Wednesday, March 25, 2020

3GPP delays 5G standardization work due to COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, 3GPP announced  the following important changes to its work schedule.


  • Rel-16 Stage 3 freeze now June 2020 (shifted by 3 months)
  • Rel-16 ASN.1 and OpenAPI specification freeze will also be complete in June 2020 (stays as planned)
  • The Rel-17 timeline is shifted by 3 months:  Rel-17 Stage 3 freeze September 2021; Rel-17 ASN.1 and OpenAPI specification freeze: December 2021.
In addition, the 3GPP leadership announced that the next Plenary meetings (TSG#88), scheduled for June 15-19, will be e-meetings. The three 3GPP Technical Specification Group (TSG) Chairs also confirmed that all meetings for May have been canceled. 

Nokia delivers big capacity boost for 5G with 16-layer MU-MIMO

Nokia has significantly boosted the 5G capacity of its commercial AirScale solution via a software upgrade.

The new software release leverages Massive MIMO to achieve 16 layers of MU-MIMO to deliver up to four times the total downlink cell throughput. Typically MIMO consists of 2 layers of network capacity. Massive MIMO, which was invented by Nokia Bell Labs, considerably multiplies the capacity of a wireless connection without requiring additional spectrum.

Sprint has conducted a lab test of the new software that delivered approximately 3Gbps total downlink cell throughout and. The test was performed using Sprint 5G with a software upgrade of E-UTRAN New Radio - Dual Connectivity (EN-DC) and Multi-User-Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) – the first time this has been achieved. The test utilized Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum as well as commercial devices such as hotspots.

When the service is made commercially available, it will allow operators to vastly increase their network capacity via a software update without having to invest in additional spectrum.

EN-DC allows devices to add throughput to LTE and 5G networks – resulting in higher user throughput. Typically, operators use two radios for LTE and 5G, however, for this test Nokia used a single AirScale unit. Nokia and Sprint have launched 5G service in areas of four cities in the U.S, which are New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Phoenix.

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks, Nokia, commented: “This is the latest achievement from our long-standing relationship with Sprint. The demand for 4G and 5G mobile data continues to rise exponentially and this impacts network capacity. This test is an important milestone as it will help operators to vastly increase capacity now and in the future, helping to deliver excellent customer experiences while keeping costs to a minimum.”


NTT Research and Stanford collaborate on Coherent Ising Machines

NTT Research is collaborating with Stanford University on a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded initiative into Coherent Ising Machines (CIMs), which exploit unique combinations of optical and electronic components for connectivity, speed, scale and memory.

The NSF has granted a $10 million Expeditions in Computing (Expeditions) award to Stanford’s Department of Applied Physics for research into the use of CIMs for optimization, machine learning and neuromorphic computing.

NTT Research confirmed that its PHI Lab is already conducting related joint research with Stanford, and PHI Lab Director Yoshihisa Yamamoto will serve as an external unfunded collaborator to the Stanford-led NSF Expeditions CIMs team.

“I am excited that the NSF has deemed this project worthy of significant support and look forward to collaborating with the Expeditions team in whatever way can best add value to this important undertaking,” said NTT Research PHI Lab Director Yamamoto. “Stanford is a key research collaborator in our consortium of institutions exploring this new computing paradigm that draws upon quantum physics, neuroscience and optical technology, and we strongly believe that continued collaboration in basic research is key to driving further advances in this field.”

The principal investigator for this five-year project is Hideo Mabuchi, professor and former chair of Stanford University’s department of applied physics in the School of Humanities and Sciences. The rest of the team includes three from Stanford and three from other universities. The Stanford co-investigators are Marty Fejer, professor of applied physics; Surya Ganguli, associate professor of applied physics; and Marco Pavone, assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics and director of the Autonomous Systems Laboratory. The other co-investigators are Peter McMahon, assistant professor, applied and engineering physics, Cornell University; Alireza Marandi, assistant professor of electrical engineering and applied physics, Caltech; and Davide Venturelli, quantum computing team lead and science operations manager of the Research Institute of Advanced Computer Science (RIACS) at USRA. In addition to PHI Lab Director Yamamoto, the three external collaborators are Eleanor Rieffel, senior research scientist and lead, Quantum AI Lab (QuAIL) NASA Ames Research Center; Helmut Katzgraber, principal research manager, Microsoft; and Ken-ichi Kawarabayashi, professor and Deputy Director, National Institute of Informatics (Tokyo).

NTT Research PHI Lab launched its own CIM-based initiative last fall, when it announced five-year joint research agreements with six universities (CalTech, Cornell, Michigan, MIT, Stanford and Swinburne), one US Federal Agency (NASA Ames Research Center) and one private quantum computing software company (1QBit). “The significant investment by NSF into this Stanford-led initiative complements our own efforts,” said Kazuhiro Gomi, NTT Research President and CEO. “In effect, taken together, they represent an important private-public strategy for supporting this critical area of research.”

Dell'Oro: Tier 1 Cloud Service Providers to resume spending

Cloud data center CAPEX is forecasted for higher growth despite market challenges, according to a recently published report from Dell’Oro Group. The trend is driven by Tier 1 Cloud service providers resuming spending on servers following a pause in 2019.

“Despite recent market uncertainties, we anticipate the Tier 1 Cloud service providers to increase data center capex as planned, primarily on servers, as the sector seeks to resume capacity expansion,” said Baron Fung, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group. “We project a steep decline in enterprise IT spending due to severe near-term supply and demand disruptions from COVID-19. Enterprises will seek to conserve capital during these uncertain times and resort to the Cloud to satisfy near-term demand for digital services. We expect that the Cloud service providers will need to expand their infrastructure at a measured pace to capture this incremental demand,” explained Fung.

Following are additional highlights from the 4Q 2019 Cloud Data Center Capex Quarterly Report:

  • The Top 10 Cloud service providers spent $66 billion, in aggregate in 2019, a 3 percent annual increase.
  • Amazon Web Services maintained a 50 percent Cloud revenue share in 2019, although Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform gained share.
  • Spending on servers projected to compose of 47 percent of data center capex in 2020.

Nokia completes acquisition of Elenion Technologies

Nokia completed its previously announced acquisition of   Elenion Technologies, a U.S.-based company focusing on silicon photonics technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Elenion, which was founded in 2014 and is based in New York City, develops highly integrated, low-cost silicon photonics technologies for short-reach and high-performance optical interfaces and has pioneered a design toolset which enables a greatly simplified, low cost, scalable manufacturing process. The Elenion platform simplifies integration with optical chipsets, lowers power consumption, improves port density and helps to lower the overall cost per bit for network operators.

Nokia said Elenion's state-of-the-art silicon photonics design platform improves product costs by bringing simplification and scale to the optical supply chain. It is expected to bring time-to-market and cost advantages to Nokia’s broad portfolio of networking solutions.

COSMOTE Greece picks Ericsson for 5G

COSMOTE, Greece’s largest mobile communications service provider and part of the Deutsche Telekom Group, selected Ericsson as its sole 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) vendor under a major network modernization deal.

COSMOTE is targeting 2021 for the commercial launch of 5G services. That will follow the expected auction of 5G spectrum by Greece’s National Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Michael Tsamaz, OTE Group Chairman and CEO, says: “5G is the future of telecommunications and a necessary precondition for the Gigabit Society. It is the underlying technology which will be used by all the innovative applications that will change our lives in the near future. OTE Group creates the state-of-the-art infrastructure that our country and society need in the new digital era. We invest heavily to enable our customers to enjoy the innovative services and products brought by 5G. With technology and innovation, we create a better world for all."

Arun Bansal, President of Europe and Latin America, Ericsson, says: “5G is a platform that will change lives, business and society in Greece for the better. It will create opportunities for COSMOTE in industry and digital partnerships that will allow Greece to compete in technology innovation. We’re leading the way in 5G in Europe and the world and we will work closely with COSMOTE to ensure that they, and their customers, benefit from this network modernization.”

Ericsson currently has 86 commercial 5G agreements and contracts with unique operators, of which 39 are publicly announced 5G deals, including 27 live 5G networks on four continents.

Samsung ramps up module manufacturing with extreme ultraviolet tech

Samsung Electronics has shipped one million of the industry's first 10nm-class (D1x) DDR4 (Double Date Rate 4) DRAM modules based on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology.

"With the production of our new EUV-based DRAM, we are demonstrating our full commitment toward providing revolutionary DRAM solutions in support of our global IT customers,” said Jung-bae Lee, executive vice president of DRAM Product & Technology at Samsung Electronics. "This major advancement underscores how we will continue contributing to global IT innovation through timely development of leading-edge process technologies and next-generation memory products for the premium memory market."

Samsung said it is the first to adopt EUV in DRAM production to overcome challenges in DRAM scaling. EUV technology reduces repetitive steps in multi-patterning and improves patterning accuracy, enabling enhanced performance and greater yields as well as shortened development time. EUV will be fully deployed in Samsung's future generations of DRAM, starting with its fourth-generation 10nm-class (D1a) or the highly-advanced 14nm-class, DRAM. Samsung expects to begin volume production of D1a-based DDR5 and LPDDR5 next year, which would double manufacturing productivity of the 12-inch D1x wafers.

Kyocera to acquire Showa Optronics from NEC

Kyocera Corporation has agreed to acquire all of NEC’s shares in Showa Optronics Co., Ltd., an optical components manufacturer. After the share transfer is completed, Kyocera will own 93.53% of SOC’s shares; SOC will begin operating as a subsidiary of Kyocera on June 1, 2020, under the name Kyocera Showa Optronics Co., Ltd. (KSO).

SOC, established in 1954, has targeted high-value-added markets including space-related products, semiconductor manufacturing equipment (such as exposure equipment), and medical equipment for DNA analysis, using its core technologies of ultra-high-precision lens polishing, high-proof and low-loss film formation, and lasers with outstanding stability.

Kyocera's optical components business has engaged in producing diversified lenses in small to large diameters from a wide variety of materials. The products have been used in various fields, including automotive, office and factory automation equipment, and medical equipment, since Kyocera entered this business in 1983.

In 2016, Kyocera expanded this business by acquiring Japan-based Melles Griot KK, a manufacturer of large-diameter and high-precision lenses for factory automation equipment. The company is expanding its production capabilities to meet rising demand.

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