Saturday, December 26, 2020

AT&T mounts disaster recovery effort in Nashville

AT&T mounted a round-the-clock recovery effort in Nashville to respond to the explosion on Christmas morning.  

The explosion impacted a range of telecommunications, including mobile phone, broadband, TV and 911 service in Middle Tennessee and Kentucky. A major challenge has been restoring power to its damaged building.

The network recovery effort includes two portable cell sites operating in downtown Nashville with numerous additional portable sites being deployed in the Nashville area and in the region.

https://www.wkrn.com/news/local-news/att-outages-across-tennessee-kentucky-affecting-multiple-911-services/





Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Oklahoma's Totah deploys Ribbon's packet transport

Totah Communications, a leading Independent Operating Company (IOC) and provider of residential and broadband communications services in Northeastern Oklahoma and Southeastern Kansas, has deployed Ribbon's Neptune 1300 Packet Transport solution.

The Neptune 1300 Extension Shelf provides Totah several benefits including allowing the company to reclaim precious fiber that was being used to deliver services in its legacy network; the ability to offer next-generation communications services; the ability to support 200 Gbps.


"We had outgrown our old network and were severely constrained by traffic bottlenecks and the inability to introduce new high-value services," said Mark Gailey, President and General Manager, Totah Communications. "Ribbon's Neptune Packet Optical Transport solution not only provides us with the ability to future-proof our network with needed bandwidth to deliver next-generation services and faster broadband speeds, but it also allows us to reclaim precious fiber and actively pursue new small to medium sized business customers and backhaul services."

Gailey continued, "We considered several vendors for this upgrade but after evaluating Ribbon's capabilities, experience and competitive pricing, they were the clear choice."

"We are delighted that we could help our longtime customer, Totah, dramatically expand their network capacity and improve their communications offerings with our Packet Optical Transport solution," said Elizabeth Page, U.S. Rural Market Director for Ribbon. "It is great that forward-looking IOC customers like Totah can realize an immediate return on investment by offering increased internet speeds on Day 1 and increased Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) that Ribbon's Neptune 1300 offers."


Monday, December 21, 2020

Nework Predictions 2021: TelcoDR's Danielle Royston

 by Danielle Royston, Founder, TelcoDR

A telco will figure out how to really use the public cloud and save 50% on its IT costs – or more

How will it happen? It'll move a ton of software to the cloud and prove: 1) it works; 2) it’ll save a ton of money (the company that embraces the software of the public cloud will see a 50% savings on IT costs); 3) life is sweet! (And way sweeter than it ever was before. I’m talking about taking the oldest, suckiest, super unsexy legacy applications and refactoring them for 90% savings.)

Who’ll be the bold telco? Definitely not a company in the US. Sorry America. It’ll likely be based in Asia, which has moved on from dumb private cloud, and we’ve already seen examples of successful moves to public cloud in this region (take a bow, M1). 

In 2021 we might be going back to 1981-style boldness, but it’ll be a huge move forward for modernizing the telco industry. A bold telco will successfully transition to the public cloud and show everyone else how it’s done. Note to everyone else: be prepared, this change will require all hands on deck.

Telcos will take the wrong approach – and fail

Alongside public cloud success, we’ll also witness public cloud failure in 2021. Without a proper understanding of the cloud ecosystem – and what ‘cloud native’ means: see my 2020 round-up above – telcos will foot some spectacular fuck-ups. On that note: if you want to avoid being that telco, look for my blog in January where I’ll clarify cloud language and explain how each part of the telco business can benefit.

Back to those failures though. It’s common sense to move to the public cloud, but there are still so many misconceptions that telcos will get bound in. It’s not just about infrastructure and IT, for instance. It requires a top-down, organization-wide cultural change. It requires clear communication.

Wrong moves will result in failure. Or, if not complete failure, then a load of back-tracking, additional costs and tails between legs. No one wants to hear ‘I told you so.’ Bank of America probably didn’t. For almost a decade, the institution was adamant that ignoring public cloud and obsessing about its vanity project (aka, building its own private cloud) was the way to go. It wasn’t. In 2019, Brian Moynihan, BofA chairman of the board and CEO, admitted that although it had been pursuing private cloud – and spending on private cloud – third-party cloud providers are 25-30% "cheaper.” It then teamed with IBM to develop a public-cloud computing service for banks.

There’s also the cautionary tale of Verizon, a company that thought it was a great idea to spend $1.4 billion on data center provider Terremark. It later realized it couldn’t compete with the might of the hyperscalers and dumped the business on Equinix.

People will fall for IBM’s #fakecloud

You thought the claws of Oracle were bad? In 2021, you’ll see it’s IBM that has the real talons.

In November IBM launched its cloud-for-telco play. Unfortunately for telco – and bad luck for buyers – Big Blue launched a big crock of shit. This is not cloud. It was fake news. It’s #fakecloud. In 2021 we’ll see the results from the poor suckers who’ve invested and we’ll hopefully see a greater realization that a hybrid strategy and a half-assed move to the cloud will never work.

At launch, IBM tried to persuade telco to keep things on-premise. If you do move to the BFCs, then IBM can manage it all for you. What they didn’t mention was that this would happen at a cost, and it’d be a massive waste of time. Telcos that fell for this trap last year will be adding five more years to their public cloud journey, by which time they’ll be way behind competitors that saved time and money, and whose customers love the service they offer. 

Be wary of IBM, my telco children. Do not fall for the trap!

OpenRAN will explode

The tail end of 2020 saw OpenRAN start to bubble rapidly to the surface of telco conversations. In 2021, it’s gonna explode. Vendors: be afraid, be very afraid. Ericsson’s revenue will slip even further through its fingers – something it already admitted last year, when CEO Börje Ekholm said he expected OpenRAN market developments to “impact revenues” from 2023 onwards. 

Other vendors will hemorrhage revenue as telcos realize that there is (finally!) an alternative to overpriced infrastructure and vendor lock-in. They’ll get choice, at last, picking and choosing best-of-breed elements from whomever the hell they want! More features will be driven into software. Networks will be easier and cheaper to maintain, easier and cheaper to upgrade. Spend on RAN will go from historic levels of around 90% of total spend to 50XX%. It might not be next year, but the development and industry excitement around disaggregated network components will certainly define the trajectory of telcos’ decision making next year.

Pioneers like Rakuten will gain column inches and market share next year. It’s no wonder: Rakuten claims operators can reduce capex CAPEX by 40% with its telco-in-a-box network. Vodafone has also been staking its claim in the OpenRAN space: last November it announced it would be deploying OpenRAN technology at 2,600 mobile sites across Wales and the South West of England.

Experimentation is the name of the game here. There might be failures along the way, but telcos will be less afraid of dipping their toe in the OpenRAN water. This will gear them up for taking a plunge in the public cloud ocean down the line.

There’ll always be another G

You can’t move nowadays without being bombarded with something about a ‘G.’ Clearly people believe the hype – 5G networks will cover an estimated one billion people by the end of the year, attracting 220 million subscriptions, according to Ericsson. And it’s not all about faster speeds and greater capacity … research suggests 5G is 90% more energy efficient than legacy mobile infrastructure.

Telcos are set to ramp-up 5G investment in 2021, according to Fitch Ratings, which has warned there will be increased pressure on credit metrics for most worldwide. Free cash flow, it says, will be constrained over the next three years. But if telcos believe they can monetize all 5G capex by simply boosting customer experience, that’s just not possible. Instead, they should focus on bringing new forms of life into reality with the help of 5G – I’m thinking best-in-class remote work, e-learning and virtual services. 

That capex pressure will only increase with demands for more connections, higher speeds, greater capacity. Telcos simply can’t afford NOT to move to the public cloud, helping them to further enrich their offerings, as well as cut time and costs with reduced latency. Only the foolish would add to that capex pressure by building their own cloud – remove that headache by using the BFCs!

U.S. Covid-19 relief bill provides $1.9 billion to rip/replace Huawei

The $900 billion coronavirus relief package approved by the U.S. Congress contains several provisions for telecommunications, including $1.9 billion to fund the rip/replace of Huawei and ZTE equipment, $3.2 billion for Keep Americans Connected programs, $250 million for telehealth initiatives, and requirements for the FCC to begin auctioning the 3.45-3.55 GHz band by the end of 2021."


FCC Chairman Ajit Pai:

“I applaud Congress for including in the coronavirus relief and omnibus funding legislation a number of provisions that advance critical national priorities in communications policy.  I am pleased, for example, that Congress is providing the FCC with $1.9 billion to fund the program that we adopted earlier this month to ‘rip and replace’ insecure equipment in our nation’s communications networks.  This program will strengthen both network security and our national security.  In addition, this legislation gives the FCC the funding we need to implement our Digital Opportunity Data Collection; this is a critical step toward the FCC being able to implement both Phase II of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund as well as the 5G Fund for Rural America that the Commission adopted earlier this year, which together will offer over $20 billion to support high-speed broadband in rural America.  I would like to thank Chairman Wicker, in particular, for his strong leadership in securing this funding.

“Building on our successful COVID-19 Telehealth Program, I’m also pleased that Congress has provided the Commission with an additional $250 million for that program, which will allow us to approve many more applications to expand connected care throughout the country and enable patients to access necessary health care services while staying safe.  Furthermore, I am glad that Congress has responded to my call from this past June to provide funding to Keep Americans Connected during the pandemic.  The $3.2 billion contained in this legislation will leverage private efforts to ensure low-income American families and veterans are connected, and will facilitate remote learning by funding connected devices for low-income American students."

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel:

“This pandemic has demonstrated that access to broadband is no longer nice-to-have, it is need-to-have for everyone, everywhere.  So it is terrific news that Congress has before it legislation that will boost connectivity during this crisis.  Too many people in too many places are struggling without the ability to go online.  With so much of modern life now dependent on internet access, no one should have to choose between paying a broadband bill and paying rent or buying groceries.  Simply put, no matter who you are or where you live in this country, you should have access to broadband. " 


Arista begins Attack Surface Assessment service

Arista Networks will begin offering an Attack Surface Assessment, an advanced security service delivered through the recent acquisition of Awake Security, a start-up offering a Network Detection and Response (NDR) platform. 

Arista's new offering finds threats to devices and applications known to the IT and security teams, as well as shadow IT and unmanaged infrastructure across client to campus, data center and cloud.

“Sophisticated threats are no longer reliant on traditional malware,” said Rahul Kashyap, Vice President and General Manager, Arista’s NDR Security Division. “The recent supply chain attacks have exposed gaps in security programs. This new offering reinforces our commitment to help our customers defend against Sunburst and future threats.”

For more details on Awake’s approach to detecting supply chains threats like the SolarWinds / Sunburst campaign, see the blog at

https://awakesecurity.com/blog/detecting-supply-chain-threats-like-solarwinds-sunburst/

Arista to acquire Awake Security

Arista Networks agreed to acquire Awake Security, a start-up offering a Network Detection and Response (NDR) platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Awake, which is based in Santa Clara, California, combines artificial intelligence (AI) with human expertise to autonomously hunt and respond to insider and external threats. The Awake platform analyzes network traffic and autonomously identifies, assesses, and processes threats. 

"We see an exciting future for Awake within the Arista family," said Rahul Kashyap, CEO for Awake Security. “Awake pioneered NDR platforms for real-time AI-driven situational awareness to secure digital assets and then respond to mitigate those risks. This acquisition allows us to further that mission.”

"We warmly welcome Awake Security to the Arista team,” stated Anshul Sadana, COO for Arista Networks. “With the proliferation of users, devices and Internet of Things (IOT), Awake’s best of breed threat detection platform is synergistic with Arista’s market leading cognitive cloud networks, delivering proactive security for our customers.”

  • In April 2020, Awake Security, raised $36 million in Series C financing led by Evolution Equity Partners with participation from Energize Ventures and Liberty Global Ventures, as well as existing investors Bain Capital Ventures and Greylock Partners. The latest investment brings Awake’s total funding to nearly $80 million and will be used to propel expansion in areas including R&D, sales and marketing to meet the growing demand for the company’s advanced network traffic analysis platform. Awake also said that it has increased its annual recurring revenue (ARR) by close to 700% and doubled its employee headcount over the past year. 

Verizon Business and Deloitte collaborate on 5G edge opportunities

Verizon Business is teaming with Deloitte to co-innovate 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) solutions that can transform manufacturing and retail.

The companies plan to create transformational solutions to serve client-specific needs using Deloitte’s industry and solution engineering expertise combined with Verizon’s advanced mobile and private enterprise wireless networks, 5G Edge MEC platform, IoT, Software Defined-Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), and VNS Application Edge capabilities. Plans include an integrated network and application edge compute environment for next generation application functionality and performance that reduces the need for manual quality inspection, avoids lost productivity, reduces production waste, and ultimately lowers the cost of raw materials and improves plant efficiency. The combination of SD-WAN and VNS Application Edge will bring together software defined controls, application awareness, and application lifecycle management to deliver on-demand network transformation and edge application deployment and management.

 “By bringing together Verizon’s 5G and MEC prowess with Deloitte’s deep industry expertise and track record in system integration with large enterprises on smart factories, we plan to deliver cutting-edge solutions that will close the gap between digital business operations and legacy manufacturing environments and unlock the value of the end-to-end digital enterprise,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. “This collaboration is part of Verizon’s broader strategy to align with enterprises, startups, universities and government to explore how 5G and MEC can disrupt and transform nearly every industry.”


Measuring the latency of AWS Wavelength on Verizon 5G

AvidThink recently performed a series of basic throughput and latency tests on AWS Wavelength on Verizon’s network: 


In this video, Roy Chua, founder and principal of AvidThink, and Jim Carroll, Editor of Converge! Network Digest, discuss the test methodology and results. A key takeaway: application developers need to determine their workload placement strategy based on the location of nearby EC2 regions and available Wavelength sites.

https://youtu.be/09QHGHoMEjc


Sumitomo Electric begins production of 0.14 dB/km ultra-low-loss optical fiber

Sumitomo Electric Industries is ready to begin mass production of an optical fiber having an ultra-low transmission loss of 0.14 dB/km, representing a significant reduction in transmission loss from the current 0.150 dB/km product. The applications of the product include the following.

Applications of the new Z-PLUS Fiber 150 could include:

  • Transoceanic submarine optical cable systems
  • Terrestrial trunk line, such as transcontinental networks
  • Transmission lines for quantum cryptography communication
  • Sensor applications, such as earthquake detection and fire detection
  • Various optical communication technologies that require ultra-low-loss characteristics

  • In 1988, Sumitomo Electric, as a pioneer in ultra-low loss fiber manufacture, succeeded in mass production of optical fiber with a transmission loss of 0.17 dB/km as a global first and commercialized this as the pure-silica-core optical fiber "Z fiber". Since then, Sumitomo Electric has continuously developed and launched ultra-low loss fiber technologies and new products.
  • In 2017, Sumitomo Electric set a world record of transmission loss as low as 0.1419 dB/km. 

https://global-sei.com/company/press/2020/12/prs125.html


Alaska's KPU Telecommunications deploys Infinera

KPU Telecommunications, a local provider of residential and business communications services owned by the city of Ketchikan in Alaska, deployed Infinera’s XTM Series to enhance broadband service connectivity.


 

Infinera said its XTM solution enables KPU to offer flexible optical and packet-based high-speed services while cost-effectively powering high-speed 200G optical transport over its 167-kilometer-long unamplified undersea fiber cable connecting the city of Ketchikan to mainland terrestrial destinations.

The high level of flexibility of the XH800, an ultra-low-latency packet aggregation device within the XTM Series, enables KPU to support reliable 1 gigabit (1G), 10G, 25G, 100G, and 200G transport connectivity to meet growing customer bandwidth demands now and into the future. The Infinera solution included Network Operations Center (NOC) services, delivering an operational assurance model that supplements KPU’s strong in-house operations team.

“Residents of local communities like Ketchikan have the same growing broadband needs as more densely populated regions, and ensuring reliable, high-capacity transport connectivity is no less critical to local network operators,” said Nick Walden, Senior Vice President, Sales at Infinera. “We were excited to take on this new challenge with a new customer and pleased to exceed expectations by delivering a solution that provided the economics, capacity, and future-proofing features KPU required. Our Network Management service worked directly with the KPU team to ensure a seamless operations transition.”

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Network predictions 2021: Ciena's Steve Alexander

by Steve Alexander, CTO, Ciena

2021 will take investment to the edge

5G networks are primed to deliver faster web browsing and video streaming with reduced latency, both very appealing for consumers. But 5G can do so much more once networks have matured. Advanced 5G services like rich AR and VR, cloud gaming, telemedicine, and Industry 4.0 (the connected manufacturing revolution), all require highly reliable networks that can deliver low latency as well as higher bandwidth – but also high levels of intelligence.

For these services to take off, networks must continue to get faster, closer and smarter, utilizing automation intelligence and software to deliver on the hype of these exciting services. A part of building faster, closer and smarter networks is to build out the edge, where we need up to five times more data centres than are available today.

There is already heavy investment in building out edge data center sites to bring the cloud closer to users and this investment will continue at pace in 2021. The carriers know they need to continue to focus on building out their edge infrastructure in these smaller data center sites, leveraging edge cloud capabilities which will mean that services can be processed closer to users, improving user experience and delivering on the bold promises of 5G.

Hitting new network requirements will become automatic

Carriers know the demands we are placing on networks show no signs of slowing as our lives become more digital and distributed. That means network rollout will continue at pace, but networks must now be built to adapt on their own. Carriers have already taken steps to make this happen, but in 2021, we will start to see even more use of software and analytics to improve the way optical networks function.

Advanced software capabilities will redefine how network providers engineer, operate and monetize their optical networks. These software solutions were originally focused on extracting more value from existing network assets. In 2021 will see these software solutions play a key role in new network builds, giving CSPs the ability to fine-tune, control and dynamically adjust optical connectivity and capacity.

Software will also give greater visibility into the health of the network via real-time link performance metrics and increased, end-to-end photonic layer automation. By utilizing the latest advanced software solutions, providers can monitor and mine all available network assets to be able to instantly respond to new and unexpected bandwidth demands and allocate capacity across any path in real time – a function which will become increasingly important year-on-year.

Increasing Digital Inclusion will be key to continued remote working

This year has demonstrated how important connectivity is for people to stay in touch, shop and work remotely to keep our economy moving.  It has also proven crucial to the continued education of students. There is a growing desire to maintain this flexibility even once Covid restrictions are lifted, but this is only possible if you have the connectivity and capacity.

In 2021, we’ll see rural connectivity and digital inclusion initiatives move higher up the political agenda, and solutions like low-orbit satellite connectivity will come to greater prominence. The solution that maximizes ultimate capacity is still scaling fiber based broadband, but we know this can be a challenge in rural areas, so will require a nudge from policy makers to get things moving.

If countries want to stay at the forefront of the digital economy, they must break down the barriers to rural connectivity and invest in fixing the last-mile problem. They must also continue supporting digital inclusion programmes that grant students access to technology and tools. Incentives and initiatives from the government, and an ongoing review to ensure that networks are using the most effective equipment suppliers, are certainly ways to help.

Enhanced reality will step forward as the first killer use case for 5G 

Almost as soon as talk of 5G networks first started, so too did questions about what the killer app for the new standard will be. 2021 might not be the year we get the definitive answer to that question, but it will be the year in which enhanced reality (AR and VR) applications take a step forward. However, it may not be consumer-centric services that light the path, but instead, enterprise use cases could lead the way. 

I think it’s safe to say that all of us have grown weary of online team meetings this year, and ‘zoom fatigue’ has become a very real thing. Next year I predict we will see more instances of AR and VR being used as collaboration tools, helping remote teams regain some of the ‘live’ element of working together. These services will initially need to run over combinations of home broadband, in building Wi-Fi, 4G and 5G networks.  They will ultimately open the door to more commercial AR and VR services over 5G networks and WiFi 6 further down the road. The quality of those networks will take these enhanced reality applications beyond a fun, short-term gimmick into being a viable and valuable service offering.

WebScalers and telcos expand their collaborations to improve our cloud experience

One of the biggest trends of 2020 has been the partnerships that have been forged between telecoms carriers and some of the the hyperscalers. There’s no doubt this will continue and grow well beyond 2021, but as networks become increasingly more software centric there is an opportunity to improve the delivery of new services and applications to the users.

From the perspective of a WebScale operator, service provider networks often appear to be a patchwork quilt of various vendors and technologies. The suite of Internet protocols allows this complexity to be abstracted up to a set of globally uniform IP addresses and this has served us fantastically well. At the same time, service provider networks look largely opaque to the cloud and consequently it is hard to guarantee a user the cloud experience that is desired. To deliver next generation service more collaboration between cloud and network is required.  Making the network adaptive through the use of intelligent software allow coordination between service provider networks and the cloud and will enable a generation of AR and VR-based immersive services and applications.

Steve Alexander is Ciena’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. He has held a number of positions since joining the Company in 1994, including General Manager of Ciena's Transport & Switching and Data Networking business units, Vice President of Transport Products and Director of Lightwave Systems.

Palo Alto Networks responds to SolarStorm

In a company blog post, Nikesh Arora, CEO of Palo Alto Networks, writes: "We will soon be talking about this as one of the most serious cyberattacks in history. Tainted updates to SolarWinds Orion software were distributed for months before they were identified, positioning attackers to obtain administrative privileges and establish long-term network access – potential for a complete compromise of an organization by malicious actors. We must come together to defend against an attack of this magnitude."

Also discussed in the posting:

  • Palo Alto Networks itself experienced an attempt to download Cobalt Strike on one of its IT SolarWinds servers, but its Cortex XDR instantly blocked the attempt with our Behavioral Threat Prevention capability and our SOC isolated the server.
  • Due to the disclosures on December 13, the company has reanalyzed its entire infrastructure extensively one more time to ensure that it has not been compromised.
  • Arora remains confident that Palo Alto Networks continues to be secure.
  • Palo Alto Networks is now offering a free SolarStorm rapid assessment to determine if customers have been compromised by this threat actor.

NTT Ltd. opens London 1 Data Center

 NTT Ltd. opened its new London 1 Data Center, more than tripling its data center footprint in the UK and making the company the third largest data center company globally. NTT also expects 100 people with technical and operational skills will be employed at London 1 Data Center when it is fully operational with clients. The new data center is located in Dagenham, East London. The location was chosen due to its proximity to the Docklands, which is established as the UK’s internet hub and backbone for the global internet network that facilitates the majority of the London Internet Exchange's (LINX) infrastructure. 

London 1 Data Center opens as part of NTT’s ongoing £500 million data center investment plan and highlights its commitment to the UK ICT industry. Further sites will include the opening of Hemel Hempstead 4 Data Center, NTT’s seventh data center in the UK.

Minister for Investment, Gerry Grimstone said: “World-class digital infrastructure projects are fundamental to our wider digital and investment strategies. Businesses are increasingly demanding infrastructure like this to operate innovatively, securely and efficiently. NTT’s continued commitment to the UK will help us to build and solidify our reputation as a leader in technological innovation in the industries of the future that will help us build back better.”

London 1 Data Center, when fully operational, will have 25,600 sqm of IT space and a maximum IT load of 64 MW. It will provide businesses with the best possible physical and technical infrastructure supported by N+1 UPS systems, generator backup, as well as highly redundant cooling systems. 

NTT Ltd. expects the new facility to have  power usage effectiveness of 1.2, which is aligned with industry best practice.

Masaaki Moribayashi, Senior Executive Vice President, Services for NTT Ltd. comments, “The London 1 Data Center is the latest addition to our NTT global portfolio. Offering flexible, scalable and secure infrastructure along with customizable solutions, London 1 Data Center has been designed to accommodate a wide range of NTT clients and partners, from large scale cloud/SaaS providers to enterprise clients who require full-stack services such as managed hybrid cloud solutions with global network services delivered from an industry leading and carrier-neutral colocation facility. It is a great advantage that we can provide a variety of cloud infrastructure services such as private cloud, public cloud, and colocation within the same data center.”

https://datacenter.hello.global.ntt/location/london/london-1-data-center

Vantage Data Centers on track with Zurich data center

Vantage Data Centers completed construction a concrete shell and is on schedule to deliver its first greenfield European hyperscale data center in 2021. 

The new facility, which is located just 25 kilometers northeast of Zurich, will offer 40MW capacity. The seven-acre (three-hectare) campus will be home to four multi-story, state-of-the-art data centers totaling more than 400,000 square feet (37,000 square meters) once fully developed. Vantage is constructing the shell of the initial facility with 8MW of capacity as part of its standard design practice.

The new data center is part of the company’s US$2B European expansion and will provide customers with large scale, sustainable data center facilities built for the unique needs of hyperscalers, cloud providers and large enterprises. 

“Vantage recently achieved two major milestones in our fast-track European expansion, including the completion of our first greenfield data center shell near Zurich along with the grand opening of our flagship Frankfurt campus,” said Wolfgang Zepf, Vantage’s managing director of Switzerland. “We look forward to welcoming customers to this highly secure and connectivity-rich facility in the third quarter of next year.”

https://vantage-dc.com/data-center-locations/europe/zurich-switzerland/

  • In February 2020, Vantage entered the European market with the acquisition of Etix Everywhere and greenfield developments in Berlin, Frankfurt, Milan, Warsaw and Zurich. In July, the company acquired Next Generation Data in the U.K., Europe’s largest data center campus.



Nokia appoints Nishant Batra as Chief Strategy and Technology Officer

Nokia appointed Nishant Batra as Chief Strategy and Technology Officer and member of the Group Leadership team.


Batra joins Nokia from Veoneer in Sweden, a worldwide leader in automotive technology, where he was Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Prior this role he held several positions at Ericsson over twelve years in Sweden, India and the US, most recently as Head of Product Area Networks. 

Batra holds an MBA from INSEAD, a master’s degree in telecommunications and a master’s degree in computer science from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and a bachelor’s degree in computer applications from Devi Ahilya University in India.

“I am delighted to welcome Nishant to Nokia at a pivotal time for our company," says Pekka Lundmark, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nokia. "He is a proven leader bringing with him a wealth of experience from technology to telecoms, as well as deep knowledge of our core CSP customers, the enterprise sector, and the emerging trends in the global market. His track record of developing innovative new products and successfully taking them to market make him a fantastic addition to our team.”

Singtel installs Ericsson 5G gear

Singel is deploying Ericsson's 5G New Radio (NR) Standalone and dual-mode 5G core network products and solutions, including real-time rating and policy control.

The energy-efficient, end-to-end 5G network will operate on Singtel’s 3.5GHz and 28GHz spectrum bands, spanning outdoor and indoor 5G coverage. Millimeter wave (mmWave) connectivity will also be deployed in hotspots across the city state.

Ericsson said the 5G contract award takes the partnership between Ericsson and Singtel to new levels, as Industry 4.0 gathers pace globally. 

Mark Chong, Group Chief Technology Officer, Singtel, says: “As the leading telco in Singapore, Singtel is committed to building a secure, resilient, world-class 5G network that will serve as the backbone of Singapore’s digital economy. We are pleased to be working with Ericsson, leveraging on its industry-leading 5G capabilities and to deliver innovative applications and transformative customer experiences for our consumers and enterprise customers.”

Martin Wiktorin, Head of Ericsson Singapore, Brunei and Philippines, says: “Singtel is determined to play a leading role in keeping Singapore at the cutting edge of technology innovation and to ensure that the whole nation benefits from 5G.

Singtel boosts 5G with 28 Ghz mmWave rollout

Singtel is tapping on 28 Ghz mmWave in addition to 3.5Ghz and 2100Mhz frequencies to boost its 5G rollout in Singapore.

Singtel said customers with 5G plans can expect to enjoy mobile speeds of up to 3 Gbps speeds when mmWave-enabled handsets arrive in Singapore next year.

The initial mmWave rollout locations include Orchard Road, the Padang area and Marina Bay Sands Expo. More are planned.

Mr Mark Chong, Group Chief Technology Officer, Singtel, said, “We are progressing our 5G deployment and boosting our capabilities to meet increasing demand for advanced mobile connectivity in the consumer and enterprise sectors. mmWave 5G’s super-fast speeds and low latency will bring about a striking change in the way we communicate and work. On the consumer front, we are tapping the power of 5G to transform applications such as cloud gaming and augmented reality. We are also working with enterprise customers in key industries to develop 5G solutions in areas such as autonomous guided vehicles, mixed reality and location-based services.”


NTT Ltd. names Abhijit Dubey as next CEO

Abhijit Dubey will succeed Jason Goodall as Global Chief Executive Officer for NTT Ltd. 


Abhijit takes the role following over 20 years with global advisory firm McKinsey & Company.  He will be based at NTT Ltd.’s headquarters in London. Following a three month handover period, Jason Goodall will retire from his executive role on 30 June 2021 and will remain as a Board Director for NTT Ltd, and Dimension Data, as well as act as a strategic advisor for the NTT Venture Capital business

Jason Goodall, current Global CEO for NTT Ltd. commented, “We are looking forward to welcoming Abhijit to the NTT family in 2021 to lead the next generation of our business. He shares our passion for the technology industry and the role that technology can play in helping make the world a better place. He brings many years’ experience of our industry and context, as well as a strong track record in delivering high performance and profitability in organizations having advised clients on a range of strategic, operational, and go-to-market challenges. I am confident that we have solid foundations in place following our successful integration last year and am delighted to work with Abhijit in the first half of next year to ensure a smooth handover.”

Commenting on his appointment, Abhijit said, “I’m excited about the opportunity to lead this next chapter for NTT Ltd. NTT is privileged to be a critical technology services partner for many of the world’s leading companies and public sector organizations, with employees in over 73 countries around the world. With many NTT clients accelerating their digital transformation because of the global pandemic, there has never been a more important time for the technology industry to deliver for the world. I am passionate about NTT’s purpose, strategy, and part it will play to help clients, employees and communities leverage technology for good. I am very much looking forward to working with the team.”


Friday, December 18, 2020

U.S. restricts exports of 10nm technology to China's SMIC

Citing national security, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) officially added Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) of China to the Entity List.  BIS said the action stems from China’s military-civil fusion (MCF) doctrine and evidence of activities between SMIC and entities of concern in the Chinese military industrial complex. 

“We will not allow advanced U.S. technology to help build the military of an increasingly belligerent adversary.  Between SMIC’s relationships of concern with the military industrial complex, China’s aggressive application of military civil fusion mandates and state-directed subsidies, SMIC perfectly illustrates the risks of China’s leverage of U.S. technology to support its military modernization,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. 

The Entity List designation limits SMIC’s ability to acquire certain U.S. technology by requiring U.S. exporters to apply for a license to sell to the company.  Items uniquely required to produce semiconductors at advanced technology nodes—10 nanometers or below—will be subject to a presumption of denial to prevent such key enabling technology from supporting China’s military-civil fusion efforts.

BIS also added more than sixty other entities to the Entity List for actions deemed contrary to the national security or foreign policy interest of the United States.

https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2020/12/commerce-adds-chinas-smic-entity-list-restricting-access-key-enabling

Thursday, December 17, 2020

U.S. scrambles to assess damage from nation-state cyberattack

U.S. government officials warned that the cyberattack identified earlier this week has compromised dozens of federal government networks and likely thousands of private networks globally.

The FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced a Cyber Unified Coordination Group (UCG) to coordinate a whole-of-government response to the infiltration of U.S. government networks arising from the SolarWinds backdoor hack.

CISA issued an Emergency Directive instructing federal civilian agencies to immediately disconnect or power down affected SolarWinds Orion products from their network.

CISA said the infiltration "poses a grave risk to the Federal Government and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations."

Some notes from CISA about the attack:

  • Compromises began at least as early as March 2020
  • This is a patient, well-resourced, and focused adversary that has sustained long duration activity on victim networks.
  • The SolarWinds Orion supply chain compromise is not the only initial infection vector this APT actor leveraged.
  • Not all organizations that have the backdoor delivered through SolarWinds Orion have been targeted by the adversary with follow-on actions.
  • Organizations with suspected compromises need to be highly conscious of operational security, including when engaging in incident response activities and planning and implementing remediation plans. 
  • The adversary is making extensive use of obfuscation to hide their C2 communications. 
  • CISA has observed the threat actor adding authentication tokens and credentials to highly privileged Active Directory domain accounts as a persistence and escalation mechanism. In many instances, the tokens enable access to both on-premise and hosted resources.

Some recommendations from CISA:

  • Out-of-band communications guidance for staff and leadership;
  • An outline of what “normal business” is acceptable to be conducted on the suspect network;
  • A call tree for critical contacts and decision making; and
  • Considerations for external communications to stakeholders and media.

https://www.cisa.gov/ 

https://us-cert.cisa.gov/ncas/alerts/aa20-352a

Microsoft President Brad Smith stated "this latest cyber-assault is effectively an attack on the United States and its government and other critical institutions, including security firms." 

Microsoft also noted that the initial list of victims includes not only government agencies, but security and other technology firms as well as non-governmental organizations.

https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2020/12/17/cyberattacks-cybersecurity-solarwinds-fireeye/




  • On December 13, FireEye discovered a supply chain attack trojanizing SolarWinds Orion business software updates in order to distribute malware. The attacker is using multiple techniques to evade detection and obscure their activity, which includes espionage and data theft. FireEye has released signatures to detect this threat actor and supply chain attack in the wild. 
https://www.fireeye.com/blog/threat-research/2020/12/evasive-attacker-leverages-solarwinds-supply-chain-compromises-with-sunburst-backdoor.html

Linux Foundation marks first release of DENT Network OS

 The Linux Foundation announced the first code release of DENT, a  Network Operating System (NOS) for Disaggregated Network Switches in campus and remote enterprise locations. The project aims to address the specific needs of distributed enterprise edge networking, such as a simplified networking OS stack that is low cost and Linux-based. DENT enables an open community to build this solution without complicated abstractions. It also promises to treat ASICs and switching silicon as any other hardware.

Initial supports of DENT include Innovium, Arcadyan, Aviz Netorks, Alpha Networks, Amazon, Delta Electronics, Marvell, NVIDIA, Edgecore Networks, and Wistron NeWeb (WNC).

The Arthur release – aptly named after Arthur Dent, the protagonist character of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy– uses the recently released Linux 5.6 Kernel and leverages SwitchDev to simplify integrations, eliminate complex abstractions and SDK change management, and support existing Linux tool chains. 

“With the Arthur release, we’re witnessing the makings of an open network operating system, control plane and management plane that will transform how enterprises address their distributed edge challenges,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge and IoT, at The Linux Foundation. “The DENT community has grown quickly and executed on this first major code release at a time when the entire industry is rethinking the future of retail and campus environments.”

https://dent.dev/

Intel and Samsung achieve 5G SA Core capacity of 305 Gbps / server

Samsung and Intel achieved a record 5G SA Core data processing capacity of 305 Gbps per server – equivalent to hosting more than 200,000 users simultaneously live-streaming standard definition videos – as well as latency improvement in a mobile network environment with commercial features enabled. 

To achieve this result, Samsung’s 5G SA Core used the 2nd generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor and the Intel Ethernet Network Adapter E810 with Enhanced Dynamic Device Personalization (DDP). The companies said the Intel Ethernet Network Adapter E810 with Enhanced DDP is capable of optimizing data distribution and transmission functions across the network adapter and the CPU cores, resulting in higher performance. Samsung and Intel were able to implement a simplified system configuration and boost packet processing and overall network performance.

“Through close collaboration with Intel, we were able to achieve an industry-leading performance with our 5G SA Core,” said Sohyong Chong, Senior Vice President and Head of Core Software R&D, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung’s cloud-native 5G SA Core, through its highly flexible and scalable design, will enable our customers to launch 5G services more swiftly and cost-effectively.”

“The transition to 5G Standalone Core is essential to achieve the full potential of 5G,” said Alex Quach, Vice President and General Manager, Wireline and Core Network Division, Intel Corporation. “This milestone achieved with Samsung is a verification of how strong industry collaboration and the use of innovative technologies can enhance performance to accelerate this transition and pave the way to new network and edge services.”

https://news.samsung.com/us/samsung-achieves-305gbps-5g-sa-core/

T-Mobile rolls out Location-Based Routing and Next Gen 911

 T-Mobile US is rolling out  Location-Based Routing and Next Generation 911 connectivity over IP – two critical advancements for pinpointing the location of callers, reducing the need for call transfers, and enabling a more efficient and effective 911 communication system.


Location-Based Routing (LBR) significantly cuts the need for 911 call transfers by leveraging low latency device-based location technology that at allows the network to connect more 911 callers directly to the appropriate 911 call center. T-Mobile says some areas with LBR enabled have experienced up to 40 percent fewer call transfers. LBR is currently enabled in parts of Texas and Washington State, and T-Mobile is working with 911 authorities to expand the capability nationwide.

Next Generation 911 (NG911) transitions 911 to an all-IP-based system. This is expected to improve the system’s ability to manage call overload, natural disaster response, and interoperability between jurisdictions. NG911 also paves the way for future forms of communications. Alert systems like crash detection will become more effective, sending notifications and actionable data directly to 911 dispatchers instead of third parties. T-Mobile has established some level of NG911 connectivity in all or part of Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington state, with plans to expand both NG911 connectivity and capability nationwide as public safety networks are ready.

"As the Un-carrier we innovate and push the wireless industry forward with technology firsts like this for the sake of consumers everywhere. Nowhere is that more important than driving improvements in public safety,” said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile.