Monday, October 7, 2019

Verizon tests optical sensing with NEC

Verizon conducted a proof-of-concept test to assess whether fiber optic cables laid in the ground can serve as distributed optical sensors to collect information on city traffic patterns, road conditions, road capacity, and vehicle classification information.

The trial used new optical sensor technology developed by NEC with software underpinned by artificial intelligence (AI) for intelligent traffic monitoring including the measurement of vehicle density, direction, speed, acceleration, deceleration, and more. The trial used fiber already deployed in the ground.

The fiber sensing system coexisted with existing Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) communication channels on the same fiber with minimal impact to data communication capacity. The distributed multi-parameter sensor system evaluated various properties of back-scattering light, which can be used to derive the static strain, dynamic strain, acoustics, vibrations and temperatures for each fiber segment. This allows users to identify detected signatures and to translate those back-scattering signals into actionable information over a wide range of area previously unattainable by conventional sensors. With this unique technology provided by NEC, Verizon is able to use existing telecom networks, which were not built for sensing purposes, to generate valuable new data and to automatically analyze various environments.

“This test marks an important milestone for technology that could provide a huge leap forward for those building smart cities and those tasked to manage them,” said Adam Koeppe, Senior Vice President of Technology Planning and Development with Verizon. “Instead of ripping up tarmac to place road and traffic-sensing technology, cities will be able to simply piggyback Verizon’s existing fiber optic network.”

Results from this trial were reported jointly at OFC 2019 by Verizon and NEC (download PDF at https://www.osapublishing.org/abstract.cfm?uri=OFC-2019-Th4C.7).

“NEC has a strong history of leadership in the area of optical fiber technology. The results obtained from this joint research program with Verizon are a great advancement for smart city business opportunities, especially for safer city solutions such as the conservation of roads and the utilization of traffic information. We are confident that these cutting-edge solutions will provide meaningful new value for optical fiber networks,” said Atsuo Kawamura, Executive Vice President of NEC.

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-and-nec-just-made-fiber-sensing-whole-lot-easier

Vodafone kicks off OpenRAN trials

Vodafone Group has initiated trials of OpenRAN in the UK and may extend to more of its markets on the continent.

Vodafone has also initiated OpenRAN trials in the DRC and Mozambique – which have largely rural communities and are near the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index – to make mobile calls and to access data.  The trial sites across the three countries will provide 2G, 3G and 4G services, with 5G possible over OpenRAN in the future.

Vodafone has already undertaken lab trials of OpenRAN with Vodacom South Africa, and in Turkey has deployed the technology to deliver 2G and 4G services to customers in both urban and rural parts of the country.

Vodafone is working with a number of new vendors supplying OpenRAN technology including US companies, Parallel Wireless and Mavenir, and UK-based Lime Microsystems for Open CrowdCell.

Nick Read, CEO, Vodafone Group said: “We are pleased with trials of OpenRAN and are ready to fast track it into Europe as we seek to actively expand our vendor ecosystem. OpenRAN improves the network economics enabling us to reach more people in rural communities and that supports our goal to build digital societies in which no-one is left behind.”

MEF and ONUG team up on Next Gen SD-WAN

MEF and ONUG are now collaborating to advance SD-WAN.

Specifically, MEF will leverage ONUG’s hybrid multi-cloud enterprise end user requirements to accelerate development of MEF 3.0 SD-WAN managed services standards and related certification programs for services, technologies, and professionals.

ONUG’s SD-WAN 2.0 Working Group is focused on addressing specific challenges in integrating SD-WAN connectivity into enterprise hybrid multi-cloud environments. As part of its work, the working group developed an impressive reference architecture to define use case requirements for typical deployment scenarios, including multiple cloud provider connections, application performance assurance, scaling, security policy enforcement, hybrid environment security integration, and multi-domain connectivity orchestration.

As part of this collaboration, ONUG’s enterprise use case requirements will directly influence MEF’s ongoing SD-WAN projects so that the appropriate service specifications and certifications can be further matured. ONUG and MEF will collaborate on the joint definition of common service models and APIs for automating SD-WAN services, with initial areas of focus including:

  • ONUG SD-WAN 1.0 service models and API specifications
  • ONUG SD-WAN 2.0 multi-cloud integration use cases

Application security for SD-WANs

  • Intent-based networking and service automation for SD-WANs

MEF’s recently published SD-WAN Service Attributes and Services (MEF 70) standard describes requirements for an application-aware, over-the-top WAN connectivity service that uses policies to determine how application flows are directed over multiple underlay networks irrespective of the underlay technologies or service providers who deliver them.

“ONUG is playing a vital role in determining the requirements for key enterprise SD-WAN use cases. This is a major step in ensuring that enterprise end users are provided with the services needed to enable digital transformation in the hybrid multi-cloud era,” said Nan Chen, President, MEF. “Together, our communities can create a lasting impact in the industry and shape how innovative software-defined WAN services are developed, designed, and delivered.”

“ONUG is eager to help define MEF 3.0 SD-WAN managed services standards by ensuring that they address the critical enterprise requirements of the Global 2000 on their journey to hybrid multi-cloud adoption,” said Nick Lippis, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, ONUG. “ONUG looks forward to seeing these new standards reflected in the development of future SD-WAN reference solutions and proof-of-concept demonstrations for the benefit of the entire ONUG Community.”


Zain activates 5G on 2,000 towers across 20 Saudi cities

by James E. Carroll

Zain Group activated commercial 5G services in Saudi Arabia.

The first phase of the rollout covers a network of 2,000 towers in more than 20 cities in the Kingdom. Zain aims to cover a total of 26 Saudi cities utilizing 2,600 towers by the end of 2019.

Zain describes the launch as the largest 5G network deployment in the region to date. The carrier already has 5G operational in Kuwait.

Commenting on this significant milestone, Zain Vice Chairman & Group CEO, & Zain KSA Vice Chairman, Bader Al Kharafi said, “5G will bring substantial change for the Kingdom’s telecom industry, creating new business models and unlocking opportunities for many sectors such as financial, ICT, agricultural, tourism, entertainment, automotive, health, education and public sectors, to name a few. The technology is also expected to contribute significantly to the country’s economy, creating thousands of new jobs.”

Nokia wins 5G contract with Zain Saudi Arabia

Nokia announced a three-year deal with Zain Saudi Arabia to supply thousands of 5G sites across the country. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal introduces 5G using 2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz, along with massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (mMIMO) to deliver enhanced network capacity, coverage, and improved downlink and uplink speeds. In addition, the deal will introduce E-Band microwave in certain areas to allow for ultra-high-capacity backhaul networks.


  • Overview of the solution for the 5G deployment:
  • Nokia AirScale radio platform 
  • Nokia 5G Anyhaul: Nokia Wavence's E-band microwave radio with multi-frequency carrier aggregation will support multi-gigabit capacities and low-latency microwave transport
  • Nokia NetGuard Security Management solution to ensure a highly secure 5G network
  • Nokia Services: Full turnkey services including covering network planning, integration, implementation, project management, logistics and technical support


Nokia said it currently has 43 commercial 5G deals with operators around the world and is involved in more than 100 5G-related customer engagements.

Amr K. El Leithy, head of the Middle East and Africa market at Nokia, said:  "This contract, which includes 5G RAN, backhaul, security and services, demonstrates the breadth of our full-portfolio strengths and depth of global expertise in deploying these next-generation projects."

Zain now serves 50 million customers in Middle East & Africa



Zain Group, which delivers mobile services in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, reached the 50 million customer milestone as of the end of Q1 2019, reflecting a 6% increase year-on-year (Y-o-Y). Zain Group generated consolidated revenues of KD 404 million (USD 1.33 billion) for the first quarter of 2019, up 56% compared to the same period in 2018. EBITDA for the quarter reached KD 178 million (USD 586 million), up 111% Y-o-Y, reflecting...


Zain tests massive MIMO on TD-LTE using 2.6 GHz with Nokia



Zain KSA is testing a massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) pilot in the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on its TD-LTE network using 2.6 GHz spectrum. The pilot uses Nokia's 5G-ready AirScale massive MIMO antenna for 4.9G calls to improve network capacity to provide speeds of above 700 Mbps per user. Massive MIMO uses 64-Transmit-64-Receive (64T64R), which allows gigabit-level throughput. Nokia said its 5G-ready AirScale massive MIMO antenna...


Zain Saudi Arabia tests NB-IoT



Zain Saudi Arabia is te

Seaborn partners with EdgeUno for managed cloud services

Seaborn Networks, the independent developer/owner/operator of submarine cable systems between the U.S. and Brazil, has partnered with EdgeUno to launch Latin American managed cloud and datacenter services.

Seaborn launched IP and SD-WAN networks in Brazil in the past few months and, in partnership with EdgeUno as its managed cloud service provider. The two companies have deployed unique virtualized cloud infrastructure technology to provide clients with both physical and virtual infrastructure as a service – not just in Brazil, but throughout the region.

“We live in a results-first world where a product list is no longer of interest to customers. They need customized solutions, and each customer’s needs in this space are very specific,” says Seaborn’s COO Andy Bax. “Seaborn has built a reputation for delivering creative, customer-centric solutions; and our partnership with EdgeUno integrates our capacity/IP solutions into the bare-metal and cloud computing markets with a level of coverage customers can’t find elsewhere.”

“These are the types of partnerships we dreamed of when we first started,” says EdgeUno CEO Mehmet Akcin. “Our goal has always been to offer users in Latin America the most seamless internet experience possible, and now, thanks to Seaborn, we have more options than ever to help make that happen.”

Deutsche Telekom boosts 734,000 lines to 250 Mbps

Over the last four weeks, Deutsche Telekom has been increasing connection speeds to up to 250 Mbps for 734,000 million lines across Germany.

The number of lines with speeds of 250 Mbps has grown to its current total of nearly 25 million.

Using other technologies, Deutsche Telekom has sped up lines of a further 24,000 households to up to 100 Mbps. The total number of households who can use a rate with up to 100 Mbps or more climbed on more than 30 million.

du integrates Cisco Viptela SD-WAN

UAE-based du has integrated the Cisco Viptela SD-WAN platform into its telco cloud and will now offer SD-WAN service.

du says that by structuring their network, applications, and cloud under a single management interface, clients can now experience an end-to-end unified cloud solution that provides complete application visibility and total control of their enterprise networks.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Telefónica carries tele-surgery over 5G

Telefónica demonstrated an expert assistance system for medical interventions using an Augmented Reality (AR) system over a 5G connection.

The demonstration occurred at the IV Advanced Digestive Endoscopy Conference.

The presentation covered seven digestive endoscopy surgeries by two world leaders in endoscopy. Dr Pedro Rosón Rodríguez, Head of the Digestive System Service of the Quirónsalud Málaga Hospital, who conducted the surgery from the Endoscopy Room at Quirónsalud Málaga, had the supervision and advice from Japan of Dr Katsumi Yamamoto, director of the Endoscopy Centre of Osaka Hospital.

A Huawei 5G CPE (Customer Provider Equipment) managed both inbound and outbound communications.

Following this operation, there are plans to conduct a similar one using once again Telefónica's 5G technology.  This time Dr Pedro Rosón will advise directly on an operation to be carried out on a patient at the Poniente Hospital in El Ejido (Almería), a centre run by the Andalusian health service and carried out by Dr Francisco Gallego, head of the Endoscopy service at this hospital.

https://www.telefonica.com/en/web/press-office/-/quironsalud-malaga-hospital-and-telefonica-present-the-first-system-of-expert-remote-assistance-to-surgeries-based-on-5g-and-the-integration-of-medica

T-Mobile commits to more wind energy

T-Mobile US is launching its Solomon Forks Wind Project with ENGIE US Wind in Kansas and signing agreements with five additional clean energy sources across the country. These initiatives will bring the company to 95% of its RE100 commitment to use 100% renewable energy by 2021. Along with reducing energy consumption and building green facilities nationwide, T-Mobile is buying enough green power annually to account for every unit of electricity the company consumes. With the addition of today’s five new contracts, the Un-carrier is now participating in a total of EIGHT clean energy projects across the U.S. Once they’re all up and running, they will bring 3,017,000 MWh of green energy online.

"In 2018 we made a big industry-leading commitment to power ALL of T-Mobile — from cell towers to customer care centers to retail stores to headquarters — with renewable energy. Why? Simple. We know our operations have an impact on the environment and we want to do what we can to reduce that. Efforts like the ones we announced today just prove we continue to be ALL IN!” said John Legere, CEO at T-Mobile. “And by the way, I still challenge the other guys to do better and join us in our commitment to 100% green energy."

Mavenir cites strong interest in OpenRAN

OpenRAN has strong industry momentum, according to a recent Mobile Operator survey on OpenRAN conducted by mobile industry analyst and consultant firm Senza Fili on behalf of Mavenir.

Key results of the survey:

  • 100% of operators are considering using OpenRAN in key scenarios
  • 43% of respondents are open to replace current vendors
  • Cost savings were mentioned by 25% of respondents as a reason to consider multiple vendors
  • 84% of operators will consider deploying RRUs and BBUs from different vendors in OpenRAN deployments
  • Lower cost radios seen as a key component to OpenRAN interface adoption

Monica Paolini, Founder and President of Senza Fili, said, “There was overwhelming response to the operator survey. The trend shows great interest in moving to OpenRAN sooner rather than later.”

“Mavenir has been a pioneer of OpenRAN and open interfaces,” said John Baker, SVP Mavenir. “We’ve been participating in and driving OpenRAN business transformation so the results from this survey are very encouraging. For the first time in many years, opportunities for new suppliers in what has been a closed ecosystem, are now opening and operators are actively making this change happen.”

https://mavenir.com/buzz/press-releases/mavenir-survey-reveals-100-mobile-operators-plan-implement-openran

Samsung announces 12-Layer 3D-TSV chip packaging

Samsung Electronics announced the industry's first 12-layer 3D-TSV (Through Silicon Via) technology.

Samsung's new packaging technology vertically interconnects 12 DRAM chips through a three-dimensional configuration of more than 60,000 TSV holes, each of which is one-twentieth the thickness of a single strand of human hair. The thickness of the package (720㎛) remains the same as current 8-layer High Bandwidth Memory-2 (HBM2) products, which is a substantial advancement in component design. In addition, the 3D packaging technology also features a shorter data transmission time between chips than the currently existing wire bonding technology, resulting in significantly faster speed and lower power consumption.

Samsung says that by increasing the number of stacked layers from eight to 12, it will be able to mass produce 24-gigabyte (GB) High Bandwidth Memory, which provides three times the capacity of 8GB high bandwidth memory on the market today.

“Packaging technology that secures all of the intricacies of ultra-performance memory is becoming tremendously important, with the wide variety of new-age applications, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and High Power Computing (HPC)," said Hong-Joo Baek, executive vice president of TSP (Test & System Package) at Samsung Electronics. "As Moore's law scaling reaches its limit, the role of 3D-TSV technology is expected to become even more critical. We want to be at the forefront of this state-of-the-art chip packaging technology."

Sprint purchases 173MW of wind energy from Duke

Sprint signed a 12-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with Duke Energy for 173.3 megawatts (MW) of new wind energy. Duke Energy Renewables will build, own and operate the 182-MW Maryneal Windpower project located in Nolan County, Texas, that will come online in 2020. 

Sprint said this agreement will enable it to significantly reduce its carbon footprint and achieve approximately 30 percent renewable energy for its total electricity portfolio. The project will provide enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of more than 54,000 U.S. homes and will reduce carbon emissions equivalent to removing more than 96,000 cars from the road annually.

"Sprint is serious about minimizing its carbon impact, and operating as a more sustainable company," said Sprint Foundation Chairman Doug Michelman. "This wind project will help us make substantial progress towards offsetting the energy we use across our operations, including our headquarters, retail stores, call centers and cell towers."

Avaya and RingCentral enter alliance

Avaya Holdings Corp. (AVYA) announced an exclusive strategic partnership with RingCentral.

Under the deal, Avaya will introduce "Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral", a new global unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solution.

RingCentral is contributing $500 million to its partnership with Avaya, including a $125 million investment of 3% redeemable preferred equity that is convertible at $16 per share, representing an approximate 6% position in Avaya on as-converted basis. RingCentral will also pay Avaya an advance of $375 million primarily in stock for future payments and certain licensing rights.

In addition, Avaya’s Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase program under which it may purchase up to $500 million of Avaya’s common stock. Avaya also announced plans to pay down $250 million of the principal debt under its Term Loan B.

“Avaya and RingCentral’s joint investment and commitment to bringing Avaya Cloud Office to market creates an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate the transition to the cloud with attractive economics for our customers and partners,” said Jim Chirico, President and CEO of Avaya. “This also gives us the opportunity to unlock value from a largely unmonetized base of our business as it brings compelling value to our customers and partners. We believe this highly complementary partnership is a game changer that expands the total addressable market for Avaya and creates meaningful value for both Avaya and RingCentral.”

“This strategic partnership leverages the respective strengths of Avaya and RingCentral to provide a definitive differentiated solution,” said Vlad Shmunis, Founder, Chairman and CEO of RingCentral. “We are excited to bring RingCentral’s leading UCaaS platform to Avaya’s installed base of over 100 million users and over 4,700 partners, providing long-term growth opportunities for both our companies.”

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Malaysia's Maxis signs Huawei for 5G

Malaysia-based Maxis has selected Huawei Technologies for the provisioning of 5G network in the country.

As part of the agreement, Huawei will be supplying 4G/LTE and 5G radio equipment and services. Besides having access to 5G technologies, Maxis will able to modernise its existing LTE network to be 5G-ready. Leveraging on existing investments and footprint, Maxis will be able to facilitate faster rollout of 5G services when spectrum is available.

Additionally, Maxis will have access to insights, standards, products and solutions that would make 5G easier to deploy and operate and introduce new use cases in Malaysia.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by Yang Amat Berhormat Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia at Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana, Putrajaya. Signing the agreement on behalf of Maxis was its Chief Executive Officer, Gokhan Ogut, while Huawei was represented by Michael Yuan, its Chief Executive Officer.

Eric Xu takes over rotating Chairmanship of Huawei

Mr. Xu Zhijun (Eric Xu) will assume the position of Rotating and Acting Chairman of Huawei from October 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. During his term, Mr. Xu will serve as the company's top leader, and head the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee.

 Xu joined Huawei in 1993 and has served as President of the Wireless Network Product Line, Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer, Chief Products & Solutions Officer, Chairman of the Investment Review Board, Rotating CEO of Huawei, and Chairman of the Strategy & Development Committee (SDC). Currently, Mr. Xu serves as Deputy Chairman of the Board and Rotating Chairman of Huawei.

Ciena to acquire Centina for Service Assurance

Ciena agreed to acquire privately-held Centina, a provider of service assurance analytics and network performance management solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Centina, which is based in Plano, Texas, supplies a multi-vendor, multi-technology service assurance solution specifically designed for complex multi-service network operations.

Ciena said the acquisition will accelerate Blue Planet’s software strategy of providing closed-loop, intelligent automation solutions that help communications service providers improve operational agility while delivering a highly differentiated customer experience. Specifically, the Centina solution will expand Blue Planet’s assurance capabilities by collecting and collating fault, event, and performance data from multiple vendors and network layers, including virtual domains such as NFV as well as more traditional optical, Ethernet and IP/MPLS networks and services.

Integrating Centina’s robust service assurance capabilities with Blue Planet Multi-Domain Service Orchestration (MDSO) and Blue Planet Inventory (BPI) will allow continuous optimization of service performance, quality and availability on a proactive basis by resolving problems automatically before they impact the service and user experience.

“The acquisition of Centina advances Blue Planet’s position as an emerging leader in operational support systems (OSS), focused on closed-loop automation. By continuously monitoring the performance of services, Centina’s multi-layer, multi-domain service assurance solution will help our customers resolve issues more quickly and optimize network performance,” said Rick Hamilton, senior vice president of Blue Planet. “This is a key step to achieving more adaptive networks that are critical in today’s digital society where the customer experience is the ultimate differentiator.”

The deal is expected to close by the end of calendar 2019. Centina will be integrated into Blue Planet, a division of Ciena.

Georgia Tech develops fully integrated silicon carbide optical switch

Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed the first silicon carbide (SiC) photonic integrated chip that can be thermally tuned by applying an electric signal. The project involved the integration of a microheater and an optical device called a microring resonator onto a SiC chip, potentially paving the wave for a new class of quantum devices. SiC is known to have defects that can be optically controlled and manipulated as quantum bits, or qubits.

“The SiC-on-insulator platform our group pioneered is similar to the silicon-on-insulator technology widely used in semiconductor industry for a variety of applications,” said Tianren Fan, member of the research team. “It enables wafer-level manufacturing of SiC devices, paving the way toward commercialization of integrated photonic quantum information processing solutions based on SiC,” said Ali A. Eftekhar, member of the research team.

The research is published in The Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Letters.

https://www.osa.org/en-us/about_osa/newsroom/news_releases/2019/tunable_optical_chip_paves_way_for_new_quantum_dev/

Mavenir demos O-RAN at new R&D center in Stockholm

Mavenir demonstrated the transmission of data traffic over O-RAN interface in a 5G New Radio during the official opening of the Center of Innovation in Stockholm. The successful transmission of data at the physical layer demonstrated the implementation in a 5G New Radio of the O-RAN split 7.2 open interface between a Distributed Unit (O-DU) and a simulated Remote Radio Unit (RRU) (O-RU). The DU was implemented on an x86-based architecture standard COTS server and displayed maximum speed for the chosen transmission of 777 Mbps.

The new facility focuses on Mavenir’s open virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN) development, both S/W and H/W, as well as innovation on next-generation platforms for 5G and IoT for Service Providers, Industry and Enterprises.

“The relevance of this demonstration is that the O-RAN interface is a straightforward and robust interface to implement in 5G with standard commercial off-the-shelf equipment,” said Mikael Rylander, SVP/GM RAN Business Unit. “This means we will be able to stimulate a full ecosystem of Radio Unit suppliers, which will inject new blood into the market and support the vision of OpenRAN in transforming the mobile network economics.”