Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Coriant achieves EcoVadis Gold for the 2nd consecutive year

Coriant has been awarded Gold level recognition in sustainability performance in a survey conducted by EcoVadis, an independent rating agency specialized in the evaluation of supply chain sustainability. This is the second consecutive year that Coriant has received a Gold Rating, placing it among the top 5% of all companies for sustainability performance and excellence.

"The consecutive Gold Award from EcoVadis reflects Coriant’s long-term commitment to conducting its business in an ethically, socially, and environmentally responsible manner,” said Homayoun Razavi, Chief Customer Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Sales & Digital Marketing, Coriant. “Our dedication to CSR drives continual improvement throughout our business and ensures that the value we offer our customers encompasses not only best-in-class technology and multi-sided solution innovation, but also the highest level of sustainability, which is critical today, and for future generations."

Monday, April 23, 2018

MIT: a new technique for assembling on-chip optics and electronics separately

A team of researchers led by groups at MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, and Boston University, have developed a technique for assembling on-chip optics and electronics separately using existing manufacturing processes.

The work, which is described in an article in the latest issue of Nature, allows the addition of optical communication components onto chips with modern transistors.

“The most promising thing about this work is that you can optimize your photonics independently from your electronics,” says Amir Atabaki, a research scientist at MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics and one of three first authors on the new paper. “We have different silicon electronic technologies, and if we can just add photonics to them, it’d be a great capability for future communications and computing chips. For example, now we could imagine a microprocessor manufacturer or a GPU manufacturer like Intel or Nvidia saying, ‘This is very nice. We can now have photonic input and output for our microprocessor or GPU.’ And they don’t have to change much in their process to get the performance boost of on-chip optics.”

http://news.mit.edu/2018/integrating-optical-components-existing-chip-designs-0419

NTT develops new QoE technique in video streaming

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) has demonstrated a video quality control technology based on Quality of Experience (QoE) in video streaming over mobile networks.

The QoE of video streaming to a mobile handset is evaluated by NTT's algorithm. Future communication quality is then predicted considering the user's environment. The algorithm optimally controls the bitrate in the midst of video streaming so as to achieve the preset QoE target.

NTT said its technology for video streaming enables maximum QoE, while reducing traffic over the network.

http://www.ntt.co.jp/news2018/1804e/180419a.html

China Unicom and Huawei collaborate on 5G slicing research

China Unicom and Huawei agreed to jointly carry out research, demonstration, and application of 5G network slicing, develop key technologies and solutions for China Unicom's 5G network slicing services and applications, jointly promote industry chain development, and apply slices to more vertical industry markets, such as VR/AR games, industrial control, Internet of Vehicles (IoV), and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Zhang Yong, President of China Unicom Network Technology Research Institute, said: "Network slicing is a key native capability of 5G, which can maximize the efficiency of communications networks and reduce network construction and O&M costs. In the 5G era, the concepts of slice as a capability and slice as a product have become an industry consensus. China Unicom will demonstrate the multi-scenario slicing service in vertical industries and deepen the integration with the industry to facilitate digitalization in China.

“We hope that both parties can focus efforts on terminals, chips, networks, and vertical industries, accelerate the slice demonstration and application, and jointly build a new 5G slicing ecosystem in 2018 and 2019, for the purpose of formulating the 5G blueprint, creating completely new markets for 5G, and achieving a win-win through 5G network deployment," continued Zhang Yong.

Ericsson explores 5G use case with jet engine components

Ericsson and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology are exploring a 5G use case that concerns the production of jet engine components.

The components concerned, so-called blade integrated disks (blisk), are high-tech components where the disk and blades are produced as a single piece and serve the purpose of compressing the air inside jet engines. They are milled out of solid pieces of metal and have extremely high requirements towards accuracy and surface integrity.

5G's high-bandwidth and low latency are leveraged for controlling factory equipment. Ericsson's 5G trial system operating on 3.5 GHz is connected to an acceleration sensor mounted directly on the blisk in the production machinery. The vibration spectrum is transmitted in real time via 5G to the evaluation system. The very low latency helps correlate the vibration to the tool's position and enable prompt adjustment of the production process.

Thomas Dautl, Director of Manufacturing Technology, MTU Aero Engines, says: "A blade-integrated disk is a high-value component. The milling process takes 15-20 hours and the total lead time is around 3-4 months, including coating processes and quality checks. The new 5G-based production technology will help make our operations more efficient."

Corning in conversation with Verizon



Part 2



Will the new wave of wireless cannibalize fiber? At the end of the day, you cannot beat the bandwidth of fiber, says Glenn Wellbrock, Director, Backbone Network Design, Verizon. On the contrary, the new wave of wireless will drive significant deployments of fiber deep into the network.

In this conversation, Glenn and Bob Whitman, VP of Market Development, Corning, talk about Verizon's One Fiber program.

See video - part 1: https://youtu.be/Sq7F5OVflyA

See video - part 2: hhttps://youtu.be/pYeZjLkuytc




Data Center constructions booms in Des Moines, Iowa

Data center is booming in Iowa -- there are more than 6,150,000 square feet of data center space built or slated to be built in the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region. Some highlights:

  • There is an average of 800 construction workers on site at Facebook's Altoona data centers. 
  • To date, Facebook has constructed 1.5 million square feet of data center space and has 1 million square feet under construction. The total spend is expected to be around $1.5 billion.
  • Microsoft's data center buildings currently total a little under 1.5 million square feet with 1.7 million square feet planned for its third campus in West Des Moines.
  • LightEdge Solutions has two data centers totaling 78,000 square feet in Altoona and employs more than 100 people. 
  • In 2017, Apple announced 400,000 square feet of data center space will be a built in Waukee. Construction will begin this summer.

The data was provided by the Greater Des Moines Partnership, an economic and community development organization that serves the region.

"DSM has built a reputation as a tech hub offering affordable renewable energy and high skilled talent," said Jay Byers, Greater Des Moines Partnership CEO. "Data center activity means jobs for hundreds of tech and construction workers, revenue for local cities and increased national and international exposure for our region."

Brazil Tower raises $104M in debt financing for expansion

Brazil Tower Company (BTC), a privately-held, neutral host tower company with over 600 wireless towers currently in its portfolio, recently closed on US$79 million of a $104 million long-term senior secured debt financing with three international lenders led by Cordiant Capital of Montreal, Canada.  BTC expects to close on the remaining $25 million of financing during Q3 of this year. 

BTC, whose customers include the major wireless operators including Telefonica, TIM and Claro, plans to use the funds to add 600 more towers.

"We are very excited about the growth we are realizing in Brazil through new tower development and new collocations and amendments.  Our backlog of new towers and pipeline for growth is the strongest we have seen since 2015," said Tom Staz, BTC's Chief Financial Officer and a partner at 1848 Capital Partners in Miami, BTC's primary equity sponsor.  "With the support of our new debt facility and a large inventory of customer orders, we will continue to strategically rollout new tower sites over the next 18 - 24 months to double the size of our tower portfolio and triple the cash flows of the business."

Molex and Rosenberger sign dual-sourcing agreement for automotive coaxial connectors

Molex and Rosenberger have signed a dual-sourcing agreement allowing Molex to produce High-Speed FAKRA-Mini automotive coaxial connectors based on the Rosenberger HFM design, which support data rates up to 20 Gbps. Rosenberger HFM FAKRA-Mini system is designed for a range of existing and future automotive applications, such as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), navigation, infotainment and intelligent connected vehicles.

With the dual sourcing agreement, the companies provide a high-quality, high-speed, cost-optimized intermateable interface with identical mechanical and electrical performance and features. The solution delivers seamless backward compatibility for the automotive market.

“Molex is excited to collaborate with Rosenberger to launch the dual-sourced HFM solution that enables high-speed data transmission fundamental to connected vehicle technology,” said Ryan Price, networking segment director, Molex. “Our shared vision is to deliver a high value, cost effective solution that provides design flexibility and backward compatibility.”

“Ensuring safety is the ultimate priority of ADAS and autonomous driving systems, and HFM connectors play a key role in processing the high data volumes from cameras, sensors, navigation sources and other external objects in real time,” said Dr. Tosja Zywietz, CEO, Rosenberger. “We are pleased to collaborate with Molex on making this next-generation coax connector widely available to the automotive industry as a quasi standard.”

https://www.molex.com/automotive



Aquantia partnership - The Molex 10 Gbps Automotive Ethernet Network incorporates an Aquantia chip optimized for Multi-Gig 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ericsson sees better financial performance after cost cutting

Amidst a stabilizing mobile infrastructure market with initial 5G development work in North America, Ericsson reported Q1 2018 sales of SEK 43.4 billion (US$5.134 billion), down by -9% YoY. Sales, adjusted for currency, decreased by -2% YoY with lower revenues in market areas North East Asia as well as in South East Asia, Oceania and India. The other market areas showed growth. There was an operating income loss of SEK -0.3 billion (US$35.4 million), which is an improvement from the loss of SEK -11.3 billion for the same period last year. Gross margin was 34.2% (15.7%) 1). Gross margin excluding restructuring charges improved YoY, to 35.9% (18.7%) 1), supported by cost reductions and the continued ramp-up of Ericsson Radio System (ERS).

In North America, Ericsson benefitted from the First Net project underway at AT&T. LTE deployments in mainland China diminished. Ericsson also reports increasing traction for 5G – radio, core & IoT. An additional 500 R&D engineers have been recruited to help with 5G.

As of the end of Q1, Ericsson had 97,581 employees, down from 109,127  in Q2 2017.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, stated: "Our efforts to improve efficiency in service delivery and common costs are starting to pay off. The gross margin improved to 36% (19%) in the quarter, tracking well towards our Group target of 37-39% by 2020. A cornerstone in our strategy is to invest in R&D for both technology leadership and cost leadership, which will allow us to generate higher gross margins. We continue to increase our R&D investments in Networks to lead in 5G. In Digital Services we continue to increase investments into our new cloud-native portfolio as well as changing our ways of working for better R&D efficiency. In Managed Services we continue to focus on machine intelligence, automation and analytics to further enhance user experience, improve efficiency and better manage the increasingly complex networks of tomorrow."

It may not be too late for cloud giants to enter the mobile market

It was over seven years ago, in December 2010, that NTT DOCOMO launched its 4G LTE network. Japan, of course, was already heavily saturated with 3G coverage and mobile penetration rates were among the highest in the world. DOCOMO’s 4G network was an instant success and very quickly itd subscribers upgraded their phones and moved onto mobile data plans. DOCOMO's network grew and grew, and so did those of its competitors – KDDI and Softbank Mobile. Since then, the Japanese population has not given up their mobile devices. Like everywhere, people are checking their phones all day long, from the moment they awake till late at night.

With their upcoming launch of commercial 5G services over the next 2 years, DOCOMO and KDDI are looking for history to repeat. They will be among the first operators worldwide to deploy the next generation of mobile technology and they hope the market will respond. But, there is a surprise twist. A new entrant, Rakuten, plans to launch a new 4G network by October 2019 – nearly nine years behind the market leaders, and in a market that seems oversaturated and with this little prospect of growth for the “old wave” technology.

This week, Rakuten received approval from Japan’s Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications to launch a new 4G network.based on its own mobile base stations.

Rakuten Mobile Network will operate over the 1.7 GHz frequency band with over 1,825 MHz of spectrum. The company aims to launch service in October 2019. The company plans to raise a maximum of JPY 600 billion to fund the rollout of the network. Of this, Rakuten Inc. (the parent company) plans to provide a maximum of JPY 200 billion - a hedge on its bet.

Rakuten – Japan’s e-commerce giant

Founded in 1999 by Hiroshi Mikitan, Rakuten is Japan’s e-commerce leader – the local equivalent of Amazon or Alibaba – but far from being a me-too follower, the company has consistently innovated and acquired to advance its vision. It now offers online merchandise for consumers and businesses, life insurance, fire insurance, travel insurance, digital content, an advertising network, and a growing list of communications services. Rakuten also operates the country’s biggest Internet bank and third-largest credit card company by transaction value.



Outside of Japan, Rakuten’s  major acquisitions include Buy.com (now Rakuten.com in the US), PriceMinister (France), Ikeda (now Rakuten Brasil), Tradoria (now Rakuten Deutschland), Play.com (now Rakuten.co.uk in the UK), Wuaki.tv (now Rakuten TV in Spain), Kobo Inc. (now Rakuten Kobo in Canada), Viber (now Rakuten Viber), Ebates, Viki (now Rakuten Viki), OverDrive, Inc. (now Rakuten OverDrive), Slice (now Rakuten Slice) and The Grommet.
Until now, Rakuten has experimented with being a mobile virtual network operator, claiming 1.5 million users. Going forward, Rakuten reckons that around JPY 600 billion is enough to build a nationwide network of 4G base stations. The company says it has poached key executives from the other three big mobile operators. It is also known to be seeking advice from network equipment suppliers about how to rollout a nationwide network as quickly and efficiently as possible.

A key metric for Rakuten is its global gross transaction value, which is the sum total of everything sold on its platform. For 2017, that figure was up 21%.

Strategic thinking

Given its current size and the deep pull from its consumer base, one might expect that it would be easier and faster for Rakuten to buy out one of the three existing mobile operators compared with the time and trouble of building a whole new 4G network.  Practically speaking, no such option exists in Japan for Rakuten. NTT Docomo obviously is out of reach. KDDI is doing well enough on its own as the main challenger to Docomo, so is unlikely to be interested. And Softbank Japan, with Masayoshi Son at its helm, has big ambitions of its own, making the prospects of a merger or buyout with Rakuten unlikely.

For Rakuten, the value of becoming a mobile operator is not to battle it out with Docomo in hopes of poaching subscribers and earning a thin margin on the sale of monthly 4G data plans. Rakuten’s strategic thoughts must centre on building direct access to its e-shopping consumers.  It might even be willing to accept losses in the first years of operating the forthcoming mobile network, in return for a building a better e-commerce experience for its consumers.

In India, Reliance Jio is another late-comer to the mobile market and it too has been willing to suffer deep losses to build its new nationwide network and to establish its subscriber base. However, in Jio case, there is not a thriving e-commerce business to justify the risk.
There are however other cloud giants who will be watching Rakuten’s entrance into the mobile business. Alibaba might be constrained in doing so in its home market, unless the government wants a fourth competitor. But conceivably Alibaba could try its luck as a mobile operator overseas. The other big player of course is Amazon, who might very well be studying Rakuten’s moves.

Video: Go!Foton in conversation with Verizon



The optical networking industry has always faced the challenge of how to achieve more at lower cost, says Simin Cai, CEO of Go!Foton.

This conversation with Glenn Wellbrock, Director, Backbone Network Design, Verizon, explores innovation in optical connectors, patch panels, rack flexibility, automated operations, and network design. Doing more and costing less.

See video: https://youtu.be/GSc1GKk0Crc



Alibaba Cloud expands to Turkey

Alibaba Cloud has established a partnership with Istanbul-based B2B services provider e-Glober to accelerate its entry into Turkey's cloud market.

e-Glober was already Turkey’s sole authorized agent and business partner of Alibaba's global wholesale platform. It will now deliver Alibaba Cloud’s suite of services to the exporters, small and medium-sized businesses and other local companies it Turkey.

“Alibaba Cloud has always been dedicated to making our future-proof technology inclusive within the markets in which we operate,” said Yeming Wang, deputy general manager of Alibaba Cloud Global. “We aim to become the preferred cloud service provider for all sizes of business in Turkey by providing a full range of cloud solutions and combining this with E-Glober’s local expertise.”

Alibaba acquires C-SKY Microsystems for embedded IoT CPUs

Alibaba has acquired Hangzhou Zhongtian Microsystem Co. (C-SKY Microsystems, a leading developer of embedded CPUs, for an undisclosed sum.

C-SKY, which was founded in 2001 and is based in Hangzhou's Hi-Tech Zone, offers a series of 32-bit "C-SKY" embedded CPU cores based on independent intellectual property rights. The chips are widely used in Internet of Things intelligent hardware, digital audio and video, information security, networking and communications, industrial control, and automotive electronics.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Silicon Labs acquires Sigma Design's Z-Wave (G.9959) business for $240M

Silicon Labs has acquired Sigma Designs' Z-Wave business, including a team of approximately 100 employees, for $240 million in an all-cash transaction.

Z-Wave mesh networking technology based on the open, internationally recognized ITU standard (G.9959).0 More than 2,400 certified, interoperable Z-Wave devices are available from the thriving Z-Wave Alliance of more than 700 manufacturers and service providers worldwide.

Silicon Labs said the deal complements its wireless hardware and software portfolio for the smart home, which includes Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Thread, Bluetooth and proprietary protocols.

"Adding Z-Wave to Silicon Labs' extensive IoT connectivity portfolio allows us to deliver a unified vision for the wireless technologies underpinning the smart home market," said Tyson Tuttle, CEO of Silicon Labs. "A secure, interoperable customer experience is at the heart of how smart home products are designed, deployed and managed. Our smart home vision is one where multiple technologies work securely together, where any device using any of our connectivity options easily joins the home network, and where security updates and feature upgrades occur automatically."

"Together, Silicon Labs and the Z-Wave Alliance and its ecosystems will continue to advance the Z-Wave technology roadmap, delivering innovations that engage millions of smart home product users," said Raoul Wijgergangs, Vice President and General Manager of Z-Wave. "Z-Wave is a proven, broadly deployed technology that just reached the milestone of 100 million devices in the market. The acquisition will drive collaboration and expand access to a diverse ecosystem network of partners including Amazon, Alarm.com, ADT, Samsung SmartThings, Yale, Vivint, Google Home and Comcast."

Comcast and Charter form 50/50 partnership for mobile backend

Comcast and Charter announce a 50/50 operating platform partnership focused on the development and design of backend systems that support Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile and Charter’s Spectrum Mobile service. The partnership will be governed by a four-person board of directors, with two directors representing each of Comcast and Charter. The partnership will be based in Philadelphia and will utilize Comcast employees to support the development of the platform on behalf of both companies.

The companies said that while they will continue to develop their respective mobile brands, products, and services, there is an opportunity to work together to develop an efficient and scalable software platform, and related backend systems, which will power each company’s mobile-related customer sales and support platforms, device logistics and warehousing, and billing." The operating platform developed by the partnership will serve as the systems interface for current and any future MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) partners.

Danny Bowman, Chief Mobile Officer for Charter, said, “Our new partnership will enable us to drive faster and more cost-effective mobile product and service enhancements and provide innovative and affordable mobile service to our customers. We are excited about the launch of Spectrum Mobile in the coming months.”

“We have built a best-in-class mobile platform for Xfinity Mobile that is resonating with customers,” said Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer for Comcast. “By collaborating with Charter, we will help drive operational and cost efficiencies for both companies.”

Friday, April 20, 2018

Optelian offer 100G, temperature hardened muxponder

Optelian introduces a 100G hardened (OSP compliant) muxponder designed for 5G upgrades, remote business services access and fiber deep architectures.

Optelian said its new MPX-9103 100G muxponder does not require a temperature controlled shelter or facility. The device can aggregate up to ten 10G client side circuits onto a 100G line side interface.

The 1 RU “pizza box” can use commercially available 100G CFP transceivers for flexibility, including SR, LR and DCO variants from a number of suppliers. It provides full OTN capability.

“Demand is growing for high bit-rate edge devices, so we are excited to launch a best-in-class 100G OSP solution that achieves 100G transport capacity while utilizing the advances in 100G CFP technology,” said Scott Agnew, vice president of R&D, Optelian. “In addition, the MPX-9103 provides the reliability, extended operating temperature and much shallower depth expected for smaller OSP cabinets.”

The MPX-9103 has undergone NEBS qualification and is now commercially available.

Intel cuts water usage in semiconductor manufacturing

Intel is investing in a massive water recycling facility at its plant in Hillsboro, Oregon as part of a corporate goal to return 100 percent of water used in its global manufacturing to communities and watersheds for local use by 2025.

When complete, the huge water recycling plant in Hillsboro, will be able to recycle about 1 billion gallons of water every year – the equivalent of 90,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

See also