Monday, June 12, 2017

Huawei demonstrates 6 Gbit/s downlink in China's 5G R&D testing

Huawei announced that it has completed China's second phase 5G radio technology test in Huairou District, Beijing organised by IMT-2020 (5G) promotion group, during which as part of C-Band testing it employed 5G New Radio, massive MIMO and other technologies utilising the entire 200 MHz bandwidth to enable over 6 Gbit/s of single-user downlink throughput and over 18 Gbit/s peak cell rate.

Huawei noted that its 5G test terminal was utilised for radio technology verification, enabling over 100 channels of on demand 4K UHD video in a single 5G base station. As part of the demonstration, 4K video was reliably delivered for vehicle-mounted mobile scenarios, illustrating the capabilities of 5G C-Band enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB).

Huawei stated that it is the first to complete testing of 5G network slicing technology for diverse service requirements in three typical scenarios. Network slices allow flexible configuration with a high degree of cooperation between the air interface and network to enable a secure user experience. As a result, a range of services are available on a single network with air interface latency of less than 0.5 ms and over 4 million single-cell connections, exceeding ITU 5G requirements.

Huawei has now completed large-scale service verification based on a live network and service environment ahead of schedule, marking a key milestone as part of China's 5G R&D test and representing a further advance for 5G industrialisation.

During the test procedures, Huawei noted that it implemented interoperability tests involving radio frequency and interworking functions working with upstream and downstream vendors. Specifically, Huawei partnered with instrument vendors Rohde & Schwarz, Keysight Technologies and DT Link Tester, chipset vendors Spreadtrum Communications and MediaTek, together with other companies.

MRV introduces 200 Gbit/s optical transport solutions

MRV Communications, a supplier of network solutions for data centre operators, service providers and enterprises, has introduced new 200 Gbit/s coherent digital muxponders for its OptiDriver WDM optical transport portfolio that are designed for data centre interconnect (DCI) and telecom applications.

Equipped with the new muxponders, OptiDriver can be deployed for a range of applications, from smaller access locations to large metro and regional WDM networks based on common modules and chassis. This approach helps to simplify network design, reduce stranded chassis space and sparing requirements and enable interoperability for data centre operators, service providers and enterprises.

The new products are based on digital coherent technology and enables a complete solution, ranging from 100 Gbit/s transponder module to the 200 Gbit/s muxponder modules, offered in a compact form factor. The 200 Gbit/s muxponders provide high-service granularity, thereby a failure of a module affects only the service on one port, while the high port-density 600 Gbit/s triple muxponder integrates three independent 200 Gbit/s muxponders in a 1 RU configuration.

MRV noted that the new solutions provide chassis-based modularity across the product line, together with advanced management options including Ethernet and OTN/FEC PM, OTN OAM&P, as well as remote management capabilities based on GCC-channels for high density optical transport applications.

Based on coherent digital CFP2-DCO optics, MRV's OptiDriver 100 Gbit/s transponder and 200 Gbit/s muxponders are designed to enable a cost-effective pay-as-you-grow strategy.

The new transponder and muxponders offer energy efficiency, delivering between 0.16 and 0.25 watts/Gbit/s, combined with high density when installed in OptiDriver stackable chassis from the OD-1, compact one-slot desktop unit to the OD-4-DCI, 1 RU modular pizza box, to the OD-48-HD 48 slot metro and regional WDM platform. The new modules provide up to 1.2 Tbit/s capacity in the 1 RU OD-4-DCI chassis and up to 18 Tbit/s in the OD-48-HD, 10 RU chassis.

MRV stated that the new modules can be used in combination with other modules in the OptiDriver portfolio including optical add/drop multiplexers (OADM), multi rate and multi-protocol transponders, dispersion compensation, ROADMs, optical multiplexers and amplifiers to address a range of DWDM network requirements.

The new modules, which can be  managed via the Pro-Vision life cycle service orchestration software, also offer support for Layer 1 wire-speed, hardware-ready encryption and open line system (OLS) architectures.

BT launches InfoVista application performance management

UK incumbent telco BT has announced the launch of BT Connect Intelligence InfoVista-as-a-Service, a new application performance management solution delivered from the cloud that offers a scalable as-a-service flexible pricing option to BT's applications performance management portfolio,

The new BT Connect Intelligence.It offering delivers InfoVista's Ipanema technology via the BT cloud infrastructure and is designed to combine the capabilities organisations require to orchestrate the performance of business applications running across the network. The solution provides enterprises with greater flexibility and cost control when managing critical applications across the corporate network, irrespective of the connection type or bandwidth used.

The software underpinning the new solution is delivered from BT's cloud infrastructure and can be managed by users over the Internet. This model helps to speed implementation and allows self-service and availability over any WAN infrastructure. The Ipanema software provides capabilities including application visibility and control, WAN optimisation and dynamic path selection functions.

BT noted that Connect Intelligence InfoVista-as-a-service is designed to support organisations' digital transformation initiatives as they increasingly rely on dynamic network services, and to allow them to gain the flexibility and cost benefits of software-defined networking (SDN) leveraging the existing network infrastructure. The new solution is available worldwide to existing customers and to organisations using other network providers.

The cloud is creating choices that never existed before. Through understanding those choices comes the confidence and the ability to harness change and do things that matter: get to market and innovate faster, keep costs down, and keep customers happy.

The new Connect Intelligence solution comprises part of BT's Cloud of Clouds portfolio strategy, designed to enable customers worldwide to connect securely to the applications and data required, regardless of where they are hosted and where they are based.

Microsemi upgrades TimeProvider 5000 PTP grandmaster clock

Microsemi, a major provider of high performance, low power semiconductor solutions, has updated the hardware on its TimeProvider 5000 IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) grandmaster clock to provide support for IPv6 and multi-Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellation, offering improved reception and higher security for a range of telecom network applications.

The company noted that global operators are increasingly seeking solutions such as its enhanced TimeProvider 5000 product to meet the requirement of directives in certain countries to support multiple constellations to remove the dependency on GPS. In addition, via support for both GLONASS and Galileo constellations systems can be made more robust and secure against certain GNSS vulnerabilities.

Microsemi stated that the TimeProvider product family has been installed in over 350 networks globally to support high performance, reliable network infrastructures. Combined with newly added support for IPv6 and multi-GNSS constellations, the TimeProvider 5000 also provides redundant hardware, user configurable PTP profiles and Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE) support with optical small form-factor pluggable (SFP) modules.
TimeProvider 5000 is a carrier-grade, IEEE1588 PTP grandmaster clock with network time protocol (NTP) server option and expansion shelf capabilities including SyncE and advanced PTP profiles, designed to meet the timing and synchronisation requirements of current and future networks. The device specifically enables circuit-to-packet network migration for advanced data services and wireless backhaul, as well as delivery of 3G, 4G/LTE, LTE-A and 5G wireless services.

Microsemi's enhanced TimeProvider 5000 PTP grandmaster clock with support for IPv6 and multi-GNSS constellation is available immediately.

Microsemi also offers a comprehensive range of IEEE 1588 and SyncE network synchronisation silicon solutions providing time stamping, ultra-low jitter suitable for up to 100 Gbit/s PHYs, IEEE 1588 protocol support (including the ITU-T telecom profile for frequency and phase), designed for wireless and wireline applications.

Huawei and Vodafone Turkey enterMoU for TechCity 2.0 project

Huawei and Vodafone Turkey have announced the launch of the TechCity 2.0 Project in Istanbul, Turkey, designed to expand cooperation between the two companies to deliver a range of new technologies and solutions.

The companies noted that Istanbul was named as one of 14 leading Tech Cities worldwide in May last year, and the new TechCity project is intended to provide solutions that will help address mega-city issues in Istanbul.

Over the past year, the TechCity project has delivered advanced technology in Turkey, including for the 'smart stadium', the Besiktas ground which Vodafone Turkey sponsors, where 4 x 4 MIMO and CRAN technologies have been implemented. The solution provides enhanced capacity and higher data speeds to people in the stadium, enabling speeds of up to 400 Mbit/s utilising commercial licensed and unlicensed bands via LAA 3CC technology on the Huawei Lampsite base station.

In addition, the deployment of Huawei DRAN and Easy Macro solutions is intended to enhance Internet service in high traffic areas such as universities, hotels, concert venues and crowded roads by increasing coverage and capacity.

It was noted that recently, Vodafone Turkey and Huawei completed what is believe to be the first verification of the GL spectrum sharing solution on Vodafone's commercial networks in Istanbul. The solution enables spectrum sharing between GSM and LTE, which increases both LTE data rate and cell capacity. Huawei stated that compared to LTE 5M, the LTE peak data rate can be increased by nearly 80%.

TechCity 2.0 offers a commercial test environment for new technology and services and is designed to help operators verify end-to-end business models. By providing enhanced coverage and connectivity for MBB (mobile broadband) networks and enabling information sharing, it can help to improve the efficiency of connections between people and things.

Dalkom partners with Intelsat to expand broadband in Africa and Middle East

Intelsat, operator of what it describes as the Globalized Network and provider of integrated satellite communications, announced that Dalkom Somalia has signed an agreement covering satellite services that will allow it to expand its broadband enterprise and direct-to-home (DTH) services in East and Central Africa and the Middle East region.

Under the multi-year agreement, Dalkom, a privately-owned operator based in Somalia, will incorporate Ku-band satellite services provided by Intelsat 17 to extend the availability of services currently delivered over its fibre network. This will allow the operator to expand its broadband enterprise networks into countries such as South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as well as to the Middle East. Dalkom will also add DTH services to its service offering in Somalia.

Dalkom Somalia is a major Somalia-based telecom provider established in 2003 that currently offers a range of next-generation solutions for broadband, connectivity, cloud computing, managed services, satellite and Internet services to the business, wholesale and consumer market segments.

Dalkom holdss submarine cable, international gateway, application service provider (ASP) and content service provider (CSP) licenses and independent infrastructure that includes international landing stations in Mogadishu, Somalia connecting to the rest of the world, and gateways that connect to key cities in Somalia via metro and backbone infrastructure. It also serves cities in Kenya and Uganda via EASSy through partnerships and operates data centres in Mogadishu, Nairobi and Mombasa.

Registered in Somalia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dalkom Somalia is privately owned and funded by Somalian individuals and investment companies. The company holds 10% equity in EASSY and 9.13% in WIOCC, through which it holds equity in the EIG and WACs submarine cables.

In April., pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet Global, and Intelsat announced an agreement to introduce Intelsat EpicNG satellite services into the Liquid Telecom network. As part of the multi-year agreement, Liquid Telecom committed to dedicated services on the Intelsat 33e satellite, including ground networking equipment based upon Newtec Dialog VSAT platform with technology developed under the ESA-funded Project Indigo.

The Intelsat EpicNG services expanded Liquid Telecom's coverage and network across the DRC, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe for connectivity to underserved remote or rural areas.

nbn appoints new team to support transition from build to operation

Bill Morrow, chief executive of nbn, the company engaged in deploying a national broadband network across Australia, has announced a number of changes, effective July 1st, to the company's executive committee as it transitions from building to operating its nbn infrastructure.

The company stated that the changes are driven by a number of factors, including the nbn access network approaching halfway completion, with deployment due to be finished by 2020, the growth in active end-users, the potential one billion dollar annual revenue run rate, the increasing rate of network and IT technology convergence, and the need to focus on network operation and optimisation and serving customers, both service providers and subscribers.

The new executive team, effective July 1st, includes:

1.         John Simon as chief customer officer - business, to lead business sales and marketing until his retirement in 2018.

2.         Brad Whitcomb, chief customer officer - residential, to lead the residential sales and marketing after three years leading strategy, transformation, regulatory and technology.

3.         Kathrine Dyer, chief network deployment officer, promoted to the executive committee to lead the construction of the remaining portion of the network with the newly formed Network Deployment and Planning team.
4.         Peter Ryan, chief network engineering officer, to lead the newly formed Network Engineering and Operations team, comprising the Network Service Operations department and Network Performance Engineering team.

5.         John McInerney, chief systems engineering officer, to lead the newly formed Systems Engineering and Operations team, comprising the existing IT team and the network engineering team with a focus on the delivery of new network functionality.

6.         JB Rousselot, chief strategy officer to lead strategy, transformation, regulatory and technology after two years establishing and leading Network Service Operations.

7.         Stephen Rue, chief financial officer, to continue to lead finance, procurement and supply.

The pieces are coming together at Dell Technologies - part 2

The 13,500 people gathered at the Dell EMC World conference in Las Vegas this week came from 122 countries, basically reflecting the global reach of the tech industry. About 50% of Dell Technologies' annual revenue of $62 billion came from outside the U.S. Whereas Hewlett-Packard famously split its PC and printing operations (now HP Inc.) from its enterprise solutions business (now HPE) in November 2015, Dell has kept the family together while massively adding new market segments to its portfolio.

The company has a stated mission of becoming its customers' essential infrastructure provider and insists that the 'death of the PC' has been greatly exaggerated. While consumers now rely mostly on smartphones, tablets and laptops, enterprise customers are still buying PCs in significant numbers because they know that PCs are the primary tool for accomplishing most office tasks. Dell sees the PC as an essential link in its overall value chain. Dell supplies nearly all the Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. to some extent, and its brand is especially strong with retail companies, the hospitality industry, transportation and others. As described in Part 1, Dell Technologies is emerging as an IT superpower. Its nearest competitors are HPE, Huawei, IBM and Lenovo, but the comparisons are rough. Unlike the American rivals, Dell remains in the low margin consumer PC business, and unlike the Chinese vendors it has stayed out of the massive mobile handset business.

The integration of two major corporations - Dell Inc. and EMC - is admittedly an enormous project that will take years to fully accomplish and not everything has found a place under the big umbrella. There have been three divestitures amounting to $7 billion. The most notable of these was the decision in March 2016 to sell Dell IT Services (the old Perot Systems) to Japan's NTT Data for $3.05 billion. In June 2016, Dell agreed to sell its software division to Francisco Partners and Elliott Management for a reported $2 billion. The deal involved Dell’s Quest Software and SonicWALL division. Dell paid $2.4 billion for Quest in 2012. Despite the paper loss, these divestures enabled Dell to pay down its significant debt before completing the acquisition of EMC.

Quick update on Dell’s financial picture

For its most recently completed fiscal 2017, Dell Technologies posted consolidated revenue $61.6 billion and non-GAAP revenue from continuing operations of $62.8 billion. The company generated an operating loss of $3.3 billion, with a non-GAAP operating income of $5.1 billion. The company ended the year with a cash and investments balance of $15.3 billion, an increase of $287 million from the third quarter.

Dell Technologies' overall sales mix is approximately:

•   60% from Dell Client Solutions Group (desktop PCs, virtual desktops, notebooks, tablets, and peripherals, such as monitors, printers, and projectors under the Dell brand name).

•   35% from Dell EMC (storage solutions, servers, converged infrastructure, switching, security, cloud services).

•   5% from VMware.

Highlight from Q4 2017 results:

•   Gross margin for the quarter of 32.0%.

•   Since closing the EMC transaction, Dell Technologies paid down approximately $7 billion in debt and repurchased $824 million of Class V common stock.

•   The Client Solutions Group generated revenue of $9.8 billion, up 11% versus the fourth quarter of last year; revenue for the full year was $36.8 billion, up 2% year over fiscal year 2016.

•   PC shipments reached 11 million, representing the largest volume of products shipped since the fourth quarter of 2011.

•   16 consecutive quarters of gaining yr/yr PC share and grew fastest of the top 5 in yr/yr unit shipment growth in Q4 and for full year.

•   Dell attained the No.1 share position worldwide for displays, gaining unit share yr/yr for the 16th consecutive quarter.

•   The Infrastructure Solutions Group generated $8.4 billion of revenue, including $3.6 billion in servers and networking and $4.8 billion in storage, and an operating income of $1 billion.

•   Dell regained the No.1 worldwide server unit share position driven by strength in the mainstream PowerEdge business.

•   Attained the No.1 market share position in all-flash arrays4, which exited 2016 at a more than $4 billion demand run rate.

•   No.1 in Converged Infrastructure, accelerating in Hyper-converged.

•   No.1 in x86 server unit share.

•   VMware revenue for the quarter of $1.9 billion, with operating income of $565 million, or 29.2% of revenue.

The essential argument

Applications increasingly run on clouds. Private clouds are more secure, have better performance characteristics, and are less expensive that public clouds. Clouds run on data centre infrastructure (servers, storage and switches). Dell is the leading supplier of IT infrastructure, therefore Dell benefits from cloud migration. For the past decade, CIOs have sought to optimise IT for their businesses. With the digital transformation underway, CIOs now know that IT is their business. The corporate vision sees: (1) cloud-native apps driving the public clouds; (2) traditional apps moving to hybrid clouds; and (3) hybrid clouds being built on converged infrastructure. If Dell can capture these app migrations with software frameworks, then sales at the hardware layer could follow.

For mission-critical apps, Dell now has Virtustream, a hot start-up based in Bethesda, Maryland, that EMC acquired in 2015. Virtustream’s cloud management software provides the ability to run SAP, Oracle and other complex enterprise software in a cloud environment using micro VMs. The system measures and allocates the precise amount of compute, networking and storage resources needed for a given task. Virtustream also provides cloud archiving and restoration services.

For traditional apps, VMware is the king of virtualisation. Its vSphere is widely used in enterprise data centres. The NSX software defined networking (SDN) delivers virtualisation and programmability for network resources. The hottest application for NSX to date has been micro-segmentation of the network for security purposes. VMware is run as an independent business unit. While it is early to say if the VMware franchise will provide a long term competitive to Dell EMC over other networking and storage vendors, it is a prized asset that is good to have in house.

For cloud-native applications, Dell Technologies has Pivotal Software, a San Francisco-based cloud foundry company that was formed in 2012 after spinning out of EMC and VMware (investors in Pivotal include Dell EMC, Ford, GE, Microsoft and VMware). The Pivotal framework for software gives developers the ability to build micro-services-based dynamic data pipelines. By deep understanding the app development process, the infrastructure can be optimised and ready to respond to cloud native requirements.

Dell’s strategy acknowledges that we live in multi-cloud world. The company is also a big advocate of open software and disaggregated networking hardware. It further sees software developers building cloud native apps. Yet it knows that its revenues depend heavily on the sale of x86 laptops, desktops, servers and flash storage. It now has a vision as well as business teams in place to differentiate from commodity hardware suppliers. The race is on to see if management can execute on this vision by integrating these component companies.

(Parts 3 and 4 will look at Dell's networking business and Dell Financial Services.)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The pieces are coming together at Dell Technologies - part 1

Dell Technologies is somewhat of a contrarian when it comes to business trends. While other major technology providers have been busy downsizing and pulling their organisation apart, for example Ericsson and HP, Dell Technologies went in the opposite direction, pulling together a mega-merger and bringing together satellite companies in adjoining spaces.

Led by its iconic founder, chairman and CEO Michael Dell, the company has set its sights on becoming the No.1 IT super-power with strengths in computing, storage and networking. It retains its crown as leading supplier of laptops and desktops while pushing ahead in new areas through marquee brands, such as RSA for cybersecurity and VMware for network virtualisation.

Dell’s $67 billion acquisition of EMC, first announced in October 2015 and completed 11 months later, ranks as the largest tech merger of all time. For comparison, HP's acquisition of Compaq was valued at $33 billion, Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn is valued at $26.2 billion, Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp was valued at $19.1 billion, and Google’s acquisition of Motorola at $13.2 billion.

Dell Technologies, is a public company with a class V tracking stock that trades on NYSE under the symbol DVMT. It is the successor to Dell and EMC, which merged in September 2016. Dell Technologies reported 2016 revenue of $61.642 billion with a net loss of $3.737 billion. The company has some 138,000 employees and is based outside of Austin, Texas.

This week, the company attracted an estimated 13,500 of its customers and partners to its first integrated Dell EMC World conference at the Venetian in Las Vegas. The event served as the debutante ball for the newly integrated Dell Technologies empire and the launch pad for several critical products: its 14th generation of Dell PowerEdge servers, due out this summer, new all-Flash storage solutions, more Hyperconverged platforms, its first 25 Gbit/s networking solutions and a new consumption model for its IT products.

The theme at Dell EMC World was transformation, not just for the newly-merged company but for its customers as they become cloud-enabled businesses. The event was the opportunity to showcase how marquee customers such as Boeing, Citibank, Nike and Jaguar Land Rover are not just updating their IT hardware but fully-transforming themselves into 'digital' companies. The goal was to get customers talking about how IT does not just run the business, it is the business. For its own business, the Las Vegas event was the opportunity to show how the pieces of its empire are coming together to ensure bigger sales and better feedback.

David Goulden, president of Dell's Infrastructure Solutions Group, said the private business structure enables the company to make strategic investments and operational changes that would have been difficult as a public entity, where every move is judged by the impact on its quarterly financial statements. Goulden cited two areas: moving the IT industry toward a pay-on-consumption model (more on this below), and longer-term R&D investments that put a strain on current financials but set the stage for future growth.

Dell Technologies is essentially a holding company with seven brands under a single umbrella, as follows:

  • Dell - supplies PCs, laptops, printers and monitors, and currently ranks as the third largest PC company in the world with a market share of about 16%.
  • Dell EMC - IT solutions, including servers, all-flash storage solutions, hyper-converged appliances, cloud and data centre products.
  • Pivotal - the San Francisco-based cloud foundry that helps mission-critical applications run better in the cloud.
  • RSA - the iconic cybersecurity company and operator of the annual RSA Conference on network security.
  • Virtustream - cloud computing management software.
  • VMware - the network virtualisation company based in San Francisco.

Competition in the public cloud

It is well known that in the networking business, the pendulum swings back and forth from public to private. Sometimes it is better to use resources on a shared infrastructure and at other times economics will dictate that it is better to build your own network. In various presentations throughout the week, Dell executives made it clear that the big public cloud companies are not the perfect solution for every app and every customer. Both Michael Dell and Tom Sweet, the company's CFO, said the public cloud can be 2.5 times more expensive for some applications compared to an on-premise hardware solution. This 2.5x cost saving factor could be a huge competitive advantage for Dell EMC, although it appears to be a 'soft' number based on anecdotal evidence rather than a formal study that could be analysed in depth.

Nevertheless, one can see where this discussion is headed. One after another, Fortune 500 companies have been consolidating their data centres and moving many of their most innovative workloads into AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Softlayer or Google Cloud Engine. Some big players, such as Netflix, have even boldly stated that they are all in for public cloud services. The IT budgets that are now paying for cloud services were previously being spent equipment from the likes of Dell or its competitors. But in his keynote address, Michael Dell said that he is not worried, the current public cloud enthusiasm just reflects the exuberance of an early market. The Dell view is that: (1) it will be a multi-cloud world rather than an industry dominated by just one or two players; (2) hybrid clouds are logical outcome; (3) Dell EMC is already the leading supplier of hyperconverged platform and any organisation moving to a hybrid data centre will needs solutions that can tie together the multi-cloud strategy.

(Part 2 will cover the key announcements from Dell EMC World.)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Update on the Irish Telecoms Market - part 3

Profiles of the three key players in the Irish communications market


Despite the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland being totally separate politically it is interesting and even encouraging to note that many services to some extent ignore the distinction. BT for instance operates across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as an all-island operation, headquartered in Belfast and Dublin, employing over 3,000 people. Eir also has operations in Northern Ireland, based in Belfast, which own and operate a fibre network ring around Belfast and Northern Ireland linking into the national Eir Network in the rest of Ireland. Vodafone is a UK-based company and for GBP 5 a month Vodafone customers can avoid roaming charges between the two countries.


This company originated from the state-owned telecommunications monopoly Telecom Eireann which went public in 1999 and continues to dominate the country's fixed sector. In 2013 the descendant of that state-owned monopoly was acquired by a consortium of international telco and infrastructure investors. The consortium consisted of Granahan McCourt Capital, led by David C. McCourt, Oak Hill Advisors, as well as the private family fund of Walter Scott Jr. (who sits on the board of Berkshire Hathaway).

Eir Holdings is now Eire's largest communications operator with a variety of subsidiaries including Open Eir (a wholesale fibre network operator operating as Enet), Meteor (the third largest national mobile operator), Eir Business NI (its Northern Ireland business), Eircom Net (an ISP), Eir Mobile, or e-Mobile (an MVNO), Eir UK, and Eir Vision (video business).

For the 2015/16 year it reported revenue of Euro 1,265 million. In March 2017 the company reported underlying 3 months and 6 months revenue to the end of December 2016 of Euro 336 million and Euro 666 million, respectively, both up about 2% year on year. The report also said that it now had 500,000 optical fibre connections and that take up was 31% compared to 26% in the prior year period. It noted 23% of its customers were now taking a triple-play or quad-play bundle and it had now achieved 95% population coverage with its 4G network, which it claimed was three months ahead of schedule.

In September 2015 the company announced a Euro 16 million re-branding exercise whereby Eircom would become Eir using a roughly scrawled 'eir' as its logo. In the official release Richard Moat, CEO, noted that the change to eir would not impact Meteor, which will remain as a standalone brand within the eir Group, consumer and business divisions would operate under the new eir brand, while the wholesale and network business units would operate separately under Open eir, reflecting its open access network. The e-suite of products, including eMobile, eVision and eFibre were replaced by eir Mobile, eir Vision and eir Fibre.

In March 2013 eir committed to investing Euro 400 million in the roll out of a national fibre network, open to all operators, connecting approximately 1.6 million homes and businesses in 26 counties to high speed fibre broadband by 2016. In June 2015, eir extended the rollout commitment to include an additional 300,000 homes and businesses, which meant that by the end of 2020 1.9 million homes and business across Ireland would have access to a high speed broadband network. The company offers both fibre to the cabinet (FTTC), delivering speeds up to 100 Mbit/s, and FTTH delivering speeds up to 1 Gbit/s.

In November 2016 Enet announced a significant new business initiative, namely the construction on its own account of 100 km of high-capacity fibre networking centred on Dublin's main business district and adjacent areas and linking to at least 11 carrier-neutral data centres, as well as five global operators. The wholly owned network is distinct from the 55 city open national network which it manages on behalf of the Republic.

In mid-January 2017 Enet announced that, following investment of Euro 100 million over three years, it had completed the construction and operational implementation of its more than 3,700 km high-capacity multi-fibre national  backhaul network, designed to connect 55 city networks around the Republic of Ireland.

In early February Enet said that 200 sites in Ireland now had access to gigabit broadband  service provided by its national network, which was now being used by more than 70 operators to deliver services to more than one million people.

On April 4th Enet said it would invest over Euro 5 million to connect a further ten Irish localities to its fibre network, namely Donegal Town, Buncrana, Ballybofey, Stranorlar, Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Cootehill, Castleblayney, Ballinasloe and Manorhamilton.

Also on April 4th, Eir announced it had agreed with the Irish government to invest an additional Euro 200 million to lay poles and cable along 23,000 km of roads to connect 300,000 addresses in 890 rural communities originally part of the objectives of Ireland's National Broadband Plan, and that its fibre upgrade program would be completed by 2018, two years earlier than its original scheduled date of 2020.

Vodafone Ireland 

Vodafone Ireland is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the GBP 41 billion sales-level Vodafone Group, which owns and operates networks in around 26 countries and has partner networks in over 50 additional countries. Vodafone Ireland came into being when in 2001 it acquired the mobile operations that had originally been part of the state-operator Telecom Eireann. As shown in Part 2, the company has around a 15% share of the Irish retail fixed voice market, about 20% of the fixed broadband market and about 40% of the Irish mobile market, which it more or less shares with the Irish subsidiary of Hutchison Telecommunications of Hong Kong, 3 Ireland.

For the year to the end of March 2016 Vodafone Ireland, whose staff grew during the year by about 100 to almost 1,000, reported sales of Euro 985 million, up 4% year on year but with an  after-tax loss of Euro 11.4 million, down from a profit of Euros 47 million in FY 2014/15. It claimed this was due to a combination of substantial network investment of Euro 550 million over three years, together with start-up losses at its fibre joint venture, Siro, with ESB, the Irish electricity utility. Vodafone said that investment had enabled it to raise its 4G population coverage to over 90% in every county of Ireland as well as providing improved voice and data services.

Siro's wholesale FTTB services, which is claimed to offer users download speeds in the range 350 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s, were launched in November 2015 in Carrigaline in County Cork, with a population of around 15,000, described as the first of 51 towns nationwide that Siro planned eventually to cover. In mid-December 2016 at the opening of its new HQ in Dublin it was announced that the company had already connected 40,000 premises in 17 regional towns and expected to reach 55,000 with its FTTB network by the end of the year. Siro said it expected to invest Euro 150 million in 2017 and to have expanded to over 30 towns during the year. In early December 2016 also it was announced that Siro had signed an agreement with BT which enabled BT to offer its corporate and wholesale customers access to Siro's network.

In January 2016 Vodafone announced the launch of a 55 channel IPTV service over its broadband network, and in July reported service revenue up 2.8% year on year to Euro 242 million for its first fiscal quarter to June and noted that its total mobile customer base had dropped by 19,000 to 1.967 million, while its fixed broadband base had grown by 8,000 during the quarter to 247,000. In early October 2016 Vodafone Ireland announced plans to add 60 additional technical staff over the next 12-18 months.

On March 3, 2017 Vodafone Ireland announced that as part of its preparation to upgrade its mobile network to 4G+ it had conducted trials over a live mobile network in Dublin in real life conditions which had reached speeds of 1,000 Mbit/s.

3 Ireland 

This company is a subsidiary of Hutchison Telecommunications, which is part of the Hutchison Whampoa Group of Hong Kong. Prior to July 2014, 3 Ireland was a minor player in the Irish mobile market with only a 9% share, and still profitless despite having spent over Euro 1.1 billion on building up its operations. However, as of that date it completed the purchase from Telefonica of Spain of its much larger local rival O2 Ireland for Euro 780m, following which the merged company served about 37% of the mobile telecoms market bringing it nominally about level with Vodafone's Irish mobile operation.

Approval of the deal by the European Commission required 3 Ireland to help set up two new Irish mobile MVNOs, UPC and Carphone Warehouse, and to grant them unconditional use of 15% each of its new wireless capacity. The merged company also inherited very substantial amounts of 4G spectrum.

On March 22, 2017, 3 Ireland reported financial results for its 2016 calendar year as follows:

• 2016 revenue down 5% year on year to Euro 655  million.

• Net customer service revenue down 8% to Euro 504 million.

• Revenue from handsets up 3% to Euro 81 million.

• EBITDA up 8% to Euro 188 million.

• EBIT up 3% to Euro 112 million.

It also reported it had 2.069 million active subscribers at the end of December, a rise of 2% from the year before. (At the end of June 2016 3 Ireland reported 2.84 million registered customers).

Friday, June 9, 2017

Telia Carrier expands in Pacific NW via 2 new PoPs in Portland

Telia Carrier, the wholesale carrier operation of Sweden-based Telia, announced the launch of two new PoPs in the Portland area of Oregon to help improve network diversity and connectivity for service, content and cloud providers in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Telia's new PoP locations include Hillsboro, a key connection point for subsea cable landings from the west as well for as international traffic deriving from Asia. Telia noted that the expansion into the Portland area is designed to offer OTT providers, hyper-scale cloud networks and carriers the ability to directly connect in-market, rather than having to backhaul traffic to other regions, resulting in increased network latency.

Telia noted that the Portland metropolitan area, referred to as Silicon Forest, has become a hub for carriers and content providers, as well as regional education and city networks, connecting to greater Portland and eastern Oregon, encouraged by factors such as green power sources. As a result, the construction of large-scale data centres in the region is accelerating driven by terabit-level traffic demands.

As a new market entrant, Telia Carrier's two PoPs in the region provide new, diverse network routing. The company stated that the Hillsboro location features long haul routes that offer diversity from downtown Portland, where many legacy carrier facilities are located, while carefully selected routing at river crossings further enhances reliability.

  • Telia Carrier has recently announced a number of new PoPs in Europe, as well as the deployment of new routes and the upgrade of existing systems. In April, it announced that it had extended its backbone in the U.S. via a new 100 Gbit/s-enabled express route between New York City and Chicago. The new route is designed to improve the efficiency of existing routes, including New York to San Francisco and New York to Denver.
  • In October 2016, Telia Carrier established a new network PoP at the OJUS cable landing station in Hollywood Florida, designed to provide resilient network options for customers requiring diverse connectivity to the NAP of the Americas in Miami and Equinix MI3 in Boca Raton, as well as Telia Carrier's global IP backbone, AS1299.
  • Earlier in 2016 Infinera announced it had been selected by Telia Carrier to deploy a second Infinera DTN-X-based low latency Pacific Coast Highway route between the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, and for a project to extend the operator's network to enable 100 Gbit/s services in Bay Area metro markets via the deployment of the TM-Series for metro 100 Gbit/s.
  • Telia Carrier provides global connectivity via more than 220 PoPs across Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East, including 70-plus PoPs in North America.

ZTE completes mMTC verification in phase 2 of China's 5G field test program

ZTE announced that it believes it has become the first vendor to complete the mMTC field test in the second phase of China's 5G technology test, with results showing that the number of connected terminals was increased by nearly 600% to reach an equivalent density of 10 million connections and representing progress towards the Internet of Everything (IoE).

ZTE stated that it applies multi-user shared access (MUSA) technology to effectively increase the number of connections served, and thereby enable support for scenarios involving mass connectivity with low power consumption. By introducing short extended codes, the MUSA technology proposed by ZTE is claimed to be the only multi-access solution to allow high overload and eliminate scheduling operations and help increase the number of connections by between 3- and 6-fold.

The MUSA technology is designed to eliminate resource scheduling, and simplify synchronisation and power control. In addition, the technology uses advanced spread spectrum sequence and SIC technology to simplify terminal implementation and help reduce energy consumption.

ZTE noted that China's large-scale 5G test project entered its second phase, the technical solution verification phase, earlier in 2017. As part of this initiative, the test location in Huairou, Beijing, where 5G NR@Sub-6 GHz, 5G NR@mmWave, massive machine type communication (mMTC) and ultra-reliable low latency communications (uRLLC) test conditions are available, is designed to meet testing and research requirements prior to the large-scale commercial implementation of 5G.

The mMTC test is a key part of the second phase of China's 5G testing, and leveraging its patented frame structure design and MUSA technology ZTE has verified performance and staged a symbolic demonstration to promote 5G technologies for scenarios that require massive connectivity and low power consumption.

ZTE stated that mMTC is one of three application scenarios identified by the ITU-R, with a key performance indicator of 5G networks achieving a density of 1,000,000 connections per square km. The provision of mass connections presents a challenge in 5G networks, as in a traditional mobile network if a large number of terminals initiate service large amounts of scheduling resources and power are consumed. Therefore, addressing these issues is a prerequisite for enabling mass connections.

Following the completion of the tests in the first phase of China's 5G technology R&D test, ZTE is currently engaged in the second-phase. Utilising the latest IT baseband unit (BBU), 5G multi-band active antenna unit (AAU) and new radio (NR) air interface technologies, ZTE has launched field performance testing designed to meet the performance requirements of seven application scenarios, including higher spectral efficiency, greater connection density, higher reliability and lower delay air interfaces.

Internet Exchange Milestones - @DECIX #ITW2017

DE-CIX is celebrating important milestones in 2017, says Ivo Ivanov, Head of Strategic Development, including the 3-year anniversary of DE-CIX New York, the No.1 position of its flagship Internet Exchange in Frankfurt which leads the world in traffic volume, and the newly opened DE-CIX Madrid, which has attracted over 80 networks in its first months of operation.

 See video:

Spain's MasMovil partners with Ericsson for network upgrade

Ericsson announced it has been selected by fourth-largest Spanish operator MÁSMÓVIL to provide an array of solutions and services, including a core network evolution based on network functions virtualisation (NFV), enterprise billing, managed and systems support services, and the deployment, installation and maintenance of FTTH infrastructure.

The agreement is intended to result in MÁSMÓVIL's subscribers gaining access to a consolidated network delivering improved quality and reliability and new services such as Voice over LTE, WiFi calling and fixed VoIP, for residential and enterprise markets.

The solutions to be supplied by Ericsson include, for the core network evolution, subscriber data management (SDM), policy control and charging rules function, a complete virtual IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) to support mobile, fixed and enterprise communication services, WiFi mobility gateway for WiFi calling, and Diameter signalling controller. Additionally, MÁSMÓVIL's enterprise billing will be enhanced via the provision of a new, unified B2B billing system.
For the FTTH network deployment, Ericsson will provide installation and maintenance services, with the enhanced network designed to enable MÁSMÓVIL to expand its offering of convergent fixed-mobile solutions in the Spanish market.

In addition, as part of the agreement MÁSMÓVIL has extended its existing managed and systems support services contracts with Ericsson to the end of 2019, with the option of extending the scope to include its fixed network.

MÁSMÓVIL Group offers fixed and mobile (3G/4G) telephony broadband Internet through brands Yoigo, Pepephone, MÁSMÓVIL and Llamaya. As of the end of 2016 it served approximately 4.4 million customers across Spain. The company's fixed network reaches around 18 million premises via ADSL and 7 million with fibre.

CommScope establishes Multi-Tenant Data Center Alliance

CommScope, a supplier of network infrastructure solutions, announced it has formed the Multi-Tenant Data Center (MTDC) Alliance as part of the PartnerPRO Network ecosystem to help members offer optimal network infrastructure solutions for customers wishing to deploy the technology in multi-tenant environments as they seek to address increasing data consumption and the trend of outsourcing data centre facilities.

CommScope noted that demand will continue to grow for MTDC facilities from hyper-scale data centre operators, service providers, cloud providers and enterprises it has established the MTDC Alliance with the aim of assuring customers that work with its certified partners within the PartnerPRO Network that quality enterprise solutions, such as its SYSTIMAX, NETCONNECT and Uniprise solutions, are deployed in MTDCs.

MTDC infrastructure makes advanced technologies such as cloud computing and virtualised data centres available to companies of all sizes; from small- and mid-sized business to large enterprises, while also enabling flexible expansion as businesses grow. By outsourcing data centre services, rather than building, hosting, maintaining and upgrading them, MTDC tenants can achieve significant opex and capex savings.

CommScope noted that its PartnerPRO Network currently has partners in 88 countries and serves as a resource with thousands of distributors, installers, integrators and consultants worldwide.

Regarding the new initiative, Greg Adgate, VP of global technology partners and alliances at Equinix, commented, "With its global network of 179 data centres in 44 markets, as part of the CommScope MTDC Alliance Equinix can offer enterprise customers the optimal data centre deployments that best fit their needs".

  • Previously, in May CommScope announced the introduction of a High Speed Migration platform, designed to help data centre managers develop faster, more agile, high-density migration plans. The High Speed Migration portfolio is designed for duplex and parallel applications and allows customers to adopt the most effective approach to delivering the data centre architecture that meets their specific requirement.

  • The High Speed Migration platform initially features the following CommScope solutions: MPO connectivity options, fibre optic panels, ultra-low loss (ULL) pre-terminated components, LazrSPEED WideBand OM5 solutions and the imVision automated infrastructure management system (AIM).

HPE selects Mellanox for 25/50/100 GBE fabric switch

Mellanox Technologies, a supplier of high-performance, end-to-end smart interconnect solutions for data centre servers and storage systems, announced that its Spectrum Ethernet switch ASIC has been selected to power the first Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Synergy Switch Module, supporting native 25, 50 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

The Mellanox Spectrum switch module serves to connect the HPE Synergy compute module with an Ethernet switch fabric offering high performance and low latency, as demanded for cloud, financial services, telco and HPC environments.

Mellanox noted that the new switch module is designed to help HPE support the transition to the next generation of Ethernet performance by providing 25 Gbit/s connectivity options for the Synergy platform. The Mellanox SH2200 Synergy switch module enables 25 and 50 Gigabit Ethernet compute and storage connectivity while also enabling 100 Gbit/s uplinks.

The capabilities of the Mellanox switch allows the HPE Synergy fabric portfolio to deliver high performance Ethernet connectivity for and expanded range of applications, for example financial trading and analytics, scientific computing, cloud and NFV (network function virtualisation), where line rate, zero packet loss and 300 ns latency offers advantages.

HPE Synergy offering features compute, storage and built-in management, as well as the new advanced Ethernet fabric option. The SH2200 HPE Synergy Fabric, based on Mellanox's Spectrum Ethernet switch, offers a key building block in helping make enterprise applications more efficient and enabling data centre operators to analyse data in real-time. HPE Synergy compute modules with the Mellanox SH2200 Synergy switch are due to be available in the third quarter of 2017.

Regarding the solution, Paul Miller, vice president of marketing at HPE, said, "HPE Synergy is the first composable infrastructure, a new category of infrastructure designed to accelerate application and services delivery for both traditional and new cloud native and DevOps environments on the same infrastructure… with Mellanox, HPE can offer higher performance networking as an integrated component of the Synergy platform".

Access One launches managed SD-WAN solutions using TELoIP

Chicago-based Access One, a national provider of network communications for small and medium-sized businesses, announced it has partnered with TELoIP, a developer of software defined WAN (SD-WAN) solutions, to offer SD-WAN as a service on a national scale.

Access One is a privately-held business technology and communications services provider that provides high-speed data and Internet to voice and integrated communications, colocation and managed IT support.

TELoIP offers SD-WAN solutions for locations requiring high availability for business-critical applications. TELoIP's cloud-managed networks are used by retailers to build carrier-agnostic networks that can help to reduce costs, by financial organisations for secure communications, by healthcare to remotely connect clinics, and by service providers to deliver SD-WAN services.

In April, TELoIP announced that X10 Networks based in Canada, an advanced network security systems integrator, had selected its solution to offer SDWAN as a managed service. TELoIP's SD-WAN solutions are delivered through a Virtual Intelligent Network Overlay (VINO), offered as-a-service through certified channel partners such as X10 Networks.

As part of the solution, VINO licenses feature access to TELoIP's carrier-class managed cloud infrastructure and centralised orchestration through the VINO Portal. The VINO platform includes patented, per-packet capabilities enabling hitless failover, inbound QoS and diverse carrier aggregation.

Also, earlier in the year, California Telecom, a provider of enterprise-class managed services, partnered with TELoIP to deliver fully-managed SD-WAN solutions for business customers in southern California and beyond. Delivering enterprise-class Internet and MPLS solutions, California Telecom designs and manages voice and data services for multi-site customers.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

ONAP Adds Members and Cites Significant Technical Progress

The Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) Project, which unites two major open networking and orchestration projects, open source ECOMP and the Open Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O), announced its latest members: Accenture, CertusNet, Coriant, Juniper Networks, Mavenir, Mirantis, PCCW Global, Red Hat, VEON and Windstream joined as new members to contribute to the open source framework for network automation.

The group is meeting June 8-9 in Beijing. Later this year, ONAP plans to release an architecture that seamlessly integrates open source ECOMP and the Open Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O) to support the coming wave of 5G, IoT and cloud applications and services.

“I’m incredibly pleased with the technical energy behind ONAP and the progress the community is making,” said Arpit Joshipura, General Manager, Networking at The Linux Foundation. “The turnout at our first face-to-face developer gathering was amazing. With today’s news, the ONAP braintrust continues to expand, representing more than 35 organizations from around the world. ONAP enables a new business model of faster innovation and is now an integral part of all major vendors in Networking Community.”

Current members include: Amdocs, ARM, AT&T, Bell Canada, BOCO Inter-Telecom, Canonical, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Ciena, Cisco, Cloudbase Solutions, Ericsson, GigaSpaces, Huawei, IBM, Intel, Metaswitch, Microsoft, H3C Technologies, Nokia, Open Networking Foundation, Orange, Raisecom, Reliance Jio, Tech Mahindra, VMware, Wind River and ZTE.

Introducing ONAP - the Open Network Automation Platform

What is ONAP?

The Open Network Automation Platform is a project hosted by The Linux Foundation that aims to automate the entire network.

Presenters in this video include: Chris Rice, Senior VP of AT&T Labs;  Arpit Joshipura, General Manager for Network & Orchestration at The Linux Foundation; Madam Yang, Deputy General Manager of China Mobile Research Institute; Alla Goldner, Industry Alliances & Standardization at Amdocs; and Dave Reekie, SVP for Research and New Technology at Metaswitch.

Video sponsored by Metaswitch.