Monday, May 16, 2016

Saudi Telecom Tests Nokia's MulteFire for Unlicensed Spectrum

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has conducted a test of Nokia's MulteFire technology, which combines the high-performance of LTE with the simplicity of Wi-Fi deployment in unlicensed spectrum bands such as 5GHz.

The test - which used Nokia's FlexiZone small cells together with MulteFire software - showed how MulteFire can co-exist with Wi-Fi to deliver the high performance, high speeds and security offered by LTE in a densely populated environment.


  • Neutral Host test: MulteFire allows the delivery of high-speed services across multiple end-user devices regardless of their mobile operator, allowing anyone with a MulteFire device to access data using a MulteFire access point. The test showed up to 120 Mbps of total download and upload throughput.
  • Co-existence test: Tests showed MulteFire harmoniously co-existing with Wi-Fi when Wi-Fi was turned on in the same frequency and placed very close to a MulteFire access point.
  • Enhanced Coverage test: The test showed up to 50% better range and up to 2x better coverage in comparison to Wi-Fi.

Nokia said MulteFire complements heterogeneous networks (HetNets), which use a mixture of macro and small cell radios, allowing operators to meet the increased connectivity demands of future smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT).

#MWC16: MulteFire Alliance Pursues LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum

There is a growing interest in using LTE in unlicensed spectrum, according to The MulteFire Alliance, which was launched just over a year ago to promote the technology.  The alliance is developing a global ecosystem for LTE in unlicensed spectrum and the further development of small cell technology. Ericsson, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm are key players behind MulteFire. Multiple demos were held at MWC16 this week in Barcelona.

The MulteFire Alliance technical specification group is developing the MulteFire specification based on 3GPP Release 13 and Release 14 advancements, including downlink and uplink in unlicensed spectrum. MulteFire is designed to initially operate in 5 GHz unlicensed bands and coexist with other technologies using the same spectrum. MulteFire can also act as a neutral host to serve multiple entities or deliver provider-specific services at enterprises, venues and small businesses. The Alliance plans to provide interoperability, conformance and coexistence specifications and to enable conformance testing to ensure a robust and interoperable ecosystem.

“The MulteFire Alliance is committed to developing a technology designed to meet global unlicensed band regulations, including Listen-Before-Talk features required in regions such as Europe and Japan, for a truly global reach,” said Stephan Litjens, MulteFire Alliance Board Chair and head of Innovation Steering at Nokia. “Our members are taking great care to ensure that MulteFire technology will harmoniously coexist with other technologies in unlicensed spectrum bands.”

The newest members of the MulteFire Alliance include Athonet, Baicells, Boingo Wireless, Casa Systems, Ruckus Wireless and SpiderCloud Wireless.

AWS Cites Momentum on SAP Business Apps on its Cloud

Amazon Web Services reported more and more of its customers, across virtually every industry and geography, are running SAP applications on the AWS Cloud. Examples cited include General Electric, Brooks Brothers, and Lionsgate.

SAP has verified and certified various solutions for production deployment on AWS, including S/4HANA, SAP Business Suite on HANA, Business Warehouse on HANA, SAP HANA, SAP Business All-in-One, SAP Business One, SAP BusinessObjects, SAP Database and Mobile Solutions.

“Enterprise usage of SAP on AWS is growing incredibly fast across all verticals and geographies as enterprises get more comfortable running their most important applications on AWS and the cloud,” said Terry Wise, Vice President, Worldwide Partner Ecosystem, AWS. “Since becoming the first public cloud platform to be certified to run SAP production workloads in 2011, AWS has continued to innovate to deliver the capabilities and operational performance enterprise customers need to run their most critical business applications with confidence on the AWS Cloud.”

Analog Devices’ Silicon Switch Targets Cellular Radio RF Front Ends

Analog Devices introduced a high power (44 watts peak) single-pole, double-throw (SPDT) silicon switch designed for cellular radio systems.

The new switch eliminates the need for external components, while reducing power consumption by operating on a single low-voltage supply with extremely low current consumption compared to existing pin-diode-based solutions.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Video: MEF - Delivering the Third Network Vision - #ITW2016

The MEF has defined its Third Network Vision for Agile, Assured and Orchestrated services worldwide.

How to deliver on this vision?

In this video, Nan Chen, President of the MEF, talks about three initiatives underway to make it a reality: (1) defining Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO), (2) define new Third Network services (3) define an Open LSO or open connectivity service.

Video: Equinix - The Big Drivers - #ITW2016

Direct Connect to major cloud providers is one of drivers for enterprises, says Jim Poole, VP of Ecosystem Business Development at Equinix.

The growth of the Cloud Exchange business is another, along with the multi-cloud phenomenon, and the increasing need for enterprises to adopt a multi-location data center strategy. Finally, there is the idea of bringing the major subsea cables directly in data centers.

Filmed at this week's International Telecoms Week (#ITW2016) in Chicago.

Corsa Debuts Open Programmable Switch/Router

Corsa Technology, a start-up based in Ottawa, introduced its new Corsa DP2000 open programmable switching and routing platform for 10G and 100G subscriber-level networking, on-demand services and real-time network tuning.

The Corsa DP2000 allows network architects and operators to use APIs to dynamically partition the hardware into independent virtual SDN switches or routers operating at line-rate.

Corsa said its advanced traffic management and QoS features enable network operators to fine-tune traffic paths to ensure individual customers, subscribers or services receive their appropriate bandwidth and throughput.  In addition, per flow statistics for all traffic is available, offering unprecedented real-time network insights at the most granular level and enabling any manner of predictive traffic management or security.

Key capabilities of the new DP2000 series includes:

  • True network hardware virtualization enabling logical L2 and L3 network services via SDN programmatic control
  • Subscriber-level internet scale networking with per flow traffic engineering and advanced traffic management
  • Real-time network insights with per-flow traffic monitoring statistics
  • Multi terabit throughput with switch stacking
  • Open SDN programmability at multiple abstraction levels
  • The DP2000 series is scalable from 100G to 2.4T of throughput. 

“The DP2000 series is the first switching and routing platform to offer open programmable networking on a platform where you can dynamically slice a single physical switch into virtualized line-rate switching and routing instances that can support 100G of throughput. What compute has been doing for years, we now make possible at the core of the communications network," said Bruce Gregory, CEO of Corsa Technology. “We built this solution with WAN and metro applications in mind, because it is here that network architects are struggling to handle exploding volume and diversity of traffic and where our multi-context hardware virtualization has a huge impact.”

Virtustream Joins AT&T NetBond Ecosystem

AT&T will begin providing NetBond highly secure access to Virtustream’s Enterprise Class Cloud and Cloud Storage services.

Virtustream is an enterprise-class cloud provider and EMC Federation company. They provide cloud solutions that help global companies and public sector organizations migrate and manage mission-critical workloads in the cloud.

“We’re helping businesses get more value out of the cloud services they already use. They have a new choice to simplify network management and provide more control using the AT&T network,” says Andy Daudelin, vice president, AT&T Cloud and Cloud Networking. “Our leading network is the foundation for all our integrated cloud solutions. The performance and scale of our network provides businesses and their employees the ability to access key Virtustream services more securely from nearly anywhere and at any time.”
Virtustream joins 14 other leading cloud providers in the NetBond ecosystem. The ecosystem provides NetBond users single portal-access to more than 20 leading cloud services.

  • AT&T NetBond partner services include: Salesforce, Box, HP, VMware, Amazon Web Services, SoftLayer, Blue Jeans Network, Sungard Availability Services and Equinix.

AT&T Lands $75M DoD Contract

The Defense Information Systems Agency awarded a contract valued at $74.6 million over five years to AT&T.

AT&T will provide highly secure telecom services that support U.S. senior leadership communications between select Department of Defense aircraft and ground stations across the continental U.S. and around the world. “We’re proud to provide communications services to help defend our country,” said Kay Kapoor, president, AT&T Global Business – Public Sector Solutions. “When the mission is vital and national security is at stake, our nation’s leaders count on the AT&T network.” - See more at:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Blueprint: The Rise of the Network Monitoring Engineer

by Patrick Hubbard, Head Geek, SolarWinds

Today’s network engineers experience tremendous complexity, in part due to increasing demand, but also given the diversity of protocols and the high number of multi-tier applications that are often outside of their control. Combined with improved automated failover it’s become impossible (except in the largest of organizations) for network administrators to be highly specialized, meaning the days of being a router jockey are gone.

Network administrators today are stuck between everyday tasks of change management, hardware refreshes and strategic changes required to support new business initiatives, and the on-demand troubleshooting work they are asked to do. On top of this, automation encourages IT managers to streamline their teams, so as network complexity increases, paradoxically the number of people available to help address these tasks is actually decreasing.

But this doesn’t mean the future of network administration is bleak. There are a number of ways network engineers can improve their skills and remain relevant to their organizations, especially at a time when hybrid IT is taking center stage. According to the most recent SolarWinds IT Trends Report, just nine percent of North American organizations have not migrated at least some infrastructure to the cloud and nearly all IT professionals say adopting cloud technologies is important to their organizations’ long-term business success.

Networking in a Hybrid Environment

In such complex environments, network administrators need the ability to view performance, traffic and configuration details of devices both within and outside their traditional networks. However, hybrid IT means network administrators have much more opacity or outright lack of control over the resources in the cloud that they need to manage and monitor.

Because the end user expectation that IT be able to assure delivery of services is the same for on-premises and cloud, this can be frustrating. It’s exacerbated by cloud service providers who include proprietary monitoring and management tools, but are not vendor-agnostic.  They actually create extra work for administrators who must flip between multiple dashboards without the benefit of holistic views that would allow them to troubleshoot quickly.

Often, such tools also spew alerts without indicating what might be causing the issue. For example, for an application running in the data center, network administrators have visibility into every network layer required to host the hypervisor. However, when that application is moved into the cloud, network administrators lose the administrative authority to be able to easily monitor.  They require a new way to monitor in order to keep the same rich visibility if it were on-premises.

Administrators still need to monitor interface performance, as well as identify service delivery issues as part of the path connecting the service to the end user. New technologies have become available that reveal the physical connectivity of the service components and end uses who might be experiencing poor performance.

So while using disparate vendor-provided tools may be cost-effective in the short term, having a large number of disparate solutions is its own kind of trouble—it doesn’t lend itself to a coherent, integrated alerting and notification strategy that allows administrators to stay on top of performance, ultimately costing time and money in the long term.

The Rise of the Dedicated Monitoring Engineer

Hybrid IT is drawing attention to the need for a new approach to monitoring and management essentials. Enter monitoring as a discipline, which varies from simple monitoring in that it is the defined role of one or more individuals within an organization. A designated monitoring engineer is able to work across systems and environments, thereby removing network and data center silos and gaining the able to turn data points generated by monitoring tools into actionable insights for the business.

Hiring a monitoring engineer or better yet, a team of monitoring engineers, should be considered a critical investment in services and business success. It’s one thing to say that companies need a certain headcount in order to maintain a business and keep the lights on, but another thing entirely when it comes to IT, which is largely viewed as a cost center, and every year most departments are exceeding budgets. However, enlightened companies are beginning to view monitoring as a cost-effective way to achieve greater IT ROI. Instead of purchasing ad hoc tools to keep an eye on their technology, progressive companies have figured out a way to bring discipline and structure to their monitoring practices via staffing and resources. For the right organization, this would be a team of monitoring engineers each with their own specialization—network monitoring, systems monitoring, etc.—but who work in lockstep from a “single point of truth” when it comes to overall infrastructure performance.

How to Make the Business Case for a Monitoring Engineer

With accelerating IT complexity in mind, it’s important that IT management begin to instill monitoring as a discipline principles within the business. IT professionals are already strapped for time and resources, and management needs to step in to help evangelize internally, offer examples and best practices and put budget for new tools and technologies behind these efforts in order to achieve the full benefit of monitoring as a discipline. Management must make a strong business case that the monitoring engineer or engineers will achieve ROI for not only the IT department, but the organization as a whole.

Critical Monitoring Engineer Skills

Although monitoring engineers must possess basic network engineering skills, there are a few particular skillsets in addition that are necessary to be truly successful in the role. These include:
  • A programmer’s eye towards customization and a willingness to improve – Often, we buy technology that’s custom-made and use it right out of the box. But the most successful monitoring engineer will turn their eye towards improving it all the time.
  • An analyst’s eye for data – Instead of simply poring over endless numbers in a spreadsheet, a monitoring engineer should be able to take a step back, look at the bigger picture and ask themselves what their “customers” will be using their monitoring reports for and how they should be visualized. And they must remember, less is more. 
  • On top of cultivating their skills with experience, studying is key – The best way to hone skills is to learn on the fly, as well as spend more than a few lunch breaks and evenings testing new technologies and processes in a lab environment. 
Our networks are growing in complexity as they become further tied to all elements of the IT environment, extending all the way to cloud. IT management should seize this opportunity to return as much value as possible out of existing technology by hiring a monitoring engineer or a monitoring team with at least one individual focused on the network that works in tandem with existing teams to holistically monitor the performance of the entire IT infrastructure.  Whether on-premises or in the cloud, these resources maintain an eye towards improving existing systems, delivering promised ROI and driving repeatable progress for the business.

About the Author

Patrick Hubbard is a head geek and senior technical product marketing manager at SolarWinds. With 20 years of technical expertise and IT customer perspective, his networking management experience includes work with campus, data center, storage networks, VoIP and virtualization, with a focus on application and service delivery in both Fortune 500 companies and startups in high tech, transportation, financial services and telecom industries.

About SolarWinds

SolarWinds (NYSE: SWI) provides powerful and affordable hybrid IT infrastructure management software to customers worldwide from Fortune 500® enterprises to small businesses, government agencies and educational institutions. We are committed to focusing exclusively on IT Pros, and strive to eliminate the complexity that they have been forced to accept from traditional enterprise software vendors. Regardless of where the IT asset or user sits, SolarWinds delivers products that are easy to find, buy, use, maintain and scale while providing the power to address all key areas of the infrastructure from on premises to the cloud. Our solutions are rooted in our deep connection to our user base, which interacts in our thwack online community to solve problems, share technology and best practices, and directly participate in our product development process. Learn more today at

Got an idea for a Blueprint column?  We welcome your ideas on next gen network architecture.
See our guidelines.

Telia Carrier Brings its 100G Backbone to CyrusOne Data Centers

Telia Carrier is bringing its global IP network to CyrusOne, one of the largest carrier-neutral data center providers in the United States.

Telia Carrier's global IP network, AS1299, offers CyrusOne customers immediate 100G availability scalable to multi-terabit capacity, and includes the benefits of the wholesale carrier's Wavelength, IP, and Ethernet services. Telia Carrier owns and operates its global network.

"As one of the leading providers of colocation services for large enterprise customers, CyrusOne provides a unique opportunity for Telia Carrier to expand into previously untouched verticals," said Ivo Pascucci, regional director, Americas at Telia Carrier. "This is a mutually beneficial partnership and we look forward to continuing to grow our regional and global offerings together."

ONUG Launches Open IT Framework Initiatives

The Open Networking User Group (ONUG) is kicking off a set of industry initiatives focused on open IT frameworks and software-defined infrastructure:

  • Open SD-WAN Exchange (OSE)
  • Open Interoperable Control Plane (OICP)
  • Open Traffic Management Format (OTMF)
  • Open Network State Format (ONSF)

“The new open industry initiatives will promote collaboration amongst vendors, academics, standards and open source organizations, and enterprise IT business leaders that is vital in bringing the ONUG Community closer to the open software-defined infrastructure they require,” said Nick Lippis, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of ONUG. “I would like to commend these trailblazing participants for the role they are playing in steering this movement, which will ultimately work to benefit both IT buyers and sellers.”

Supporting companies include Apstra, Cisco, Citrix, CloudGenix, FatPipe, Glue Networks, NetScout, NTT Innovation Institute, Inc., Nuage Networks, Silver Peak, VeloCloud, Veriflow, Verizon, Versa Networks, and Viptela.

Weaveworks Raises $15 Million for Container Monitoring

Weaveworks, a start-up offering networking and monitoring for containers and microservices, secured $15 million in Series B funding led by new investor GV (formerly Google Ventures).

Weaveworks’ Weave provides a simple and consistent way to connect and manage containers and microservices. It provides simple and reliable networking across development, test and production environments and any mix of data centers and public c111louds. Weave also provides a unique console to visualize and interact with container and microservice deployments in development and production.

The new funding round also included participation from existing investor Accel.

“We’re delighted to welcome GV as a new investor, and Accel as a repeat investor in Weaveworks,” said Alexis Richardson, co-founder and CEO of Weaveworks and chair of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s (CNCF) Technical Oversight Committee. “Both share our vision of simplifying microservice-based application development by minimizing the connectivity and deployment complexities, and providing unique visual ways to understand and manage cloud-native applications.”

Weave Enhances its Networking + Monitoring for Docker

Weaveworks, a start-up with offices in San Francisco and London, announced the 1.4 release of its networking and monitoring software for Docker deployments.

Weave Net 1.4 is a Docker networking plug-in that eliminates the requirement to run and manage an external cluster store (database). The plug-in simplifies and accelerates the deployment of Docker containers by removing the requirement to deploy, manage and maintain a centralized database in development and production. It builds on Docker’s core networking capabilities. It runs a “micro router” on each Docker host that works just like an Internet router, providing IP addresses to local containers and sharing peer-to-peer updates with other micro-routers, and learning from their updates. It also responds to DNS requests by containers looking to find other containers by name, also known as Service Discovery. Features include:

  • A simple overlay networking approach for connecting containers across Docker hosts
  • Fast, standards-based VXLAN encapsulation for the network traffic
  • An application-centric micro-network
  • Built-in service discovery
Weaveworks developed “micro router” technology to make Docker container networking fast, easy and “invisible”.

“Removing the dependency on a cluster store makes it faster, easier and simpler to build, ship and run Docker containers,” said Mathew Lodge, COO of Weaveworks. “Weave Net 1.4 embodies Weaveworks’ commitment to making simple, easy to use products that accelerate the deployment of microservices and cloud native applications on containerized infrastructure.”

Videotron to Deploy Ciena's Packet/Optical in Quebec

Videotron is deploying Ciena’s converged packet optical solution to upgrade its regional and backbone network in Quebec.

Ciena said the deployment will allow Videotron to accommodate several terabits of traffic, meeting the surge of bandwidth for Internet and 4K video.

Videotron was the first Canadian telecommunications provider to offer its customers Ultra HD set-top boxes in 2015, and in February 2016, began carrying live sports programs in 4K definition, complementing its library of UHD offerings in movies, television, and more. As of December 31, 2015, Videotron was serving 1,736,900 cable television customers, including 1,570,600 Digital TV subscribers, along with 1,568,200 Interner subscribers over its cable network.

In addition, Videotron recently announced the construction of a new Montreal data center, complementing an existing facility in Quebec City.

Royal Bank of Scotland Picks Red Hat's Mobile, Container and Cloud

Royal Bank of Scotland is powering its new Open Experience center with Red Hat technologies, including the Red Hat Mobile Application Platform and OpenShift Enterprise, Red Hat's web-scale container application platform.

Open Experience is a technology solutions center launched by Royal Bank of Scotland in February 2016 at its headquarters in Edinburgh, U.K., to pursue innovative new technologies for the bank and its customers. Not only a physical space, Open Experience represents a new way of thinking to help Royal Bank of Scotland develop innovative products and services within a framework that promotes closer, more collaborative work between colleagues, businesses, and customers.

IPG Photonics Acquires Menara Networks for Pluggable Optical Modules

IPG Photonics agreed to acquire Menara Networks, a supplier of enhanced optical transmission modules and systems for cable multi-system operators (MSOs), carriers and data centers, for $46.8 million in cash.

The companies recently announced a partnership to provide an integrated solution for simplified repeater-less 100G DWDM transmission for metro and data center interconnection. Menara’s cost and foot-print-saving product suite of 10G and 100G WDM modules eliminate the need for high-priced transponder systems.

IPG said the acquisition provides it with an entry into the growing optical pluggable systems market and leverages IPG’s international market access outside North America.

“The acquisition of Menara Networks is in line with our strategy to make bolt-on acquisitions that provide us with the talent, technology and products to enter large complementary markets,” said Dr. Valentin Gapontsev, IPG Photonics’ Chairman and CEO. “Since IPG was founded in the 1990’s, telecom products have been a staple offering for IPG, part of our DNA. This acquisition broadens and complements our telecommunications offerings and provides significant sales synergies. Together, we can offer our customers an expanded telecom technology platform with more integrated products with superior performance and economics. The acquisition also affords IPG a better position to capitalize on the robust growth of optical networking driven by video and broadband access.”

"The on-going shift to cloud based services and infrastructure has placed unprecedented strain on data centers and telecom/cable operators’ optical networks and presents a significant opportunity for Menara’s differentiated products,” comments Siraj Nour El-Ahmadi, Menara CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder. “We view the combination with IPG as a force multiplier to not only expand our market share vertically and geographically but just as importantly to bring about innovative and differentiated turn-key solutions that will effectively address the large and growing global DWDM market.”

Menara Ships 120 km 10 Gbps Transceivers with OTN & FEC

Menara Networks introduced an optical transceiver based on its OTN “System-in-module” DWDM XFP platform and featuring up to 120 km reach with integrated Forward Error Correction and advanced monitoring capabilities.

Menara said it achieves 120 km reach on standard single mode fiber without the need for optical amplification and/or dispersion compensation. The unamplified 120 km reach is achieved as a result of Menara’s superior performance of its optical transmitter and receiver designs, and the integrated Forward Error Correction coding gain afforded by Menara’s proprietary integrated circuit. Menara 10 Gbps XFP 120 km reach transceivers are MSA compliant and Telcordia qualified, compatible with both 10G Ethernet and 9.96 Gbps SONET/SDH line rates, consume under 3.5 Watts, and are compatible with all major routers and MPLS switches in the industry.

GTT Teans with GBI for Middle East Coverage

GTT Communications and GBI, a global service provider that owns and operates a multilayer, carrier-neutral network connecting the world to the Middle East, announced a strategic relationship to provide enhanced services and connectivity in the Middle East.

As part of the agreement, GTT will be adding new points of presence (PoPs) in the Middle East, starting with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. The agreement will also provide GBI with connectivity to the United States and Europe.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Video: AMS-IX and Megaport - Future InterExchange Fabrics

What does the future of Internet Exchange points look like? Software will bring new capabilities.

Eric Troyer interviews Mark Cooper, COO of AMS-IX, and Denver Maddux, CEO of Megaport, at ITW2016 in Chicago.

See video:

Verizon Digital Media Expands into More AMS-IX Exchanges

Verizon Digital Media Services will expand its presence from the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) platform to all AMS-IX Internet Exchanges in markets where Verizon Digital Media Services already has a presence, beginning with AMS-IX Hong Kong.
"Our partnership with AMS-IX is a demonstration of our commitment to providing a better experience for Internet users around the world,says Rob Peters, Chief Technology Officer at Verizon Digital Media Services.

See also