Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Cignal AI: Cloud and Colo operators ramp up optical transport spending

Record spending in the cloud & colo market continued in the third quarter and it is now forecast to top $1.4 billion worldwide for the year 2018 -- almost a 50% spending increase over 2017, according to the most recent Optical Customer Markets Report issued by networking equipment and component market research firm Cignal AI.

Some highlights in the 3Q18 Optical Customer Markets Report:
  • Cloud & colo operators continue to be the fastest growing market in optical networking, with double-digit year-over-year growth in North America and EMEA and triple-digit growth in APAC in the third quarter.
  • Ciena led equipment vendor market share for cloud & colo with over 40% share in the third quarter and over 30% share for the last 12 months combined. Huawei and Cisco tied for second place in the third quarter followed closely by a combined Infinera/Coriant.
  • Despite incumbent spending growing at less than 2% year over year worldwide, incumbent spending in APAC grew 10% and represented over 35% of the total optical market in the third quarter.
  • Incumbent spending growth in APAC is expected to decelerate in 2019 as double-digit growth cannot continue indefinitely for such a large market. Incumbent spending in North America is expected to continue to decline as capital spending is focused on mobility and switched backhaul deployments.
  • Cable MSO optical spending continued to grow at a moderate pace into the third quarter, led by double-digit growth in North America to support fiber deep architectures.
“The slowdown in cloud & colo spending during 2017 ended with a return to record growth in 2018,” said Scott Wilkinson, Lead Analyst for Optical Hardware at Cignal AI. “While incumbent operator spending is still dominant, especially in Asia, cloud & colo spending growth is becoming more influential on the market.”

Cignal AI’s Optical Customer Markets Report is issued quarterly and quantifies optical equipment sales to five key customer markets – incumbent, wholesale, cable MSO, cloud and colo, and enterprise and government. The current report includes results through 3Q18 including detailed equipment vendor market share for sales to cloud operators. Regional forecasts based on expected spending trends by customer market are also included.

http://www.cignal.ai


AT&T and Nokia collaborate on open RAN platform

by James E. Carroll

AT&T and Nokia are collaborating on an open software platform under the ORAN Alliance to open up access to 5G radio access networks (RANs). The goal is faster, more flexible service deployments and programmability within a rapidly-evolvable RAN.  The ORAN Alliance aims to enable a multi-vendor open ecosystem of interoperable components for the disaggregated RAN.

AT&T said it is commencing development of a software platform for the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), to enable the creation of open source software that is aligned with the O-RAN target architecture. AT&T and Nokia are co-creating the platform code to accelerate the deployment of open source software for the 5G RAN.

“We’re delighted to work with Nokia on co-creating an open source implementation of the RIC platform to accelerate innovations and interoperability in the RAN,” said Mazin Gilbert, vice president of advanced technology and systems at AT&T Labs. “We continue to look for opportunities to drive open platforms and open interfaces in the community."

“Nokia is a strong proponent of RAN network openness and has been active in numerous open source communities, contributing code and defining open interface specifications,” said Mike Murphy, CTO for North America, Nokia. “We are excited to be partnering with AT&T to co-create RIC software and share with the open-source community to foster further collaboration and innovation.”

Some highlights:

  • The RIC platform will provide a set of functions and interfaces that allow for increased optimizations through policy-driven closed loop automation 
  • The platform will be architected in the form of an extensible real-time microservices framework coupled with a radio information database and key open control plane interfaces for mobility management, spectrum management, load balancing, radio resource control and RAN slicing to name a few.  
  • Implementations of these functions, sourced from multiple vendors, could be mixed and matched on a single network infrastructure. 


The platform will also enable interfaces to third-party applications for enhanced mobility functions such as cross layer optimization and machine learning inferences.

AT&T also plans to increase its engagement in Akraino Edge Stack, a Linux Foundation project focused on building production ready cloud infrastructure for edge deployment in open source. In particular, AT&T has also signed a multiyear co- development agreement with Nokia to further expand Akraino Edge Stack capabilities supporting the needs of the RIC and other edge cloud platform deployments.

O-RAN approves architecture, sets WGs, elects AT&T's Fuetsch as chair

The O-RAN Alliance has approved its overall O-RAN architecture plan and established an initial set of seven working groups to drive the work forward. These are:

WG1: Use Cases & Overall Architecture
WG2: Radio Intelligent Controller (RIC) (non-Real Time) & A1 Interface
WG3: RIC (near-Real Time) & E2 Interface
WG4: Open Fronthaul (FH) Interface
WG5: Stack Reference Design and F1/V1/E1/X2
WG6: Cloudification and orchestration
WG7: White Box Hardware

At its recent meeting at Mobile World Congress Shanghai, the O-RAN Alliance also elected Andre Fuetsch, president of AT&T Labs, as chair of the Board. In addition, Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Strategy & Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, was appointed as Operations Officer; and Bharti Airtel, China Telecom, KT, Singtel, SK telecom, Telefonica, and Telstra were approved as new Board members. This expands the number of Board Directors to 12.

Akraino Edge Stack advances as LF project

The Akraino Edge Stack project, which promises new levels of flexibility to scale edge cloud services quickly, has moved from formation into execution as a project hosted by The Linux Foundation.  The project originated inside AT&T.

New members of the Akraino project include Arm, AT&T, Dell EMC, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, inwinSTACK, Juniper Networks, Nokia, Qualcomm, Radisys, Red Hat, and Wind River.

Akraino Edge Stack seed code will be opened up to the community this week based on AT&T’s seed code, (the Network Cloud blueprint,) contributed to The Linux Foundation.

“Since forming earlier this year, the Akraino Edge Stack project has generated strong industry support and is now well-positioned to create blueprints optimized for various edge use cases,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking and Orchestration, The Linux Foundation. “We are pleased to welcome leading members with a broad swath of edge expertise and resources to collaborate on improving the state of open source edge software.”

“We welcome the new members to the Akraino Edge Stack project. As a community, we can expand the development of next gen zero-touch edge cloud infrastructure for carrier and enterprise networks, and foster a new ecosystem of applications that demand high performance, ultra-low latency and blazing speed,” said Mazin Gilbert, vice president of Advanced Technology & Systems, AT&T. “Embracing open interfaces and collaboration with edge computing will expedite new solutions and innovations for 5G services.”


Amazon DocumentDB brings MongoDB compatibility

Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced Amazon DocumentDB, a fast, scalable, highly available, and fully managed document database service that supports MongoDB workloads.

The implementation allows developers to reuse existing MongoDB application code, drivers, and tools. This enables AWS customers to migrate their on-premises or Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) MongoDB databases to Amazon DocumentDB.

“While other companies have taken the same emulation approach we have to providing a MongoDB compatible service, nobody has built the unique, distributed, fault-tolerant, highly scalable, self-healing storage system that AWS has to work seamlessly with MongoDB,” said Shawn Bice, Vice President, Non-Relational Databases at AWS. “To meet developers’ needs, we looked at multiple different approaches to supporting MongoDB workloads and concluded that the best way to improve the customer experience was to build a new purpose-built document database from the ground up, while supporting the same MongoDB APIs that our customers currently use and like. This effort took more than two years of development, and we’re excited to make this available to our customers today.”

https://aws.amazon.com/documentd

MaxLinear partners with Intel on 10G DOCSIS 3.1 home gateways

MaxLinear is working with Intel on the home gateway designs supporting 10 Gigabit Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 (FDX) cable services.

Specifically, MaxLinear is currently developing a new front-end SoC for these platforms based on its patented Full-Spectrum Capture (FSC) technology that includes diagnostic and spectrum management capabilities. The front-end will include high-speed connectivity to Intel’s next-generation gateway SoC. Intel’s SoC will offer powerful computing and networking performance and is architected for a wide range of WAN, LAN and WLAN use cases to help MSOs achieve optimal performance and improve Quality of Service (QoS).

MaxLinear said its IC, along with Intel’s next-generation gateway SoC, will be highly optimized to provide the greatest level of integration while maintaining system design flexibility to support future evolution of implementations. The modular nature of this solution ensures a simple, non-disruptive, path to potential future DOCSIS standards. Samples of the MaxLinear chips and reference designs are expected in the second half of 2019. Mass production is targeted for 2020.

“10 Gigabit and symmetrical performance are the next wave of services needed in broadband and FDX is a significant step forward for home connectivity,” said Will Torgerson, Vice President & General Manager of the MaxLinear Broadband Group.

“The growing number of devices, large amounts of data and immersive experiences in the home are going to require 10 Gigabit connectivity that deliver faster speeds and more capacity,” said WK Tan, Vice President and General Manager, Intel’s Connected Home Division. “That is why Intel, the cable industry, and companies such as MaxLinear, are working together to deliver cutting-edge 10 Gigabit technologies to power tomorrow’s ultra-connected homes.”

T-Mobile US posts best Q4 -- total net additions of 2.4 Million

T-Mobile US reported the following preliminary customer results.

Preliminary Fourth Quarter 2018 Customer Highlights:

  • 2.4 million total net additions - best quarter ever
  • 1.4 million branded postpaid net additions - best Q4 ever
  • 1.0 million branded postpaid phone net additions - best Q4 in 4 years
  • Lowest ever Q4 branded postpaid phone churn of 0.99%, down 19 basis points year-over-year
  • 135,000 branded prepaid net additions
  • 79.7 million customers in total at year-end 2018

Preliminary Full-Year 2018 Customer Highlights:


  • 7.0 million total net additions - accelerated year-over-year
  • 4.5 million branded postpaid net additions - best in 3 years
  • 3.1 million branded postpaid phone net additions - accelerated year-over-year
  • 460,000 branded prepaid net additions


“The T-Mobile team delivered our best customer results ever in Q4 2018 and we did it in a competitive climate while working hard to complete our merger with Sprint,” said John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile. “That's 23 quarters in a row where more than 1 million customers have chosen T-Mobile - along with a postpaid phone churn result that's below 1%. These customer results speak volumes about our company, our network and our brand!"

https://www.t-mobile.com/news/t-mobile-customer-results-q4-2018

Mitsubishi Electric develops Ultra-Wideband GaN amp for base stations

Mitsubishi Electric introduced the first ultra-wideband digitally controlled gallium nitride (GaN) amplifier.

The new device, which is compatible with a range of sub-6GHz bands focused on 5G mobile communication systems, offers a power efficiency rating of above 40%. The company says the amplifier will reduce the power consumption of mobile base stations.

Key features:

  • Mitsubishi Electric’s novel ultra-wideband digitally controlled GaN amplifier uses an advanced load modulation circuit with two parallel GaN transistors. The circuit expands the bandwidth of load modulation, a key factor for the amplifier’s high-efficiency operation, for wideband (1.4–4.8GHz) operation. The wide-band operation of amplifier supports several frequency bands.
  • Digitally controlled input signals for amplifier realize high-efficiency load modulation of above 40% over 110% of the fractional bandwidth. 

http://www.mitsubishielectric.com/news/2019/0110.html



Wi-Fi 6 certification program coming in Q3 2019

The Wi-Fi Alliance will launch a "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6" program  in 3Q19 to ensure devices based on IEEE 802.11ax technology meet industry agreed standards for interoperability and security.

Wi-Fi 6 benefits include higher data rates, increased network capacity, improved performance in congested environments, and improved power efficiency:

  • Uplink and downlink orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA): increases network efficiency and lowers latency for high demand environments
  • Multi-user multiple input multiple output (MU-MIMO): allows more data to be transferred at once and enables an access point to transmit to a larger number of concurrent clients at once
  • Transmit beamforming: enables higher data rates at a given range resulting in greater network capacity
  • 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation mode (1024-QAM): increases throughput in Wi-Fi devices by encoding more data in the same amount of spectrum
  • Target wake time (TWT): significantly improves battery life in Wi-Fi devices, such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices

“Wi-Fi 6 delivers features to satisfy users’ evolving connectivity needs and to enable more efficiency in the expanding places where users rely on Wi-Fi,” said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO, Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6 continues a nearly 20-year history of providing standards-based, interoperability testing to ensure Wi-Fi devices meet expectations for quality and interoperability.”

https://www.wi-fi.org/discover-wi-fi/wi-fi-certified-6

Gemalto integrates eSIM into LTE-M IoT module for AT&T

Gemalto has integrated its embedded SIM (eSIM) for AT&T into its Cinterion LTE-M IoT module;

The new solution streamlines development for OEMs and reduces the cost and complexity of IoT deployment by eliminating the need for SIM card integration after manufacturing.

eSIMs also help maintain the strongest security levels with continuous security updates for the long life of IoT solutions. Samples of the new module are available with volume shipping to follow shortly.

“The increasing adoption of eSIM technology marks a significant transformation in wireless technology that is driving innovation and improved security across the whole lifecycle of devices, said Andreas Haegele, SVP IoT Products, Gemalto. “The Cinterion LTE-M Module with embedded SIM technology benefits mobile operators and OEMs alike with enhanced flexibility and seamless connectivity for the IoT.”

Lexar intros first 1TB SD card

Lexar announced its Professional 633x SDXC™ UHS-I card with 1 terabyte (1TB) of memory.

The Class 10 card offers read speeds of up to 633x (95MB/s).

“Almost fifteen years ago, Lexar announced a 1GB SD™ card. Today, we are excited to announce 1TB of storage capacity in the same convenient form factor. As consumers continue to demand greater storage for their cameras, the combination of high-speed performance with a 1TB option now offers a solution for content creators who shoot large volumes of high-resolution images and 4K video,” said Joey Lopez, Senior Marketing Manager.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Comcast offers AI-powered home security from Cujo

Comcast launched a new artificial-intelligence-powered service that monitors, blocks and informs customers of online threats to connected devices, and provides seamless digital protection for those devices when connected to their home network's Xfinity Advanced Gateway.

The new Xfinity xFi Advanced Security service is powered by Cujo AI, a start-up based in Mountain View, California. The platform uses AI and machine learning technology to monitor and analyze WiFi traffic in the home, and will automatically block identified suspicious activity in real time.

“As the digital world gets more complex, we wanted to make it simple and easy for our customers to protect their home networks. That’s why we developed xFi Advanced Security,” said Fraser Stirling, Senior Vice President of Digital Home, Devices and AI, Comcast Cable. “We want to give customers digital peace of mind for the devices they already own and the confidence to expand and evolve their connected homes knowing that every new camera, voice-assisted speaker or smart thermostat they add will be protected.”

The service is available for $5.99 per month, and is also available as part of a package in some markets.

Reuters: Huawei linked to companies in Iran, Syria

A new report from Reuters alleges that corporate filings and documents from Iran and Syria suggest that Huawei is linked to Skycom Tech Co Ltd and shell company Canicula Holdings Ltd.

The report suggests that high-level Huawei executives controlled both companies, undermining the claim that Huawei was not directly involved in business transactions in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Reuters reports that the findings could bear on the pending legal case involving Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-huawei-iran-exclusive/exclusive-new-documents-link-huawei-to-suspected-front-companies-in-iran-syria-idUSKCN1P21MH


Australia-Japan Cable upgrades with Infinera for 60% capacity boost

Infinera completed of a major upgrade to Australia-Japan Cable’s (AJC) submarine cable system connecting Australia, Guam and Japan, tripling the lit capacity on the 12,700-kilometer subsea cable system.

AJC upgraded their Infinera DTN-X network with Infinera’s fourth generation optical engine – ICE4 (Infinite Capacity Engine). The network upgrade also delivers a 60 percent end-of-life capacity increase to AJC’s trans-Pacific cable system. AJC first deployed Infinera’s subsea solution in 2014.

Infinera noted the recent capacity upgrade with ICE4 was achieved without service interruption. AJC is now able to rapidly activate new capacity for customers with Infinera Instant Bandwidth.

“Infinera’s newest optical engine – ICE4 – enabled AJC to easily add more capacity per fiber pair,” said David Crofts, CEO, Australia-Japan Cable. “The ICE4 upgrade to our DTN-X network from Infinera is performing better than advertised, allowing AJC to easily deliver multi-terabit capacity with low power consumption and the reliability required for subsea networks.”

“We are delighted to partner with AJC as they expand their network capacity through the deployment of Infinera’s high-performance ICE4 optical engines,” said Andrew Bond-Webster, Vice President, Sales, Infinera. “Infinera’s subsea solution delivers on short lead times, offering customers like AJC the ability to quickly activate new capacity and reliably restore customer services should a subsea cable fault occur.”


  • Investors in AJC include Telstra, AT&T, NTT, Verizon and Softbank.

AWS, Molex, Accenture to co-develop edge computing for vehicles

Molex is working with Accenture and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to bring edge computing and voice assistant capabilities to the Molex Automotive Ethernet Network Platform for autonomous vehicles.

The Molex platform is an Ethernet-based vehicle connectivity system with a multi-zone architecture across hardware, software and interconnect cabling systems, with the flexibility to incorporate legacy automotive protocols and scalability for future upgrades. It utilizes AWS IoT Greengrass machine learning functionality to enhance capabilities such as diagnostics, security and enhanced end-user experience. The future-ready, automotive-grade gateways act as central hubs, providing secure and reliable interconnects and processing data across the vehicle network to functional domains such as ADAS or Autonomous Driving.

“In combination with the groundbreaking features of our Automotive Ethernet Network Platform, AWS and Accenture’s contribution can profoundly help our customers innovate faster, drive down costs and build some of the most advanced vehicles in the automotive industry,” said Joseph Stenger, global product manager for connected mobility solutions, Molex. “We look forward to working together in the development of industry-leading technology solutions that help automotive OEMs design for the cars of tomorrow.”

“Accenture is excited to work with Molex to change the future of human mobility through new network and infrastructure capabilities for autonomous vehicles,” said Mark Pintar, a managing director in Accenture’s Technology Consulting practice. “Our collaboration has resulted in a solution that delivers an engaging customer experience that can adapt to meet the changing needs of users. We look forward to continuing to work together to enhance and expand these automotive solutions.”


Verizon notes 1.2 million net wireless postpaid additions in 4Q 2018

Verizon Communications reported a strong finish in fourth-quarter 2018, noting 1.2 million retail postpaid net additions in fourth-quarter 2018, of which approximately 650,000 were phone net additions. Retail postpaid phone churn was 0.82 percent in the fourth quarter, indicating continued strong customer loyalty.

The full earnings report is expected on January 29th.

Verizon issues $1 million "Built on 5G Challenge"

Verizon is offering up to $1 million in total grant funding as part of a  “Built on 5G Challenge”.

The funding will be provided to winning innovators to develop their concepts on live 5G networks located at Verizon’s 5G New York Lab, 5G Waltham Lab, 5G Cambridge Lab, and new locations being developed in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and Washington, D.C. In addition, Verizon 5G Labs technical advisors will provide training and support to winning innovators.

“When we launched 4G, we couldn’t have imagined that it would enable applications like Uber and Netflix,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer at Verizon. “5G’s unique speed, bandwidth and latency is about to usher in a new era of connectivity and innovation that many are already saying will herald a fourth industrial revolution. Now, as 5G becomes a reality for more consumers this year, we want to give innovators access to this game-changing technology to allow them to create use cases that no one has been able to dream up until now.”

https://www.verizon.com/about/our-company/5g/builton5gchallenge


EXFO posts sales of $69.2 million, up 9.2%

EXFO reported quarterly sales of US$69.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 up 9.2% from US$63.4 million in the first quarter of 2018. First-quarter sales for 2019 included a $7.5 million contribution from Astellia, reduced by US$0.9 million to account for acquisition-related fair value adjustment of deferred revenue.

Bookings, which included a US$7.8 million contribution from Astellia, improved 23.3% year-over-year to US$81.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 from US$65.9 million in the same period of 2018. The company's book-to-bill ratio was 1.17 in the first quarter of 2019.

Gross margin before depreciation and amortization* amounted to 58.2% of sales in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 compared to 63.3% in the first quarter of 2018.

IFRS net loss in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 totaled US$7.5 million, or US$0.14 per share, compared to net earnings of US$2.7 million, or US$0.05 per share, in the first quarter of 2018. IFRS net loss in the first quarter of 2019 included net expenses totaling US$6.3 million: US$2.5 million in after-tax amortization of intangible assets, US$0.4 million in stock-based compensation costs, US$2.7 million in after-tax restructuring charges, US$0.9 million for acquisition-related fair value adjustment of deferred revenue and a foreign exchange gain of US$0.2 million.

"EXFO delivered solid results in the first quarter of 2019 with revenue above the midpoint of our guidance range, while benefitting from robust calendar year-end spending for our T&M solutions to achieve the second-highest bookings level in company history," said EXFO's CEO Philippe Morin. "Our announced strategic transformation, focused on heightened efficiency and profitability, is progressing according to plan and should be completed by the end of the second quarter. This new structure is starting to pay off internally, but also externally with a better value proposition and more relevant engagement with SASS customers as reflected by a US$4.9 million contract win for real-time active topology software with a tier-1 service provider after the quarter-end."

Corning and WaveOptics demo augmented reality wearables

At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Corning and WaveOptics are privately demonstrating augmented reality (AR) wearables. WaveOptics’ wearable AR displays feature Corning’s high-refractive index glass, which is specially designed for AR waveguides.  The companies recently signed a long-term supply agreement in which Corning provides high-index glass wafers for WaveOptics’ waveguides.

“We have been working hard to lower the bill of materials for high-quality AR devices. Working with WaveOptics to assemble a global supply chain that will dramatically simplify access to high-quality augmented reality is a major part of that effort,” said David Velasquez, division vice president and general manager of Corning Precision Glass Solutions. “Corning is excited to work with WaveOptics and our joint partners to help enable the growth of such a young, dynamic industry.”

Akamai to acquire Janrain for identity access management at the edge

Akamai Technologies agreed to acquire Janrain, a privately-held company based in Portland, Oregon. Akamai did not disclose the amount of the all-cash transaction but said the Janrain acquisition would be slightly dilutive to its non-GAAP net income per share for 2019, in the range of $0.05 to $0.06, and to become accretive in 2020.

Janrain specializes in customer identity access management (CIAM), which helps enterprises to enhance digital trust by offloading login and registration workloads.

Akamai said the integration of Janrain's Identity Cloud with the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform is expected to provide enhanced security, regulatory compliance and massive scale to online engagements. The company cited security benefits to CIAM customers in two critical areas: bot management and threat intelligence. Akamai Bot Manager mitigates the risks associated with credential abuse by detecting and managing bot activity at login and registration time and reducing fraud without negatively impacting the user experience. By leveraging Akamai threat intelligence, customers can make smart decisions about which users should be allowed to access registration and login pages based on reputation built on past online behavior.

"It is challenging to conduct business online without an inherent and expected level of digital trust," said Rick McConnell, president of Akamai Technologies and general manager of Akamai’s web division. "Janrain’s Identity Cloud, working together with Akamai’s Intelligent Edge Platform, will provide an added layer of security to allow our customers to know more about their end users and potentially drive additional revenues from that deepened relationship."

See also