Sunday, April 5, 2020

Microsoft Azure Edge Zones previews with carriers

Microsoft has begun previewing Azure Edge Zones, which are 5G customer scenarios that can leverage its cloud capabilities.


Microsoft said Azure Edge Zones and Azure Private Edge Zones will enable:

  • Development of distributed applications across cloud, on-premises, and edge using the same Azure Portal, APIs, development, and security tools.
  • Local data processing for latency critical industrial IoT and media services workloads.
  • Acceleration of IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and real-time analytics by optimizing, building, and innovating for robotics, automation, and mixed reality.
  • New frontiers for developers working with high-density graphics and real-time operations in industries such as gaming.
  • An evolving platform built with customers, carriers, and industry partners to allow seamless integration and operation of a wide selection of Virtual Network Functions, including 5G software and SD-WAN and firewalls from technology partners such as Affirmed, Mavenir, Nuage Networks from Nokia, Metaswitch, Palo Alto Networks, and VeloCloud By VMware.

Microsoft, which has already announced an Azure Edge Zone partnership with AT&T, is now expanding the program to the following carriers: Etisalat, NTT Communications, Proximus, Rogers, SK Telecom, Telefonica, Telstra, SK Telecom, and Vodafone Business.

By connecting Azure services directly to 5G networks inside the carrier's data centers, applications will benefit from significantly reduced latency,

“This is a uniquely challenging time across the globe as we rethink how to help organizations serve their customers and stakeholders,” said Anne Chow, chief executive officer, AT&T Business. “Fast and intelligent mobile networks will be increasingly central to all of our lives. Combining our network knowledge and experience with Microsoft’s cloud expertise will give businesses a critical head start.”

In addition, Microsoft announced the preview of Azure Private Edge Zones, a private 5G/LTE network combined with Azure Stack Edge on-premises delivering an ultra-low latency, secure, and high bandwidth solution for organizations to enable scenarios, like with Attabotics, accelerating e-commerce delivery times by using 3D robotic goods-to-person storage, retrieval, and real-time order fulfillment solutions. This solution leverages Azure Edge Zones and IoT technologies such as Azure IoT Central and Azure Sphere.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/microsoft-partners-with-the-industry-to-unlock-new-5g-scenarios-with-azure-edge-zones/

Microsoft and AT&T preview Network Edge Compute

Microsoft and AT&T announced select preview availability for Network Edge Compute (NEC) technology, which weaves Microsoft Azure cloud services into AT&T network edge locations closer to customers. NEC will initially be available for a limited set of select customers in Dallas. Next year, Los Angeles and Atlanta are targeted for select customer availability.

NEC is enabled by AT&T’s software-defined and virtualized 5G core, which the company calls the Network Cloud.  This means the Network Cloud is now capable of delivering Azure services.

“The first smartphones on 3G networks introduced the idea of mobile apps over a decade ago. A few years later, 4G LTE made it feasible to connect those devices faster to cloud applications to stream videos, hail rides, and broadcast content to the world,” said Mo Katibeh, EVP and chief marketing officer, AT&T Business. “With our 5G and edge computing, AT&T is collaborating uniquely with Microsoft to marry their cloud capabilities with our network to create lower latency between the device and the cloud that will unlock new, future scenarios for consumers and businesses. We’ve said all year developers and businesses will be the early 5G adopters, and this puts both at the forefront of this revolution.”

“We are helping AT&T light up a wide range of unique solutions powered by Microsoft’s cloud, both for its business and our mutual customers in a secure and trusted way,” said Corey Sanders, corporate vice president, Microsoft Solutions. “The collaboration reaches across AT&T, bringing the hyperscale of Microsoft Azure together with AT&T’s network to innovate with 5G and edge computing across every industry.”


AT&T to move most non-network workloads to public cloud by 2024

Microsoft and AT&T announced an extensive, multiyear alliance under which Microsoft will be the preferred cloud provider for non-network applications. Specifically, AT&T will provide much of its workforce with Microsoft 365, and plans to migrate non-network infrastructure applications to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

AT&T said the alliance is part of its broader public cloud first strategy to consolidate data center infrastructure and operations. AT&T is becoming a “public cloud first” company by migrating most non-network workloads to the public cloud by 2024.

“AT&T and Microsoft are among the most committed companies to fostering technology that serves people,” said John Donovan, CEO, AT&T Communications. “By working together on common efforts around 5G, the cloud, and AI, we will accelerate the speed of innovation and impact for our customers and our communities.”

“AT&T is at the forefront of defining how advances in technology, including 5G and edge computing, will transform every aspect of work and life,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “The world’s leading companies run on our cloud, and we are delighted that AT&T chose Microsoft to accelerate its innovation. Together, we will apply the power of Azure and Microsoft 365 to transform the way AT&T’s workforce collaborates and to shape the future of media and communications for people everywhere.”

In addition, Microsoft will tap into the innovation AT&T is offering on its 5G network, including to design, test, and build edge-computing capabilities. With edge computing and a lower-latency 5G connection enabled through AT&T’s geographically dispersed network infrastructure, devices can process data closer to where decisions are made. Recently, Microsoft and AT&T worked together to test an edge computing-based tracking and detection system for drones. With more connected devices and the growing demand for streaming content from movies to games, businesses and consumers require ever-increasing network capabilities.

GSA predicts 5G to reach 19.3% of global market by end of 2024

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) is predicting that 5G will account for 19.3% of the worldwide market by the end of 2024, with LTE still dominant at 59.4% of all global mobile subscriptions. 5G subscriptions more than quadrupled in the last quarter to reach at least 17.73 million globally by the end of 2019.

Some highlights:

  • By the end of 2019 there were 5.27 billion LTE subscriptions worldwide, with over one billion LTE subscriptions (1.032 bn) added in the preceding 12 months representing a 24.4% year-on-year growth. 
  • LTE subscriptions now account for 57.7% of all global mobile subscriptions. 
  • LTE is expected to account for 64.8% global market share by the end of 2022, at which point it will reach its peak point in terms of subscriber numbers and technology market share.

The subscriber data and forecasts were collated by Omdia, the new global technology research firm established in 2019 with the combination of the Informa Tech’s research brands (Ovum, Heavy Reading, and Tractica) and the acquired IHS Markit technology research portfolio.

The LTE and 5G Market Growth and Forecasts summary data, including a regional breakdown of LTE subscribers, is available for free download for registered users from https://gsacom.com/paper/lte-and-5g-subscriber-growth-and-forecast-april-2020


TIM and Infratel Italia to accelerate fiber rollout

TIM and Infratel Italia, the in-house company of Italy's Ministry of Economic Development, are accelerating the rollout of ultra broadband in Italy to address the COVID-19 emergency.

TIM will acquire a significant amount of dark-fibre infrastructure built by Infratel as part of the initiative, which is a major example of a virtuous synergy between the public and private sectors to bridge the digital divide in Italy, in keeping with the country's strategy to spread ultrabroadband. TIM is using this infrastructure to bring ultrabroadband to the municipalities served by the project, delivering networks using FTTC (a total of 653) and FTTH (15) technology.

The goal is to "switch on" of all the infrastructure to access the public fibre-optic network installed by Infratel in eight regions: Abruzzo, Sardinia, Tuscany, Puglia, Calabria, Lazio, Lombardy and Marche. All of the “white areas” are subject to direct intervention by Infratel Italia and not under concession. Work has already been carried out in 241 municipalities, rising to 310 by May with the switch-on of over 1,600 cabinets.

The initiative, which follows on from the agreement signed last July, concerns the municipalities covered by the "direct model", which aims to build ultrabroadband networks in so-called "white areas" not previously put out to tender. About 1 million citizens, businesses and public administrations in the municipalities involved will benefit from the programme.

GSMA condemns attacks against mobile masts in the UK

The GSMA issued a statement condemning recent arson attacks in the UK on mobile masts. UK media reported fires in Birmingham, Belfast and Merseyside, and 5G cited conspiracy theories circulating on social media.

“The telecoms industry is working around the clock to keep vital health, education and emergency services online, businesses running, and friends and families connected,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, the global communications industry body. “It is deplorable that critical communications infrastructure is being attacked based on outright mistruths. We urge everyone to trust health authorities and rest assured communications technology is safe. There is no link between 5G and COVID-19.”

Nokia delivers Optical LAN in Bahrain

Nokia will provide its Optical LAN solution to Infonas W.L.L. Bahrain to serve enterprise customers in downtown Manama.

The fiber network is based on Nokia's GPON technology. The deployment includes Nokia’s 7360 Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) FX, which serves as a high-capacity access node, and Nokia’s 7368 Intelligent Service Access Manager (ISAM) Optical Network Terminals (ONTs).

Mohamed Salama, Head of Fixed Networks, Middle East and Africa, said: “Adoption of this technology continues to increase globally as enterprises in all industry segments look at this alternative LAN architecture to help lower capital and operating costs. This project demonstrates the benefits of Nokia Optical LAN and how it can deliver a high-capacity, resilient and scalable network that simplifies operations and ultimately helps to reduce costs for enterprises.”

See also