Friday, July 7, 2017

China Telecom Shanghai Research Institute joins HomeGrid Forum

The HomeGrid Forum announced that China Telecom Shanghai Research Institute, the research organisation within the China Telecom, has become its latest promoter member, building on work conducted by the institute on G.hn-related projects over the past three years.

The forum noted that China Telecom joins other HomeGrid members from Asia as the Asian, and particularly the Chinese markets, continue to lead the global technology industry.

China Telecom selected G.hn as its home networking technology of choice and China Telecom Shanghai announced the first public tender request for G.hn devices earlier in 2017, marking the commencement of G.hn commercial deployments by carriers in China.

In addition, it was stated that China Telecom Shanghai Research Institute has expressed an interest in establishing a new HomeGrid Forum Certification facility at its labs in Shanghai. The forum noted that currently silicon and system vendors are able to certify their products at facilities in Shenzhen or Taipei.

The HomeGrid Forum works with member companies to ensure interoperability between vendors and products and to verify that standards are met through a compliance and interoperability testing program which leads to silicon and system certification.

HomeGrid Forum (HGF) is an industry alliance that supports cooperation between technology companies, silicon vendors, system manufacturers and service providers to promote the G.hn gigabit home networking technology that is based on ITU-T standards. The forum has over 70 members and aims to enable a single unified, multi-sourced networking technology for coax, copper pair, powerline and plastic optical fibre while continuing to support existing HomePNA deployments and the transition to G.hn.

Regarding the G.hn technology, Donna Yasay, president of HomeGrid Forum, said, "When combined with other technologies, such as wireless, home mesh networking and Ethernet, G.hn creates a hybrid that can extend connectivity further than other products on the market… G.hn is the backbone for the kind of seamless connectivity that is now in demand around the world".


Teleste and Antronix form JV to deliver gigabit cable access

Antronix of Cranbury, New Jersey, a designer and manufacturer of broadband products in the U.S., and Finland-based Teleste, a provider of video and broadband technologies and related services in Europe, announced a joint venture through which they will offer next generation gigabit cable access network solutions to North American broadband markets.

The new joint venture, whose majority shares are owned by Teleste, will operate under the name Teleste Intercept and combine the two companies' next generation products and access network technologies.

Based at the Antronix offices in Cranbury, the enterprise will seek to leverage both Teleste's expertise and established position in delivering intelligent, DOCSIS 3.1-compliant network technologies across the European cable broadband market and Antronix's Intercept eHFC line of products. The combined product line is intended to offer the latest data delivery technology in a hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) end-to-end network platform.

With an established position in the cable industry, Teleste is a leading supplier of access nodes and 1.2 GHz network solutions. Since 2013, Teleste has been developing a distributed architecture featuring the first Remote PHY nodes to be launched in Europe.

In the initial phase, the joint venture will offer Teleste's DOCSIS 3.1-compliant intelligent optical nodes, headend optics and Remote PHY devices, configured to address local requirements, to the North American market. The solutions will be available alongside Antronix's line of optical products and multi-gigabit eHFC solutions.

The combined product portfolio is intended to provide a comprehensive line-up, spanning fibre deep to distributed access architectures and eHFC FTTT brownfield migration solutions. Antronix's core branded products, which include indoor and mainline passives, multi-taps, residential amplifiers and point-of-entry filters, will remain a part of the Antronix portfolio.

The company noted that a key feature of Teleste's broadband nodes is the combination of hardware and software that makes the devices self-adjusting and remotely controllable using its network management tools. This concept is designed to deliver cost efficiency and an enhanced consumer experience by improving service availability. The use of intelligence can help operators improve their operations and enhance the customer help desk experience.

Launched in 2015, Antronix Intercept eHFC is an xPON DOCSIS hybrid FTTT technology designed to enable higher data throughput at the distribution point. The solution is interoperable and complementary with DOCSIS and Remote PHY network architectures. Intercept provides cable operators with an economic solution for brownfield migration to deliver gigabit services.


The Intercept eHFC Lancet Series optical tap supports high frequency DOCSIS 3.1 performance up to 1,784 MHz, enabling full spectrum DOCSIS 3.1 functionality for distributed access architectures, fibre deep or traditional HFC access network platforms.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Keeping an eye on Alibaba Cloud, Aliyun – Part 3

In the days before President Trump's inauguration in January, Alibaba's Jack Ma was among the parade of billionaires and other dignitaries appearing at Trump Tower in New York City. At an impromptu press conference with Trump following the meeting, Jack Ma promised to create 1 million jobs in the U.S. within five years.  This week, Jack Ma is back on U.S. soil to host the Alibaba Gateway 17 conference in Detroit, Michigan, where the central proposition is that Alibaba's e-commerce platform is the gateway for small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. to access the booming Chinese economy. The Alibaba Cloud platform is a key enabler of this gateway.

Ma argues that the figure of one million new U.S. jobs is not implausible. After all, Alibaba claims to be responsible for the creation of 30 million new jobs in China already and current growth rates for the main Alibaba are impressive:

•   Core commerce business units (Taobao, Alibaba.com TMALL) - 45% YoY, 62% EBITA margin.

•   Alibaba Cloud - 121% YoY, -7% EBITA margin.

•   Digital Media and Entertainment (Youku) - 271% YoY, -44% EBITA margin.

For this year, Alibaba expects to generate $10.0 billion in free cash flow, growing at 37% CAGR. The guidance for FY 2018 calls for revenue growth in the 45-49% range, among the best in the world for companies of its size. As previously mentioned in this series, Alibaba's gross merchandise value (GMV) is expected to hit $547 billion this year and the target is $1 trillion for FY 2020. Since Alibaba already accounts for 11% of all retail sales in China, the company is seeking much of its future growth to come from overseas. Hence, this week's Alibaba Gateway 17 conference in Detroit hopes American SMBs will jump on board, lured by the 500 million active Chinese consumers on the platform.

Given the size of its operations in China, it is no exaggeration to say that Alibaba is built on data. During its November 11th selfie shopping festival last autumn, online ordering reached a peak of 175,000 transactions per second for a total of 657 million delivery orders that data. With data centres capable of handling such a load, it is clear that Aliyun's cloud capacity is highly scalable. Its data centre architecture, while not as publicly transparent as that of Facebook, Microsoft or Google, evidently have succeeded in overcoming the technical challenges involved in moving so much data so quickly across data centres and national network.

Among the technical skills required to operate at such scale is the search engine and personalisation algorithms to ensure that each user can find the product, services and entertainment that best matches their unique profile. Alibaba says it has 507 million mobile active users and over 1 billion active listings in its database of products and content. As AWS and Google, Alibaba is moving swiftly to implement speech recognition as a new customer input for generating system requests. Ultimately this requires a knowledge graph matched to an evolving user profile. Millions of customer inputs or even customer support inquiries must be processed for the 100,000+ merchants on the Alibaba platform already.

As noted previously, Aliyun's major domestic data centres are in Beijing, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Zhangbei and Shenzhen. Other active data centres are located in Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Silicon Valley. The company has announced plans to expand this fleet to 17 data centres, including many in neighbouring Asian countries.

Intel, ARM, Nvidia and Barefoot

One of Alibaba's high-profile partnerships to solve the scalability challenge is with Intel.  Earlier this year, Aliyun kicked off a pilot program with Intel for a cloud-based FPGA acceleration service. Specifically, Aliyun will use Intel Arria 10 FPGAs, Intel Xeon processor-based servers and software development tools for application acceleration as a ready-to-go pre-configured infrastructure. The Aliyun service offers systems designers cloud-based workload acceleration as an alternative to investing in on-premises FPGA infrastructure. It might not be all Intel inside for future Aliyun data centres. In April 2016, a China-based Green Computing Consortium (GCC) was formed with the goal of establishing a deep ecosystem in China for big data, enterprise and cloud computing platforms based on the ARM architecture. Under this consortium, ARM is working with Alibaba, Baidu, China National Software and Service, Dell. Guizhou Huaxintong, the joint venture company of Guizhou and Qualcomm Hewlett Packard Enterprise/H3C (HPE), Lenovo and Phytium. Alibaba has also been working with Nvidia to develop its AI processing performance. In 2016, Aliyun stated that it would use Nvidia Tesla K40 GPUs to power a range of HPC, AI and deep learning applications.

Meanwhile, earlier this month Barefoot Networks, which is developing high-speed switching silicon, announced that Aliyun had adopted its 6.5 Tbit/s Tofino switch, claimed to be the fastest and P4-programmable switch chip. Although the size of this order was not disclosed, the deal suggests that Aliyun might be developing its own networking gear, much like Google and Facebook, rather than buying brand-name equipment from the traditional vendors.

Clean power for Aliyun?

In its mid-2017 investor presentations, Alibaba noted green data centres as an area of focus for Aliyun infrastructure. However, the Greenpeace Clicking Clean report from January 2017 criticised Alibaba for not committing to a timeline for 100% renewable energy for its data centre operations and for a lack of basic transparency about the energy efficiency of its existing facilities.

Will Alibaba and Aliyun catch on in the U.S.?

For Chinese multi-nationals already in the U.S. market, the opening of local Aliyun data centres is good news.  A seamless service on one hyperscale public cloud is easier to manage than having to host some in Aliyun China and some in AWS U.S. There is a good chance that Aliyun U.S. can capture many of the Chinese companies abroad. But are those customers enough to challenge AWS or Microsoft? Probably not.

Jack Ma's vision is decisively in favour of the little guy, the SMBs. His outreach to the U.S. gives entrepreneurs and independent farmers easy access to Chinese buyers. One criticism of Alibaba's global expansion plan, as noted in a recent Bloomberg perspective is that the company lacks the distribution logistics and warehouses in China that Amazon possesses in the U.S. Moving goods from the US to the Chinese market will never be as easy as domestic operations. There are other bi-lateral trade issues between the nations that stand in the way, such as tariffs and quotas on many types of products.

Then there is the question of capex investment needed to keep pace with Amazon, Microsoft and Google in the U.S. cloud market. Some of these players are investing multiple billions per quarter in the cloud infrastructure. While Alibaba did not provide capex guidance during its Investor presentations, the figures do not appear to be close to the levels of the U.S. players. Each of the U.S. public cloud giants has also made significant investments in network infrastructure.  For instance, Facebook and Google are teaming up to build the highest capacity, trans-Pacific cable system to date. The Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), which will stretch 12,800 km between Los Angeles and Hong Kong, will have an estimated cable capacity of 120 Tbit/s when it enters service in the summer of 2018. Both players are betting that their platforms will be super-heavy of trans-Pacific bandwidth. This level of commitment from Alibaba has not been evident, at least not yet.

ZTE launches 5G solution with access, core, bearer elements

ZTE announced at Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2017 the availability of its 5G integrated solution, a comprehensive suite of solution for 5G wireless access, core network and bearer network designed to help operators accelerate their 5G commercial network deployments.

ZTE's 5G integrated solution, based on a cloud-based network architecture design, provides customers with integrated 5G network infrastructure and will support 5G industry standards as they are approved while enabling the transition from 4G to 5G.

The 5G integrated solution features network slicing functionality, which enables support for multiple services and application scenarios, and is designed to allow service providers to adapt to a range of business models for different market verticals. In addition, the closed-loop application development and operation system based on devops facilitates rapid service release and deployment.

The flexible cloud architecture of ZTE's 5G integrated solution is designed to enable operators to build open networks with wireless access, core and bearer networks based on a SDN architecture for enhanced efficiency.


The solution includes ZTE's 5G RAN, which offers support for all bands and multiple access modes to help enable multi-network operations. The Cloud ServCore core network is based on cloud-native service architecture, with user-defined network functions and capabilities to meet the needs of development, testing, release and updates. The Flexhaul bearer network provides high transmission capacity with low latency and SDN-based dynamic network resources adjustment.

Chile's R&E network selects Coriant hiT 7300 with CloudWave Optics for upgrade

Coriant announced that the National Research and Education Network in Chile (REUNA) has selected the Coriant hiT 7300 Multi-Haul Transport Platform equipped with its CloudWave Optics to upgrade its national DWDM backbone network.

The Coriant solution, delivered in collaboration with education sector solutions partner Grupo Binário and local telecoms systems integrator Raylex, is designed to enable REUNA to scale transmission up to multiple 200 Gbit/s optical channels to support the increasing bandwidth demands of research and education applications and efficiently support low latency transfer of large quantities of data between locations.

As the national R&E network (NREN) in Chile, REUNA supports the country's research, education and scientific communities and provides interconnectivity with partners worldwide. The REUNA backbone network serves around 35 institutions, including universities, research centres and international astronomical groups.

REUNA's strategic collaborations include connectivity projects for the AURA Observatory, with which it has partnered to implement a photonic superhighway for the transport of data from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) - an advanced infrastructure for science and education that enables high-speed communications between research facilities located near La Serena and the Chilean capital of Santiago.

Leveraging optical networking technology including power-efficient coherent interface technology, flexi-rate transmission and flexi-grid ROADM capabilities, REUNA's new DWDM network, which is currently being deployed, will enable the organisation to deliver more flexible and resilient high-speed services, while optimising its backbone network in terms of spectral efficiency, terabit-level scalability and programmable, automated end-to-end service activation.

Coriant's hiT 7300 platform is a coherent communications system that supports up to 25.6 Tbit/s capacity when equipped with flexi-rate, flexi-grid and super-channel capabilities based on the CloudWave Optics photonic layer technology, which integrates a signal processing engine, optimised photonics and embedded software intelligence. The solution is designed to provide optimised optical reach and performance for diverse transmission applications, including in challenging fibre conditions.


Management of the REUNA DWDM network will be provided by the Coriant Transport Network Management System (TNMS) end-to-end management solution.


Omantel teams with Huawei on G.fast

Huawei announced that it will deploy what is believed to be the first G.fast network in the Middle East in partnership with Omantel, a leading operator in Oman, to enable the company to extend ultra-broadband services more efficiently by utilising existing copper infrastructure.

Huawei noted that Omantel has abundant copper resources in its existing network, and to address growing subscriber demand for digital home services and HD video Omantel plans to reconstruct its networks to enhance its broadband services. Specifically, by 2020 the company aims to cover 90% of residential subscribers in Muscat, Oman’s capital city.

Under the program, in selected service areas Omantel plans to deliver bandwidth from 200 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s to high density buildings to offer end users higher bandwidth and improved services.

For the project, Huawei proposed its E2E G.fast solution that features optical line terminal (OLT), G.fast distributed point unit (DPU) and G.fast CPE to help Omantel to meet its objectives. It noted that field tests show G.fast can support 800 Mbit/s and 400 Mbit/s over loops spanning 100 metres and 300 metres, respectively, which is greater than can be supported using ADSL2+ or VDSL2 technology.

Omantel will deploy the Huawei G.fast in the basements of tall, multi-story buildings, where the existing copper infrastructure, including telephone lines, will be reused to deliver ultra-broadband access. This approach removes the need for installation work inside homes to help lower costs, while the large-capacity G.fast sites, which are able to serve up to 96 lines, help to further reduce per-subscriber costs.

Omantel will also deploy Huawei's G.fast home gateway, which provides support for voice, data and video services, as well as dual-band gigabit-class WiFi services.

Huawei stated that to date more than 20 operators have conducted G.fast deployments or tests, with the technology currently deployed commercially with customers in the UK, Switzerland, Germany and Canada.

Anritsu introduces BERT tester supporting 400/200 GBE

Anritsu Company has introduced its new signal quality analyser (SQA) MP1900A BERT (bit error rate tester) that enables measurement of next-generation PCI Express Gen 4 and 5 buses, as well as the latest 400/200 Gigabit Ethernet networks.

Offering comprehensive interface support, the MP1900A solution is an all-in-one tool designed to provide accurate measurements for the next-generation, high-speed electronic and optical devices and optical transceivers utilised in high-end servers, communications equipment and optical transceivers/modules, including for M2M and IoT applications.

Anritsu's new signal quality analyser MP1900A supports simultaneous multi-channel measurements, PAM4 BER tests and PCI Express link negotiation and is designed to help engineers verify next-generation high-speed interface designs.

The SQA MP1900A BERT allows users to accurately evaluate high-speed interface designs during the early development stage. The products all-in-one extendible platform can be used to measure the performance of network-side interfaces, such as 400/200/100 Gigabit Ethernet, as well as internal PCI Express bus interfaces, and thereby help reduce design evaluation times and costs.

The solution integrates a Pulse Pattern Generator (PPG) that provides typical intrinsic jitter of 115 fs rms and typical Tr/Tf of 12 ps, while total peak-to-peak jitter is typically no more than 6 ps and typical input sensitivity for the internal error detector (ED) is 15 mV.

The solution additionally offers multiple features designed to further improve testing accuracy and efficiency, notably a link negotiation function that provides support for high-speed digital interface standards that allows connection of the MP1900A to the DUT for enhanced bus interface evaluation. Engineers can use this function to conduct PCI Express Gen 4/5 testing, LTSSM status analysis, jitter generation and CM/DM (common mode/differential mode) noise injection.

Additionally, MP1900A provides a jitter measurement function for evaluating signal integrity, while the 10Tap emphasis function and equaliser function can be utilised to characterise test signals according to transmission path loss.


Anritsu's SQA MP1900A BERT can be configured with peripheral equipment to increase measurement capabilities. Specifically, an integrated solution featuring the MP1900A can support generation of the 32 and 64 Gbaud PAM4 signals required for 200 and 400 Gigabit Ethernet measurements, BER measurements, jitter and amplitude noise injection and emphasis addition.

Cablevisión and Telecom Argentina plan merger

Cablevisión Holding,  a spin off company formed through the corporate restructuring of Buenos Aires-based Grupo Clarín, announced that its subsidiary Cablevisión, the leading pay TV and broadband provider in Argentina, and Telecom Argentina, a major mobile and fixed telecom company in Argentina, plan to merge their corporate and operational structures to establish a converged telecom operator.

The transaction is intended to create a major telco in Argentina as well as to better enable the companies to participate in the opening up of the telecom sector in the country, which under the regulatory framework is scheduled to begin as of January 2018.

The companies stated that on June 30th the boards of both companies approved a preliminary merger agreement (compromiso previo de fusión), with the proposed transaction designed to align with the wider industry convergence in the provision of fixed and mobile, video and Internet services to enable quad-play offerings. The combination is also expected to enhance the companies' ability to invest in the latest mobile technology and to deploy a high speed fibre network.

Under the terms of the agreement, Telecom Argentina will implement a merger by absorption of Cablevisión. As a result, Telecom Argentina will increase its share capital by $1,184,528,406, and therefore will issue on the effective date of the merger $1,184,528,406 shares of common stock, each to be registered with a nominal value of $1, hold one vote, and be issued either as a class A share or a new class of common stock (class D shares), which will be distributed Cablevisión shareholders in accordance with the agreed exchange ratio.

The exchange ratio approved by the companies' boards provides for 9,871.07005 shares of Telecom Argentina for each Cablevision share. Thus, CVH, the controlling shareholder of Cablevision, and Fintech Media, Cablevision's minority shareholder, will receive a total direct and indirect interest in Telecom Argentina equal to 55% after its capital increase. The current shareholders of Telecom Argentina will retain the remaining 45% of the share capital following the merger.

The transaction is subject to the respective shareholder meetings' approval and to regulatory approvals.

As well as being the main pay TV and a major broadband service provider in Argentina, Cablevision is also the second largest pay TV provider in Uruguay. Telecom Argentina is a leading mobile and fixed service provider in Argentina and also a major mobile carrier in Paraguay.


Nokia and Openserve Test G.fastt in South Africa

Nokia and Telkom South Africa wholesale division Openserve announced they have conducted a trial of G.fast technology in an office complex in Pinelands, South Africa, during which they achieved fibre-like access speeds over existing copper infrastructure deployed into buildings.

Nokia noted that the trial was carried out in preparation for Openserve's commercial deployment of G.fast planned for later in 2017.as part of the company's program to quickly expand its network footprint across South Africa.

The G.fast trial with Openserve demonstrated an aggregate, upstream and downstream, bandwidth of 900 Mbit/s over short copper loops, and speeds of up to 500 Mbit/s downstream and 250 Mbit/s upstream on an existing copper line over a distance of 150 metres.

Nokia's G.fast technology uses the final few hundred meters of copper within a building to deliver ultra-broadband access to end users. The solution is designed to allow Openserve to meet growing demand for fibre-like broadband speeds without significantly increasing its operational cost. The Nokia solution incorporates vectoring technology to reduce cross-talk interference between copper lines and help to increase data speeds.

Nokia noted that G.fast technology is increasingly being used in locations that are difficult or costly to reach with fibre as it allows operators to deploy fibre to the building and avoid the need to install it all the way to each individual unit. G.fast uses existing copper lines in a building, thereby also helping to reduce disruption.

Nokia claims to be the leading vendor for G.fast technology, with more than 40 customer trials completed and 10 customers commercially deploying the technology worldwide, including BT Openreach in the UK, Chunghwa Telecom in Taiwan, A1 Telekom Austria, Energia Communications in Japan and Frontier in the U.S.



  • Nokia recently announced that Frontier Communications had selected its G.fast technology to increase in-building broadband speeds for residents of apartment and multi-dwelling units (MDU) across Connecticut.


Ericsson board chairman Leif Johansson to depart

Ericsson announced that chairman of the board of directors Leif Johansson, who has served in the role from 2011, has informed that he will not make himself available for re-election at the annual general meeting of shareholders 2018, and that it has therefore begun the search for a replacement.

Ericsson's nomination committee stated it has commenced the search for a new chairman. The company announced on June 1st that its nomination committee, under chairman Petra Hedengran, comprised the following members: Petra Hedengran, Investor AB; Bengt Kjell, AB Industrivärden and Handelsbankens Pensionsstiftelse; Christer Gardell, Cevian Funds; Anders Oscarsson, AMF Försäkring och Fonder; Johan Held, Afa Försäkring; and Leif Johansson, the chairman of the board.

In March, Ericsson announced a corporate reorganisation under president and CEO, Börje Ekholm that eliminated its existing two-tiered leadership structure, Executive Leadership Team and Global Leadership Team, and replaced it with a single executive team. In addition, the existing ten geographic regions were simplified into five regions, and the structure of five market areas was reduced to three.

At the same time, Ericsson stated it was exploring strategic opportunities for its Media business and IT cloud infrastructure hardware business.

As of April 1st, Ericsson's business areas are as follows: Networks; Digital Services; and Managed Services. Market areas are as follows: North America; Europe & Latin America; Middle East & Africa; North East Asia; South East Asia, Oceania & India.


Regarding his decision, board chairman Leif Johansson said, "… (In) the first quarter Ericsson presented a new, more focused business strategy… (which) supported by the board and the major owners, creates a solid foundation for realising Ericsson's full potential… the company now enters a new phase, with focus on execution and a new ownership constellation… it is natural to let the owners jointly propose a chairman and ahead of this I want to announce that I will not be available for a next term".


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Keeping an eye on Alibaba Cloud, Aliyun – Part 2

At its investor conference last week in Hangzhou, China, Alibaba's Aliyun cloud business unit disclosed plans to build out new data centres in lock step with the parent company's global e-commerce initiatives. The Asian economies are an area of focus. Another key principle in this overseas expansion is to form strategic partnerships, often the kind that the big U.S. public cloud players have been reluctant to pursue. By leveraging its core business-to-business ecommerce platform, Alibaba believes its cloud operations could attract many small to medium sized enterprises across Asia, particularly those seeking opportunities in China. Like with AWS, there is a focus on getting start-ups to move their operations into the cloud from the outset. For instance, Alibaba is looking to support Indonesia's 1,000 Start-ups Movement initiative, which was launched last year with the aim of nurturing 1,000 ventures by the year 2020.

Simon Hu, SVP of Alibaba Group and president of Alibaba Cloud, commented, "I believe Alibaba Cloud, as the only global cloud services provider originating from Asia, is uniquely positioned with cultural and contextual advantages to provide innovative data intelligence and computing capabilities to customers in this region. Establishing data centres in India and Indonesia will further strengthen our position in the region and across the globe".

Equinix accelerates connectivity into Aliyun

Earlier this month. Aliyun and Equinix, the global interconnection and data centre company, announced a collaboration to provide enterprises with direct, scalable access to Alibaba Cloud via the Equinix Cloud Exchange at its Hong Kong, Silicon Valley, Sydney and Washington DC International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres, with Frankfurt and London due to be added shortly. With the addition of direct access to Alibaba Cloud on Equinix Cloud Exchange in markets across Asia Pacific, EMEA and the Americas, Equinix can offer private access to Alibaba Cloud in five markets. Equinix noted that it previously offered access in its Singapore IBX. Alibaba Cloud is also a colocation customer in Dubai with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (known as du). The deal could expand to other locations. Equinix operates 179 data centres in 44 markets worldwide.

India, Indonesia and Malaysia

Also this month, Aliyun announced plans to establish new data centres in Mumbai, India and Jakarta, Indonesia. Both facilities are expected to open during the current fiscal year, ending March 2018. Aliyun recently announced a data centre in Malaysia. The company said each of the new Asian data centres will offer a full suite of services, providing the flexibility for enterprises and organisations to build their entire IT infrastructure for business on Alibaba Cloud or run mission-critical and core applications on it. This brings the total number of Alibaba Cloud data centres to 17 worldwide, including mainland China, Australia, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the U.S.

In India, Alibaba Cloud is working with Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), a subsidiary of Reliance Communications, to directly access Alibaba Cloud Express Connect via GCX's CLOUD X Fusion. In addition, Alibaba Cloud has established a global partnership with Tata Communications to provide direct access to Alibaba Cloud Express Connect via Tata Communications' IZO Private Connect service. In Malaysia, Alibaba signed an MoU with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysia's digital economy development agency and the Hangzhou Municipal Government to connect the first e-hubs in the two countries under its Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP). The MoU seeks to build infrastructure for seamless cross-border e-commerce trade between Malaysia and China. In addition, Aliyun will take part in the Malaysia Multimedia Super Corridor initiatives, with a planned data centre in Malaysia later this year and certification program for local tech talents, to help local SMEs to succeed in the digital age through technology such as big data and Internet of Things (IoT). Aliyun has also been operating a data centre in Singapore since August 2015.

Big plans for Pakistan

In May, Alibaba signed a memorandum with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan to support ecommerce development of SMEs and financial services. The goal here is for Alibaba and Ant Financial to foster growth of worldwide exports of products by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan through ecommerce. The project is supported at the highest levels of the Pakistan government, with Alibaba Group's executive chairman, Jack Ma and prime minister Nawaz Sharif witnessed the signing of the MoU. Aliyun has not built or even announced plans for a data centre in Pakistan, but this would be a logical next step. The nearest already announced Aliyun data centre would be in Mumbai, which is not a viable option for political reasons.

Under its One Belt, One Road initiative, the government of China is heavily involved in building critical infrastructure in Pakistan. For instance, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which was announced in 2015, includes the construction of a new deep-water international commercial port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea in the Pakistan Province of Baluchistan. There are also upgrades to the electrical grid, highway system and airports. If Aliyun were to build a hyperscale cloud data centre in Pakistan, we would expect further upgrades to the telecom infrastructure, including perhaps large capacity terrestrial fibre cables serving the length of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

The full-service cloud pitch

While Aliyun continues to add to its portfolio of cloud services, often at a cadence remarkably similar to AWS, the parent company sees a bigger picture. Aliyun's mission is to move from Infrastructure-as-a-Service to Application-enhanced Cloud as a Service as rapidly as possible. There are a lot of Alibaba services under this umbrella, including:


  • Retail Cloud – Alibaba's Taobao.com and TMall application; Aliyun customers will list their products here.
  • Digital Marketing Cloud - Alimama.com, the online marketing service powered by data from Alibaba's core operations, providing customers visibility amongst Alibaba's base of buyers.
  • Logistics Cloud - Cai Niao for moving products to customers across China.
  • Digital Media Cloud - YouKu, the so-called YouTube of China, a video sharing platform and CDN that would be of interest to Aliyun customers as well.
  • Financial Services Cloud - Ant Financial, formerly known as AliPay, services include online payment processing, credit reporting, private banking and wealth management.
  • Customer Service Cloud – TIMI.
  • CityBrain – the company's SmartCity initiative, which aims to leverage AI and cloud scale to municipal traffic management, online utility management and city hall services.
  • Tailored Industry Solutions - Aliyun is working on pre-packaged and customised services for manufacturers, financial companies and hospitals.
Aliyun’s global data centres are also expected to play a role in the delivery of products sold on the Alibaba marketplaces to consumers in local markets. For instance, Alibaba is launching an AliExpress service for cross-border, direct-to-consumer retail from select Chinese manufacturers. AliExpress initially is focusing on buyers in the U.S., Russia, Spain, France, Brazil and the UK. The company claims 60 million active buyers over the past year. A similar Lazada shopping service is launching in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. All this activity is to meet company goal of growing the gross merchandise volume (GMV) transacted across Alibaba from an estimated $ 547 billion in 2017 to $1 trillion in 2020.

AT&T partners with Ericsson for 5G trial of DIRECTV NOW in Austin

AT&T, which last year completed what it claimed to be the first fixed wireless 5G business customer trial in Austin, has announced the launch of a second trial involving the use of millimetre wave (mmWave) technology to deliver high speed 5G network services to more locations in Austin, Texas.

AT&T's second trial is designed to provide an ultra-fast Internet connection to residential, small business and enterprise locations utilising Ericsson's 5G RAN and the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform. Trial participants will be able to stream premium live TV via DIRECTV NOW and access faster broadband services over a fixed wireless 5G connection.

AT&T believes that the trial will provide speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s using mmWave spectrum. It noted that earlier this year it successfully delivered DIRECTV NOW utilising mmWave technology at its Middletown lab in New Jersey, which was claimed to be the first time DIRECTV NOW had been delivered over a 5G connection.

The latest trial covers a variety of customers, such as residential, small business and enterprise, and by using DIRECTV NOW and other applications AT&T is seeking to gain further insights into mmWave performance characteristics and better understand the need for standards development.

The fixed wireless 5G trial in Austin is due to last for several months. AT&T will also continue 5G testing using its network testbeds. At the same time, the company will continue its research into the role of software-defined networks and experimenting with advanced virtualised-RAN core network capabilities during the year.


The operator stated that data traffic on its mobile network has increased by more than 250,000% since 2007, with video now constituting more than half of mobile data traffic. In addition, video traffic has risen by over 75% and smartphones were responsible for nearly 75% of data traffic carried in 2016.


MRV to be acquired by ADVA for $69 million

MRV Communications based in Chatswoth, California, a provider of advanced network solutions for data centres, service providers and enterprises, announced an agreement under which ADVA Optical Networking will acquire MRV via a tender offer of $10.00 per share for all its outstanding common stock.

The tender offer represents an aggregate purchase price of approximately $69 million. The transaction has been approved and unanimously recommended by both the board of directors of ADVA and that of MRV Communications.

ADVA expects that the proposed acquisition will further strengthen its portfolio of optical, Ethernet and software solutions and expand its customer base, particularly in non–European regions. In 2016, MRV recorded revenue of $80.3 million; for the most recent quarter ended March 31, 2017, MRV recorded revenue of $21.2 million, up 12.1% year on year, and net loss of $1.0 million, versus a net loss of $3.9 million a year earlier. MRV had cash and cash equivalents of $21.7 million and no debt.

For its first quarter ended on March 31, 2017, ADVA reported revenue of Euro 141.83 million, up 16.3% versus the first quarter of 2016, with net income of Euro 6.18 million, compared with a net loss of Euro 5,16 million in the 2016 first quarter.

ADVA noted that the acquisition of MRV, if completed, will mark its second significant acquisition in two years. In 2016, it acquired Overture Networks to expand its Carrier Ethernet portfolio and create a NFV product suite, named Ensemble. Earlier this year, Ensemble was selected by Verizon for its virtual uCPE solution.

The acquisition of MRV remains subject to customary closing conditions, including the tender of at least a majority of MRV's outstanding shares of common stock, and is expected to be completed in August or September of this year.

Regarding the transaction, Uli Dopfer, CFO of ADVA said, "The acquisition of MRV will… not only strengthens ADVA's cloud access portfolio, but also open the door to new customers… this acquisition will present many new business opportunities, especially for communication service providers seeking to explore the possibilities of virtualised network services".



  • MRV Communications was founded in 1988 by Prof. Shlomo Margalit and Dr. Zeev Rav-Noy. The company is headquartered in Chatsworth, California and has R&D centers in Chelmsford, MA, and Yokneam, Israel.

ABB acquires KEYMILE mission-critical communication business

ABB based in Switzerland, a supplier of electrification products, robotics, industrial automation and power grids, announced an agreement to acquire, on undisclosed terms, the mission-critical communication business of the KEYMILE Group to expand its communication networks portfolio.

The acquisition includes key products, software and service solutions, as well as research and development expertise that enhance ABB's digital offering, ABB Ability, adding high reliability communications technologies required for dynamic and complex digital electrical grids.

ABB noted that reliable information is key to accurate decision making in an increasingly automated world with extensive interconnected networks. More specifically, the operation of mission-critical systems such as electrical grids requires specialised communication networks with high performance and reliability.

The KEYMILE communication portfolio is designed to meet the demands of network operators for reliability, availability and cyber security. The company's mission-critical communication customer base includes operators of energy grids, railways, oil and gas pipelines, as well as public authorities. The 120 employees of the acquired business will join the Grid Automation business unit of ABB’s Power Grids division.

KEYMILE is headquartered in Hanover, Germany with a total of 350 staff worldwide. The company was founded in 2002 through a merger of three technology companies based in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. KEYMILE is a major manufacturer of mission-critical and broadband telecom solutions with installations spanning 100 countries. KEYMILE stated that following the sale of its mission-critical communications operation to ABB it will focus on delivering broadband systems, in particular optical technology.

KEYMILE products enable network operators to deliver voice and data services over FTTx network architectures via a portfolio of VDSL-/vectoring- and G.fast-solutions. The IP-MSAN MileGate platform enables simultaneous usage of Ethernet/IP and traditional TDM, as well as SDH-/PDH-technology, from a single network element. This helps enable the efficient migration of connection-oriented voice and data technology to packet-based networks.


The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2017.


Huawei deploys Butterfly Site in Bangladesh

Huawei announced that Banglalink, a major communications service provider in Bangladesh, has selected its Butterfly Site solutions to connect unserved citizens in rural areas.

Huawei stated that deployment of this solution helped Banglalink to cost-effectively extend its infrastructure to rural locations with not coverage and to address the issue of delivering services economically and profitably. The joint initiative by Huawei and Banglalink will help extend mobile broadband (MBB) coverage in Bangladesh and help the country to achieve the goal of creating an information-based economy.

Huawei's Butterfly Site solution is designed to allow service provider to address mobile service demand across large rural areas. Using two high-gain, 90-degree antennas and a high-power remote radio unit (RRU), a Butterfly site is designed to maintain coverage while utilising one sector less than a conventional three-site solution. The Butterfly Site solution is claimed to reduce the need for antennas and RRUs by around one third.

In addition, the compact size and lightweight design of the device enables on-pole mounting, while low power consumption allows the use of solar power to further simplify deployment and lower operating costs.

Banglalink and Huawei stated that they have completed Butterfly Site deployment in the suburbs of the capital city Dhaka. This deployment helped to verify the capabilities of the solution to support continuous networking and hybrid networking with three-sector sites. The site statistics data indicated that a reduction of up to 30% in equipment was possible in rural sites.

The Butterfly site solution is a part of Huawei's rural network offering that includes Macro nTnR for wide coverage, two-sector Butterfly Sites to enable cost-effective continuous coverage, and Simple Site, which combines on-pole installation and solar power to deliver local coverage in isolated sites.

Banglalink is a company of Telecom Ventures, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Telecom Holding, owned 51.9% by VEON (formerly VimpelCom).



  • Huawei announced in February that it had completed the first commercial deployment of Butterfly in Bangladesh. At the time, Huawei noted that the solution supports GSM, UMTS and concurrent GSM and UMTS services, as well as enabling evolution to LTE.
  • In its February announcement, Huawei stated that mobile broadband in Bangladesh was at an early stage, and that operators were preparing to accelerate their mobile broadband projects to expand and enhance coverage. It was estimated that approximately 70% of Bangladesh's 163 million population were living in rural areas, many without access to mobile broadband service.

Nokia appoints Gregory Lee, formerly at Samsung Electronics, to head Technologies

Nokia announced the appointment of Gregory Lee as president of Nokia Technologies, reporting to president and CEO Rajeev Suri, and as member of the group leadership team, effective immediately.

Mr. Lee has held a range of product, technology and marketing leadership roles over a career spanning nearly three decades to date.

Gregory Lee joins Nokia from Samsung Electronics, where he served for over 10 years, most recently as president and CEO of Samsung Electronics, North America, with a focus on driving growth, profitability and operational excellence. In this role, he led all of Samsung's businesses for North America, managing a portfolio of products including mobile phones and consumer electronics, as well as for new market segments such as digital health, virtual reality devices and digital content.

Prior to that, Mr. Lee served as Samsung's global chief marketing officer, and as president and CEO of Samsung Electronics Southeast Asia and president and CEO of Samsung Telecommunications America. Before joining Samsung, he led product development, sales and strategic initiatives for global consumer brands including Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg's and Procter & Gamble.

In his new role, Gregory Lee will be based in California. He is s graduate of the University of California at San Diego, where he gained a BSc in biochemistry,

Nokia stated that, with the appointment of Mr. Lee, its group leadership teams will, effective June 30, 2017, comprise the following members: Rajeev Suri (chairman), Basil Alwan, Hans-Juergen Bill, Kathrin Buvac, Ashish Chowdhary, Barry French, Bhaskar Gorti, Federico Guillén, Gregory Lee, Igor Leprince, Monika Maurer, Kristian Pullola, Marc Rouanne, Maria Varsellona and Marcus Weldon.

Commenting on the new appointment, Rajeev Suri, president and CEO of Nokia, said, "Gregory's passion for innovation and operational excellence, along with his proven ability to build and lead global consumer technology businesses, make him well suited to advance Nokia's efforts in virtual reality, digital health and beyond".



  • Nokia announced in March changes in its organisational structure and group leadership team (GLT), effective April 1, 2017. As part of the reorganisation, Nokia separated the Mobile Networks business group into two organisations, one focused on products and solutions, called Mobile Networks, and the other on services, called Global Services.
  • In addition, the company's chief innovation and operating officer (CIOO) organisation was split and moved to a newly-appointed COO organisation, innovation activities to its CTO and incubation to the chief strategy officer.
  • Leadership changes included Marc Rouanne, formerly CIOO, becoming president, Mobile Networks, Igor Leprince, formerly EVP, global services, as president, Global Services, Monika Maurer, formerly COO, Fixed Networks, becoming group COO, Marcus Weldon, formerly president of Nokia Bell Labs and CTO, retained those responsibilities and joined the GLT as a new member.




UCAR deploys ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect

ADVA Optical Networking announced that the University Corporation for Atmosphere Research (UCAR), based in Boulder, Colorado, has deployed its FSP 3000 CloudConnect data centre interconnect (DCI) solution to support ultra-high capacity connectivity to the Cheyenne supercomputer.

UCAR has deployed the ADVA DCI technology to enable the transport of scientific data over two 200 Gbit/s 16QAM connections between the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming and the Front Range GigaPop in Denver, Colorado. By providing greater flexibility and more capacity, the new network is designed to help UCAR expand educational opportunities and expand collaboration.

As a leading institution for atmosphere research, UCAR will leverage the new capabilities and enhanced efficiency provided by the ADVA solution to offer the scientific community enhanced access to computing and data analysis platforms. As a result, the over 100 universities and research centres within the UCAR consortium will gain improved access to the Cheyenne supercomputing centre to support their research programs.

The ADVA FSP 3000 CloudConnect platform is designed to enable UCAR to maximise throughput at the optical layer, as well as offering scalability for the future. The ADVA solution features advanced technology but is designed to be simple to use, thereby helping UCAR to reduce operational complexity and costs.

ADVA noted that the FSP 3000 CloudConnect solution is an open DCI platform, with no vendor lock-in or restrictions that can address the research centre's density, security and energy requirements.

Regarding the project, John Scherzinger, SVP, sales, North America at ADVA, noted, "ADVA has developed a close relationship with UCAR over many years… the FSP 3000 CloudConnect… DCI solution will deliver UCAR significant savings in terms of price, power and space".



  • ADVA recently announced that the Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC) in Poland had deployed its FSP 3000 CloudConnect with QuadFlex 400Gbit/s technology into its PIONIER research network. The DCI solution supplied employs 16QAM modulation and provides a 96-channel network connecting supercomputing centres in Poznań and Warsaw.

Flash Networks teams with ZTE on NFV

Flash Networks, a provider of mobile Internet optimisation, security and engagement solutions, announced a new strategic partnership with ZTE to deliver NFV-based optimisation solutions to address the requirement for a holistic approach to virtualised services in the mobile core.

Flash Networks stated that collaboration at the R&D level enabled the integration of network optimisation into ZTE's virtualised EPC environment. The offering includes engagement services addressing subscriber QoE, security and mobile network monetisation. The companies expect that the partnership will provide new opportunities in the Chinese market and worldwide.

Flash Networks' optimisation solutions are designed to improve the user QoE and increase RAN spectral efficiency to help accelerate traffic across LTE network while reducing the volume of web and video traffic data. The network optimisation solution employs a multi-dimensional approach that is designed to deliver a measurable improvement in radio spectral efficiency to the mobile core.

The company stated that ZTE selected its optimisation solution following extensive testing in a multi-vendor environment, designed specifically to verify the interoperability of different configurations of hardware resource layers, virtual resource layers and virtualised network functions (VNF) layers.

Flash Networks is a major provider of virtual and physical optimisation solutions designed to enable operators to improve RAN spectral efficiency, enhance network speed, optimise delivery of video and web traffic, secure and engage subscribers and generate over-the-top revenue from mobile Internet services.

At MWC 2017, Flash Networks demonstrated how an unnamed North American operator had achieved a 16% increase in spectral efficiency in a live network using its vHarmony 8.0 optimisation solutions.

Flash Networks' vHarmony 8.0 is designed to improve the QoE and increase RAN spectral efficiency. The solution features radio connection and signalling optimisation to improve radio network performance by managing traffic flows at the core and content optimisation that is claimed to accelerate traffic on LTE networks by 50% and reduce web and video traffic data by 30%. It also provides business intelligence and analytics and monetisation and personalisation capabilities.

See also