Thursday, October 18, 2018

Automating Service Migration during Network Upgrades

Is it possible to fully automate the service migration for all clients during a major network upgrade?

Ruben Van Den Brink, Head of Network for Surf.Net, discusses the migration process to the eigth generation of the national research network serving the Netherlands.

Ericsson sees growing 5G sales, ongoing field trial costs

Ericsson reported strong momentum in the global 5G market and in North America in particular, as it posted Q3 net sales of SEK 53.8 billion (US$5.94 billion), up 9% compared to a year ago in absolute terms but up 1% when adjusted for comparable units and currency. Gross margin was 36.5% (26.9%). Gross margin excluding restructuring charges improved to 36.9% (28.5%), driven mainly by cost reductions, the continued ramp-up of Ericsson Radio System (ERS) and good progress in reviewing Managed Services contracts. Net income was SEK 2.7 billion (US$300 million), compared to a loss of SEK 3.5 billion last year.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, states: "We continue to execute on our focused strategy, tracking well towards our 2020 targets. We see improvements across our businesses resulting in a gross margin of 36.9% (28.5%) and an operating margin of 7.0% (-1.7%). Organic  sales growth was 1% for the Group, despite headwind from exited non-strategic contracts.

We continue to invest in our competitive 5G-ready portfolio to enable our customers to efficiently migrate to 5G. Operators around the world plan for launching 5G services, led by North America. The strong customer interest in 5G generates a gradual increase in costs for field trials. We expect the costs to remain on high levels, at least for the coming 12-18 months, and they are included in our 2020 profitability target of at least 10%."


  • Ericsson says it is continuing to cooperate with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice regarding an investigation that is ongoing since 2015 into its business practices. On a conference call, the company confirmed that dozens of employees have been dismissed because of the issue.
  • Ericsson remains confident in reaching its long-term target of at least 12% operating margin beyond 2020.
  • Networks sales adjusted for comparable units and currency increased by 5% YoY, driven by strong sales growth in North America as well as sales growth in Europe and Latin America. 
  • Digital Services sales adjusted for comparable units and currency decreased by -6% YoY mainly due to continued decline in legacy product sales. 
  • Managed Services sales adjusted for comparable units and currency declined by -8% YoY, mainly as a result of customer contract reviews.
  • Networks gross margin improved to 41.5% (34.8%) with an organic sales growth of 5%. 
  • Digital Services gross margin improved to 36.9% (32.0%) YoY, but declined QoQ.
  • In Managed Services, gross margin improved to 12.9% (-4.0%) supported by efficiency gains and customer contract reviews. 
  • Restructuring charges for the full year remain unchanged at SEK 5-7 billion.

CommScope and Google develop Environmental Sensing for CBRS

CommScope and Google agreed to jointly develop, deploy and operate an Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) network for the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) market.

CBRS spectrum is managed by Spectrum Access Systems (SASs), which require an ESC network to sense radar operation. The ESC will alert the SASs of naval radar operations, so the connected SAS systems can reconfigure spectrum allocations for nearby CBRS devices to operate without interfering with naval activity.

The companies said they will each provide independent SAS services and jointly operate the ESC network. The ESC network is engineered for high availability with the built-in redundancy and fault detection necessary to provide this key enabling capability. As part of this collaboration, both companies share responsibility for overall network design.

Google has developed the ESC sensor and cloud decision engine and will operate the cloud that communicates with each SAS. CommScope will deploy and manage the operation of the physical network. CommScope and Google are working with the FCC and other governmental agencies to obtain certification of the ESC.

“The ESC represents more than a check-the-box capability. To effectively manage spectrum, a SAS relies on accurate ESC notifications - that eliminate false positive readings - from a high availability sensing network,” said Milo Medin, vice president of Wireless Services at Google. “We are excited to work with CommScope toward the success of CBRS.”

“This critical network infrastructure agreement represents a major commitment to CBRS by two major SAS providers and will help to ensure that the opportunities presented by CBRS will soon be realized,” said Ben Cardwell, senior vice president, CommScope Mobility Solutions. “Together, we can bring about a combined ESC network faster and more efficiently, leveraging the combined capabilities of two major companies.”

  • The CBRS band is 150 MHz of 3.5 GHz spectrum, which will be shared by the current incumbents, including federal government radar systems, and new commercial users. CBRS will provide new dynamically-allocated shared spectrum for various use cases such as private networks, fixed wireless access, wireless rural broadband, indoor wireless coverage, the Internet of Things, and additional cellular capacity. The FCC has authorized shared use of the band, which enables the support of commercial wireless services while protecting incumbent use.

NEC adopts Arm's Platform Security, develops facial recognition accelerator

NEC announced a strategic collaboration with Arm to drive the development of secure Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for Smart Cities using artificial intelligence (AI).

Under the alliance, NEC will adopt the Arm Platform Security Architecture, which is an industry framework for building securely connected devices. This framework includes the concept of threat modeling, architectural guidelines and implementation resources that reduce the cost, complexity, and risk associated with IoT security.

NEC is also developing a box-type accelerator device featuring real-time facial recognition that will be securely managed and provisioned by Arm Pelion Device Management. The accelerator will be equipped with the Arm Cortex-A53 processor. It will accelerate the device's facial recognition process and enable faster analytics by offloading the analytics workload carried out on servers or the cloud, thereby helping to reduce costs for networks and systems.

NEC says its facial recognition technology is the world's most accurate and fastest as measured by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) benchmark tests.

"We expect the new accelerator to promote further adoption of face recognition throughout many areas, including the public safety, entertainment and transportation fields, as it contributes to the security and convenience of consumers worldwide," said Naoki Hashitani, SVP, NEC Corporation.

Cignal AI: Record cloud and colo optical hardware spending

Sales of optical equipment to the cloud and colo market, which includes Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, reached record levels during 2Q18 and were nearly a quarter of all North American operator purchases during 2Q18, according to the most recent Optical Customer Markets Report issued by networking component and equipment market research firm Cignal AI.

“While cloud and colo spending is still not near traditional telco demand for optical transport equipment, the balance is shifting. This is particularly true in North America, where cloud and colo operators now provide both technical and financial leadership to the supply chain,” said Andrew Schmitt, Directing Analyst at Cignal AI.

Some highlights:

  • Incumbent spending accounts for the largest share of all optical spending in the market. In fact, incumbent spending in China is as much as all spending by other incumbent operators worldwide, combined. Outlays by EMEA incumbents increased again in the most recent quarter.
  • Cable MSO spending in North America continues to be very strong and grew both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year.
  • Ciena led other vendors in direct sales to the cloud/colo market led by strength from the WaveServer platform. Also, newly-combined Infinera and Coriant became the second largest supplier of optical equipment to these customers. Huawei also continues to grow its market share as a result of growing demand from Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent.

Comcast completes nationwide rollout of Xfinity Gigabit Internet

Comcast has officially completed it rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 powered gigabity broadband service across all of its network footprint, which covers 58 million homes and businesses passed in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

The company said this deployment represents the fastest roll out of gigabit speeds to the most homes in the country. Comcast has increased speeds 17 times in 17 years and has doubled the capacity of its broadband network every 18-24 months.

“Comcast continues to offer an unmatched Internet experience that combines gigabit speeds with wall-to-wall WiFi, personalized tools and controls, and enough capacity to stay ahead of tomorrow’s innovations,” said Dana Strong, President of Consumer Services, Comcast. “We’ve built an innovative high speed data platform that combines speed, coverage and control features and really sets our broadband experience apart from the competition.”

Comcast also notes that its Xfinity Internet customers also have access to more than 19 million WiFi hotspots across the country.

Bell Canada launches Virtual Network Services platform

Bell launched its new Virtual Network Services (VNS) platform, offering enterprise customers across Canada a catalogue of on-demand network functions that reside securely in Bell's private cloud.

Bell also announced it will be the first Canadian service provider to offer a managed SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) solution powered by Cisco Viptela, the first Virtual Network Function offered on the Bell VNS platform.

"Bell VNS is a revolutionary way for business customers to adapt their networks quickly and efficiently while reducing their hardware expenses," said Tom Little, President of Bell Business Markets. "The Bell VNS service experience offers a new level of control, flexibility and automation through software-driven networks."

Rogers ready to light up LTE-M in Ontario

Rogers is preparing to launch its LTE Cat M1 network (LTE-M) in Ontario before the end of the year.  Nationwide coverage will follow in 2019/2020.

to help businesses connect and track their assets in real time – using solutions such as logistics tracking, alarm monitoring, and smart metering.

LTE-M will connect fixed and mobile low-power IoT devices over long distances, with longer battery life and better network coverage in hard to reach areas than regular 2G3G/4G.

“As leaders in IoT, we are committed to supporting our customers as they explore the capabilities and benefits available through Rogers rapidly growing IoT ecosystem,” said Dean Prevost, President, Enterprise, Rogers Communications. “With the launch of LTE-M, we are empowering the adoption of reliable, low cost, and secure IoT solutions that support a variety of use cases such as asset tracking, smart cities, utilities, transportation, and supply chain management.”

NTT ICT upgrades data centers with Mellanox 25G and 100G

NTT Communications ICT Solutions (NTT ICT) has selected Mellanox Technologies' 25G and 100G Ethernet to accelerate their multi-cloud data centers.

The upgrade includes: Spectrum-based switches running Cumulus Linux, ConnectX adapters, and LinkX cables and transceivers.

NTT ICT is a premium global IT provider delivering solutions to Australian enterprise and government clients.

MIPI interface specs for smartphones are 5G ready

The MIPI Alliance confrimed that all of its specifications relevant for applications in mobile platforms are 5G ready.

A whitepaper presented this week at MIPI DevCon Seoul argues that MIPI specifications are already capable of enabling 5G devices due to several factors:

  • MIPI specifications are widely used by multiple industries. Virtually all 4G smartphones—along with many tablets, connected cars and Internet of Things (IoT) devices—use at least one MIPI interface. As a result, systems designers, application developers and others have extensive experience with MIPI specifications, making them a natural choice for their 5G products.
  • High performance enables 5G to live up to its potential. End users expect 5G devices to be significantly faster and more responsive than 4G and 3G models. MIPI interfaces for storage access are ideal for the bandwidth-intensive data flows that come with 5G’s higher camera and display resolutions.
  • Low power consumption helps 5G smartphones and wearables maximize battery life. All MIPI specifications are designed to be highly power-efficient, helping to ensure that 5G devices last longer from a power perspective than their 4G and 3G predecessors.
  • MIPI interfaces are optimized for low interference. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can undermine a device’s performance and reliability, and is a major concern with 5G because it uses far more spectrum bands than 3G and 4G. MIPI specifications are designed to meet stringent EMI requirements, even in wearables and other small 5G devices where less space between components means greater risk of EMI.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

FWD: Arm expands infrastructure ambitions with Neoverse

Arm is recommitting and expanding its ambitions to supply processors for network and data center infrastructure. The renewed effort is inspired by the goal of building one trillion connected things by 2035 -- a figure cited by parent-company Softbank, whose multi-billion "Vision" fund invests in many start-ups across this ecosystem.

At this week's ARMTechCon conference in San Jose, Arm outlined its "Neoverse Foundation", a dedicated infrastructure roadmap for infrastructure-class processor designs. The company is building a global ecosystem of software developers, equipment OEMs, service mobile operators (including sister company Sprint) and public cloud operators. Neoverse, which will also its brand identity for infrastructure processing, will extend from high-performance servers in hyperscale data centers, to mobile gateways, WAN routers, and new classes of products designed for the Edge Cloud.

While Arm is the established market leader in mobile devices, three generation of server CPU designs from its licensees have failed to capture significant market share versus Intel's Xeon processors. This time, the company says the market is ready because server designs are segmenting into specific workloads. Already we see GPU-powered cloud instances, TPU-powered servers and even servers optimized for in-memory database, video encoding, or streaming telemetry.

The Neoverse roadmap initially shows four designs all named after Greek gods. The current "Cosmos" design is implemented in 16nm. Next year, Arm will introduce its first Ares platform designs in 7nm. This will be followed by at least two further generations that bump up the performance by 30% with each iteration while targeting more specific workloads.

Previously, Arm licensees took the company's designs and then adapted them to their specific needs. In the server category, Cavium comes to mind with its multiple generations of ThunderX and ThunderX designs, which offered intriguing performance differentiators, but perhaps not enough to displace Intel in a meaningful way. While this market strategy remains in place, Arm is clearly aiming to deliver more complete designs with its Neoverse Foundation ecosystem.

In other infrastructure categories, Arm processors are already widely used. In fact, the company claims that 30% of top-of-rack (TOR) switches, 20% of mobile base stations, and 15% of gateways already include an ARM-licensed device. Neoverse should find some traction here.

So far, silicon companies listed in the Neoverse ecosystem include TSMC, Marvell, Broadcom, Ampere, Mellanox, Qualcomm, Samsung, NXP, Xilinx, Achronix, HuaXinTong, Cadence, Synopsys and Mentor.

Cloud ecosytem partners are Amazon's annapurnalabs, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent Cloud, and Packet.

Platform partners include HPE, Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, ZTE, Pegatron, Gigabyte, ENEA, and Telco Systems.

The Service Provider Edge Cloud Opportunity

Will Service Providers be able to leverage the strategic advantage they have in Edge and Edge Clouds?

Sally Bament, VP of Service Provider Marketing at Juniper Networks, comments.

Ciena bolsters its Packet Networking portfolio

Ciena introduced major additions to its Packet Networking portfolio, including new Adaptive IP capabilities, coherent optics, and purpose-built hardware platforms.

The new capabilities and platforms address high-growth opportunities like the evolution from 4G to 5G, L2/L3/VNF Business Services, and Next-Generation Cable MSO Access.

  • Service-Aware Operating System (SAOS) enhanced with IP capabilities targeted at specific high-growth applications. Ciena says its highly programmable IP architecture empowers an “Adaptive IP” approach that improves service velocity, shortens time-to-revenue, and enables highly differentiated quality of service.
  • Ciena’s new 5162 Service Aggregation Platform as well as the 5170 Service Aggregation Platform will be the first to offer enhanced SAOS, enabling providers to address L3 VPN business services. 
  • Coherent Optics – This allows for rapid, cost-effective scaling to address ongoing bandwidth growth, specifically toward the network edge. Supporting coherent optics simplifies network designs with notable reductions in power, space, cost, and overall operational complexity.
  • 6500 Packet Transport System (PTS) – The 6500 PTS converts legacy TDM business services (SONET/SDH/PDH) into packet flows to be carried over a more efficient and scalable packet network. This allows network operators to continue supporting existing TDM customers while also addressing new, high-growth applications – all over a single, converged packet-based transport network.
  • Blue Planet Management Portfolio – Added to Ciena’s existing Blue Planet Management portfolio are new Layer 3-aware Route Optimization & Assurance capabilities obtained from the recent acquisition of Packet Design for improved IP network designs, operation, and management, from end-to-end.

“5G, IoT, Next-Generation Cable MSO Access, and L2/L3/VNF Business Services require that operators redefine what they need from their existing packet networks. Ciena’s new Adaptive IP capabilities provide a graceful migration path from legacy TDM (SONET/SDH/PDH) networks and traditional, closed IP-based architectures to more open, disaggregated, and programmable IP-based SDN architecture. This gives our customers greater control of their own destiny and lays the foundation of the ultimate end state – the Adaptive Network, which responds in real-time to changing demands,” stated Scott McFeely, Senior Vice President, Global Products and Services, Ciena.

Aquantia delivers 10GbE laptop docking station

10GbE to the laptop is coming.

Akitio, a supplier of premium laptop accessories based in Orange County, California, is using Aquantia's AQtion AQC107 Ethernet controller for their new Thunder3 Dock Pro with 10GbE.

The new docking station will support both Windows and macOS. A single cable connected to the Akitio Thunder3 Dock Pro provides a 10GbE port, as well as a variety of other connections including an SD 4.0 card reader, a CFAST 2.0 card reader, an eSATA port, a DisplayPort, an additional Thunderbolt 3 port and three USB 3.1 ports.

LK Bhupathi, Vice President of Marketing at Aquantia: “Akitio is changing the mobility game. The possibilities are endless for users – there’s more network speed, more pixels, more performance and zero compromise. Finally, slim light laptops can offer the same versatility as traditional tower designs. The Thunder3 Dock Pro with the AQC107 controller offers a fresh approach to delivering Multi-Gig capabilities to an underserved market.”

Samsung previews FPGA-powered SSDs for accelerated data

At a Tech Day event in San Jose, Samsung Electronics previewed a FPGA-powered SSD featured accelerated data processing and the ability to bypass current generation server CPU limits.

Samsung's forthcoming SmartSSD leverages quad-level cell (QLC)-SSD technology and an FPGA accelerator in the SSD unit for higher processing performance, improved time-to-insight, more virtual machines (VM), scalable performance, better de-duplication and compression, lower power usage and fewer CPUs per system.

At the event, Samsung also highlighted 7nm EUV process node technology from it foundry business unit.  This promises significant improvements in power, performance and area. Initial wafer production of Samsung’s 7nm LPP (Low Power Plus) EUV process node is expected to deliver a respective maximum of 40-percent area reduction, 50-percent dynamic power reduction and 20-percent performance increase over 10nm processes. EUV uses 13.5nm wavelength light to expose silicon wafers as opposed to conventional argon fluoride (ArF) immersion technologies that are only able to achieve 193nm wavelengths and require expensive multi-patterning mask sets.

Samsung said the advancement of its 7LPP process also puts it forward  on a direct path forward to 3nm.

“With the introduction of its EUV process node, Samsung has led a quiet revolution in the semiconductor industry,” said Charlie Bae, executive vice president of foundry sales and marketing team at Samsung Electronics. “This fundamental shift in how wafers are manufactured gives our customers the opportunity to significantly improve their products’ time to market with superior throughput, reduced layers, and better yields. We’re confident that 7LPP will be an optimal choice not only for mobile and HPC, but also for a wide range of cutting-edge applications.”
Samsung also previewed a 256-gigabyte (GB) 3DS (3-dimensional stacking) RDIMM (registered dual in-line memory module), based on 10nm-class 16-gigabit (Gb) DDR4 DRAM.  This will double current maximum DRAM capacity to deliver higher performance and lower power consumption.

Orange and EXFO deliver on-demand monitoring with ONAP Beijing

Orange has integrated EXFO's passive virtual probes (vProbes) into the Beijing Release of the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP).

The companies said this industry-first integration of a passive probing virtual network function (VNF) into the ONAP release delivers service assurance for SDN/NFV commercial deployments provides monitoring and troubleshooting of the service quality actually experienced by end customers. The unique on-demand monitoring function dynamically instantiates end-to-end troubleshooting resources based on multiple criteria like service degradation and customer complaints, or in association with the provisioning of a new service. It also opens the way to the elasticity of virtual network function's monitoring in order to cope with sporadic traffic increases or relocation of a network function. ONAP is seen as the global framework to orchestrate and automate the deployment and the lifecycle of the vProbes.

"As we transform our network, we are partnering with innovative and disruptive vendors to support our move to Open Source technologies like ONAP to guarantee our software independence and openness," said Eric Debeau, Head of Orange's Network Automation Platform Team. "Orange and EXFO have successfully removed a major barrier to ONAP deployment: the lack of monitoring solutions for dynamic, orchestrated virtual networks. EXFO's unique on-demand provisioning of virtual passive probes significantly reduces the resources required to check service availability and troubleshoot issues. The solution enables service assurance for network virtualization through adaptive, permanent or on-demand monitoring solutions."

"Expectations are high for commercial networks based on SDN/NFV to deliver better quality of service and availability. We are proud of our collaboration with Orange to make sure virtualization delivers on its promise of quality for the end customer while also accelerating operators' digital network transformations," said Abdelkrim Benamar, EXFO's Vice President, Service Assurance, Systems and Services. "We are also proud to have integrated our virtual passive probes in the ONAP in just two weeks, which demonstrates the maturity of our virtual network functions and the ONAP Beijing Release."

CyrusOne builds new data centers in London and Frankfurt

CyrusOne announced new data centers in London and Frankfurt.

Construction is set to be completed by the end of the fourth quarter of 2019 for the London III facility, which is located on the Slough Trading Estate, a premier data center location in the UK. CyrusOne’s London III data center will offer approximately 39,500 square feet of data center space with a critical IT load of 9 MW. Each data hall will be customized to meet client specifications and will offer industry-leading energy efficiencies including the latest adiabatic cooling technology and low PUE’s.

The Frankfurt III facility is scheduled to be completed in early 2020. It will include two connected four-story data centers offering a total of approximately 123,786 square feet of space. The facility will provide a critical IT load of 22 MW with multiple fiber providers providing carrier neutral connectivity.

These new sites are in addition to the data centers acquired through the Zenium acquisition, which closed in August 2018.

“Today marks an exciting new chapter for CyrusOne as we set the course for our continued expansion in London and Frankfurt. Part of our mission at CyrusOne is to help the world’s leading technology companies power this new exciting digital era,” said Gary Wojtaszek, president and chief executive officer of CyrusOne. “Expanding our footprint in these markets will help our customers realize their own global growth ambitions.”

Telefónica Deutschland picks Mavenir vIMS

Mavenir confirmed that Telefónica Deutschland is deploying its virtualized IMS solution (vIMS) for VoLTE and VoWiFi in their nationwide UNICA Data Centers Infrastructure, which is based on the Telefónica Group blueprint for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) architecture. The solution will support mobile and fixed services for more than 45 million customer connections. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Mavenir said the NFV environment of this deployment is based on OpenStack and will include automation, life cycle management and integration with Management and Orchestration (MANO) capabilities from the Telefónica UNICA platform. The Mavenir advanced vIMS solution will enable automation from day one and will support existing voice digital services as well as the launch of new services.

“Telefónica’s UNICA NFV initiative will leverage the benefits of cloud-native software applications and enhanced automation to evolve towards future Next Generation architecture,” said Cayetano Carbajo, Chief Technology Officer at Telefónica Deutschland. “It is an important step in our transformation of the core infrastructure, and we are looking forward to going through this journey with Mavenir, a partner chosen for their advanced technology and innovation in NFV.”