Monday, March 23, 2020

ThousandEyes maps Global Internet Outages

ThousandEyes published a Global Internet Outages Map that provides visibility into business and consumer-impacting Internet outages around the world.

ThousandEyes vantage points around the world perform billions of measurements each day to detect when traffic flows are disrupted within ISPs, public cloud networks and other service providers. This network telemetry data is algorithmically analyzed as part of ThousandEyes’ core Digital Experience Monitoring platform and the macro outages that are detected are displayed on an interactive map as part of ThousandEyes’ Internet Insights offering.

“Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been inundated with requests from businesses, industry analysts and other various parties wanting to get a better understanding of global Internet health during these trying times,” said Mohit Lad, co-founder and CEO of ThousandEyes. “Today, we’re thrilled to release the Global Internet Outages Map to give businesses and consumers alike a reliable source based on actual internet telemetry instead of public rumor to help them understand what’s happening on the Internet at any point in time.”

Rakuten Mobile and NEC roll out Open RAN 5G

Rakuten Mobile and NEC have begun production and first shipments of a jointly-developed 5G radio unit (RU) .

The new domestically produced, high quality 5G RU is equipped with a 3.7 GHz frequency band massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) antenna in a compact, lightweight form factor with low power consumption. With the 5G RU, Rakuten Mobile will begin the buildout of its 5G network, starting with the construction of base stations in the Tokyo area*1, and work toward the launch of 5G commercial services in June 2020.

Rakuten Mobile is building the world’s first end-to-end fully virtualized cloud native network, and in October 2019 in Japan successfully implemented the world’s first open, virtualized, distributed radio access network (OpenRAN). In addition, Rakuten Mobile and NEC are also closely collaborating on BSS and OSS solutions for Rakuten Mobile’s 4G network operations.
The manufacturing is carried out at NEC Platforms, Ltd.’s Fukushima Plant.

“NEC’s 5G RU, developed and produced in Japan, will play a very important role in Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized cloud native mobile network,” said Tareq Amin, Rakuten Mobile Director, Vice President and CTO. “With the launch of production of the 5G radio unit, we will begin work on the construction of our 5G base stations and will aim to provide our subscribers with a cost efficient, highly secure, high quality 5G service.”

“NEC is very proud to be part of Rakuten Mobile’s advanced 5G network,” said Atsuo Kawamura, Executive Vice President and President of the Network Services Business Unit, NEC Corporation. “The 5G RU, produced at our Fukushima Plant, conforms with open architecture standards, and comes in a compact form factor with low power consumption. By expanding the open 5G ecosystem, NEC will contribute to the creation of new mobile services around the world.”

Rakuten selects NEC to build Open vRAN Architecture

Rakuten Mobile has selected NEC to build its 5G open vRAN infrastructure in Japan.

Through the partnership, Rakuten and NEC will jointly develop a 3.7 GHz massive MIMO 5G antenna radio unit (RU), which will be manufactured by NEC at its facilities in Japan. Rakuten and NEC/Netcracker are already working together on an end-to-end BSS/OSS solution to support the mobile network launch and subsequent operations.

Rakuten Mobile is building a fully virtualized, end-to-end cloud-native mobile network.

In April 2019, Rakuten Mobile received approval from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications for its 5G special radio station deployment plan and aims to launch 5G services in June 2020.

"We are very excited to partner with a network technology leader such as NEC in building the world's first 5G open RAN architecture here in Japan," said Tareq Amin, chief technology officer of Rakuten Mobile, Inc. "NEC's technology and expertise will allow us to not only cost-effectively create a highly secure, high quality 5G network, but by designing and producing the antennas in the local market, we look forward to contributing to the development of the Japanese telecommunications industry and economy."

"NEC is delighted to contribute to Rakuten Mobile's strategy for building the world's first fully virtualized, end-to-end cloud native mobile network," said Atsuo Kawamura, executive vice president and president of the Network Services Business Unit at NEC Corporation. "Going forward, NEC aims to drive the global expansion of virtualized network architecture with Rakuten Mobile."

Rakuten will use Small Cells powered by Qualcomm

Rakuten upcoming next-generation end-to-end cloud-native mobile network across Japan will use small cells based on Qualcomm FSM Small Cell Platforms. Rakuten plans to utilize small cells to reduce site acquisition and deployment cost and to provide indoor capacity. Rakuten will leverage network virtualization and small cells from the start and thereby create a network that can be scaled easily and deliver on the promise of 5G experiences to subscribers. 

Orange acts to manage surge in mobile traffic

Despite a significant increase in traffic on fixed and mobile Internet networks, Orange stated that is network capacity has remained robust, in particular for the Internet, TV and OTT services. Mobile voice traffic, however, has significantly increased, doubling in volume. To manage this, Orange has readjusted certain network parameters, most notably regarding inter-operator connection points.

"My absolute priority today is to safeguard the health and safety of all Orange’s employees. At the same time, it is essential that we work to ensure the availability, security and integrity of our networks, which have now become critical for the continued functioning of our society. Faced with this considerable responsibility, the Group has taken exceptional measures to protect staff during network operations, visits to customers’ premises, and in our supervision centres and data centres. I am extremely proud of the continued commitment and mobilisation of the whole company and in all countries where we are present," said Stéphane Richard, Chairman and CEO of Orange.

For Orange Business Services, around-the-clock business continuity for its customers is a priority both in France and in the more than 200 countries and territories where it provides telecommunications, IT and digital services for enterprise customers.

The company said it is working with its customers to handle the massive implementation of teleworking practices.  To enable everyone to work from home in good conditions, Orange Business Services has doubled the capacity for simultaneous connections on its platforms. The use of remote collaboration solutions such as video conferencing has also risen massively with usage increasing by between 20 and 100% depending on the solution. Finally, in France alone, teams are managing an additional 130 customer operations per day to increase the speed of their Internet connections or at their Data Centres. In total, nearly 3,500 Orange Business Services employees are mobilised to manage customers’ business-critical activities and will continue to do so.

Full statement:

CyrusOne announces net positive water data center

CyrusOne announced that its flagship facility in Chandler, Arizona is the first data center to be net positive in its water usage.

The CyrusOne Chandler data center incorporates proprietary technology that reduces water usage onsite and will dramatically reduce company-wide water usage by millions of gallons per year.

Through a partnership with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Change the Course program, the Chandler campus promises restoration to nearby watersheds.

“We know that the data centers we build today will serve our customers for decades, therefore, it is important that we continue to innovate and invest in design features to set the course for a sustainable future,” said Kyle Myers, Director of Environmental Health, Safety and Sustainability at CyrusOne. "As far as we can tell, this is the first net water positive data center in the world, and we hope it will set a precedent for water sustainability standards and the future of data centers.”

“Addressing water scarcity will require us to not only reduce consumptive water use but also restore water to nature,” said Val Fishman, Chief Development Officer at BEF. “We’re excited to have CyrusOne on board as a leader and partner helping to keep water in Arizona rivers during times of water stress. Through Change the Course, CyrusOne is supporting innovative projects that help farmers switch to more efficient irrigation methods and restore water flows to the region.”

BT sells operations in 16 countries in Latin America

BT will sell selected operations and assets in 16 countries in Latin America to CIH Telecommunications Americas. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Assets and operations in the scope of the transaction delivered revenue of £110m to BT in fiscal year 2018/19. They include two owned fibre networks with total length of 650km, 2000km of leased fibre lines, four data centres and five teleports. The divested business is headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil.

“Today’s announcement is a key milestone in the execution of our strategy to become a more agile and focused business. It comes at a particularly challenging time for the global economy. As such, it is a sign of our determination to keep the business moving forward and continue connecting communities, businesses and governments. I am pleased to begin a new chapter in the region with CIH, providing continuity for our people and our customers,” said Bas Burger, CEO of Global, BT.

“We are very excited to be re-entering global telecommunications after having successfully focused on the technology sector over a number of years. We have considerable experience in the region and the sector, and greatly look forward to growing the business and providing the highest level of service to all customers in the region, including BT. The acquired business fits very well with our strategy and existing global portfolio,” said George Kappaz, CIH’s Chairman.

Huawei launches servers with Intel's latest Cascade Lake refresh processors

Intel has launched new servers based on Intel's latest Cascade Lake Refresh processor, which delivers a performance that is 36% higher than its predecessors.

The launch includes rack servers 1288H V5, 2288H V5, 2298 V5, and 5288 V5, high-density server X6000 V5, and blade server E9000.

Huawei said the rapid rollout of these new servers reflect the closeness between Huawei and Intel.

Nokia postpones Annual General Meeting

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, Nokia has cancelled its Annual General Meeting scheduled for April 8, 2020.

Nokia will convene the Annual General Meeting at a later stage as soon as it is practically possible to organize the meeting. Furthermore, in line with our mission to create the technology to connect the world and as a forerunner of offering our shareholders an on-line advance voting solution in the Finnish market, Nokia strongly advocates for measures to allow fully virtual general meetings to enable efficient shareholder participation.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Nokia: Unprecedented spike in global internet traffic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, networks are experiencing unprecedented growth (in a very short time) in global internet traffic and so far networks appear to be meeting demand, according to analysis from Nokia. In particular, there is a surge in traffic from latency-sensitive applications during business hours.

Data from several networks in Western Europe from the week of March 9th seems to indicate that the edge and peering links of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have enough headroom, but the aggregation networks and service edge router may be reaching capacity maximums.

Here are some highlights of the Nokia findings:

  • During the first day of the period, the overall traffic rose anywhere between 30% (5 p.m.) and 80% (9 a.m.), with boosts between 50% and 70% for most of the day. 
  • WhatsApp, exhibited an increase of 117–217% during the first day of the period, with apparent spikes in the morning hours on the first day of the school lockdown.
  • Netflix traffic showed that people started streaming earlier in the day (morning hours and early afternoon hours). While the evening traffic volumes remained within a +20% range compared to typical values, the overall increase of traffic during the day ranged from 97% (morning) to 27%–42% (early afternoon), significantly contributing to the total network traffic.
  • In the U.S., there has been a 300% growth in teleconferencing apps (e.g., Zoom, Skype), and a 400% growth in gaming (with kids being at home!)

China Mobile reports a drop of 8 million mobile users

China Mobile posted operating metrics that show a drop of 8.1 million mobile customers during the first two months of 2020. As of the end of December 2019, China Mobile hit a peak of 950, 277,000 mobile customers, and at the end of February, it had 942,261,000.  The figure includes a drop in 4G customers and a gain in 5G customers. As of the end of February 2020, China Mobile had 15.40 million 5G customers

On March 19, China Mobile reported operating revenue of RMB745.9 billion for the 2019 financial year, up by 1.2% compared to last year. Of this, telecommunications services revenue amounted to RMB674.4 billion, or growth of 0.5% year-on-year. EBITDA was RMB296.0 billion, up by 7.4% from last year. EBITDA margin was 39.7%, up by 2.3 percentage points compared to the previous year.

Some highlights for 2019:
  • Handset data traffic increased by 90.3% year-on-year and DOU (the average handset data traffic per user per month) was 6.7 GB. 
  • Mobile ARPU (average revenue per user per month) of RMB49.1 
  • The number of household broadband customers increased by 17.1% year-on-year and reached 172 million.
  • The company activated more than 50,000 5G base stations and launched 5G commercial services in 50 cities. 
  • As of year-end, China Mobile had 3.09 million 4G base stations in operation
Mr. Yang Jie, Chairman of China Mobile, issued the following statement: "We were faced with a challenging and complicated operating environment in 2019 where the upside of data traffic was rapidly diminishing and competition within the telecommunications industry and from cross-sector players was becoming ever more intense. Coupled with this was the impact of government policies, including the continued implementation of the “speed upgrade and tariff reduction”..."

"In 2020, we will strive to overcome the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on business development and 5G network construction. The epidemic has bolstered the growing trend of businesses and customers going online and using more digital and cloud-based services, among other opportunities arisen. We will leverage these opportunities, as well as the 5G network to further develop the information and communications services market. With concerted efforts, we will strive to maintain growth in telecommunications services revenue and a stable level of net profit. We will also strive to maintain an industry-leading customer satisfaction."

For 2020, China Mobile will increase CAPEX to RMB 179.8 billion, up from RMB 165.9 million in 2019. The company plans to deploy 250,000 new 5G base stations this year.

China Telecom posts a loss of 5.6 million mobile users

China Telecom reported 330,400,000 million mobile subscribers as of February 2020, down by 5.6 million in February.  In January, the company added 430,000 mobile users.

In fixed broadband, China Telecom reported 151,880,000 million customers as of the end of February, down by 1.25 million in the first two months of the year

China Unicom lost 1.1 million mobile users in January

China Unicom reported 317,289,000 mobile subscribers as of the end of January 2020, down by 1,186,000 since the end of December.

Fixed broadband customers were 84,096,000, up by 618,000 in January.

Figures for February have not yet been posted.

Korea's LG Uplus deploys Nokia for 5G IP transport

Korean operator LG Uplus selected Nokia to upgrade and automate its IP transport and core networks for 5G.

Nokia deployed its Network Service Platform (NSP) solution to help LG Uplus automate network operations and ease integration with their Nokia FP4-based IP routers and multiple vendor platforms to accelerate 5G services rollout.

Songchul Park, Head of NW Tech Operation Group, LG Uplus, said: “LG Uplus provides differentiated services from competitors from sports and entertainment to games and life through 5G ultra-realistic service that changes our daily life. It was possible because the networks with low-latency, real-time network management, and automation functions strongly demanded by 5G could be deployed with Nokia in a timely manner. It is expected that Nokia solutions will continue to provide high-quality services with next-generation network technologies in line with the era of AI. LG Uplus will keep working with Nokia to meet customer service through more reliable partnerships.”

Kevin Ahn, Head of Korea at Nokia, said: “Nokia’s solution, combining our IP routers with our SDN slicing controller, is the foundation of building a robust 5G transport network that in turn is a key enabler of 5G service delivery. As telcos like LG Uplus seek to prepare their networks for 5G and handle the increase in capacity and complexity that comes along with it, we are a natural choice to streamline their operations and enhance network performance."

Volta Networks joins TIP's Disaggregated Open Routers initiative

Volta Networks announced its support for the Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP) Disaggregated Open Routers (DOR) initiative, which is being led by TIP’s Open Optical & Packet Transport (OOPT) Project Group. Volta will also join the DOR project team, which is driving research into new network architectures and services using disaggregated open routing among the global service provider and vendor community.

TIP's OOPT project group is conducting an initiative focused on developing Disaggregated Open Routers (DOR), led by KDDI and Vodafone. Several OOPT technology providers are also supporting this initiative.

Volta, a start-up based in Cambridge, MA, was co-founded by Dean Bogdanovic, a long time networking veteran and former Distinguished Engineer at Juniper Networks, and Ivo Raznjevic.

In 2019, Volta was selected as a finalist for several independent Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG) request for information processes executed by service providers. These were based on the specification which defines open and disaggregated white box cell site gateway devices that operators can deploy in their 2G/3G/4G cell sites, as well as in upcoming 5G deployments, with support for Layer 2, Layer 3 and MPLS features. The DCSG finalists were selected based on solution architecture, functionality, scalability, availability and roadmap.

“As the first company with cloud-native virtual routing software, we believe strongly in having open standards for disaggregated routing, which is better for everyone in the ecosystem – service providers and vendors alike,” said Dean Bogdanovic, Co-Founder and CEO, Volta Networks. “Being part of TIP’s DOR project team reflects our commitment to open standards, multi-vendor interoperability and technical innovations in the routing market. Open networking will continue to be important as service providers look for new ways to improve the scale, performance, automation and economics of their networks.”

Zain picks Huawei for SRv6-based IP transport network

Zain Group has selected Huawei to build a 5G and cloud-oriented, intelligent SRv6-based IP transport network.

Zain Group, which serves some 49.5 million mobile users across the Middle East and Africa, is currently carrying an average of 10,500 TB data per day across its footprint.

Huawei said SRv6 brings simplified network protocols, flexible programmability, slicing, simplified inter-domain transmission, and seamless support for IPv4/IPv6 services. In this way, the best-effort IP network will become an intelligent 5G transport network that can support committed SLA, meeting the most demanding service scenarios such as URLLC and VIP private lines. Zain also regards the slicing technology as one of the key capabilities for building intelligent IP networks, and plans to, in cooperation with Huawei, start the SRv6-based E2E slicing POC test in the near future. The test will confirm the feasibility and business value of the solution from the aspects of planning, design, deployment, and maintenance of network slicing, laying a foundation for further usage.

Mohammed Al Murshed, Core Networks Director, Zain Group, said "Ensuring that our users enjoy an excellent mobile experience on our state-of-the-art networks is key for Zain. SRv6, as a next-generation IP network protocol, is simpler and more suitable for building intelligent IP networks. Zain plans to deploy SRv6 and slicing ready IP networks in multiple regions in 2020, and works with Huawei to build intelligent IP networks featuring ultra broadband, committed SLA, and autonomous driving function.”

China Unicom deploys 5G LampSite indoor small cell with Huawei

China Unicom Beijing has deployed Huawei's 5G LampSite 300 MHz digital indoor system at the Beijing Long Distance Call Building. The system supports network sharing between China Unicom Beijing and China Telecom Beijing and provides a downlink perceived rate of up to 3.4 Gbps over a single headend in multi-user scenarios.

The companies said the installation marks an excellent start for the "5G Capital" innovation project between China Unicom Beijing and Huawei and also the first joint accomplishment of the 2020 "5G City" series city projects. It represents a new, significant breakthrough for China Unicom Beijing following its successful launch of the "5G NEXT" initiative in 2018.

The 5G LampSite module allows for an ultra-bandwidth of 300 MHz between the 3.3 and 3.6 GHz spectrum of the C-band and 4T4R multi-antenna technology.

Nokia intros Wi-Fi 6 mesh router

Nokia introduced its Wi-Fi 6 Beacon mesh router for whole-home WiFi connectivity.

The Beacon 6 is the first Nokia WiFi device to showcase:

  • Support for Wi-Fi 6 which improves the overall speed, performance and latency of a Wi-Fi network with OFDMA2, a modulation scheme used in 5G that allows the access point to talk to more devices at once. 
  • The Beacon 6 introduces Wi-Fi Certified EasyMesh3 and is fully interoperable with 3rd party Wi-Fi Certified EasyMesh products for easy install. Nokia’s new mesh controller capabilities ensure the best Wi-Fi performance is achieved in the home by managing channel selection and adding advanced interference capabilities that are unique in the market.
  • Nokia Bell Labs low-latency innovations including PI24 algorithm (available 2H20) that consistently improves latency even in congested environments. With PI2, latency is reduced from hundreds of milliseconds to 20 milliseconds which can be further reduced to <5 and="" applications="" being="" bell="" builds="" by="" can="" core="" currently="" delays="" eliminate="" experience="" gaming="" ietf5="" impact="" in="" innovations="" is="" jitters="" l4s="" labs="" li="" like="" low-latency="" milliseconds="" network.="" on="" paired="" reality.="" standardized="" that="" the="" user="" virtual="" when="" with="">
“Nokia’s new Beacon 6 will play a fundamental role in helping operators significantly enhance residential Wi-Fi and for the first time, deliver a true 5G experience across the network,” said Sandra Motley, President of Fixed Networks at Nokia.

Cisco donates cash and products to support COVID-19 responders

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins announced plans to donate $8 million in cash and $210 million in product to the global coronavirus response, including to the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, supporting the World Health Organization. In addition, the Cisco Foundation has launched a campaign allocating up to $5 million in grants and matching funds to non-profits assisting in the response.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Wireless Broadband Alliance takes over Cisco’s OpenRoaming

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) will take over ownership and management of OpenRoaming, a technology for seamless Wi-Fi onboarding developed by Cisco.

The move aims to facilitate the broad adoption of OpenRoaming by new and existing Wi-Fi Networks, identity & service providers and other technology partners across the global Wi-Fi ecosystem.

OpenRoaming brings together a federation of trusted identity providers, allowing users to join any network managed by a federation member. The network is able to automatically authenticate devices by using established identity providers, such as a service provider, device manufacturer, cloud ID, or even loyalty memberships. Boingo Wireless, Cisco, GlobalReach Technology, Intel, Korea Telekom, and others have pledged support for OpenRoaming.

OpenRoaming adheres to Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint and Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRIX) standards. It helps bridge the gap between Wi-Fi and cellular networks and allows users to seamlessly and securely roam between Wi-Fi networks without the use of splash pages or sign-in screens.

OpenRoaming is built upon a set of standards and guidelines developed by the WBA and Wi-Fi Alliance and now adopted as an industry-wide initiative led by the WBA.

WBA CEO, Tiago Rodrigues said: “OpenRoaming now becomes an open standard, creating a world where Wi-Fi users will be able to move seamlessly from one Wi-Fi network to another without re-registering or signing in.  As a global wireless industry standard, WBA OpenRoaming will improve Wi-Fi services and availability, making life easier for users, and more efficient for the global mobile and Wi-Fi ecosystem.

“OpenRoaming is now open for business,” he added, “and I call on anyone with a Wi-Fi network, private or public, coffee shop or sports stadia or any other type of venue, to join our open ecosystem in order for the service they offer to their users to be automatic, secure, and interoperable, making their networks available to a wider audience.”

“There is considerable pull from the industry and our customers, both enterprise and service provider, to automate secure onboarding across multiple verticals. We knew OpenRoaming would be a game-changing wireless technology, but the support from across the industry has even surpassed our expectations. OpenRoaming is vital to unlocking the potential of wireless communications,” said Matt MacPherson, Wireless CTO, Cisco. “Cisco has been proud to lead the OpenRoaming efforts, but we believe strongly that the WBA is the right organization to steward, with neutrality and confidence, such an important industry initiative.”

Researching chip-based devices for quantum-secured communication

Secure quantum key exchange can be accomplished between two chip-based devices, according to a paper published in Optica, The Optical Society's (OSA) journal for high-impact research. Two devices measuring just 6 x 2 millimeters potentially can operate of a fiber link of up to 200km. The chip-based devices contain all the optical components necessary for quantum key distribution.

The new quantum key distribution devices contain highly complex circuits that control the weak photonic signals of light necessary for quantum key distribution. Nanoscale components in the chips make it possible to drastically reduce the size and power consumption of quantum communication systems while maintaining high-speed performance vital for modern networks.

A demonstration has been performed at the University of Bristol Quantum Engineering Technology Labs.

“Chip-based devices significantly reduce the barrier for widespread uptake of quantum-secured communication by providing a robust, mass-manufacturable platform,” said research team leader Henry Semenenko from the University of Bristol, UK. “In the future, these devices will form part of a standard household connection to the internet that keeps our data secure regardless of advances in computing technology.”

“With its densely packed optical components, our chip-based platform offers a level of precise control and complexity not achievable with alternatives,” said Semenenko. “It will allow users to access a secure network with a cost-effective device the same size as the routers we use today to access the internet.”

T-Mobile say it has the funding to complete the Sprint Merger

T-Mobile US issued a statement saying it is currently financially prepared to close its planned merger with Sprint.

The company, which previously secured commitments for bridge financing and senior credit facility financing, said it has been in communication with all sixteen banks and has not received any notification that any of the banks are unprepared to fund their commitments to support the closing of the merger transaction. The companies continue to drive forward toward closing the merger as soon as possible.

“I’m pleased that right now we have broad support from the banks to finance the closing of this merger - we are very close to unleashing the capabilities of the New T-Mobile, and that is even more important for consumers during the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile. “Our nation is more dependent than ever on connectivity, and we will continue to deliver our essential wireless service today and when we merge with Sprint, with a Nationwide 5G service that is broader and more robust than anything else in America. We can see the finish line and are prepared to close the merger very soon so our teams can get to work building a supercharged Un-carrier.”

“We are very happy to have assembled sixteen leading U.S. and global banks in our committed bridge financing for the acquisition of Sprint. This diversification of banks, and the spreading of the committed bridge financing creates a very high-quality bridge,” said Braxton Carter, Chief Financial Officer of T-Mobile.