Showing posts with label Standards. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Standards. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

HiWire aims for standard Active Electrical Cables at 400G and up

A new HiWire Consortium has been established to pursue the standardization and certification of a new category of Active Electrical Cables (AEC). The group is dedicated to the establishment and ongoing development of an AEC standard that defines a specific implementation of the many industry MSAs and a formal certification process. This will enable an ecosystem of trusted Plug and Play AECs, available from multiple sources, for the hyperscale data center, telecom and enterprise markets.

HiWire AECs provide a full solution for layer 1 and 2 interconnect to deliver persistent and deterministic connectivity necessary for the next generation of data centers as the industry moves to 400G and beyond.

The founding companies of the HiWire Consortium are: Accton Technology, Alpha Networks, Arrcus, Bizlink, Cameo Communications, Zhejiang Canaan Technology, Centec Networks, Chelsio Communications, Credo, Dell EMC, Delta Electronics, Edom Technology, Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co.(Foxlink), Innovium, Barefoot Networks (an Intel Company), Inventec, Juniper Networks, Keysight Technologies, Quanta, Senao, Spirent Communications, Steligent Information Technologies Co., Wistron, Wistron NeWeb, and Wywinn Corporation.

“We are delighted and humbled by the widespread support for Credo and the HiWire Consortium,” said Bill Brennan, CEO of Credo. “The founding members all share a desire for thinner, longer and more reliable interconnect solutions. The consortium provides the framework to deliver a robust supply of interoperable solutions for 400G and beyond.”

“As new high-performance software workloads hit the network, the availability of reliable, low cost 400G interconnect is crucial,” said Ed Doe, vice president in Intel’s Connectivity Group and General Manager of the Barefoot Division. “The HiWire Consortium will go a step beyond MSAs and deliver to the datacenter what they have demanded from the start – truly interoperable interconnect solutions from a broad vendor base which will accelerate the adoption of our 12.8 Tbps P4-programmable Barefoot Ethernet switch series.”

“400G Ethernet represents a very challenging transition for the networking industry,” said Bob Wheeler, Principal Analyst at The Linley Group. “Creating a specific implementation and formal certification program around the many industry MSAs and standards is key to enabling trusted cables from multiple sources.”

https://hiwire.org



USB4 delivers 40Gbps bi-directionally

The new USB4 spec was officially published by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF).

The USB4 architecture is based on the Thunderbolt protocol specification recently contributed by Intel Corporation to the USB Promoter Group. It doubles the maximum aggregate bandwidth of USB and enables multiple simultaneous data and display protocols. It also maintains compatibility with existing USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3 hosts and devices is supported; the resulting connection scales to the best mutual capability of the devices being connected.

Key characteristics of the USB4 solution include:

  • Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40Gbps operation over 40Gbps certified cables
  • Multiple data and display protocols that efficiently share the maximum aggregate bandwidth
  • Backward compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3

Over 50 companies are actively participating in the final stages of review of the draft specification.

http://www.usb.org

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

MEF publishes SD-WAN standard

MEF officially published SD-WAN Service Attributes and Services (MEF 70) -- the industry’s first global standard defining an SD-WAN service and its service attributes. The standard was officially approved by MEF members and ratified by the MEF Board of Directors at the organization’s recent Annual Members Meeting.

The SD-WAN standard describes requirements for an application-aware, over-the-top WAN connectivity service that uses policies to determine how application flows are directed over multiple underlay networks irrespective of the underlay technologies or service providers who deliver them.

MEF 70, among other things, defines:

  • Service attributes that describe the externally visible behavior of an SD-WAN service as experienced by the subscriber.
  • Rules associated with how traffic is handled.
  • Key technical concepts and definitions like an SD-WAN UNI, the SD-WAN Edge, SD-WAN Tunnel Virtual Connections, SD-WAN Virtual Connection End Points, and Underlay Connectivity Services.
SD-WAN standardization offers numerous benefits that will help accelerate SD-WAN market growth while improving overall customer experience with hybrid networking solutions. Key benefits include:

  • Enabling a wide range of ecosystem stakeholders to use the same terminology when buying, selling, assessing, deploying, and delivering SD-WAN services.
  • Making it easier to interface policy with intelligent underlay connectivity services to provide a better end-to-end application experience with guaranteed service resiliency.
  • Facilitating inclusion of SD-WAN services in standardized LSO architectures, thereby advancing efforts to orchestrate MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services across automated networks.
  • Paving the way for creation and implementation of certified MEF 3.0 SD-WAN services, which will give users confidence that a service meets a fundamental set of requirements.
“We want to thank the SD-WAN team for the incredible job they have done in bringing this industry-first standard to market in a timely manner,” said Nan Chen, President, MEF. “Combining standardized SD-WAN services with dynamic high-speed underlay connectivity services – including Carrier Ethernet, Optical Transport, and IP – enables service providers to deliver powerful MEF 3.0 hybrid networking solutions with unprecedented user- and application-directed control over network resources and service capabilities.”

MEF already has begun work on the next phase of SD-WAN standardization – MEF 70.1 – that will be of high interest to many enterprises. This work includes defining:
  • Service attributes for application flow performance and business importance.
  • SD-WAN service topology and connectivity.
  • Underlay connectivity service parameters.
MEF also is progressing related standards work focused on:
  • Application security for SD-WAN services.
  • Intent-based networking for SD-WAN that will simplify the subscriber-to-service provider interface.
  • Information and data modeling standards that will accelerate LSO API development for SD-WAN services.
“We’re seeing a significant change in how customers are using SD-WAN now versus two years ago, and that evolution is what makes service standards from MEF so critical. Today, and moving forward, SD-WAN is about delivering application performance. As the underlying networks — Optical Transport, Carrier Ethernet, and IP — are under greater pressure to be more ubiquitous, easy to provision, on-demand and elastic, that is where the MEF 3.0 construct comes into play. MEF’s role is creating a standards-based, intelligent network across multiple carriers that will eliminate friction as we work with each other to deliver application performance at the level of efficiency our customers are seeking,” stated Roman Pacewicz, Chief Product Officer, AT&T Business.

“Verizon is pleased to support MEF’s industry-leading SD-WAN standardization work. SD-WAN is the way to interface policy with an intelligent software defined network, and standardization makes it easier for integration to work across multiple types of underlying transport services. What that means for our end customers is it lets them get a better overall experience relative to their applications, with support for a broader range of use cases, guaranteed service resiliency, and improved service capabilities in an always on, always connected world,” stated Shawn Hakl, Senior Vice President Business Products, Verizon.

In addition, MEF remains on track to launch its MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Certification pilot program in 4Q 2019. This certification will test a set of service attributes and their behaviors defined in MEF 70 and described in detail in the upcoming MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Certification Test Requirements (MEF 90) document.

https://wiki.mef.net/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=89003131



Tuesday, June 18, 2019

PCIe 6.0 to leverage 56G PAM-4 to hit 64 GT/s transfer rate

PCI Express (PCIe) 6.0 technology will double the data rate to 64 GT/s while maintaining backwards compatibility with previous generations. PCI-SIG, which is the consortium that owns and manages PCI specification, said PCIe 6.0 is on target for release in 2021.

PCIe 6.0 Specification Features

  • Delivers 64 GT/s raw bit rate and up to 256 GB/s via x16 configuration
  • Utilizes PAM-4 (Pulse Amplitude Modulation with 4 levels) encoding and leverages existing 56G PAM-4 in the industry
  • Includes low-latency Forward Error Correction (FEC) with additional mechanisms to improve bandwidth efficiency
  • Maintains backwards compatibility with all previous generations of PCIe technology

“PCI Express technology has established itself as a pervasive I/O technology by sustaining bandwidth improvements for five generations over two decades,” Dennis Martin, an analyst at Principled Technologies, said. “With the

“Continuing the trend we set with the PCIe 5.0 specification, the PCIe 6.0 specification is on a fast timeline,” Al Yanes, PCI-SIG Chairman and President, said. “Due to the continued commitment of our member companies, we are on pace to double the bandwidth yet again in a time frame that will meet industry demand for throughput.”

http://www.pcisig.com


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Open Eye MSA Consortium targets 50/100/200/400G modules

The Open Eye Consortium has established a Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) aimed at standardizing advanced specifications for lower latency, more power efficient and lower cost 50 Gbps, 100 Gbps, 200 Gbps, and up to 400 Gbps optical modules for datacenter interconnects over single-mode and multimode fiber.

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

The Open Eye industry consortium said it is committed to developing an industry-standard optical interconnect that leverages seamless component interoperability among a broad group of industry-leading technology providers, including providers of electronics, lasers and optical components.

 The initial Open Eye MSA specification will focus on 53 Gbps per lane PAM-4 solutions for 50G SFP, 100G DSFP, 100G SFP-DD, 200G QSFP, and 400G QSFP-DD and OSFP single-mode modules. Subsequent specifications will aim to address multimode and 100Gbps per lane applications. The initial specification release is planned for Fall 2019, with product availability to follow later in the year.

MACOM and Semtech Corporation initiated the formation of the Open Eye MSA with 19 current members in Promoter and Contributing membership classes.

Promoters include Applied Optoelectronics Inc., Cambridge Industries (CIG), Color Chip, Juniper Networks, Luxshare-ICT, MACOM, Mellanox, Molex and Semtech Corporation.

Contributors include: Accelink, Cloud Light Technology, InnoLight, Keysight Technologies, Maxim Integrated, O-Net, Optomind, Source Photonics and Sumitomo Electric.

“Through its participation in the Open Eye MSA, AOI is leveraging our laser and optical module technology to deliver benefits of low cost, high-speed connectivity to next generation data centers.” David (Chan Chih) Chen, AVP, Strategic Marketing for Transceiver, AOI

“MACOM continues to drive the industry’s technical requirements towards meeting the demands of Cloud Service Providers. Leveraging our proven leadership in 25G, 50G and 100G analog chipsets and optical components, we co-founded the Open Eye MSA to accelerate the adoption of 200G and 400G PAM optical interconnects. At the same time we are working in parallel to advance the DSP technologies necessary for faster connectivity speeds for future applications.” Preet Virk, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Networks, MACOM.

Companies interested in joining the Open Eye MSA can contact: admin@openeye-msa.org.

http://www.openeye-msa.org

Sunday, March 24, 2019

ETSI Multi-access Edge Computing phase 2 specs released

The ETSI Multi-access Edge Computing group (MEC ISG) released the first set of its Phase 2 specifications, including ETSI GS MEC 002 which includes new requirements for Phase 2, ETSI GS MEC 003 dealing with architecture and framework, and  ETSI GS MEC 009 giving general principles for service APIs.

The updated specs focus on the integration of NFV integration. The specification also describes example use cases and their technical benefits, for the purpose of deriving requirements. In addition, the release includes a report on MEC support for vehicle to infrastructure and vehicle to vehicle use cases.

“With this Release, the group continues to strengthen the leadership role that ETSI has played in edge computing since day one. I am proud of the quality of the work this team keeps delivering, making sure that the MEC marketplace evolves to an efficient, interoperable and open environment” says Alex Reznik, MEC ISG Chair. 

https://www.etsi.org/newsroom/press-releases/1567-2019-03-etsi-multi-access-edge-computing-releases-phase-2-specifications

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Low latency spec for 50GbE tweaks forward error correction

The 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium has completed a low-latency forward error correction (FEC) specification for 50 Gbps, 100 Gbps and 200 Gbps Ethernet networks.

The new spec cuts FEC latency approximately in half by using a shortened codeword FEC variant – RS (272, 257+1, 7, 10) that replaces the IEEE 802.3cd and 802.3bs standard FEC.  The shortened codeword contains 272 x 10-bit symbols rather than the 544 x 10-bit symbols originally specified. Nothing else changes in the symbol distribution process from the output of the encoder to the FEC lanes in the new FEC, but that process is implemented more quickly due to the shortened codeword.

This will have a significant impact on overall physical layer latency, in particular for hyperscale datacenter networks comprised of a large number of nodes, with multiple hops between servers.

“Five years ago, only HPC developers cared about low latency, but today has latency sensitivity has come to many more mainstream applications,” said Rob Stone, technical working group chair of the 25G Ethernet Consortium. “With this new specification, the consortium is improving the single largest source of packet processing latency, which improves the performance that high-speed Ethernet brings to these applications.”

The specification is available at https://25gethernet.org/ll-fec-specification

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

ECOC 2018: DSFP form factor doubles data rate and density of SFP

A rev 1.0 hardware specification has been released for new DSFP (Dual Small Form-Factor Pluggable) modules -- doubling the data rate and port density of SFP modules in the same footprint.

Whereas SFP has a single electrical lane pair operating at bit and data rates up to 28 Gbps using NRZ and 56 Gbps using PAM4, the new DSFP has two electrical lane pairs, each operating at bit rates up to 26 Gbps using NRZ and 56 Gbps using PAM4, supporting aggregate date rates up to 56 Gbps and 112 Gbps, respectively. DSFP will potentially scale to a per lane bit rate of 112 Gbps using PAM4, supporting aggregate data rate up to 224 Gbps. SFP modules can be plugged into DSFP ports for backwards compatibility.

The spec was developed by the DSFP MSA (Multi-Source Agreement) Group, whose founding members are Amphenol, Finisar, Huawei, Lumentum, Molex, NEC, TE Connectivity, and Yamaichi.

The DSFP Hardware Specification Rev. 1.0 includes complete electrical, mechanical and thermal specifications for module and host card, including connector, cage, power, and hardware I/O. Also included are operating parameters, data rates, protocols, and supported applications.

Work is now underway on the DSFP MIS (Management Interface Specification), which is an abridged version of the CMIS (Common MIS) being developed by the QSFP-DD, OSFP and COBO Advisors Group.

“We are very excited about the introduction of a highly competitive new form factor by the DSFP MSA, which will double interface bandwidth and port density while maintaining compatibility with the existing SFP family of optics,” said Zhoujian Li, President of Research and Development, Wireless Networks, Huawei. “The DSFP form factor is low cost, has excellent high-speed signal integrity, reduces PCB area and is easy to design and manufacture.  It is a great platform that enables 5G deployment and evolution, while fully protecting our customers’ investment.”

“Publication of the DSFP Hardware Specification is part of an industry trend of quickly developing solutions optimized for specific applications. Stringent cost, power and size constraints in demanding market segments, like Mobile infrastructure, leads to solutions focused strictly on required functionality,” commented Chris Cole, Chair of the DSFP MSA Group, and Vice President of Advanced Development, Finisar.

http://www.dsfpmsa.org

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

IEEE 802.11aq enables wireless service delivery

The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) approved and published IEEE 802.11aq, an amendment to IEEE 802.11™, that addresses discovery of available services in Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs).

The IEEE 802.11aq amendment specifies parameters for pre-association queries between wireless networks and devices. By facilitating a rich exchange of information between the wireless access point and the user’s device, users can swiftly and effortlessly discover what types of services are supported before making the decision to connect. Simplifying the service discovery process streamlines the network selection process, thereby elevating the end user experience.

IEEE said storing and caching available services with access points permits operators to differentiate their service offerings from those of market competitors in the same locality, opening the door to potential revenue generation opportunities.

“Connecting to a WLAN without first being able to easily discover whether a given service is supported by that network is often a source of frustration for end users. The IEEE 802.11aq amendment mitigates these situations by permitting users to quickly determine what services are available prior to actually connecting their devices,” said Stephen McCann, chair IEEE 802.11aq task group. “IEEE 802.11aq also delivers a critical competitive advantage through service differentiation in crowded market environments.”

Monday, July 2, 2018

CableLabs sets Point-to-Point Coherent Optics spec

CableLabs completed and published its first Point-to-Point Coherent Optics specifications for fiber access networks. The specifications enable the development of interoperable transceivers using coherent optical technology over point-to-point links.

The new specs, support 100 Gbps per wavelength, a 10X increase over the previous 10 Gbps rate, include:

  • P2P Coherent Optics Architecture Specification 
  • P2P Coherent Optics Physical Layer v1.0 Specification 

Coherent Optics technology uses amplitude, phase, and polarization to enable much higher fiber capacities which can improve streaming, video conferencing, file uploads and downloads and future usage needs for technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.

“CableLabs Point-to-Point Coherent Optics takes the existing fiber access network to hyper speed, boosting fiber capacity to meet the growing demand of broadband customers,” said Phil McKinney, president and chief executive officer of CableLabs. “Over half a billion people rely on CableLabs technology every day, and this breakthrough not only increases the capacity of the existing fiber system by an order of magnitude, it opens up wavelength resources to improve network quality and reliability, enabling advancements in cellular and wireless services.”

This announcement closely follows the launch of the CableLabs’ Full Duplex DOCSIS® specification in 2017, reflecting the company’s ongoing commitment to the broadband consumer community, cable and fiber providers and other key industry stakeholders.

https://apps.cablelabs.com/specification/P2PCO-SP-PHYv1.0
https://www.cablelabs.com/point-to-point-coherent-optics-specifications/

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Interview - Disaggregating and Virtualizing the RAN

The xRAN Forum is a carrier-led initiative aiming to apply the principles of virtualization, openness and standardization to one area of networking that has remained stubbornly closed and proprietary -- the radio access network (RAN) and, in particular, the critical segment that connects a base station unit to the antennas. Recently, I sat down with Dr. Sachin Katti, Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments at Stanford University and Director of the xRAN Forum, to find out what this is all about.

Jim Carroll, OND: Welcome Professor Katti. So let's talk about xRAN. It's a new initiative. Could you introduce it for us?

Dr. Sachin Katti, Director of xRAN Forum: Sure. xRAN is a little less than two years old. It was founded in late 2016 by me along with AT&T, Deutsche Telecom and SK Telecom -- and it's grown significantly since then.  We now are up to around ten operators and at least 20 vendor companies so it's been growing quite a bit the last year and a half.

JC: So why did xRAN come about?

SK:  Some history about how all of happened... I was actually at Stanford as my role as a faculty here at Stanford collaborating with both AT&T and Deutsche Telecom on something we called soft-RAN, which stood for software-defined radio access network. The research really was around how do you take radio access networks, which historically have been very tightly integrated and coupled with hardware, and make them more virtualized - to disaggregate the infrastructure so that you have more modular components, and also defined interfaces between the different common components. I think we all realized at that point that to really have an impact, we need to take this out of the research lab and get the industry and the cross-industry ecosystem to join forces and make this happen in reality.

That's the context behind how xRAN was born. The focus is on how do we define a disaggregated architecture for the RAN. Specifically, how do you take what's called the eNodeB base station and deconstruct the software stuff that's running on the base station such that you have modular components with open interfaces between them that allows for interoperability, so that you could truly have a multi-vendor deployment. And two, it also has a lot more programmability so that an operator could customize it for their own needs, enabling new applications and new service much more easily without having to go through a vendor every single time. I think it was really meant so that you can try all of those aspects and that's how it got started.

JC: Okay. Is there a short mission statement?  

SK: Sure. The mission statement for xRAN is to build an open virtualized, disaggregated radio access network architecture that opens standardized interfaces between all of these components, and to be able to build all of these components in a virtualized fashion on commodity hardware wherever possible.

JC:  In terms of the use cases, why would carriers need to virtualize their RAN, especially when they have other network slicing paradigms under development?

SK: It's great that you bring up network slice actually. Network slicing is one of the trialing use cases and the way to think about this is, in the future, everyone expects to have network slices with very different connectivity needs for enabling different kinds of applications. So you might have a slice for cars that have very different bandwidth and latency characteristics compared to a slice for IOT traffic, which is a bit more delay tolerant for example.

JC: And those are slices in a virtual EPC? Is that right?

SK:  Those are slices that need to be end-to-end. It can't just be the EPC because ultimately the SLAs you can give for the kind of connectivity you can deliver, is ultimately going to be dictated by what happens on the access. So, eventually, a slice has to be end-to-end and the challenge was if an operator, for example, wants to define new slices then how do they program the radio access network to deliver that SLA, to deliver that connectivity that that slice needs.

In the EPC there was a lot of progress on what are those interfaces to enable such slicing but there was not similar progress that happened in the RAN. How do you program the base station, and how do you program the access network itself to deliver such slicing capability? So that's actually one of the driving use cases that's in there since the start of xRAN. Another big use case, and I'm not sure whether we should call it a use case, but just a need, is around having a multi-vendor deployment. Historically, if you look at radio access network deployments, they're a single vendor. So, if you take a U.S. operator, for example, they literally divide up their markets into an Ericsson market or a Nokia market or whatever. And the understanding is everything in that market, from the base station to the antenna to the backhaul, everything comes from one vendor. They really cannot mix and match components from different vendors because there haven't been many interoperable interfaces, so the other big need or requirement that is coming all this is interoperability in a multivendor environment that they want to get to.

JC: How about infrastructure sharing? I mean we see that the tower companies are now growing by leaps and bounds and many carriers thinking that maybe it's no longer strategically important to own the tower and so share that tower, and they might share the backhaul as well. 

SK: It will actually help. It will actually enable that kind of sharing at an even more deeper level, because if you have an infrastructure that is virtualized and is running on more commodity hardware in a virtualized fashion then it becomes easier for a tower company to set up the compute substrate and their underlying backhaul substrate and then provide virtual infrastructure slices to each operator to operate on top of. And so instead of actually just physically separating -- right now they are basically renting space on the top right but instead if you could just the same underlying compute substrate and the same backhaul infrastructure as well a fronthaul infrastructure and virtually slice it and run multiple networks on top, it actually makes it possible to share on the infrastructure even more. So virtualization is almost a prerequisite to any of the sharing of infrastructure.

JC: Tell us about the newly released, xRAN fronthaul specification version 1.0. What is the body of work it builds on?

SK: Sure, let me step back and just talk about all the standardization efforts, and then I'll answer the question. xRAN actually has three big different working groups. One is around fronthaul, which refers to the link between the radio head and that baseband unit. This is the transport that's actually carrying the data between the baseline unit and the radio transmission and, in the reverse direction, when you receive something from the mobile unit.  So that's one aspect. The second one is around the control plane and user plane separation in the base station. Historically, the control plane and the user plane are tightly coupled. A significant working group effort in xRAN right now is how do you decouple those and define standardized interfaces between a control plane and a user plane.  And the last working group is trying to define what are the interfaces between the control plane of the radio access network and orchestration systems like ONAP. So those are three main focus areas.

Our first specification, which describes the fronthaul interfaces, was released this month. So, what went on there?  The problem that we solved concerns closed interfaces. Today if you bought a base station you also have to buy the antenna from the same vendor. That's it. For example, if you bought an Ericsson base station you have to buy an antenna from Ericsson as well. There are very few compatible antenna systems, but with 5G, and even with 4G, there's been a lot of innovation on the antenna side. There are innovators developing massive MIMO systems. These have lots of antennas and can significantly increase the capacity of the RAN. Many start-ups that are trying to do this, but they're struggling to get any traction because they cannot sell their antennas and connect it to an existing vendor's baseband unit. So, a critical requirement that operators are pushing was how do we make it such that this fronthaul specification is truly interoperable, making it possible to mix and match. You could take a small vendor's radio head and antenna and connect it with an existing well-established vendor's baseband unit -- that was the underlying requirement. What the new fronthaul work is truly trying to accomplish is to make sure that this interface is very clearly specified such that you do not need tight integration between the baseband unit and the radio head unit.

This fronthaul work came about initially with Verizon, AT&T and Deutsche Telekom driving it. Over the past year, we have had multiple operators joining the initiative, including NTT DoCoMo,  and several vendors they brought along including Nokia. Samsung, Mavenir, and a bunch of other companies, all coming together to write the specification and contribute IP towards it.

JC: Interesting, so you have support from those existing vendors who would seem to have a lot to lose if this disaggregation occurred disfavorably to them.

SK: Yes, we do. Current xRAN members include all or the bigger vendors, such as Nokia and Samsung, especially on the radio side. Cisco is a member which is more often on the orchestration side and there are several other big vendors that are part of this effort. And yeah, they have been quite supportive.

The xRAN Forum is an operator-driven body. The way we set up a new working group or project is that operators come in and tell us what their needs are, what their use cases are, and if we see enough consistency, when multiple operators share the same need or share the same use case, that leads to the start of the new working group. The operators often end up bringing their vendors along by saying we need this, "we are gonna drive it through the xRAN consortium and we need you to come and participate, otherwise you'll be left out." That's typically how vendors are forced to open up.

JC: Okay, interesting, so let's talk a little bit about the timelines and how this could play out. You talked about plugging into an existing baseband unit or base station unit so I guess there is a backward compatibility aspect?

SK: No, we are not expecting operators to build entirely new networks. The first fronthaul specification is meant both for 4G and 5G. The fronthaul is actually independent of the underlying air interface so it can work under 4G networks. On the baseband side, it does require a software update. It does require these systems to adhere to the spec in terms of how to talk to the radio head, and if they do, then the expectation is that someone should be able to plug in a new radio head and be able to make that system work. That being said, where we are at right now, is we have released a public specification. We believe it's interoperable but the next stage is to do interoperability testing. We expect that to happen later this year. Once interoperability testing happens, we will know what set of systems are compatible. Then we will have, if you will, a certificate saying that these are compliant.

JC: And would that certification be just for the fronthaul component or would that be for the control plane and data plane separation as well?

SK: Our working groups are progressing at different cadences.  The fronthaul specification already is out and they expect to the interoperability testing later this year, and that will be only for the fronthaul.  As and when we release the first specification for the control plane and use plane separation, we will have a corresponding timeline. But I think one thing to realize is that these are not all coupled. You could use the fronthaul specification on its own without having the rest the architecture. You could take existing infrastructure implement just the fronthaul specification and realize the benefits of the interoperability without necessarily having a control plane that's decoupled from the user plane. So the thing is structured such that each of those working groups can act independently. We didn't want to couple them because that would mean that it'll take a long time before anything happens.

JC: Wouldn't some of the xRAN work naturally have fit into 3GPP or ETSI's carrier virtualization efforts? Why have a new forum?

SK: Definitely. 3GPP is a big intersection point. I think the way we look at it is that we are trying to work on areas that 3GPP elected not to. So if it has anything to do with the air interface, for example, how should the infrastructure talk to the phone itself -we are not trying to work in that space. If it's got anything to do with how the base station talks to the core network, we are not trying to specify that interface. But there are things that 3GPP elected not to work on for whatever reason, and which could be how vendor incentives come into play. Perhaps these vendors discouraged 3GPP from working on intereroperable fronthaul interfaces. And we don't know the reason why 3GPP chose this path. You can see that this is also operator driven. So operators want certain things to happen but they
are not successful in getting 3GPP to do it. So xRAN is a venue for them to come in and specify
what they want to do and what they want to accomplish and get appropriately incentivized
vendors to actually come up together. So it is complementary in terms of the work effort, but I could see a scenario where the fronthaul specification that we come out with, this one and the next one, eventually forms the basis for a 3GPP standardized specification -- but that's not necessarily a conflict -- that actually might be how things eventually get fully standardized.

JC: There are other virtualization ideas that have sprung up from this same lab and in the Bay Area. How does this work in collaboration with CORD and M-CORD?

SK: Historically, I think virtualization has infected, if you will, the rest of the networking domain but has struggled to make headway in the RAN. If you looked at the rest of the network there's been a lot of success with virtualization. The RAN has traditionally been quite hard to do. I think there are multiple reasons for that. One is that the workload -- the things that you want to do in their RAN -- are much more stressful and demanding than the rest of the network in terms of processing. I think the hardware is now catching up to the point where you can take off-the-shelf hardware and run virtualized instances of the RAN on top. I think that's been one.

Second, the RAN is also a little bit harder to disaggregate because many of the control plane
decisions are occurring at a very fast timescale. There are things, for example, like how should I
schedule a particular user’s traffic to be sent over the air. That's a decision that the base station is making every millisecond and, at that timescale, it's really hard to run it at a deeper level. So, having a separate piece of logic making that decision, and then communicating that decision to the data plane if you will, and then the data plane implementing that decision, which would be classically how we  think about SDN, that's not going to work because if you have a round-trip latency of one millisecond that you can tolerate, it's too stringent.  I think we need to figure out how to deconstruct the problem, take out the right amount of control logic but still leave the very latency sensitive pieces in the underlying data plane of the infrastructure itself. I think that's still work in progress. We still know there are hard technical challenges there. 

JC: Okay, talking about inspiration -- one last thing- is there an application that you have in
mind that inspires this work?

SK: Sure. I am thinking a pretty compelling example is network slicing. As you look at these very demanding applications --if you think about virtual reality and augmented reality applications, or self-driving cars --there are very strict requirements on how that traffic should be handled in the network. If I think about a self-driving car, and it wants to offload some of its some mapping and sensing capabilities to the edge cloud, that loop, that interaction loop between that car and the edge cloud has very strict requirements. And you want that application to be able to come to the network and say this is the kind of connectivity I need for my traffic, and for the network to be programmable enough that the operator should be able to program the underlying infrastructure such that I can deliver that kind of connectivity to the self-driving car application.

I think those two classes of applications are characterized by latency sensitivity and bandwidth intensity. You don't get any leeway on either dimension. Right now, the people developing those applications do not trust the network. If you think about current prototypes of self-driving cars, the developers cannot assume that the network will be there. So they currently must build very complex systems to make the vehicle completely autonomous. If we truly want to build thinks where the cloud can actually play a role in controlling some systems, then we need this programmable network to enable such a world. 

Excellent, well thank you very much and good luck!


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Open Disaggregated Transport Network project gets underway

A new, operator-led Open Disaggregated Transport Network (ODTN) project is underway at the Open Networking Foundation (ONF).

The goal of ODTN is to build optical transport networks using disaggregated optical equipment, open and common standards, and open source software.

The project will deliver an open source platform for running multi-vendor optical transport networks. It will leverage the ONF’s ONOS SDN Controller, automatically and transparently discovers the disaggregated components and will control the entire transport network as a unified whole, thus enabling multi-vendor choice.

The organizers of the project say that just as the SDN movement has disaggregated the data center and operator edge networks, ODTN will bring similar benefits to the optical transport network including best-of-breed choice, elimination of vendor lock-in, cost containment and accelerated innovation.

Backers of the project include China Unicom, Comcast, NTT Communications, Telefonica and TIM.

Each of the five founding operators has committed to performing lab integration and evaluation of the platform for future transport applications. Additional support is coming from leading vendors in the optical equipment space, with NEC, NOKIA, Oplink, ZTE contributing to the software platform and building full solutions, CTTC contributing from academia, and ADVA, Ciena, Coriant, CoAdna, Infinera and Lumentum participating in lab and field trials.

Relationship to Other Projects

ODTN is the only open source solution in the optical transport space, but is leveraging other ongoing work which has focused on standardizing various interfaces and components.

ODTN will leverage and expose TAPI as its northbound interface, leveraging the work coming out of the ONF’s Open Transport Configuration and Control (OTCC) project. Likewise, OpenConfig is the base southbound model and API for communicating to optical equipment.

The OpenROADM MSA defines interoperability specifications and data models for optical devices, networks and services.  ODTN benefits from this effort and, over time, it helps the industry achieve transponder compatibility.  This will eliminate the need to deploy transponders in matched pairs, further disaggregating the solution and enabling even greater deployment flexibility.

TIP’s Open Optical & Packet Transport project is producing open DWDM architectures, models and APIs, covering transponders, open line systems, and routers. In time, the ODTN project hopes to benefit from the availability of open optical hardware coming from the TIP work.  And visa versa, the TIP project can leverage the open source work coming out of ODTN on TIP white box hardware building blocks (such as Voyager).

“It is one of the most innovative technical challenges to deploy open SDN / Disaggregation technologies into transport networks. We expect that it will dramatically shorten the service development term and reduce costs,” said Dai Kashiwa, Director of NTT Communications and an ONF board member representative of the NTT Group. “The reference design and implementation for ODTN will accelerate this challenge, and provide common usefulness among many service providers. So, we are so excited that many service providers and vendors have aligned with the ODTN concept, and started collaboration on specifying common requirements and test/deployment plans. We aim to build and nurture an ecosystem that allows us to deploy and operate ODTN-based production networks.”

Saturday, April 14, 2018

xRAN Fronthaul V1.0 spec is released

The xRAN Forum approved and released its first xRAN Fronthaul Specification Version 1.0.

The xRAN Fronthaul Specification addresses several key operator-defined requirements, including:

  • BBU – RU interoperability based on well specified control, user and management plane interfaces.
  • Efficient bandwidth scaling as a function of user throughput and spatial layers to address increasing bandwidth needs and Massive MIMO deployments.
  • Support for LTE, NR, associated features, 2T – 8T RU products and Massive MIMO beamforming antenna systems.
  • Advanced receivers and co-ordination functions.
  • Ethernet based transport layer solutions.
  • Extensible data models for management functions to simplify integration.
The xRAN Forum was established in October 2016 with the mission to enable best-of-breed RRUs and BBUs for a wide range of deployment scenarios.

“Our vision to develop, standardize and promote an open alternative to the traditionally closed, hardware-based RAN architecture is becoming a reality,” said Dr. Sachin Katti, Professor at Stanford University and Director of the xRAN Forum. “Our operator members have been very focused and clear on requirements and our ecosystem of contributing members have risen to the challenge. The Fonthaul Specification is the first of several open interface specifications we expect to be released in 2018.”

“The release of the xRAN Fronthaul Specification is a groundbreaking advancement toward enabling an open RAN architecture to support next-generation products and services,” said Bill Stone, Vice President, Network Technology Development and Planning at Verizon. “xRAN compliant radios coupled with virtualized basebands provide much needed flexibility to support rapid development and deployment of RAN products. By adopting xRAN specifications, we will be able to speed innovation, increase collaboration, and be more agile to a quickly evolving market.”

“We are pleased to have worked with xRAN members in reaching the key milestone of delivering the first open xRAN fronthaul specification," said Dr. Hiroshi Nakamura, EVP and CTO of NTT DOCOMO. "We believe that the completion and publication of this specification will contribute in further advancing the RAN and in expanding the ecosystem in the 5G era. DOCOMO will keep contributing to this activity with the experience we had in realizing multi-vendor interoperable RAN with our partners using common interfaces for our LTE network.”

“The xRAN Fronthaul Specification is a foundational component in the xRAN architectural vision and vital to accelerating the worldwide deployment of next-generation RAN infrastructure network operators demand,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Research & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom. “Going forward, by connecting these specification activities to the broad architectural scope in ORAN, we can ensure the implementations across a wider community of suppliers to promote both innovation and open market competition."

“xRAN’s release of this jointly-developed open specification creates the first wave of a positive sea change for our industry, transforming the way next-generation RAN infrastructure will be built, managed and optimized,” said Andre Fuetsch, CTO and President AT&T Labs. “Equipment that supports open specifications from xRAN (and ORAN in the future), combined with increasing RAN virtualization and data-driven intelligence, will allow carriers to reduce complexity, innovate more quickly and significantly reduce deployment and operational costs.”

http://www.xran.org/resources/

Thursday, April 12, 2018

ZTE gains Chair of new IEEE Next Gen V2X Study Group

ZTE has been designated as the chair of newly formed IEEE 802.11 NGV SG (Next Generation V2X Study Group), which will look at the requirements for adopting recent 802.11 technologies for new V2X applications, specifically for higher throughput applications, better reliability/efficiency, and extended range as well.

The goal of the NGV SG is to define the scope and develop the PAR and CSD for an IEEE 802.11 standard on Next -Generation V2X while maintaining backward compatibility with 802.11p. Sun Bo, a ZTE standard expert, was designated as the chair of the IEEE 802.11 NGV SG.

ZTE noted that two of its researchers have also taken on key leadership roles in international standards developments. Zhou Jingyi was designated as the chair of the Numbering Adhoc under IEEE-SA NewCom. Sun Bo was elected as the chair of WPAN WG under China NIST recently.

ZTE also holds the vice chair of 3GPP RAN2, the vice chair of IEEE P1934 WG, rapporteurs of two important ETSI MEC ISG projects, and is a board member of OpenFog Consortium.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

IEEE Publishes IEEE 802.3cc-2017 25 Gb/s Ethernet Standard

IEEE announced the publishing and availability of its 802.3cc-2017—Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Physical Layer and Management Parameters for Serial 25 Gb/s Ethernet Operation Over Single-Mode Fiber.

The new amendment to IEEE 802.3 addresses the growing need for increased Ethernet speeds for enterprise, campus and metro Ethernet speeds exceeding 10 Gb/s, and that can support reaches up to 10 and 40 kilometers over single-mode fiber (SMF).

IEEE 802.3cc supports efficient Ethernet operation and defines single-lane 25 Gb/s PHYs for operation over single-mode fiber with lengths up to 10 km and 40 km. IEEE 802.3cc addresses the requirement in metropolitan networks, where the core operates at 100 Gb/s, for tributary feeds at rates higher than 10 Gb/s. By enabling extended 25 Gb/s reaches, IEEE 802.3cc matches the per-lane rate of several 100 Gb/s PMDs currently used in these networks.

“IEEE 802.3cc provides network operators a cost-effective upgrade path to 25 Gb/s that minimizes network design, installation and maintenance costs by preserving current network architecture, management, and software,” said David Lewis, chair, IEEE 802.3cc 25 Gb/s Ethernet over Single-Mode Fiber Task Force. “The work of the IEEE 802.3cc 25 Gb/s Ethernet over Single-Mode Fiber Task Force has demonstrated how responding quickly to industry demand for greater energy-efficient Ethernet capabilities can be achieved in a manner that can reduce both operational costs, and the environmental footprint of network upgrades.”

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

xRAN Forum merges with C-RAN Alliance, seeking innovation in radio access

Two industry organizations are combining their efforts to drive innovation in radio access networks.

The xRAN Forum will merge with the C-RAN Alliance to form the ORAN Alliance, which is backed by AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, and Orange.

  • The key principles of the ORAN Alliance include:
  • Leading the industry towards open, interoperable interfaces, RAN virtualization, and big data enabled RAN intelligence.
  • Maximizing the use of common-off-the-shelf hardware and merchant silicon and minimizing proprietary hardware.
  • Specifying APIs and interfaces, driving standards to adopt them as appropriate, and exploring open source where appropriate.

“xRAN Forum members have made excellent progress this year and we expect completion of the first open, interoperable front haul specification in March,” said Dr. Sachin Katti, Professor at Stanford University and Director of the xRAN Forum. “We are advancing both a southbound interface specification to an open RAN and a northbound interface specification, delivering applications access to rich controller functions and abstracted RAN control. Going forward, we believe there will be strong, complimentary collaboration with our new colleagues from the C-RAN Alliance.”

“The xRAN Forum was created to accelerate the delivery of products that support a common, open architecture and standardized interfaces that we, as operators, view as the foundation of our next-generation wireless infrastructure,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Research & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom. “xRAN members have made strong progress this year, and we are confident that by building on the xRAN architecture in combination with the RAN virtualization focus brought by the C-RAN Alliance, we are well positioned to achieve the joint objectives of the ORAN Alliance.”

"Our industry is approaching an inflection point, where increasing infrastructure virtualization will combine with embedded intelligence to deliver more agile services and advanced capabilities to our customers. The xRAN Forum has been at the forefront of defining the next generation RAN architecture for this transformation," said Andre Fuetsch, CTO and President AT&T Labs. "This is a global change that will impact all network operators. It will be accelerated by the merger of the xRAN Forum and the C-RAN Alliance into the ORAN Alliance, which promises to be a strong global forum."

Monday, January 29, 2018

New spec released for Small Form Factor Pluggable Double Density MSA

The Small Form Factor Pluggable Double Density (SFP-DD) Multi Source Agreement (MSA) Group released an updated specification for the SFP-DD pluggable interface. An initial version was released in September 2017. This update (version 1.1) reflects enhancements to the mechanicals and drawings of the high-speed, high-density SFP-DD electrical interface comprising a module and cage/connector system targeting support up to 3.5 W optical modules in an enterprise environment.

The SFP-DD MSA Group was formed last year to foster the development of next-generation SFP form factors used in DAC and AOC cabling, and optical transceivers. The electrical interface is designed to support two lanes that operate up to 25 Gbps NRZ or 56 Gbps PAM4 per lane modulation—providing aggregate bandwidth of 50 Gbps NRZ or 112 Gbps PAM4 with excellent signal integrity.

In combination, an SFP-DD server port and QSFP-DD switch ports can effectively double port density in network applications.

SFP-DD MSA founding members include Alibaba, Broadcom, Cisco, Dell EMC, Finisar, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel, Lumentum, Mellanox Technologies, Molex, and TE Connectivity.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

100G Lambda MSA releases preliminary PAM4 spec

The 100G Lambda Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) Group, which was formed just in October 2017, released preliminary specifications based on 100 Gbps per wavelength PAM4 optical technology.

The new interfaces defined by the 100G Lambda MSA increase the distances supported for 100 GbE and 400 GbE applications compared to the 100 Gbps (100GBASE-DR) and 400 Gbps (400GBASE-DR4) 500-meter reach interfaces currently being defined by IEEE 802.3 Ethernet. The 100G Lambda MSA has developed optical specifications for 100 GbE with reaches of 2 and 10 kilometers and for 400 GbE with a reach of 2 kilometers over duplex single-mode fiber. By focusing on 100 Gbps per wavelength, the 100G Lambda MSA is enabling a technology ecosystem for next-generation networking equipment.

Members of the 100G Lambda MSA Group include Alibaba, Applied OptoElectronics, Arista Networks, Broadcom, Ciena, Cisco, Finisar, Foxconn Interconnect Technology, Inphi, Intel, Juniper Networks, Lumentum, Luxtera, MACOM, MaxLinear, Microsoft, Molex, NeoPhotonics, Nokia, Oclaro, Semtech, Source Photonics, and Sumitomo Electric.

The 100G Lambda MSA preliminary specifications are available for download at www.100GLambda.com

Monday, January 8, 2018

CWDM8 MSA Group releases 400G 10 km optical spec

The CWDM8 Multi-Source Agreement group released a new technical specification for 400 Gb/s optical links up to 10 km over duplex single-mode fiber (SMF).

The group promotes the use of 8-wavelength Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing technology.in modern data centers and to support the deployment of 12.8T Ethernet switches and other advanced networking equipment with 50G SERDES. Current members of the CWDM8 MSA are Accton, Applied Optoelectronics, Barefoot Networks, Credo Semiconductor, Hisense, Innovium, Intel, MACOM, Mellanox, Neophotonics, New H3C Technologies, and Rockley Photonics.

The new specification, which is available at the organization's website, represents the industry’s first 400G 10 km interface specifically targeted for implementation in next-generation optical module form factors such as QSFP-DD or OSFP for high-density data center networking equipment.

The new 10 km reach specification joins the 2 km reach 400G specification that the MSA Group released in November 2017. These 400G CWDM8 optical interfaces were developed to support a wide range of high-bandwidth networking applications in data center, campus, enterprise, and metropolitan area networks.

http://www.cwdm8-msa.org

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

5G New Radio (NR) Specs Approved

The 3GPP initiative officially approved the 5G New Radio (NR) specifications. Balazs Berenyi, 3GPP RAN Chair, described the approval as "an impressive achievement in a remarkably short time, with credit due particularly to the Working Groups."

At Mobile World Congress 2017 in February, major mobile network operators and vendors issued a call to accelerate the 5G New Radio (NR) standardization schedule to enable large-scale trials and deployments a year earlier than the previously expected timeline. Companies backing this accelerated schedule for 5G include AT&T, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Vodafone, Ericsson, Qualcomm, British Telecom, Telstra, Korea Telecom, Intel, LG Uplus, KDDI, LG Electronics, Telia, Swisscom, TIM, Etisalat Group, Huawei, Sprint, Vivo, ZTE and Deutsche Telekom.

The first 3GPP 5G NR specification will be part of Release 15 - the global 5G standard that will make use of both sub-6 GHz and mmWave spectrum bands.

"We view both the Non-Standalone and Standalone modes of New Radio as equally important for the completeness of the 5G standard specification. This timely finalization of NSA is one important step on that journey and in the development of the 5G ecosystem," said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO Deutsche Telekom. "It is crucial that the industry now redoubles its focus on the Standalone mode to achieve progress towards a full 5G system, so we can bring key 5G innovations such as network slicing to our customers."

"The first version of 5G NR not only provides a NSA solution for 5G deployment but also completes the common part of NSA and SA, which lay a solid foundation for a global unified 5G system with global market scale. We believe the next important milestone that is SA standard providing end to end 5G new capability could be completed by June of 2018, which is very crucial to enable the operators to explore the enterprise and vertical markets. China Mobile is actively working with industry partners for 5G commercialization in year of 2020 and providing various services to customer." said Zhengmao Li, EVP of China Mobile Group.

Erik Ekudden, CTO at Ericsson, said: "3GPP has done a tremendous job to complete the first 5G specifications according to industry demand and expectations. As a prime contributor to 5G standardization, Ericsson has worked with industry partners in the evolution of mobile technology to a global network platform for consumers and enterprises. Our research team has worked on 5G since 2010 including early 5G testbed efforts created together with these industry partners. The open contribution-driven specification work and the rapid completion of the first 5G standards for global deployment demonstrates the strength of the 5G eco-system."



In October 2016, Verizon, Qualcomm Technologies, and Novatel Wireless, confirmed plans to expedite the rollout of 5G New Radio (NR) millimeter wave (mmWave) technology.  The companies have agreed to collaborate on over-the-air field trials based on the 5G NR Release-15 specifications being developed by 3GPP, with hopes of moving the mobile ecosystem towards faster validation and commercialization of 5G NR mmWave technologies at scale before the end of the decade.

The expedited plan call for an initial focus on 5G NR operation in 28 GHz and 39 GHz mmWave spectrum bands. The goal is to achieve robust multi-gigabit per second data rates with mobility at significantly lower latencies than today’s networks. Over-the-air trials are expected starting in 2018, that will be compliant with the first 3GPP 5G NR specification that will be part of Release 15. The trials will utilize 5G NR mmWave mobile test platforms from Qualcomm and will employ advanced 5G NR Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques.

In September, Deutsche Telekom activated its first, pre-standard 5G connection over its commercial network in central Berlin using 3.7 GHz spectrum.The 5G connection is operating a over 2 Gbps with a low latency of three milliseconds.

Huawei supplied the user equipment based on 3GPP specifications for 5G New Radio (NR), the deployment on commercial sites is the first in Europe and marks an important advancement in the global development of 5G.  

See also