Monday, December 7, 2020

Juniper to acquire Apstra for Intent-Based networking and assurance

Juniper Networks agreed to acquire Apstra, a start-up based in Menlo Park, California offering intent-based networking and automated closed loop assurance solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Apstra offers an intent-based network operating system for simplifying the management of data center networks. Intent-Based Networking (IBN) is a closed-loop, continuous validation approach to designing, deploying and managing infrastructure. Apstra automatically generates and deploys full configuration of all devices based on a service description, and continuously provides assurance checks between the intended and operational state. Apstra’s multivendor integrations extend its closed loop automation and analytics to customers independently of their underlying infrastructure, including those running SONiC (Software for Open Networking in the Cloud). 

Juniper said the acquisition expands its commitment to open programmability, adding to its portfolio of solutions that includes powerful switching platforms with native SONiC integration and a deployment-hardened, cloud-native routing stack for the SONiC ecosystem.<br>

"Juniper’s Data Center portfolio is consistently recognized by both analysts and customers as industry leading, with top marks for performance, scale, security and simplified operations through automation. Adding Apstra’s intent-based networking and automated closed loop assurance advances our vision to transform data center operations. With the combination of Juniper and Apstra, customers get the best infrastructure and fabric management with integrated design, deployment and automated root cause identification and remediation to satisfy any Data Center environment. This is networking for the modern cloud era,” stated Rami Rahim, CEO, Juniper Networks.

"We founded Apstra to automate the data center as a holistic system from its initial design to all aspects of its operation and maintenance. Our automation allows valuable network engineers to focus on strategic issues and avoid spending time on network configuration and troubleshooting, particularly with the attendant risk of human error. Joining Apstra with Juniper's strong reputation in networking and its commitment to open networking removes the long-standing tradeoff between manageability and vendor lock-in and advances the industry toward the true self-driving network, said David Cheriton, CEO and Co-Founder, Apstra.



Apstra's Mansour Karam on What is Intent-based Networking?




Why would Juniper acquire Apstra? In this video from late 2019, Mansour Karam, Co-Founder and President of Apstra, provides a 3-minute overview of Intent-based Networking.

Check out more Network Automation resources: https://nextgeninfra.io/network-automation/


Europe's Hexa-X project aims to set 6G groundwork

The Hexa-X project, which is funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, will begin on January 1, 2021 with a focus on developing the vision for future 6G systems.  The project will bring together a consortium of major ICT, industry and academic stakeholders. Ericsson and Nokia have been selected to lead the effort.

Magnus Frodigh, Vice President and Head of Ericsson Research says: “We are proud to be the technical lead of the Hexa-X project, together with a strong line up of consortium partners from industry and academia. In 2030, society will have been shaped by 5G for ten years. While we continue to evolve 5G, now is also the right time to start collaborative 6G research activities. The Hexa-X project will be an important vehicle for joint exploration across European industry and academia, together shaping how exponential technology evolution will meet anticipated demands and opportunities for the 6G era. The road to 6G begins today.”

Peter Vetter, Head of Access and Devices Research, Nokia Bell Labs, said: “Even though there is still a lot of innovation in 5G with the release of new standards, we are already exploring 6G in our research lab. In the 6G era we will see applications that will not only connect humans with machines but also connect humans with the digital world. Such a secure and private connection can be used for preventive healthcare or even to create a 6G network with a sixth sense that intuitively understands our intentions, making our interactions with the physical world more effective and anticipating our needs, thereby improving our productivity.”

Six challenges for Hexa-X

  • Connecting intelligence: AI/Machine Learning (ML) technologies need to be a vital and trusted tool for significantly improved efficiency and service experience, serving humans
  • Network of networks: multiple types of resources need to be aggregated to create a digital ecosystem that grows more and more capable, intelligent, and heterogeneous, eventually creating a single network of networks
  • Sustainability: energy-optimized digital infrastructure for a reduced global ICT environmental footprint, as well as delivering effective and sustainable digitization tools for global industry, society and policymakers
  • Global service coverage: efficient and affordable solutions for global service coverage, connecting remote places
  • Extreme experience: extreme bitrates, extremely low (imperceptible) latencies, seemingly infinite capacity, and precision localization and sensing
  • Trustworthiness: ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of communications and delivering data privacy, operational resilience and security 

https://hexa-x.eu/

FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund phase one auction

The FCC announced the results of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction in which cable operators, electric cooperatives, incumbent telephone companies, satellite companies, and fixed wireless providers competed in bids to deliver services to specific locations. A total of 180 bidders won auction support, to be distributed over the next 10 years.

Bidders won funding to deploy high-speed broadband to over 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses, almost 99% of the locations available in the auction.  Moreover, 99.7% of these locations will be receiving broadband with speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps, with an overwhelming majority (over 85%) getting gigabit-speed broadband.  

The auction used a multi-round, descending clock auction format in which bidders indicated in each round whether they would commit to provide service to an area at a given performance tier and latency at the current round’s support amount.  The auction was technologically neutral and open to new providers, and bidding procedures prioritized bids for higher speeds and lower latency.

The auction unleashed robust price competition that resulted in more locations being awarded at less cost to Americans who pay into the Universal Service Fund.  The 5,220,833 locations assigned support in the auction had an initial reserve price of over $26 billion over the next decade; through vigorous competition among bidders, the final price tag to cover these locations is now just over $9 billion,

CCO Holdings, LLC (Charter Communications) was assigned the most locations, just over 1.05 million. 

The FCC said itsstructuring of the reverse auction yielded significant savings, as competitive bidding among over 300 providers yielded an allocation of $9.2 billion in support out of the $16 billion set aside for Phase I of the auction.  Importantly, the $6.8 billion in potential Phase I support that was not allocated will be rolled over into the future Phase II auction, which now can draw upon a budget of up to $11.2 billion in targeting partially-served areas (and the few unserved areas that did not receive funding through Phase I).

“I’m thrilled with the incredible success of this auction, which brings welcome news to millions of unconnected rural Americans who for too long have been on the wrong side of the digital divide.  They now stand to gain access to high-speed, high-quality broadband service,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “We structured this innovative and groundbreaking auction to be technologically neutral and to prioritize bids for high-speed, low-latency offerings.  We aimed for maximum leverage of taxpayer dollars and for networks that would meet consumers’ increasing broadband needs, and the results show that our strategy worked.  This auction was the single largest step ever taken to bridge the digital divide and is another key success for the Commission in its ongoing commitment to universal service.  I thank our staff for working so hard and so long to get this auction done on time, particularly during the pandemic.” 

The list of winning bidders is posted here:

Source Photonics debuts 100G ZR4 QSFP28 Transceiver

Source Photonics announced the release of its new 100G ZR4 QSFP28 transceiver for 80km high-speed data center interconnects and routing applications. 

Leveraging the widely deployed 4 x 25G NRZ optics, 100G ZR4 QSFP28 is the latest addition to the company’s dominant 100G product lines among its leading 100/200/400G portfolio of single-mode transceivers for datacenter and routing applications.

Cloud traffic continues to drive data center growth and the industry requires cost-effective and high-bandwidth interoperable solutions. The Source Photonics 100G ZR4 QSFP28 is cost optimized and low power transceiver supporting 100G Ethernet for extended reach up to 80km transmission that provides point to point network connectivity solutions between data centers or central offices without the need to deploy either complicated, power hungry, and expensive coherent solution or legacy CFP/CFP2 interfaces. The 100G ZR4 QSFP28 alleviates the fiber shortage bottlenecks and enables hyperscale cloud operators to scale their network.

The transceiver is in QSFP28 form factor, the smallest for 100G 80km solution. It is fully compliant with the industry standard QSFP28 and related MSA described in the latest SFF-8665/8636 and digital diagnostic functions are available through an I2C interface. It also complies with IEEE 802.3 100GBASE-ZR4 related specifications. In addition, the module supports standard KR4 FEC (Forward Error Correction) baud rates which will help receive side detect and correct bit errors and improve the overall quality of the link. The 100G ZR4 QSFP28 transceiver is capable to operate over up to 80km point-to-point link without the need for optical amplification and dispersion compensation.

Source Photonics will showcase a product demonstration of the 100G ZR4 QSFP28 transceiver for 80km optical transmission in its virtual booth, in addition to live booth activities, and informative video content during the ECOC 2020 Virtual Exhibition on December 7 to 9.

Source Photonics is currently sampling its 100G ZR4 QSFP28 product, in addition to its latest 100G ER4 and 400G ER8 transceivers. Source Photonics is in full production of its other products for data center and routing applications such as 100G LR4/ER4 Lite, 100G DR1/FR1/LR1, and 400G DR4/FR4/LR4/LR8 transceivers.

http://www.sourcephotonics.com

Open Eye Consortium completes 50Gbps LR1 and LR4 specs

The Open Eye Consortium (Open Eye MSA)  announced two new specifications targeted for 50Gbps per lane applications: LR1 and LR4 for 10 kilometers, based on the CWDM4 wavelength grid, over a single mode fiber. These new specifications complement the Open Eye MSA’s previously released single and multi-mode specifications.


The Open Eye MSA said its specifications provide an alternative to higher power and higher cost DSP-based solutions. These new specifications are aimed at 53Gbps SFP28 Long-Reach (LR) and 200Gbps QSFP Long Reach (LR) optical module designs for next generation 5G wireless, enterprise and data center networking applications.

The Open Eye MSA aims to accelerate the adoption of PAM-4 optical interconnects scaling to 50Gbps, 100Gbps, 200Gbps, and 400Gbps by expanding upon existing standards to enable optical module implementations using less complex, lower cost, lower power, and optimized analog clock and data recovery (CDR) based architectures in addition to existing digital signal processing (DSP) architectures.

The Open Eye MSA defines the requirements for analog PAM-4 solutions for 50G SFP, 100G DSFP, 100G SFP-DD, 200G QSFP, 400G QSFP-DD and OSFP modules. 

A whitepaper is available to view and download here for interested parties to learn more about the Open Eye’s MSA mission and latest technical information. To access more information about the Open Eye MSA single- and multi-mode specifications please visit: https://www.openeye-msa.org/.

The Open Eye MSA is also excited to announce that its membership has grown to 38 members with the addition of Credo Semiconductor, Fuji Xerox, Hisense and Lumentum to its list of members.

https://www.openeye-msa.org

Lumentum samples 100G PAM4 directly-modulated laser


Lumentum announced sampling of a new 100G PAM4 (53 Gbaud) directly-modulated laser (DML) for hyperscale data center applications. 

The newly developed 100G PAM4 DML is manufactured with Lumentum's internal wafer production capabilities. It leverages InP technology, using a cavity design to operate with the same high-bandwidth performance of an EML in 100G and 400G applications, but in a small, simple, and cost-effective footprint. The latest DML can lower the cost of 400G DR4 compared with current laser alternatives. Additionally, 800G PSM8 modules can benefit from the capabilities of the new 100G PAM4 DML, which is important as data centers transition to these modules in future top-of-rack and leaf layer applications.

The new product joins Lumentum's portfolio of laser chips that enable a wide-range of MSA-compliant transceiver modules operating at multiple data rates and wavelengths. 

"This latest advancement helps to significantly reduce the cost of 400G DR4 modules in data center infrastructures," said Walter Jankovic, Lumentum Senior Vice President and General Manager, Datacom. "The 100G PAM4 DML goes beyond servicing the current need for cost-effective and innovative InP laser solutions at mass volume by enabling future intra-data center interconnects as the industry moves to 800G."



 

Cisco to acquire IMImobile for Customer Interaction Management

Cisco agreed to acquire IMImobile PLC (AIM: IMO) in a deal valued at approximately US$730 million.

IMImobile, which is based in London, provides software and services which allow enterprises and organizations to stay constantly connected to their customers through enhanced interactive channels including social, messaging and voice. The company's Customer Interaction Management suite orchestrates smarter interactions with customers.

Cisco plans to integrate IMImobile software and services with its Webex Contact Center solution, creating a solution that is:

  • Intelligent: Using AI along the entire customer journey to create super agents and augmented frontline employees.
  • Contextual: Providing the customer data needed to personalize interactions.
  • Collaborative: Empowering employee collaboration in order to deliver 10x better customer experiences.
  • Omnichannel: Connecting with customers in their channel of choice—text, social or voice—throughout the customer journey
  • Programmable: Giving the business the ability to orchestrate workflows and personalize customer journeys

“A great customer relationship is built on consistently enjoyable interactions where every touchpoint on every channel is an opportunity for businesses to deliver rich, engaging and intuitive experiences,” said Jeetu Patel, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Security and Applications business. “We look forward to working with IMImobile to help create a comprehensive CXaaS solution for the market—one that gives businesses a platform to provide delightful experiences across the entire customer lifecycle journey.”

FCC authorizes first Wi-Fi device for 6 GHz spectrum band

The FCC authorized the first Wi-Fi device for use in the 6 GHz spectrum band (5.925–7.125 GHz).  

Specifically, the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology authorized Broadcom’s application for the first 6 GHz transmitter.  

In April, the Commission adopted new rules to expand unlicensed operations in the 6 GHz band, ushering in Wi-Fi 6—the next generation of Wi-Fi—and boosting the growth of the Internet of Things.  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued the following statement on today’s news:

“Today, we get an exciting glimpse of America’s Wi-Fi future.  This is the FCC’s first authorization of a device to provide unlicensed services in the 6 GHz spectrum band under the Commission’s new rules.  The Commission cleared the way for such advances with its landmark action earlier this year, making up to 1,200 megahertz of spectrum available for higher powered unlicensed use.  Today, we are starting to see the fruits of this work, and consumers will now start to benefit in a big way.

“We expect Wi-Fi 6 to be over two-and-a-half times faster than the current standard.  This will offer better performance for American consumers at a time when homes and businesses are increasingly reliant on Wi-Fi.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all seen how Wi-Fi has enabled everything from work-at-home to telehealth to remote learning to streaming and gaming.  Wi-Fi 6 will turbocharge each of these and more, and will also complement commercial 5G networks.  Bottom line:  The American consumer’s wireless experience is about to be transformed for the better.

FCC opens 6 GHz Band to Wi-Fi

The FCC voted to open 1,200 megahertz of spectrum in the 6 GHz band (5.925–7.125 GHz) available for Wi-Fi and other unlicensed uses.  The 6 GHz band is currently populated by, among others, microwave services that are used to support utilities, public safety, and wireless backhaul.  Unlicensed devices will share this spectrum with incumbent licensed services under rules crafted to protect those licensed services and enable both unlicensed and licensed operations to thrive throughout the band.

The new rules authorize indoor low-power operations over the full 1,200 megahertz and standard-power devices in 850 megahertz in the 6 GHz band.  An automated frequency coordination system will prevent standard power access points from operating where they could cause interference to incumbent services. 

The FCC expects its new rules to accelerate the adoption of Wi-Fi 6 and play a major role in the growth of the Internet of Things.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai states: "Ultimately, I expect that 6 GHz unlicensed devices will become a part of consumers’ everyday lives.  And I predict the rules we adopt today will play a major role in the growth of the Internet of Things, connecting appliances, machines, meters, wearables, smart televisions, and other consumer electronics, as well as industrial sensors for manufacturing.  At the same time, our approach will ensure that incumbents in the 6 GHz band are protected from harmful interference.  The microwave services that already use this band are critical to the operations of utilities, public safety, and wireless backhaul operations.  And we are ensuring that those incumbents are protected by requiring the use of automated frequency coordination systems, which will only allow new standard-power operations in areas that will not cause interference to incumbent services, and by placing conservative power limits on low-power indoor operations."

“By making 6 GHz available for unlicensed use, the FCC has secured the future of Wi-Fi. 6 GHz access is a seminal development for connectivity and provides Wi-Fi more capacity to deliver groundbreaking use cases and to unlock novel new Wi-Fi applications,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance. “Today’s global climate highlights how important Wi-Fi is in connectivity and productivity, and new Wi-Fi 6E solutions will further increase Wi-Fi’s standing.”

Cisco to acquire Slido for audience interaction in Webex

Cisco announced plans to acquire Slido s.r.o., a start-up offering an online audience interaction platform. Slido enables higher levels of user engagement―before, during and after meetings and events. This includes real-time feedback tools, dynamic polls, Q&A, quizzes, word clouds, surveys, etc. Slido has over 7 million participants monthly. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Slido technology will be part of the Cisco Webex platform and enhance Cisco’s ability to offer new levels of inclusive audience engagement across both in-person and virtual experiences.

“We believe that the way we work has changed forever. In the years to come, much of our work will happen on video calls and virtual meetings. We realized that if we want to impact millions of lives for the better and truly transform how meetings and events are run around the World, we will need a strong partner. Therefore, we are excited to join Cisco once the acquisition is complete. We can’t wait to start working together to help them transform the virtual meetings experience,” commented Peter Komornik, Slido CEO.

  • Webex recorded nearly 600 million participants in October 2020, almost double the number from March 2020.