required for the next wave of network spending.”

“Joining forces with Infinera accelerates our vision of transforming next-generation networks with best-in-class innovation,” said Pat DiPietro, CEO and Vice Chairman of Coriant. “The combined company will benefit from Coriant’s significant investments in software automation and open, disaggregated solutions, which have gained significant traction and wide-scale adoption by customers around the world.”

The companies also noted:

  • Coriant invested nearly $1 billion in research and development over the last five years to significantly advance its portfolio to address the growing demand for software automation and open, disaggregated platforms. 
  • Approximately 70% of Coriant's product revenue in 2017 (~80% projected in 2018) came from solutions that are new or have been refreshed in the last three years. 
  • Coriant has over 80 trials in progress or have been completed to date in 2018 for Coriant’s suite of new products and automation tools. 
  • Coriant’s SDN orchestrator Maestro has been deployed operationally at one of the two largest Tier 1 service providers in North America. 
  • Coriant has added more than 20 new customers to date in 2018, seven of which are driving more than $1 million in annual revenue.
  • Infinera recently upgraded its portfolio based on its Infinite Capacity Engine (ICE4). 
  • The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions. 

Coriant was formed in 2013 by private equity firm Marlin Equity Partners, combining Nokia Siemens Networks, Tellabs and Sycamore Networks.

http://investors.infinera.com/home/default.aspx




Ajit Pai's 5G FAST Plan

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai outlined his strategy for pushing the U.S. into a leadership position with a "5G FAST Plan". There are three key components: (1) pushing more spectrum into the marketplace; (2) updating infrastructure policy; and (3) modernizing outdated regulations.

These are summarized by the FCC as follows.

Spectrum

  • High-band: The FCC has made auctioning high-band, millimeter-wave spectrum a priority.  The FCC will hold its first 5G spectrum auctions this year in the 28 GHz and 24 GHz bands.  In 2019, the FCC will auction the upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands.  With these auctions, the FCC will release almost 5 gigahertz of 5G spectrum into the market—more than all other flexible use bands combined.  And we are working to free up another 2.75 gigahertz of 5G spectrum in the 26 and 42 GHz bands.
  • Mid-band: Mid-band spectrum has become a target for 5G buildout given its balanced coverage and capacity characteristics.  With our work on the 2.5 GHz, 3.5 GHz, and 3.7-4.2 GHz bands, we could make up to 844 megahertz available for 5G deployments.
  • Low-band: The FCC is acting to improve use of low-band spectrum (useful for wider coverage) for 5G services, with targeted changes to the 600 MHz, 800 MHz, and 900 MHz bands.
  • Unlicensed: Recognizing that unlicensed spectrum will be important for 5G, the agency is creating new opportunities for the next generation of Wi-Fi in the 6 GHz and above 95 GHz band.

Infrastructure Policy

  • Speeding Up Federal Review of Small Cells: The FCC adopted new rules that will reduce federal regulatory impediments to deploying the small-cell infrastructure needed for 5G (as opposed to large cell towers) and help to expand the reach of 5G for faster, more reliable wireless service.
  • Speeding Up State and Local Review of Small Cells: The FCC has reformed rules designed decades ago to accommodate small cells.  

Modernizing Outdated Regulations

  • Restoring Internet Freedom: To lead the world in 5G, the United States needs to encourage investment and innovation while protecting Internet openness and freedom.  The FCC adopted the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which sets a consistent national policy for Internet providers.
  • One-Touch Make-Ready: The FCC has updated its rules governing the attachment of new network equipment to utility poles in order to reduce cost and speed up the process for 5G backhaul deployment.
  • Speeding the IP Transition: The FCC has revised its rules to make it easier for companies to invest in next-generation networks and services instead of the fading networks of the past.
  • Business Data Services: In order to incentivize investment in modern fiber networks, the FCC updated rules for high-speed, dedicated services by lifting rate regulation where appropriate.
  • Supply Chain Integrity: The FCC has proposed to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to purchase equipment or services from companies that pose a national security threat to the integrity of American communications networks or the communications supply chain.

Cisco completes acquisition of Duo Security

Cisco completed its acquisition of Duo Security, a privately-held company headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for $2.35 billion in cash and assumed equity awards.

Duo Security specializes in unified access security and multi-factor authentication delivered through the cloud. Duo Security's solution verifies the identity of users and the health of their devices before granting them access to applications.

Cisco said the acquisition enables it to extend intent-based networking into multicloud environments. Cisco currently provides on-premises network access control via its Identity Services Engine (ISE) product. Duo's software as a service-based (SaaS) model will be integrated with Cisco ISE to extend ISE to provide cloud-delivered application access control. Duo's technology will also add trusted identity awareness into Cisco's Secure Internet Gateway, Cloud Access Security Broker, Enterprise Mobility Management, and several other cloud-delivered products.

Duo CEO and co-founder Dug Song and team are joining Cisco's Networking and Security business led by EVP and GM David Goeckeler.

BT Group transfers 31,000 employees to Openreach

BT Group officially transferred 31,000 employees to Openreach, the final step in establishing Openreach as a legally separate business.

"This is an on ongoing process, and success requires continued commitment to the right behaviours, as well as transparency on how the arrangements are working in practice. We are committed to working with the regulator and industry to ensure customers up and down the country get the connectivity and customer service they deserve," stated BT Group Chief Executive Gavin Patterson.

In addition, as of today, BT’s ‘Northern Ireland Networks’ division will be rebranded ‘Openreach Northern Ireland’.

Openreach commits to "Fibre First" for the UK

Openreach announced plans to accelerate its rollout of Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) across the UK.

The new "Fibre First Programme" represents a strategic shift in the way that Openreach thinks about last mile infrastructure. Going forward, the company will seek to deploy "fibre first" wherever possible, including in rural areas.

Openreach said its new goal is to reach three million homes and businesses by the end of 2020. The programme will start in a few months in an initial eight cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, London, and Manchester.

Reaching an all-fibre network across the UK is a massive and Openreach said the full rollout may take decades.

Satellite companies form C-Band Alliance to advance U.S. mid-band spectrum for 5G

A new C-Band Alliance has been formed by leading satellite companies, including Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat, and Telesat with a goal of making mid‐band spectrum available for 5G services in the United States.

The CBA will act as a facilitator, as described in a recent FCC proceeding featuring the companies’ market-based proposal to clear a portion of C-band spectrum in the United States.

The market-based proposal, which was approved by the FCC in July 2018, aims to protect the quality and reliability of the extensive services provided by satellite operators in the C-band spectrum to U.S. broadcasters, media, and data companies. The proposal establishes a commercial and technical framework that would enable terrestrial mobile operators to quickly access spectrum in a portion of the 3,700 to 4,200 MHz frequency band in the U.S., speeding the deployment of next-generation 5G services.

The CBA will undertake the technical and commercial implementation of the spectrum clearing process.

The CBA will be led by Bill Tolpegin, currently CEO of OTA Broadcasting, who will serve as Chief Executive Officer of CBA. Media sector veteran Preston Padden will serve as Head of Advocacy and Government Relations.


FCC looks to open 3.7 and 4.2 GHz for 5G

The Federal Communications Commission has identified up to 500 megahertz of mid-band spectrum between 3.7 and 4.2 GHz that could be open for 5G wireless services.

A newly adopted FCC order sets forth several steps toward making more mid-band spectrum available for terrestrial fixed and mobile broadband use.  Specifically, the Order will require Fixed Satellite Service earth stations operating in the 3.7-4.2 GHz band to certify the accuracy of existing registration and license information and will collect additional information from space station licensees on their operations in the band to assist the Commission and commenters in developing a clearer understanding of how the band is currently being used.  The Commission will then use this information to evaluate the most efficient way to drive the deployment of mid-band spectrum for mobile services and more intensive fixed services.

The FCC said its Notice also proposes to add a mobile (except aeronautical mobile) allocation to all 500 megahertz in the band and seeks comment on various proposals for transitioning part or all of the band for flexible use, working up from 3.7 GHz, including market-based, auction, and alternative mechanisms.  The Notice also seeks comment on allowing more intensive point-to-multipoint fixed use in some portion of the band, on a shared basis, working down from 4.2 GHz and on how to define and protect incumbent users from harmful interference, and it seeks comment on service and technical rules that would enable efficient and intensive use by any new services in the band.

Intel touts new Xeon server performance benchmarks

Intel reported 95 new performance world records for its Xeon Scalable processors as achieved in servers from major original equipment manufacturers, ranging from single-socket systems up to eight-socket systems.

The new performance benchmarks were achieved in a variety of server platforms, ranging from general computing workloads running on single-socket systems to advanced technical computing and big data analytics workloads running on eight-socket systems. All systems tested include mitigations for Spectre and Meltdown.

“I’m extremely proud of the 95 world record performance benchmarks that our partners have delivered, but even more delighted to see the real-world performance that our customers are achieving on the fastest ramping Intel Xeon processor family in history,”
stated Lisa Spelman, vice president and general manager of Intel Xeon products and data center marketing.

Last week, Intel CFO and Interim CEO, Bob Swan, disclosed that its data-centric businesses grew 25 percent through June, and cloud revenue grew a whopping 43 percent in the first six months of the year. Responding to increasing demand for server and PC processors, Intel updated its CAPEX guidance for the year, saying it now plans to invest a record $15 billion in capital expenditures in 2018, up approximately $1 billion from the beginning of the year. Intel is investing $1 billion into its 14nm manufacturing sites in Oregon, Arizona, Ireland and Israel. Swan also cited progress with 10nm, stating that volume production will begin in 2019.

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/benchmarks/server/xeon-scalable/1st-gen-xeon-world-record.html

Dell'Oro: Network Security Appliance market growing at 9% clip

Network Security Appliance market revenue grew nine percent year-over-year in 2Q 2018, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group.

"The Firewall –Enterprise segment again realized robust growth in 2Q 2018, increasing 15 percent year-over-year to record levels," said Casey Quillin, Director at Dell'Oro Group. "Networks now require protection against numerous vulnerabilities, from securing connectivity for multiple users and device types to mitigating the risks of delivering disparate applications in hybrid Cloud environments. New products addressing, especially those with application-aware or next generation functionality, are driving high-end firewall revenue growth," Quillin continued.

Some highlights:

  • The top Firewall –Enterprise vendors in ranking order are Cisco, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet, Check Point, Huawei, and Juniper.
  • The Application Delivery Controller market revenue increased four percent year-over-year and unit shipments were up two percent.
  • Virtual WAN Optimization market was flat year-over-year for the third consecutive quarter. Revenue growth in virtual appliances could not offset declines in physical appliance sales.

GTT Acquires Access Point, a service provider in North Carolina

GTT Communications has acquired Access Point, a provider of communication services headquartered in Cary, North Carolina for $40 million. GTT paid $35 million in cash and 115,194 shares valued at $5 million.

“Access Point’s strong client relationships in key vertical markets make it a compelling strategic fit for GTT,” said Rick Calder, GTT president and CEO. “We expect a rapid integration as we work with our new clients to deliver on our purpose of connecting people across organizations, around the world and to every application in the cloud.”

"With GTT, Access Point customers now have access to one of the industry’s largest Tier 1 global IP networks and a broad portfolio of cloud networking services backed by a commitment to providing outstanding service that mirrors our own,” said Richard Brown, Access Point CEO. “We value the loyalty of our customers, and we look forward to providing them an even more robust set of communication services as we integrate swiftly with GTT."


Guo Ping takes his turn as chair of Huawei

Mr. Guo Ping has taken over the position of Rotating and Acting Chairman of Huawei. He will serve from October 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019 as the company's top leader, and head the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee.

Guo has worked at Huawei since 1988 and has served as R&D Project Manager, General Manager of Supply Chain, Director of Huawei Executive Office, Chief Legal Officer, President of the Business Process & IT Mgmt Dept, President of the Corporate Development Dept, Chairman and President of Huawei Device, Rotating CEO of Huawei, and Chairman of the FC.

IEEE launches Ethics Certification Program for AI

IEEE and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) are launching an the Ethics Certification Program for Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (ECPAIS).

The idea is to offer a process and define a series of marks by which organizations can seek certified A/IS products, systems and services.

“It becomes more and more evident that consumers and citizens of the world are expecting technology to conform with ethical principles beyond functionality,” said Konstantinos Karachalios, managing director of IEEE-SA. “IEEE is one of the first global organizations to recognize the importance of certified accountability, transparency and reduction of algorithmic bias as being a critical enabler for A/IS value realization. This is also why the formation of ECPAIS complements the series of our IEEE P7000™ standard projects, along with all our A/IS Ethics work.”

“Today’s technology ecosystem calls for solutions that secure fair and transparent A/IS development, and Finland is at the forefront of key global efforts to move ethical A/IS from principles to pragmatism through close public-private partnership,” noted Meeri Haataja, chair of Ethics Working Group in Finland’s AI Program, and chair of ECPAIS. “Moving forward, A/IS need certifiable processes supported by a trusted organization that establishes easily identifiable marks, in order to signal high levels of reliability and safety to the general public. As chair of this groundbreaking IEEE program, I am honored to more broadly share and further incentivize Finland’s, and Europe’s, forward-thinking push to secure certifiably ethical A/IS.”

See also