Sunday, August 19, 2018

AirTrunk raises AUD$850M for hyperscale data centers in Australia

AirTrunk, a colocation data center operator based in Singapore, announced AUD $850 million (US$621 million) in new financing for a major expansion of its Australian data centers in Sydney and Melbourne, and across key Asia-Pacific markets.

AirTrunk said it is seeing strong customer demand for its hyperscale data center solutions.

The funding was led by Deutsche Bank, with investments from AirTrunk founder and CEO, Robin Khuda, as well as Goldman Sachs and TSSP.

Khuda commented, “We saw a substantial amount of global interest in AirTrunk throughout the process, and are delighted to complete this financing arrangement with Deutsche Bank. Together with the new capital recently contributed by our shareholders, the new funds put us in a strong position to meet the growing demand from large cloud, content and enterprise customers in the Asia-Pacific region.

AirTrunk Melbourne, which opened in November 2017, is designed for large cloud, content and enterprise customers. When fully completed, the data center will have a total capacity in excess of 50 megawatts of IT load across 20 data halls, making it the largest carrier neutral data center in Victoria.

AirTrunk Sydney, which opened in September 2017, promises a total capacity in excess of 80 megawatts of IT load when fully completed, covering 64,000 square metres of floor space.

BT backs Telecom Infra Project's start-up accelerator programme

For the second year in a row, BT will host a start-up competition at the TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Centre (TEAC) at the BT Innovation Labs in Martlesham, Suffolk and in London’s Tech City.

The competition seeks start-ups in the Intent-Based Networking and Mobile fields.  Entries will be judged by a panel of senior network and technology leaders from BT, Facebook, and TIP.Shortlisted companies will be invited to a final pitch event at BT Tower on Friday 12th October, where the winners will be chosen.

Last year's winners included Unmanned Life, Zeetta Networks and KETS Quantum Security.

Howard Watson, CTIO of BT, and a member of the TIP Board, said: “TIP was created to help tackle some of the big challenges in Telecoms, boosting global connectivity by supporting big ideas. We’re particularly interested in start-ups with innovative ideas on how to deploy mobile networks cost-effectively in rural areas, as we look ahead to the roll-out of 5G services.

The Telecom Infra Project is a global community that includes more than 500 member companies, including operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators, and other technology companies working together to transform the traditional approach to building and deploying telecom network infrastructure.

Interested companies should apply by 24th September 2018 via the TEAC UK website: https://www.btplc.com/Innovation/TEAC/index.htm

Verizon and Nokia complete 5G NR mobility call

Verizon and Nokia announced a5G milestone: the first successful transmission of a 3GPP New Radio (NR) 5G signal to a receiver situated in a moving vehicle, seamlessly handing off the signal from one radio sector to another.

The test, which took place at Nokia’s campus in Murray Hill, NJ, used two 5G NR radios on a Nokia building and a third radio/receiver in a vehicle outfitted with equipment to measure transmission statistics. The transmission used 28 GHz spectrum. Seamless 5G NR Layer 3 3GPP-compliant mobility handoffs were achieved between the two sectors (intra-gNB and inter-DU).

“Unlike some of the incremental 5G technology announcements we’ve seen lately, tests like the one we conducted are significant advancements in the development of 5G technology,” said Bill Stone, vice president, Technology Development and Planning for Verizon. “By taking these tests out of the lab and into the field, we’re replicating the experience users will ultimately have in a 5G mobility environment.”

“We are pleased to showcase the acceleration of the mobile capabilities in 5G,” said Marc Rouanne, president, Mobile Networks, Nokia. “Enhanced mobile broadband is one of the first services being delivered on Nokia's end-to-end 5G Future X portfolio. As a result, we can help our customers meet their early 5G deployment schedules and initial coverage demands.”

Verizon is preparing to launch a fixed 5G service in four U.S. markets to deliver broadband and video service. The company has not announced a launch date for a mobile 5G solution.

China Unicom sees growth following mixed ownership reform

China Unicom reported 1H2018 service revenue of to RMB134.4 billion, representing an 8.3% year-on-year growth, topping rivals China Mobile and China Telecom.

EBITDA amounted to RMB45.7 billion, up by 4.9% year-on-year. The profit before income tax reached RMB7.8 billion and the profit attributable to equity shareholders of the company increased by 145% year-on-year to RMB5.9 billion.

China Unicom attributed its improving condition to the mixed ownership reforms undertaken one year ago at the behest of the central government. China Unicom has been increasing its level of collaboration with Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, JD.com and DiDi, especially in outreach areas for the youth market.

Mr. Wang Xiaochu, Chairman and CEO of China Unicom said, “Looking ahead, by unleashing
the unique edges, the Company will persevere in the implementation of the Internet-oriented
operation, creating differentiated competitive advantages. Centred on return and efficiency, and
riding on Internet-oriented operation transformation, the Company strived to enhance total-factor
development efficiency. The Company will enhance its key capability in network, IT and
management on all fronts to provide a solid foundation for the healthy and sustainable
development of various businesses. We will step up investments appropriately for nurturing the
future growth engines. Seizing opportunities afforded by the mixed-ownership reform, we will
deepen strategic cooperation and further advance the system and mechanism reform, accelerating
the delivery of benefits from the reform and comprehensively enhancing the Company’s overall
competitive strengths with a view to creating greater value for shareholders.”

Some highlights:

  • Mobile service revenue reached RMB84.3 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 9.7% 
  • Mobile billing subscribers achieved a net increase of 17.86 million, reaching a total number of 302 million mobile billing subscribers. 
  • Mobile ARPU amounted to RMB47.9, which was largely stable compared to the full year of 2017. 
  • The 4G subscriber base saw a net increase of 28.23 million in 1H2018 to a total of 203 million. 
  • The 4G subscriber market share was up by 3 percentage points year-on-year. 
  • The proportion of 4G subscribers in total mobile billing subscribers increased by 16 percentage points year-on-year to
  • over 67%. 
  • Fixed-line broadband access revenue amounted to RMB21.5 billion, which was largely stable compared to the same period last year.
  • The number of fixed-line broadband subscribers increased by 2.38 million on a net basis to 78.92 million. 
  • Video service subscribers accounted for over 43% of the fixed-line broadband subscribers, up by 10 percentage points year-on-year.
  •  4G BTS: 910K (up by 60K), focus on capacity expansion & experience enhancement
  • Actively deploy 10G PON & other new technologies in Northern China to progressively achieve 1,000Mbps access capability


China Unicom's US$11.7B strategic investment brings advantages


China United Network Communications Group (China Unicom or 中国联通), the fourth largest mobile operator with over 270 million subscribers, recently closed a deal that will bring in US$11.68 billion in cash from top Chinese tech companies. Under the deal, the Shanghai-based holding company of China Unicom, will sell a 35.2% stake worth RMB 78 billion to 14 strategic investors, including the following. The deal is backed by the Chinese government, which...


Ericsson to build IP transport network for 5G in Denmark

Hi3G, which operates under the "3" brand in Denmark, has selected Ericsson to modernize its transport network with 5G-ready routers over the next three years. Deployment begins this autumn.

The new IP Mobile Backhaul transformation project will use Ericsson's Router 6000 platform. Hi3G is already using Ericsson’s MINI-LINK product portfolio, which shares a common management system with Router 6000 series.

Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President and Head of Ericsson in Europe & Latin America, says: “Hi3G is establishing itself as one of the 5G leaders in the region and we are committed to helping them on this journey by building the highest quality network that provides an outstanding user experience. The network is at the heart of 5G and our portfolio – the most complete in the industry – will enable service providers today to evolve smoothly to the next generation of networks.”

Ericsson introduced its Router 6000 platform at Mobile World Congress 2015, but has rarely mentioned it in press briefing since that time.

Ericsson Debuts Next Gen Radio System, Backhaul Routers

Ericsson introduced its next generation Radio System modular architecture, aiming to provide greater flexibility in how mobile networks are built and operated.
Ericsson Radio System features multi-standard, multi-band and multi-layer technology. It delivers three times the capacity density with 50 percent improvement in energy efficiency compared to current systems.

Ericsson also took the wraps off its new Router 6000 series advanced radio integrated transport for high-performance backhaul with precise synchronization required LTE Advanced, 5G and M2M.

The new Router 6000 series is a key element in Ericsson's next-generation portfolio, a comprehensive suite of platforms running one network operating system (IPOS), spanning from cell-site routers to edge, mobile core and data centers. The architecture will integrate SDN capabilities and, when matched with the new Ericsson Virtual Router, will enable distributed cloud applications. New Ericsson Network Manager capabilities will bring application aware traffic engineering with plug-and-play installation.

"The Ericsson Router 6000 series is a game changer since it responds directly to operators' challenges of  dramatic increase in the number of connected devices, and the video explosion driving the demand for traffic scale and higher quality of experience," said Anders Lindblad, Senior Vice President, Head of Business Unit Cloud and IP at Ericsson.

Some highlights of the Ericsson Router 6000 series:

  • Integrated into the new Ericsson Radio System that supports a multi-standard, multi-band, multi-layer architecture
  • Series consists of the Router 6672 for access, the Router 6675 for pre-aggregation and the Router 6274 for metro aggregation.
  • First access router with 100GE interfaces in a single Rack Unit (RU) -- more capacity and higher density of 10GE/100GE interfaces in a compact form factor.
  • Support for Segment Routing provides an evolutionary migration from IP/MPLS to SDN, offering user-defined policy routing, faster roll out of revenue generating services and optimal usage of network resources.

MIT: Lincoln Lab looks to narrow-beam lasers for underwater comms

Researchers at Lincoln Laboratory are investigating laser technology for underwater communications. The work builds on the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) project conducted with NASA, which successfully transmitted data from a satellite orbiting the moon to Earth at 622 Mbps.

Researchers are using narrow-beam optics to help overcome the significant absorption and scattering effects of water.

This technique contrasts with the more common undersea communication approach that sends the transmit beam over a wide angle but reduces the achievable range and data rate. “By demonstrating that we can successfully acquire and track narrow optical beams between two mobile vehicles, we have taken an important step toward proving the feasibility of the laboratory’s approach to achieving undersea communication that is 10,000 times more efficient than other modern approaches,” says Scott Hamilton, leader of the Optical Communications Technology Group, which is directing this R&D into undersea communication.



Ericsson demos 5G at mall in Saudi Arabia with Mobily

Ericsson and Saudi telecom operator Mobily and Ericsson are showcasing 5G at the Mall of Arabia in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The demo features a standalone end-to-end 5G system, including a prototype 3.5GHz radio, baseband, and prototype UE device for the 5G demo, which showcased 5G throughput, targeting speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Mazid Al Harbi, CTO of Mobily, says: “We are wholly supportive of Saudi Vision 2030 and the push towards enhancing our digital economy. Our investment in 5G is demonstrative of our commitment to improving network performance and enhancing the customer experience across Saudi Arabia. Our partnership with Ericsson enables us to provide a state-of-the art scalable network to serve consumers and industries across Saudi Arabia now and in the 5G future.”

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Google Cloud Platform: Building a Hybrid Render Farm

Google Cloud Platform posted an online guide for building a render farm using its scalable architecture.

Render farms, which are needed by content creators for outputting digital productions, can be very expensive to build on-premise and require a lot of electricity to run.

GCP is now enabling render applications to scale from 2- or 4-core VMs all the way to a 160-core VM with up to 3844 GB of RAM. Up to 8 GPUs may be attached to any VM to create a GPU farm.

https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/gcp/building-a-hybrid-render-farm-on-gcp-new-guide-available


Gartner highlights emerging risks for cloud computing, including GDPR

In its latest quarterly Emerging Risks Report, Gartner highlights a number of new risks for enterprises in using cloud resources, including new risks from cybersecurity threats, information disclosure leaks, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. The report is based on a survey of 110 senior executives in risk, audit, finance and compliance at large global organizations.

Gartner identifies social engineering and GDPR compliance as "most likely to cause the greatest enterprise damage if not adequately addressed by risk management leaders." Enterprises are also continuing to struggle with cybersecurity.

Nevertheless, the research consultancy remains bullish on the growth of cloud services, predicting cloud computing to be a $300 billion business by 2021.

https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-08-15-gartner-says-cloud-computing-remains-top-emerging-business-risk


Berlin Commercial Internet Exchange deploys Coriant Groove G30

The Berlin Commercial Internet Exchange (BCIX), Berlin’s leading Internet Exchange Point, has selected the Coriant Groove G30 Network Disaggregation Platform to scale its distributed peering infrastructure. BCIX will use the Coriant platform to connect major data centers across Berlin. High-capacity neutral exchange services will include 100G Data Center Interconnect (DCI).

“The German economy continues to experience strong growth. The year over year doubling of IP traffic volumes we are seeing in the nation’s capital is further evidence of a robust business environment,” said Christian Kroeger, Managing Director, BCIX Management GmbH. “To meet the evolving high-speed connectivity demands of our customers, we are boosting the scalability of our backbone network with the Coriant Groove G30. After rigorous testing and analysis of competitive offerings, the Coriant solution demonstrated superior performance and flexibility, and met our stringent performance requirements for scalable, resilient, and low latency transport.”

Coriant said its flexible plug-and-play modular architecture and the recent introduction of a new Coherent Multiservice Sled, enables its Groove G30 solution to provide BCIX with a seamless and cost-effective path to higher interconnect speeds, including 400G client side and 600G line side transmission – without the need for forklift upgrades or costly and complex flexi-grid ROADMs.

“Berlin is an important internet hub not only for Germany, but also for the rest of Europe, and BCIX plays a critical role as a nexus point connecting many of the world’s most recognized brands and tech giants,” said Ronald Van der Kraan, Managing Director, Europe, Coriant. "We are excited to be working closely with BCIX as they enhance their customer value proposition and extend their market leadership as a premier provider of high-capacity internet exchange services.”

Coriant debuts 1.2 Tbps modular sled for its Groove G3

Coriant introduced a new Coherent Multiservice Sled for its Groove G30 Network Disaggregation Platform.

The new 1.2 Tbps modular sled leverages advances in integrated photonics and the latest 16nm coherent DSP.

Coriant said its new Groove G30 Coherent Multiservice Sled enables the platform to achieve new performance benchmarks, including:

  • Highest density – 9.6 Tbps of capacity in a compact and highly modular 1RU, a 2X improvement over the closest comparable solution; delivers unprecedented OpEx savings as networks scale
  • Lowest power consumption – the Groove G30 Coherent Multiservice Sled requires only 0.16 watts per gigabit of power, representing up to half the power consumption of competing solutions
  • Advanced programmability – programmable baud rate (30-70G baud), FEC (0-27%), and modulation depth (QPSK to 64QAM) enable operators to fine-tune and cost-optimize any transport application for the optimal spectral efficiency, lowest latency, and required transparent reach
  • Unmatched speed and reach – 600 Gbps single wavelength transmission for DCI and metro applications (up to 38.4 Tbps of capacity per fiber); 400 Gbps up to 1,000 kilometers, and 200 Gbps up to 4,000 kilometers for long-haul applications

Telstra posts declining profitability, impact from nbn

Telstra reported flat  FY18 revenue of AU$26 billion, with EBITDA declining by 5.2 percent to AU$10.1 billion. Net profit was AU$3.5 billion, down by 9 percent from AU$3.9 billion in FY17.

The company attributed its declining profit to the National Broadband Network (nbn) and mobile competition.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the results showed strong customer growth for the year and good progress on Telstra’s productivity program, however, the continued downward pressure on EBITDA and NPAT caused by the further rollout of the nbn and lower Average Revenue per User (ARPU) clearly reinforced the importance of the T22 strategy.

“We have seen strong subscriber growth, particularly in the second half of the year, adding 342,000 retail mobile customers, 88,000 retail fixed broadband customers and 135,000 retail bundles during FY18,” Penn said. “Despite this, the challenging trading conditions are expected to continue in FY19, including ongoing pressure on ARPU and further negative impact of the nbn network rollout on our underlying earnings.

Some highlights for the first half of the year

  • Mobile net adds - 235,000 retail mobile customers including 130,000 postpaid handheld; churn 10.9%
  • 21,000 Belong mobile; +118,000 wholesale mobile customers
  • underlying core fixed costs declined 7.2% 
  • Fixed EBITDA (ex nbn C2C1)-29% negatively impacted by growing nbn network payments and loss of wholesale margins. 
  • nbn impact in period $370m; $870m life to date 
  • >1m Telstra TVs
  • >1.5m AFL, NRL, Netball Telstra Live Sports Pass users
  • New nbn connections +454,000 (market share 51%, ex- satellite); retail bundle adds +57,000
  • Mobile service revenue -1.2% with post-paid 
  • handheld ARPU -2.9%
  • Global connectivity revenue +6.7% (LC)



NVIDIA posts 40% sales growth in Q2 but warns on crypto sales

NVIDIA reported revenue of $3.12 billion for its second quarter ended July 29, 2018, up 40 percent from $2.23 billion a year earlier, and down 3 percent from $3.21 billion in the previous quarter.
GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were $1.76, up 91 percent from $0.92 a year ago and down 11 percent from $1.98 in the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $1.94, up 92 percent from $1.01 a year earlier and down 5 percent from $2.05 in the previous quarter.

“Growth across every platform - AI, Gaming, Professional Visualization, self-driving cars - drove another great quarter,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. “Fueling our growth is the widening gap between demand for computing across every industry and the limits reached by traditional computing. Developers are jumping on the GPU-accelerated computing model that we pioneered for the boost they need.

However, Colette Kress, NVIDIA's CFO, warned that boom in sales for crypto mining applications is over. In a prepared statement on the company's investor call she said "“Our revenue outlook had anticipated cryptocurrency-specific products declining to approximately $100 million, while actual crypto-specific product revenue was $18 million.”

For its data centers category, quarterly sales amounted to $760 million, driven by demand from hyperscale customers.

Intel acquires Vertex.AI for deep learning

Intel has acquired Vertex.AI, a start-up based in Seattle, for its work in deep learning. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Vertex.AI has contributed to the PlaidML deep learning open source project, which Intel plans to transition to the Apache 2.0 license.

Vertex.AI is now part of Intel’s Artificial Intelligence Products Group.

FWD: Intel's data center connectivity ambitions

Intel's Data Center Innovation Summit this week in Silicon Valley, which coincided with the annual Flash Memory Summit across the street at the Santa Clara Convention Center, was the company's big event for resetting expectations about its strategic direction inside the data center.

Everyone knows that big data is the new hot commodity of our times, and that data centers are repositories where the new wealth is extracted and refined. Intel already dominates workload processing in this space with its well-entrenched Xeon franchise. Its new Optane storage promises to redefine the storage hierarchy in the data center. The third leg of the stool is communications, and while Intel has deep roots in Ethernet and network adapters, it has been burned before in trying to capture the switching and transport components of the data center.

Intel's ambition is now clear -- to offer an end-to-end data center connectivity portfolio, leveraging its FPGA technology (the Altera acquisition) with its homegrown silicon photonics technology, to capture the $11 billion data center connectivity opportunity.

The following slides were captured from Intel's daylong keynotes, which are now archived here:

http://intelstudios.edgesuite.net/180808_dcis/index.html
.




Intel has some of these pieces of the puzzle already, especially its Ethernet network interface cards and FPGA-based acceleration cards. Earlier this year, Intel confirmed that FPGA-powered accelerator cards will be a range of Xeon powered servers this year from major OEMs, including Dell EMC and Fujitsu. 



The new component announced this week is a family of SmartNICs designed to offload workloads such as firewalling or load balancing from the local server processor or inline dedicated appliance.  Intel plans to introduced a 2x25 Gbps SmartNIC, followed by a 100 GigE model.  

A number of vendors already offer SmartNIC products, including ones powered by FPGAs, and hyperscale cloud companies, including Microsoft and Baidu, have talked of their SmartNICs for supercharging their data center networks. Intel thinks this trend is just beginning and that the industry will soon see programmable NICs re-directing network traffic and orchestrating the movement of VMs and containers between available resources.



Intel's new expectation is that FPGA, whether in SmartNICs or acceleration boards, will become a standard part of the infrastructure for applications from AI to video processing.



The second major component of Intel's data center connectivity strategy is Silicon Photonics, where it claims an advantage gained from years of R&D into integrating and manufacturing lasers with Indium Phosphide.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

FWD: Intel focuses on Data-Centric Innovation

For months, many market watchers have described Intel as complacent as we've seen the surge in new products from companies such as ARM, NVIDIA and Xilinx. This week, Intel is hitting back. At an all-day media and analyst event at its headquarters in Santa Clara, California, Intel executives laid out their plans for extending the strength of the Xeon product family in data centers to the new frontiers of AI, network transformation, 5G, and supercomputing.

Navin Shenoy, executive vice president at Intel, kicked off the event with the roadmap showing how Xeon has come to dominate the server business and where it is headed next. 

The big takeaways from the events are:

(1) the new frontiers are enormous economic opportunities for silicon developers 
(2) Intel will integrate its Optane persistent memory with its Xeon processors 
(3) Intel is working directly with hyperscale cloud service providers to develop custom silicon 
(4) Intel is entering the SmartNICs business 
(5) the edge presents the opportunity to rebuild the central telco office

Video from all ten of the Data Centric Summit keynotes will be posted later this week to the Intel investor relations website:  http://intelstudios.edgesuite.net/180808_dcis/index.html

Here are some observations from the event.


Due to new projections about autonomous vehicles, and the impact of its Optane memory technology, Intel is raising its forecast for the total addressable market:



Network traffic trends are inescapable, especially east-west traffic in data centers.


 The market for network logic silicon could be worth $24 billion in just four years. Today, Intel has a growing share in silicon for the networking market but still was under 19% for 2017. 



 The biggest point of differentiation for Intel will be to leverage its Optane 3D memory technology to change the current compute-storage-network paradigm.




 Intel's goal is not just faster Xeon processors, but better ways of story and moving data.




The next iteration of Xeon is codenamed Cascade Lake and is optimized for AI with the Optane persistent memory. Intel expects an 11X improvement in inference performance.



 Here is a sneak peek at the roadmap.
 
  


The connectivity opportunity is growing at a 25% CAGR. It gives Intel a window to capture a greater share of the overall data center architecture.



to be continued 

Cisco delivers strong sales growth of 6%

Cisco reported revenue of $12.8 billion for its fourth quarter of FY 18, up 6% year-over-year -- its strongest sales growth in a while. Revenue growth in the 5% to 7% range is also forecast for this quarter (1Q FY 19)

GAAP net income was $3.8 billion or $0.81 per share, and non-GAAP net income was $3.3 billion or $0.70 per share.

"We had a very strong finish to a great year and generated our highest quarterly revenue of $12.8 billion," said Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO of Cisco. "Our results demonstrate a combination of strong customer adoption of our latest innovations, the ongoing value customers see in our software and subscription offerings, and excellent execution across our customer segments and geographies. Our strategy is working and we believe that are well-positioned to capture growth across our portfolio with our pipeline of innovation."

Some highlights

  • Product revenue was up 7%
  • Service revenue was up 3%. 
  • Recurring revenue as a percentage of total revenue was 32%, up 1 point year over year. 
  • Revenue by geographic segment was: Americas up 5%, EMEA up 8%, and APJC up 6%. 
  • Product revenue performance was generally broad based with growth in Security, up 12%, Applications, up 10%, and Infrastructure Platforms, up 7%.
  • By customer segment, enterprise was up 11%, commercial was up 9%, public sector was up 1% and service provider return to grow, up 6%. 
  • On a GAAP basis, total gross margin, product gross margin, and service gross margin were 61.7%, 60.2%, and 66.0%, respectively, as compared with 62.2%, 60.3%, and 67.8%, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2017.
  • Deferred revenue amounted to $19.7 billion, up 6% in total, with deferred product revenue up 15%, driven largely by subscription-based and software offers, and deferred service revenue was up 1%. The portion of deferred product revenue related to recurring software and subscription offers increased 23%.
  • Ended Q4 with $46.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents
  • For the full FY18, revenue amounted to $49.3 billion, up 3%. Operating cash flow was $13.7 billion.
  • The Catalyst 9000 remains the fastest ramping product in company history. At the end of the quarter, there were over 9,650 customers

Telstra activates 5G pilot sites on Gold Coast

Telstra has turned on 5G in selected areas on the Gold Coast. The pilot sites use Telstra's licensed 3.4GHz spectrum and are connected to its new modernised production core network.
Telstra aims to have 200 5G-capable sites live around the country by the end of 2018.

In a blog post, Channa Seneviratne, Executive Director, Network and Infrastructure Engineering - Telstra Operations, discusses milestones in Telstra's network evolution, including:

  • open the 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast earlier this year
  • activating the world’s first precinct of 5G-enabled WiFi hotspots 
  • Australia’s first Connected Car, 
  • the world’s first end-to-end 5G data call on a commercial mobile network.

https://exchange.telstra.com.au/telstra-turns-on-5g/?ref=BP_MANUAL_TEL_EXCH_gold-coast-5g-switch-on_160818


F5 introduces VNF Manager

F5 Networks introduced a VNF Manager as part of a prepacked software-defined networking solution based on its BIG-IP capabilities.

The company said its goal is to make VNFs simple to purchase, deploy, manage, and upgrade in a “pay as you grow” model with subscription and perpetual licensing options. To help maximize utilization, resources can be automated and tailored for current initiatives, empowering customers to create, spin up, spin down, and add capacity to F5 VNF services immediately and automatically—all through the integrated F5 VNF Manager.

"Service provider organizations have plenty of options when it comes to virtualizing elements of their network, but what they haven’t had previously is a package that delivers consumption-based pricing that can be tied directly to business outcomes,” said James Feger, VP and General Manager of F5’s Service Provider business. “Beyond just VNFs and basic service management, F5’s new offering provides a preconfigured solution that gives customers push-button ease-of-use for capacity thresholds, along with service programmability and orchestration capabilities for specialized requirements.”

Some highlights:

  • Service providers can introduce differentiated services with flexible VNF service layering and programmable service chaining to expand network capabilities without sacrificing control. Preconfigured solutions support auto-scaling.
  • Network planning, sizing, and deployments can be accelerated with F5’s capacity-based consumption models and automation features, maximizing operational flexibility around elements such as the mobile core and virtual edge. In addition, the solution enables portable VNFs that can be easily moved as needed throughout the network.
  • F5’s automated, capacity-based NFV capabilities reduce the risk (and expense) of both underutilization and overprovisioning.

A10 Networks selected for 5G pilot in Japan

A major Japanese mobile carrier has selected the A10 Thunder Convergent Firewall (CFW) Gi/SGi firewall solution for a 5G pilot network, to complement the massive capacity demands of their existing mobile network and help lay the foundation for the mobile carrier’s 5G production network, expected to become commercially available beginning in 2020. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Japanese carrier has previously deployed A10's solutions to deliver a variety of security and networking services, such as application delivery, IPv4 preservation/IPv6 migration technologies, DDoS protection and Threat Intelligence.

A10 said its expanded relationship with this customer includes the Thunder CFW Gi/SGi firewall 5G-GiLANTM solution to scale and secure its GiLAN, and which will serve as the backbone network for data communication services of the carrier’s 5G network.

Highlights of the enhanced A10 Thunder CFW 5G-GiLAN solution include:

  • GiLAN Consolidation - Consolidates GiFW, CGNAT, application visibility and intelligent traffic steering to increase operational efficiency and better security on the GiLAN.
  • Application Visibility & Control - DPI-based L7 application visibility for effective policy enforcement and control provides enhanced Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) support and compliance.
  • Intelligent Traffic Steering - Subscriber-aware traffic steering to enhance new business models with differentiated service offerings for new revenue streams.
  • GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GTP) Support - GTP Firewall with granular SCTP filtering defends the mobile core against GTP-based attacks initiated from RAN or GRX/IPX networks.
  • Accelerates Adoption of SDN/NFV - Achieve on-demand capacity with versatile software options (PNFs, VNFs, Containers and Bare Metal) across SDN/NFV environments. Supports A10 FlexPool subscription-based capacity pooling licensing model for flexible consumption.
  • A10 Thunder CFW provides a consolidated and secure 5G-GiLAN solution for an effective defense against attacks by delivering comprehensive mobile core infrastructure protection. Thunder CFW also helps customers achieve superior levels of performance, scalability and visibility, along with exceptionally high firewall connection rates in a compact form factor.

"We continue to work very closely with global carriers to enable them to lead the way with their 5G rollouts. This is demonstrating our trusted partnership and continued leadership to help carriers accelerate network transformation to 5G," said Lee Chen, CEO of A10 Networks. “The A10 Thunder CFW provides service providers with a highly scalable, consolidated and secure 5G-GiLAN solution for a comprehensive network defense, with automation for improved business agility, faster network rollout and overall reduction of TCO."


SK Telecom installs Xilinx FPGAs for AI acceleration in data centers

SK Telecom is running artificial intelligence (AI) acceleration boards powered Xilinx FPGAs in its data center.

The Xilinx Kintex UltraScale FPGAs are now running SKT's automatic speech recognition (ASR) application to accelerate NUGU, its voice-activated assistant. The Xilinx FPGA add-in cards are installed in existing CPU-only servers.

The company reports up to 5X higher performance in ASR applications when compared to GPUs, and more importantly, 16X better performance-per-watt. This is the first commercial adoption of FPGA accelerators in the AI domain for large-scale data centers in South Korea.

"Over many years we have seen the shape of the industry evolve, and we are proud to be at the forefront of developing AI accelerators. By designing our solution based on the Xilinx KCU1500 board and our own bitstream image, we have developed a cost-effective, high-performance application," said Kang-Won Lee, senior vice president, software research and development center at SKT.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to deploy Xilinx FPGAs to SKT's AI data center, a first in South Korea," said Manish Muthal, vice president, marketing for data center at Xilinx. "Xilinx Kintex UltraScale KCU1500 FPGAs show that Xilinx has a major competitive edge in applications. Xilinx will continue to focus its technological capabilities and innovations on data center acceleration."