Saturday, August 25, 2018

Huawei Marine to supply subsea cable for Mexico's Baja California

Huawei Marine has begun marine survey work on behalf of Megacable, a Mexican cable operator, for a subsea cable connecting Baja California to the mainland across the Sea of Cortez.

The Topolobambo – La Paz submarine cable system will provide more stable and low-latency communication for La Paz, Mexico’s second largest tourist destination.

The companies noted that the Baja California peninsula is currently served by aerial optical cables across the terrestrial route to the mainland, and that the current infrastructure is prone to frequent failures of the aerial cable.

“With the La Paz project Huawei Marine’s technology and service capabilities are once again recognized by customers in Latin America,” said Zhaofeng Chen, Planning Design Director of Huawei Marine. “The terrain and environment in the Gulf and Peninsula region is complex and places high requirements on the design and construction of the submarine cable. Huawei Marine’s rich experience in working on difficult projects around the world will ensure the Topolobambo – La Paz project will be completed smoothly."

AT&T tests LTE-connected drones for medical deliveries

AT&T is testing LTE-connected drones for delivering temperature-sensitive medicines.

AT&T participated in a field trial in Puerto Rico with Merck and Softbox, which developed a thermal-insulated packaging system called "Skypod" that integrates AT&T's Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

Softbox, based in the UK, provides specialist temperature control packaging to the pharmaceutical industry.

"Merck is pleased to collaborate on this innovative new model for delivering medicines to patients in areas affected by natural disasters," said Brenda Colatrella, executive director, Corporate Responsibility at Merck. "We're proud of our long history of expanding access to our medicines and vaccines and collaborating to provide humanitarian assistance. The drone test flights give us hope that we will be able to provide a reliable supply of our medicines for disaster."

The AT&T Global SIM and AT&T Control Center connect and manage the Skypod's sensor data transmission. The web and mobile app reporting dashboard uses the AT&T Asset Management Operations Center.

The drone is also connected to the AT&T network, providing a communications path for flight plan and telemetry data between the drone and ground control system.

Last year, AT&T deployed the helicopter Flying COW (Cell on Wings, cell site on a drone) in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. It was the first time a drone had been used to connect residents with their mobile phone services after a disaster.

"With the 2018 hurricane season upon us, we are thinking about the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria last year. This trial is a fantastic example of 'IoT for Good,' showcasing that it's possible for connected medical drones to deliver vital medicines to people in times of disaster," said AT&T Region President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, John Vladimir Slamecka.

ZAIN Iraq picks Ericsson for RAN upgrade

Zain Iraq selected Ericsson to upgrade a number of its legacy sites with Ericsson Radio System.

Under the contract, Ericsson will provide higher capacity and improve network performance.

Ali Al Zahid, Zain Iraq Chief Executive Officer, says “Zain is committed to bringing the latest technology and cutting-edge services to its customers.  Upgrading current networks with the latest technology to cater for increasing traffic volumes and enhanced customer experience is a key priority. It also reflects our commitment to providing the mobile community in Iraq with the highest quality of service available.

Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Market Area Middle East and Africa, says: “I am glad that we continue a good cooperation with our long-term partner Zain.  This new contract will accelerate Zain’s digital journey and build its digital infrastructure with the introduction of new services and virtual functions.  This will enable Zain to deliver the best possible user experience in two major cities in Iraq and meet the data demands of tomorrow in a timely manner."

Friday, August 24, 2018

Broadcom gains HSR approval for CA Technologies acquisition

Broadcom announced that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 has expired with respect to the proposed acquisition of CA Technologies (NASDAQ: CA).

Expiration of the waiting period under the HSR Act satisfies one of the conditions to the closing of the pending transaction, which was announced on July 11, 2018.

Broadcom believes it will be able to complete the merger in the fourth calendar quarter of 2018.

Broadcom to acquire CA Technologies for $18.9 billion

Broadcom agreed to acquire CA Technologies (NASDAQ: CA) for $44.50 per share in cash, representing an enterprise value of $18.9 billion -- a premium of approximately 20% to the closing price of CA common stock on July 11, 2018.

CA, which was founded by Charles Wang and Russell Artzt in 1976 and formerly known as Computer Associates,  is one of the world's leading providers of information technology (IT) management software and solutions. The company is based in New York City and is primarily known for its B2B mainframe, distributed computing, and enterprise software.

Broadcom notes that CA benefits from predictable and recurring revenues with the average duration of bookings exceeding three years.

Hock Tan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Broadcom, said, "This transaction represents an important building block as we create one of the world's leading infrastructure technology companies. With its sizeable installed base of customers, CA is uniquely positioned across the growing and fragmented infrastructure software market, and its mainframe and enterprise software franchises will add to our portfolio of mission critical technology businesses. We intend to continue to strengthen these franchises to meet the growing demand for infrastructure software solutions."

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Vertical Systems: Mid-Year 2018 U.S. Carrier Ethernet LEADERBOARD

Vertical Systems Group released its Mid-year 2018 U.S. Carrier Ethernet LEADERBOARD listing the top seven carriers, in rank order based on retail port share, as follows: CenturyLink, AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, Comcast, Windstream and Cox.

To qualify for the LEADERBOARD, providers must have four percent (4%) or more of the U.S. Ethernet services market. Shares are measured by the number of customer ports in service as tracked by Vertical Systems Group, with input from surveys of Ethernet providers.

"After a flurry of M&A activity during the past two years, the Ethernet marketplace stabilized during the first half of 2018," said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group. "U.S. port growth was more than 6 percent for the period, with accelerating deployments of multi-gigabit speed services. Most providers experienced acute price compression across all data rates, partially offsetting the revenue typically generated from higher speed services. All providers are grappling with longer sales cycles due to SD-WAN, however the impact on the U.S. Ethernet base has been negligible to date."

Other providers selling Ethernet services in the U.S. are segmented into two tiers as measured by port share. The first or Challenge Tier includes providers with between 1% and 4% share of the U.S. retail Ethernet market. For Mid-Year 2018, the following companies attained a position in the Challenge Tier (in alphabetical order): Altice USA, Cogent, Frontier, GTT, Sprint and Zayo.

Dell'Oro: ZTE ban impacted Q2 Optical transport equipment market

The Optical Transport network equipment market declined in 2Q18 due to the ZTE ban, according to a recently published report from Dell’Oro Group

As a result of the ZTE ban, revenue from China declined 13 percent year-over-year.

“The optical transport network equipment market year-over-year decline in 2Q18 was entirely due to fewer sales into China,” said Jimmy Yu, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group. “Demand outside of China continued to improve, which is a great sign for the overall market health.  Now that the ZTE ban has been lifted, we think optical revenue from China will increase substantially in the second half of the year,” added Yu.

Additional highlights from the 2Q18 Optical Transport Quarterly Report:

  • Huawei held the highest Optical Transport market share in the quarter followed by Ciena and Nokia.
  • Demand for interconnecting data centers (DCI) with WDM links maintained a high growth rate. We estimate DCI grew nearly 40 percent year-over-year, driven by both U.S. and Chinese based internet content providers.
  • Deployment of 200 Gbps coherent wavelengths was exceptionally strong in the quarter. Due to the tidal shift towards wavelength speeds higher than 100 Gbps, we predict 200 Gbps shipments will be two-times higher in 2018, and revenue contribution from 100 Gbps shipments will slow further.

Dell'Oro: SD-WAN market to grow at 35% CAGR for next 5 years

Dell’Oro Group is predicting that the sales of Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technologies will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 35 percent over the next five years. A new Dell'Oro report forecasts the sales of SD-WAN software to grow at almost double the rate of hardware.

“The SD-WAN software components are the key differentiators of vendors’ offerings, and we expect controller and virtualized network functions software revenue to account for the large majority of the market size,” said Shin Umeda, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group. “Over time, software innovation will drive the SD-WAN market while hardware will increasingly be commoditized,” added Umeda.

Dell’Oro Group’s Advanced Research: SD-WAN Report forecast is based on a bottoms-up methodology and includes details of the hardware and software components required for full SD-WAN implementation separated into enterprise and telecom market segments.

This new advanced research report also forecasts the SD-WAN market by the type of customer deployments.

  • Sales of SD-WAN solutions to Enterprises will account for the largest portion of the market over the next five years.
  • Service Provider SD-WAN deployments for the purposes of managed services will grow at an average annual rate over 40 percent over the next five years.

IDC: NFVI revenues to hit $5.6 billion in 2022

Worldwide NVFI revenues were just $564 million in 2017 but will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 58.1% over the 2017-2022 forecast period, reaching $5.6 billion in 2022, according to a new study from IDC.

In defining NFVI, IDC relies on ETSI's proposed architecture to identify five segments: software-defined compute, networking, storage, management, and orchestration. IDC expects the orchestration segment will be the fastest growing, driven by the need to orchestrate network services dynamically across an increasingly complex smorgasbord of network functions – both physical and virtual – potentially across several vertical domains. Software-defined networking is also likely to grow significantly, driven by the growing need to programmatically manage network flows in response to a dynamic market and an application/use case environment – both within the telco cloud datacenter and across telco cloud deployments to manage services flows.

From a domain perspective, wireless infrastructure is the largest contributor to the NFVI forecast today and will continue to be the largest contributor throughout the forecast, followed by routing. 5G will be a big driver of wireless infrastructure NFVI growth, while the move to virtual routing in edge and access use cases will enable routing NFVI growth to outperform the overall market.

"Communications service providers globally recognize the need to digitally transform their network infrastructure and build more customer-centric business models. Embracing software-defined networking principles and deploying network functions in virtualized form factors are a strategic necessity not only for carriers as they invest in their future but also for vendors supplying those solutions to the market," said Rajesh Ghai, research director, Carrier Network Infrastructure research at IDC. "NFVI is the foundation on which this vision rests and this forecast is IDC's first effort to size this strategically important segment of carrier network infrastructure."

Alicloud posts US$710 million in Q2 revenue, up 93% yoy

Alibaba's Cloud Computing division recorded revenue of RMB 4,698 billion (US$710 million) for Q2 2018, up 93% over the same period last year.

EBITA was RMB (488) million, reflecting a margin of -10% for the division.

Overall, the Alibaba Group achieved quarterly revenue of RMB 80,920 million (US$12,229 million), an increase of 61% year-over-year.

Some other highlights:

  • Revenue from digital media and entertainment increased 46% year-over-year to RMB5,975 million (US$903 million).
  • Annual active consumers on China retail marketplaces reached 576 million, an increase of 24 million from the 12-month period ended March 31, 2018. 
  • Mobile MAUs on our China retail marketplaces reached 634 million in June 2018, an increase of 17 million over March 2018.

“We delivered another great quarter with 61% revenue growth as well as strong profit growth, excluding one-time items. We are pleased with the strength and rapid growth of our business at such significant scale,” said Maggie Wu, Chief Financial Officer of Alibaba Group. “The exceptional growth across our major segments of core commerce, cloud computing and digital media and entertainment validates our strategy of investing in customer experience, product, technology and infrastructure for the future."

CBRS Alliance passes 100-Member Milestone

The CBRS Alliance, an industry organization focused on driving the development, commercialization, and adoption of "OnGo" shared spectrum solutions, now has over 100 member organizations.

The CBRS Alliance, which is now two years old, two-year anniversary, also announced the establishment of its Deployment and Operations (D&O) Working Group (WG), to be chaired by Piyush Raj, Director Technology Innovation, American Tower – the largest U.S. owner and operator of wireless communications infrastructure – and Boingo Wireless Chief Technology Officer Dr. Derek Peterson. The fifth working group of the CBRS Alliance will be focused on identifying, defining and implementing end-to-end deployment models and operational best practices for OnGo connectivity, including the interconnections between networks, network operators, and roaming hubs.

“This incredible momentum we’ve achieved in a short two-year timespan is thanks to the energy and dedication of the working groups and member companies within the CBRS Alliance,” said Dave Wright, President of the CBRS Alliance. “Today’s establishment of the D&O WG and achievement of our 100-member milestone are both evidence of continued progress toward the commercialization of OnGo.”

Compliance testing begins for Citizen’s Broadband Radio Service

The Wireless Innovation Forum (WInnForum) has approved the first six test labs for Citizen’s Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) device testing:

  • Bureau Veritas Consumer Products Services (Hong Kong) Ltd., Taoyuan Branch, Mobile Communications
  • DEKRA Certification, Inc.
  • Nemko (multiple approved locations)
  • Nokia Global Product Compliance Laboratory
  • Sporton International Inc.
  • TUV SUD Canada

“WInnForum is excited to have approved the first six labs for CBSD testing,” said Lee Pucker, CEO of the WInnForum. “Approval of WInnForum standards certified test labs provides a significant step towards commercialization of the CBRS Band. These approvals are considered the first wave of WInnForum CBRS Approved test labs with more to follow.”

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be certifying CBSDs against CFR 47 Part 96 using FCC Authorized Test Labs.

Accordingly, the WInnForum is facilitating CBSD certification testing, against this test specification by approving FCC approved test labs to run the WInnForum CBSD tests.

Verizon deploys LTE over CBRS spectrum

Verizon announced 4G LTE over CBRS spectrum (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) using its live commercial network in Florida. The deployment uses a combination of Verizon licensed AWS and 700 MHz spectrum aggregated with 50 MHz of CBRS band 48 spectrum.  Verizon said it has achieved peak speeds of 790 Mbps using LTE Advanced features including multiple antennas, 256 QAM, and carrier aggregation across the shared and licensed spectrum. ...

Ten baseline specifications for commercial operations within the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band are now ready to go. CBRS Operational and Functional Requirements CBRS Communications Security Technical Specification CBRS Operational Security Technical Specification SAS to CBSD Protocol Specification SAS to SAS Protocol Specification SAS Test and Certification Specification PAL Database Specification  CBRS PKI Certificate...

SAIC picks CyrusOne as preferred data center in Virginia

Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) will relocate one of its two data centers to a CyrusOne data center in Northern Virginia by the first half of 2019.

“During the past seven years, CyrusOne and SAIC have developed a strong relationship that will continue to grow with our new long-term lease agreement,” said SAIC Chief Information Officer Bob Fecteau. “By widening the geographical distance between our data centers, we are improving business continuity and reducing risk.”

“We are elated to utilize our knowledge of the federal contract landscape to provide SAIC and other members of the integrator community with data centers that meet the unique needs of the contracting landscape, such as FISMA high-compliance requirements,” said John Gould, executive vice president, global sales, CyrusOne. “While we provide the space, power and cooling required by our integrator partners, SAIC provides all the integration services required to meet agency needs. This unique model positions CyrusOne to support future, federal data center consolidation efforts for the entire integrator community.”

CyrusOne buys land for another data center in northern VA

CyrusOne has purchased land and a newly-built, powered shell for an enterprise data center in Sterling, Virginia -- its fourth data center campus in the region. The first phase of the facility should be ready in Q1 2019. It will eventually provide 33 megawatts of available power. The new data center brings CyrusOne’s total power capacity in Northern Virginia to over 160 megawatts. "Hyperscalers demand warp speed, and we’re proud to be accelerating...

CyrusOne Breaks Ground on Huge Data Center in Sterling, Virginia

CyrusOne broke ground on a 654,000 square foot data center in Sterling, Virginia -- its fifth data center in the Northern Virginia market.

CyrusOne said its new data center will have direct access to one of the largest fiber hubs in the United States as well as offer interconnectivity to the CyrusOne National Internet Exchange (IX) to reach other CyrusOne locations across the country.

“The start of construction on the Northern Virginia Sterling V data center is another major milestone for CyrusOne,” said Kevin Timmons, chief technology officer, CyrusOne. “Our rapid expansion in Northern Virginia is indicative of the growing need for our hyper-speed and hyper-scalable data center solutions. We pride ourselves on building large scale data centers at record speeds and look forward to expanding our services quickly while also continuing to make major investments in Loudon County.”

LITE-ON Storage develops ruler-style SSD for OCP

LITE-ON Storage is developing a "ruler style" EDSFF 1U solid-state drive (SSD) in conjunction with CNEX Labs.

The design aligns to Open Compute Project (OCP) specifications and delivers storage density, system design flexibility, thermal efficiency, scalable performance and easy maintenance with front-load hot swap capabilities.

“Standard SSD solutions are great at handling many typical business workloads, but the complexity of storing information in both cloud and data center infrastructure requires SSD firmware to be flexible and adaptable,” said Charlie Tseng, CEO of LITE-ON Storage. “LITE-ON’s expertise in SSD firmware is perfect for the varying needs of customers.”

The hardware design also supports low-latency, 3D TLC and low-cost QLC NAND flash-based depending on end-users’ specific cloud applications.

No timetable for the new SSD’s release was announced.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Interview with Finisar's Michael Hurlston

This year, Finisar marks its 30th anniversary in the optical components and subsystems business. I recently sat down with Michael Hurlston, who took over as CEO in January following the retirement of founder Jerry Rawls. Hurlston previously served as a Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Mobile Connectivity Products/Wireless Communications and Connectivity Division at Broadcom. 

Finisar has more than 1,000 US patents and over 13,000 employees worldwide, with its HQ in Sunnyvale, California and additional product development and manufacturing facilities located in California, Pennsylvania and Texas (USA), Australia, China, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore and Sweden. Its portfolion spans optical transceivers, active optical cables, optical engines, communication and sensing components, wavelength management devices, RF-over-Fiber transmitters, and optical instrumentation.

Jim Carroll: Tell me about Finisar, the 30th anniversary, and the company’s strategic direction, especially in regard to the hyperscalers. How has the vision of the company changed over time? 

Michael Hurlston: Finisar is one of the longest and most successful companies in optical communications and with an incredible history. For any company to survive for 30 years is a remarkable achievement, especially for one that has a huge manufacturing component,  such an important part of our story. The credit belongs to our founding CEO, Jerry Rawls, who guided the company for all of those 30 years. It was an incredible run for both the company and for Jerry. Now that he has stepped down, I've come in at a true inflection point in the history of optics. Your question about the hyperscalers is right on target because they are driving a lot more of the decision making in optics than ever before. The major network equipment OEMs, like Cisco or Nokia, are still very influential in setting the course of the industry, but clearly, the hyperscalers are becoming more influential. And each of the hyperscalers has a different way to build data centers, both inside the building and between nearby and distant data centers.  They think about these things very differently. Each of the big ones has a different way they employ optics. In addition, a lot of these guys are buying optics directly. They are moving to a disaggregated model, where instead of procuring attached optics from companies like Cisco, Juniper or Arista for their network switches and routers, it is now a separate decision. They are buying optics from companies like us, and buying  switches and routers from companies like Cisco and Juniper. It is a very complicated landscape and one that brings opportunity for us.

Jim Carroll: You’ve recently taken on the CEO position at Finisar. What attracted you to this company?

Michael Hurlston: It is an unbelievable opportunity for somebody in their first role as CEO to come in to a company like Finisar with a such a great history and a number one market share. Usually, first time CEOs are doing ‘fixer uppers’, the difficult task of trying to save a distressed asset. The opposite is true here. Jerry built quite a legacy in terms of employees that make this company what it is.

This is a great opportunity for me. To be truthful, I didn't know much about optics. My professional focus for the past 15 years has been around mobile phones. So as we look at this mobile opportunity and other consumer opportunities, I understand that quite a bit.  Secondly, I know how to build successful partnerships. In this new world of optics and data networking, we have to think differently about vertical integration, where it makes sense, and where we should adapt.  I may be driving people crazy with all my questions about why we do things this way. Probably 95% of the time the answer is that we have been doing things the right way. But 5% of the time, we may conclude that the old way of doing things is no longer optimal in this current landscape.

Jim Carroll: What is the company's core expertise? Its key differentiator?

Michael Hurlston: We do two things extremely well.  Number one, we're one of the very few companies that have our own component set. If you look at the landscape of optical networking, particularly for transceivers, there are two classes of company: one that actually assembles the transceiver and puts together all the components, wraps it up, tests it and then ships it to the end customer; and, two, companies that actually make components that go inside the transceiver, which are really the heartbeat of what the transceiver does. We're the one company that actually does both. We make the components and we have great strength in lasers, in particular. We manufacture all different kinds of devices, including lasers for coherent optics, long range optics, multi mode and VCSELs (vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers), etc.  We manufacture the whole landscape of lasers, which is a big core competency. We actually make our own ICs as well, along with key drivers, laser drivers, and re timers. . We also have the second piece, which is assembly and test and when you put these two pieces together, you see that Finisar is very different from the vast majority of our competition.

Jim Carroll:  Every generation in silicon is increasingly difficult. In the optics field, of course, there are even more technical challenges as you move ahead. Can the industry keep up the pace in moving to 400G and beyond?

Michael Hurlston: Yes, I think that you're raising a great point.. Optics are becoming like semiconductors and more specialized over time. We’ve just talked a  bit about the specialization in assembling modules and then making components, but even within the making of components, you've got different tiers of suppliers. In core optics, there are several paths opening up for manufacturing transceivers because the market is fragmenting. The hyperscalers are each taking different approaches as well. What you find is that companies who are specializing and concentrating on specific customers or parts of the market tend to do better. We’ve seen competitors focus, for example, on coherent optics. We’ve also seen competitors focus on one or two of the hyperscalers, and they've done well. What Finisar needs is to focus on is our role as a total supplier, which we’ve been very successful at in the past and which is really about vertical integration. Also, focusing on a few key areas of the market where we see the most opportunity, instead of trying to serve every need, which has been a characteristic of our past.

Jim Carroll:  What is the high-end target for Finisar?

Michael Hurlston: We see increasing opportunities for our components in both core optical networking and mobile. For our module transceivers, we will focus more on the high end -- 100G, 400G and beyond – and perhaps do less of what we've done before.Regarding mobile, there is a big opportunity in  upgrading the metro transport networks.  Over the years, we’ve made millions of VCSELs for core optical networking, and this will continue. However, there is another huge opportunity related to the use of our VCSELs in handsets for facial recognition.  In fact, we’re ramping up a new 700k square foot manufacturing facility  in Sherman, Texas to pursue this opportunity. As you and other members of the media have reported, we are building this facility with the support of a major customer who is already using facial recognition in smartphones.

Jim Carroll: Are there other applications that you anticipate for VCSEL technology?

Michael Hurlston: Sure, there are a number of really compelling possibilities, and we wouldn’t have begun construction of a factory this size if we didn't see multiple opportunities. Gaming is a clear winner.  Imagine if you could do really great gesture recognition. The same thing goes for virtual reality. We're also seeing applications in automotive. Think about advanced sensors in the cabin that are able to detect a driver falling asleep, or not paying attention to the road and an accident is about to happen. There could be applications in vehicle-to-vehicle communications, LiDAR, and other means of detecting objects like approaching vehicles using visual technology. Cool stuff.

Jim Carroll: Let’s jump back to data centers. We’ve talked a little about hyperscalers and their unique network designs. It looks like the industry is just on the cusp of making the next jump to 400G? How do you see that technology coming along, especially compared to the 100G transition?

Michael Hurlston: 400G is coming and people are thinking about it and preparing in different ways. Our view is that we'll probably see the first shipments of 400G at the end of 2019 and going into 2020. I think the transition will be similar to 100G, where we had some slowness in the beginning, perhaps slower than people anticipated. But then suddenly, there was a tidal wave of deployments as most of the hyperscalers converted from 40G to 100G.  I think this 400G transition is going to be very much along the same lines, where a slow ramp suddenly turns into a dramatic transition. But I'm not sure it's going to be 2019 or 2020 when that uptick will occur. More likely, you'll see the beginning of the curve in late 2019, and more of the meat of the curve in 2021 or 2022.

Jim Carroll: Tell us about the enabling technologies that have to come into play for 400G to really have legs. I mean, when you push 400G into a tiny little device, you've got the heat problem, you’ve got the difficulty of very tight fiber alignments. Don’t these impact the manufacturability of 400G devices, the yield?

Michael Hurlston: You've asked a valid question about the degree of difficulty in terms of manufacturing. What we’ve seen is that Chinese module manufacturing competitors have become very adept at 100G. At 400G, the challenge is much tougher. The optical alignments are going to become very difficult as the number of lasers goes up -- let's say, from four to eight, or in some instances, from two to eight.  Depending on what technology you're talking about, it becomes very challenging to couple the light into the fiber.. Finisar has the ability to differentiate because we’ve developed our own tools for optical alignment and as such, we are able to align optical sub-assemblies  properly with the fiber. We think we can deliver differentiation in that manufacturing process for 400G. One of the approaches here is silicon photonics, which has been talked about for quite some time and is one of our areas of R&D. I think we'll begin employing that more frequently in our future 400G products.

Jim Carroll: What do you think about on-board optics? Is it further out?

Michael Hurlston: Yes, I agree with what you just said, it is interesting but further out, at least in our view. I'm not sure we see it at the 400G node, but perhaps at 800G or terabit-class speeds. What's interesting here is that the interface now, between an optical transceiver package and a back plane, is going to cause loss. It's going to cause optical signal noise ratio issues, and a lot of other undesired effects. So people are talking about co- packaging, or bringing the optics right next to a switch or to a processor chip and, and eliminating some of the losses that happen in high frequency applications. We're looking at that challenge as well. I think the whole industry is. However, I don't think on-board optics happens at this transition, probably the next one.

Jim Carroll: To lead the optical components market you must be an R&D centered business. How important are industry partnerships to you? Where are your strategic alliances moving forward?

Michael Hurlston: This question really gets to the heart of our transition from the Finisar of the past 30 years to our vision for the future, which is really much around alliances and partnerships. Historically, we’ve believed in a heavy level of vertical integration, where almost everything in a Finisar optical transceiver came from Finisar. That has been an unbelievably good strategy for getting us to this point. But because of the way the market is changing, because of this diversity of opportunity, and because of specialization, we now must think carefully about where to invest in R&D and where to pursue partnerships.  It is a challenge to change any company’s culture, especially when it has been successful with one way of thinking. We are now looking for opportunities to partner-- whether that be in manufacturing, whether that be in supplying components, whether that be buying lasers outside, or whether it be in selling lasers to some of our competitors, as some of our competitors have begun to do -- all of these are new to Finisar, and I think we're going to be well served by shifting gradually to a less vertically integrated strategy and moving toward one more willing to partner. I know that we've hired some of the best R&D engineers on the planet; we're not number one by accident. But I think in certain instances, the dependency on everything happening in-house because of vertical integration, where our components have to line up with our manufacturing strategy – this can be a challenge.

Jim Carroll:  US-China trade tensions have been a concern this year. What are your thoughts?

Michael Hurlston: China is a very important market for us and a reasonable portion of our business. However, we don't have as much exposure as some of our competitors. One aspect of the Chinese market that is worth talking more about is wireless infrastructure and the coming 5G upgrade cycle. China definitely seems to be taking a lead here. We've got to figure out how to properly partner both with the telecom operators in China as well as the infrastructure suppliers, especially Huawei, ZTE, and Fiberhome.

Jim Carroll: A lot of consolidation is happening among optical vendors. Is getting bigger the best way to compete?

Michael Hurlston: The topic of industry consolidation comes up again and again.  I come from the semiconductor world and for the past five years, mergers & acquisitions has been the name of the game.  It became the new normal. We’ve seen huge companies doing roll ups -- and my former company (Broadcom) being one of the best at it.

I think the situation in this sector is much different because there is a fissure between the transceiver suppliers, the assemblers of goods, and the component companies.  Generally speaking, I think it's much more difficult to consolidate the optics industry than the semiconductor industry. With that said, there was a second part to your question, which was, is bigger better? Of course! I do think that that's true and getting our market valuation up is certainly task number one for me.  I seek to do that through organic moves and making sure we're driving our stock price up. But inorganically, we will look at things that could give us some more bulk.

Qualcomm samples 5G SoC for mobile phones on 7nm silicon

Qualcomm confirmed that its upcoming 5G system-on-chip (SoC) will be implemented on a 7nm process node.

The 7nm SoC can be paired with the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem for premium tier smartphones and other mobile devices.

Qualcomm Technologies has begun sampling of its upcoming flagship mobile platform to multiple OEMs developing next-generation consumer devices.

“We are very pleased to be working with OEMs, operators, infrastructure vendors, and standards bodies across the world, and are on track to help launch the first 5G mobile hotspots by the end of 2018, and smartphones using our next-generation mobile platform in the first half of 2019,” said Cristiano Amon, president, Qualcomm Incorporated. “Qualcomm Technologies’ continued leadership in research and engineering allows for a future of increased innovation across multiple sectors as 5G connectivity becomes ubiquitous.”

Qualcomm delivers 5G NR mmWave antenna modules

Qualcomm Technologies has begun sampling fully-integrated 5G NR millimeter wave (mmWave) and sub-6 GHz RF modules for smartphones and other mobile devices.

The Qualcomm QTM052 mmWave antenna module family and the Qualcomm QPM56xx sub-6 GHz RF module family pair with the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem to deliver modem-to-antenna capabilities across several spectrum bands, in a compact footprint that is suited for integration in mobile devices.

“Today’s announcement of the first commercial 5G NR mmWave antenna modules and sub-6 GHz RF modules for smartphones and other mobile devices represents a major milestone for the mobile industry. Qualcomm Technologies’ early investment in 5G has allowed us to deliver to the industry a working mobile mmWave solution that was previously thought unattainable, as well as a fully-integrated sub-6 GHz RF solution. Now, these type of modem-to-antenna solutions, spanning both mmWave and sub-6 spectrum bands, make mobile 5G networks and devices, especially smartphones, ready for large scale commercialization,” said Cristiano Amon, President, Qualcomm Incorporated. “With 5G, consumers can expect gigabit-class Internet speeds with unprecedented responsiveness in the palm of their hands, which stand to revolutionize the mobile experience.”

About the modules

  • The QTM052 mmWave antenna modules work with the Snapdragon X50 5G modem. They support advanced beam forming, beam steering, and beam tracking technologies to improve the range and reliability of mmWave signals. They feature an integrated 5G NR radio transceiver, power management IC, RF front-end components and phased antenna array. They support up to 800 MHz of bandwidth in the 26.5-29.5 GHz (n257), as well as the entire 27.5-28.35 GHz (n261) and 37-40 GHz (n260) mmWave bands.  Qualcomm says that up to QTM052 modules can be integrated in a smartphone, enabling OEMs to continue evolving the industrial design of their mobile devices, offering attractive form factors combined with the benefits of extremely high speeds from mmWave 5G NR, and making such devices available for launch as early as the first half of 2019. 
  • The QPM56xx RF module family (including the QPM5650, QPM5651, QDM5650, and QDM5652) is designed to allow smartphones based on the Snapdragon X50 5G modem to support 5G NR in sub-6 GHz RF bands. The QPM5650 and QPM5651 feature integrated 5G NR PA/LNA/Switch and filtering subsystem. The QDM5650 and QDM5652 feature integrated 5G NR LNA/switch and filtering subsystem for diversity and MIMO support. All four modules offer integrated SRS switching required for optimum massive MIMO applications and support for 3.3-4.2 GHz (n77), 3.3-3.8 GHz (n78) and 4.4-5.0 GHz (n79) sub-6 bands. These sub-6 GHz RF modules provide mobile device makers with a viable path to delivering on the promise of 5G NR massive MIMO technology in mobile devices.

Qualcomm and China's Datang test multi-vendor C-V2X interoperability

Qualcomm and the Datang Telecom Group, also known as China Academy of Telecommunications Technology (CATT), have conducted a multi-chipset vendor interoperability test of 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 14 C-V2X direct communications (PC5) Mode 4, which is also referred to as LTE-V2X.

The cross-chipset interoperability test, which was held at Qualcomm Wireless Communication Technologies's Beijing lab, utilized the Qualcomm 9150 C-V2X chipset and Datang’s LTE-V2X module, the DMD31.

Qualcomm said the testing reflects the maturing state of C-V2X radio technology and applications to improve automotive safety, automated driving, and traffic efficiency. 

C-V2X is based on the global 3GPP Release 14 specifications for PC5-based direct communications in the 5.9 GHz ITS spectrum where vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) messages for collision avoidance can be sent without any dependency on cellular operator network involvement.  Qualcomm notes that C-V2X is also the only V2X communication technology with an ongoing evolution designed to offer forward compatibility in implementation with 5G NR C-V2X.

Australia bans Huawei and ZTE from 5G rollouts

The Australian government issued guidance to mobile operators requiring them to protect their networks and facilities against threats to national security from unauthorised access or interference. The guidance prohibits vendors "who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government that conflict with Australian law, may risk failure by the carrier to adequately protect a 5G network from unauthorised access or interference."

Acting Minister for Home Affairs Scott Morrison said the Government wants to realise the benefits of 5G but acknowledges that this new technology introduces additional risks.

“The security of 5G networks will have fundamental implications for all Australians, as well as the security of critical infrastructure, over the next decade,” Mr Morrison said.

Samsung debuts NB-IoT processor/modem/GNSS

Samsung Electronics Co. unveiled its new narrowband (NB) Internet-of-Things (IoT) chip.  The Exynos i S111 integrates a modem, processor, memory and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) into a single chip design to enhance efficiency and flexibility for connected device manufacturers.

Samsung said its NB-IoT solution offers extremely wide coverage, low-power operation, accurate location feedback and strong security. It is optimized for real-time tracking applications such as safety wearables or smart meters.

The Exynos i S111 incorporates a modem capable of LTE Rel. 14 support that can transmit data at 127-kilobits-per-second (kbps) for downlink and 158kbps uplink, and can operate in standalone, in-band and guard-band deployments.

NB-IoT adopts a data retransmission mechanism that continuously transmits data until a successful transfer, or up to a set number of retransmits. With a high number of these retransmit sessions, the S111 is able to cover the distance of 10-kilometers (km) or more.

“IoT will be able to evolve to offer new features beyond the conventional household space with IoT-dedicated solutions that present a broad range of opportunities,” said Ben Hur, vice president of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics. “Exynos i S111’s highly secure and efficient communication capabilities will bring more exciting NB-IoT applications to life.”

Zayo posts revenue of $657.7 million in revenue, up 5% yoy

Zayo Group reported $657.6 million in consolidated revenue for its fourth quarter ended June 30, 2018, and net income of $43.8 million, including $30.6 million from the Communications Infrastructure segments and a net income of $13.2 million from its Allstream segment.

Fourth quarter operating income increased $14.9 million and net income increased by $20.4 million over the previous quarter. Basic and diluted net income per share during the quarter was $0.18.

Capital expenditures during the quarter amounted to $208.0 million.

Zayo also noted that it completed the first phase of its investigation on the advisability and feasibility of a conversion to a real estate investment trust (REIT) for U.S. federal income tax purposes.