Monday, September 23, 2013

AT&T Recalibrates Supplier Domain Program for SDN and NFV

AT&T launched the next generation of its Supplier Domain Program with the aim of selecting vendors to support its rapid evolution to cloud-based infrastructure leveraging Network Function Virtualization (NFV), Software Defined Networks (SDN) and modern operational approaches.

The Domain 2.0 initiative is expected to significantly reduce the time required to pivot to this target architecture while accelerating time-to-market with technologically advanced products and services.  Specifically, AT&T plans to simplify and scale its network by:

  • Separating hardware and software functionality;
  • Separating network control plane and forwarding planes; and
  • Improving management of functionality in the software layer.   

Under the Supplier Domain 2.0 Program, AT&T plans to begin selecting vendors and awarding business beginning in late 2013 and through 2014.  The company said it expects some of these capabilities will come from its current providers, while others will require some new providers with different skills and capabilities.

AT&T also noted that it is not revising its previously announced capital expenditure guidance for 2014-15 as a result of this announcement.  However, in the next five years, AT&T expects this program to reflect a downward bias toward capital spending.

"Our goal is to ensure that each investment accelerates our move towards an advanced all-IP broadband, all-wireless, and all-cloud infrastructure, delivers on the full promise of game-changing technologies, provides an industry leading customer experience, and maintains focus on a capital-efficient network," said Tim Harden, President, AT&T Supply Chain.|mk-att-wi-fi

In September 2009, AT&T outlined a new "Domain Supplier 1.0" program aimed at transforming the way it purchases network equipment. As a key part of the program, the company has established a number of "domains" -- areas of the future network bounded by a particular technology set, such as wireline access. Within each of these domains are target technologies. For example, the wireline access domain includes technologies such as IP/DSLAM and FTTx.  Each domain will have two suppliers selected and pre-qualified by AT&T. 

AT&T said it will work closely with selected suppliers over a multi-year period in order to define solutions that meet current and future needs. This includes sharing timelines, project roadmaps and other information, enabling suppliers to more quickly realize revenue due to expedited deployment of their hardware or software. In addition, regardless of the size of the initial business award from AT&T, each supplier within a domain will have an opportunity to expand the award beyond its initial scope. 

OIF Outines Carrier Requirements for Transport SDN

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) Carrier Working Group has completed a carrier requirements document addressing the transport network relevant part of a Software Defined Networking (SDN) architecture.

The document, "OIF Carrier Working Group Requirements on Transport Networks (TN) in SDN Architectures", works to identify the following:

  • Functions that need to be provided by a Control Plane enabled TN to an SDN controller or Orchestrator for realizing SDN use cases, applications and services
  • Orchestrator functional requirements to ensure the desired coordination between functions and services spanning across multiple layers in a TN and crossing multiple SDN domains to achieve end-to-end service orchestration
  • The combination of TN-relevant SDN architecture components – Data Plane, Control and Management Plane, and Orchestrator – and the relationship among them are referred to as “Transport SDN”.

The document supports the evolution of transport networks towards SDN architectures, summarizing what is already available and highlighting new features and functionalities to support the deployment of SDN applications,services and technologies.

The OIF said the next step will be to develop an SDN framework document that will provide future SDN related specifications and Implementation Agreements and also give structure to future OIF interoperability demonstrations. The OIF's focus on Transport SDN involves the management, control and data plane layers of the network, as well as the new Orchestrator – coordinating actions among data centers and transport networks.  Among carriers, there is a strong desire for a consistent set of SDN related standards and specifications to enable a seamless migration to SDN architectures.  With a carrier requirements document in hand, equipment vendors can work to specify interfaces among SDN components such as network elements, different types of controllers and orchestration instances.

"I am more than happy that we have achieved our first milestone in defining carrier requirements on Transport SDN,” said Hans-Martin Foisel of Deutsche Telekom and the OIF Carrier Working Group chair and OIF board member.  "This will not only guide our next steps inthe creation and implementation of technology to support Transport SDN but also will focus our communications with other SDOs and forums so that we can work together to streamline the different aspects of Transport SDN."

The OIF has planned a public workshop on “Transport SDN: Cutting Through the Hype - Enabling Technologies, Practical Use Cases, and Apps” for Monday, February 10, 2014 in San Jose, CA.  In addition, the OIF is in the planning stages for a 2014 interoperability demonstration that would address Transport SDN.

Hawaiki Plans 100G-capable Trans-Pacific Cable System

New Zealand's Hawaiki Cable Limited has awarded a turnkey supply and installation contract to TE SubCom to build a 14,000 km trans-Pacific cable linking Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii to the US west coast.

The Hawaiki cable system will be capable of 10 Tbps per fibre pair on the Australia/New-Zealand to USA trunk. A number of Pacific Islands located next to the cable route will be able to connect to the main trunk.  The undersea cable system elements - known as ‘wet plant’ - will be based on 100 Gbps wavelengths technology and are designed for future upgrades as terminal equipment advances. The cable system will also include SubCom’s Optical Add Drop Multiplexing (OADM) branching unit technology to connect multiple regional branches to the main cable.

“Our procurement process first started in October 2012 and has progressed according to plan. The supply contract with TE SubCom is a major step forward for Hawaiki and adds significant momentum to our project” said Rémi Galasso, Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiki Cable Limited.

The Hawaiki cable system is planned for completion in late 2015.

Portugal Telecom Powers New Data Center with Renewable Energy

Portugal Telecom inaugurated a next generation data center in Covilhã, Portugal, designed to serve as a global hosting center for IT and cloud computing infrastructure.

The Tier III data center is divided into 4 main sections plus one support section, for a total area of 75,500 m². There are 24 infrastructure halls offering occupying 12,000m² of open equipment space.

The data center boasts 100%  renewable energy sources. There is an on-site photovoltaic power station that should supply 30 percent of the anticipated load.. A Free Air Cooling system will be used.  Advanced control and monitoring systems will deliver a PUE of 1.25.

  • Portugal Telecom operates a total of 7 data centers located in Lisbon, Porto, Azores, Madeira and Covilhã. together, these facilities cover 17,000 m2 of equipment space.

Coriant and Telekom Austria Test 400G, Space Division Multiplexing

Coriant and A1, the Austrian subsidiary of Telekom Austria Group, conducted a field trial of 400G optical transmission and Space Division Multiplexing (SDM).

The 400G field trial, which ran over a 660 km route between Salzburg and Vienna, used 8-quadrature-amplitude-modulation (8-QAM) transmission format, which significantly increases transmission reach compared to alternative approaches. The successful trial in a production network environment included 400G transmission co-propagated with 40G and 100G on A1’s currently installed Coriant hiT 7300 optical transport systems.

“This recent field trial highlights the future-proof capability of our backbone network. A capacity of 400 Gbps means that some 5,000 users simultaneously watch HDTV or video streaming or use download
from the internet via one single fiber. This trial activity was an important step toward deepening our collaboration with Coriant and facilitating seamless deployment of next-generation technologies,” said Marcus Grausam, CTO of A1.

Tektronix Introduces New Short-Reach and Long Haul 100/400G Optical Networking Test

+Tektronix is expanding its short range and long haul 100G optical network testing capabilities with the introduction of a 32GHz Multi-Mode Optical Sampling Module and a 46GBaud Multi-format Optical Transmitter, giving customers enhanced capability to test silicon photonic components, network elements and systems as well as the coherent modulation formats used in next generation optical fiber networks.

Some highlights:

  • The new 32 GHz 80C15 multi-mode optical sampling module for use with DSA8300 Series Sampling Oscilloscopes provides high-fidelity acquisition of 850 and 1310 multi-mode signals. With a tightly controlled frequency response, it enables repeatable automated compliance testing for all of the short reach standards from 22 to 32 GHz.
  • For long haul optical research and development applications, the OM5110 modulates all common formats including BPSK, PM- QPSK, and PM-16QAM up to 46GBaud with both fully automated and manual bias control of modulator and RF amplifiers giving users complete configurability and versatility.  The OM5110 offers built-in C or L band lasers along with support for external lasers. Automatic bias control allows for quick setup and easy operation of the modulator while the manual bias control capability gives users the ability to take control of all bias voltages for testing specific scenarios. Included software provides control of all operating parameters via Ethernet, including laser power and bias control. Tektronix said it is the only test and measurement vendor that can offer a complete coherent optical test system from signal generation, to modulation, acquisition, and analysis.

"With the 80C15, Tektronix is responding to market needs for a highly accurate multi-mode short reach testing solution that can be used both in the lab and production environments," said Brian Reich, general manager Performance Oscilloscopes, Tektronix. "And to address the strong demand for more efficient long haul transmission over existing fiber, an instrument-grade optical transmitter such as the OM5110 will help researchers and designers gain a deeper understanding of coherent optical modulation methods."

Xilinx Offers OTN Software

Xilinx is preparing to release OTN SmartCORE IP blocks for high capacity combined Ethernet and 100G OTN switching platforms and Packet-Optical Transport Systems (P-OTS) based on its 7 series devices.

The new OTN SmartCORE IP blocks include a group of comprehensive and environmentally agnostic APIs – available to abstract all common and complex functions to aid seamless integration into customer software:

  • 100G 1 Stage Multiplexer/Demultiplexer SmartCORE IP – Ultra-compact traffic aggregator, supporting any combination of up to 80 channels of ODUj traffic muxed into or demuxed from a high order ODU4.
  • OIF compliant 100G SAR SmartCORE IP – 80 channel segmentation and reassembly core which packetizes ODUjs into packet flows. This enables ODU traffic to be switched through a packet switch fabric, facilitating Packet Optical Transport systems.
  • 100G ODUMon SmartCORE IP – A bi-directional IP block used to perform overhead insertion and extraction on up to 80 ODUj channels. Used in conjunction with the Xilinx 128ch OTN Overhead Processor, it enables PM Monitoring, TCM Monitoring and/or TCM Termination and Generation with consequent action insertion for up to 6 levels of TCM on each of the ODUj channels.

Xilinx said its SmartCORE IP part of a roadmap to deliver All Programmable solutions needed to create, differentiate and evolve intelligent 400G and Nx100G OTN solutions and OTN switching platforms.

Xilinx SmartCORE OTN IP Cores for OTN switching will be available September 30th 2013.

IBM Plans Cloud Data Center in Colombia

IBM will invest US$17 million in a new data center in Bogota, Colombia.  The new center will provide Colombian companies with Cloud Computing and Big Data services.  The new facility expands the US$8 million investment IBM made in Colombia when the company opened a data center in 2011.

Since 2009, IBM has opened nine IT Services Centers located in Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay.

According to Colombian consulting firm Vision Growth Consulting, "Colombia is one of the fastest growing countries outsourcing datacenter services in Latin America, with an estimated 15.3% growth of the data center services market in Colombia in 2013, mainly driven by cloud computing, among others, which is already a reality in the country."

"In the current competitive environment, Colombia companies are looking for high value solutions that help them solve complexity through innovation and business insight by addressing organic growth and productivity issues. Our new datacenter and our professionals aim to contribute to the private and public companies' development and the country's progress. This new investment showcases our clients' trust in our expertise and services, as well as the commitment IBM has made to the country's growth," said Francisco Thiermann, General Manager IBM Colombia.

Alcatel-Lucent Adds Long-Haul Microwave Packet Radio System

Alcatel-Lucent introduced its 9500 Microwave Packet Radio (MPR) long-haul system for areas where fiber is too costly or difficult to deploy.

The 9500 MPR long-haul system is designed to offer a smooth transition from TDM and hybrid microwave networks while providing a path to 10G capacity between microwave towers. It is ETSI-optimized to meet deployment requirements in Europe and other parts of the world.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

UN Broadband Commission Report: Poorer Countries Left Behind

By the end of 2013 there will be more than three times as many mobile broadband connections as there are conventional fixed broadband subscriptions, according to a newly issued report from The Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a joint initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and UNESCO.

The goal of the report is to provide a global snapshot of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by country data.

Some highlights:

  • The Republic of Korea continues to have the world’s highest household broadband penetration at over 97%.
  • Switzerland leads the world in fixed broadband subscriptions per capita, at over 40%. By comparison, the US ranks 24th in terms of household broadband penetration, and 20th in the world for fixed broadband subscriptions per capita, just behind Finland and ahead of Japan.
  • In terms of Internet use, there are now more than 70 countries where over 50% of the population is online.
  • The top ten countries for Internet use are all located in Europe, with the exception of New Zealand (8th) and Qatar (10th).
  • ITU (2013) estimates that some 200 million fewer women are online, compared with men.

“The new analysis in this year’s report shows progress in broadband availability, but we must not lose sight of those who are being left behind,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, who serves as co-Vice Chair of the Commission with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. “While more and more people are coming online, over 90% of people in the world’s 49 Least Developed Countries remain totally unconnected. Internet – and particularly broadband Internet – has become a key tool for social and economic development, and needs to be prioritized, even in the world’s poorest nations. Technology combined with relevant content and services can help us bridge urgent development gaps in areas like health, education, environmental management and gender empowerment.”

“The global roll-out of broadband carries vast potential to enhance learning opportunities, to facilitate the exchange of information, and to increase access to content that is linguistically and culturally diverse,” said UNESCO’s Irina Bokova. “It can widen access to learning, enhance its quality and empower men and women, girls and boys, with new skills and opportunities.  But this does not happen by itself – it requires leadership, planning and action.”

Friday, September 20, 2013

AT&T's Alltel Acquisition Comes in at $1,322 per Subscriber

AT&T completed its previously announced acquisition of Atlantic Tele-Network's U.S. retail wireless assets, which operated under the Alltel brand, for $780 million.

The deal includes wireless properties in six states, including spectrum licenses, network assets, retail stores and approximately 590,000 subscribers.  The former Alltel network covers approximately 4.5 million people in mainly rural areas in Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina.

AT&T plans to move customers to the AT&T network by midyear 2014.
  • $780,000,000 / 590,000 subscibers = $1,322 per subscriber
  • Alltel operates a CDMA network covering approximately 4.6 million people in primarily rural areas across six states — Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. Once the network is upgraded to 4G, AT&T said the Alltel assets will be complementary to its own network. Alltel's spectrum is in the 700 MHz, 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands.
  • The current Alltel brand, which is owned by Atlantic Tele-Network, was formed in early 2010 following ATNI's acquisition of wireless properties, licenses and network assets from Verizon Wireless, which was required by the FCC to sell these coverage areas.
  • In January 2009, Verizon Communications acquired the original Alltel Corporation for approximately $5.9 billion. The FCC and the Department of Justice required Verizon to divest assets in 100 areas in 22 states to win approval for the deal.
  • The original Alltel traced its heritage back to the foundation of the Allied Telephone Company in Arkansas in 1943.

AT&T Saw Record Smartphone Sales in Q3

Although the quarter is not yet over and official numbers are not yet out, AT&T reported record smartphone sales for Q3.  The company cited strong customer response to new marketing programs, new devices and the expansion of its 4G LTE network, which now covers 240 million people.

AT&T said third quarter smartphone upgrades should be higher year over year, similar to second quarter 2013, and the company expects to grow its smartphone base by more than 1 million in the quarter.

AT&T expects lower year-over-year smartphone upgrades in the fourth quarter, however, given the higher upgrade expectations for the third quarter and the new 24-month upgrade policy.

In addition, AT&T noted strong U-verse sales, saying it now expects to reach 10 million total U-verse subscribers by the end of the third quarter.  Consumer wireline revenue growth for the third quarter should  be consistent with second quarter 2013.

AT&T also confirmed published reports that it is exploring the possible sale and lease-back of some or all of its remaining wireless tower assets.

RSA Issues Security Alert Following NSA Disclosure

RSA issued a security advisory to its BSAFE and Data Protection Manager customers recommending they choose one of the different cryptographic Pseudo-Random Number Generators (PRNG) built into the RSA BSAFE toolkit.  The alert follows disclosures from Edward Snowden that subsequently led the National Institute of Standards (NIST) to strongly recommend against the use of the community developed encryption standard known as the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generation (Dual_EC_DRBG) algorithm.

Earlier, NIST strongly recommended that, pending the resolution of the security concerns, the Dual_EC_DRBG no longer be used.

RSA said it does not design or enable any backdoors in its products.

SFR Deploys LTE in Paris with NSN

SFR has deployed NSN's Liquid Radio technology for its commercial LTE launch in Paris.

Specifically, NSN has provided its Single RAN Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Stations, which can be made LTE-Advanced capable with a simple software upgrade. NSN has also supplied its NetAct network management system to ensure consolidated configuration, monitoring, management and optimization for SFR’s network.

“This project is an important landmark in our long-term partnership with SFR,” said Benoit Duchene, head of the SFR customer business team at NSN. “SFR’s customers in Paris can now enjoy a mobile broadband experience that’s unmatched-in terms of latency, speed and the range of services available. We are committed to helping SFR in its endeavour to evolve towards networks capable of monetizing future opportunities.”

Orange Switzerland Selects Ericsson for BSS

Ericsson will supply core components of the new hardware and software architecture supporting Orange Switzerland’s business support systems (BSS). In addition, Ericsson will integrate the platforms into the Orange network and operate it over a five-year period under a managed services agreement. This cooperation expands the scope of the existing managed services agreement that was entered into early in 2013 and covers the operation and field service maintenance of the Orange network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Initially, the scope of the BSS project will comprise the billing of prepaid subscribers and the so-called multi-mediation and multi-activation features, which will be harmonized on a common platform. Multi-mediation supports the retrieval and processing of user data from all network nodes, so that such data can be made available to the relevant IT back-end systems and billed in real time. Multi-activation provides Orange with fully automated real-time subscriber management capabilities.

New 8,000 m2 Data Centre Planned for London

GVA Connect announced plans to build a new Gateway Data Centre in London’s West Thurrock, close to the M25 London Orbital motorway and the A13 road – giving easy access to London Docklands.

The new facility will have 8,000 square metres (86,000 sq ft) of data halls split over two floors and a gross internal floor area of 19,500 square metres (210,000 sq ft). Up to 47MVA of diverse power is available meaning the Gateway Data Centre is ideally suited to both normal density and High Density uses.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Japan's O3 Project Aims for Multi-Carrier, Multi-Layer SDN

Leading Japanese companies, including Fujitsu, Hitachi, NEC, NTT Communications and NTT, announced the launch of the "Open Innovation over Network Platforms" research and development (R&D) project, also known as the "O3 Project".

The project, which is supported by Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, aims to develop network virtualization technology that enables multiple telecommunications carriers and service providers who share network resources to design and construct networks and manage their operations freely to suit their needs.

Specifically, a common SDN layer will be developed to integrate a multilayer infrastructure consisting of optical, wireless and packet communications platforms. Compared to existing SDN architectures, the O3 Project targets a common, multi-carrier framework that would enable any Service Providers to share resources.

Development goals include:

1) Network management and control platform software

2) Software for network design, construction and operation management

3) Technology for developing virtualization compatible network devices -- this includes the interfaces and drivers that enable use of low-cost, high-performance resources through all layers.

The work will be divided as follows:

NEC: Development of network management and control platforms, making wireless communications systems compatible with SDN (1-3 in the above)

NTT: Making software communications devices compatible with SDN (3 in the above)

NTT Com: Creating the guidelines for design, construction and operation of SDN (1 in the above)

Fujitsu: Making optical communications systems compatible with SDN (1-3 in the above)

Hitachi: Making packet transport systems compatible with SDN (1-3 in the above)

Some of the applications being discussed for the testbed network include Big Data, 8K HD video broadcasting and global enterprise intranets. Over the next three years, the partners plan to develop prototypes and to conduct verification testing of the network virtualization technology.

NTT Com Nationwide SDN for Video Transport

NTT Com's Nationwide SDN for Uncompressed HDTV received the Innovation Award in Content Delivvery at IBC 2013.  The service provides stable transmission of uncompressed high-definition video images between the 128 members of the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association via a large-capacity and highly reliable network.

NTT Com said the value of SDN in this application is that it enables simplified functionality for broadcasters, such as adjusting the bandwidth requirements of each station according to their program schedule. By centrally managing the network, the technology flexibly and efficiently manages traffic to ensure the flawless and timely transmission of vast amounts of data between stations.

NTT Com Expands Data Center Campus in UK

NTT Communications has begun construction of its Hemel Hempstead 3 Data Center, located northwest of London.

This will be the third data center for NTT at the site.  The new, modular, Tier IV facility will be about 10,000 m2. It will leverage the latest energy saving technologies and is expected to deliver a PUE of 1.2.

NTT Com estimates the data center market is growing 20% year-on-year in the UK.

Agilent to Split Off Electronic Measurement Business from Life Sciences

Agilent Technologies plans to separate into two publicly traded companies: one in life sciences, diagnostics and applied markets (LDA) that will retain the Agilent name, and the other that will be comprised of Agilent's current portfolio of electronic measurement (EM) products.

The new EM company, which will be named later, holds a leading position in major markets including communications; aerospace and defense; and industrial, computers and semiconductors. FY13 estimated revenues are $2.9 billion.

Key products for the EM company include: signal sources and signal analyzers, network analyzers, one-box testers, oscilloscopes and testing instruments, software and services. The EM company will be headquartered in Santa Rosa, California and initially is not expected to pay a dividend. It has about 9,500 employees.

"Agilent has evolved into two distinct investment and business opportunities, and we are creating two separate and strategically focused enterprises to allow each to maximize its growth and success," said William (Bill) Sullivan, Agilent president and CEO.

"Agilent's history is one of reinvention, starting with our own separation from HP and including four major spinoffs since 2005. We are once again making a bold move, as we have done many times in the past, to ensure a future of sustainable growth for both the LDA and EM companies," he said. "We are focused on making this transition seamless for our customers."