Wednesday, March 29, 2017

NFWare Targets Virtualised Networking Software

NFWare, a developer of network software designed to enable processing of traffic at the speeds of dedicated hardware using standard x86 servers,

a.  Founded in 2014 by Alexander Britkin, current CEO, lead developers Igor Ryzhov and Pavel Ivashchenko and Ruslan Smelyanskiy as a spin-off start-up from non-profit organisation Applied Research Center for Computer Networks (ARCCN) based in Moscow, with offices in Russia, Spain and Silicon Valley

b.  Developing virtualised IP routing technology for telco networks and data centres.

c.  Backed by VC investors including Telefonica, Almaz Capital and Maxfield Capital.

Announced that it has raised $2 million in new venture funding in a round led by Sistema Venture Capital fund, a company of Sistema, a main shareholder in mobile operator MTS serving Russia and the CIS, with participation from existing investors including Maxfield Capital and Almaz Capital VC funds, as well as Wayra, the accelerator of Telefonica Open Future_.

The company is developing solutions based on NFV (network functions virtualisation) and SDN (software defined networking) technology that are designed to enable the migration of network infrastructure functions to a software-based virtual environment that does not rely on dedicated hardware platforms.

NFWare's software-based networking technology is intended to significantly increase network speed for high-load traffic processing utilising standard x86 servers. NFWare states that its solutions enable throughput of up to 200 Gbit/s with a single virtual machine for Internet-mix traffic. The company's solutions are designed to work efficiently including in core networks and to help operators significantly reduce network infrastructure costs.

NFWare's key products are as follows:

1.  Virtual ADC, a load balancing solution that improves traffic processing speed for high-load applications via support for up to 40 million connections per second per virtual machine and protects against DDoS attacks.

2.  Virtual CGNAT (carrier grade network access translation) with 200 Gbit/s capacity, designed to extend the life of IPv4 network infrastructure, mitigate IPv4 address exhaustion and enable migration to IPv6.

3.  Packet processing algorithms designed to allow processing of more traffic with less hardware.

NFWare noted that it has deployed its solutions in European operator networks and has been involved in projects for large telecom companies including Telefonica and Rostelecom. In February 2017, NFWare announced a contract with major Internet company Mail.Ru Group.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ericsson Announces Reorganization and New Executive Team

Ericsson announced a corporate reorganization that involves the elimination of its existing two-tiered leadership structure, Executive Leadership Team and Global Leadership Team, and replacement by a single Executive Team. The current structure of ten geographic regions will be simplified into five regions, and the current structure of five market areas will be reduced to three.

Ericsson's President and CEO, Börje Ekholm, said the company has been spreading itself too thin and needs to focus on its core businesses, and that includes Networks, the radio and radio related services, and Digital Services. Ericsson plans to separate out Managed Services and focus on turning its fortunes around by employing more automation. The company will examine low-performing operations and contracts.

Ericsson is also looking for strategic opportunities for its Media business and for its IT cloud infrastructure hardware business

Börje Ekholm, Ericsson President and CEO, says: "For some time Ericsson has been challenged on both technology and market leadership and the group strategy has not yielded expected returns. In our strategy review we have listened carefully to customers around the world and made an in-depth analysis of our portfolio and performance. To enable us to immediately take action and move with speed in execution we are today outlining our path to restoring profitability and to lead with innovation and best in class solutions in areas we have decided to focus on."

The following Business Area and Market Area structure will apply to the Ericsson Group as of April 1, 2017:

Business Area Networks; Business Area Digital Services; Business Area Managed Services

Market Area North America; Market Area Europe & Latin America; Market Area Middle East & Africa; Market Area North East Asia; Market Area South East Asia, Oceania & India

Effective April 1, 2017, Ericsson's Executive Team members will be:

President and CEO - Börje Ekholm
Business Area Networks - Fredrik Jejdling, Senior Vice President, currently head of Business Unit Network Services
Business Area Managed Services - Peter Laurin, Senior Vice President, currently head of Region Northern Europe and Central Asia
Business Area Digital Services - Ulf Ewaldsson, Senior Vice President, currently head of Group Function Strategy & Technology
Market Area North America - Rima Qureshi, Senior Vice President, currently head of Region North America
Market Area Europe & Latin America - Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President, currently head of Business Unit Network Products
Market Area Middle East & Africa - Rafiah Ibrahim, Senior Vice President, currently head of Region Middle East
Market Area North East Asia - Chris Houghton, Senior Vice President, currently head of Region North East Asia
South East Asia, Oceania & India - Nunzio Mirtillo, Senior Vice President, currently head of Region Mediterranean
Technology & Emerging Business - Niklas Heuveldop, Senior Vice President, currently head of Group Function Sales
Finance & Common Functions - Carl Mellander, Senior Vice President, currently acting Head of Group Function Finance & Common Functions
Human Resources - MajBritt Arfert, Senior Vice President, currently acting Head of Group Function Human Resources
Marketing & Communications - Helena Norrman, Senior Vice President, currently in same role
Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility - Elaine Weidman Grunewald, Senior Vice President, currently in same role
Legal Affairs - Nina Macpherson, Senior Vice President, currently in same role
Advisor to the CEO - Jan Frykhammar, Executive Vice President currently in same role
Advisor to the CEO - Magnus Mandersson, Executive Vice President, currently in same role

Rigetti Computing Targets Quantum Computing in the Cloud

Rigetti Computing, a start-up based in Berkeley, California, announced $64 million in Series A and B funding for its efforts in quantum computing.

Rigetti, which was founded by Chad Rigetti in 2013, is building a cloud quantum computing platform for artificial intelligence and computational chemistry. It recently opened up private beta testing of its API for quantum computing in the cloud.

The Series A round of $24 million was led by Andreessen Horowitz. The Series B round of $40 million was led by Vy Capital, followed by Andreessen Horowitz. Major investors in both rounds include Y Combinator's Continuity Fund, Data Collective, FF Science, AME Cloud Ventures, Morado Ventures, and WTI.

"Quantum computing will enable people to tackle a whole new set of problems that were previously unsolvable," said Chad Rigetti, founder and chief executive officer of Rigetti Computing. "This is the next generation of advanced computing technology. The potential to make a positive impact on humanity is enormous."

Samsung and eSilicon tape-out 14 nm network processor

Samsung Electronics announced a successful network processor tape-out based on its 14LPP (low-power plus) process technology that was implemented in collaboration with eSilicon and Rambus.

The network processor tape-out was based on Samsung's advanced foundry process and design infra for network applications, eSilicon's complex ASIC and 2.5D design capability with its IP solutions and a high-speed 28 Gbit/s SerDes solution from Rambus.

Samsung noted that its 14LPP process technology, based on 3D FinFET structure, has been proven for performance and manufacturability through mass production The next generation process for network application is 10LPP process, based on 10LPE (low-power early), for which production commenced last year, with mass production scheduled to begin by the end of 2017.

Samsung has also named its newly developed 2.5D turnkey solution, which serves to connect a logic chip and HBM2 memory via an interposer, as I-Cube (Interposer-Cube). The 14LPP network process chip is the first product to feature its I-Cube solution and HBM2 memory and is designed to support key network applications for high-speed signalling, and potentially further applications such as computing, server and AI in the future.

Commenting on the achievement, Patrick Soheili, VP of product management and corporate development at eSilicon, said, "eSilicon brings its FinFET ASIC and interposer design skills, along with 2.5D integration skills to the project… its HBM Gen2 PHY, custom flip-chip package design and custom memory designs also helped to optimise the power, performance and area for the project".

While Rambus' Luc Seraphin, SVP and GM, memory and interfaces division, noted, "Networking OEMs are looking for quality… IP suppliers that can bring 28 Gbit/s backplane SerDes in advanced FinFET process nodes to market… the success with Samsung and eSilicon is a testament that these leading solutions are attainable…".

Packet Design and NEC/Netcracker Form Alliance

Packet Design, a provider of route analytics designed to enhance network availability and performance, and NEC/Netcracker announced they have partnered to help service providers implement software-defined networking (SDN) applications to improve service quality and reduce costs.

Citing the growing number of SDN use cases, ranging from rapid services activation to automated path restoration, Packet Design stated that its real-time analytics technology, combined with NEC/Netcracker's Transport SDN solution that includes transport SDN controller and service orchestration solutions, can help to enable these processes in operators' commercial networks.

Packet Design's real-time analytics provide a foundation for emerging WAN-SDN (also termed carrier or service provider SDN) applications by correlating control plane, traffic and performance analytics data. This information helps operators to understand how routing events and failures affect the path and performance of services.

The real-time and historical intelligence provided by the company's solution also allows predictive analytics to accurately assess application requests for network resources and the best means of provisioning them.

Combined with NEC/Netcracker's Transport SDN solution, this analytics data can enable intelligent automation and help operators to manage both planned and unexpected changes, as well as ensure network service delivery. Additionally, Packet Design's RESTful APIs support programmatic access to microservices for the creation of custom SDN applications.

Under the new agreement, Packet Design is joining NEC/Netcracker's Ecosystem 2.0 program. Packet Design and NEC/Netcracker are currently certifying the interoperability of their products and preparing joint go-to-market programs and will jointly market and sell the combined SDN solutions.

Previously, in November 2016 Packet Design announced it had joined Ciena's Blue Orbit program, designed to facilitate multi-vendor SDN and NFV deployments, to support the delivery of multi-layer SDN management and orchestration capabilities. Through the partnership the two companies planned to integrate Packet Design's IP/MPLS analytics and WAN-SDN management and orchestration (MANO) platform with the Ciena Blue Planet software for multi-domain orchestration and provisioning.

6WIND Introduces Security Gateway for 4G/5G

6WIND, a high-performance networking software company, announced its next generation security gateway solution based on its Turbo IPsec software and designed for 4G and 5G mobile infrastructure applications.

6WIND's new solution leverages the company's Turbo IPsec software, which is widely deployed in mobile and fixed telecom infrastructure for 4G/LTE to cost-effectively enable IPsec VPNs on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. 6WIND Turbo IPsec can be deployed as a bare metal solution or in a virtual machine, providing the same functionality and performance, and is designed to facilitate the transition to virtualisation and NFV.

6WIND noted that as 4G/5G data and voice converge to common IP-based networks, new security and performance challenges arise and mobile infrastructure, specifically mobile backhaul, must be able to cost-effectively meet both the performance requirements and protect against threats associated with untrusted IP networks. In addition, operators are transitioning to virtualisation to reduce costs and enhance service flexibility.

6WIND's next generation security gateway (SeGW) solution is designed to address these challenges via features including:

1.Enabling linear scalability of performance, regardless of deployment configuration - bare metal or virtualised.

2. Support for 12 Gbit/s of encrypted IPsec traffic per core, or more than 100 Gbit/s on a single Intel processor.

3.Capacity for up to 100,000 IKE tunnels, with the ability to establish up to 1,000 tunnels per second.

4. Provides a virtualised SeGW appliance offering support for Linux KVM, VMware ESXi and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors.

5. High availability via link failure detection and failover mechanisms, combined with IPsec session synchronisation, enabling local and geo-redundancy without service interruption.

6. Allows OSS and management and orchestration (MANO) integration for network management and monitoring.

MaxLinear partners with ZTE on Ethernet over Coax

MaxLinear, a supplier of RF and mixed-signal integrated circuits for the connected home and wired and wireless infrastructure markets, announced it is partnering with ZTE Cable to develop Ethernet-over-Coax (EoC) equipment for Chinese MSOs and that its customer Guangda has been awarded contracts by multiple cable MSOs in China for broadband CPE.

ZTE Cable

MaxLinear noted that China's MSOs are currently transforming from pay TV providers to MSOs offering data and voice services, and that with over 200 million subscribers the Chinese cable TV market is the largest addressable market for c.LINK and MoCA Access equipment. ZTE Cable is now entering the EoC market utilising MaxLinear-based technology and products.

MaxLinear is an established supplier to MSOs offering broadband data services in China and is currently shipping its third generation EoC technology, c.LINK 1.1+, which can deliver up to 800 Mbit/s of usable MAC throughput to up to 128 subscribers.

Based on the EN3681 network coordinator (NC) chip and EN3690 CPE chip, MaxLinear's c.LINK 1.1+ solution is designed to enable MSOs to cost-effectively overlay support for broadband data service without affecting existing TV services or the need to install new cabling.

MoCA Access is a new MoCA initiative designed to extend the performance and reliability of its home networking products to applications targeting FTTB deployments. As with c.LINK, MoCA Access will use an MDU's existing coax cabling to deliver broadband to each residential unit from an optical terminal. MoCA Access is designed to deliver aggregate MAC throughput of up to 2.5 Gbit/s for up to 128 subscribers.

Guangda MSO contracts

MaxLinear also announced that its customer in China Guangda has won contracts with cable MSOs to supply broadband CPE based on its EN3681 and EN3690 c.LINK 1.1+ EoC access technology.

Already supplying MaxLinear's c.LINK 1.0 and 1.1 EoC systems to MSOs in China, Guangda will now begin deploying the third-generation c.LINK 1.1+ EoC system to MSOs serving Chengdu, Ningxia, ZheJiang Rui’An, YueQing and CangNan to meet growing demand for higher broadband speeds.

MaxLinear noted that a c.LINK 1.1+ based network can support 4 x 50 MHz channels, each controlled by its EN3681 network coordinator (NC) SoC, providing up to 800 Mbit/s of usable throughput to 128 CPE modems. The Ethernet modem comprises a single EN3690 CPE SoC plus Ethernet PHY, or the EN3690 can be embedded into a wireless modem to provide in-home WiFi connectivity.

Tektronix enhances DSA8300 oscilloscope

Tektronix, s global provider of measurement solutions, has introduced new optical modules for its DSA8300 sampling oscilloscope that provide high mask test sensitivity and low noise, together with new features designed to increase production capacity and improve yield for current 100 Gbit/s designs that are entering production.

Tektronix also unveiled enhancements for its 400 Gbit/s test solution, including IEEE Ethernet standard-driven Transmitter and Dispersion Eye Closure (TDECQ) PAM4 and related support measurements for optical testing.

The Tektronix DSA8300 sampling oscilloscopes equipped with the new 80C17 and 80C18 optical modules provide mask test sensitivity of -14 dBm, exceeding requirements for the 28 Gbaud PAM4 standards, while also delivering noise performance at 3.9 µW with wide wavelength support. The company noted that the two-channel 80C18 allows optical manufacturing test engineers to double throughput and capacity.

In addition, in the event of device failure, Tektronix offers analysis tools to decompose the signal content for both noise and jitter to help engineers address the issue.

The DSA8300 sampling oscilloscope features an 80 GHz optical sampling module enabling support for IEEE 802.3bs-based 400 Gbit/s optical testing for TDECQ, including high-sensitivity single-mode/multi-mode optical measurements for NRZ and PAM4 up to 28 Gbaud.

The new 80C17 and 80C18 optical modules and 400 Gbit/s test software enhancements are scheduled to be available from late April 2017.

As well as the new solutions and capabilities, Tektronix demonstrated existing products at the OFC including:

1 The DPO70000SX 70 GHz ATI performance oscilloscope, shown analysing single shot PAM4 signals with live triggering and post-equalised error detection for 400 Gbit/s standards.

2. An end-to-end demonstration of optical modulation analysis software supporting multi-OMA systems, featuring the AWG70000 Series arbitrary waveform generator and DPO70000SX oscilloscope for applications such as spatial division multiplexing.

Kaloom Raises $10.7 Million for Data Center Networking

Kaloom, a Montréal, Canada and Silicon Valley based software start up that is developing a next generation networking solution for the data centre, which:

a. Was founded by technology veterans with experience in delivering large scale networking solutions via roles at companies including Ericsson, Redback Networks, 3Com, Nortel and Apple.

b. Is developing a solution designed to address the networking transformation and to enable customers to leverage new opportunities in networking using a high performance, low cost platform.

c. Announced that it has closed a $10.7 million committed Series A equity funding round led by the Quebec-based Fonds de solidarité FTQ, with the participation of Somel Investments, MBUZZ Investments, Griffin Fund II and other current investors and the company's officers. The transaction closed in December, 2016.

Kaloom is developing the Kaloom Flow Fabric, a software networking solution designed to transform the data centre. In particular, the Kaloom Flow Fabric will allow virtual network functions (VNFs) to run at scale utilising commodity hardware, merchant silicon and the existing data centre architecture. The software is intended to deliver benefits including a significant reduction in cost together with increased data centre performance, specifically lower latency and greater scalability.

The Kaloom Flow Fabric is designed to align with technology trends including open networking and the use of container based virtualisation, and is being built with a focus on providing carrier grade performance through enabling a lossless environment able to support reliable connectivity and high availability.

The company noted that the majority of its R&D operations are in Montréal, close to a number of technical universities and providing access to technical expertise and university data centre facilities, labs and other relevant R&D projects. Kaloom stated that it is presently expanding its team in Montréal and Silicon Valley and plans to release further product information and to hold demonstrations during 2017.

Update on the telecommunications market in Poland, the EU's sixth largest economy - Part 1

Preamble – Poland, a major beneficiary of EU membership, is booming

With a nominal GDP of $467.350 billion in 2016 and a population of around 38 million, Poland is the EUs sixth largest and the world's 25th largest economy. According to the latest IMF forecast Poland's GDP, after an increase of 3.1% in 2016, will grow 3.4% in 2017 more than twice the EU's predicated growth of 1.4% and almost exactly the same as the global growth rate for those two years. By comparison with the rest of Europe Poland, whose GDP per capita is only about 70% of the EU average, is booming, assisted both by net transfers from the EU budget of about Euro 12 billion per annum and also by substantial remittances worth, according to the World Bank, $7.2 billion in 2015 from an excess labour force working  in richer European countries, including notably 2 million citizens of Polish descent living in Germany (many historical remnants of boundary shifts) and about 800,000 working in the UK. The country has a liberalised and diversified economy including a strong net-exporting agricultural sector of about two million farms, which also supports a strong food-manufacturing sector. Poland currently has a female Prime Minister, 53 year old Beata Maria Szydło, vice-chairman of Poland's Law and Justice Party, and is the leading member of the Visegrad Group of central European countries, working on common interests and that also includes Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Although Poland joined the EU in 2004 and is nominally committed to joining the Euro currency group, it has not done so yet and has no specific target date for that accession. Of the four Visegrad countries only Slovakia uses the Euro.

Overview of Poland's telecoms market structure

Poland's main regulator of the communications and postal sector is UKE (Urząd Komunikacji Elektronicznej, or Office of Electronic Communications), and this agency publishes an annual review of the industry which is typically available at the end of June the following year, hence the 2016 numbers will not be published until June/July 2017. However, the Polish market is relatively mature and the following data for the year 2015 published June 2016 allow reasonable estimates for 2016 and 2017, providing major regulatory decisions and other important changes in the marketplace are factored in.

Broadbrush overview of size and structure of communications sector in 2015

Total Polish telecoms market value in 2015 of $10.5bn

The total size of the sector was estimated by UKE at PLN 39.5 billion ($10.477 billion) in 2015, or about 2.24% of GDP, which is rather low compared to OND's typical estimated range of 2.5%-3.5% for most countries (many factors can affect this ratio, including the state of the technology cycle in mobile communications and a fast secular decline in costs for equivalent communications services due to technical maturity and strong level of competition compared typically to an increase in costs in the general economy). The UKE report noted that this was the first growth in revenue in the whole sector in the last couple of years. The Polish communications sector can be described as strongly regulated, quite liberalised and competitive, but extremely fragmented compared to most European countries. In part this may be due to the fact that the regulator has often intervened to oppose consolidation.

14 million Internet users in 2015

Internet penetration percentage per person over the last six half years 2013 to 2015 was as follows: 27.3%, 29.4%, 30.2%, 31.6%, 34.4% and 35.7%, with penetration per household of: 77.7%, 83.6%, 86.1%, 90.0%, 98.0% and 101.6%. In 2015, there were in total 14 million Internet users in Poland - 7.1 million fixed-line and 6.67 million mobile. For mobile access significant growth of 0.9 million in the number of users was observed compared to 2014.

The largest market share, amounting to 30% in terms of the number of users in 2015, was reported by Orange. This is due to the fact that the company provides its services both in the fixed-line and mobile networks. Polkomtel was second with a 9.2% share.

Mobile services penetration in terms of subscribers down in 2015

The penetration of mobile services in 2015 shrank by 3 percentage points compared to 2014 and amounted to 147.2%. The operators had 56.6 million active SIM cards in their databases and the decline was caused by adjusting subscriber databases to the reality by the telecommunications undertakings. In 2015, the revenue from mobile telephony accounted for 43.7% of the total market value and totalled approximately PLN 17.2 billion.

Mobile operators in order of importance include: PTK Centertel/Orange, Polkomtel/Plus GSM, T-Mobile Poland, CenterNet, Mobyland, plus a number of MVNOs, including P4/Play and Mobile Vikings.

According to UKE, the market leader in 2015 in the Polish mobile market was Orange Polska with a market share of 27.7%, followed by P4 with 25.8%, then Polkomtel with 22.6% and T-Mobile Polska with 20.8%, leaving about 3.1% for other operators.

Fixed line market value declining for 5 years

The value of fixed line telephony in Poland declined steadily from PLN 5.2 billion in 2011 to PLN 3.3 billion, i.e. down 12.8% in 2012, down 13.5% in 2013, down 4.8% in 2014 and down 12.7% to PLN 3.3 billion in 2015. The 2015 value was just 8.35% of the total telecommunications market value, with 5.7 million fixed line connections, split by type of access as follows: POTS - 57%; ISDN - 13.0%; WLR - 14.0%; CATV - 14.1%; and xDSL - 1.9%.

Fixed operators include Orange Polska, Netia, Telefonia Dialog, Telekomunikacja Kolejowa (TK Telekom), T-Mobile Poland and Exatel.

Other markets

Cable TV operators include, in order of importance, UPC Poland, Vectra, Multimedia Polska, Toya and Inea, which serve around 75% of the country's 4.6 million CATV subscribers, with another 400 operators serving the remaining 20%. According to the Polish Chamber for Electronic Communication (PIKE, or Polska Izba Komunikacji Elektronicznej), a trade association that represents about 110 companies including broadband electronic communications operators and the associated manufacturers and distributors of equipment and services, its members serve about 75% of the Polish cable TV market, which makes up about 37% of a total digital TV market of over 12.145 million.

Poland has one of the lowest levels of FTTH penetrations in Europe, with only 140,000 users in 2014 and 170,000 in 2015. This is also, according to UKE, a very fragmented market with the top three service providers in 2015 - Inea, Telefon Dialog and Orange Polska - collectively serving less than 25% of the user base.

Synopsys Upgrades RSoft Photonic Component Suite

Synopsys, a global developer of software, IP and services for the development of chips and electronic systems, announced the latest release of its RSoft Photonic Component Design Suite software for the design of photonic devices and components used in optical communications, optoelectronics and semiconductor manufacturing.

The latest version 2017.03 of the RSoft design suite is intended to speed optoelectronic device analysis via an updated interface to Synopsys' Sentaurus TCAD products and new general monitor objects within the RSoft BeamPROP tool that help speed simulations of waveguide photodetectors by up to a claimed 100x compared to finite-difference-time-domain (FDTD) methods.

The release also expands the RSoft tools' capabilities for modelling nanoscale optical structures with an improved bi-directional scattering distribution function (BSDF) calculation for mixed-level LED/OLED simulations.

Further enhancement include new discrete multi-tone (DMT) modulation format functions in the OptSim tool for modelling and simulating DMT-based data links, including access networks and 100/400 Gigabit Ethernet-based data centre links, and a ModeSYS tool update for the design and analysis of large-core multimode fibre systems.

The enhanced Sentaurus TCAD interface is designed to enable integration of the RSoft optical tools in Sentaurus Workbench for in-depth, multidisciplinary simulations of optoelectronic devices. Additional improvements include support for systems with dispersive materials and dynamic updates of materials and the common simulation area.

Native bi-directional data interchange between RSoft tools and Sentaurus Workbench has been expanded to include the BeamPROP tool for waveguide detector simulation to speed designs. Specifically, new general monitor objects of BeamPROP perform efficient optical power absorption calculations to speed photodetector simulations by up to 100x versus FDTD-based methods, enabling faster device characterisation and optimisation.

The new release also enhances Synopsys' LightTools and the RSoft mixed-level co-simulation method, which combines ray- and wave-based techniques to enable efficient incorporation of polarised diffraction effects in LightTools' ray-tracing simulator. The co-simulation method employs the RSoft BSDF capability, which now performs improved scattering calculations of polarisation-dependent effects in nanoscale optical structures for the design of LEDs and OLEDs.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Vodafone and Idea to Merge and Create Largest Operator in India

Vodafone India and Idea have agreed to merge to create the largest telecoms operator in India. The transaction is to be implemented as a merger of equals that will result in joint control of the combined company between Vodafone and the Aditya Birla Group.

Under the terms of the agreement, Vodafone will combine its subsidiary Vodafone India (excluding its 42% stake in Indus Towers) with Idea, an Indian stock exchange-listed company. Vodafone stated that the merger ratio is in line with recommendations from independent valuers, with an implied enterprise value of INR828 billion ($12.4 billion) for Vodafone India and INR722 billion ($10.8 billion) for Idea, excluding its stake in Indus Towers.

On completion of the transaction, Vodafone will own 45.1% of the combined company, after transferring a stake of 4.9% to the Aditya Birla Group for approximately INR39 billion ($579 million) in cash, concurrent with completion of the merger. The Aditya Birla Group will own 26.0% of the new company, with the right to acquire additional shares from Vodafone under an agreed mechanism, with a view to eventually equalising the shareholdings over a period of 4 years.

Vodafone stated that the transaction will establish a complementary combination that will be India's largest telecoms operator with the most extensive mobile network and a commitment to support the Indian government's Digital India initiative. The combination will result in an operator serving approximately 400 million customers, with a 35% market share in terms of subscribers and a 41% share in terms of revenue. The combined company will hold 1850 MHz of spectrum, including around 1645 MHz of liberalised spectrum acquired through auctions

The combination is expected to enable significant cost and capex synergies with an estimated net present value of approximately INR670 billion ($10 billion) after integration costs and spectrum liberalisation payments, with estimated run-rate savings of INR140 billion ($2.1 billion) on an annualised basis by the fourth full year after completion of the transaction.

Completion of the transaction, which is subject to approvals from relevant regulatory authorities, other customary closing conditions and approval by Idea shareholders, is expected in the 2018 calendar year. After closing, Vodafone India will be deconsolidated by Vodafone, reducing the group's net debt by approximately $8.2 billion.

ZTE Carries 400G Single Carrier over 2,125km

ZTE claimed a new record for long-haul 400 Gbit/s single-carrier optical transmission utilising patented compensation algorithms that enable transmission of 84 Gbaud WDM for PDM-8QAM signals over a distance of up to 2,125 km on standard single-mode fibre.

The test is designed to demonstrate the capabilities of ZTE's patented 504 Gbit/s PDM-8QAM technology for 400 Gbit/s transport. The test involved 84 GBaud PDM-8QAM signals generated and pre-processed by a 84 GSa/s digital analogue converter with joint pre-equalisation and look-up-table pre-distortion algorithms. Using receiver-side digital-backward propagation (DBP) fibre nonlinearity compensation, ZTE achieved eight-channel WDM transmission with EDFA-only amplification enabled.

ZTE noted that in 2015 it partnered with OFS to deliver transmission of 128.8 Gbaud WDM QPSK signals over 10,130 km and 6,078 km of terrestrial fibre at different spectrum efficiency, while in 2016 it demonstrated single-carrier 800 Gbit/s transmission with 120 Gbaud WDM 16QAM signals over 1,200 km terrestrial fibre links.

Expanding horizons for Google Cloud Platform

The most compelling case for adopting the Google Cloud Platform is that it is the same infrastructure that powers Google's own services, which attract well over a billion users daily. This was the case presented by company executives at last week's Google Next event in San Francisco – "get on the Cloud… now", said Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Google's parent; "Cloud is the most exciting thing happening in IT", said Diane Greene, SVP of Google Cloud.

Direct revenue comparisons between leading companies are a bit tricky, but many analysts place the Google Cloud Platform at No.4 behind Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and IBM in the U.S. market. Over the past three years, Google invested $29.4 billion for its infrastructure, according to Urs Hölzle, SVP, Technical Infrastructure for Google Cloud, on everything from efficient data centres to customised servers, customised networking gear and specialised ASICs for machine learning.

Google operates what it believes to be the largest global network, carrying anywhere from 25% to 40% of all Internet traffic. Google's backbone interconnects directly with nearly every ISP and its private network has a point of presence in 182 countries, while the company is investing heavily in ultra-high-capacity submarine cables.

The argument goes that by moving to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), enterprise customers move directly into the fast lane of the Internet, putting their applications one hop away from any end-user ISP they need to reach with less latency and fewer hand-offs. Two example of satisfied GCP customers that Google likes to cite are Pokemon Go and Snap Chat, both of which took a compelling application and brought it to global scale by riding the Google infrastructure.

One question is, does the Google global network give its Google Cloud Platform a decisive edge over its rivals? Clearly all the big players are racing to scale out their infrastructure as quickly as possible, but Google is striving to take it one step further – to develop core technologies in hardware and software that other companies later follow. Examples include containers, noSQL, serverless, Kubernetes, Map Reduce, TensorFlow, and more recently its horizontally-scalable Cloud Spanner database synchronisation service, which uses atomic-clocks running in every Google data centre.

Highlights of Google's initiatives include:

·         New data centres: three new GCP regions - California, Montreal and the Netherlands - bringing the total number of Google Cloud regions to six, and the company anticipates more than 17 locations in the future. The new regions will feature a minimum of three zones, benefit from Google's global, private fibre network and offer a complement of GCP services.

·         GCP the first public cloud provider to run Intel Skylake, a custom Xeon chip for compute-heavy workloads and a larger range of VM memory and CPU options. GCP is doubling the number of vCPUs that can run in an instance from 32 to 64 and offering up to 416 Gbytes of memory. GCP is also adding GPU instances. Google and Intel are collaborating in other areas as well, including hybrid cloud orchestration, security, machine and deep learning, and IoT edge-to-cloud solutions; Intel is also a backer of Google’s Tensor Flow and Kubernetes open source initiatives.

·         Google Cloud Functions: a completely serverless environment and the smallest unit of compute offered by GCP; it is able to spin up a single function and spin it back down instantly, so billing occurs only while the function is executing, metered to the nearest one hundred milliseconds.

·         Free services: a new free tier to the GCP that provides limited access to Google Compute Engine (1 f1-micro instance per month in U.S. regions and 30 Gbyte-months HDD), Google Cloud Storage (5 Gbytes a month), Google Pub/Sub (10 Gbytes of messages a month), and Google Cloud Functions (two million invocations per month).

·         Lower prices for GCE: 5% price drop in the U.S., 4.9% drop in Europe; 8% drop in Japan.

·         Google BigQuery data analytics service, including automated data movement from select Google applications, such as Adsense, DoubleClick and YouTube, directly into BigQuery.

·         Titan: a custom security chip codenamed Titan that operates at the BIOS level; Intel is also introducing new security tools to keep customer data secure. The chip authenticates the hardware and services running on each server.

·         Project Kubo toolset: a joint effort with Pivotal for packaging and managing software in a Kubernetes environment.

·         Engineering support plans ranging from $100 per user per month to $1,500 per user per month with a 15-minute response time.

·         Data loss prevention API to guard information inside the Google Cloud.

The Google Next event provided a number of sessions for looking over the horizon. In a 'fireside chat', Marc Andreesen and Vint Cerf speculated on the arrival of quantum computing and neural networking/machine learning services on the public clouds. Both possibilities are likely to augment current public cloud computing models rather than replace them. The types of applications could vary. For instance, a cloud-based quantum computing service might be employed to finally secure communications.

Google is also betting big that the cloud is the ideal platform for AI. Fei-fei Li, Chief Scientist for Cloud AI and ML at Google, observed that a few self-driving cars can put considerable data into the cloud. What happens when there are millions of such vehicles? Building on ramps for AI is the next step with API and SDKs that draw new applications onto Google's TensorFlow platform. The company discusses this in terms of 'democratising' AI, which means making sure its algorithms and cloud analytic systems become widely available before others move into this space.

A final differentiator for GCP is that Google is the largest corporate purchaser of renewal energy. In 2017, the company is on track to reach 100% renewal power for its global data centres and offices. One hopes that others will catch up soon.

Red Hat Hits Q4 Revenue of $629 million, up 16%

Red Hat reported Q4 revenue of $629 million, up 16% year-over-year. Subscription revenue for the quarter was $560 million, up 17% year-over-year. GAAP net income for the quarter was $66 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, compared with $53 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.Full fiscal year 2017 total revenue was $2.4 billion, up 18%.

“Our strategic position with customers is evidenced by the continued growth in large commitments to Red Hat. The number of deals greater than $1 million in fiscal 2017 grew by over 30% annually, and we closed a record number of deals over $20 million, including our first-ever deal of approximately $100 million in the fourth quarter,” stated Eric Shander, acting Chief Financial Officer of Red Hat. “This performance also drove a record backlog of $2.7 billion in U.S. dollars, up 28% year-over-year which contributes to our fiscal year 2018 revenue outlook of 13% to 14% growth and should help drive expanded GAAP operating margin of 15.2% and non-GAAP operating margin of 23.6%.”

ADVA Demos PAM4 100G Direct Detect with Corning SMF-28

ADVA Optical Networking and Corning demonstrated a 100 Gbit/s direct detect solution based on PAM4 technology using the newly expanded ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect platform and Corning SMF-28 ULL fibre. The demo showed how direct detect signals can be transported over 100 km while adhering to stringent optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) requirements.

ADVA noted that through extending the reach of direct detect signals, ICPs and CNPs can use the technology to cost-effectively address DCI bottlenecks as well as to enable the relocation data centres to lower cost locations.

The joint demonstration specifically used ADVA's recently announced direct detect optical layer, featuring its new SmartAmp and PAM4 technology, which is designed to provide ICPs and CNPs with an open and cost-effective DCI solution that is lower cost than alternative coherent options.

By combining Corning's ITU-T G.652-compliant SMF-28 ULL fibre with the ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect it is possible to extend the reach of PAM4 direct detect transmission beyond 100 km, leveraging the ultra-low loss performance of the fibre. Corning's SMF-28 ULL fibre, typically delivering performance of ≤0.16 dB/km at 1550 nm, is claimed to offer the lowest attenuation of any terrestrial fibre, which helps enable enhanced OSNR across greater distances than previously attainable.

In addition, ADVA 100 Gbit/s direct detection solution, integrated with the FSP 3000 CloudConnect DCI platform, is designed to provide error-free transmission at a lower cost per bit than coherent solutions.

In a separate demonstration, ADVA partnered with Inphi to show how disaggregated direct detect technology can be used to develop flexible 100 Gbit/s transport systems. The demonstration involved its FSP 3000 CloudConnect equipped with direct detect OLS with SmartAmp technology and Inphi's ColorZ 100 Gbit/s PAM4 solution in a QSFP form factor. The demonstration showed transport 3.6 Tbit/s of bidirectional data across 80 km of fibre.

Regarding the demonstration, Dr. Bernhard Deutsch, VP, PLM, optical fibre and cable at Corning Optical Communications, said, "Corning SMF-28 ULL fibre provides more than a 3 dB improvement in loss budget over 100 km compared to a link constructed with generic single-mode fibre… this enables a practical DCI link with workable margin to be installed over longer distances, interconnecting data centres spread over a larger territory".

Luxtera Begins Volume Shipments of 2 x 100G PSM4

Luxtera, a developer of silicon photonics technology, announced shipping in volume of what it claims it the first 2 x 100 Gbit/s PSM4 (parallel single mode fibre 4-lane) embedded optical transceiver, designed for cloud data centre, enterprise and telecom networking applications.

The company noted that the compact LUX62608 OptoPHY module was developed employing its patented and proven silicon photonics integration platform and is designed to deliver high density with long reach optics at significantly lower cost than using two 100 Gbit/s front panel pluggable QSFP modules.

Luxtera's OptoPHY 2 x 100G-PSM4 solution includes eight independently operating transmitter and receiver channels, integrating high-speed phase modulators, photodetectors, waveguides, grating couplers, high-speed electrical retimers and control circuitry and is powered by a single integrated laser. The components are packaged in a silicon photonics chipset, with no additional external elements required.

Key features of the product include: 200 Gbit/s aggregate bandwidth optical transceiver; compliance with 2 x 100G PSM4; 8 x 26 Gbit/s independently operating channels with full-duplex operation; multi-rate 1-25.78 Gbit/s per channel performance; extended reach of up to 2 km; and typical power consumption of less than 5 W.

Luxtera stated that the OptoPHY 2 x 100G-PSM4 optical transceiver has been selected by Ericsson as the optical interconnect for its Hyperscale Datacenter System, HDS 8000, a cloud computing system with a disaggregated architecture. OptoPHY serves as the optical interconnect for the HDS 8000's compute, networking and storage sleds and helps to eliminate tradeoffs between reach and cost performance.

Inphi unveils 64 Gbaud linear TIA/VGA amplifier

Inphi announced production availability of its IN6450TA 64 Gbaud dual channel linear TIA/VGA amplifier, and that its 32 Gbit/s quad linear TIA with analogue and digital SPI interfaces and second-generation single chip quad channel linear driver in bare die form will be combined as a chipset to address the requirements of 100/200 Gbit/s coherent systems for metro and long haul applications.

64 Gbaud linear TIA/VGA amplifier

Inphi has announced production availability of its IN6450TA device, claimed as the first 64 Gbaud dual channel linear TIA/VGA amplifier, offering support for data rates of 400 to 600 Gbit/s per wavelength and targeting long haul, metro and data centre interconnect (DCI) applications.

The company noted that with growing demand for bandwidth, service providers and data centre operators require more efficient technologies, such as flexible coherent DWDM transmission capable of changing transmission capacity and reach on demand. This capability is enabled through the use of components capable of supporting multiple modulation formats and baud rates; the IN6450TA is designed to work with modulation formats supporting data rates of up to 600 Gbit/s on a single wavelength.

Inphi stated that it worked with NeoPhotonics on the design of the IN6450TA and its incorporation into NeoPhotonics' 64 Gbaud micro-ICR targeting applications in high-density line cards and pluggable transceivers.

Chipset for 100/200 Gbit/s coherent systems

The IN3254TA and IN3226DZ devices are designed to be integrated to enable higher density, lower cost solutions for emerging coherent optical sub-assembly (COSA) components. COSA implementations are designed to enable delivery of the newly proposed CFP2-DCO form factor, as well as provide the more compact, lower cost ACO modules with higher port-count line cards for 100/200 Gbit/s coherent transmission applications.

Inphi noted that for 100 Gbit/s, a major part of the growth is attributed to the CFP2 coherent modules expanding the addressable market for pluggable transceivers. The company's new transceivers are intended to enable the next generation of 100 and 200 Gbit/s networking infrastructure for metro and inter-data centre markets, where smaller size, lower cost and pluggable modules are the key requirements.

Huawei Marine Shows Unrepeatered Ultra Long Haul

Huawei Marine presented a live demonstration of its ultra-long unrepeatered system and ZTE announced what it claims is a new record for long-haul 400 Gbit/s single-carrier optical transmission.

In September 2016, Huawei Marine announced it had achieved transmission of up to 648.9 km using an unrepeatered system. Based on its 100 Gbit/s technology, enhanced Raman amplifier (ERPC) and remote optical pump amplifier (ROPA), Huawei claims that ultra-long unrepeatered system transmission distance can be increased by up to 10%.

For the demonstration at OFC, Huawei Marine recreated its lab environment in Beijing. The company stated that by observing signal spectrum on the receiver side and signal power evolution across the link span, the system can deliver high reliability and transmission capabilities.

ColorChip Demonstrates 200G QSFP56 PAM4

ColorChip, a developer of integrated optical components and sub-systems for high speed networking, announced technology demonstrations at OFC 2017 including uncooled CWDM4 DML devices driving both PAM4 and NRZ modulation and packaged in QSFPx form factors; the company also announced volume production of its 100 Gbit/s CWDM4 QSFP28 product.

200 Gbit/s QSFP56 PAM4 with CWDM4 DML

ColorChip presented several demonstrations utilising uncooled CWDM4 DML technology, including the exhibition of 200 Gbit/s PAM4 featuring TOSA and ROSA based on the company's patented SystemOnGlass platform and leveraging field-proven 40/100 Gbit/s deployments, with extension beyond 400 Gbit/s.

ColorChip noted that the link demonstrates the building blocks that can enable a compact, low power 200 Gbit/s PAM4 transceiver using the CWDM4 grid, packaged in a compact QSFP56 form factor and with a standard duplex LC optical interface.

2 x 100 Gbit/s CWDM4 in QSFP-DD

ColorChip is also showing a 2 x 100 Gbit/s 'two in a box' solution based on its SystemOnGlass technology implementing an 8-channel TOSA and ROSA to create a dual CWDM4 transceiver in QSFP-DD or OSFP form factor. At OFC the 8 channel optical engines, which include dual embedded CWDM4 multiplexers, enable a 2 x 100 Gbit/s CWDM4 QSFP-DD transceiver with 8 x 25 Gbit/s NRZ electrical interface and dual duplex-LC optical connectors.

Mass production of 100 Gbit/s CWDM4 QSFP28

ColorChip also announced volume production of its 100 Gbit/s CWDM4 OCP-accepted transceiver, which offers an optical interconnect with low power consumption of 2.6 W and delivering reach of 500 metres, which can be extended to 10 km. Provided in the 4WDM-10 MSA specification, the transceiver targets inter-data centre and campus connectivity applications.

Manufacturing expansion

In order to meet growing demand for data centre networking, ColorChip stated that it has completed $60 million in funding over the past 18 months to support a significant expansion of its industrialised-optics TOSA/ROSA assembly lines in Israel. The company has also partnered with contract manufacturer Fabrinet for the optical module integration and final testing.

ColorChip stated that over the past 6 months, it has doubled production floor space to 20,000 sq feet and increased head count to more than 300 employees.