Thursday, October 17, 2019

Now Available: 2019 Next Gen Network Automation site and report



The dream of fully automated networks has been with us for decades, but with the rise of machine learning and virtualized network architecture, the industry finally appears ready to step ahead with Next Gen Network Automation.

In this series of videos, we speak with the thought leaders who are redefining the concept of automation. This 4-minute overview video gives us some high-level definitions:



  • Arpit Joshipura, The Linux Foundation
  • Partho Mishra,  Cumulus
  • Jeff Gray, Gluware
  • Prasanth Shenoy, Cisco
  • Chris Wade, Itential
  • Gerhard Wieser, FRINX
  • Mansour Karam, Apstra
  • Dr. Junlan Fang, China Mobile
  • Chris Rice, AT&T


See our full series of Thought Leadership videos, and download the exclusive report from our partner AvidThink, at https://nginfrastructure.com/network-automation/

BT’s new automation platform accelerates journey to SD-WAN

BT has launched a new Service and Network Automation Platform (SNAP) designed to help customers innovate using SD-WAN and network functions virtualisation (NFV) technologies.

The unique platform sits at the heart of BT’s global network and leverages SD-WAN controllers from Cisco and Nuage Networks. SNAP also works with Cisco’s Network Services Orchestrator. SNAP uses open source software and industry-standard languages including YANG for network modelling and TOSCA for service definition and VNF service chaining. Control commands can now cascade through BT’s systems taking effect within minutes, something that previously could take weeks.

BT said it plans to extend orchestration from its core network to major third-party cloud data centres and all the way into customers’ local area networks (LAN) and data centre LANs (DC-LANs). This will provide end-to-end applications visibility, control and configuration from customers’ laptops and devices through to servers in the cloud.

BT has pooled its SD-WAN and NFV expertise and key skills into a new Centre of Excellence (CoE). The CoE supports the full life cycle of customers’ SD-WAN or NFV services, collaborating across design and deployment to operations. The integrated team is backed with a programme of investment in training and tools in areas such as YANG, Netconf and TOSCA — new skills that are in very short supply.

Keith Langridge, vice president of network services at BT, said: “We’re investing to make it easier for our customer to take advantage of the latest networking technologies and cloud. Our new Service and Network Automation Platform and Centre of Excellence help customers tap into our wealth of know-how and experience in SDN and NFV. We have created a unique environment in which customers can deploy the latest software-defined services alongside their underlying network technologies. This transforms their experience of the journey to SD-WAN and makes the promise of software-defined services an operational reality.”

https://www.btireland.com/company/communications/bt-ireland-blog/authors/steve-coakley/new-automation-platform-accelerates-journey-to-sdwan

Ericsson: 5G is taking off faster than earlier anticipated

Citing strong growth in North America and North East Asia, Ericsson reported Q3 2019 sales of SEK 57.1 (53.8) billion (US$5.88 billion), up 3% when adjusted for comparable units and currency, and up 6% on a reported basis. Operating income was SEK 6.5 billion (11.4% operating margin) when excluding restructuring charges and items affecting comparability.  Net income was SEK -6.9 (2.7) billion.

Ericsson now has 27 commercial 5G contracts with named operators.

At its Investor Day in Stockholm, Ericsson expressed confidence in reaching 2020 and 2022 financial targets.


Some comments from Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson:

We continue to see strong momentum in our business, based on the strategy to increase our investments for technology leadership, including 5G. We saw organic sales growth[1] of 3% in the quarter, driven by the early adopters of 5G, in North America and North East Asia. Our operating income was SEK 6.5 b., corresponding to a margin of 11.4% excluding restructuring costs, the SEC and DOJ provision of USD -1.2 b. (SEK -11.5 b.) and the refund of social security costs of SEK 0.9 b. Free cash flow before M&A was SEK 5.5 (0.7) b. adding to our strong financial position.

Our focused strategy, introduced in 2017, is aimed at building a stronger Ericsson longer term. With clear focus on our operator customers the strategy stands on a foundation of increased investments in R&D for technology and cost leadership, and growing market footprint. Increased R&D efforts, which will continue, have resulted in a competitive portfolio driving improved gross margin. In addition, we have been able to record several important wins improving market footprint for future business. We are disciplined in the deals we take and target opportunities where we have a clear competitive advantage through technology leadership, supported by our improved cost structure in hardware and software. While we believe the strategic contracts are attractive long term, the initial margins may be challenging. This is due to high associated costs as operators change vendors.

An important indicator for our execution of the strategy is the improvement in gross margin. The gross margin[2] in the quarter ended at 37.8% compared with 36.9% last year and 36.7% last quarter. Within the 0.8 percentage point[3] sequential decline in Networks gross margin, we have absorbed the margin impact and inventory provisions related to strategic contracts.

The largest market for 5G infrastructure will be China where deployments are expected to start near term. We have invested to increase our market share, however it is still too early to assess possible volumes and price levels. Based on historic experience we expect to have challenging margins initially but positive margins over the lifespan of a contract.

With an organic sales growth[1] of 4%, segment Networks delivered another solid quarter, with strong development in North America. Operating margin improved YoY, with continued good traction for the Ericsson Radio System.

The turnaround of Digital Services is on track for low single digit margins in 2020. Driven by strong improvement in the underlying business, the losses were substantially reduced QoQ, in spite of a negative impact from the remainder of the 45 critical contracts of SEK 0.5 b. (slightly more than in the second quarter). The negative impact of these contracts will continue to vary between quarters as they are addressed. We continue to focus on developing a full 5G and cloud-native portfolio. It is encouraging to see that the sales growth in our new product portfolio improved from 13% to 19% rolling 12 months.

5G is taking off faster than earlier anticipated and we see initial 5G buildout as a capacity enhancer in metropolitan areas. However, over time, new exciting innovations for 5G will come with industrial and IoT use cases, leveraging the speed, latency and security characteristics of 5G. This provides opportunities for our customers to capture new revenues as they provide additional benefits to consumers and businesses.

Our IoT business is growing almost twice as fast as the estimated market growth of 20-25% per year. We have more than 4,500 enterprises on our IoT platform and the number of connected devices on the platform has more than doubled year to date. To fully leverage our position and capture new recurring revenue streams we are increasing our investments in IoT within Emerging Business. With this investment, we do not expect to reach breakeven for the segment next year, and instead incur losses of SEK -1.5 to -2.0 b.


https://www.ericsson.com/4a98ea/assets/local/investors/documents/2019/ericsson-investor-update-2019.pdf

Korea’s LG U+ selects Ericsson for RAN and core #5G NSA

South Korea-based LG U+ has selected Ericsson as a 5G radio access network (RAN) vendor for its 3.5 GHz Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G network. Ericsson has already been selected by LG U+ as a preferred 5G core network vendor.

This first 5G RAN contract with LG U+ sees Ericsson deploying 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software from Ericsson Radio System (part of Ericsson’s 5G platform).

RAN deployment got underway in October 2019. Ericsson solutions are going commercially live as they are deployed in the LG U+ network.

The new RAN deal means that Ericsson now has commercial 5G RAN contracts with all three major communication service providers in Korea.

Daehee Kim, Vice President, Network Strategy, LG U+, says: “We are delighted to have Ericsson as a trusted 5G Core and 5G RAN vendor. Ericsson’s end-to-end 5G technology leadership is key to ramping-up our nationwide 5G ambitions in Korea. Ericsson will help us to deliver the very best enhanced mobile broadband experiences for our subscribers, as well as opening up innovation and job creation opportunities through the Internet of Things (IoT), Industry 4.0 and digitalized society.”

Hakan Cervell, Head of Ericsson Korea, Ericsson, says: “We’re working in close partnership with LG U+ to strengthen its 5G network in Korea. We look forward to building the partnership to help LG U+ meet its 5G needs as its subscriber base grows across enhanced mobile broadband, IoT, and Industry 4.0. We’re also delighted to now be working with all three communication providers in Korea to use our 5G abilities to keep the country at the forefront of 5G innovation and benefits.”

Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT is forecasting that says the number of 5G subscriptions his pass the five million mark by the end of 2019.

Corelight raises $50m for network traffic analysis in the cloud

Corelight, a start-up based in San Francisco, announced an additional $50 million in Series C financing for its network traffic analysis (NTA) solutions for cybersecurity.

Corelight was founded by Dr. Vern Paxson (a Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley and Chief Scientist at Corelight), Robin Sommer (CTO) and Seth Hall (Chief Evangelist) to deliver network visibility solutions for cybersecurity built on an open source framework called Zeek (formerly Bro). Paxson began developing Zeek in 1995 when he was working at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). The software is now widely regarded as the gold standard for both NSM and network traffic analysis (NTA) and has been deployed by thousands of organizations around the world.

The new Series C financing was led by Insight Partners and its first capital investor, Accel.

“What makes our data first security approach so powerful is the global community behind it,” said Greg Bell, CEO of Corelight. “That community generously contributes new detections, parsers, and other capabilities for the benefit of all defenders. In addition to helping Corelight accelerate commercial progress, the new investment will enable us to engage and serve our community at a higher level. Belief in this joint vision is a key driver for the partnership with Insight and Accel, two renowned and experienced firms.”

Corelight has raised a total of $84 million to date, with investment from General Catalyst, Accel, Osage University Partners and Riverbed Technology Co-founder Dr. Steve McCanne in previous rounds. The company has more than doubled in size since its Series B in September 2018.

https://www.corelight.com

Cumulus Networks targets latest release at campus networks

Cumulus Networks announced availability of Cumulus Linux and NetQ for enterprises looking to extend the benefits of open and disaggregated networking from their data centers to their campus networks using a single fabric.

The new version adds several critical features for campus settings:

  • 802.1x for authentication and security
  • Automation
  • Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  • 1G and MultiGig campus switches
  • Voice VLAN
  • L2/L3 switching
  • MLAG
  • EVPN/VXLAN

Cumulus said it is working with Dell EMC to offer a uniform operating model that streamlines operations through automation and orchestration, reduces operational expenses by minimizing time to troubleshoot, and eliminates costly support renewals from legacy vendors.

“Our 1,800 enterprise customers have made it clear that they want the ability to use the same tools for automation, orchestration and management for their Cumulus Networks data centers and extend the benefits to their campus networks. This opens the door to a simplified network that is open, feature-rich, flexible and resilient,” said Partho Mishra, President and Chief Product Officer at Cumulus Networks.

https://cumulusnetworks.com/

Sequans intros NB-IoT module

Sequans Communications introduced the first module based on its second-generation Monarch N chip that is optimized for low-cost/low-power NB-IoT operation.

The Monarch NB02S is a highly integrated, low-cost NB-IoT module that features an EAL5+ Secure Element that enables the integration of the SIM inside the module, thereby introducing Module-as-a-SIM capability.

Monarch NB02S Module Feature Highlights

  • 3GPP Release 14/15 LTE Cat NB1/NB2
  • Ultra-small, S-series LGA module
  • Module-as-a-SIM™ capability enables security and connectivity with no SIM card or SIM chip required
  • Programmable RF filtering for global band support in a Single-SKU™ (617 MHz to 2.2 GHz)
  • Supports LTE bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 13,14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 28, 66, 71, 85
  • Single-rail power supply: 2.2-5.5 V allows for direct connection to low-cost AA batteries
  • Adaptive output power supporting +20 dBm and +14 dBm for efficient, deep indoor penetration
  • Fully software compatible with first-generation Monarch NB01Q and GM01Q modules for easy migration
  • Based on Sequans’ Monarch N NB-IoT chip technology

“It cannot be overstated how important the new, cost-optimized Monarch NB02S will be in accelerating mass adoption of IoT,” said Georges Karam, Sequans CEO, “In addition to its significant cost and power advantages, it is the first module of its kind in the industry with integrated SIM capability, enabling it to provide seamless and ubiquitous connectivity, while removing the complexity that comes with sourcing data plans and SIM cards. When linked with pre-paid connectivity, Monarch NB02S can be used like a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi module, with the added benefit of not needing a gateway. This powerful capability, along with Monarch’s global band support, in a simplified, all-in-one, low-cost module, gives IoT device makers the ability to design once and deploy anywhere, quickly, easily, and---most important---cost-effectively.”

Rest in Peace - Michael Howard

We mourn the passing of Michael Howard, co-founder of Infonetics (now part of IHS Markit), a long-time industry analyst, technology advisor, expert in carrier virtualization technology, a voice of reason, role model, mentor, and friend to many in the networking and telecommunications industry. You will be greatly missed. Rest in peace.

A tribute by Rich Williams, co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Witz Communications, is posted here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/walking-light-richard-williams/





See also