Monday, November 18, 2019

Nokia puts its cloud-native software on AWS

Nokia's Common Software Foundation platform is now available on Amazon Web Services (AWS), giving communication service providers (CSPs) an additional deployment choice and faster time to service when rolling out new 5G or digital services.

“Interest in AWS from the CSP market segment beyond IT workloads is growing rapidly,” said Matt Garman, Vice President of AWS Compute Services, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “We are delighted to be working with Nokia and helping them leverage the power of AWS for their network infrastructure solutions and business and operational support applications.”

Nokia already offers several applications on AWS, including customer experience, service fulfillment, and orchestration solutions. Through this engineering collaboration, Nokia will prioritize 5G solutions including mobile core, network & service orchestration, and device management & operational support systems suites. Additionally, all new Nokia Software cloud-native network functions and applications moving forward will be available on AWS upon release.

“Our Common Software Foundation continues to drive commercial value forward for our customers including choice of deployment options. CSF now enables all our cloud-native network functions and applications on AWS,” said Bhaskar Gorti, President of Nokia Software. “And when we combine Nokia pre-engineered solutions with AWS deployment, CSPs will be able to commission a new 5G mobile core or provision a new service offering with the click of a button – meaningfully changing CSP economics and operational time frames.”

U.S. Depart of Commerce Extends Huawei temporary general license

The U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) will extend for 90 days the Temporary General License (TGL) authorizing specific, limited engagements in transactions involving the export, reexport, and transfer of items – under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) – to Huawei and its non-U.S. affiliates which are subject to the Entity List.

 “The Temporary General License extension will allow carriers to continue to service customers in some of the most remote areas of the United States who would otherwise be left in the dark,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The Department will continue to rigorously monitor sensitive technology exports to ensure that our innovations are not harnessed by those who would threaten our national security.”

HPE intros Kubernetes for Bare-Metal and Edge to Cloud Deployments

HPE introduced an enterprise-grade Kubernetes-based container platform designed for both cloud-native applications and monolithic applications with persistent storage.

The new HPE Container Platform can run on bare-metal or virtualized infrastructure, on any public cloud, and at the edge. It leverages technology from HPE’s acquisitions of BlueData and MapR, together with open source Kubernetes.

HPE said it designed the new platform to address large-scale enterprise Kubernetes deployments across a wide range of use cases, from machine learning and edge analytics to CI/CD pipelines and application modernization.

“Application development is migrating to containers, and Kubernetes is the de facto standard for container orchestration,” said Kumar Sreekanti, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Hybrid IT at HPE. “We’re combining our expertise and intellectual property from recent acquisitions together with open source Kubernetes to deliver an unmatched enterprise-class container platform. Our container-first approach will provide enterprises with a faster and lower cost path to application modernization, optimized for bare-metal and extensible to any infrastructure from edge to cloud.”

Austria's conova deploys ADVA OLS for DCI

conova, one of Austria’s leading IT service providers, has deployed the ADVA FSP 3000 open line system (OLS) with ConnectGuard Optical encryption for secure, high-capacity transport between data centers.

The fully redundant infrastructure supports 100Gbps Carrier Ethernet as well as 32Gbps Gen 6 Fibre Channel, a key requirement for the most advanced enterprise storage services. ADVA said its ALM fiber assurance technology, the new DCI network also enables rapid repair times and improves performance. The infrastructure is protected by ConnectGuard Optical for network encryption at the lowest network layer. The network is assured by the ADVA ALM fiber monitoring solution, which provides real-time information on fiber integrity for fast failure detection and short repair cycles. As the first platform on the market to achieve mainframe qualification for Gen 6 Fibre Channel transport, the ADVA FSP 3000 enables conova to make the leap to 32Gbps Fibre Channel and maximize the performance of flash-enhanced data storage in its facilities.

“In recent years, we’ve grown rapidly as our customers’ businesses have expanded. ADVA’s technology enables us to meet new levels of demand for high-security, high-availability cloud and storage services in a way that also supports further growth in the future. With the ability to transport the most advanced low-latency 32Gbit/s Fibre Channel services, our new network also empowers us to realize the full value of our state-of-the-art data centers,” said Stefan Kaltenbrunner, CSO, conova. “Our new fully redundant network is key to our mission of delivering the optimal IT infrastructure for every business. It helps us provide our customers with fast access to their mission-critical data around the clock as well as the peace of mind that comes from knowing that it’s safe and secure.”

Nokia and Hitachi Kokusai partner on private 5G

Nokia is collaborating with Hitachi Kokusai Electric on local 5G and private wireless LTE solutions for industrial and government customers. Spectrum for local 5G will be released in Japan at the end of 2019 for enterprise use.

As part of the collaboration, the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud platform with its secure, reliable and low-latency connectivity will be used for applications including video analytics, AI, machine learning and IoT, as well as drones, group communication, and AR/VR. It will also enable autonomous transport vehicles, such as trucks, trains, forklifts and straddle carriers, to increase productivity at factories, utilities, airports and ports.

Hitachi Kokusai Electric will share its expertise as a leader in driving the adoption of private LTE networks for industry use and disaster prevention in Japan. Nokia will lend its private LTE/4.9G and 5G wireless connectivity solutions, which have established a global marketplace footprint across energy, transportation, public sector, manufacturing and logistics.

Kaichiro Sakuma, Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hitachi Kokusai Electric, commented: “Industrial grade private wireless networks will be very important for our industry customers, helping them to become more efficient, automating dangerous operations, and improving worker safety. Our collaboration with Nokia is helping to speed the delivery of these innovative capabilities to the Japanese market.”

John Harrington, Head of Nokia Japan, commented: “Partnerships such as this help us to better serve the increasing needs of local 5G and digitalization technology in Japan. Collaborating with partners with in-depth knowledge and expertise across industry segments is critical to the widespread adoption of digital automation and private wireless solutions in industrial settings. Thanks to our comprehensive end-to-end-portfolio, we are ideally placed to support Hitachi Kokusai Electric and its customers to benefit from secure, highly reliable, ultra-broadband wireless networking.”

Harvard builds liquid-cooled supercomputer with Lenovo and Intel

Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences Research Computing is building a supercomputing cluster using the latest Lenovo ThinkSystem SD650 NeXtScale servers with "Neptune" liquid cooling technology and 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Platinum 8268 processors.

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Research Computing (FASRC)'s newest and largest HPC cluster, which is named after the legendary American astronomer Annie Jump Cannon, is comprised of more than 30,000 2nd gen Intel Xeon Scalable processor cores. Lenovo’s Neptune liquid cooling technology uses the superior heat conducting efficiency of water versus air.

Though the Cannon storage system is spread across multiple locations, the primary compute is housed in the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, a LEED Platinum-certified data center in Holyoke, MA. The Cannon cluster includes 670 Lenovo ThinkSystem SD650 servers featuring Lenovo Neptune™ direct-to-node water-cooling, and Intel Xeon Platinum 8268 processors consisting of 24 cores per socket and 48 cores per node. Each Cannon node is now several times faster than any previous cluster node, with jobs like geophysics models of the Earth performing 3-4 times faster than the previous system. In the first four weeks of production operation, Cannon completed over 4.2 million jobs utilizing over 21 million CPU hours.

“Science is all about iteration and repeatability. But iteration is a luxury that is not always possible in the field of university research because you are often working against the clock to meet a deadline,” said Scott Yockel, director of research computing at Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “With the increased compute performance and faster processing of the Cannon cluster, our researchers now have the opportunity to try something in their data experiment, fail, and try again. Allowing failure to be an option makes our researchers more competitive.”

Nokia and VMware expand partnership for large-scale, multi-cloud

Nokia and VMware are expanding an existing partnership to support large-scale, multi-cloud operations by communications service providers (CSPs).

The companies will focus on the interoperability between Nokia software applications and VMware’s Telco Cloud, including VMware vCloud NFV. Nokia and VMware will also increase their investments in a deeper partnership with technology collaboration and advanced research & development to develop integrated solutions. As a result, CSPs will be able to more easily meet their business and use case objectives, using VMware cloud infrastructure that is engineered to work together with Nokia virtualized and containerized network functions.

Nokia and VMware have been working together to create seamless cloud redundancy by running Nokia’s applications, such as Nokia Service Management Platform, on VMware’s Telco Cloud platform and VMware HCX, an application mobility platform designed for simplifying application migration, workload rebalancing, and optimized disaster recovery across data centers and clouds. This will enable customers to embrace a multi-cloud strategy to unify network and IT environments and connect them to private enterprise clouds, edge clouds, and public clouds.

Nokia will continue to focus on the technical certification of Nokia VNFs and software applications on VMware vCloud NFV platform through a dedicated, on-site VMware Ready for NFV Certification Lab. The new lab includes performance characterization to enable CSPs to properly configure their technology environments for the best results. With the Certification Lab, Nokia and VMware will serve customers in an accelerated fashion, keeping pace with new features and releases and enabling better roadmap alignment between the two companies’ portfolios.

Several Nokia software applications, such as Nokia CloudBand Application Manager and Nokia Smart Plan Suite, along with virtual IMS, virtual packet core and session border controller are already certified for operations in VMware cloud environments.

CenturyLink and Infinera delive terabit capacity to SC19

CenturyLink and Infinera are teaming up to deliver terabit capacity to this week’s SC19, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis in Denver.

CenturyLink will deliver this capacity using the Infinera Groove G30 Compact Modular Platform running 2 x 600 Gbps metro wavelengths. The deployment will connect the Colorado Convention Center in Denver with wide-area networks in major U.S. cities, demonstrating CenturyLink’s rapid provisioning of 100-gigabit services.

“A scalable, agile, and low-latency infrastructure plays a critical role in addressing the demanding and ever-increasing connectivity requirements of high-performance computing and the global research and education community,” said Andrew Dugan, Chief Technology Officer at CenturyLink. “Delivering terabit-scale capacity for SCinet underscores our commitment to serving the needs of these customers in their pursuit of academic excellence.”

http://news.centurylink.com

John Legere to step down as CEO of T-Mobile US

John Legere will step down as CEO of T-Mobile US when his contract expires on April 30, 2020. T-Mobile's Board of Directors named Mike Sievert as Chief Executive Officer.

Sievert currently serves as President, Chief Operating Officer and a Board Director.

“John Legere has had an enormously successful run as CEO. As the architect of the Un-carrier strategy and the company’s complete transformation, John has put T-Mobile US in an incredibly strong position. I have the highest respect for his performance as a manager and as a friend, I am very grateful to him for the time together,” said Tim Höttges, Deutsche Telekom CEO, and Chairman of the Board of T-Mobile US. “John taught everyone at T-Mobile that if you listen to customers and empower employees, you can change a culture – and by doing so – change a company and an entire industry. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank John, and of course Mike, and all the employees for everything they have achieved over the past seven years. We have tremendous respect for John’s leadership and appreciate his incredible contributions to T-Mobile’s success. The Board is pleased that John will support this leadership transition while focusing on closing our pending acquisition of Sprint.”

“I hired Mike in 2012 and I have great confidence in him. I have mentored him as he took on increasingly broad responsibilities, and he is absolutely the right choice as T-Mobile’s next CEO,” said John Legere. “Mike is well prepared to lead T-Mobile into the future. He has a deep understanding of where T-Mobile has been and where it needs to go to remain the most innovative company in the industry. I am extremely proud of the culture and enthusiasm we have built around challenging the status quo and our ongoing commitment to putting customers first. Together, these attributes have distinguished T-Mobile in the marketplace and on Wall Street, giving us a powerful business advantage that is instilled throughout every level of T-Mobile. I am confident it will thrive under Mike’s leadership.”

“In the months ahead, my focus will be on ensuring a smooth leadership transition and continuing to work closely with the Board and Mike to complete the Sprint transaction,” added John Legere. “This merger will create the New T-Mobile – a company that is uniquely positioned to continue disrupting the wireless category – and beyond. This marks the beginning of a dynamic new chapter for T-Mobile.”

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Intels shows its Ponte Vecchio GPU and oneAPI programming model

Intel unveiled its new general-purpose "Ponte Vecchio" GPU architecture for HPC/AI acceleration, along with its new oneAPI, a unified and scalable programming model for the era of HPC/AI convergence.

The oneAPI industry initiative ains to deliver a unified and simplified programming model for application development across heterogenous processing architectures, including CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs and other accelerators. The oneAPI specification includes a direct programming language, powerful APIs and a low-level hardware interface. Intel’s oneAPI beta software provides developer tools that include compilers, libraries and analyzers, packaged into domain-focused toolkits. The initial oneAPI beta release targets Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Intel Core processors with integrated graphics, and Intel FPGAs, with additional hardware support to follow in future releases. Developers can download the oneAPI tools, test drive them in the Intel oneAPI DevCloud, and learn more about oneAPI at software.intel.com/oneAPI.

The new general-purpose GPUs are based on Intel’s Xe architecture. Ponte Vecchio will be manufactured on Intel’s 7nm technology and will be Intel’s first Xe-based GPU optimized for HPC and AI workloads. Ponte Vecchio will leverage Intel’s Foveros 3D and EMIB packaging innovations and feature multiple technologies in-package, including high-bandwidth memory, Compute Express Link interconnect and other intellectual property.

Intel said these announcements, which are being made at this week's Supercomputing 2019 in Denver, represent a paradigm shift from today’s single-architecture, single-vendor programming models.




“HPC and AI workloads demand diverse architectures, ranging from CPUs, general-purpose GPUs
and FPGAs, to more specialized deep-learning NNPs, which Intel demonstrated earlier this month,” said Raja Koduri, senior vice president, chief architect, and general manager of architecture, graphics and software at Intel. “Simplifying our customers’ ability to harness the power of diverse computing environments is paramount, and Intel is committed to taking a software-first approach that delivers a unified and scalable abstraction for heterogeneous architectures.”

https://newsroom.intel.com/news-releases/intel-unveils-new-gpu-architecture-optimized-for-hpc-ai-oneapi/#gs.gqf475

Google completes California-to-Chile subsea cable

Google's 10,500-km "Curie" subsea cable stretching from California to Chile is now ready for service. The new cable is equipped four 18 Tbps fiber optic pairs, a design capacity of 72 Tbps.

Google also announced the first Curie branch into Panama. Subcom has been selected for the project.

Curie represents Google's third wholly-owned subsea cable. The other projects are Dunant, which crosses the Atlantic from Virginia to France, and Equiano, which will link Portugal to South Africa.

https://cloud.google.com/blog/products/infrastructure/curie-subsea-cable-set-to-transmit-to-chile-with-a-pit-stop-to-panama

Google picks Equinix for Curie Subsea Cable Landing Station

Google has selected an Equinix data center in El Segundo, California as the cable landing station (CLS) for the new Curie subsea cable system.  In the U.S., the cable will land directly at the Equinix LA4 International Business Exchange (IBX) data center.

The Curie cable is expected to go live in 2019.

Equinix said the CLS configuration is ideal for extending the backhaul capacity of a subsea cable system directly to the ecosystems of companies in its high-density IBX data centers. The architecture provides easy access to a dense, rich ecosystem of networks, clouds and IT service providers.

Equinix has been selected as an interconnection partner in more than 25 of the current subsea cable projects.

"With the significant increase in global data traffic, we see corporations running global businesses demanding access to high-capacity, low-latency networks capable of connecting them to data centers across oceans with stringent levels of reliability. Any user of a subsea cable system that lands inside one of our Equinix global data center termination points has instant, low-latency access to a host of vibrant industry ecosystems inside Equinix, and that's a huge advantage," stated Jim Poole, Vice President, Business Development, Equinix.


Google commissions own subsea cable from CA to Chile

TE Subcom has been awarded a contract by Alphabet, the parent company of Google, to build a subsea cable from California to Chile. A ready-for-service date is expected in 2019.

The Curie Submarine Cable will be a four fiber-pair subsea system spanning over 10,000 km from Los Angeles to Valparaiso. It will include a branching unit for future connectivity to Panama.

The project is believed to be the first subsea cable to land in Chile in 20 years.

“We’re proud to provide comprehensive services to Google on this project. Leveraging existing TE SubCom infrastructure through our SubCom Global Services (SGS) options put us in position to be a true partner to them. Our role in the continued growth of global connectivity and information sharing is a point of substantial pride for the TE SubCom team,” said Sanjay Chowbey, president of TE SubCom.

EC approves €2.6B public support for Irish National Broadband

The European Commission approved  €2.6 billion of public support for the Irish National Broadband Plan, which aims to bring high-speed broadband services to consumers and businesses in areas with insufficient connectivity in Ireland. The new network will be capable of supporting download speeds of at least 150 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 30 Mbps.

The Irish National Broadband Plan calls for a subsidised network providing wholesale access to all operators on an open, transparent and non-discriminatory basis.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “The National Broadband Plan in Ireland is expected to address the significant digital divide between urban and rural areas in Ireland, enabling Irish consumers and businesses to benefit from the full potential of digital growth. This will help households and businesses in areas of Ireland where private investment is insufficient.”

Telia Carrier picks Ciena OLS for European network

Telia Carrier has chosen Ciena to be the supplier of a new Open Optical Line System (O-OLS) in Europe. The selected system will be deployed from the beginning of 2020 and will provide increased capacity across the European FLAP (Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris) markets, as well as linking-up additional key locations in the Telia Carrier network, to create a European Express Network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ciena said Telia Carrier will also deploy its Waveserver transponders, powered by Wavelogic Ai and WaveLogic 5 Extreme coherent optics, which can be deployed not only in the new O-OLS in Europe, but also in other existing Line Systems in the Telia Carrier network, in both Europe and the United States.

“Europe is an important market for long-haul fiber connectivity so being able to deploy and maintain a scalable and adaptive network is key,” said Jamie Jefferies, Vice President and General Manager, EMEA at Ciena. “Working with industry leaders like Telia Carrier supports our relentless pursuit of network innovation, enabling network providers to deliver richer, more connected experiences for their customers.”

“The new O-OLS from Ciena provides great flexibility and scalability, enabling us to strengthen our European network within our core transport infrastructure as the demand for high-performance capacity services in this region continues to grow”, said Staffan Göjeryd, CEO, Telia Carrier.

Mirantis acquires Docker Enterprise

Mirantis has acquired Docker’s Enterprise Platform business, including its container platform, employees and hundreds of enterprise customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Docker containers are used by one-third of Fortune 100 companies.

Mirantis said its significant investments in Kubernetes will now flow into the Docker Enterprise platform. New capabilities are expected to include an as-a-service experience to eliminate the administration, integration and operation burden of containers.

“The Mirantis Kubernetes technology joined with the Docker Enterprise Container Platform brings simplicity and choice to enterprises moving to the cloud. Delivered as a service, it’s the easiest and fastest path to the cloud for new and existing applications,” said Adrian Ionel, CEO and co-founder at Mirantis. “The Docker Enterprise employees are among the most talented cloud native experts in the world and can be immensely proud of what they achieved. We’re very grateful for the opportunity to create an exciting future together and welcome the Docker Enterprise team, customers, partners, and community.”


Docker to focus on developer workflows, secures $35 million in funding

Docker announced a recapitalization of its equity along with $35 million in new financing from previous investors Benchmark Capital and Insight Partners.

The company said it will focus on developers’ workflows when building, sharing and running modern applications.

“I joined Docker to lead the next phase of its growth. After conducting thorough analysis with the management team and the Board of Directors, we determined that Docker had two very distinct and different businesses: one an active developer business, and the other a growing enterprise business. We also found that the product and the financial models were vastly different. This led to the decision to restructure the company and separate the two businesses, which is the best thing for customers and to enable Docker’s industry-leading technology to thrive,” said Rob Bearden, chief executive officer of Docker.

“Addressing the needs of developers has been core to Docker since its inception. Developers want the freedom to choose their own tools, the flexibility to quickly try new technologies and the ability to deploy their applications anywhere, independent of the underlying infrastructure,” said Scott Johnston, chief product officer, Docker. “Going forward, in partnership with the community and ecosystem, we will expand Docker Desktop and Docker Hub’s roles in the developer workflow for modern apps. Specifically, we are investing in expanding our cloud services to enable developers to quickly discover technologies for use when building applications, to easily share these apps with teammates and the community, and to run apps frictionlessly on any Kubernetes endpoint, whether locally or in the cloud. It’s an honor to lead Docker in this next phase of its journey.”

https://www.docker.com/blog/docker-next-chapter-advancing-developer-workflows-for-modern-apps

Keysight, FormFactor and CompoundTek partner on silicon photonics R&D

Keysight Technologies has entered into an R&D partnership with FormFactor, a provider of essential test and measurement technologies along the full IC life cycle and CompoundTek, a global foundry services leader in emerging silicon photonic solutions (SiPh).

The companies have jointly developed an advanced photonics on-wafer testing solution that delivers industry-first capabilities including automated alignment, simultaneous optical-optical and optical-electrical device tests.

The joint solution, to be offered by CompoundTek, includes:

  • The FormFactor CM300xi-SiPh, with automated wafer level photonics positioning combined with Keysight’s industry standard IL/PDL engines and N7700A Photonics Application Suite (PAS), to support wavelength repeatability of ±1.5 pm at two-way sweeps up to 200 nm/s within 1240nm to 1650nm to ensure accuracy and repeatability from O-band to L-band.
  • Keysight’s N4373E 67 GHz Lightwave Component Analyzer which delivers unprecedented bandwidth for both optical receiver testing and optical transmitter testing with guaranteed specifications for electro-optical S-parameter measurements for device traceability.
  • Keysight’s PathWave software platform which provides a consistent user experience, common data formats and control interfaces.
  • FormFactor’s SiPh software that enables automated calibrations and alignments and simplifies integration with Keysight’s PathWave software platform, as well as optical instrumentation, to ensure ease of use.

“Innovation in optics is critical to connect the world and help the industry to monetize 5G, as well as data center and telecom services,” said Dr. Joachim Peerlings, vice president of Network and Data Center Solutions at Keysight Technologies. “Advancing in speed as well as power and cost efficiency requires a tightly connected eco-system to jointly solve the challenges ahead. We are pleased with our partnerships and progress of enabling this eco-system through our unmatched photonics test expertise.”

Thursday, November 14, 2019

What's happening with 400G?



It's happening, but maybe not quite yet except for the hyperscale clouds. Bikash Koley, CTO of Juniper Networks, provides a quick update on 400G, including a mention of the upcoming in-house silicon photonics.



https://youtu.be/6fjR0ovin0Y

https://nginfrastructure.com/network-automation/


Liquid deploys fiber connecting East-to-West Africa via DRC

Liquid Telecom has launched a land-based fiber network connecting East to West Africa. The coast-to-coast digital corridor follows the completion of Liquid Telecom’s new high-capacity fiber link running 2,600-km across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The new backbone connects the company’s network on the Atlantic coast at Muanda in the DRC, via Liquid Telecom’s international subsea cable partners. It then runs directly East to Kinshasa and through the DRC onto Lubumbashi in the South, connecting with other cities in between, including Kikwit, Kananga and Kolwezi. The link then crosses the DRC border into Zambia, integrating there with Liquid Telecom’s existing and rapidly expanding pan-African terrestrial fibre network.

Liquid Telecom notes that until recently, no direct, land-based fibre network existed between East and West Africa. Network traffic between Kinshasa in the DRC and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, for example, was routed via London.

“Liquid Telecom has connected East to West Africa with the most direct digital corridor across the southern hemisphere. We have set a new benchmark and achieved a historic milestone in our vision to create a more connected Africa,” said Nic Rudnick, Group CEO, Liquid Telecom. “By linking the DRC to Liquid Telecom’s rapidly expanding pan-African fibre network and the rest of the world, this transformative infrastructure is creating a foundation for digital growth. Fast, reliable broadband connectivity will advance society, fuel innovation and help champion pan-Africa trade.”

“What Africa has been lacking until now was a direct east to west telecommunications backbone. Liquid Telecom has achieved what African states and organisations have been contemplating for years without success. It deployed a high-capacity fibre optic backbone connecting subsea cables on the East Coast of Africa with cables on the West Coast of Africa. By doing this, it not only considerably shortened the communications route between East and West Africa and contributed to keeping the traffic local, it also laid the groundwork for connecting millions of Africa’s citizens (especially in the DRC) to the internet and the world. This is a significant milestone in continued expansion of modern telecommunications infrastructure across the African continent, supporting governments’ policies aimed at closing the digital divide within their countries and ultimately ensuring ubiquitous connectivity.” Said Dobek Pater, Director at Africa Analysis.

Liquid Telecom to invest US$400 million in deal with Telecom Egypt

Liquid Telecom will invest 8 billion Egyptian Pounds (US$400 million) in Egypt over the next three years as part of its partnership with Telecom Egypt on network infrastructure and data centres.

Specifically, Liquid Telecom will make an initial investment of US$50 million in data centres and cloud services. Liquid Telecom plans to invest an additional US$350 million in broadband and financial inclusion initiatives, as well as high capacity data centres.

Liquid Telecom’s expanding network is almost 70,000km in length and is linked to more than 600 towns and cities in 13 countries across Africa.

The investment was announced at the Africa 2018 Forum. The historical agreement was signed by Ahmed El Beheiry, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Telecom Egypt, and Strive Masiyiwa - Group Executive Chairman of Liquid Telecom’s parent company Econet. It was witnessed by Her Excellency Dr. Sahar Nasr, Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation and His Excellency, Dr Amr Talaat, The Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

According to the Group Executive Chairman of Liquid Telecom’s parent company Econet, Mr Strive Masiyiwa, the next mission is to complete a link between Cairo and Dakar Senegal through Sudan, Chad, and Nigeria, as well as the rest of West Africa. “We have already crossed Africa from East to West through Sudan and Chad. We are at the Nigerian border and we expect to reach Abuja by the end of January in time for the AU Summit. We want to reach Dakar before President El-Sisi finishes his term,” he said.

Mr Masiyiwa also acknowledged the support of President Kagame, adding: “It would have been impossible to reach this far so quickly without his support. He adopted this initiative as a key project during his tenure and has been highly supportive throughout its development. We know President El-Sisi will help us take it to the next level because he understands the vision of Africa.” Mr Masiyiwa expressed his appreciation for leadership support across the continent. He said the ‘One Africa’ model could encourage other entrepreneurs to build projects in complementary sectors, such as rail and power. “We need to push the linkage of our continental power grids, and also rail and air transportation. Now is the time for bold initiatives to build intra African trade and investment.”



Telecom Egypt + Liquid Telecom link Cairo-to-Cape Town terrestrial fiber

Telecom Egypt and Liquid Telecom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to complete the first terrestrial fibre network stretching all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, to Cairo, Egypt.

Under the MoU, Liquid Telecom will link its network from Sudan into Telecom Egypt’s network via a new cross border interconnection – bringing together a 60,000km network that runs from Cape Town, through all the Southern, Central, and Eastern African countries, and has now reached the border between Sudan and Egypt.

As part of the strategic partnership, Liquid Telecom and Telecom Egypt will share network infrastructure and explore further areas of collaboration, including joint network services, a peering arrangement and a voice interconnection agreement.

The Cape to Cairo network - often referred to as “the One Africa” broadband network - has been in the making for over ten years and serves some of the largest global companies with some of the fastest network speeds on the continent.

“Completing our vision of building a single network running on land, all the way from Cape to Cairo is a historic moment for the company and for a more connected Africa. This network not only represents a remarkable engineering achievement that has overcome some of the most challenging distances and terrains on the continent, but it is also supporting the rise of Africa’s digital economies,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet.

Liquid Telecom acquires South Africa's Neotel

Liquid Telecom, a unit of South Africa–based Econet Global has announced that it has completed the acquisition of South African network operator Neotel for approximately ZAR 6.55 billion (approximately $491 million), further expanding its position as a pan-African telecoms company.

Liquid Telecom acquired Neotel from India's Tata Communications and minority shareholders led by Nexus Connexion. Liquid Telecom joined with 30% equity partner Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), a community-based South African investment group, for the acquisition, which received regulatory approval from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in December 2016. South Africa's Competition Commission approved the deal in October.

Established in 2006, Neotel has invested an estimated ZAR 7 billion in its network, deploying national backbone fibre connecting the top 40 cities and towns in South Africa and to over 5,000 businesses. Neotel operates a major, MEF-certified Ethernet network, while Liquid Telecom is a leading provider of Carrier Ethernet services with MEF Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) services certification.

Neotel also operates redundant backhaul fibre to landing stations with access to all five of the international subsea cables serving South Africa - SAT-3, SAFE, SEACOM, EASSy and WACS. It was noted that Liquid Telecom owns significant international subsea capacity, and is currently building a subsea cable linking the east coast of Africa, Liquid Sea

Orange to assemble West African backbone

Orange will assemble a new international backbone serving West Africa by building a terrestrial fiber optic network coupled with submarine cables.

Orange said its new network will provide large-scale international capacity to the rest of the world via connections with other submarine cables. The new network will link up all the main capital cities in the region: Dakar, Bamako, Abidjan, Accra, and Lagos. Commercial launch of the West African backbone is planned for the second quarter of 2020.

Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, said: “For Orange, this West African backbone network represents a major investment that will secure availability of international connectivity and will enable us to meet the demand for increased bandwidth necessary for the continued digital development of regions within the zone.”

Jérôme Barré, CEO of Orange Wholesale and International Networks, said: “Through this project, Orange is clearly demonstrating its leadership and expertise in the design, deployment and operation of international network infrastructure. We are delighted to be able to offer our West African customers’ reliable, secure and high-quality international connectivity that connects them to the rest of the world.”

Orange is an investor in the MainOne submarine cable connecting Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire to Europe.

https://www.orange.com/en/Press-Room/press-releases/press-releases-2019/Orange-accelerates-the-development-of-connectivity-in-Africa-with-a-new-secure-international-network-connecting-eight-countries-in-West-Africa

New branches to extend MainOne cable to Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal

Two additional branches are planned to extend MainOne’s subsea cable system to Dakar (Senegal) and Abidjan (Cote D’Ivoire). With this development, MainOne will have landing points in five markets – Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire and Portugal, in addition to Cameroon.

MainOne, which is a 7,000km cable system that spans from Portugal to Nigeria, entered service in 2010. Technology updates will boost potential capacity to 10 TBps of capacity. The upgrades are expected to become operational in November 2019.

TE SubCom is lead contractor on the project. MainOne has also selected SubCom’s WSS ROADM for the new branches. SubCom will light the new branches with Ciena’s transmission equipment.

Ribbon to acquire ECI , expanding from voice to optical, SDN, NFV

Ribbon Communications agreed to acquire ECI Telecom Group for 32.5 million shares of Ribbon common stock and $324 million of cash.   ECI stockholders will also receive approximately $31 million from ECI’s sale of real estate assets. This

ECI is a global provider of end-to-end packet-optical transport and SDN/NFV solutions for service providers, enterprises, and data center operators. The privately held company was founded in 1961, currently has approximately 1,700 employees, and is headquartered in Petah Tikva, Israel. ECI serves over 300 global customers with over 100 new customer wins in the last three years. ECI’s total revenue was $376 million and Adjusted EBITDA was $23 million for the twelve months ended September 30, 20193.

The companies said their merger will create a powerful, leading-edge solutions provider with anticipated combined annual revenue of over $900 million, serving customers in more than 140 countries, and 4,000 employees worldwide.  Ribbon expects the combination to position the company for growth by expanding its product portfolio beyond solutions primarily supporting voice applications to include data applications and optical networking.

Ribbon’s corporate headquarters is expected to remain in Westford, Massachusetts.

“The ECI acquisition will extend Ribbon’s reach into the networking market and propel us into the global 5G market,” said Daryl Raiford, Chief Financial Officer of Ribbon.  “ECI brings world class networking technology and a proven track record of success in winning top customers in direct competition with major industry players.  Ribbon has long-standing, deep customer relationships in North America and Japan, which will provide immediate access to ECI solutions into these substantial markets.  We believe this combination will create new revenue opportunities to drive growth, provide our customers and partners with a broader solutions portfolio, and generate significant long-term value for our stockholders.”

We are excited to join forces with Ribbon, bringing together Ribbon’s and ECI’s rich portfolios of communications solutions.  Both companies enjoy a distinguished operating history and are trusted suppliers to the world’s leading telecommunication service providers and enterprises,” said Darryl Edwards, President and Chief Executive Officer of ECI.  “We aim to create a powerhouse company that offers world-class products for an enhanced customer experience, benefiting our combined global customer base.”


ECI debuts 5G cell site router

ECI introduced its "1022" cell site router, the first of the company’s end-to-end portfolio tailored for 5G.

The 1022 cell site router combines high capacity in a small form factor. It offers MPLS, network slicing, class C and D synch capabilities and open NetConf/Yang interfaces.

ECI said the 1022 represents the next evolution of its Neptune product line, inheriting its multiservice, Elastic MPLS capabilities that allow customers to support current, future and legacy services on a single platform. Its front access, extended temperature range make it equally at home at a cell site or operating as an access device for a substation.

ECI enhances its Apollo optical transport with 8x24CDCF ROADM

ECI has enhanced its Apollo optical transport portfolio with the addition of a high performance, contentionless 8x24CDCF ROADM based on wavelength switching technologies.

ECI said its programmable wavelength switching far surpasses the capabilities of contentionless ROADMs available today, which are based on multicast switches (MCS). The 8x24CDCF ROADM enables add/drop port scaling to support capacity growth while eliminating the need for additional amplification to overcome optical losses in multicast switches. As a result, the 8x24CDCF ROADM offers more density, reliability and power efficiency at a lower cost.

Key features of the 8x24CDCF ROADM include:

  • Reduced cost: Next generation CDC ROADM networks see cost savings due to improved scalability of add/drop ports and removal of superfluous EDFA arrays.
  • Improved performance: Delivers scalability and reliable performance regardless of port count and lessens strict filtering requirements on transmitters and receivers. It also eliminates the performance degradation from out-of-band noise accumulation.
  • Increased Flexibility: Works in conjunction with ECI’s Apollo product line, including the recently debuted TM1200 programmable 1.2T dual channel blade, providing customers with a wide set of ‘mix-n-match’ modules from which they can choose to design the optical network of their choice.

ECI intros 1.2T Dual Channel Blade for its Apollo DWDM transport

ECI introduced its TM1200, a 1.2T blade (dual 600G channel) for its Apollo DWDM transport systems, enabling programmable, adaptive optical networking.

ECI said its new TM1200 blade delivers unmatched spectral efficiency and elasticity through software controllable continuous modulation. Whereas traditional line-side modulation was only programmable in large increments – such as 100G, 200G or 400G – often relying on different line cards, the new TM1200 delivers software-controlled continuous modulation in 50 Gbps increments up to 600 Gbps line rate, rather than supporting specific modulation schemes. This maximizes capacity in a granular manner to best match client needs and variable channel conditions.

Additional benefits:

  • Optimal return on fiber investment: By operating at the edge of the Shannon limit, the TM1200 squeezes the maximum capacity from each channel on a fiber, delaying the need to add new fiber and optical networking infrastructure.
  • Enables a highly adaptive and flexible optical layer: Working in conjunction with ECI's colorless, directionless, contentionless, flexible spectrum ROADMs, and client services aware SDN control, the TM1200 can continuously optimize client traffic to fiber capacity.
  • Dynamic restoration: Excess capacity can be allocated dynamically to fully or partially restore client services that are disrupted by fiber or equipment failures elsewhere in the network.
  • Power efficiency: At a 600 Gbps line rate, the ECI TM1200 has a 10-fold improvement in power efficiency compared to other solutions, consuming less than 0.18W per Gbps, fully populated.