Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pacnet Plans 100G OTN Cable Upgrade for Asia

Pacnet plans to upgrade its EAC-C2C submarine cable system in Asia using 100G and integrated Optical Transport Network (OTN) switching technology. The upgrades are scheduled to begin in early 2013.  A vendor has not been publicly announced.

EAC-C2C spans 36,800 km with cable landing stations throughout Asia including Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines and China.

“With the rapid intra-Asia digital content growth continuing to fuel soaring bandwidth demands in the region, this latest initiative is a significant step in strengthening our network services to handle the continued growth of Internet traffic,” said Andy Lumsden, Chief Technology Officer of Pacnet.

Comcast Upgrades Ciena’s 6500 in Core Network

Comcast Cable has selected Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform equipped with third generation WaveLogic coherent optical line interfaces for use in its core network.  Ciena is also providing Comcast with network management system capabilities and a range of professional services via its Ciena Specialist Services portfolio, including furnishing and installation.

“Adding Ciena’s WaveLogic 3 to our already installed 6500 Packet-Optical Platforms lets us leverage that investment to deliver more content, faster Internet speeds and enable new cloud-based applications for our customers, while also providing future core 400G scalability,” said Kevin McElearney, senior vice president, Network Engineering, at Comcast Cable. “As we scale beyond our 100G network, Ciena’s coherent optical technology will help us to deliver on our ongoing commitment to maintain and operate a high-performance, feature-rich advanced network.”

Ciena and Comcast have a long-standing relationship. Ciena noted that Comcast has been deploying Ciena’s coherent 40G and 100G technologies across its national fiber network since 2009. More recently, Comcast deployed Ciena’s packet networking solutions to support its Metro Ethernet services offering.  In addition, Comcast Business Class, a division of Comcast Cable, is a Managed Service Provider partner in Ciena’s BizConnect partner program.

WSJ: AT&T Ponders Possible European Acquisitions

AT&T is considering possible European acquisitions as a strategic expansion path, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Possible targets could include carriers such as Everything Everywhere (EE in the UK) or KPN (Netherlands), although the article describes the company's thinking as preliminary at this point.

Telx Offers AWS Direct Connect in Data Centers

Telx, which operates 19 data centers across the U.S., has begun offering Amazon Web Services (AWS) Direct Connect with its own Datacenter Connect for Telx clients across the United States.

The new option enables Telx clients to use private interconnection to reach an expanded roster of AWS facilities spanning coast to coast. 

"Extending Telx’s service offerings with AWS enables clients to design their applications to achieve faster end-user response times, greater security and availability, and better protection from potential regional failures. Today’s enterprises face an array of complex application and architectural requirements. Telx’s continued investments in state-of-the-art facilities and ever-increasing ability to provide a rich variety of interconnection solutions between facilities and to AWS continues to increase the value of the Telx ecosystem,” said Joe Weinman, senior vice president of cloud services and strategy for Telx.

Orange Horizons Looks to OTT Services Outside Network Footprint

Orange has launched a new subsidiary called Orange Horizons that aims to seek out new business opportunities in countries where the Group is not already present as a mass-market telecommunications provider.  The idea is to leverage the Orange brand in areas outside its geographic network footprint. Possible market activities could include online stores selling telecoms-related equipment or airtime; the introduction of flexible travel solutions; or the launch of a virtual mobile operator (MVNO) activity.

Orange Horizons has already begun operations in South Africa where it is developing e-commerce and online content services. Orange  plans to launch business ventures in several other countries in 2013 in Europe and Africa, and will also look at opportunities in South America in order to leverage existing content-related assets.

Cisco Extends Extend Jabber's HD Voice/Video to Virtual Desktops

Cisco released  new software that extends the Cisco Jabber unified communications application to virtualized desktops.

The new Virtualization Experience Media Engine (VXME) software enables virtual desktop users to access Jabber's enterprise-class collaboration capabilities such as voice and high-definition (HD) video, presence and instant messaging (IM) as part of the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solution. With the Cisco VXI end-to-end solution for desktop virtualization, virtual desktops, applications and collaboration services are centrally hosted on the Cisco Unified Data Center and delivered across a Cisco network to a broad array of user devices for a superior virtual workspace experience.

Cisco said the new software will be available initially on thin clients, followed by support for third-party devices, starting with Dell Wyse thin clients, and then Windows-based thin clients and Windows PCs.

Nokia Trims IT Services, Transfers Employees

Nokia will cut its global IT organization by up to 300 employees and transfer certain activities and up to 820 employees to HCL Technologies and TATA Consultancy Services.  Most of the affected employees are based in Finland.  The company said the changes are part of its ongoing restructuring.

CenturyLink Builds R&D Lab in Monroe, La

CenturyLink is building a new Technology Center of Excellence at this home base in Monroe, Louisiana.

The facility will include technology research and development labs, a network operations center and office and meeting space. The company plans to invite vendors in to collaborate on network technology and IT skill projects in the new building.  CenturyLink hopes to break ground on the center in early 2013. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, and should be operational in early 2015.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Intel Develops Silicon Photonics for Disaggregated, Rack-Scale Servers

Intel is working with Facebook and the Open Compute Project to develop silicon photonic connectivity for the next generation of disaggregated server racks combing compute, storage and networking resources.

At the Open Compute Summit in Santa Clara, the companies also unveiled a mechanical prototype built by Quanta Computer that includes distributed input/output (I/O) using Intel Ethernet switch silicon.  The design will support the Intel Xeon processor and the next generation, 22 nanometer system-on-chip (SoC) Intel Atom processor, code named "Avoton" late this year.

"Intel and Facebook are collaborating on a new disaggregated, rack-scale server architecture that enables independent upgrading of compute, network and storage subsystems that will define the future of mega-datacenter designs for the next decade," said Justin Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer during his keynote address at Open Computer Summit in Santa Clara, Calif. "The disaggregated rack architecture includes Intel's new photonic architecture, based on high-bandwidth, 100Gbps Intel® Silicon Photonics Technology, that enables fewer cables, increased bandwidth, farther reach and extreme power efficiency compared to today's copper based interconnects."

By disaggregating compute, storage, networking and power distribution into discrete module in a rack, the data center operator gains the flexibility to selectively upgrade or move components as needed.  This provides cost, scalability and speed advantages over traditional, monolithic servers in a box.

"We're excited about the flexibility that these technologies can bring to hardware and how silicon photonics will enable us to interconnect these resources with less concern about their physical placement," said Frank Frankovsky, chairman of the Open Compute Foundation and vice president of hardware design at supply chain at Facebook.

Intel said it will contribute a design for enabling a photonic receptacle to the Open Compute Project (OCP) and will work with Facebook, Corning*, and others over time to standardize the design.

Fusion-io Targets All-Flash Data Centers

Fusion introduced its new ioScale product line for hyperscale and cloud data center deployments.  Each ioScale provides up to 3.2 terabytes of Fusion ioMemory flash capacity with prices starting at $3.89 per gigabyte.  

Some highlights
  • Up to 3.2 TB of capacity on a single half length PCIe slot, with a single controller, enabling a small form factor server to reliably scale to 12.8 TB or more, delivering maximum rack density and reducing the need for antiquated disk drive bays

  • Hyperscale servers supporting UEFI can boot from Fusion ioScale, further eliminating the need for RAID controllers or disk infrastructure in spartan webscale servers with limited space
  • Best-in-class Fusion-io endurance in all capacities, empowering caching, write-heavy databases and large scale applications
  • Enterprise reliability with the Self-Healing, Wear Management, and Predictive Monitoring capabilities of Fusion ioMemory, ensuring customers can easily meet even the highest service level requirements
  • Compatibility with the Fusion ioMemory software development kit (SDK) to leverage application programming interfaces (APIs) like Atomic Writes and directFS permitting applications to run natively on flash

The offer was previously previously exclusive to Fusion-io customers outfitting thousands of servers but is now available in minimum quantities of a hundred units.

Digital Realty Acquires 3 Data Centers in Paris

Digital Realty Trust has acquired a three-property data centre portfolio in the Paris area from Bouygues Telecom, France's third largest telecommunications operator, for EUR 60.0 million.  The portfolio consists of one Tier III+ facility at Montigny-le-Bretonneux and two Tier III facilities in Bievres and Saclay.  The properties total approximately 87,000 rentable square feet, with nearly five megawatts of IT capacity.

The deal includes a sale-leaseback arrangement under which Bouygues Telecom will maintain a long-term presence in the facilities, which host its core infrastructure assets.

"The acquisition of this institutional-quality portfolio further expands our footprint in this key European market and, equally important, adds a new network and IT service provider to our global customer base," said Michael F. Foust, Chief Executive Officer of Digital Realty.

Ericsson: Work Begins on LTE Release 12

Work has just started on 3GPP LTE Release 12 and major enhancements are planned in capacity, QoE and energy efficiency in macro deployments, according to a new whitepaper published by Ericsson.   The gains can be achieved by adding support for enhanced multi-antenna transmission and advanced receivers, and the introduction of a new lean carrier type.

LTE Release 12 is also looking to improve LTE small-cell deployments, and possible to closely integrate LTE and Wi-Fi. deployments.

The 12-page Ericsson whitepaper is posted here:

Reliance Awards US$1 Billion Managed Services Contract to ALU

Reliance Communications awarded an end-to-end network managed services contract valued at over US$1 billion to Alcatel-Lucent to deliver seamless voice and data communications services to its customers in Eastern and Southern India up to 2020.

Under the fully integrated strategic agreement, Alcatel-Lucent will enhance Reliance Communication’s operations, and synergize hitherto independent wireless and wireline teams to form a single network management organization. The network will proactively assure a high quality and consistent experience for customers regardless of device or type of connection.

Alcatel-Lucent said it will set up and operate next-generation OSS (operations support systems) and introduce advanced real-time optimization tools to improve network performance across Reliance’s wireless, wireline, long-distance, fiber and utilities’ functions.

“We are happy to announce our new partnership with Alcatel-Lucent, which is a transformative leap from the limited scope and vision of traditional outsourcing of services. This will enable Reliance Communications to take the lead in offering next generation telecom solutions that will meet and exceed the expectations of our customers, and help them to transit from voice-led usage to a seamless data experience across multiple devices and platforms,” stated Gurdeep Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Wireless Business, Reliance Communications.

"This business association is an extension of our long-standing relationship with Reliance Communications, and our commitment to India. It also demonstrates our renewed focus on managed services as we apply greater selectivity on more value-added contracts. The enormous scope of this agreement will bring a wide variety of skills, expertise and hands-on know-how that we can leverage for the benefit of others," said Rajeev Singh-Molares, President, Asia-Pacific with Alcatel-Lucent.

Reliance Communications has a customer base of about 130 million including over 2.5 million individual overseas retail customers. It has established a pan-India, next generation, integrated (wireless and wireline), convergent (voice, data and video) digital network that is capable of supporting best-of-class services spanning the entire communications value chain, covering over 24,000 towns and 600,000 villages.

U.S. Cellular Deploys NSN's eNode Bs

U.S. Cellular selected Nokia Siemens Networks for the second wave of its 4G LTE network rollout, providing Radio Access Network (RAN) and Mobile Management Entity (MME) technology.  The deployment occurred in late 2012 in 11 markets covering select cities in Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Previously, Nokia Siemens Networks deployed Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and Home Subscriber Services (HSS) in the first wave of the 4G LTE rollout. The installation of the 4G LTE core was included in nine separate markets.

Transmode Announces 100G Metro/Regional Deployments

Transmode announced several new Metro and Regional 100G deployments, including customer orders from North America and deployments in Finland with FNE-Finland Oy.

The company confirmed its first customer order for its new Metro and Regional 100G solution from an unnamed North American network operator and has been selected for 100G rollout by FNE-Finland, one of that country’s leading alternative backbone capacity providers.

In December 2012, FNE-Finland conducted live traffic field trials, including 100G transmission over an 800+ km link, to demonstrate that its network is 100G-ready and can support all-optical 100G connectivity between any two locations in their network. FNE-Finland has now selected Transmode for 100G transmission and plans to start rolling out 100G capacity across the network. Transmode is supported locally in Finland by ACC Systems in the project with FNE-Finland.

Transmode said it also performed multiple customer lab/network trials, including an interesting deployment in the Acreo national research network in Sweden. The Acreo network deployment was over 1600 km and involved transmission over both Transmode’s TM-Series and a third party WDM system using an alien wavelength with optical handoff between the two systems.

TE SubCom Tests Transatlanctic 100G Wavelengths

TE SubCom has demonstrated 100 Gbps wavelength coherent transmission over trans-Atlantic distance in a field trial.

SubCom’s next generation C100 transceiver is designed to optimize DP-QPSK coherent transmission in ultra-long haul submarine cable systems.  The company said its ultra-long solution can reach up to 11,000 km.

"SubCom’s latest C100 coherent solutions increase network capacity on both today’s existing undersea cables and tomorrow’s new cables, with reaches up to 11,000km, and utilizing the latest +D fibers," stated Seymour Shapiro, CTO, TE SubCom.

Bharti Airtel's CEO to Step Down

Sanjay Kapoor will step down as CEO of Bharti Airtel for India and South Asia. Gopal Vittal has been named to replace him.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Juniper Sets a Course to SDN Service Chaining

In what it described as a transformative step for the company and for the networking industry, Juniper Networks outlined a four-step roadmap to software-defined networking with the goal of improving automation and agility in data centers and across service provider networks.

A key part of Juniper's SDN strategy involves the concept of "Service Chaining" whereby an SDN controller is used to virtually insert services into the flow of network traffic.  The company sees SDN extending all the way across all domains of the network: Core, Edge, Access & Aggregation, Data Center, WAN, Campus & Branch.  Juniper's SDN roadmap initially targets two of these areas -- the Service Provider Edge and the Data Center.

Pradeep Sindhu, Juniper's CTO and Founder, said the company has always believed in open standards. Juniper is supporting OpenFlow in routers and switches this year. The company has also partnered with Big Switch and others in the SDN space.  However, Sindhu described OpenFlow as an early protocol that needs to evolve, and probably not the most important one for SDN.

Juniper is enabling the SDN virtualization with existing protocols, including BGP, thereby enabling the existing routing and switching infrastructure to participate in the SDN transformation. Juniper will adopt the OpenStack model as its primary orchestration system and will work with others including VMware and IBM.

It is still early days in SDN and Juniper believes the adoption of this technology will be gradual over many years.  One significant change will be the way network software is delivered.  Juniper is introducing a new software licensing and maintenance model that allows the transfer of software licenses between Juniper devices and industry-standard x86 servers.

Juniper's Four Step Roadmap

Step 1: Centralize network management, analytics and configuration functionality to provide a single master that configures all networking devices.

Step 2: Extract networking and security services from the underlying hardware by creating service virtual machines (VMs). This enables network and security services to independently scale using industry-standard x86 hardware based on the needs of the solution.

Step 3: Introduce a centralized controller that enables multiple network and security services to connect in series across devices within the network using "SDN Service Chaining" – using software to virtually insert services into the flow of network traffic. The SDN Service Chaining will be introduced in 2014 utilizing the SDN controller technology acquired from Contrail Systems, together with the evolution of the JunosV App Engine.

Step 4: Optimize the usage of network and security hardware to deliver high performance.  Specifically, Juniper's MX Series and SRX Series products will evolve to support software-based Service Chaining architecture.

"SDN is a major shift in the networking industry. At Juniper, we think the impact of SDN will be much broader than others have suggested. It will redefine networking and create new winners and losers. We’re embracing SDN with clearly defined principles, a four-step roadmap to help customers adopt SDN within their business, and the networking industry’s first comprehensive software-centric business model," stated Bob Muglia, executive vice president, Software Solutions Division, Juniper Networks.

Muglia said the Service Chain concept can satify a range of applications across the networking industry.  Some examples include: (1) a cloud data center connection between the Internet and a web server, (2) between two components of a cloud application, such as between a web server and a middle-tier application VMs, and (3) the mobile service provider edge, where network traffic is coming from a cell phone tower, moving through an edge router and then to various systems where deeper processing occurs.

The six principles of Juniper’s SDN strategy:

  1. Cleanly separate networking software into four layers (or planes) – management, services, control and forwarding – providing the architectural underpinning to optimize each plane within the network.
  2. Centralize the appropriate aspects of the management, services and control software to simplify network design and lower operating costs.
  3. Use the cloud for elastic scale and flexible deployment, enabling usage-based pricing to reduce time-to-service and correlate cost based on value.
  4. Create a platform for network applications, services and integration into management systems, enabling new business solutions.
  5. Standardize protocols for interoperable, heterogeneous support across vendors, providing choice and lowering cost.
  6. Broadly apply SDN principles to all networking and network services including security from the data center and enterprise campus to the mobile and wireline networks used by service providers

  • In December 2012, Juniper Networks agreed to acquire Contrail Systems, a start-up developing software defined networking (SDN) solutions for approximately $176 million in cash and stock. Contrail Systems, which is based in Santa Clara, California, was founded in early 2012 was still in stealth mode at the time of the acquisition. Juniper was a strategic investor in the company. Contrail Systems is headed by Ankur Singla (CEO), who previously served as Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering at Aruba Networks.  The Contrail team  includes Dr. Kireeti Kompella (CTO), who was formerly CTO and Chief Architect, JunOS at Juniper; Pedro Marques,previously a developer of control applications for the Cluster Management Team at Google and before that a distinguished engineer at Cisco and Juniper; Harshad Nakil, previously at Aruba Fellow and also distinguished engineer at Juniper and Cisco; and others.
  • In June 2012, Juniper Networks introduced a smaller version of its QFabric System aimed at mid-sized data centers. The QFabric architecture, which was first unveiled in February 2011 and began shipping in September 2011, collapses multilayer data center infrastructure into a single, any-to-any fabric that unifies networking, storage and cloud computing resources.  The product set is composed of three components that create a high-performance, low latency fabric. The QF/Node acts as the distributed decision engine of the fabric; the QF/Interconnect is the high speed transport device; and the QF/Director delivers a common window, controlling all devices as one.

    The first implementation of QFabric scales to 6,000 network nodes, allowing any network interface within the network to connect to any other interface in a single hop. Juniper achieves this 6,000 port switching fabric by decoupling the line cards on the central fabric and moving them out into the network using dual-homed fiber connections. The entire 6,000 node network is a single switch and can be managed as such.

Farice Upgrades Iceland-Denmark Cable to 40G with Ciena

Farice, the main provider of international capacity from Iceland to mainland Europe, is upgrading the DANICE submarine cable system connecting Iceland with Denmark using Ciena's 40G coherent optical transport technology.  The cable system implements Ciena’s GeoMesh networking solution to optimize the cable landing stations for seamless connectivity to terrestrial networks. The upgraded DANICE submarine cable consists of four fiber pairs giving a maximum capacity of 35.2 Tbps.

Specifically, Farice is using Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform for deployment on its 2,295 km long DANICE submarine cable system providing high-bandwidth connectivity between Landeyjar, Iceland and Blaabjerg, Denmark. The network will initially utilize Ciena’s 40G coherent transport technology, with ultra-long distance 100G wavelengths (based on the WaveLogic 3 coherent optical processors) to be deployed in 2013.  It will be managed by Ciena’s OneControl Unified Management System.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

  • In October 2012, Farice announced that BMW decided to move its HPC clusters to data centers in Iceland to take advantage of low cooling costs and renewable energy.

Accuris Delivers SIM-based Wi-Fi Offload and Roaming for AT&T Mobility Internationally

Accuris Networks confirmed that AT&T Mobility is using its Wi-Fi offload and roaming solution to help its mobile users to automatically connect tot partner Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK.

Accuris' AccuROAM isolution uses SIM-based account credentials to enable automatic authentication of users to Wi-Fi networks without the need to enter cumbersome usernames and passwords. AccuROAM enables any Wi-Fi to work as a full extension of GSM or CDMA networks for billing, policy, and authentication.

Accuris Networks, which is based in Dublin, Ireland, said its solution enables carriers such as AT&T Mobility to deliver a best international roaming experience for its subscriber by providing easy access to partner Wi-Fi networks.  These partner networks need only implement simple roaming rules on their access systems as AccuROAM authentication server is maintained by the mobile carrier.  The system will support the forthcoming Hotspot 2.0.  For the Wi-Fi operator, SIM-based authentication by roaming smartphones and other mobile devices provides an additional means of monetizing the network.

“The AccuROAM platform gives subscribers automatic and secure access to Wi-Fi hotspots globally by using subscriber SIM credentials as the means of authentication. Accuris Networks is the only provider globally to provide this level of security and ease of access when connecting to Wi-Fi,” stated Larry Quinn Chairman of Accuris Networks.

  • In November 2012, AT&T Mobility introduced discount roaming packages for calling and messaging, as well as new Wi-Fi capabilities, on select AT&T Data Global Add-On packages.  Customers who subscribe to either the 300MB or 800MB Data Global Add-On package will now be able to use the AT&T Wi-Fi International app to access up to 1GB of Wi-Fi each month, at no additional charge, at select AT&T International Wi-Fi hotspots.