Thursday, June 4, 2020

Blueprint 400GbE: The Next Era of Connectivity

Ben Baker, Senior Director of Cloud and SP Marketing, Juniper Networks

The network lies at the heart of everything we do, and it is more important now than ever as we shift toward an increasingly remote work and lifestyle. Network traffic is at record high and shows no signs of leveling off any time soon. Having 400GbE network capacity is critical in maintaining speed and ushering in the next era of connectivity. 

400GbE offers massive increases in capacity, density and power efficiency, and the demand for these capabilities is only growing. Many of the new technology trends we are excited about will require this level of compute, such as new cloud applications, emerging 5G networks, as well as the recent shift to remote work. 400GbE has been a long time coming, but now that we’re entering the 5G era with increased demands for high-bandwidth applications, we’re seeing a clearer path forward. 

Higher speeds can unlock new service capabilities, which pose greater revenue opportunities for service providers, cloud operators and enterprises alike. 400GbE offers more density, scale and power efficiency at a low cost, making it the perfect choice for data center networks, data center interconnect (DCI), and service provider core and transport networks. as well. So why don’t we see more of it out there? 

A Growing Demand
To understand the story of 400GbE, we have to start with the companies clamoring for it most urgently: cloud hyperscalers. Companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook are experiencing explosive traffic growth across their data centers. Facebook, for example, generates four petabytes of new data every day. Google’s requirements for its data center networks double every 12-15 months. Trying to meet those demands with 100GbE links is like trying to pump a firehose worth of water through a handful of drinking straws. It’s doable, but time intensive

400GbE requires a lengthy time investment for equipment vendors to align around Multi-Source Agreements (MSAs) on optical standards, and therefore the fully realized potential of the technology has been delayed. These optical standards then require exhaustive testing, which can be a long, complex process. That said, the end result is hugely beneficial to the entire ecosystem and will be critical as we evolve into the next era of high-speed technology. 

As we move closer to large-scale commercial viability of 400GbE, expect to see major optical advances this year. Ongoing development of silicon photonics, for example, will further the convergence of optical transport with routing and switching, delivering pluggable transceiver capabilities on fixed configuration platforms or directly on line cards for modular platforms. 

Solving for the Next Wave of Challenges
As we prepare for these advances and wait for 400GbE economics to catch up with demand, here are some considerations to think about:

  • Think open and interoperable. Pursue platforms based on open standards-based technologies, with multi-vendor interoperability and zero lock-in. This will save you in the long run on capital expenditures and operational flexibility.
  • Get 400GbE-ready. As you pursue network refresh cycles, look for fixed configuration or modular solutions that support QSFP56-DD interfaces for 400GbE services, so you can make the transition quickly and easily—such as by swapping out one pluggable with another. 
  • Prioritize inline security. For many organizations, any traffic that leaves the data center must be encrypted. Look for 400GbE solutions that can provide MACsec encryption inline, so you don’t have to use separate components that increase power consumption and costs while sapping performance. 
  • Achieve telemetry at scale. To manage and monitor your network as you scale up, you need networking equipment that can scale telemetry capabilities as well. That means supporting millions of counters and many millions of filter operations per second. 
The Bottom Line
Internet traffic is growing exponentially and operators are trying to navigate the path forward to keep up with the exploding traffic growth. Service providers and cloud operators are fast approaching the tipping point where commercial solutions become viable. Delivering the next generation of digital services and applications—or even just supporting current ones more efficiently—requires a strong foundation powered by 400GbE. 

OIF looks ahead to 224 Gbps, releases Packet Optical SDN IA

The OIF is looking ahead to a proposed 224 Gbps project, the next electrical data rate beyond 112 Gbps.

The project was previewed at the Q2 2020 Technical and MA&E Committees Meeting, which was held virtually May 11-15. The leap to 224 Gbps is expected to be technically challenging with many factors to be considered, but already industry discussions are beginning to take place. The project is expected to start in Q3 and will consider the following challenges:

  • What reaches need to be supported
  • What modulations will be appropriate for each reach
  • Simulation tools
  • Test and measurement methodologies

By providing an active forum for discussions on next generation architectures and data rate beyond 112 Gbps, OIF is performing an essential role in accelerating standards and requirements. We expect this project to result in output data and baseline materials that will drive next generation CEI clauses and enable 1.6 Tbps rate architectures,” said Nathan Tracy, TE Connectivity and OIF President. “In addition, it is anticipated this next generation electrical rate will keep the industry on track to deliver lower cost and complexity 400 Gbps and 800 Gbps architectures as well.”

In addition, Dave Stauffer, Kandou Bus, S.A., was re-elected as Physical and Link Layer Working Group Chair through January 2022.

OIF will hold two upcoming webinars:

  • “Cu (See you) Beyond 112Gbps” - Thursday, June 18th at 7am PDT/9am CDT/10am EDT/4pm CEST - This online event, in partnership with Lightwave and Electronic Design, will feature a dynamic discussion between end-users, equipment developers and component suppliers. The webinar event is free and open to the public. Register here.
  • OIF will hold a members-only “Co-packaging of Optics with ASICs” webinar on Monday, July 20th at 7am PDT/9am CDT/10am EDT/4pm CEST. The webinar will explore challenges in realizing high density co-packaged optic solutions for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications. It will identify key drivers as well as important constraints (electrical, thermal, optical, etc.) as it continues OIF’s mission of identifying industry gaps in standards and explores opportunities to provide interoperable solutions.

In addition, the OIF announced an Integrated Packet Optical SDN Implementation Agreement that defines a standardized universal open framework and principal use cases for integrated SDN control of packet and optical networks that at the solution level will normalize the architecture, interfaces and behaviors and help move the industry forward. The new IA is online.

“OIF’s Integrated Packet Optical SDN IA brings meaningful use cases, architecture and technical requirements for cooperation between IP and Optical layers via SDN,” said Junjie Li, China Telecom and OIF Network Operator Working Group Chair. “Operators look to OIF as a place to address industry gaps and achieve maximum benefit for their optical networks. I believe this work will help us to construct a bridge between packet and optical and make our network smarter and simpler.”

MEF's LSO Inter-Provider Automation takes another step forward

Eight leading service providers are on track to be production-ready in 2Q 2020 for deploying MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata APIs to automate the ordering of MEF 3.0 Carrier Ethernet Access E-Line services:
  • AT&T
  • Infonas
  • Bestel
  • PCCW Global
  • Sparkle
  • Colt Technology Services
  • Telef√≥nica International Wholesale Services
  • HGC Global Communications

Five already have implemented LSO Sonata APIs in production environments and three expect to be ready for deployment before the end of Q2 2020.  In addition, Bloomberg is the first multinational enterprise to take this step.

The goal of  LSO Sonata APIs is to help service providers to transition from operating as independent islands to participating in a global federation of automated networks that will support dynamic inter-provider services with frictionless commerce.

“More than 50 global and regional service providers are at various stages of evaluation, demonstration, and production readiness of LSO Sonata APIs to enable frictionless inter-provider commerce,” said Nan Chen, President, MEF. “We congratulate this outstanding group of production-ready service providers who are committed to implementing MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata APIs to improve overall customer experience. Their collective efforts represent a major leap forward in accelerating industry transformation to dynamic, assured, and certified services across a global federation of automated networks.”

MEF is standardizing LSO Sonata APIs as part of a comprehensive effort to standardize multiple sets of LSO APIs enabling service automation across providers and network technology domains. LSO Sonata APIs relate to the interface reference point within the LSO Reference Architecture that supports automated business-to-business interactions between service providers. The full suite of available and planned LSO Sonata APIs deals with serviceability (address validation, site queries, product offering qualification), product inventory, quoting, ordering, trouble ticketing, contracts, and billing.

“Automating inter-provider services with MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata APIs enables providers to rapidly deliver high-performance/on-demand data services that are available beyond the network footprint of any individual operator,” said Pascal Menezes, CTO, MEF. “Participation in the global federation creates an opportunity to provide higher margin, highly differentiated services that leave behind commoditized, low-margin fixed-bandwidth services.”

“Sparkle is a strong supporter of the evolution underway of the interaction process between partner carriers to accelerate time to market and improve customer experience," stated Mario Di Mauro, CEO, Sparkle. "Having this clear objective, we are fully committed to implement Sonata APIs in production, for both seller and buyer roles, within June 2020. At the same time, we are actively working to empower selected partner providers with a plug & play Sonata-enabling technology to expand the ecosystem with the aim to offer customers a consistent experience throughout Sparkle’s extended footprint."

2020 OSA Imaging and Applied Optics Congress, 23 – 26 June

The 2020 OSA Imaging and Applied Optics Congress and the co-located OSA Optical Sensors and Sensing Congress will be virtual events this year presented 22 – 26 June. Key topics will include spectroscopic sensing by laser techniques, new sensing approaches to spectroscopic and material-based gas sensors, images of a black hole and design strategies for sensor array cameras.

  • In his talk titled “Laser Spectroscopic Sensing in Environmental, Ecological and Biomedical Research,” Sensing Congress plenary speaker Sune Svanberg, professor at South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China will discuss how these laser techniques and non-intrusive monitoring are being applied to areas strongly impacting human daily life. 
  • Sensing Congress plenary speaker Radislav Potyrailo, principal scientist at GE Research, USA will analyze capabilities of natural and fabricated photonic three-dimensional nanostructures as sensors for detection of different gases. His talk titled “Journey from Natural to Fabricated Gas Sensing Photonic Nanostructures: Unexpected Discoveries and Societal Impact” will highlight performance advances in detection of multiple gases with specific nanostructure designs.
  • Techniques developed by the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration to photograph a black hole will be the focus of the Imaging Congress plenary with speaker Katie Bouman, assistant professor at California Institute of Technology, USA. Bouman’s talk titled “Capturing the First Picture of a Black Hole and Beyond,” will describe how data from the Event Horizon Telescope’s observations of a black hole were calibrated and imaged, and future developments with telescope arrays.
  • David Brady, professor at Duke University, USA will review design strategies for heterogeneous sensor array cameras and analyze system performance for various recent designs in his Imaging Congress plenary talk titled “Defining the Digital Camera.” The camera consists of a variety of sensor resources, potentially including lens and sensor arrays with various forms of active illumination and 3D sensing.

The all-virtual 2020 OSA Optical Sensors and Sensing Congress, 22 – 25 June, comprised of five topical meetings, features the latest optical-based sensor advances as the market continues to expand and sensor technology becomes more sophisticated. Conference registration is free for all participants and currently open. You must register in advance to receive the web link to access the conference.

The all-virtual 2020 OSA Imaging and Applied Optics Congress, 23 – 26 June, comprised of five topical meetings, highlights the latest imaging research and applications of these technologies to industrial, military and medical challenges. Conference registration is free for all participants and currently open. You must register in advance to receive the web link to access the conference.

https://www.osa.org/en-us/meetings/osa_meetings/optical_sensors_and_sensing_congress/

ADVA intros ePRC optical cesium atomic clock

ADVA introduced the industry’s first ePRC optical cesium atomic clock for protecting synchronization networks from costly and dangerous interruptions to satellite signals.

The Oscilloquartz OSA 3350 ePRC+ leverages optical-pumping techniques and is the first cesium clock on the market with built-in SNMP support. When used with enhanced primary reference time clocks (ePRTCs), the OSA 3350 ePRC+ delivers holdover for 14 days with an accumulated error of up to 35 nanoseconds. This far exceeds the ITU-T ePRC G.811.1 standard that requires an accumulated error under 70 nanoseconds. The OSA 3350 ePRC+ also delivers optimum stability for over 10 years, which is 100% longer than the lifespan of high-performance magnetic cesium clocks.

ADVA said its innovation in the design of atomic clocks comes at a critical time when GNSS outages caused by jamming and spoofing attacks are on the rise. Long GNSS disruptions can cause severe network outages and so the OSA 3350 ePRC+ offers vital backup for mission-critical infrastructures that depend on satellite-based timing, such as mobile networks and power utilities. The OSA 3350 ePRC+ also meets the stringent performance demands as well as the cost points needed for mobile networks transitioning to 5G.

“Our OSA 3350 ePRC+ is a truly unique achievement and its importance to the industry can’t be overstated. It arrives at a crucial time with operators seeking an efficient way to deliver highly accurate, ultra-stable frequency and phase synchronization with significantly longer lifetime than existing cesium clocks. Now they can mitigate GNSS vulnerabilities by harnessing market-leading holdover performance for the most robust backup available,” said Gil Biran, general manager, Oscilloquartz, ADVA. “Creating a viable commercial optical atomic clock has been a key mission for a long time. By achieving it, we’re making sure that communication service providers never again have to compromise between performance and lifetime. And, with a frequency stability that outperforms current ITU-T ePRC G.811.1 standards, our OSA 3350 ePRC+ provides the safety net needed for 5G networks.”

Ciena posts Q2 sales of $894 million, up 3.4%

Ciena reported revenue of $894.1 million for its fiscal second quarter ended May 2, 2020, up 3.4% YoY. Ciena's GAAP net income for the fiscal second quarter 2020 was $91.7 million, or $0.59 per diluted common share, which compares to a GAAP net income of $52.7 million, or $0.33 per diluted common share, for the fiscal second quarter 2019.

"In this uncertain environment, we delivered industry leading financial performance during our second quarter, including strong revenue and outstanding profitability," said Gary Smith, President and CEO, Ciena. "Our strategy, centered around innovation, diversification and global scale, has resulted in a resilient business capable of navigating challenging times and delivering strong shareholder value over the long-term."

One 10%-plus customer represented a total of 12% of revenue
Cash and investments totaled $988.5 million
Cash flow from operations totaled $91.2 million
Average days' sales outstanding (DSOs) were 79




Mavenir expands its contact center as-a-service

Mavenir enhanced its cloud-hosted, contact center as-a-service (CCaaS) solution by adding:

  • Flexible call routing — routing of voice calls to any mobile or fixed phone line (approved/enabled by the business administrator) combined with a low-bandwidth web-based console for omnichannel interactions.
  • Computerless representatives/experts — by calling special campaign numbers to activate or deactivate call routing to their personal phone
  • Offline campaign mode — supervisors can configure agents’ personal phones in the campaign and, if workers can’t use their office phones, activate offline mode to have all calls automatically routed to their personal devices.

Representatives can choose the phone number where they will receive the calls (mobile phones or landlines) either from the web console login screen or by dialing a special login number. When remote, customer service representatives/experts will get a screen pop on the low bandwidth web console, upon receiving a call on the device, leveraging CRM integrations (such as Salesforce and Zendesk).

The new features are combined with existing features, such as Mobile Business Contact’s advanced reporting capabilities, support for existing IP phones, and a WebRTC client built into the omnichannel console, which can be used by employees that have higher bandwidth internet connectivity to get a full contact center experience anywhere.

Comcast's Xfinity Mobile adds 5G at no extra cost

Comcast's Xfinity Mobile is launching new data plans with 5G services at no extra cost whether customers choose unlimited data or pay by the gig.

“From day one, Xfinity Mobile has been proud to be the only provider to empower customers to design a mobile plan that fit their needs, as well as have the flexibility to seamlessly switch between unlimited or per gig to save money. We’re excited to now extend that benefit with 5G data plans,” said Rui Costa, Senior Vice President, Innovation & Customer Value Propositions, Comcast Cable.

Xfinity Mobile’s 5G service is available in 34 major cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, Spokane, St. Paul, and Washington, D.C.

New and current customers can choose from two straightforward 5G data options – “By the Gig” shared data starting at 1 GB for $15, 3 GB for $30 and 10 GB for $60, or Unlimited for $45 per month per line. Cellular data speeds for Xfinity Mobile customers reduced after 20 GB of cellular data consumed. Wi-Fi usage does not count towards the 20 GB data threshold.

ZTE wins China Mobile routing contracts

ZTE announced that it has won 70 percent of China Mobile’s 2019-2020 BRAS & vBRAS high-end router & switch (Section 4) centralized procurement by virtue of its vBRAS solution. To date, China Mobile’s largest-scale data communication product centralized procurement project has come to an end.

ZTE said its vBRAS solution will help China Mobile to further increase equipment resource utilization rate, accelerate new service deployment and improve operation & maintenance (O&M) efficiency. In this project, ZTE’s high-end router ZXR10 M6000-S has been employed to serve as the high-performance forwarding device while ZTE’s pure X86 ZXR10 V6000 vBRAS product has played the role of control plane.

In addition to Section 4, in China Mobile’s high-end router 2T (Section 2) and high-end router 400G (Section 3) centralized procurements completed in 2019, ZTE had also obtained 50% and 30% shares, ranking No.1 and No.2 respectively. In spite of the coronavirus outbreak, ZTE has overcome various difficulties to complete the commercial deployments of Section 2 and Section 3 devices in 5GC scenarios in major provinces and tier 1 cities in China.