Monday, February 24, 2020

Conversational AI for Telco Service Providers



Customer support may well be the first really solid business case for AI in Service Provider networks. Imagine the ROI if conversational AI and automation could trim the time needed for millions of customer support calls.

In this video, Umesh Sachdev, CEO of Uniphore, discusses the use case for conversational AI by telcos.

More thought leadership videos on network automation may be found here:
https://nginfrastructure.com/network-automation/


Intel launches 10nm chip for 5G base stations

Intel introduced a 10nm SoC for wireless base stations. The company is predicting that it will be the leading silicon provider in base stations by 2021, a year earlier than it had earlier forecast, after design wins with three leading base station manufacturers.

Notable, the new Atom P5900 processor extends the Intel architecture from the core to access and all the way to the farthest edge of the network. 

The Atom P5900 promises up to a 1.8X boost in integer processing. In terms of load balancing, the Atom P5900 is expected to deliver a 3.7X performance boost over software-based solutions. For encryption processing, the processor will offer a 5.6X boost over software-only alternatives.




Southern Cross Cable carries first 800G wavelength

Southern Cross Cable connected the first single-wavelength 800G across a live production network using Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Extreme (WL5e) coherent optics.

Specifically, the new 800G channel speed ran error-free on Southern Cross’ live production network between two large, global data centers on the U.S. West Coast and demonstrated record-breaking spectral efficiencies.

Ciena said Southern Cross will begin volume deployment of WL5e in the second calendar quarter of 2020 across various segments of its network, including Trans-Pacific submarine cables and terrestrial cables across U.S. West Coast and New Zealand.

“As many internet service providers are looking to the submarine cable industry to provide reliable connectivity to their customers, leading operators like Southern Cross need networks that can adapt to fluctuating connectivity demands. With WaveLogic 5, we are delivering the industry’s first 800G solution and reinforcing our leadership in providing the highest performance optics in the market,” stated Rick Seeto, Vice President and General Manager of Asia-Pacific and Japan, Ciena.


Construction begins on Southern Cross NEXT Cable

The Southern Cross NEXT project has achieved CIF (Contract in Force) status and has entered the construction project phase.

The Southern Cross NEXT submarine cable is a state-of-the-art 4 fibre pair undersea route utilising an open cable design and enhancing the existing Southern Cross eco-system. The system will also provide full fibre connectivity to Auckland, New Zealand, and will incorporate Branching Units (BU) and OADM technology for connections to Fiji, Tokelau and Kiribati. Given its robust design and route including branches, the 16,148km cable system will provide the lowest latency path from Australia and New Zealand to the United States. Organisers said Southern Cross NEXT represents a network investment of around US$300 million. It is designed to carry 72 terabits per second of traffic. Completion is targetted for the end of 2021 or early 2022.

“The achievement of CIF is a testament to the hard work of the combined Southern Cross and Pioneer Consulting team over many months and is a validation of the technology and expertise behind the new cable,” said Southern Cross President and CEO, Laurie Miller. “The addition of the Southern Cross NEXT route to our platform will provide existing and future customers with further resiliency and connectivity options between Australia, New Zealand and the United States.”

Intel announces network-optimized 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable processors

Intel announced 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, promising an average of 36% more performance and an average of 42% more performance per dollar than the prior generation Intel Xeon Gold.

The new processors — labeled with an “R,” “T” or “U” suffix — are designed for dual- and single-socket mainstream and entry-level server systems. The addition of more cores and increased cache in these processors are targeted at workloads where capacity-per-server is critical, such as virtualized clouds, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) and network function virtualization (NFV).

Intel also announced today two new processors (Intel Xeon Gold 6256 and 6250) that feature the industry’s highest server processor frequency, delivering a base and turbo frequency up to 3.9 GHz and 4.5 GHz, respectively. These

Intel said this wave of Xeon Scalable processors are network-optimized and can deliver up to 58% more performance for NFV workloads. The company cited development partnerships with CenturyLink, China Mobile, SK Telecom, and Sprint.

“Intel’s data-centric platforms offer the broadest market coverage of any server processor platform -– from the cloud, through the network, to the intelligent edge,” said Lisa Spelman, corporate vice president and general manager of the Xeon and Memory Group within Intel’s Data Platform Group. “Working closely with our customers, we are delivering these new server processors to address their performance and pricing needs across a broad range of markets and workloads.”





https://newsroom.intel.com/news/xeon-scalable-5g-network-portfolio-launch/#gs.xerm31

Intel unveils Diamond Mesa ASIC for 5G network acceleration

Intel unveiled "Diamond Mesa", its first next-generation structured ASIC for 5G network acceleration. It complements Intel’s portfolio of processors and FPGAs.

Intel said structured ASICs like Diamond Mesa provide a minimum-risk optimization path for workloads that do not require the full programmability of FPGAs, targeting double the performance efficiency versus the prior generation, and uniquely position Intel as the only provider delivering a full silicon platform foundation for network infrastructure.

Diamond Mesa is currently sampling early access customers.

In addition, Intel introduced "Edgewater Channel," a 5G network-optimized Ethernet NIC.

The new Ethernet 700 Series Network Adapter with Hardware-Enhanced Precision Time Protocol is Intel’s first 5G-optimized network adapter, offering GPS-based cross-network service synchronization with Hardware-Enhanced Precision Time Protocol (PTP).

Latency requirements across 5G network implementations have challenged existing Ethernet technology, especially in edge servers.

Intel said maintaining accurate time synchronization across the network at a cost-effective price point is one avenue to help address application latency. The Ethernet 700 series adapter increases the timing precision required for 5G networks through a combination of hardware and software enhancements.

Edgewater Channel is sampling now and will enter production in Q2‘20.

Vertical Systems Group: 2019 U.S. Carrier Ethernet LEADERBOARD

CenturyLink and AT&T retain the top two rankings on Vertical Systems Group's newly published 2019 U.S. Carrier Ethernet LEADERBOARD.

Seven companies achieved a position on the 2019 U.S. Carrier Ethernet LEADERBOARD. The market leading companies are as follows (in rank order based on year-end 2019 retail port share): CenturyLink, AT&T, Spectrum Enterprise, Verizon, Comcast, Windstream and Cox. Service providers must have four percent (4%) or more of the U.S. Ethernet services market to qualify for a LEADERBOARD rank.

Six companies attained a 2019 Challenge Tier citation (in alphabetical order): Altice USA, Cogent, Frontier, GTT, Sprint and Zayo. The Challenge Tier includes providers with between 1% and 4% share of the U.S. retail Ethernet market.

"The base of U.S. Ethernet ports increased by 8.9 percent in 2019, buoyed by healthy demand for higher speed access to cloud, Internet and VPN services," said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group. "During the past year, Ethernet providers focused on better monetizing service features to expand their existing business, while introducing streamlined offers to target the needs of the SMB market."

Highlights of Vertical's 2019 U.S. Ethernet Market Share Analysis

  • CenturyLink continues to hold first position on the U.S. Ethernet LEADERBOARD, followed by AT&T in second position.
  • Spectrum Enterprise moves up to the third position from fourth, surpassing Verizon.
  • Comcast had the highest year-over-year market share growth across the 2019 LEADERBOARD providers.
  • Four Incumbent Carriers (CenturyLink, AT&T, Verizon, Windstream) and three Cable MSOs (Spectrum Enterprise, Comcast, Cox) are represented on the 2019 LEADERBOARD. 

Highlights of Vertical's 2019 U.S. Ethernet Market Share Analysis

  • Retail U.S. Ethernet installations increased 8.9% to more than 1.25 million customer ports.
  • Price compression, particularly for high speed services, continues to limit Ethernet revenue growth.
  • Ethernet is the WAN underlay of choice for Carrier Managed SD-WAN solutions requiring secure, dedicated high speed connectivity.
  • Active fiber build-outs across the U.S. are enabling Ethernet footprint expansions to serve a broader base of mid-market customers.
  • Ethernet service enhancements are providing customers with improved performance, faster installations, and more flexible network configurations.

Mellanox ships ConnectX-6 Dx SmartNICs

Mellanox Technologies has begun shipping its ConnectX-6 Dx SmartNICs, in addition to the soon-to-be-released BlueField-2 I/O Processing Units (IPUs)s.

The ConnectX-6 Dx SmartNICs provide up to two ports of 25, 50 or 100Gbps, or a single port of 200Gbps, Ethernet connectivity powered by 50Gbps PAM4 SerDes technology and PCIe 4.0 host connectivity.

Significantly, the new SmartNICs' hardware offload engines include IPsec and inline TLS data-in-motion cryptography, advanced network virtualization, RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE), and NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) storage accelerations. ConnectX-6 Dx provides IPsec, TLS, and AES-XTS built-in cryptographic acceleration, and Hardware Root of Trust. In addition to the above capabilities, BlueField-2 adds accelerated key management, integrated Regular Expression (RegEx) pattern detection, secure hash computation, etc.

“Networking and security must converge to achieve consistent and predictable application performance, with all the necessary levels of data privacy, integrity and reliability. This vision is the core foundation on which we designed our ConnectX-6 Dx SmartNIC and BlueField-2 IPU products,” said Amit Krig, senior vice president, Ethernet NIC and IPU Product Line at Mellanox Technologies. “Today we are excited to ship production qualified ConnectX-6 Dx SmartNICs to our hyperscale customers, turning our vision into a reality.”

As an IPU, BlueField-2 provides even more in-hardware security capabilities, including agentless micro-segmentation, advanced malware detection, deep packet inspection and application recognition, that far outperform software-only solutions. Mellanox BlueField IPUs enable the best of both worlds – the speed and flexibility of software-defined solutions, with tighter security, accelerated performance and improved efficiency by processing data in the device hardware at the I/O path.



Michael Kagan, CTO and co-founder of Mellanox Technologies, talks about the next step for SmartNICs and the company's newly released ConnectX-6 Dx product driven by its own silicon.


Sierra Wireless samples 5G embedded modules

Sierra Wireless announced an expanded portfolio of mobile broadband embedded modules for mobile computing, routers, gateways, industrial automation, and new IoT applications, such as robotics, drones and private networks.

Sierra Wireless’ 5G EM919x and 4G LTE Cat-20 EM769x embedded modules are sampling now to OEMs and system integrators requiring secure connectivity and the highest possible speeds to deploy cellular on their mobile computing, networking and IoT platforms worldwide. Built on the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System, the new EM919x standards-based M.2 modules support 5G NR mmWave, 5G NR sub-6 GHz and LTE technologies globally, as defined by the 3GPP Release 15 standard.

Sierra Wireless is also refreshing its 4G LTE products based on the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X16 LTE modem, which will allow customers to more cost-effectively utilize all the available high-speed 4G network bands, including those for CBRS in the U.S. and Private LTE applications. All devices are compatible with current Sierra Wireless EM/MC devices, with no changes required to the host design to speed time to market. The new EM/MC74x1 Cat-7 modules are a secure and cost-effective alternative to existing Sierra Wireless EM/MC745x Cat-6 modules. The devices are capable of 150Mb/s uplink, onboard image switching and secure boot. The portfolio includes:

  • EM/MC7411 – M.2 form factor and mPCIe Minicard LTE Cat-7 supporting all North American carriers, CBRS and FirstNet™
  • EM/MC7421 - M.2 form factor and mPCIe Minicard LTE Cat-7 supporting Europe and Asia-PAC carriers and Private LTE networks
  • EM/MC7431 M.2 form factor and mPCIe Minicard LTE Cat-7 supporting all Japan carriers and Private LTE networks


Keysight's Q1 revenue rises 9% to $1.095 billion

Keysight Technologies reported quarterly revenue of $1.095 billion, up 9% when compared with $1.006 billion last year. GAAP net income was $163 million, or $0.86 per share, compared with GAAP net income of $114 million, or $0.60 per share, in the first quarter of 2019. Non-GAAP net income was $240 million, or $1.26 per share, compared with $176 million, or $0.93 per share in the first quarter of 2019.

“Keysight delivered another outstanding quarter and a strong start to the year with both revenue and earnings exceeding the high end of our guidance. Revenue growth in the quarter was driven by ongoing strength in 5G-related investments and increased spending in aerospace defense and semiconductor measurement," said Ron Nersesian, Keysight president and CEO. "Our consistent financial performance illustrates the strength of our differentiated solutions targeting a diverse set of end markets,” said Nersesian.

Samsung ships 16GB LPDDR5 mobile DRAM

Samsung Electronics has begun mass producing the first 16-gigabyte (GB) LPDDR5 mobile DRAM package for next-generation premium smartphones.

Data transfer rate for the 16GB LPDDR5 comes in at 5,500 megabits per second (Mb/s), approximately 1.3 times faster than the previous mobile memory (LPDDR4X, 4266Mb/s). Compared to an 8GB LPDDR4X package, the new mobile DRAM delivers more than 20-percent energy savings while providing up to twice the capacity.

The first 12GB LPDDR5 DRAM began shipping in July 2019.

“Samsung has been committed to bringing memory technologies to the cutting edge in allowing consumers to enjoy amazing experiences through their mobile devices. We are excited to stay true to that commitment with our new, top-of-the-line mobile solution for global device manufacturers,” said Cheol Choi, senior vice president of memory sales & marketing, Samsung Electronics. “With the introduction of a new product lineup based on our next-generation process technology later this year, Samsung will be able to fully address future memory demands from global customers.”

ADTRAN offers Global Services Portfolio

ADTRAN announced its new Global Services Portfolio, including an ecosystem of turnkey network implementation, maintenance, professional, managed and cloud services.

Highlights:

  • Network Implementation Services that provide speed and scale to plan, engineer and build fiber and fixed wireless networks, enabling service providers to reach more customers and expand their competitive edge.
  • Maintenance Services to provide access to expert engineers who take the lead in maintaining network equipment and software. Services include priority technical support, advanced replacement and software maintenance and training, which extend benefits beyond the standard warranty.
  • Professional Services that leverage ADTRAN’s expertise in Gigabit technology and converged access solutions to provide consulting services and solution integration to enable service providers to transform their networks, improve processes and streamline operations.
  • Cloud Services providing cutting-edge solutions for network and service analytics, audits, insights and automation, driving operational efficiencies and new revenue opportunities.
  • Managed Services which include spare parts management service, as well as:
  • Capacity Services: automated network planning solutions and professional services, enabling service providers to more efficiently plan, design and optimize access networks and services so they can serve more people with more service options at a lower cost.
  • Security Services which is a suite of managed security services, including threat management, threat protection and advisory services, to help service providers better protect their networks and subscribers.
  • Network Operations Center (NOC) Services: leveraging ADTRAN’s expertise in optical and fixed wireless networks, NOC services allow service providers to trust the operation of their access networks to ADTRAN and remain focused on primary business objectives.

“ADTRAN is a trusted partner to global broadband service providers, due to its domain expertise in network technologies that build the right network for the right deployment scenario,” said Girish Kadam, Head of Managed, Cloud, Professional and FWA Services at ADTRAN. “By complementing our global competence, tools and software with our new portfolio of network service offerings, we will empower our customers to quickly and efficiently expand competitive service capabilities and accelerate ROI.”

https://www.adtran.com/index.php/adtran-unveils-global-services-portfolio

See also