Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Windstream expands SDN-powered wavelength service across U.S.

Windstream announced a major expansion of its SDN Orchestrated Waves (SDNow) transport service.

SDNow, which is a high-speed optical wave service delivered using a centralized, programmable SDN environment – is now available in 50 markets across the U.S., including major cloud connectivity and peering locations in the United States.  The service was first launched in May.

The Windstream network leverages multi-vendor service orchestration and automated provisioning. This enables customers to order SDNow 10G point-to-point circuits for 1,500 long-haul route combinations, with delivery in 20 days.

“This SDNow expansion brings the benefits of SDN-provisioned service to even more transport customers across our national footprint – a definite game-changer for Windstream,” said Joseph Harding, executive vice president and enterprise chief marketing officer at Windstream. “With its accelerated 20-day service delivery, SDNow will allow Windstream customers to advance their cloud migration and digital transformation efforts with the increased speed, agility and efficiency required for business innovation and success.”

Infinera intros Auto-Lambda tuning for DAA cable networks

Infinera introduced an Auto-Lambda capability to simplify Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) for cable network operators.

Auto-Lambda provides auto-tuneable 10 Gb/s DWDM automation for optical cable access networks. The capability, which operates over up to an 80-kilometer reach over both single and dual fibers, addresses the need for a “plug-and-go” installation model for service activation. First, central office equipment is configured to a desired wavelength. Later, when a field technician installs the customer premise equipment, Auto-Lambda ensures that the proper wavelength is selected automatically, significantly simplifying the installation. This will enable network operators to scale to extremely large numbers of 10G access points.

The capability is expected to be available in the Infinera XTM Series in the first half of 2018.

Infinera said its Auto-Lambda technology builds on its experience deploying optical networks for several of the top cable operators across North America and Europe.

“With our history of innovation in DWDM access and cable networks, we are excited to directly address DAA,” said Sten Nordell, CTO, Infinera Metro Business Group. “Auto-Lambda demonstrates our ability to greatly simplify access network operations for next-generation cable network architectures.”


Ciena supplies packet/optical to Israel Electric Corporation

Ciena is supplying its converged packet optical and software platforms to transform the network of the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC).

The upgrade to 100G and OTN switching equipment enables IEC to respond to the growing demand for IT and telecommunications services, as well as to build and deliver secure high-speed broadband services for private overlay networks.

IEC will use Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform to power a 100G DWDM OTN-switched core network . Ciena’s WaveLogic Encryption will provide protection of critical in-flight information. IEC will also use Blue Planet’s Manage, Control and Plan (MCP) software for unified network management and end-to-end service provisioning and planning. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ADTRAN posts strong quarter, earnings up 28% yoy

Citing strong sales for broadband equipment and growing service revenues, ADTRAN reported Q3 2017 sales of $185.1 million compared to $168.9 million for the third quarter of 2016. Net income was $15.9 million compared to $12.4 million for the third quarter of 2016. Earnings per share, assuming dilution, were $0.33 compared to $0.26 for the third quarter of 2016.

ADTRAN Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Stanton stated, “We are very pleased with the company’s performance in the third quarter as we continued to see strong sales in our domestic ultra-broadband solutions and services, which have more than doubled from the same period last year. Total company revenues grew by 10% compared to the same period last year as a result of strength in both our Network Solutions segment and a record performance in our services revenues, which again grew at a double-digit pace. We were also pleased to see growth in our Customer Devices category in the quarter. Our customers are increasingly relying on ADTRAN to help them plan, provision and deploy network assets to the best effect, ensuring the network is prepared for the emergence of exciting applications and mission critical services.”

SoftBank plans new JV targeting U.S. cell towers

SoftBank and Australia's Lendlease Group are planning to a joint venture company to own and operate cell towers across the U.S, according to The Wall Street Journal and other media sources. The initial plan envisions the acquisition of about 8,000 cell sites, many but not all of which would come from Sprint. SoftBank holds a 70% equity stake in Sprint.

In April 2016, Sprint announced an arrangement to sell and lease back certain existing network assets, thereby raising $2.2 billion for addressing upcoming debt maturities.

Under the deal, several bankruptcy remote entities (collectively “Network LeaseCo”) will acquire certain existing network assets and then lease them back to Sprint. The assets acquired by Network LeaseCo will be used as collateral to raise approximately $2.2 billion in borrowings from external investors, including SoftBank. The $2.2 billion of cash proceeds Sprint expects to receive from the transaction is scheduled to be repaid in staggered, unequal payments through January 2018.

IBM sees growth in cloud and as-a-service categories

IBM reported Q3 2017 revenue of $19.2 billion, flat compared to a year ago and down 1% yoy when accounting for currency.

In the third quarter, the company generated net cash from operating activities of $3.6 billion, or $3.3 billion excluding Global Financing receivables. IBM’s free cash flow was $2.5 billion. IBM returned $1.4 billion in dividends and $0.9 billion of gross share repurchases to shareholders.

"In the third quarter we achieved double-digit growth in our strategic imperatives, extended our enterprise cloud leadership, and expanded our cognitive solutions business," said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer. "There was enthusiastic adoption of IBM's new z Systems mainframe, which delivers breakthrough security capabilities to our clients."

Some highlights:

  • Q3 cloud revenues increased 20 percent to $4.1 billion. 
  • Cloud revenue over the last 12 months was $15.8 billion, including $8.8 billion delivered as-a-service and $7.0 billion for hardware, software and services.
  • The annual exit run rate for as-a-service revenue increased to $9.4 billion from $7.5 billion in the third quarter of 2016. 
  • Q3 revenues from analytics increased 5 percent. 
  • Q3evenues from mobile increased 7 percent
  • Q3 revenues from security increased 51 percent (up 49 percent adjusting for currency).
  • IBM continues to make capital investments in cloud and cognitive capabilities.

Ekinops powers Pennsylvania’s KINBER

Ekinops is supplying optical networking equipment to the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER), Pennsylvania’s statewide research, education and community networking organization.

Harrisburg-based KINBER provides network connectivity and services – including IP, Ethernet, and wavelength services – to more than 80 organizations in Pennsylvania. KINBER owns and operates a more than 1,800-mile fiber network across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with access points in 47 of the 67 Pennsylvania counties.

For this upgrade, KINBER successfully installed two 100G long-haul connections using its Ekinops 360 platform. One span extends 166 miles and the other extends 609 miles of the East Ring of the PennREN Network with a round-trip latency of only 11 milliseconds on the longer route. KINBER’s PennREN network upgrade using Ekinops 360 represents the first availability of 100GE capability across the Commonwealth.

Ekinops noted that its equipment was installed over an existing third-party ROADM network.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Verizon, Qualcomm and Novatel to expedite 5G NR mmWave rollout

Verizon, Qualcomm Technologies, and Novatel Wireless, are pushing ahead with plans to expedite the rollout of 5G New Radio (NR) millimeter wave (mmWave) technology.  The companies have agreed to collaborate on over-the-air field trials based on the 5G NR Release-15 specifications being developed by 3GPP, with hopes of moving the mobile ecosystem towards faster validation and commercialization of 5G NR mmWave technologies at scale before the end of the decade.

The expedited plan call for an initial focus on 5G NR operation in 28 GHz and 39 GHz mmWave spectrum bands. The goal is to achieve robust multi-gigabit per second data rates with mobility at significantly lower latencies than today’s networks. Over-the-air trials are expected starting in 2018, that will be compliant with the first 3GPP 5G NR specification that will be part of Release 15. The trials will utilize 5G NR mmWave mobile test platforms from Qualcomm and will employ advanced 5G NR Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology with adaptive beamforming and beam tracking techniques.

“Since the inception of the 5G Technology Forum, Verizon has been working closely with Qualcomm Technologies and other technology leaders to accelerate a global 5G specification to help usher in the next generation of wireless innovation for customers,” said Ed Chan, senior vice president, Verizon Technology Strategy & Planning. “Verizon’s investment in mmWave spectrum has given us the flexibility to pursue a first-of its kind fixed wireless broadband customer trial, which has been invaluable in advancing our expertise in the deployment of mmWave technology. With the collaboration we’re announcing today, we are taking the next logical step towards extending our leadership position in the advancement of 5G, part of the Verizon Intelligent Edge Network.”

“Qualcomm Technologies is committed to delivering 5G NR mmWave technologies to meet the ever-increasing connectivity requirements for enhanced mobile broadband experiences,” said Joe Glynn, vice president, business development, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are excited to collaborate with Verizon in making 5G NR mmWave a commercial reality for mobile devices, including fixed wireless home routers, mobile hotspots, tablets and smartphones.”

“Novatel Wireless has been delivering innovative products for over 17 years, and has pioneered new categories of mobile devices with every technology generation since the inauguration of mobile data. We are excited to be closely collaborating with Verizon and Qualcomm Technologies to deliver on the 5G promise." said Dan Mondor, president and chief executive officer, Inseego. "We believe our unique expertise and capabilities are well aligned in the commercialization of 5G by delivering the next generation of high-performance mobile broadband and IoT solutions,” said Stephen Sek, chief technology officer, Novatel Wireless.

Qualcomm shows 5G NR mmWave prototype


Qualcomm unveiled a 5G NR mmWave prototype system based on the 5G New Radio (NR) Release-15 specifications.  Peak download speeds of up to 5 Gbps are possible. The prototype system, which operates in millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum bands above 24 GHz, demonstrates how advanced 5G NR mmWave technologies can be utilized to deliver robust mobile broadband communications at multi-gigabit-per-second data rates in real-world mobile environments. Qualcomm's...


Qualcomm - first 5G data connection on a 5G modem chipset

Qualcomm announced a big milestone for the mobile industry -- the first 5G data connection on a 5G modem chipset for mobile devices.

During testing at the company's headquarters in San Diego, the forthcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem chipset delivered gigabit speeds and a data connection in the 28GHz mmWave radio frequency band. The 5G data connection demonstration test used several 100 MHz 5G carriers. In addition to the Snapdragon X50 5G modem chipset, the demonstration also utilized the SDR051 mmWave RF transceiver integrated circuit (IC). The demonstration utilized Keysight Technologies’ new 5G Protocol R&D Toolset and UXM 5G Wireless Test Platform.

Additionally, Qualcomm Technologies previewed its first 5G smartphone reference design for the testing and optimization of 5G technology within the power and form-factor constraints of a smartphone.

“Achieving the world’s first announced 5G data connection with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem chipset on 28GHz mmWave spectrum is truly a testament to Qualcomm Technologies’ leadership in 5G and extensive expertise in mobile connectivity,” said Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and president, QCT. "This major milestone and our 5G smartphone reference design showcase how Qualcomm Technologies is driving 5G NR in mobile devices to enhance mobile broadband experiences for consumers around the world.”


DT has four 5G NR antennas running in Berlin

Deutsche Telekom has now activated four antennas in Berlin running pre-standard 5G NR technology.

The network is achieving throughput of more than 2 Gbps to a single customer device, as well as a latency of three milliseconds on commercial sites in Berlin's Schöneberg district. The network is running in the 3.7 gigahertz band. Huawei is the lead supplier.

"5G New Radio in Berlin is the first major step towards 5G for everybody," said Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn. "As soon as the standard is defined and is available, we will proceed in 2018 to lay the foundation for large-scale build-out. This is how we are driving the technology development in Europe and demonstrate our innovation power.”

Nokia combines PON with integrated wireless drop

Nokia introduced a "wireless PON solution" that allows operators to bring gigabit services to customers using WiGig wireless technology, eliminating the need to bring fiber all the way to a home or building.

Nokia's Wireless PON integrates Passive Optical Network (PON) technology with WiGig, a high-speed, 60 GHz standard otherwise known as 802.11ad. It can be mounted to telephone poles, street lights or a building facade and uses beamforming to bring connections of up to 1Gbps to Nokia WPON home units located up to 300 meters away on the outside of a building or home. The solution has the ability to connect multiple access points in a row. Network operators might also use the wireless PON or create a WiGig meshed network in a neighborhood.

Federico Guillén, president of Nokia's Fixed Networks Business Group, said: "Multi-technology strategies are key to helping operators quickly roll out new ultra-broadband services to more people. Leveraging advancements made in today's wireless technologies, we're demonstrating how operators can use a wireless drop alternative to effectively deliver fiber-like speeds to customers. Nokia's new Wireless PON solution will introduce FTTx options that operators can use to enhance the way customers experience their broadband services. With a strong portfolio across all FTTx technologies including fiber, DSL, cable and wireless, Nokia has the experience it takes to deliver these multi-technology broadband networks and make the business case work."

Nutanix powers Indonesia's Tokopedia

Tokopedia, Indonesia’s largest and fastest growing e-commerce and online retail giant, has deployed Nutanix to power its enterprise cloud operations.

Nutanix announced several other significant wins in Southeast Asia, including Thailand’s Kasetsart University, Faculty of Engineering; Kaneka, a chemical manufacturing company in Malaysia; and Reed Exhibitions, one of the world’s largest exhibition and conventions companies.

Nutanix noted that since its initial public offering in September 2016, it has experienced 68% year over year growth in revenue and over 875 new end-customers in its recently concluded fourth quarter.

UAE's du tests Nokia's software-defined access

du, the incumbent carrier in the United Arab Emirates, is the first provider in the Middle East to trial SDAN technology on NG-PON from Nokia.

The trial uses Nokia's SDN technology to flexibly program and automate du's next-generation PON network, such as using the transport network for future 5G mobile access networks, network slicing and wavelength mobility. The trial also showcases automated network workflows with self-healing and optimizing capabilities that reduce the time and complexity.

Nokia said its SDAN solution enables a more open, automated network environment that makes it easier and faster to create and deploy new intelligent services.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cisco releases Application Centric Infrastructure 3.0

Cisco released version 3.0 of its Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) software-defined networking (SDN) solution for data centers and enterprise clouds. The latest software adds key features for multi-site scalability, container integration, and enhanced security.

The new ACI 3.0 features include:

  • Multi-site Management: Customers can seamlessly connect and manage multiple ACI fabrics that are geographically distributed to improve availability by isolating fault domains, and provide a global view of network policy through a single management portal. This greatly simplifies disaster recovery and the ability to scale out applications.
  • Kubernetes Integration: Customers can deploy their workloads as micro-services in containers, define ACI network policy for these through Kubernetes, and get unified networking constructs for containers, virtual machines, and bare-metal. This brings the same level of deep integration to containers ACI has had with numerous hypervisors.
  • Improved Operational Flexibility and Visibility: The new Next Gen ACI User Interface improves usability with new consistent layouts and simplified topology views, and troubleshooting wizards. In addition, ACI now includes graceful insertion and removal, support for mixed operating systems and quota management, and latency measurements across fabric end points for troubleshooting.
  • Security: ACI 3.0 delivers new capabilities to protect networks by mitigating attacks such as IP/MAC spoofing with First Hop Security integration, automatically authenticating workloads in-band and placing them in trusted security groups, and support for granular policy enforcement for end points within the same security group.

“As our customers shift to multi-cloud strategies, they are seeking ways to simplify the management and scalability of their environments,” said Ish Limkakeng, senior vice president for data center networking at Cisco.

CENIC, Pacific Northwest Gigapop, and Internet2 renew agreement

CENIC, the Pacific Northwest Gigapop (PNWGP), and Internet2 will renew their collaboration to provide networking capabilities across the entire West Coast of the United States.

The agreement will extend high-bandwidth connectivity to the academic community using CENIC and PNWGP fiber-optic cable and Internet2’s Ciena optical system.

This supports the West Coast portion of Internet2’s nationwide backbone network. It also supports other CENIC and PNWGP networks and network initiatives, including the West Coast backbone of the Pacific Wave International Exchange, as well as the underlying infrastructure for the core of the National Science Foundation-funded Pacific Research Platform (PRP).

The term of the renewal is five years (2017 – 2022) with additional extensions possible.

Pacific Wave connects twenty-seven networks representing more than 40 countries throughout the Pacific Rim, the Americas, and the Middle East. Pacific Wave has access nodes in Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle, Denver, Albuquerque, and El Paso and is directly connected to the StarLight International Exchange in Chicago, providing connectivity to all major European R&E networks. Additional new nodes of Pacific Wave are planned for December 2017 in Texas and Oklahoma.

“This is a significant collaboration with Internet2, one of several, which enables network interconnection and transit capabilities for our U.S. and international research partners in order to achieve the performance and service capabilities required by researchers who depend heavily on high-speed access to large datasets, remote scientific instruments, multi-institutional collaborations, and computing resources,” noted Louis Fox, president and CEO of CENIC.


Bharti Airtel to acquire Tata and its 42m mobile subscribers

Bharti Airtel, which currently ranks as India’s largest telecommunications services provider, will acquire the Tata Teleservices' Consumer Mobile Businesses (CMB) and its operations across India in nineteen circles, representing the bulk of India’s population and customer base. The deal is described as a merger that will be conducted on a debt-free and cash-free basis pending regulatory approval.

Key points:

  • Tata's 42 million mobile customers and the assets of Tata CMB will be transferred to Bharti Airtel
  • Tata's 178.5 MHz spectrum (of which 71.3 MHz is liberalised) in the 850, 1800 & 2100 MHz bands will be transferred to Bharti Airtel.
  • The transaction will also provide Bharti Airtel with an indefeasible right to use (IRU) for part of the existing fibre network of Tata.

Tata and Bharti Airtel agreed to further explore mutual areas of cooperation. Tata is also in initial stages of exploring combination of its Enterprise Business with Tata Communications and its Retail Fixed Line and Broadband business with Tata Sky.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel, said, “This is a significant development towards further consolidation in the Indian mobile industry and reinforces our commitment to lead India’s digital revolution by offering world-class and affordable telecom services through a robust technology and solid spectrum portfolio. On completion, the proposed acquisition will undergo seamless integration, both on the customer as well as the network side, and further strengthen our market position in several key circles. The customers of Tata will be able to enjoy India’s widest and fastest voice & data network, and bouquet of Airtel’s best-in-class products and services.”

AT&T cites financial impact of hurricanes, video subscriber losses

AT&T said damage caused by recent hurricanes and the earthquake in Mexico will decrease its Q3 2017 consolidated revenues nearly $90 million and its reported pre-tax earnings about $210 million, or $0.02 per diluted share. In an SEC filing, AT&T said it continues to assess damage to its network and that further charges in Q4 are likely.

It should be noted that AT&T's network in Puerto Rico completely collapsed following Hurricane Maria on September 20 (as did the mobile networks of four other carriers serving the island), and that as of October 14 only partial services have been restored and that many cell towers and backhaul links remain offline.

In its SEC filing, AT&T also noted that it lost about 90,000 video subscribers in Q3 due to heightened competition in traditional pay TV markets and over-the-top services, hurricanes and stricter credit standards. AT&T's own over-the-top DIRECTV NOW service added 300,000 users.

On the positive side, AT&T continued to expand its postpaid smartphone base even as it had nearly 900,000 fewer handset equipment upgrades than in the year-ago third quarter.

China Unicom sets up Brazilian subsidiary

China Unicom officially opened a subsidiary in Brazil. This marks the second overseas subsidiary of China Unicom International following the previous establishment of a local operating company in Russia.

China Unicom's network operates in 31 nations and has 70 overseas POPs.

The opening ceremony was attended by Consul General Chen Peijie, Consul General of the Chinese Consulate in Sao Paulo, Andre Borges, Director of the Office of the Ministry of Science and Technology Innovation and Communications of Brazil, Director of the Department of International Relations and Foreign Trade of the São Paulo State Industrial Association Tomaz Zonoto (Thomaz Zanotto), China Unicom Deputy General Manager Jiang Zhengxin.


  • In September, news broke that China Mobile is negotiating to acquire the mobile division of Oi, the largest telecommunications company in Brazil and South America, according to report in The China Daily. The deal has not been finalized. China Mobile might have to pay US$3.5 billion in fines owed by Oi to the Brazilian telecoms authority, known as Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes, or Anatel. 

See also