Monday, December 18, 2017

Intel ships Stratix 10 MX FPGA with High Bandwidth Memory DRAM

Intel has begun commercial shipments of the industry's first field programmable gate array (FPGA) with integrated High Bandwidth Memory DRAM (HBM2). Several variants are now available including the Intel Stratix 10 GX FPGAs (with 28G transceivers) and the Intel Stratix 10 SX FPGAs (with embedded quad-core ARM processor).

The Intel Stratix 10 MX FPGAs offer up to 10 times the memory bandwidth when compared with standalone DDR memory solutions, according to the company, making them suitable as multi-function accelerators for high-performance computing (HPC), data centers, network functions virtualization (NFV), and broadcast applications. The new devices provide a maximum memory bandwidth of 512 gigabytes per second with the integrated HBM2.

The Intel Stratix 10 MX FPGAs are manufactured using the company's 14 nm FinFET process and state-of-the-art packaging technology, including Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) technology to integrate HBM2 with the monolithic FPGA fabric.

"To efficiently accelerate these workloads, memory bandwidth needs to keep pace with the explosion in data" said Reynette Au, vice president of marketing, Intel Programmable Solutions Group. "We designed the Intel Stratix 10 MX family to provide a new class of FPGA-based multi-function data accelerators for HPC and HPDA markets."

IDT intros IEEE 1588 timing for Cavium

Integrated Device Technology will offer integrated IEEE 1588 software and timing components for a variety of Cavium System on Chip (SoC) solutions.

IDT said the range of applications requiring precision synchronization over packet-switched networks using the IEEE 1588 protocol has expanded from mobile networks and industrial automation applications to increasing include data centers, broadcast video, high-speed trading and high-performance computing.

"IDT's advanced clock recovery algorithms and precision timing devices reconstruct accurate synchronization signals under challenging network conditions for the most demanding applications," said Kris Rausch, vice president of IDT's Timing Division.

"Cavium's network infrastructure solutions have a particular need for precision timing, whether base stations, remote radio heads or even Cloud-RAN," said Raj Singh, general manager of Cavium's Wireless Broadband Group. "As we begin the transition from 4G to 5G it will become even more critical. Giving our customers access to reference designs incorporating validated IDT timing technology is an important element in helping them quickly deliver end products to the market."

Avaya emerges from Chapter 11 after eliminating $3 billion in debt

Avaya Holdings Corp. emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The company is seeking to reestablish a listing on the NYSE with approximately 110 million shares outstanding.

Avaya said it remains focused on "mission-critical, real-time communication applications of the world’s most important operations." Its portfolio includes software and services for contact center and unified communications— offered on premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid.

“This is the beginning of an important new chapter for Avaya,” said Jim Chirico, Avaya’s president and CEO. “In less than a year since the commencement of our chapter 11 restructuring, Avaya has emerged as a publicly traded company with a significantly strengthened balance sheet. Overall, we reduced our prior debt load by approximately $3 billion, and we exit today with more than $300 million in cash on our balance sheet.  The reduction of our debt and certain other long-term obligations will also improve annual cash flow by approximately $300 million compared to fiscal 2016.”

“We have the flexibility we need to invest in the large and growing contact center and unified communications markets as we complete our transformation to a software, services and cloud solutions provider,” Chirico added. “With a new Board and leadership team firmly in place, Avaya is now well-positioned to execute on its growth plan and deliver the returns and value expected by our stakeholders.”

  • Avaya entered chapter 11 proceedings on 19-January-2017. 
  • In June, Extreme Networks announced a deal to acquire Avaya's networking business for approximately $100 million. 

ATP grows into largest tower company in the Andes

Andean Tower Partners (ATP) has acquired Torres Unidas from Berkshire Partners for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition adds 1,644 sites to ATP's portfolio of digital communication infrastructure assets to ATP, which now has over 2,150 sites, and manages more than 32,000 master leased sites and 13 small cell networks deployments in Colombia, Peru, and Chile.

The former CEO of Torres Unidas, Daniel Seiner, will become the CEO of the combined company and Estrella Zaharia will continue with her responsibilities as Chief Marketing Officer.

ATP said it is now the largest privately-owned tower company in the Andean Region.

"We are excited about the continued progress of ATP following our successful institutional capital raise earlier this year," said Marc Ganzi, Chairman of ATP, and Founder and CEO of Digital Bridge Holdings. "We see a significant tower deficit in the Andean Region, and this acquisition will enhance ATP's ability to meet an increasing need for telecom infrastructure as our wireless carrier partners continue to densify their networks to keep up with anticipated data consumption in the region. We are also equally excited about the combination of these two management teams to ensure execution of our business plan and most importantly meeting the coverage objectives of our customers in the region."

"The combined portfolio will give Andean Tower Partners an enhanced footprint in the region, and we are eager to continue to help operators densify their 4G networks and bring the dream of 5G to life in our region," said Seiner. "These are exceptionally high-quality assets and locations that will allow us to offer an even more compelling value proposition to carriers as they look for a preferred partner that can deliver a full suite of solutions to support their growth in the region."

Australia's NBN Co extends Ericsson fixed wireless contract to 2020

NBN Co has announced it will continue its fixed wireless and Sky Muster™ managed services partnership with Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) through to 2020.

Australia's NBN Co has extended a managed services contract with Ericsson through to 2020. Ericsson will continue to be responsible for nbn fixed wireless network operations, ground systems operations for Sky Muster – the operator's satellite service – as well as customer connections and assurance for both technologies.

NBN Co's fixed wireless and Sky Muster services cover more than 980,000 homes in regional and remote Australia with more than 290,000 homes connected to broadband services via NBN Co's retail service providers.

"As we extend our strategic partnership with NBNCo, we look forward to continuing the delivery of fixed wireless and satellite services to regional and rural Australia. The availability of ubiquitous broadband to homes and businesses across Australia will help to bridge the digital divide and support economic and community growth," stated Emilio Romeo, Managing Director of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand.

Ericsson has been NBN Co's managed services provider since 2011, when it was appointed to build and operate a fixed-wireless broadband network based on TD-LTE technology.

In 2014, the partnership was expanded to include operation of the ground component of NBN Co's long-term satellite solution and end user connections and assurance services.

Cisco and Digicel target digitization for the Caribbean

Digicel has signed a framework agreement with Cisco for accelerating the digital agenda and existing digitization policies for 26 countries in the Caribbean and Central America. 

The companies agreed to collaborate to develop a digitization vision for each country for both the immediate and the long term, defining areas for implementation and specific projects, such as Healthcare/Telemedicine, Smart Cities, and Connected Schools, as well as to develop an educational strategy based on Cisco Networking Academy. 

"Digitization is a key driver for economic development in any country. Through this partnership with Digicel, our goal is to grow GDP, create new jobs and invest in a sustainable innovation ecosystem across public and private sectors in the Caribbean and Central America," says Alison Gleeson, Senior Vice President of the Americas, Cisco. "The Cisco and Digicel collaboration will map pathways to growth for countries throughout the region, positioning them for long-term prosperity in the digital age."

The initial list of targeted countries includes: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, French West Indies, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Panama, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Frontier says rural broadband deployment ahead of schedule

Frontier Communications reports that it is ahead of schedule in deploying rural broadband, exceeding 2017 milestone requirements of the Connect America Fund program (CAF) in eight additional states.

The carrier is now ahead of schedule in Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. This is in addition to Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia as having reached the 40 percent milestone.

Nationally, Frontier now provides broadband to over approximately 331,000 and small businesses in its CAF-eligible areas and has improved speeds to over approximately 875,000 additional homes and businesses.

“We are piling up broadband milestones as we make a strong broadband deployment push to close out 2017," said Mark D. Nielsen, Frontier Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. "The combination of CAF and Frontier's investments have enabled new broadband connections that are vital to closing the digital divide. Every day we see our customers benefiting from the significant economic and educational benefits of broadband connectivity."

Meituan data centers deploy Mellanox Ethernet switches, adapters

Meituan.com will deploy Mellanox Spectrum Ethernet switches, ConnectX adapters and LinkX cables to accelerate its multi-thousand servers for their artificial intelligence, big data analytics and cloud data centers. The installation will use Mellanox 25 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit smart interconnect solutions and RDMA technology.
Financial terms were not disclosed.

Meituan.com is the world’s leading online and on-demand delivery platform, supporting 280 million mobile users and 5 million merchants across 2,180 cities in China, and processing up to 21 million orders a day during peak times.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Equinix acquires Australian data centers from Metronode for US$792M

Equinix agreed to acquire Metronode, an Australian data center operator, for A$1.035 billion (US$792 million) in cash.  Metronode has been fully owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan since December 2016.

Metronode operates two data centers in Melbourne, three in greater Sydney (including one in Illawarra), two in Perth, and one in each of Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane. The acquired Metronode sites add approximately 20,000 square meters of gross colocation space to the Equinix footprint. Metronode also brings more than 80,000 square meters of land, 90 percent of which is owned.

In Melbourne and in Sydney, the Metronode data centers will provide a diverse, second campus for Equinix's existing properties. Both of these Metronode campuses are described as "hyperscale ready".

In Perth, Metronode's data center will house the landing station for the new Vocus Australia Singapore Cable. Equinix's existing data center in Sydney also houses the landing station for subsea cables.

Metronode generated approximately A$60 million, or approximately US$46 million, of revenues in the 12 months ending September 30, 2017, with a margin profile accretive to the Equinix Asia-Pacific business.

Equinix said the deal expands its leadership position to connect some of Australia’s largest corporations, government agencies, telecommunication, high-growth global cloud service providers and IT service providers.

The acquisition also continues Equinix’s global expansion strategy, including recent acquisitions and new construction in Washington, D.C., Silicon Valley, Singapore, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, São Paulo, and other markets.

When the deal closes in mid-2018, Equinix will have 40 data centers in Asia-Pacific and 200 data centers worldwide.

Metronode claims 100% uptime across all its 10 data centers since it began operations in 2002.

Oracle acquires Aconex for $1.2B - cloud collaboration tools

Oracle agreed to acquire Aconex Limited, which offers a cloud-based, team collaboration scheduler for construction projects, for A$7.80 per share in cash. The deal is valued at approximately US$1.2 billion, net of Aconex cash.

The Aconex project collaboration solution, which is used by some 70,000 organizations worldwide for managing construction projects, connects owners, builders, and other teams. It provides visibility and management of data, documents, and costs across all stages of a construction project lifecycle. Aconex estimates that its software has been used in over $1 trillion in projects to date in over 70 countries.

Aconex was founded in 2000. The company is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Oracle also offers a Construction and Engineering Cloud to help customers in planning, scheduling and delivering large-scale projects.

"Delivering projects on time and on budget are the highest strategic imperatives for any construction and engineering organization," said Mike Sicilia, SVP and GM, Construction and Engineering Global Business Unit, Oracle. "With the addition of Aconex, we significantly advance our vision of offering the most comprehensive cloud-based project management solution for this $14 trillion industry."

"The Aconex and Oracle businesses are a great, natural fit and highly complementary in terms of vision, product, people, and geography," said Leigh Jasper, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Aconex. "As co-founders of Aconex, both Rob Phillpot and I remain committed to the business and are excited about the opportunity to advance our collective vision on a larger scale, and the benefits this combination will deliver to our customers."

Quintillion lights subsea cable for arctic Alaska

Quintillion has activated commercial service on its new subsea fiber optic cable system serving five northern Alaska communities: Utqiaġvik, Wainwright, Point Hope, Nome, and Kotzebue.

Installation of the Alaska Arctic portion of the international Quintillion Subsea Cable System was completed in early October.

Quintillion’s subsea and terrestrial fiber optic network spans 1,400 miles, including a subsea trunk line from Prudhoe Bay to Nome with branching lines to the five communities.

Quintillion is aiming to extend its Arctic subsea cable system westwards to Asia (phase 2) and then eastwards to Europe (phase 3).

AT&T and CWA reach labor deal covering 20K workers

AT&T and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) reached a tentative agreement covering 20,000 employees in 36 states and the District of Columbia -- AT&T's Mobility Orange unit, which encompasses CWA Districts 1, 2-13, 4, 7 and 9.

Highlights of the tentative agreement:

  • A contract length of four years
  • Retroactive wage increases back to Feb. 12, 2017, and a $1,000 lump sum, if the agreement is ratified by Jan. 12, 2018.
  • General wage increases of 2.25% effective Feb. 12, 2017; 3% effective Feb. 11, 2018; 2.25% effective Feb. 10, 2019; and 2.25% effective Feb. 9, 2020. Compounded wage increase over the four-year term of the offer will be over 10%, and employees in wage progression may see an even greater total increase over the term of the offer.
  • For retail sales consultants, $2,500 moved from commissions that are at-risk to base pay that is not.
  • Employment security for call center and retail sales employees. If a call center or retail store closing results in a job loss, or if a call center or retail title is eliminated, affected employees will be guaranteed a job offer in our Mobility business.
  •  AT&T Mobility retail workers will earn an average hourly wage of $19.20, about 74% more than the national average pay for retail workers.


AT&T said its offer ensures a robust health care plan, with the company paying over 70% of the total costs including 100% of preventive care costs.

CWA said the deal was reached after 11 months of mobilization, tough bargaining and a three-day strike.

"After joining together and going on strike, AT&T Mobility workers have won a historic contract that sets a bold precedent for workers in the telecom industry. The solidarity and persistence of our members pushed the company to agree to crucial protections like stronger job security for retail workers and greater fairness in evaluation and discipline procedures that put our members and their families on a path towards greater economic security," said Dennis Trainor, CWA District 1 Vice President. "Let this be a sign to all companies that put profits above workers: when we stand together, we win," he said.

AT&T boosts dividend by 2%

AT&T’s quarterly dividend will increase from $0.49 to $0.50 per share. The annual dividend will increase from $1.96 to $2.00 per share.

“Our strong cash flows and outlook for the business allow us to raise our dividend for the 34th consecutive year. We’re committed to returning value to our shareholders, and we’re pleased to deliver yet again,” said Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO, AT&T Inc.

The dividend is payable on Feb. 1, 2018, to stockholders of record at the close of business on Jan. 10, 2018.

EXFO to acquire Astellia for mobile subscriber awareness

EXFO has launched an all-cash voluntary tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Astellia, a provider of network and subscriber intelligence solutions for mobile operators. EXFO already holds 33.1% of Astellia's equity.

The offer is proposed at a price of EUR 10 per Astellia share, valuing the entirety of Astellia's equity (on a fully diluted basis) at approximately €25.9 million.

Astellia's real-time monitoring and troubleshooting solution optimizes networks end-to-end, from radio to core.  The company is based in France with significant operations in Spain and a strong presence in Canada, Lebanon, Morocco and South Africa.

"We aim to combine the two companies and create a global leader in the service assurance and analytics industry", said Germain Lamonde, EXFO's founder and Executive Chairman of the Board. "Combining our complementary base of customers, technologies and competencies, as well as our similar corporate cultures, will enable the development of game-changing solutions and services within a large market in rapid transition—all this in the best interests of our customers, employees and shareholders."

NTT develops a better optical connector cleaner

NTT Advanced Technology (NTT-AT) has developed a new cleaner for waterproof optical connectors (ODC connectors), which are used in outdoor applications such as Fiber to the Antenna (FTTA) deployments.

The problem to be addressed is the contamination that builds over time on the end face of an optical connector, degrading reliability and performance. Optical cleaning tools can mitigate this issue.

NTT-AT's new "NEOCLEAN series" uses specialized microfibers that won't scratch the end face of the optical connector. Cleaning is performed with a simple push operation. One unit can be used for more than 400 cleanings.


NTT and Chunghwa Telecom advance their white box trial

NTT and Taiwan-based  Chunghwa Telecom have successfully carried out a joint experiment to verify the service continuity and reliability of a virtual network control system.

This experiment was enabled by the combination of NTT’s Multi-Service Fabric (MSF) and Chunghwa Telecom’s orchestrator (NAPA).

The experiment was performed on a network of whitebox switches. Specifically, virtual network configuration and control technologies using white-box switches and white-box switch operating systems were verified by controlling MSF from NAPA.


Harris supplies navigation payloads for GPS III

Harris Corporation delivered two advanced navigation payloads in 2017 to Lockheed Martin for use on GPS III satellites. The company is on track to deliver four more in 2018, and a total of ten units under its contract with Lockheed Martin.

Harris’ navigation payload consists of a Mission Data Unit (MDU), featuring a unique 70-percent digital design that links atomic clocks, radiation-hardened computers and powerful transmitters – enabling signals three times more accurate than those on current GPS satellites. These payloads also boost satellite signal power, increase jamming resistance by eight times and help extend the satellite’s lifespan.

Harris said the first payload, which was delivered earlier this year, is now fully integrated on the U.S. Air Force’s first GPS III satellite, GPS III SV01, which was declared Available for Launch in September, with an expected launch in 2018.

In November, Harris announced that it had completed development of a fully digital MDU for Lockheed Martin’s GPS III satellites 11 and beyond. The new SV 11+ payload design will provide enhanced capabilities and increased performance for the Air Force.

NTT Comm partners with Vantis in Hong Kong

Vantis Consulting Group (Vantis) has become the first partner in Hong Kong to join NTT Communications' Global Management One (GMOne) Managed Services Partner Program. Vantis will resell NTT Com GMOne managed services, cloud and hosting solutions, and further integrates with their service offerings to meet enterprises’ growing hybrid ICT needs.

GMOne managed services leverage NTT Com’s global resources for managing entire hybrid ICT ecosystems, from infrastructure, business applications to smart outsourcing.

Vantis also participates in NTT Com's Enterprise Cloud Marketplace, which was launched last year.

See also