Thursday, June 22, 2017

ZTE launches DCI-oriented 100 GBE + OTN platform

ZTE has announced the launch of its data centre interconnect (DCI)-dedicated stackable 100 Gigabit Ethernet + optical transport network (OTN) product, the ZXONE 7000, designed to support short-distance transmission within metro area networks (MANs) and long-distance transmission within backbone networks.

A single ZXONE 7000 subrack delivers a capacity of 1.6 Tbit/s, and can be upgraded to 4.8 Tbit/s capacity. The compact, low power ZXONE 7000 supports access for 10 Gigabit Ethernet/STM-64 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet/OTU4 services. Offering high levels of integration, a stackable design and flexible deployment options, the solution is designed to make full use of equipment room space and to meet the requirements for power consumption and management in expansion projects.

ZTE noted that the ventilation design of the system includes the air intake at the front and air outlet at the back to make it suitable for data centre (DC) equipment rooms and to improve heat dissipation efficiency.
The solution features a software-defined optical network (SDON) function that allows the construction of an intelligent and open network architecture. Subracks can be managed utilising a range of methods, including ZTE NetNumen U31, Web-LCT and northbound interfaces to simplify operation and maintenance processes.

Separately, ZTE introduced its metro-edge, elastic and enhanced optical transport network (E-OTN) product, the ZXMP M721 CX66A, which features high levels of integration with large capacity, intelligence and energy efficiency. The platform is designed to support service transmission in the convergence and access network layers with the move towards high bandwidth 5G and 'big video' services.

ZTE's ZXMP M721 CX66A platform is a compact E-OTN product that features optical-electrical integration and support for ROADM and centralised electrical cross-connect technologies and implements non-blocking cross-scheduling of optical channel data unit (ODUks), packets (PKTs) and virtual containers (VCs).


The ZXMP M721 CX66A solution is designed to meet the requirements of the 'big bandwidth' era across areas including service access, service transmission, operations and maintenance management and energy efficiency. It also provides software-defined optical networking (SDON) technology.


FirstNet and AT&T detail progress

FirstNet and AT&T, which in April announced a partnership for the deployment of a national high-speed data and voice network for first responders, have detailed State Plans for U.S. states and territories to support the roll-out of the FirstNet network.

The companies noted that the State Plans are being delivered three months ahead of the original schedule and represent a milestone in the deployment of the FirstNet network. The State Plans are being released via an online portal, while states and territories will have up to 45 days to review the plans. States and territories will be able to exchange feedback with FirstNet prior to an official 90-day period for governors to make an 'opt-in/opt-out' decision on their state plans.

A decision by a state/territory to opt-in will allow FirstNet and AT&T to immediately begin delivering services to the state or territory's public safety community, as well as enabling infrastructure investments for the network.

The partners stated that when a governor opts-in, FirstNet and AT&T will launch the network build process, thereby prompting:

1. Transfer of the financial, operational and technical risks of building, maintaining and upgrading the FirstNet network in that state/territory to AT&T for a period of 25 years.

2.         The launch of key network features, including priority access to voice and data across the existing nationwide AT&T LTE network.

3. The provision of pre-emption over the AT&T LTE network, which is due to be enabled by year-end, meaning that fire, police and EMS will have dedicated access to the network when necessary.

4. The delivery of new feature-rich services at competitive rates.


  • AT&T announced in April that it had been selected by the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to build and manage the first broadband network dedicated to U.S. police, firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) across 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

  • Under the terms of the 25-year agreement, FirstNet was to provide 20 MHz of telecoms spectrum and payments of $6.5 billion over the next five years to support the network build-out, while AT&T was to invest approximately $40 billion over the term of the contract to build, deploy, operate and maintain the network.

Sprint and Samsung test massive MIMO on 2.5 GHz

U.S. operator Sprint, a Softbank company, and Samsung Electronics announced that on the streets of the city of Suwon in South Korea they recently tested massive MIMO on 2.5 GHz spectrum in a real-world environment to support Sprint's efforts to increase LTE Plus wireless capacity and coverage and offer gigabit service to its customers.

During the field testing in Suwon, massive MIMO Samsung radios, equipped with vertical and horizontal beamforming technology, achieved peak speeds of 330 Mbit/s per channel using a 20 MHz channel of 2.5 GHz spectrum. The companies stated that capacity per channel increased approximately four-fold, cell edge performance increased three times and the overall coverage area expanded compared with current radios.

Sprint has deployed 8T8R (8 transmit, 8 receive) radios across its U.S. network, and the test with Samsung was designed to compare the performance of massive MIMO radios with 8T8R radios. The test cases and requirements were jointly developed by Sprint and Samsung and included a variety of performance scenarios involving multi-user and non-stationary testing.

For the tests, Samsung provided the massive MIMO network infrastructure as well as test network design, operation, data collection and processing. Both companies plan to use the results of the testing to prepare for the commercial deployment of massive MIMO in the U.S. and in other markets globally.

Samsung noted that massive MIMO radios involve the use of more antenna elements, for example, 64T64R uses 128 antenna elements, whereas 2T2R/4T4R/8T8R configurations are used in a typical 4G LTE network. The massive MIMO antennas also use advanced horizontal and vertical beamforming technology to focus and transmit cellular signals into targeted locations. This enables more efficient use of spectrum to deliver faster speeds and higher data capacity in high-traffic locations.

Sprint plans to deploy massive MIMO radios with 128 antenna elements (64T64R) using its 2.5 GHz spectrum in cities across the U.S. to increase capacity by up to eight-fold. In March, Sprint became the first U.S. carrier to introduce gigabit-class LTE on a live commercial network with a launch in New Orleans.


In New Orleans, Sprint implemented three-channel carrier aggregation and 60 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum, combined with 4 x 4 MIMO and 256QAM higher order modulation to achieve Category 16 LTE download data speeds over a TDD network. With massive MIMO radios using 64T64R, Sprint expects to be able to deliver capacity beyond 1 Gbit/s and reach between 3 and 6 Gbit/s bandwidth per sector.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Switch enters rapid growth phase for its SuperNAP data centres

Switch is the operation behind the massive SuperNAP in Las Vegas, also known by superlatives such as 'world’s densest data centre' or the first 'elite' data centre capable of exceeding Tier IV classification by the Uptime Institute. Switch currently has about 1.8 million sq feet of colocation data centre space powered up in Las Vegas, with plans to add a further 854,000 sq feet of space in this same market. Switch has also kicked off construction of a multi-billion dollar data centre campus in Reno, Nevada, as well as another marquee data centre in Grand Rapids, Michigan. An international expansion is also underway with its first data centre in Europe (Siziano, Italy) and Asia (Chonburi, Thailand). Last week, Switch unveiled its latest ambition - a data centre campus spanning more than one million sq feet in Atlanta.

Switch is privately-held company founded in 2000 by Rob Roy, a young entrepreneur who seized upon the idea that the world's leading corporations and telecom operators would benefit from highly-secure, scalable and energy-efficient colocation space where their systems could be in close physical proximity to many other like-minded carriers and corporations. Many others had this same idea at the turn of the millennium and thus we had the birth of top data centre operators whose names are still recognised today (Equinix CoreSite, Telecity), along with others that have since disappeared.

The company really got started by acquiring an Enron Broadband Services building located on Las Vegas' east Sahara Boulevard that provided access to long-haul fibre routes from the national network operators. This facility was originally intended to be the operational centre of Enron's bandwidth arbitrage business. Following Enron's spectacular collapse, the property was acquired in a bankruptcy auction by Rob Roy, reportedly only for $930,000.

Rob Roy, who remains CEO and chairman of the business, had the counter-intuitive insight to build the world’s largest data centre in the desert city of Las Vegas. There are several reasons why Las Vegas could have been a bad choice. First, the geographic location is far away from the financial centres of North America - there are relatively few Fortune 500 headquarters in Las Vegas. Second, Las Vegas is unmistakably situated in a desert. During July, the average daytime high temperature is 40.1C (104F). It is commonly understood that air conditioning is one of the greatest costs in running a data centre, and for this reason hyperscale data centres have been built near the Arctic Circle. Why build one in the desert? Third, Las Vegas is known for gambling and entertainment, but not particularly for high-tech.  If you are looking for hotspots for tech talent, you might think of Silicon Valley, Seattle, Boston, Austin, Ann Arbor or many other locations before picking Las Vegas.

However, each of these objections turned out to be an advantage for Switch thanks to the persistence or innovation of its founder. Regarding its location, the Nevada desert is geographically isolated from other potential geographic disasters.  It is spared from the earthquakes of California, Oregon or Washington. It is not in tornado alley nor is it in the path of any potential hurricane.  The location has no possibility of suffering through a debilitating blizzard, flood or tsunami. The biggest enterprises with the tightest requirements will want to have at least one major data facility out of any potential danger zone. By scaling its data centre campus to an enormous size, the Switch SuperNAP becomes its own gravity centre for attracting clients to the campus. According to the company's website, there are over 1,000 clients now, including big names such as Boeing, eBay, Dell EMC, Intel, JP Morgan Chase and many others.

As for the desert heat, Switch innovations enabling it to nail the energy efficiency challenge. The company's proprietary Thermal Separate Compartment in Facility (T-SCIF) design, which enables an unusually high-density of power load per rack, does not use water cooling. Nor does it use conventional computer room air conditioning units. Key ingredients include a slab concrete floor, hot air containment chambers, high ceilings and a heat exchange system mounted above. HVAC cooling units are outside the building. The company cites a PUE of 1.18 for its data centres in Las Vegas and an estimated 1.20 for its new facility in Reno, Nevada.

Regarding technology innovation, Rob Roy now has 256 patents and patent-pending claims with many focused on his Wattage Density Modular Design (WDMW) data centre design. Talent attracts talent. Whereas some data centre operators describe themselves primarily as real estate investments trusts, Switch positions itself as a technology leader.  One example is its proprietary building management system, which uses more than 10,000 sensors to gather millions of daily data points for dynamically optimising operations.

The Nevada desert enjoys abundant sunshine and since January 2016 all its data centres have operated on 100% renewal energy thanks to two nearby solar power stations operated by the company. These solar farms use PV panels to generate 180 MW of capacity. The focus on renewable power has earned the company an “A” listing on Greenpeace's Clean Company Scorecard, ahead of Apple, Facebook, Google, Salesforce, Microsoft, Equinix and all the others with large-scale data centre operations.

Below is an overview of major facilities and developments (data from the company website and other public sources):


In March 2017, Switch officially opened the first phase of the 1.8 million-square-foot data centre campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The iconic building, which is an adaptive reuse of the Steelcase Pyramid, is the centre piece of what is intended to become the largest, most advanced data centre campus in the eastern U.S. The entire campus is powered by green energy.

In February 2017, Switch inaugurated its Citadel Campus in Reno, Nevada (near Tesla’s Gigafactory). The Citadel Campus, located on 2,000 acres of land, aims to be the largest colocation facility in the world when it is fully built. The first building has 1.3 million sq feet of space. It is connected to the Switch SUPERLOOP, a 500-mile fibre backbone built by the company to provide low-latency connectivity to its campus in Las Vegas as well as to the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles.

In December 2016, SUPERNAP International officially opened the 'largest, most advanced' data centre in southern Europe. The new facility is built to the specifications of the company's flagship, Tier IV Gold-rated Switch Las Vegas multi-tenant/colocation data centre. The new facility is located near Milan and includes 42,000 sq meters of data centre space with four data halls.

In January 2016, construction began on a new $300 million SUPERNAP data centre in Thailand’s eastern province of Chonburi. The new SUPERNAP Thailand data centre, which is in the Hemmaraj Industrial Estate, will cover an area of nearly 12 hectares and will be strategically built outside the flood zone, 110-metres above sea level and only 27 km away from an international submarine cable landing station.

Australia's nbn selects Coriant CloudWave

nbn, the company building and operating Australia’s national broadband network, has selected the Coriant CloudWave Optics solution for its existing nationwide optical transport backbone network.

The nbn transcontinental optical transport backbone (known as the Transit Network) spans over 60,000 kilometers of fiber and is built upon the Coriant hiT 7300 Packet Optical Transport Platform. The Transit Network allows nbn to connect the different nbn Multi Technology Mix access nodes to points where the traffic is transferred to service providers, known as Point of Interconnect (POI). The access nodes are the modern equivalent of a local telephone exchange and can be located many thousands of kilometers from their corresponding POI, of which there are 121.

Coriant said the introduction of its CloudWave Optics technology within the existing hiT 7300 network will provide nbn the ability to leverage the industry’s latest advances in high-speed, low latency optical networking, including per-wavelength transmission at speeds of 200G and beyond.

“Coriant’s CloudWave solution will help us in scaling the nbn and connecting 8 million happy homes by 2020. Maximizing the performance of our fiber optic infrastructure is critical as we expand the capacity of the nbn network throughout Australia and enable residential and business customers to take full advantage of fast and reliable broadband,” said Peter Ryan, Chief Network Engineering Officer at nbn.
Deployment of the Coriant flexi-rate solution, which is scheduled to begin in 2017, will target high-traffic routes within the nationwide nbn backbone network.

“Keeping pace with end-user traffic demands while lower operating costs is a challenge shared by network operators and cloud providers around the world,” said Petri Markkanen, Managing
Director, Asia Pacific, Coriant. “Our CloudWave Optics solution provides these operators a powerful toolkit to seamlessly scale to higher speeds while delivering proven ROI through lower power, reduced space, and improved reach performance.”

Coriant intros low power 400 Gbit/s muxponder for Groove G30

Coriant announced the introduction of a new 400 Gbit/s muxponder for its Groove G30 Network Disaggregation Platform that delivers benchmark power consumption of 0.20 watts per gigabit of bandwidth, which is claimed to be 50% less than comparable solutions.

The new Coriant solution also delivers features designed to further improve spectral efficiency and data integrity of high-capacity coherent optical networks, as well as to help operators significantly reduce operating expenses.

Based on 16 nm CMOS technology, the Coriant 400 Gbit/s muxponder, equipped with Coriant's silicon photonics CFP2-ACO and client-side transceivers, is claimed to consume 0.20 watts per Gigabit. The new solution is compatible with deployed Coriant Groove G30 systems, so eliminating the need for forklift upgrades and simplifying pay-as-you-grow scalability for customers.

In addition to low power consumption, the new Groove G30 muxponder improves optical reach and spectral efficiency via support for 200 Gbit/s/8QAM programmable modulation. Leveraging the low power and high density of the system, network operators can deploy a full DWDM transport system with muxponding, optical multiplexing and amplification functionality within a single rack unit delivering up to 1.6 Tbit/s of capacity.

Coriant's new 400 Gbit/s muxponder is designed to remove the need for a separate optical line system, thereby reducing space and power requirements, while the compact and flexible 1 RU configuration makes it suitable for deployments at networking sites with space and power constraints.



  • Earlier this year, Coriant introduced a Short Reach CFP2-ACO pluggable unit for the Groove G30 platform, based on silicon photonics technology from Elenion Technologies. The CFP2-ACO solution enables power-efficient 200 Gbit/s connectivity for carrier transport and data centre interconnect applications.
  • Coriant also introduced the 7300 Open Line System (OLS) solution optimised for deployment with open DCI transponder solutions such as the Groove G30 platform for long haul and data centre interconnect (DCI) applications.

ADVA expands FSP 3000 with cross-connect, sync for metro networks

ADVA Optical Networking announced it has expanded its FSP 3000 platform to address the requirements of metro networks via the introduction of three new technologies.

The expanded ADVA FSP 3000 is designed to bring features to metro network environments that were previously uneconomic. The new solution provides a flexible, automated optical layer that does not utilise traditional ROADM technology, features a new cross-connect that allows scaling of optical transport networks (OTNs) without capacity lock-in, and provides precise synchronisation for 5G without the suffering the limitations of current OTN technology.

ADVA's enhanced FSP 3000 platform leverages three key elements, as follows:

1.         FSP 3000 MicroConnect, a ROADM-based photonic layer that has been cost-optimised for metro networks; the solution consolidates key functions and is designed to minimise footprint, configuration and cabling requirements.

2.         FSP 3000 OpenFabric, a new OTN cross-connect designed to eliminate slot capacity assignments and the proprietary fabric adapters of a closed system, and thereby allow network operators to utilise any mix of optical services and scale as and when necessary.

3.         FSP 3000 TrueTime, which offers a new model for synchronising transport over optical networks to meet the synchronisation requirements of 5G services by implementing time-sensitive technologies that enable optimum performance and the ability to automatically compensate for delay asymmetries.



  • Earlier this year, ADVA enhanced its FSP 3000 CloudConnect platform with the TeraFlex terminal solution, supporting transport at 600 Gbit/s rates over a single wavelength for total duplex capacity of 3.6 Tbit/s in a single rack unit. ADVA claims the TeraFlex terminal enables 50% greater density than competing technology to address the demands of Internet content providers (ICPs) and carrier-neutral providers (CNPs) seeking to scale their DCI networks.
  • ADVA also enhanced the FSP 3000 CloudConnect with direct detect open optical layer functionality, offering an alternative to using traditional coherent solutions. The direct detect technology is available either as an open line system (OLS) in a disaggregated form or as a solution incorporating the terminal and line system.

Nokia Bell Labs demos ultra low latency 10G PON for fronthaul

Nokia has announced that as part of its work to better support mobile fronthaul and latency-sensitive services, Nokia Bell Labs has demonstrated a commercial next generation PON (NG-PON) transporting ultra-low latency CPRI streams over a single fibre connecting the baseband unit (BBU) and remote radio head (RRH).

The proof of concept demonstration was conducted in accordance with the latency budget requirements for the fronthaul of commercial radio equipment, showing that existing fibre networks can be used to transport mobile traffic and help accelerate the roll-out 5G.

Nokia noted that fronthaul comprises a key element of the C-RAN (centralised RAN) architecture in mobile networks, where the processing power is centralised away from cell sites. This model helps operators reduce the cost and power consumption of on-site installations, as well as simplifying cell cooperation schemes that help enhance network capacity and coverage.

In a C-RAN architecture, the legacy common public radio interfaces (CPRI) and certain next generation fronthaul interfaces require ultra-low latency transport, often in the sub-millisecond range, to meet the timing and synchronisation requirements of 4G and 5G technologies.

In the latest demonstration, Nokia Bell Labs validated that next generation PON technology, XGS-PON (10 Gbit/s symmetrical PON), can meet the strict timing constraints and deliver the capacity required, while also reducing the cost of mobile cell site transport. XGS-PON runs over existing fibre access networks and allows operators to use GPON platforms and technology to deliver high capacity services.

Nokia stated that this is a key capability for operators as they seek to address the challenge of supporting 'anyhaul' applications. By removing the need for a separate network, operators can use existing PON infrastructure in FTTH/B deployments to cost-effectively achieve the performance and coverage they require to handle the mobile transport demands resulting from densifying cell sites.

Nokia added that in addition to mobile transport applications, PONs are increasingly seen as an attractive option by operators seeking to support latency sensitive services and IoT applications such as manufacturing control and connected vehicles.

Nokia Bell Labs latest technology breakthrough will help mobile service providers as they move towards implementing 5G, and expands Nokia's Anyhaul mobile transport solutions as well as strengthening its portfolio of converged access networks for the delivery of fixed and mobile services. The company claims that to date it is involved in nine trials or commercial deployments of XGS-PON.

Huawei releases TDM PON combo to support transition to 10G PON

Huawei, which introduced a WDM PON combo solution last year, has announced a new TDM PON combo solution for FTTH deployments designed to facilitate the evolution of GPON to 10 Gbit/s GPON.

The new TDM PON combo solution is designed to enable operators to align upgrades of EPON and GPON solutions, as well as reduce power attenuation introduced by combiners. The solution can also simplify network upgrades and enable the evolution of current networks to support gigabit broadband speeds.

Huawei noted that implementing GPON upgrades requires the deployment of WDM1r combiners to combine GPON and 10 Gbit/s GPON ports, which then result in added attenuation of optical signals.

To enable GPON upgrades via the replacement of boards, Huawei released its WDM PON combo solution in 2016. Using this solution, a PON port integrates three components - GPON, 10 Gbit/s GPON and WDM1r - offering the same upgrade process as for 10 Gbit/s EPON in terms of board replacement. The PON solution is designed to be easy to deploy and does not require additional space or WDM1r devices.

Huawei's new TDM PON combo solution, which is based on the WDM PON combo solution, works by changing the upstream receiving mode of the WDM PON combo optical module into TDM receiving, allowing GPON and 10 Gbit/s PON optical signals to be transmitted in turn. This model helps to simplify the combiner design and the implementation process for PON combo optical modules, as well as providing higher power budgets.

Huawei stated that use of the TDM PON solution is designed to enable equipment vendors to achieve mass production, implement small encapsulation and more easily integrate high-density port solutions.

Huawei noted that the new solution forms part of its UBB strategy, which also includes its next-generation distributed smart OLT and 10 Gbit/s PON ONT products that are in large-scale commercial use with 50+ operators. The company also offers the CloudFAN solution, which supports multi-service bearing over a single fibre.


ZTE unveils compact metro-edge E-OTN

ZTE announced the launch of its metro-edge, elastic and enhanced optical transport network (E-OTN) product, the ZXMP M721 CX66A, during the 2017 Next Generation Optical Networking and Optical Data Centre Interconnect (NGON and Optical DCI) Forum.

The new ZXMP M721 CX66A solution combines high levels of integration with large capacity, intelligence and an energy efficient design and is intended to be simple and quick to deploy. The platform is designed to support service transmission in the convergence and access network layers.

ZTE noted that with the move towards 5G and growth of 'big video' services, demand for bandwidth is increasing rapidly, requiring transport networks delivering very high capacity. The ZXMP M721 CX66A solution is designed to meet the requirements of the 'big bandwidth' era across areas including service access, service transmission, operations and maintenance management and energy efficiency.

ZTE's new ZXMP M721 CX66A platform is a compact E-OTN product that features optical-electrical integration and support for ROADM and centralised electrical cross-connect technologies. The solution implements non-blocking cross-scheduling of optical channel data unit (ODUks), packets (PKTs) and virtual containers (VCs).

In addition, a range of high-order modulation methods are supported, and the board speed on the line side supports rates of up to 200 Gbit/s. The solution also incorporates OTN-lite and low delay technologies to provide support for future 5G network deployments demanding very low latency.


The platform additionally features software-defined optical networking (SDON) technology to enable the creation of an intelligent and open network architecture.


GTT acquires Perseus for $37.5m

GTT Communications based in McLean, Virginia, a global cloud networking provider to multinational clients, announced the acquisition of Perseus, a provider of high-speed network connectivity that serves major financial and e-commerce companies worldwide.

GTT stated that the purchase price for Perseus was $37.5 million, plus the assumption of approximately $3 million in capital leases. GTT anticipates that the purchase price will represent a multiple of post-synergy adjusted EBITDA of 5.0x or lower, with integration and cost synergies to be achieved within two quarters.
GTT noted that the strategic combination with Perseus is intended to deliver benefits including:

1.         Extending the reach of its global, Tier 1 IP backbone via new PoPs and routes connecting key markets across Latin America, Asia Pacific, India and South Africa, including Pacific Express, the new low latency route between Chicago and Tokyo.

2.         Increasing its customer base, bringing clients in the financial service and e-commerce segments.

3.         Expanding its position as a provider of ultra-low latency services, as well as augmenting its cloud networking portfolio with financial market data services.

Perseus operates a global multipoint Ethernet network and 75 PoPs sited in 18 countries and provides connectivity to over 200 exchanges. It maintains a network operations centre in Galway, Ireland. Perseus offers solutions including LiquidPath trading services, PrecisionSync timing services, private managed services and wireless, microwave-based connectivity.


  • In January of this year, GTT completed its acquisition of Hibernia Networks, operator of a global network, including extensive subsea cable systems. Under the terms of an agreement announced in November 2016, GTT was to acquire Hibernia for $590 million, including $515 million in cash and approximately 3.3 million shares of GTT common stock valued at around $75 million.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cisco's Intent-based Networking Leverages Machine Learning

Cisco introducted its vision for "Intent-based Networking", a paradigm that it says will form be the foundation for enterprise infrastrcuture for the next 30 years.  Intent-based networking will leverage machine learning in a new generation of ASIC-powered swithches to derive insight from network traffic, even if it is encrypted. These insights would be used to dynamically adjust network policies to simplify management and mitigate cyber threats.

“By building a more intuitive network, we are creating an intelligent platform with unmatched security for today and for the future that propels businesses forward and creates new opportunities for people and organizations everywhere,” said Chuck Robbins, chief executive officer for Cisco.

Intent-based networking includes:


  • DNA Center - a centralized management dashboard with an intent-based approach for full visibility and context across the entire network, DNA Center allows IT to centralize management of all network functions. 
  • Software-Defined Access (SD-Access) - uses automated policy enforcement and network segmentation over a single network fabric. Cisco said that its initial analysis with field trial customers and internal testing have shown a reduction in network provisioning time by 67%, improved issue resolution by 80%, reduced security breach impact by 48%, and opex savings of 61%.
  • Network Data Platform and Assurance - efficiently categorizes and correlates the vast amount of data running on the network and uses machine learning to turn it into predictive analytics, business intelligence and actionable insights delivered through the DNA Center Assurance service.
  • Encrypted Traffic Analytics - uses Cisco’s Talos cyber intelligence and machine learning to analyze metadata traffic patterns. The network can identify the fingerprints of known threats even in encrypted traffic, without decrypting it and impacting data privacy. Cisco claims its can detect threats in encrypted traffic with up to 99% accuracy, with less than 0.01% false positives. 
  • Catalyst 9000 Switching Portfolio - a new family of switches built from the ground up for the new realities of the digital era, centered on the demands of mobility, cloud, IoT and security. The Cisco Catalyst 9000 features innovations at the hardware (ASIC) and software (IOS XE) layers.
  • Software Subscription - DNA software capabilities are now offered by subscription either via pre-bundled Cisco ONE software suites or a-la-carte components. Available across the entire enterprise networking portfolio, Cisco ONE software provides businesses with access to ongoing innovation, budget predictability, and a more agile way to consume the technology.
  • DNA Services - a new portfolio of services, including advisory, implementation, optimization and technical services. Cisco channel partners can also resell these services and build networking practices that incorporate software, security, automation and analytics for their customers.
  • Developer Center - resources to help developers and IT professionals create network-powered applications and integrate them within their IT systems and workflows. This includes new learning tracks, sandboxes, and developer support resources for using APIs and building skills.

Cisco said these technologies are already being tested by 75 global enterprises and organizations, including DB Systel GmbH, Jade University of Applied Sciences, NASA, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Scentsy, UZ Leuven and Wipro.

http://www.cisco.com

The Evolution of VNFs within the SD-WAN Ecosystem

As the WAN quickly solidifies its role as the performance bottleneck for cloud services of all kinds, the SD-WAN market will continue to grow and evolve. This evolution will happen in lock step with the move to software-defined everything in data centers for both the enterprise and the service provider, with a focus on Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) and how they could be used to create specialized services based on custom WANs on demand. Although SD-WANs provide multiple benefits in terms of cost, ease-of-management, improved security, and improved telemetry, application performance and reliability remain paramount as the primary goals for the vast majority of SD-WAN deployments. When this is taken into consideration, the role of VNFs in extending and improving application performance becomes clear. Just as importantly, growing use of VNFs within SD-WANs extends an organization’s software-defined architecture throughout the broader network and sets the stage for the insertion of even more intelligence down the road.

What exactly do we mean by the term VNF? 

Before we get started, let’s define what we mean by VNF, since similar to SD-WAN, this term can be used to describe multiple things. For some VNFs are primarily a means of replicating legacy capabilities on a local appliance (physical or virtual) by means of software defined architectures, such as firewall, DHCP, DNS etc. However, restricting one’s scope to legacy services alone limits the potential high-value benefits that can be realized from a software-defined approach for more advanced features. Our definition of a VNF therefore is a superset of localized VNF and is really about the creation of a software-defined functions of more advanced capabilities, such as application aware VPNs, flow-based load balancing, self-healing overlay tunnels etc. What’s more, many advanced SD-WAN vendors provide their customers with the ability to customize these VNF applications to apply exclusively to their own WAN and/or their specific network requirements to enable unique WAN services.

What do we need VNFs for? 

SD-WAN’s enormous growth this year, as well as its predicted continued growth in the years to come follows the footsteps of the paradigm shift data centers are currently undergoing. That is, from a manually configured set of servers and storage appliances, to a software-defined architecture, where the servers and storage appliances (virtual or physical) can be managed and operated via a software-defined architecture. This means less manual errors, lower cost and more efficient way to operate the data center.

As an industry, as we implement some of the data-center approaches to the WAN (Wide Area Networks), one must note that there is a big difference between datacenter networks and WAN networks. Namely, datacenter LANs (Local Area Networks) have ample capacity and bandwidth and unless they are misconfigured, are never the bottleneck for performance. However, with WANs, whether done in-house by the enterprise or delivered as a service by a telecom or other MSP, the branch offices are connected to the Internet through WAN connections (MPLS, DSL, Cable, Fiber, T1, 3G/4G/LTE, etc.). As a result, the choking point of the performance is almost always the WAN. This is why SD-WANs became so popular so quickly, in that this provides immediate relief for this issue.

However, as WANs continue to grow in complexity, with enterprises operating multiple clouds and/or cloud models simultaneously, there is a growing need to add automation and programmability into the software-defined WAN in order to ensure performance and reliability. Therefore VNFs that can address this WAN performance bottleneck have the opportunity to transform how enterprises connect to their private, public and hybrid clouds. VNFs that extend beyond a single location, but can cover WAN networks, will have the ability to add programmability to the WAN. In a way, the “software defined” nature of the data center will be stretched out all the way to the branch office, including the WAN connectivity between them.

Defining SD-WAN VNFs

So what does a VNF that is programmable and addresses the WAN bottlenecks look like? These VNFs are overlay tunnels that can perform certain flow logic and therefore can work around network problems on a packet-by-packet basis per flow. These VNFs are so smart, they have the problem diagnosis, problem alerting and most importantly, resolution of the problem all baked into the VNF. In other words, unlike the days without SD-WAN where an IT manager would have an urgent support ticket whenever a network problem occurs. With VNF-based SD-WANs, the networks are becoming smart enough to solve the problem proactively, in most cases, before even it effects the applications, services and the user experience.

This increase in specific VNFs for the SD-WAN will start with the most immediate need, which is often latency and jitter sensitive applications such as voice, video, UC and other chatty applications. Even now, VNFs are being used to solve these issues. For example, a CIO can have a VNF that dynamically and automatically steers VOIP/SIP traffic around network problems caused by high latency, jitter and packet loss, and in parallel have another VNF to support cross-traffic and latency optimization for “chatty” applications.

In another example, a VNF can be built in minutes designed to steer non-real-time traffic away from a costly WAN link and apply header compression for real-time traffic only in situations where packet loss or latency crosses a specific threshold during certain times of the day, all the while updating syslog with telemetry data. With this level of flexibility and advanced capabilities, VNFs are poised to become the go-to solutions for issues related to the WAN.

A VNF load balancer is another such overlay that has the ability to load balance the traffic over the WAN links. Since the VNF load balancer is in essence a software code that can be deployed onto an SD-WAN appliance, it has the power of taking advantage of various types of intelligence and adaptability to optimize the WAN performance. VNF load balancers should also work with standard routing so that you can inject it in your network, say between the WAN modems and your firewall/router seamlessly.

Clearly, VNFs are part and parcel of SD-WAN next wave of evolution, bringing intelligence and agility to the enterprise WAN. As 2017 ramps up, we’ll see more and more innovation on this front, fully extending software-defined architecture from the data center throughout the network.

About the author

Dr. Cahit Jay Akin is the CEO and co-founder of Mushroom Networks, a long-time supplier of SD-WAN infrastructure for enterprises and service providers. Prior to Mushroom Networks, Dr. Akin spent many years as a successful venture capitalist. Dr. Akin received his Ph.D. and M.S.E. degree in Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Mathematics from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Bilkent University, Turkey. Dr. Akin has worked on technical and research aspects of communications for over 15 years including authoring several patents and many publications. Dr. Akin was a nominee for the Most Admired CEO award by San Diego Business Journal. 

Huawei unveils OXC+OTN all-optical switch

Huawei has released its mesh backbone network solution, featuring all-optical switching, full mesh and one-hop service transmission and designed to enable the delivery of ultra-high bandwidth at the Next Generation Optical Networking (NGON) 2017 event.

The new Huawei solution features what is claimed to be the first commercial optical cross-connect and optical transport network (OXC+OTN) cluster devices and is intended to enable data centre (DC)-centric backbone networks and to provide wavelength/sub-wavelength connections between DCs for one-hop transmission, thereby reducing latency and supporting ultra-high bandwidth between any two facilities.

At NGON, Huawei demonstrated the solution providing dynamic grooming of optical wavelengths and cross-connections through OXC, as well as OTN cluster, high-integration and multi-functional service boards.

Huawei believes that inter-DC traffic will become the main type of traffic carried over transport networks, and that to address this requirement operators will need to evolve their backbone networks originally designed for traditional telecom services. New DC-centric networks will enable mesh interconnectivity between nodes and one-hop service transmission to help shorten the network path for lower latency and allow real-time exchange of data between DCs to effectively support cloud services.

Huawei's new OXC+OTN cluster mesh backbone network solution is designed to allow transport backbone networks to be re-architected for the cloud era, in particular by providing a cluster mesh backbone network that enables one-hop transmission between any two cities.

Leveraging wavelength-level switching and liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) technology, the OXC provides from 320 up to 640 Tbit/s cross-connect capacity and supports wavelength grooming in up to 32 optical directions, while operating with power consumption at the level of hundreds of watts.

Additionally, a new optical backplane addresses the issue of complicated fibre connections within traditional ROADM. The optical backplane is designed to significantly simplify fibre connectivity, as well as reducing loss associated with connection and improving system reliability.


The OTN component of the solution serves to address access and grooming requirements of small-granularity services at the sub-wavelength level. The cluster technology supports non-blocking cross-connections between OTN subracks and provides resource pools for transmission channels, thereby enabling continuous expansion of channel resources between DCs.


Arista enhances R-Series universal spine and leaf platforms

Arista Networks has introduced new software and hardware for the Arista R-Series platforms, designed to accelerate cloud transformation initiatives for customers deploying routing technology.

Based on merchant silicon designed to deliver twice the density with half the power usage of custom routing silicon, Arista's latest R-Series platforms provide over 150 Tbit/s of capacity for switching and routing applications with cloud-driven Arista EOS software technologies including Arista FlexRoute and AlgoMatch.

The company noted that following the introduction of the Arista 7280R Universal Leaf and 7500R Universal Spine platforms last year, cloud transformation is underway for multiple routing use cases by cloud providers, content delivery networks (CDN) and ISPs. Arista is now focusing on the next phase of this transition via the introduction of 7500R2 line cards for the 7500R systems and 7280R2 fixed platforms, designed to enable increased scale, telemetry, security and routing.

Noting that cloud network designs require both scaling up and scaling out, Arista's FlexRoute enhancements on the 7500R2 line cards and 7280R2 fixed platforms provide support for over 2 million routes in hardware, equivalent to more than three copies of the Internet routing table. As the Internet routing table continues to grow and native IPv6 networks increase, customers can adopt a routing platform able to handle the Internet table scale into the future.

The latest member of the 7500R Series, the 7516, offers greater port scale, with up to 576 ports of line rate 100 Gigabit Ethernet, designed to provide the basis for scale-out network designs, including spine capacity of up to 15 Petabit/s.

Additionally, AlgoMatch on the 7500R2 line cards and 7280R fixed platforms introduces sFlow for enhanced traffic analysis in routing use cases. Designed to allow scaling of telemetry at 100 Gbit/s interface speeds, the solution is claimed to make the R-Series the highest visibility solution for dense 100 Gbit/s applications.
Backwards compatible with the 7500R modular platform, the new capabilities offered with the 7500R2 line cards and 7280R2 systems include:

1.         16-slot 7500R Series providing higher density spine switches with up to 15 Pbit/s and 576 ports of 100 Gbit/s in a single system, with the flexibility to support 1 to 100 Gbit/s with future support for 400 Gbit/s.

2          .Expanded high capacity 7280R2 with up to 60 ports of 100 Gbit/s, IEEE 802.3by 25 Gigabit Ethernet and over 2 million routes in hardware.

3.         sFlow export on both fixed and modular systems.

4.         New data centre interconnect solutions with secure 802.1AE MACsec encryption on 36-port 100 Gbit/s line cards and coherent 200 Gbit/s DWDM line cards with reach of over 5,000 km.

Arista's 7500R2/7280R2 Series are available immediately; the 7516 is currently in customer trials, with general availability due later in 2017.



Ciena to upgrade Bouygues Telecom backhaul, aggregation, SuperCore

Ciena announced that Bouygues Telecom of France, serving over 3 million fixed broadband and around 13 million mobile subscribers, has selected its 6500 Packet-Optical Platform to help improve the efficiency, scalability and reliability of its current network backhaul and aggregation infrastructure, as well as to support the creation of its new SuperCore network.
Deployment of the Ciena platform is designed to increase capacity to up to 400 Gbit/s to support increasing capacity demands and new high-bandwidth services, as well as allow Bouygues Telecom to continue to expand its mobile and ISP offerings and establish the foundations for a future 5G network.

This network upgrade will also support Bouygues Telecom's efforts to offer customers improved quality of service on its 4G network and also enable the company to attain its goals for the fixed network, including through the expansion of FTTH services.

Earlier this year, Bouygues Telecom and Ericsson announced a demonstration of 5G technology at the operator's Technopôle complex in Meudon-la-Forêt, France. The demonstration featured prototype mobile devices simultaneously connected to an Ericsson radio base station equipped with active 5G antennas.

During the tests, a team from Bouygues Telecom and Ericsson performed simultaneous data transfers and 4K video streaming to the two devices with aggregate throughput of over 25,2 Gbit/s via the 5G antenna system, with a latency of around 3 ms. The demonstration specifically involved adaptive beamforming technology, combined with massive MIMO at centimetre-wave frequencies.

Finisar reports Q4 revenue of $357.53m, up 12.1% yr/yr, net income of $130.24m

Finisar, a major supplier of subsystems and components for fibre optic communications, announced financial results for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year 2017, ended April 30, 2017, as follows:

1.  Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017 of $357.53 million, down 6.1% compared with $380.5 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and up 12.1% from $318.79 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

2.   Gross profit for the fourth quarter of $125.16 million, down 8.3% compared with $136.64 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and up 38.4% from $90.44 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

3.  R&D expenditure for the fourth quarter of $58.97 million, up 8.0% compared with $54.59 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and up 17.5% from $50.17 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

4.  SG&A expenditure for the fourth quarter of $24.64 million, down 6.4% compared with $26.33 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and down 3.3% from $25.47 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

5.  Total operating expenditure for the fourth quarter of $84.32 million, up 3.2% compared with $81.73 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and up 10.5% from $76.31 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

6.  On a GAAP basis, net income for the fourth quarter of $130.24 million, compared with net income of $46.39 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and net income of $13.07 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

On a non-GAAP basis, net income for the fourth quarter of $57.51 million, compared with net income of $67.20 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and net income of $31.82 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

7.  Cash and cash equivalents as of April 30, 2017 of $260.23 million, versus $240.59 million as at January 29, 2017 and $299.22 million as at May 1, 2016.

Additional results and notes

For the full year 2017, Finisar reported revenue of $1,449.3 million, versus $1,263.2 million a year earlier, with net income of $249.35 million, compared with net income of $35.19 million in fiscal year 2016.

Finisar noted that in the fourth quarter, sales of datacom products increased by $2.8 million (1.1%) compared to the third quarter, with sales of 100 Gbit/s QSFP28 transceivers for datacom applications up approximately 30% sequentially, but offset by lower demand for other datacom products, mainly 10 Gbit/s and below shortwave transceivers.

Sales of telecom products in the fourth quarter decreased by $20.2 million (18.2%) compared to the third quarter, primarily due to lower revenue from Chinese OEM customers and 3 months of annual telecom price erosion.

Outlook

For the first quarter of fiscal 2018, Finisar currently expects revenue in the range $330 to $350 million, representing a sequential decline of 4.9% at the midpoint.

Australia's nbn begins roll-out of FTTC technology, aims to reach 1m premises by '20

nbn of Australia announced it has commenced the initial stages of deploying its advanced fibre to the curb/kerb (FTTC) access technology, which is expected to serve more than one million homes and businesses nationwide by 2020 as part of its national broadband network (nbn).

Designed to enable faster broadband speeds through extending fibre closer to customers, the FTTC technology will provide access to services over the nbn network by delivering fibre to the driveway of the home.

nbn stated that is also working with retailer customers that will offer the new service to end users to develop a FTTC product, which is scheduled to be available to consumers and businesses by mid-2018.

The nbn network is currently available to almost half of Australia's population, with plans to reach three quarters of the country by the middle of next year and to complete the roll-out by 2020.

Key regions where nbn plans to commence construction of the FTTC network during the second half of 2017 include: New South Wales – 96,100 premises in Sydney/greater Sydney; Victoria – 89,000 premises in Melbourne/greater Melbourne; Queensland – 44,200 premises in Brisbane/greater Brisbane; ACT – 4,600 premises in greater Canberra; South Australia – 22,800 premises in Adelaide/greater Adelaide; Western Australia – 9,000 premises in Perth/greater Perth.



  • nbn recently announced that it had reached a total of 5 million home and business premises with its wholesale broadband network, and that there were a total of 2.2 million customers connected to the network.

Corning launches multiuse platform for deployment of fibre-deep access networks

Corning announced its new multiuse platform, which is claimed to be the first solution to provide a combination of multi-fibre and single-fibre connection points to help carriers, operators and municipalities deploy fibre-deep access networks.

Capable of supporting a range of network architectures in the same fibre backbone, Corning's multiuse platform is designed to allow service providers to expand and enhance LTE connectivity and prepare for the transition to 5G in the future, and encompasses key elements.

New local convergence cabinet

The local convergence cabinet is significantly smaller and lighter than standard industry offerings and features a range of splitter types and pass-through fibres to facilitate deployments across any network connection point, and enable a fully pre-terminated experience in the distribution network, removing the need for field work. Technicians can plug in feeder and distribution cables with factory-installed, hardened connectors, with no field splicing required from the cabinet out.

Expanded range of network access points

An expanded array of factory-installed, sealed network access points with single-fibre and multi-fibre options are designed to enable fast, plug-and-play connectivity, allowing network operators to deliver a mix of fibre counts suitable for residential, business, wireless backhaul and wholesale purposes from the same network location.

By eliminating splice points and offering an advanced plug-and-play cabinet, the Corning multiuse platform is claimed to deliver up to a 50% saving in labour costs compared with field-termination methods, along with the assurance of factory-terminated performance.


Additionally, by enhancing the capabilities of traditional pre-connectorised solutions, the new multiuse platform is claimed to reduce total installed cost by up to 20%.


LightCounting: 100G QSFP28 up 40% to >$250m in Q1

LightCounting, in its latest Quarterly Market Update Report, finds that demand for 100 Gigabit Ethernet optical connectivity from operators of mega-data centres is continuing to exceed supply, and estimates that sales of QSFP28 SR4, PSM4, CWDM4 and LR4 transceivers rose 40% in the first quarter to over $250 million.

The research firm reports that overall sales of Ethernet, SONET/SDH, CWDM/DWDM, Fibre Channel, FTTx, wireless fronthaul transceivers and active optical cables (AOCs) and embedded optical modules (EOMs) declined 5% sequentially in the first quarter, but increased 15% year on year. It forecasts that weak demand for optics in China will result in a further 3-5% decline in the sales of these products in the second quarter, with sales of tunable lasers, modulators and coherent receivers set to decline by 20% or more.

More specifically, LightCounting reports that suppliers of optical components and modules experienced a sharp fall in orders from Huawei and ZTE in March 2017, after ZTE reached a settlement with the U.S. government relating to an investigation into violations of export sanctions to Iran. It notes that the investigation, launched in 2016, could have restricted ZTE's access to optics from U.S.-based suppliers, so that the vendor may have accumulated excess inventory of such products.

While Huawei was not formally charged with such violations, the research firm believes that it may also have started to build up reserves of key components from U.S. suppliers to avoid potential disruptions. When the settlement was reached, both companies may have started to use components from their reserves and reduced purchases of new products.

LightCounting states that if this view is correct, demand for optics in China would be expected to return shortly as excess inventory is depleted. It adds that there were signs of rising demand for optical components in June, which is expected to continue in July and August.

LightCounting notes that ZTE and Huawei both reported higher sales of optical networking equipment in the first quarter and issued strong guidance for the current quarter. It also cites Chinese service providers as making ongoing investments in optical networking even as overall capex is reduced in 2017. Additionally, there are multiple new projects scheduled for the second half of the year in China.


Finally, LightCounting reports that shipments of 200 Gbit/s DWDM ports reached a new record in the first quarter, while DWDM solutions enabling 400 Gbit/s transmission on a single wavelength are an area of focus. In addition, the development of 200/400 Gigabit Ethernet transceivers is also underway.