Monday, May 22, 2017

Hi3G selects Ericsson to upgrade network to prepare for 5G in Scandinavia

Ericsson announced it has been selected by Hi3G Scandinavia, operating as 3 in Denmark and Sweden, for a project to upgrade parts of its radio and transmission network, expand 4G coverage and launch 5G technology.

Under the agreement, Ericsson will replace existing equipment with the advanced Ericsson Radio System solution, which is designed to enable Hi3G to implement higher order MIMO and massive MIMO technology to expand coverage and capacity in its network in Sweden.

Ericsson has also been selected to deploy its MINI-LINK microwave solutions, including the MINI-LINK 6363 and MINI-LINK 6352 for E-band platforms, into HiG3's microwave transmission network.

Ericsson's MINI-LINK 6600 portfolio is designed to deliver high capacity, low latency, support for large numbers of 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports and Layer 3 VPN in a compact platform. The deployment of MINI-LINK outdoor units and indoor units allows any network scenario to be supported, including multiband solutions, with high performance and low cost of ownership.

The combination of Ericsson Radio System and MINI-LINK microwave solutions will enable Hi3G to meet the demands of increasing traffic, as well as reduce latency and prepare its network for the move to 5G which is expected to result a massive increase in connected devices via the Internet of Things (IoT). Ericsson noted that the project marks a significant step towards expanding the capacity of the Hi3G network in Denmark and Sweden and it moves to 5G.

Mitsubishi Electric and Nokia Bell Labs develop GaN amplifier

Mitsubishi Electric, Nokia Bell Labs and the Center for Wireless Communications at UC San Diego have announced the joint development of what is claimed as the first ultra-fast gallium nitride (GaN) envelope-tracking power amplifier, offering support for modulation bandwidth up to 80 MHz and designed to reduce power consumption in next-generation wireless base stations.

To companies explained that to address demand for greater wireless capacity, mobile technologies are adopting systems that use complex modulated signals with high peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR) and extra-wide modulation bandwidth. This requires power amplifiers to often operate at backed-off power levels below their saturation levels, while power amplifiers are typically efficient near to their saturation power level and not at backed off levels, as with 4G LTE signals (>6 dB PAPR).

As a result, envelope-tracking power amplifiers have been evaluated as a means to enhance power-amplifier efficiency, although to date the supply-modulator circuit has proved a bottleneck limiting modulation bandwidth for advanced wireless communications, such as LTE-Advanced.

The newly-developed ultra-fast GaN envelope-tracking power amplifier delivers high performance leveraging Mitsubishi Electric's high-frequency GaN transistor technology and its design for the GaN supply-modulator circuit. Utilising Nokia Bell Labs' real-time digital pre-distortion (DPD) system, the power amplifier has demonstrated efficient operation, including with 80 MHz modulated LTE signals.

The partners claim that this represents the widest modulation bandwidth achieved for this application to date, and is around four times higher than signals used in other envelope-tracking power amplifiers. In addition, the technology delivers a drain efficiency of 41.6% in this wide-bandwidth operation, helping to reduce base-station energy consumption as well as increase wireless communication speed and capacity.

Additionally, the Nokia Bell Labs' real-time DPD system enables pre-distortion for wideband signals to correct the output signal from the power amplifier, resulting in an adjacent channel leakage ratio (ACLR) of -45 dBc for LTE 80 MHz signals, which is compatible with wireless communication standards.

Specifications of the GaN envelope-tracking power amplifier include: support for carrier frequency of 0.9 to 2.15 GHz; output power of 30.0-30.7 dBm; drain efficiency of 36.5-41.6%; ACLR of -45 dBc; and modulation signal of 80 MHz LTE Advanced with 6.5 dB PAPR.

The University of California, San Diego, is a leading university for mixed-signal, microwave and mmWave RFICs, digital communications, applied electromagnetics, RF MEMS and nano-electronics research and hosts the Center for Wireless Communications (CWC), is a university-industry partnership that includes Mitsubishi Electric and Nokia.

NTT Com expands presence in Europe with new Munich 2 data centre

NTT Communications (NTT Com) announced the opening of its Germany Munich 2 data centre (Munich 2) located in Unterschleißheim, a suburb of Munich 16 km from the city centre, with the facility managed by e-shelter, a NTT Com company and data centre services provider in Europe.

The two-story Munich 2 data centre initially offers 2,800 sq metres of server space, equivalent to 1,100 racks, with plans to expand the facility to 5,600 sq metres. The facility is operating under NTT Com's Nexcenter brand, which encompasses more than 140 sites worldwide.

NTT Com noted that Munich 2, the latest facility launched as part of e-shelter's growth strategy, follows the mid-April launch of the e-shelter innovation lab in Frankfurt, Germany. Through this expansion, e-shelter expects to open additional data centres in Europe in 2017.

The Munich 2 facility provides circuits from more than 10 providers utilising diverse paths, while all circuits are duplicated in the meet-me-room for telecom provider interconnection, the server room and the network racks. Customers have access to up to 10 Gbit/s Internet circuits and multiple carrier-neutral networks. Customers can also build ICT environments combining NTT Com data centres and cloud services worldwide.

NTT Com company e-shelter is a major data centre operator in Europe, with a presence in key cities of the DACH-region. e-shelter customers inlcude financial services companies, telecoms operators, IT service and outsourcing providers and cloud service providers. In Germany, Arkadin, Dimension Data, itelligence, NTT DATA and NTT Security are also part of the NTT Group. In the Europe region, NTT Com offers data centre services in Austria, France, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, as well as Germany.

Huawei notes call for industry convergence to support next generation PON

Huawei announced that during the first PON industry development workshop held recently in Beijing, a consensus was reached to propose a PON industry development forum to the Broadband Forum (BBF) to support coordination and collaboration among PON standards development organisations including ITU-T/FSAN, IEEE and BBF and thereby enhance industry convergence.

Huawei noted that due to the cost sensitivity of the PON industry, which primarily addresses home broadband access, it was proposed during the workshop that the deployment of next generation PON systems enabling 10 Gbit/s and higher bandwidth will need to take into consideration the external ecosystem spanning transport, Ethernet and data centre networks, Additionally, next generation PON will need to reuse the cost-effective optical/electrical components and technologies deployed commercially at scale.

In addition, it was proposed that to help expand the PON ecosystem, the community should take measures relating to areas such as PON industry development coordination, standard requirement and roadmap management and standardisation coordination and cooperation. Finally, the workshop participants agreed to host future workshops as necessary to enable discussion regarding key technical issues in PON industry development.

Huawei noted that PON is currently the mainstream access technology used by operators for FTTH ultra-broadband deployments. To date, two competing standards have been adopted, the IEEE's EPON/10 Gbit/s EPON and ITU-T GPON/XG(S)-PON, leading to duplication in types of system and related equipment installed in operators' networks, resulting in higher network construction and maintenance costs.

In order to promote a converged PON ecosystem, a group of standards development organisations (SDO) has jointly issued a statement on PON convergence, To help expand PON market scale, share industry chain resources and reduce deployment costs and time to market (TTM), and thereby create a sustainable PON ecosystem, the operator and vendor representatives at the workshop called for the convergence of standards for next generation PON.

The recent workshop in Beijing was attended by representatives from standard organisations such as the Broadband Forum (BBF) and Institute of Communication Standards Research (ICSR), operators including China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom, and system and optical module vendors including Huawei, Nokia Shanghai Bell, Accelink, FiberHome, Hisense, Source Photonics and ZTE.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Video: Hutchison Global Communications - Big Trends

Andrew Kwok, President of International and Carrier Business, Hutchison Global Communications, talks about the big trends in the market, including software defined networking (SDN), security, and the interconnection regime between carriers.

See video:

Friday, May 19, 2017

Nokia and China Huaxin establish Nokia Shanghai Bell JV

Nokia and China Huaxin Post & Telecommunication Economy Development Center announced the signing of definitive agreements relating to the proposed integration of Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell (ASB) and Nokia's China business, with the new joint venture to be branded as Nokia Shanghai Bell (NSB).

Through the agreement, the joint venture will become Nokia's exclusive platform in China for the development of new technologies in spanning IP routing, optical, fixed and next-generation 5G, while with the support of Nokia, NSB will continue to seek opportunities in select overseas markets. Nokia noted that ASB and its China business have been operating as a single entity since January 2016, when an interim operational agreement was signed.

The closing of the agreement, which is expected to take effect in July 2017, is subject to customary administrative, legal, regulatory and other conditions. On completion of the agreement, Nokia will own 50% plus one share of NSB, with China Huaxin owning the remainder, and the new joint venture having one board of directors and one management team.

The new NSB will represent the major part of Nokia's overall Greater China business and will leverage the strengths of both parties, encompassing innovation, global scale, efficiency and an understanding of the local market, with the goal of expanding Nokia's market presence in China. The operation will also support Nokia's strategic goals of delivering high-performance networks for service providers and expanding into new vertical markets.

NSB R&D will constitute an integral part of Nokia's global R&D community, housing a total of around 16,000 personnel, including 10,000 researchers, distributed across six R&D sites in China.

China Huaxin is an industrial investment company that aims to address long-term commercial growth opportunities in the ICT sector leveraging global operations and international investment experience. China Huaxin is aiming to be a major global industry holding group through supporting and advancing technology development in the information industry.

Aqua Comms and Epsilon join NJFX landing station

NJFX, the first colocation and data centre campus to be situated at a cable landing station, announced the addition of Aqua Comms DAC, operator of Ireland's first dedicated subsea network interconnecting New York, Dublin and London, and Epsilon Telecommunications, a privately owned global communications provider, to its connectivity ecosystem.

With the addition of Aqua Comms, NJFX customers are able to diversify their connectivity options to key European hubs, bypassing legacy bandwidth restrictions within the U.S. Under the agreement, Aqua Comms has deployed a point of presence (PoP) within NJFX's colocation campus, allowing NJFX customers to directly access the carrier's suite of services without incurring cross connect fees.

In addition, Epsilon and Aqua Comms have partnered to deploy Infiny by Epsilon, an on-demand connectivity platform, within the NJFX facility. As part of the partnership Aqua Comms will use the Cloud Link eXchange (CloudLX) module of Infiny to interconnect new services arriving into and leaving the NJFX campus.

NJFX (New Jersey Fiber Exchange), claiming to be the only colocation campus sited at a cable landing station and offering carrier neutral data centre capabilities, provides direct access to multiple subsea cable systems that interconnect North America, Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

Epsilon is a cloud-centric network service provider, extending carrier grade connectivity services to communications and cloud ecosystems. The company offers networking capabilities that combine on-demand infrastructure, automation, web-based portals and APIs designed to enable global connectivity.

Aqua Comms DAC is the owner and operator of the trans-Atlantic cable AEConnect and the Irish Sea cable CeltixConnect-1, and has a strategy of building, acquiring or merging with subsea cable networks to provide networking solutions to the media, content provider and IT company sectors.

cable systems.  Mr. 

ZTE participates in second phase 5G testing led by China's MIIT

ZTE announced its participation in the second phase of 5G testing, carried out under the guidance of the Chinese government via the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), as well as advances through a number of technical verifications.

China's 5G testing is being led by China's MIIT and implemented by its IMT-2020 (5G) promotion group, with R&D activities divided into three phases: technology verification, technical solution verification and system verification. ZTE noted that the project entered the technical solution verification phase in 2017.

ZTE is participating in R&D work relating to a range of 5G new radio (NR) prototype products based on early key technology verification, and is now seeking to verify product functionality and performance in typical 5G scenarios in preparation for 5G commercial network deployments. For the latest phase of testing, ZTE is providing a series of 5G prototype products based on a new unified platform and is working with test equipment suppliers including Keysight and Rohde & Schwarz.

The technical solution verification centred on four key technologies, specifically: 5G NR operating at sub-6 GHz and mmWave bands, massive machine type communication (mMTC) and ultra-reliable low latency communications (uRLLC). The tests also included seven scenarios: continuous wide-coverage scenario; low-delay and high-reliability scenario; low-power and massive-connection scenario; hotspots at sub-6 GHz scenario; hotspots at mmWave scenario; and sub-6 GHz and mmWave hybrid networking scenario.

ZTE stated that as part of the process, in the prototype sub-6 GHz field it provided a new 3.5 GHz NR pre-commercial base station, with all entries passing the RF tests of the MIIT and the RF bandwidth of the base station reaching 200 MHz. In addition, the solution's volume, weight, power and other key features comply with requirements for pre-commercial networks.

Additionally, related field performance tests in Beijing have also commenced. In the mmWave field, ZTE launched a series of prototype products and claims that it has made significant progress in technical solutions, machine integration and other aspects pertaining to performance.

In a recent pre-test at the ZTE Shanghai Institute, ZTE showcased its latest 26 GHz base station at mmWave, where single-user peak rate of nearly 16 Gbit/s was achieved. In addition, ZTE conducted a 60 GHz prototype at mmWave comparison test. As well as developments in the fields of mMTC and uRLLC, ZTE has launched an improved enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) platform based on its previous technology verification platform.

Following the completion of the first phase of China's 5G technology testing, the second phase and testing ongoing 5G tests in Beijing have been implemented, providing 5G NR at sub-6 GHz, mmWave and mMTC and uRLLC test conditions designed to support progress towards the future large-scale commercial use of 5G.

Telia Carrier expands connectivity in EMEA via 2 new PoPs in Milan

Sweden-based wholesale carrier Telia Carrier announced it has expanded its presence in Italy with two new PoPs in Milan, designed to enable improved backbone services for major service, content and cloud providers requiring low latency and high speed connectivity.

As a key termination point for traffic entering Europe from the Middle Eastern and North African countries, together with traffic from Asia landing in nearby Marseille in France, Telia Carrier noted that Italy is becoming a key hub for connectivity in the region. Telia Carrier's expansion to serve this connection point is part of its strategy to meet the local needs of customers in Italy and in adjacent countries.

With the build-out into the Data4 and SuperNAP facilities in Milan, Telia Carrier is able to better support the increasing demands of service providers and their customers in the city and the region. In particular, as over-the-top (OTT) providers, 'mega cloud' providers and carriers expand their service offerings in Italy, Telia Carrier's IP backbone can provide a platform to reliably mission-critical IP services.

Additionally, Telia Carrier's expanded presence in Milan enables it to offer global wholesale customers lower latency, higher capacity routing options to Northern Italy, as well as to Switzerland and Germany in Europe and south to countries in North Africa.

Regarding the latest expansion, Davide Binaghi, MD of Telia Carrier Italy, said, "With subsea cables landing in Sicily and Bari, as well as Marseille, Milan is an ideal location for large content and cloud providers to connect to… as Italian service providers look to expand their services to both residential and business customers, Telia Carrier is… positioned to supply the high capacity backbone services needed to support such expansion".

  • Earlier this week, Telia Carrier announced a new high capacity route between Zurich, Switzerland and Strasbourg in France via Basel, enabling a shorter path and lower latency between Frankfurt in Germany and Zurich.
  • In April, Telia Carrier announced it had added a new PoP that enables connectivity services for a growing economic sector in Berlin, Germany via the Carrier-Colo data centre, owned by I/P/B/, located between Frankfurt and Warsaw in Poland. Telia Carrier previously launched the low latency Frankfurt - Warsaw Express route.
  • Additionally, in January Telia Carrier announced a new route extending 900 km from Stockholm, Sweden to St. Petersburg via Tallinn, Estonia, also noting it had upgraded multiple submarine cables across the Baltic Sea.

Avaya extends hyper-segmentation to OpenStack

Avaya announced that it has extended the hyper-segmentation capabilities of its fabric networking to OpenStack via integration between its Fabric Connect and the OpenStack networking subproject Neutron, providing a simple plugin designed to improve security and facilitate provisioning of virtual networks from the data centre to the desktop.

Avaya noted that OpenStack offers an open industry project for data centres that act as a cloud service for the enterprise. Enterprises are adopting the OpenStack software platform to help simplify orchestration of virtual compute, storage, and networking resources for best-of-breed implementations.

Meanwhile, as increasing demands at the edge of the network drive traditional enterprise data centres to transition into Everywhere Data Centers, the ability to extend virtual networks from the core to the desktop requires extensive configuration and greater complexity.

Avaya Fabric Connect is designed to simplify configuration through enabling automation from the core to the edge, and to provide increased security leveraging hyper-segmentation, which creates isolated, secure lanes for network traffic that mitigate the potential impact of cyberattacks and unauthorised access.

In collaboration with Mirantis, Inc., a company specializing in building and managing private cloud infrastructure using OpenStack, the new plugin -- called ML2 -- replaces complexity with automation available through Avaya Fabric Connect. As a result, the secure, hyper-segmentation capabilities of Fabric Connect can be extended through OpenStack, alleviating typical border issues including onboarding and cyberattacks.

Avaya noted that the new ML2 plugin is due to be released to the open source community in May and will immediately work on standard OpenStack implementations.

Celcom partners with Ericsson to trial 5G technology in Malaysia

Celcom Axiata Berhad, an Axiata Group company with around 12 million customers, and Ericsson announced what they claimed is Malaysia's first 5G trial, and the first 5G trial to be conducted on the 28 GHz band in South East Asia.

The trial in Malaysia featured 5G radio prototypes and achieved a peak throughput of up to 18 Gbit/s with latency as low as 3 ms (milliseconds). The trial also demonstrated advanced 5G use cases such as robotic control, connected environment, virtual reality, Internet of Things (IoT) applications and 4K video streaming.

Ericsson noted that the demonstration follows the signing of a 5G memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Celcom in February 2017, which provided for a joint partnership to evaluate opportunities for 5G and IoT in Malaysia. Through the MoU, Celcom and Ericsson will aim to support technology development in Malaysia and the government Digital Malaysia initiative for the creation of a digital economy by 2020.

Celcom's recently announced 'journey to 5G' strategy will involve the deployment of key technologies such as 4 x 4 MIMO and 256QAM and is intended to provide customers with data speeds up to 400 Mbit/s. Celcom also plans to deploy IoT technology.

Ericsson noted that the 5G lab trial demonstration was attended by Yang Berhormat Dato' Jailani Johari, Deputy Minister of Communications and Multimedia, and Yang Berbahagia Dato' Sri Dr. Halim Shafie, Chairman of Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission at Menara Celcom in Kuala Lumpur.

Celcom is Malaysia's leading data network provider, with nearly 12 million customers, operating national 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks that cover 98% of the population. Celcom is part of the Axiata Group, a major telecommunications group serving around 300 million customers in 10 Asian markets.

Broadband Forum progresses on Cloud Central Office and 5G

The Broadband Forum announced at its second quarter meeting in Taipei significant progress on five projects relating to the realisation and implementation of Cloud Central Office (CloudCO), which is scheduled to be launched later in the year, with preparations to test the implementations under way at the first Open Broadband Lab in Asia, which was announced recently.

The Broadband Forum's CloudCO projects encompass architecture and hardware, as well as software implementation and migration, and represent one of the first use cases for the recently launched Open Broadband initiative designed to provide a new platform for the integration and testing of broadband-related services.

The forum is also focusing on key use cases for 5G networking, including hybrid wireless wireline networking in access and home networking, network slicing and projects for backhaul and fronthaul transport.

Additionally, further aspects of the forum's Broadband 20/20 vision include the evolution of TR-069 into a user services platform for premises' networks and compute resources, for example entertainment and the Internet of Things (IoT), which are scheduled to be released later this year.

During the second quarter meeting a number of specifications were approved, including TR-390, which defines standardised mechanisms for performance measurement and is designed to enable service providers to gain greater insight into how the access network is performing.

Unveiled in August last year, the CloudCO projects aim to enable functionality that can be accessed via a northbound API and cover:

1.         Definition of a reference architectural framework for the CloudCO specifying the behaviour of functional modules.

2.         Definition of interfaces (potentially including APIs, Yang or other schemas and protocols) between the functional modules.

3.         A software reference implementation of the framework to allow code to be upstreamed to open source organisations in the future, plus enable VNF vendors to test functions on the reference implementation.

4.         A project on CloudCO coexistence with, and subscriber migration from, legacy broadband architectures, such as TR-178-style architectures.

5.         A project to deliver a hardware reference implementation of CloudCO based on deployment considerations.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Microsoft Builds Cloud Data Centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town

Microsoft announced plans to open cloud data centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa by next year.  These will be Microsoft's first data centers on the African continent.

The facilities will be used to deliver the Microsoft Cloud — including Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365.

This announcement brings us to 40 cloud regions around the world

Cisco reports Q3 revenue of $11.94bn, up 3.1%

Cisco reported financial results for its third quarter ended April 29, 2017, as follows:

1.         Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2017 of $11.94 billion, up 3.1% compared with $11.58 billion in the second quarter and down 0.5% from $12.00 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

2.         Gross profit for the third quarter of $7.52 billion, up 3.3% compared with $7.28 billion in the second quarter and down 2.6% from $7.72 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

3.         R&D expenditure for the third quarter of $1.51 billion, flat compared with $1.51 billion in the second quarter and down 7.4% versus $1.63 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

4.         SG&A expenditure for the third quarter of $2.71 billion, up 1.1% compared with $2.68 billion in the second quarter and down 10.0% from $3.01 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

5.         Total operating expenditure for the third quarter of $4.35 billion, down 0.7% compared with $4.38 billion in the second quarter and down 8.2% from $4.74 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

6.         On a GAAP basis, net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2017 of $2.51 billion, compared with net income of $2.35 billion in the second quarter and net income of $2.3.5 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the third quarter of $3.03 billion, compared with net income of $2.86 billion in the second quarter and net income of $2.88 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

7.        Cash, cash equivalents and investments as of April 29, 2017 of $67.97 million, compared with $71.84 billion as January 28, 2017 and $65.76 billion as at July 30, 2016.

Additional results and notes

For the third quarter of fiscal 2017, Cisco reported cash flow from operating activities of $3.4 billion, compared with $3.8 billion in the second quarter and $3.1 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2016.

In the third quarter of fiscal 2017, Cisco repurchased approximately 15 million shares of common stock under its stock repurchase program at an average price of $33.71 per share, for an aggregate purchase price of $0.5 billion. As of April 29, 2017, Cisco had repurchased and retired 4.7 billion shares of common stock at an average price of $21.21 per share for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $99.1 billion since the inception of the stock repurchase program.

  • Sales of Cisco's next-generation firewall portfolio grew 49%, with 6,000 new customers in the quarter, bringing the total customer base to over
  • 73,000.
  • Cisco's advanced threat portfolio delivered strong revenue growth of over 30%, as the company added 6,600 new customers, bringing the total number of AMP customers to over 35,000.
  • In its data center switching business, Cisco has a combined install base of over 20,000 customers who are using the portfolio to help them build, run, and manage their private and hybrid cloud environments.
  • Cisco's ACI portfolio grew 42%, as customers move to 100 gig and look to automate the network and increase network performance, visibility, and security. We added almost 1,200 new Nexus 9K customers in the quarter, bringing the total install base to 12,000.
  • APIC adoption continues to increase rapidly with over 380 new ACI customers in Q3, bringing the total to nearly 3,500.
  • Total product revenue was flat year-over-year. 

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, Cisco expects revenue to be in the range of down by between 4% and 6% year on year versus $12.60 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Cisco Extends Layoffs to 1,100 More Positions

Cisco announced plans to increase the number of layoffs in its restructuring program by 1,100 additional postiions.

In August 2016, Cisco initially said it would eliminate 5,500 jobs to improve profitably.

The company issued a weaker than expected outlook for its fourth quarter, saying revenue is likely to fall 4-6% compared to a year earlier.

Comcast Business trials SD-WAN solution for mid-market/enterprise customers

Comcast Business announced that it is beta testing a new software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) solution targeting mid-market and enterprise customers that combines gigabit connectivity with the flexibility of software-defined networks to provide capabilities including centralised network policy management and lower operating costs.

Comcast Business claims to be the first cable company to introduce a carrier-grade, SD-WAN platform designed for enterprises and multi-site businesses. For the new solution it has partnered with Versa Networks, a provider of next-generation, software-based networking and security technology. Leveraging the Versa Cloud IP Platform, Comcast is able to offer a secure turnkey service that improves operational efficiency for customers.

Comcast Business noted that the SD-WAN beta trial will continue during the summer, with a full market launch anticipated for later in the year.

Comcast Business added that it is currently rolling out Business Internet 1000, a DOCSIS 3.1-based gigabit Internet service for business customers, and plans to extend availability throughout its service areas. It also offers a range of multi-gigabit, fibre-based Ethernet services nationwide. The combination of SD-WAN capabilities with high-speed broadband and Ethernet services is designed to offer an advanced solution for mid-market and large enterprises investing in hybrid WAN services.

Versa Networks recently announced a significant expansion of its SDN capabilities to support software-defined branch (SD-Branch) as well as SD-WAN solutions. The Versa Cloud IP Platform has been enhanced to allow large enterprises and service providers to virtualise and software-define the branch and WAN to help reduce complexity and increase flexibility.

The enhanced Versa Cloud IP Platform offering enables customers to software-define IP services across the branch office and WAN and specifically offers features including support for third-party virtual network functions (VNFs), integrated WiFi and Ethernet switching support and embedded LTE.

Commenting on the new SD-WAN offering, Kevin O’Toole, SVP of product management at Comcast Business, said, "The SD-WAN solution pairs a carrier-grade, hosted SDN environment with widely available gigabit service… SD-WAN and gigabit bandwidth solutions herald a new generation of networking that provides the bandwidth, scalability, reliability and flexibility needed for cloud applications that are transforming business operations".

Equinix teams with Eastern Light to build Stockholm-Finland dark fibre route

Equinix, the global interconnection and data centre company, has announced it is working with Sweden-based independent dark fibre infrastructure provider Eastern Light to establish a new international optical cable route in northern Europe.

The new cable system is non-amplified and designed to allow customers to utilise the equipment of their choice over dark fibre. The cable system will connect from Stockholm, Sweden to Hanko, Helsinki and Kotka in Finland, along the route terminating in two Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres: HE6 in Helsinki and SK2 in Stockholm. The Equinix facilities serve as key interconnection points for the Nordics region and support the transmission of global Internet traffic in the region.

By connecting to Equinix data centres, Eastern Light and its dark fibre customers can leverage Equinix's established business ecosystems and interconnection platform, Platform Equinix, which provides access to the markets and ecosystems that support digital business worldwide.

Equinix noted that Stockholm-based Eastern Light is currently building a series of new international optical cable routes in northern Europe, with a focus on selling dark fibre to operators and other customers that require control over their own infrastructure.

Eastern Light's main supplier of submarine sea cable systems is NSW (Norddeutsche Seekabelwerke), and the new cable system has been optimised utilising Ciena's GeoMesh solutions as part of its dark fibre offering. The Sweden-Finland portion of the cable is scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2017.

The new Eastern Light cable integrates the cable landing station and interconnection hub within a single solution at Equinix's Helsinki and Stockholm data centres, eliminating the need for a beach cable landing station. This helps to reduce cost and complexity and enhance reliability, and will enable Eastern Light customers to scale bandwidth using advanced networking technologies such as SDN.

  • In March, Equinix announced the expanded availability of the Equinix Cloud Exchange, bringing the solution to three new markets, including Dublin, Milan and Stockholm. The solution offers direct, private access to multiple cloud providers for European businesses and enables global enterprises to orchestrate hybrid and multi-cloud solutions across multiple locations.

EXFO introduces Universal Virtual Sync software for network latency monitoring

EXFO, the specialist supplier of network test, monitoring and analytics solutions, launched Universal Virtual Sync, a software-based solution designed to enable communications service providers to accurately and cost-effectively measure network latency.

EXFO's new Universal Virtual Sync software tool provides real-time visibility into latency behaviour helps operators improve service quality instantly for applications such as video, VoIP and interactive services, and is also key to assuring the sub-millisecond latency performance necessary for C-RAN, 5G and NFV applications.

The company noted that latency, or delay, can be an issue for subscribers using interactive, real-time applications such as streaming and gaming, and can lead to churn if the quality of experience does not meet expectations. In addition, for service providers latency is difficult to manage and is different for upstream and downstream IP traffic.

These factors means that service providers require a solution that allows them to reliably measure unidirectional latency in order to identify the direction of degradations and the location of excessive or uncontrolled delay. The new EXFO Universal Virtual Sync solution is designed to enable service providers to address this need.

Regarding the new solution, Claudio Mazzuca, EXFO VP of systems and services, commented, "Customers are demanding more bandwidth, better coverage and predictable service performance… so service providers need a strategy for network latency management… EXFO's standards-compliant measurement algorithm is simple to deploy and there is no hardware to install, maintain or upgrade, which delivers capex and opex savings".

TE SubCom provides update on progress with Hawaiki cable system

Hawaiki Submarine Cable and TE SubCom, a TE Connectivity company that delivers undersea communications technology, have provided a further update on the project to deploy the 14,000 km Hawaiki trans-Pacific cable system that will link Australia and New Zealand to the mainland U.S. and Hawaii and American Samoa.

The partners have announced manufacturing progress, as well as ongoing advances with the installation permitting process in New Zealand, Australia and the U.S., stating that the Hawaiki cable system remains on schedule for completion by mid-2018.

Specifically, TE SubCom and Hawaiki Submarine Cable announced that:

1.         At SubCom’s Newington, New Hampshire facility, more than 13,000 km of cable for the Hawaiki system has been manufactured, together with more than 150 completed repeaters.

2.         Installation permits for Australia, New Zealand and Oregon are in process, and are progressing as expected in Hawaii.

3.         Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for the cable landing in Pacific City, Oregon has commenced and is due to be completed over the coming weeks.

4.         In Sydney, the construction of the land duct route is progressing, with more than half of the conduits installed, while HDD operations are scheduled to begin in June.

5.         The first cable load, including 7,000 km of cable, is scheduled to begin in June.

New Zealand's Hawaiki Cable announced in 2013 that it had awarded a turnkey supply and installation contract to TE SubCom to build the 14,000 km trans-Pacific cable linking Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii to the US west coast.

  • The Hawaiki cable system will support capacity of up to 10 Tbit/s per fibre pair on the Australia/New-Zealand to U.S. route, while a number of Pacific Islands along the route will be able to connect to the main trunk.  The wet plant equipment is based on 100 Gbit/s technology and designed to allow for future upgrades. The cable system will also feature SubCom's OADM branching unit technology to allow connection of multiple regional branches to the main cable.

CommScope introduces High Speed Migration platform for data centres

CommScope, a global provider of communications network infrastructure solutions, announced the introduction of a High Speed Migration platform, designed to help data centre managers as they seek to develop faster, more agile, high-density migration plans.

CommScope's High Speed Migration portfolio is designed for duplex and parallel applications and allows customers to adopt the best approach to deliver the data centre architecture to meet their specific requirement. The offering is also designed to support higher speeds and emerging applications without the need to replace existing infrastructure. CommScope also has a team of network architects who are familiar with customer's business needs and can provide insight into future data centre and technology trends.

The following CommScope solutions constitute the foundation for the initial phase of the High Speed Migration platform and are designed to provide support for current and future high speed applications:

1.         MPO connectivity options: 24-fibre connections that enable low initial cost duplex deployments with a single connection; 12-fibre solutions to support the expansion of legacy 12-fibre infrastructures; and 8-fibre to support QSFP technologies and addressing customers utilising the parallel optic configuration.

2.         Fibre optic panels: ultra- and high-density panels designed to simplify management of duplex and parallel ports for dynamic migration and flexibility.

3.         Ultra-low loss (ULL) performance: ULL pre-terminated components that enable longer link spans with increased connectivity options and support for attenuation-sensitive applications.

4.         LazrSPEED WideBand OM5: part of the flagship SYSTIMAX portfolio, recently designated OM5 by the ISO/IEC, the products enhance the ability of short-wavelength division multiplexing to provide a four-fold increase in usable bandwidth while maintaining backward compatibility with legacy multimode fibre.

5.         imVision: the automated infrastructure management system (AIM) that enables oversight and control of the SYSTIMAX physical network connectivity solutions.