Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Fifth Generation Fixed Network (F5G) initiative gets underway

A new Fifth Generation Fixed Network (F5G) industry initiative has been formed with backing from the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), China Broadband Development Alliance, Altice Portugal, and Huawei. The idea is to foster a booming ecosystem for 5G fixed networking similar to the ecosystem for 5G wireless. The new organization is inviting global fixed network industry players, both upstream and downstream companies, to join the F5G industry organization.

Earlier this year, ETSI formed Industry Specification Group F5G to work on new ODN technologies, XG(S)-PON and Wi-Fi 6 enhancements, control plane and user plane separation, smart energy efficiency, end-to-end full stack slicing, autonomous operation and management, synergy of Transport and Access Networks, adaptation of Transport Network, etc.

Luca Pesando, chairman of ETSI's Industry Specification Group F5G (ISG F5G), said, "On February 25, ETSI officially released the ISG F5G, which aims at studying the fixed-network evolution through defining improvements with respect to previous solutions and the new characteristics of the fifth-generation fixed network to turn the Fiber to the Home paradigm into Fiber to Everything Everywhere, and defined three major F5G use cases: full-fiber connection (FFC), enhanced fixed broadband (eFBB), and guaranteed reliable experience (GRE). We would like to invite all the peers to join this ETSI ISG F5G initiative and to contribute, fostering the improvement of individuals’ and society’s life that fiber technology can offer in F5G era."

Wei Leping, deputy director of Communication Technology Steering Committee, MIIT & Chairman of Technology Steering Committee at China Telecom, commented, "To support the wide-scale deployment of a series of new technologies and applications such as 5G, and to promote fiber networks to all possible application scenarios, it is essential for the industry to focus on F5G to formulate unified specifications covering three basic application scenarios: transport, access, and customer premises networks. This can reduce unnecessary fragmented private specifications and achieve economies of scale in the optical industry."

Ao Li, Director of the Technology and Standards Research Institute at the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) and Deputy Secretary-General of the China Broadband Development Alliance, said, "China is rapidly heading into the F5G era, and 100M fiber broadband has become increasingly popular. By the end of February 2020, the number of gigabit broadband users had reached 1.97 million. China is dramatically accelerating F5G application innovations to boost the digital economy, acting as a reference for other countries."

https://www.huawei.com/us/press-events/news/2020/5/develop-a-thriving-fixed-network-industry

https://www.etsi.org/committee/f5g

The kick-off meeting for the ETSI ISG F5G took place on 20-21 February at an ETSI facility and members of the group elected Dr. Luca Pesando, TIM, as the Chairman of the ISG and defined 5 areas to work on:

  • F5G use cases: the use cases include services to consumers and enterprises and will be selected based on their impact in terms of new technical requirements identified.
  • Landscape of F5G technology and standards: this work will study technology requirements for F5G use cases, explore existing technologies, and perform the gap analysis.
  • Definition of fixed network generations: to evaluate the driving forces and the path of fixed network evolution, including transport, access and on-premises networks. It will also identify the principal characteristics demarcating different generations and define them.
  • Architecture of F5G: this will specify the end-to-end network architectures, features and related network devices/elements’ requirements for F5G, including on-premises, Access, IP and Transport Networks.
  • F5G quality of experience: to specify the end-to-end quality of experience (QoE) factors for new broadband services. It will analyze the general factors that impact service performance and identify the relevant QoE dimensions for each service.

Members of the group include: Association eG4U, Altice Portugal, BOUYGUES Telecom, BTC, Cadzow Communications, CAICT, CATT, China Unicom, China Telecommunications, CICT, ECO, Fraunhofer HHI, Futurewei, Huawei Technologies, JSPRC Kryptonite, POST Luxembourg, Rostelecom, TIM, Turk Telekomunikasyon.

Radisys unveils software-defined PON architecture

Radisys introduced Connect Open Broadband, a carrier-grade, Tier 1 network-hardened, scalable and secure software-defined Passive Optical Network (PON) distribution based on open standards and web-scale architecture.


Radisys’ Connect Open Broadband offers an intelligent, scalable and secure software-defined PON distribution based on the Open Networking Foundation’s (ONF) SEBA reference platform and enhanced with Radisys innovation. This architecture allows for a seamless introduction of the Broadband Forum’s OB-BAA architecture by conforming to the standard YANG models with the Northbound Interface (NBI).

The solution disaggregates software from the underlying hardware with open interfaces, enabling faster product innovation cycles. The hardware agnostic solution enables service providers to leverage white-box optical line terminals (OLTs) from an interoperable multi-vendor ecosystem for flexible deployable options.

Connect Open Broadband, built on cloud-native microservices architecture, allows for the addition of new network functions on demand and delivers a path to automated and simplified network operation. The programmability, automation and deeper network visibility further enables better fault detection, faster service delivery and future-proof network expansions.

The solution is access network (GPON, XGS-PON, NG-PON2) agnostic and offers flexible deployment options.

“In the digital era where high-bandwidth services and pervasive connectivity are required to meet subscriber expectations, service providers are rethinking how they build their networks to meet demand with optimal performance and value,” said Harris Razak, senior vice president of Broadband Access, Radisys. “Connect Open Broadband is a commercially ready, network-hardened solution that allows service providers to enable rapid innovation through disaggregation and to bring new services to market faster.”

“Radisys has been a Partner Member of ONF for many years and has been one of the most active supply chain members working directly with our operator partners. Radisys has helped drive ONF open reference designs and open source platforms and is among the first to commercialize solutions based on ONF platforms,” said Guru Parulkar, Executive Director, ONF. “Radisys’ Connect Open Broadband combines open architectures, software innovation, and white-box hardware to facilitate service agility.” 

https://hub.radisys.com/broadband-access/rsys-connect-broadband-access-brief-final



Rakuten tests O-RAN 5G Massive MIMO with Altiostar and NEC

Altiostar confirmed that its O-RAN Alliance-compliant multi-vendor massive-multi-input, multi-output (mMIMO) 5G solution is in now in testing with with NEC Corporation and Rakuten Mobile.

Specifically, Altiostar is integrating the O-RAN distributed unit (O-DU) functionality of its virtual radio access network (vRAN) software with NEC's O-RAN Radio Unit (O-RU) using fully compliant control, user, synchronization and management (C/U/S/M) plane protocols based on O-RAN Alliance guidelines. The 5G layer is built using container network functions (CNF) that leverage Rakuten Mobile's cloud infrastructure platform that is part of its 4G network build out.

As part of management-plane integration, Altiostar is following a hierarchical model that allows the O-DU software to manage the NEC O-RU, including providing software upgrades, RU configuration, fault management and performance monitoring. This interoperability is being performed for 5G new radio (NR) sub-6 GHz massive MIMO O-RU and meets all the 3GPP downlink/uplink (DL/UL) requirements.

"Open RAN as a concept is one that the whole industry is now actively pursuing as a means to introduce supply chain diversity into mobile networks globally," said Ashraf Dahod, CEO of Altiostar Networks. "Altiostar is leading the industry with this network transformation by ensuring interoperability, integration and most importantly extensive testing to ensure that we have a commercial, carrier-grade solution for both 4G and 5G while keeping the principles of Open RAN in place."

"Rakuten Mobile is a big supporter of O-RAN principles and has seen the benefit of supply chain diversity in our own network," said Tareq Amin, Representative Director, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Rakuten Mobile. "By combining the spectral efficiency of massive MIMO along with an advanced cloud-based RAN, we are leveraging and introducing advanced innovative technology from both NEC and Altiostar, who are specialists in these respective fields."

Altiostar's container-based 5G solution splits the baseband into the CU and DUs using micro-services to disaggregate these RAN workloads at a deep level. The DU provided by Altiostar is interoperable with, and uses, O-RAN compliant interfaces to work with third-party O-RUs. These workloads can be deployed flexibly to support different quality of service (QoS) and other requirements of the 5G network slice.

The Altiostar containerized architecture also intrinsically introduces Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS). Thus, containers that support IoT can be sized differently when compared to other workloads, such as enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) applications. Alternatively for ultra-reliable low latency communications (UrLLC) applications like V2x or augmented reality, the operator can dynamically deploy the user plane containers at far-edge locations.

NEC has designed its 5G Radio Unit (RU) as an active antenna array system (AAS) that consists of an RF front end and a massive-element antenna in order to minimize the system footprint and provide high-efficiency.

NEC's AAS utilizes a fully digitized antenna beam control technology that improves the precision of beam forming. While transmitting beams to the target mobile handsets, it is capable of forming beams that counteract interfering signals using multi-path. It can also form beams that improve communication quality by efficiently combining the multi-path of its own signals with the direct waves.

The features of NEC's AAS enable concurrent communication with several handsets, even though they are close to each other, while maintaining high communication quality. In the trials, NEC proved that use of the AAS can result in improved capacity and quality of communication between a base station and handsets, while confirming that spectral efficiency was reliably maintained at a level roughly eight times higher than that achieved by LTE in indoor environments.

https://www.altiostar.com/nec-rakuten-oran/

Altiostar raises $114 million for its open vRAN

Altiostar, a start-up based in  Tewksbury, Mass., closed a $114 million Series C round of financing for its open virtualized RAN (open vRAN) technology.

Rakuten, which is preparing to launch a greenfield mobile network in Japan later this year, is coming on board as an investor. Rakuten is deploying the Altiostar solution in their mobile network and the companies are collaborating on the development of 5G solutions.

In early 2018, Qualcomm Ventures LLC and Tech Mahindra also participated in the C-round as investors. Qualcomm has entered into a development collaboration agreement with Altiostar. Tech Mahindra has signed a value-added-reseller/system integrator contract with Altiostar.

"A round of this magnitude, backed by global technology leaders like Rakuten, Qualcomm Ventures and Tech Mahindra, signifies the immense 5G opportunity we have in front of us as well as the progress we have made developing our virtualized RAN technology. Our unique open vRAN solution is designed to improve the quality of experience, enhance spectral efficiency and significantly reduce Total Cost of Ownership. With this funding, and these strategic partners, we're excited about our ability to deliver this breakthrough software defined solution to network operators globally as they prepare for the 5G future," said Ashraf M. Dahod, president and chief executive officer at Altiostar.

http://www.altiostar.com

  • Altiostar provides a 5G-ready virtualized RAN software solution that supports open interfaces and disaggregates the hardware from the software to build an open multi-vendor web-scale network. The Altiostar solution supports macro and small cells, indoor and outdoor, enabling interference management, carrier aggregation and dual reception.

SD cards to hit 4GB/sec transfer rate with PCIe 4.0

The latest SD 8.0 Specification for SD Express memory cards will offer top transfer speed of nearly 4GB/sec by using the PCI Express (PCIe) 4.0 specification. The full-sized SD cards use the NVMe Express (NVMe) upper layer protocol enabling an advanced memory access mechanism, while maintaining backward compatibility.

SD Express will be offered on SDHC, SDXC and SDUC memory cards.

“By dramatically increasing the speeds for SD Express we’re giving device manufacturers and system developers more storage choices,” said Hiroyuki Sakamoto, SDA president. “SD 8.0 may open even more opportunities for extra high performance solutions using removable memory cards.”

“PCI-SIG is pleased to see that SDA is continuing to adopt even faster PCIe technology configurations using PCIe 4.0 interface and dual lanes for one of the top leading removable memory cards – SD,” said Al Yanes, PCI-SIG president and chairman. “PCIe specification conformance tests are available today by major test vendors, offering a significant advantage for any new PCIe technology adopter.”

“NVMe is the industry-recognized performance SSD interface from the client to the datacenter, shipping in millions of units,” said Amber Huffman, NVM Express™ Inc. president. “Consumers will benefit by SD Association continuing the adoption of the NVMe base specification for their latest SD Express cards.”

https://www.sdcard.org/

Sony to embed Microsoft Azure AI into its intelligent vision sensor

Sony will embed Microsoft Azure AI capabilities on its new intelligent vision sensor IMX500, which is being developed to extract useful information out of images in smart cameras and other devices.

Sony will also create a smart camera managed app powered by Azure IoT and Cognitive Services that complements the IMX500 sensor and expands the range and capability of video analytics opportunities for enterprise customers.

“By linking Sony’s innovative imaging and sensing technology with Microsoft’s excellent cloud AI services, we will deliver a powerful and convenient platform to the smart camera market. Through this platform, we hope to support the creativity of our partners and contribute to overcoming challenges in various industries,” said Terushi Shimizu, Representative Director and President, Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation.

“Video analytics and smart cameras can drive better business insights and outcomes across a wide range of scenarios for businesses,” said Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president and commercial chief marketing officer at Microsoft. “Through this partnership, we’re combining Microsoft’s expertise in providing trusted, enterprise-grade AI and analytics solutions with Sony’s established leadership in the imaging sensors market to help uncover new opportunities for our mutual customers and partners.”

Opengear: Estimated the cost of enterprise network outages

In the US, nearly two-fifths (38%) of senior IT decision-makers and network managers reported losing more than $1 million in the past 12 months, according to a recent study commissioned by Opengear, a Digi International company. More than half of survey respondents globally say they have had four or more network outages lasting more than 30 minutes in the past year, with outages costing half of the surveyed organizations worldwide between $300,000 and $6 million in downtime.

‘Measuring the True Cost of Network Outages,’ Opengear’s in-depth research study of 500 global senior IT decision makers, including 125 respondents from the US, also discovered that US businesses put significantly greater emphasis on network resilience than any other country surveyed. In fact, network resilience has become the top priority for 73% of US IT departments, as well as 70% of US companies at the board level. Globally, responses were at 49% and 47% respectively.

Some highlights of the study:

  • Although more than three quarters (78%) of organizations globally have set aside a specific budget to ensure its network resilience, almost half (49%) had outages increase by 10% or more over the last five years. 
  • Outages were even more prevalent in the US, with nearly one-third (32%) reporting an increase of 25% or more. 
  • More than four out of 10 (42%) US businesses reported that network outages took more than one working day on average to find and resolve after they were reported, with an average of nearly 10 hours across the country.


With many organizations running geographically spread networks, travel time to get engineers on site has become the most common challenge in resolving network issues quickly, according to more than two in five (41%) globally and over half (52%) in the US. But the US differs from other regions with the second most common challenge, inadequate network monitoring (41%); whereas globally, companies reported a lack of in-house engineering capabilities (40%).

Steve Cummins, Vice President of Marketing at Opengear, said “The true cost of a network outage is much more than just lost revenue. Our survey found that reduced customer satisfaction was the biggest impact of an outage according to 41% of respondents, ahead of data loss (34%) and financial loss (31%). Organizations need to think in advance about how they can avoid, and then recover from, an outage quickly before the consequences become severe. Given the time invested to resolve network outages and the costs incurred, finding a solution that addresses these is an urgent priority. This is where an out-of-band management solution can be highly beneficial. Companies around the world recognize that the ability to operate independently from the production network, and detect and remediate network issues automatically, can dramatically improve security (48%), save time (45%) and most importantly, reduce costs (41%).”

http://www.opengear.com

Telefónica UK migrates TDM to Ciena 6500 Packet Transport

Telefónica UK will migrate its legacy Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) infrastructure to a next-generation Adaptive IP network powered by Ciena's 6500 Packet Transport System (PTS).

Ciena said its 6500 PTS will allow Telefónica UK to continue supporting remaining TDM customers while also addressing new, high-growth applications across a single, converged packet-based transport network.
In addition, Ciena’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) domain controller will give Telefónica UK real-time visibility into its network to proactively identify and prevent potential issues.

“Providing reliable and seemingly endless bandwidth should not be hindered by the cost and complexity of managing legacy TDM networks. Our solution streamlines the migration process and also homogenizes Telefónica UK’s legacy services and its network approach to deliver 5G and IoT services,” states Rodolfo Vigliano, Senior Managing Director of Sales, Ciena.

T-Mobile extends 600 MHz loans

T-Mobile extended agreements with multiple spectrum holders to continue using their 600MHz spectrum during the COVID-19 pandemic through at least June 30.

T-Mobile extended its thanks to the FCC, ATN International, Bluewater, Carolina West Wireless, Channel 51, Comcast, DISH, Grain Management affiliate NewLevel LLC, LB Holdings, Omega Wireless LLC, Viaero Wireless and others.

AT&T abruptly terminates DIRECTV for Venezuela

AT&T terminated its DIRECTV Latin America operations in Venezuela, effective immediately.

The company said the U.S. government’s sanctions on Venezuela have prohibited the broadcast of Globovision and PDVSA’s channels, both of which are required under DIRECTV’s license to provide pay TV service in Venezuela.

"Because it is impossible for AT&T’s DIRECTV unit to comply with the legal requirements of both countries, AT&T was forced to close its pay TV operations in Venezuela, a decision that was made by the company’s U.S. leadership team without any involvement or prior knowledge of the DIRECTV Venezuela team."

Advent drops its pending $1.9 billion acquisition of Forescout

Advent International Corporation will not be able to consummate its acquisition of Forescout Technologies due to uncertainties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forescout and Advent are engaged in ongoing discussions regarding timing to close and the terms of the transaction. There can be no assurance that Forescout and Advent will be able to reach agreement on terms.

“This is an uncertain time for everyone, as businesses and communities across the world navigate the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michael DeCesare, CEO and President of Forescout. “We continue to believe that Advent is the right partner for Forescout and we remain committed to completing the transaction in the near-term. We thank our employees for their extraordinary efforts and commitment to Forescout, and we remain focused on continuing our course of advancing our innovation roadmap and strategic cloud and business transformation.”


  • In February, Advent International, one of the largest and most experienced global private equity investors, will acquire all outstanding shares of Forescout common stock for $33.00 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $1.9 billion.

See also