Thursday, November 19, 2015

Rollout Continues on Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) Cable

Phase II of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable system, a 5,000km extension from the Gulf of Guinea island of Sao Tomé-et-Principe to South Africa, is set to begin. Phase II will link Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo-Brazzaville and South Africa, including an extension to Cameroon. On completion of the Phase II extension, the ACE system will deliver an overall design capacity of 12.8 Tbps.

Alcatel-Lucent is supplying 100G submarine technology,

“The extension of the ACE system to South Africa is a significant milestone that confirms our commitment to address the connectivity challenges facing Africa. ASN’s know-how and technological innovations, which we have recently tested on our existing network, will support us in further developing direct connectivity within Africa and to the overall objective of ACE to reduce communication costs and drive social and economic growth in the continent,” stated Yves Ruggeri, Chairman of the ACE Management Committee/

  • ACE consortium, led by Orange, is composed of 19 operators, namely: Benin ACE GIE, Cable Consortium of Liberia, Canalink, Côte d’Ivoire Telecom, Dolphin Telecom, Guineenne de la Large Bande, Gambia Submarine Cable Company, International Mauritania Telecom, Orange Cameroun, Orange France, Orange Mali, Orange Niger, MEO, Republic of Cameroon, Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone Cable Limited (SALCAB), Sonatel, SPIN (Gabon) and STP Cabo.. Phase I covered 11,500 km linking Sao Tomé and Principe to France - via Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Tenerife (Spain) and Portugal. Phase II will span more than 5,000 km, for an overall system distance of 17,000 km.  

Video: Building Scalable SDN and NFV Deployments with Radisys’ FlowEngine

Key members of the Radisys FlowEngine team: Bryan Sadowski, VP of FlowEngine Marketing; Andrew Alleman, CTO; and Joseph Sulistyo, Director – Product Strategy and Management describe how the FlowEngine allows operators to innovate and deliver new services with agility and speed.

Video: @Pica8 Blazes Multiple Paths to SDN

is blazing multiple paths to inc open swtiching platforms, OEMs, a brite box w etc says Niraj Jain

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Blueprint: Six Steps toward Data Center Energy Efficiency

by James A. Stark, P.E., Senior Director of Engineering, Electronic Environments Co.

As Patrick Gammons, Senior Manager of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy at Google, observed in a recent blog post concerning data center energy efficiency, “The cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use.”

Gammons’ remark coincided with the announcement that Google would be converting a coal power plant in Jackson County, Alabama, scheduled for shutdown in October, to become its fourteenth data center. The Alabama data center, expected to begin construction early next year, will incorporate state-of-the-art energy efficiency technologies, including super-efficient servers and advanced cooling technologies “to squeeze more out of every watt of power” it consumes.

Today, start-up organizations to Fortune 500 global enterprises utilize mission-critical facilities to house their vital data, and with data center energy consumption nearly 100 times higher than that of a typical commercial building, data center owners and operators are placing a greater focus than ever before on improving energy efficiency. With the August 3 announcement of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, the country’s first-ever national standard to limit carbon pollution from power plants,  it’s highly probable that similar regulatory action to reduce energy consumption in data centers will eventually become policy.

With the writing on the proverbial wall, it’s incumbent upon our industry to develop the most energy-efficient data centers possible, ensuring maximum uptime and minimal costs, while reducing their carbon footprint. With these exigencies in mind, here are six critical steps data center owners and operators can take to achieve optimal energy efficiency.


Data center assessment professionals are equipped to provide thorough, in-depth analyses, providing recommendations for cost effective solutions to correct infrastructure deficiencies and improve maintenance programs. A detailed assessment of your data center’s operational performance will outline the individual areas in which your energy efficiency practices may fall short. Airflow management practices, identification of hot spots, and overall temperature regulation are all critical items to assess in order to develop a strategic plan to lower energy costs. A data center assessment professional can also provide insider information to prepare for external audits and contextual data for developing strategies.

Preventive Maintenance

The Ponemon Institute reports that data center downtime costs owner-operators an average of $7,900 per minute. Downtime is the number one issue that not only adversely affects your bottom line, but your company’s reputation as a reliable organization. To ensure maximum uptime, a comprehensive preventive maintenance program should include, but is not limited to, battery testing and maintenance, load bank testing, generator coolant, fuel and oil sampling, and periodic testing of overcurrent protective devices.

Equipment Upgrades

Equipment upgrades are necessary to make data centers more efficient and to maintain a robust and reliable facility. Fortunately, new technologies are continually developed that reduce overall energy consumption, such as Economy Mode (eco-mode) Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), 380V DC power systems, lighting system retrofits, dynamic cooling systems and efficient chillers.

Eco-mode is the term used to describe UPS systems that run in bypass mode during normal operation, and switch to on-line mode on the inverter when the incoming power deviates from acceptable limits for the IT equipment. This is the inverse of a traditional on-line reverse transfer UPS system where the IT load is normally supported by the inverter. Because in eco-mode the UPS is effectively offline, system efficiencies of 98-99% can be achieved and energy savings can be significant. By knowing what innovative technologies are available and understanding the ROI of many of these upgrades, you may be able to use them to your advantage within your data center design.

Airflow Management

Flawed airflow management wastes large amounts of energy and is an immediate financial drain. By adjusting rack layouts, improving supply air delivery, and reducing air recirculation, data center operators can realize substantial savings. Improved airflow management is a simple, low-cost path to improved Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).

Dynamic Cooling Management

Cooling system operation plays a critical role in the energy efficiency of a data center; and since no two data centers are alike, cooling solutions often need to be customized accordingly. Dynamic cooling systems are easy to deploy and can produce immediate energy savings. Rather than controlling temperature and airflow based on overall ambient room conditions, CRAC fan speeds are adjusted based on real-time readings collected through rack temperature sensors and control modules. Redundant CRAC units can be set in standby mode, ready to turn on if conditions in the room change or a primary CRAC unit fails.

Baseline Energy Reduction

Sustainable energy sources, including fuel cell, solar and wind power are increasingly becoming more commonplace within data centers to reduce their overall carbon footprint and save money on electricity consumption. Baseline reductions can also offer facilities free cooling and renewable energy, translating into immediate savings. To return to the example of Google, after repurposing a 60-year-old paper mill to a data center in Hamina, Finland, the American multinational technology company reused the cooling infrastructure that drew water from the Bay of Finland to cool data center equipment.

While not every data center owner-operator will have immediate access to such unconventional energy-efficiency methodologies, deployed in concert, the above steps will reap short- and long-term energy reduction, improve reliability, ensure overall performance and reduce expenditures.

About the Author 

James A. Stark has been with the Electronic Environments Co. for over twenty years, providing engineering and construction project management in the Mission Critical Facilities Services Group. He has extensive experience in delivering mission critical data center projects, site assessments and power quality studies. Jim has a degree in electrical engineering from Northeastern University and is a registered professional electrical engineer.

Ericsson: 5G to Reach 150 Million by 2021

Ericsson is forecasting 150 million 5G mobile subscriptions by 2021. A newly released Ericsson Mobility Report predicts that South Korea, Japan, China and the US will lead the 5G subscription uptake.

The report, a comprehensive update on mobile trends, reveals a significant increase in mobile video consumption, which is driving around six times higher traffic volumes per smartphone in North America and Europe (2015 to 2021). North America data traffic per active smartphone will grow from 3.8 to 22 GB per month by 2021; in Western Europe, the increase is from 2 to 18 GB per month.

With 20 new mobile broadband subscriptions activated every second, global increase in mobile subscriptions is another clear driver for data traffic growth. As of now, there are the same amount of mobile subscriptions as there are people on the planet; in 2016 we will reach the four billion mark for smartphone subscriptions alone.

Rima Qureshi, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer, Ericsson, says: "5G is about more than faster mobile services - it will enable new use cases related to the Internet of Things. For example, Ericsson has built a prototype testbed for applying 5G networking functions and data analytics to public transport, which can save resources, reduce congestion, and lower environmental impact. ICT transformation will become even more common across industries as 5G moves from vision to reality in the coming years."

Some highlights:

  • A significant increase in mobile video consumption will drive around six times higher traffic volumes per smartphone in North America and Europe by 2021
  • Mainland China becomes largest LTE market in the world with nearly 35 percent of all LTE subscriptions. By the end of 2015, Mainland China will have 350 million LTE subscriptions - nearly 35 percent of the world's total LTE subscriptions. The market is predicted to have 1.2 billion LTE subscriptions by 2021.
  • Video dominates data traffic: Global mobile data traffic is forecast to grow ten-fold by 2021, and video is forecast to account for 70 percent of total mobile traffic in the same year. In many networks today, YouTube accounts for up to 70 percent of all video traffic, while Netflix's share of video traffic can reach as high as 20 percent in markets where it is available.
  • Africa becomes an increasingly connected continent: Five years ago (2010) there were 500 million mobile subscriptions across Africa; by the end of 2015 this number will double to 1 billion. Increased connectivity improves the prospect of financial inclusion for the 70 percent unbanked through mobile money services starting to take form across Africa.
  • ICT will enable savings in energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across all other industrial sectors. The total emission reduction could be up to 10 gigatonnes of CO2e, representing about 15 percent of global GHG emissions in 2030 - more than the current carbon footprint of the US and EU combined.

The full Ericsson Mobility Report, Traffic Exploration Tool, Mobile Business Trends appendix and regional reports for Europe, South East Asia & Oceania (launched November 24th), North East Asia (launched early December), North America, Middle East & North East Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa can be downloaded.

First LTE Carrier Aggregation (CA) in Licensed and Unlicensed Bands

Ericsson, Vodafone and Qualcomm have conducted the first live testing of advanced LTE Carrier Aggregation (CA) of LTE in licensed and unlicensed bands on a commercial mobile network.

The Vodafone LTE trials with unlicensed spectrum are being conducted over Vodafone's network in the Netherlands.  The latest over the air results were achieved by aggregating 20 MHz of Vodafone spectrum in Band 3 (1800 MHz) with 20 MHz of the unlicensed 5 GHz band U-NII-1 band.  The testing validated LTE performance in the unlicensed band and fair co-existence with other technologies like Wi-Fi within the unlicensed 5 GHz band.  The Ericsson RBS 6402 Indoor Picocell includes a 5GHz LTE enabled radio in addition to multiple LTE radio variants and optional 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi module - all in a sleek, compact package with a tablet-sized footprint.  The user equipment utilized in this trial is a test device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 LTE modem. The Snapdragon X12 LTE modem is a product of Qualcomm Technologies.

Matthias Sauder, chief network officer, Vodafone Netherlands:  "Our intent in deploying small cells is always to deliver the best customer experience, and we see the potential for LTE aggregation with unlicensed bands on small cells as one way to make that customer experience even better.  We are already using Ericsson's RBS 6402 indoor picocell in our own shops in the Netherlands, so it's great to see that it will also support advanced LTE CA capabilities with unlicensed spectrum on our network."

Valter D'Avino, Head of Ericsson's Region Western and Central Europe, says: "Vodafone has taken a leadership position in small cells and our LTE trials on unlicensed spectrum with them, together with Qualcomm Technologies, really underscore their continued commitment to improving the performance of indoor networks to ensure better app coverage for their customers.  The unlicensed 5 GHz band is a shared resource and, as we have seen, it can be aggregated with LTE bands to provide a speed boost for users to improve app coverage, when spectrum is available - of course, the user also maintains their connection to Vodafone's highly reliable LTE network, so they have a great connection no matter what."

Ericsson Achieves 450 Mbps with LTE-U

Ericsson now has License Assisted Access (LAA), sometimes referred to as LTE-U, running live its labs.  The tests support the aggregation of licensed and unlicensed spectrum for peak rates up to 450 Mbps and enabling fair sharing of spectrum between mobile and Wi-Fi devices. The lab trials of both LAA fair sharing and licensed-unlicensed aggregation - 20 MHz on licensed band and 40 MHz on unlicensed 5 GHz band - were demonstrated from the Ericsson radio development units in Ottawa, Canada and Stockholm, Sweden.

LAA, or LTE-U, extends the benefits of LTE to unlicensed spectrum, providing reliable and predictable performance. The licensed band provides an anchor to ensure a seamless user experience with full mobility while the unlicensed band provides incremental capacity and enables faster data speeds.

The technology milestone has been achieved in cooperation with Qualcomm Technologies.  The companies also confirmed that Verizon, SK Telecom and T-Mobile US are already investigating the performance benefits that LAA can offer to mobile customers on their networks.

Starting in the fourth quarter 2015, Ericsson is adding LAA to its indoor small cell portfolio, including the Ericsson RBS 6402 Indoor Picocell (targeted at smaller buildings under 50,000 square feet) followed by the Ericsson Radio Dot System (for medium and large buildings).

Broadcom’s New StrataXGS Drives 2.5G Ethernet for 802.11ac APs

Broadcom announced new enterprise Ethernet switches designed to deliver the faster data rates offered by 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi.

The two new chips, which are built on Broadcom’s StrataXGS architecture, support 2.5G Ethernet to the access point, thereby unlocking the faster wireless speeds and enabling the higher bandwidth demands without needing to re-cable an entire network.

One of the chips integrates more high speed 10 gigabit interfaces for fiber uplinks and delivers double the stacking bandwidth of previous generation devices. A second desing enables a smaller form factor with low power consumption, providing multi-mode 1GbE/2.5GbE Ethernet interfaces with 10 Gigabit uplinks. Both are currently sampling.
“Broadcom continues to partner with worldwide equipment manufacturers to deliver the most comprehensive
portfolio for Enterprise Networking.” said Nick Kucharewski, Broadcom Vice President, Network Switch Marketing. “Our new switch products enable a converged wired/wireless enterprise and deliver highly optimized 2.5GE solutions for high density wireless deployments.”

Secret Double Octopus Unveils its Network Security Solution

Secret Double Octopus, a start-up based in Israel, emerged from stealth mode with a solution that secures network traffic and authentication beyond the limitations of PKI, SSL and VPN.

Secret Double Octopus helps site-to-site, site-to-cloud, mobile and IoT initiatives overcome the security vulnerabilities of today’s encryption protocols. The approach employs secret sharing, eliminating the need for cryptographic keys and providing protection that information theory has postulated as unbreakable.

Secret Double Octopus said it is the first company to use secret sharing to build a network-focused security solution. This enables organizations to keep network traffic and authentication information-theoretically secure. Data is represented by random bits across multiple routes that only when assembled at its destination can be interpreted, hardening communications as a result.

The intellectual property that powers the company’s solutions is based on research conducted at Ben-Gurion University by Prof. Shlomi Dolev, the company's CSO, and Dr. Shimrit Tzur-David, CTO.

“Well-publicized data breaches and security hacks underscore the need to more effectively secure critical networks,” said Raz Rafaeli, Chief Executive Officer at Secret Double Octopus. “By utilizing secret sharing, we’ve taken a new approach to security that eliminates the encryption key, an exploited single point of failure in today’s security paradigm.”

Vapor IO Releases Open Source Platform for Server and Rack Mgt

Vapor IO, a start-up offering a hyper modular data center solution, introduced its Open Data Center Runtime Environment (DCRE) - an open source platform for data center rack and server management.

Vapor IO, which earlier this year introduced its hyper collapsed, disaggregated  data center solution, developed this new OpenDCRE software to simplify data center infrastructure communication. The solution exposes current generation interfaces to data center operators, system and devops administrators, thereby simplifying the programming needed to start automating the physical infrastructure itself.

Vapor IO said OpenDCRE is being released as an open source alternative to proprietary interfaces and custom silicon. This ensures that when a user interacts with their data center, they are communicating over a community owned interface and standard. OpenDCRE is designed to support all data center environments supporting HPE Cloudline and other OCP platforms. OpenDCRE replaces the need for out of band management networks saving users thousands of dollars per rack. Additional features of the product include SSL support, analog sensor and power control support and a simple RESTful API running on Raspberry Pi.

“Data centers have proven to be nothing short of problematic,” said Cole Crawford, founder and CEO of Vapor IO. ”This is primarily due to poorly integrated systems, legacy software and hardware, and the disjointed approach the industry takes to building out data center environments. As IT prepares to support edge based computing, it is imperative we manage and orchestrate our infrastructure as a whole with no prejudice as to where or how many data centers are employed to support our workloads. This is a large feat and we’re thrilled to have support from partners like Future Facilities and Romonet as we move forward.”
OpenDCRE is now available for download and has already generated support from partners such as Future Facilities and Romonet.

Microsemi Revises Offer to Acquire PMC

Microsemi increased its proposal to acquire PMC-Sierra to $9.22 in cash and 0.0771x of a share of Microsemi common stock for each share of PMC common stock. The implied enterprise value is $2.3 billion, net of PMC's net cash balance as of Sept. 27, 2015. Based on the closing stock price of Microsemi on Nov. 17, 2015, the transaction is valued at $12.05 per PMC share.

"The board of PMC chose not to recommend to their shareholders our previous proposal, which was $0.17 per share higher than the existing offer from Skyworks," said James J. Peterson, Microsemi's chairman and CEO. "Our revised offer delivers even more value to shareholders and we have addressed PMC's preference in increasing the cash component of our proposal. Because we are not subject to the same uncertainty regarding regulatory approvals, our unique ability to close this transaction represents the best approach to realizing the value of PMC in a timely manner, consistent with the board's fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders."

Microsemi Expands Clock Management Solutions

Microsemi introduced three new products in its portfolio of clock management solutions: ZL30244 and ZL30245 , two dual-channel any-to-any clock multiplier and frequency synthesizer integrated circuits (ICs), and ZL30255 , a dual-channel any-to-any clock multiplier and jitter attenuator. Target applications for the devices include access networks, storage area networks, data center infrastructure, enterprise infrastructure, and video broadcast equipment.

"Our three new clock management solutions build upon the success of Microsemi's single-channel versions, ZL30250/251 and ZL30253, further expanding product capabilities for our customers to reduce design complexity and lower bill of material costs," said Maamoun Seido, vice president and business unit manager of Microsemi's timing products. "Providing the second channel in these devices further simplifies and reduces the cost of designs. For clock trees that require multiple frequency families, the ZL30244, ZL30245 and ZL30255 provide lower chip count and lower cost solutions—all with exceptional jitter performance."

VimpelCom to Exit Zimbabwe

VimpelCom will sell its stake in Telecel International Limited to ZARNet (Private) for $40 million. Telecel International owns 60% of Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd.

ZARNet is wholly owned by the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Information & Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cisco Brings Hyperscale Cloud Smarts to IOS XR

Cisco is rolling out new capabilities for its IOS XR network operating system that deliver cloud-scale networking for service providers and web companies. The goal is to deliver cloud applications at scale with greater agility, automation and simplicity by enabling traditional and web service providers to converge their data centers and wide area network (WAN) architectures.

Cisco developed the new capabilities with some of the world’s leading web companies (unnamed for competitive reasons) and based on their operational best practices. The rollout includes three additions to the Cisco Network Convergence System (NCS) Series routing portfolio, which
converges IP and optical fabrics.

Cisco IOS XR is currently deployed across over 50,000 live network routers.  The newly announced capabilities include:

  • Software modularity and extensibility
  • Increased service agility with granular software packaging and automated upgrade
  • IT and network automation convergence with third-party application hosting, such as industry standard DevOps tools, Chef or Puppet
  • Open innovation with IOS XR Software Development Kit (SDK) and Cisco DevNet Developer Program
  • Large-scale Automation for Greater Operational Efficiency
  • Predictable network programmability through data-model-driven APIs (YANG/OpenConfig)
  • Extensive flexibility to adapt to customerss’ operational environment (i.e., any data model, any encoding method, and any transport method)
  • Fine-grained visibility and control for simplification and enhanced end-user experiences
  • Actionable and contextual network insight due to data-model-driven access to extensive operational state data (i.e., highly augmented visibility compared to mechanisms such as SNMP)
  • Near real-time network programmability with enhancements to Application Engineered Routing solution – WAN Automation Engine (WAE) support for Telemetry and Segment Routing Traffic Engineering.

Additions to the Cisco NCS portfolio include:

  • Cisco NCS 5000 Series, delivering up to 40-80 10GE ports and 4 100GE ports
  • Cisco NCS 5500 Series, providing up to 288 routed 100GE ports for WAN aggregation
  • Cisco NCS 1000 Series, supporting 100/200/250Gb wavelengths over distances exceeding 3000 km with existing fiber

“Service providers are looking to leverage the operational best practices established in massively scalable computing environments and marry them with their own networking reach to compete and innovate faster,” said Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president of Cisco’s service provider segment.  “With this announcement, Cisco is leading the industry toward cloud-scale networking, converging the data center and WAN and delivering new levels of speed, automation and simplicity. We feel this a real game-changer that will help service providers of all types in their digitization journeys, enabling them to operate their networks in near real-time while dramatically increasing operational efficiency.”

In September 2013, +Cisco unveiled its flagship Network Convergence System (NCS) core routing fabric designed to bring scalability, open programmability, and IP/Optical integration to power the Internet of Everything.

The Cisco NCS family serves as network fabric and orchestration system uniting the Cisco Carrier Routing System (CRS) and Aggregation Services Router (ASR) product lines.  It can be deployed as part of the Cisco ONE Service Provider Architecture, which embraces and extends SDN/NFV. The NCS family leverages several innovations:

Programmable Silicon: The NCS features the recently announced Cisco nPower X1 integrated network processor, which is also used in the CRS-X.  The nPower X1 packs 336 cores and 4 billion transistors on a single chip.  It also features new memory technology , the nPower X1 implementation achieves
unprecedented levels of performance, functionality, programmability and scale for a network processor.

Intelligent Convergence for Optimization and Simplification: The Cisco NCS converges IP and optical networks and is designed to seamlessly integrate with the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) and the Dynamic Fabric Automation capabilities supported by Cisco's data center innovations. This convergence capability enables the NCS to act as a flexible foundational network fabric for an evolved programmable network, able to shift and redirect data center, core, edge and optical resources spontaneously and in real time, allowing service providers to accelerate service velocity while reducing overall complexity and operating costs.

Advanced Virtualization Capabilities: The NCS's element, system and architectural virtualization capabilities converge to enable the system to orchestrate services and resources across disparate physical, virtual and geographical elements as if they are part of a single unified system using Cisco Prime and Cisco Quantum solutions. The system's advanced virtualization features enable service providers to elastically scale up and down both network and compute resources, utilizing scalable multichassis configurations that can be managed as a single entity. If system scale is exceeded in one part of the network, the NCS moves control plane functions onto UCS servers in the data center, creating virtually unlimited control plane scale by capitalizing on the blade servers' processing.

The Cisco NCS family consists of three key components that can be managed as a single integrated system for business agility and simplified operations:

NCS 6000 -- the flagship router boasts the ability to transport up to 5 Tbps per slot and 1.2 Pbps per system.  By using its 100 Gbps,CMOS-based CPAK transceivers Cisco is delivering the first 1 Tbps line card. Each line card runs up to 1 Tbps throughput, using a mix of 10, 40, or 100 Gbps interfaces per card.  Significantly, the NCS 6000 will run virtualized IOS-XR instances while supporting hardware-enabled true zero-packet, zero-topology loss (ZPL/ZTL) In Service Software Upgrade (ISSU).  This will enable lossless software image updates.  Thanks to the CMOS silicon photonics and new network processor, Cisco said the NCS 6000 will achieve the lowest carbon footprint in service provider routing . The NCS 6000 is currently shipping.

NCS 4000 --  bridges the gap between the IP and optical layers with time division multiplexing (TDM), packet switching, and integrated DWDM functionality. It will support 400 Gbps per slot and 6.4 Terabits per system and be available in single, back-to-back, and multi-chassis configurations.  It will offer full optical channel data unit (ODU-0) level switching, with ports supporting SONET/SDH, Ethernet, and channelized OTN Full IP, MPLS, MPLS-Transport Profile (TP), and Carrier Ethernet switching, supporting 10 Gb, 40 Gb, and 100 Gb Ethernet interfaces with the option of OTN encapsulation. The NCS 4000 will be available in the first half of 2014.

NCS 2000 -- a DWDM transport platform that evolves the Cisco ROADM portfolio by introducing 96-channel nLight ROADM technology.  It offers touchless re-configurability through colorless, omni-directional, and contention-less add/drop, networks.  The NCS 2000 introduces hybrid Raman-EDFA amplifiers known as erbium doped Raman amplifiers (EDRA).  The NCS 2000 is currently shipping.

The three platforms are designed to work as a single, integrated system.

"The Cisco NCS was engineered with the programmability, intelligence and scalability to meet the demands of today and tomorrow.  The NCS delivers an evolved programmable network that will enable service providers to generate new revenue streams and business models, while delivering exciting new experiences to their customers," stated Surya Panditi, SVP and GM, Cisco's Service Provider Networking Group.

Cisco named three early adopters for NCS:  BSkyB (Sky), KDDI and Telstra.

Coriant's Pluggables Disaggregate Optical Layer Functions

Coriant unveiled its Pluggable Optical Layer approach to disaggregating key components needed for high-speed metro optical networks.

Coriant's Pluggable Optical Layer disaggregates the full suite of optical layer components into compact pluggables, including amplifiers, variable optical attenuators, power monitoring, combiners, splitters, WSSs, etc. The company said that by providing the ability to mix and match different functional components, the Pluggable Optical Layer enables operators to customize metro optical network deployments (e.g., fixed DWDM, CWDM, and ROADM) without the need to pay for unwanted or unneeded functionality.

Coriant's vision is to enable new functionality by adding or swapping additional components, while preserving investment in those components that do not need to change. The solution is initially supported on the industry-leading Coriant 7100 Packet Optical Transport Platform, which includes the 7100 Pico and 7100 Nano.

“In today’s dynamic and competitive market for metro services, operators do not want to choose between low cost and flexibility when it comes to building or extending metro optical networks,” said Brian Nagle, Director of Product Line Management, Coriant. “By introducing the first fully pluggable optical layer, they do not have to make this choice and can implement a cost-effective solution today that can easily adapt to meet future service requirements.”

Three new IEEE 802.3 study groups

The Ethernet Alliance commended the recent formation of three new IEEE 802.3® study groups:

The IEEE 802.3 25Gb/s Ethernet PMD(s) for Single Mode Fiber Study Group is tasked with exploring the development of new 25Gb/s Ethernet single-mode fiber links, as well as evaluating market requirements supporting longer reach 25Gb/s Ethernet interfaces up to 10 kilometers or more. The group’s work complements the fast-tracked efforts of the IEEE P802.3by 25Gb/s Ethernet Task Force to develop a 25GbE specification.

Focusing on two related areas of study, the IEEE 802.3 50Gb/s Ethernet Over A Single Lane Study Group and IEEE 802.3 Next Generation 100Gb/s and 200Gb/s Ethernet Study Group will jointly investigate the market requirements for 50GbE, 100GbE and 200GbE, which include server-to-switch and switch-to-switch applications. The Study Groups will define objectives for the Ethernet specifications leveraging 50Gb/s signaling technology based on market needs.

“Ethernet is beginning the standardization of a new era of speeds based on 50Gb/s signaling technology. The 50Gb/s lanes will enable 50 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) SFP56 modules, and 200GbE QSFP56 modules and other corresponding technologies as we have shown in the 2015 Ethernet Roadmap,” said Scott Kipp, president, Ethernet Alliance; and principal technologist, Brocade. “The launch of these new study groups will help deliver the next generation of cost-optimized, higher-speed solutions demanded by hyperscale data centers, enterprises, cloud service providers, and more. It’s proof that Ethernet will continue to be optimized for new markets.”

Citrix to Spinoff GoTo Products, Restructure Core Business

Citrix Systems will spinoff its GoTo family of products into a separate public company as part of an organizational restructuring aimed at renewing its focus on core products.

Citrix plans to increase emphasis and resources to core enterprise products for secure and reliable application and data delivery, including XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile, ShareFile and NetScaler. The company will end investment in certain other products and programs, in some cases moving technologies into strategic products, in other cases providing an orderly end-of-life to non-core products.

As part of the restructuring, Citrix will eliminate about 1,000 full-time and contract roles, excluding the effect of spinning off the GoTo business.

"We are simplifying our business in all areas - product, marketing, sales, operations and development," said Bob Calderoni, interim CEO and president, and executive chairman. "Focusing on our core strengths and simplifying how we work with customers and partners will help us improve execution, drive higher profit and begin investing for growth in areas in which we provide the greatest customer value."

ALU Joins the ONOS Project

Alcatel-Lucent has joined the ONOS project, the Open source SDN Network Operating System (ONOS) for service providers and mission critical networks and a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.

ONOS is a carrier-grade SDN network operating system architected to provide high availability, scalability, performance, and rich northbound and southbound abstractions. Alcatel-Lucent will join leading service providers, vendors, collaborators and individual contributors to accelerate SDN/NFV adoption and drive open innovation.

"Open source object models are becoming the new baseline for multi-vendor interoperability. ONOS provides a carrier-centric forum where these models can be defined and implemented at an accelerated pace to stay ahead of the monumental shift towards SDN and virtualization," said Steve Vogelsang, CTO for Alcatel-Lucent's IP Routing and Transport business. "By committing engineering resources and becoming an active participant of ONOS, we will be in a much better position to contribute our carrier SDN knowledge and experience to open source initiatives, and will benefit from collaboration across the broader network vendor and service provider communities."

Radisys, Octasic and Quortus Partner on Multi-Radio Network-in-a-Box

Radisys, along with Octasic and Quortus, announced a Multi-Radio 4G/3G/2G Network-in-a-Box targeted for the military and public safety organizations. The joint solution enables the rapid deployment of an end-to-end LTE network in a compact, ruggedized form factor.  The idea is to enable military and public safety professionals to rapidly deploy a complete portable network anywhere, whether in a UAV, a vehicle or a backpack. The network can support up to 32 active users by leveraging LTE technology.

The Multi-Radio Network-in-a-Box integrates Radisys’ field-hardened CellEngine TOTALeNodeB LTE small cell software and Femtotality 3G small cell software with Octasic’s OCTBTS platforms and Quortus’ ECX Tactical virtualized EPC (Evolved Packet Core) solution.

“As the leaders in small cell software with more than 80 deployments worldwide, we’re skilled at working with any organization that needs reliable, secure and portable communications technology. We’re excited about this new Multi-Radio Network-in-a-Box that encompasses Octasic’s value proposition to deliver base stations that meet the military’s strict size, weight and power requirements and adds Quortus’ virtualized core for a complete end-to-end LTE network solution,” stated Tom McQuade, general manager, CellEngine and Trillium Software, Radisys.

Ericsson to Offer Subscription VOD for SPs

Ericsson is launching an end-to-end subscription video-on-demand content service called NuVu that will be marketed with service providers. AirTel Nigeria will be first to launch NuVu beginning in Q1 2016.

Subscribers will gain access to around 3,000 local and international TV and film titles for a small monthly fee. They will be able to download content directly to their smartphones or tablets at no additional data cost during off-peak network times, and access the content offline for up to 30 days after downloading.

Ericsson said it is working with a number of leading international distributors to acquire TV and film content for the new service.
NuVu is a complete end-to-end technology and content service. The platform, which has been developed by Ericsson and leverages the company's extensive over-the-top capabilities, will be fully integrated into the operator's customer relationship management and payment systems. A core feature of the service is the built-in ability to distribute content to consumers during off-peak periods. This minimizes data costs for both operator and consumer, addressing the cost challenge that has so far been an obstacle for video-on-demand uptake in Africa.

ALU Lands 5-Year Deal with Ooredoo

Ooredoo Group awarded a 5-year frame supply deal to Alcatel-Lucent, extending and reinforcing the existing long-term collaboration between both companies. The agreement covers the technology evolution and latest innovations relating to ultra-broadband IP and transport networks. This contract will extend for five years and will benefit operations across the Ooredoo footprint in Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Alcatel-Lucent will supply state-of-the-art, full packet microwave, high bandwidth optical networking & IP routing platforms which will enhance Ooredoo’s customers’ experience, whether it is for rich communications, watching video entertainment from fixed/mobile devices or accessing cloud-based business applications. Alcatel-Lucent is also providing its professional services expertise including network management services.