Monday, January 4, 2021

Ooredoo awards five-year 5G contract to Ericsson

Ooredoo Group awarded a global frame agreement to Ericsson for the supply of 5G radio, core and transport products and solutions, as well as related implementation and integration services. The agreement covers all 10 of the Group’s operating companies in Qatar, Indonesia, Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Tunisia, Myanmar and Maldives.

The agreement covers Ericsson Radio System, including MINI-LINK 6000 products that are capable of 10Gbps, Ericsson Cloud Core, Cloud Infrastructure and Ericsson Cloud Communication solutions. 

Ericsson Radio System is already deployed and live in several of Ooredoo’s operating companies. In Ooredoo Qatar’s network, Ericsson Radio System, using the 4G/5G Ericsson Spectrum Sharing solution, has facilitated fast nationwide 5G coverage. Furthermore, in preparation of Ooredoo Qatar’s network to host multiple global sporting events, Ericsson is deploying its latest 5G midband Massive MIMO radios to create a unique digital experience for millions of sports fans in stadiums, at home, or on-the-go.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Thani, Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer, Ooredoo Group, says: “The agreement represents another step in the longstanding and successful partnership between Ericsson and Ooredoo, which enables our company to continue network expansion, enhancement and digital transformation. Ericsson is bringing state-of-the-art global technologies to the countries we operate in, which enables us to provide the latest digital solutions for communities to enjoy the best of the internet, including connecting the most remote areas, supporting startups digitally and providing immersive experiences for sports fans at upcoming mega-sporting events.”



Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, Ericsson, says: “5G as a platform for innovation will speed up Ooredoo’s journey towards digital transformation. It will fuel new use cases that cater to evolving consumer and enterprise demands. It is with great pride that we strengthen our collaboration as we continue supporting Ooredoo’s ambition of delivering high-performing networks and superior user experience.”

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2021/1/ooredoo-group-and-ericsson-sign-five-year-strategic-5g-agreement

Alaska Communications finds a new buyer

ATN International and Freedom 3 Capital agreed to acquire Alaska Communications Systems Group in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $332 million, including net debt. 

Alaska Communications’ prior agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Macquarie Capital and GCM Grosvenor, through its Labor Impact Fund, has been terminated.

In connection with the termination, Alaska Communications paid Macquarie and GCM a $6.8 million break-up fee.

David W. Karp, Chairman of the Alaska Communications Board of Directors, said, "Today's announcement is the product of a comprehensive process that demonstrates what a strong business the team at Alaska Communications has built. The agreement with ATN is a great result for our stockholders, who will receive significant near-term value."

Alaska Comm. Sys to be acquired for $300m

Alaska Communications Systems Group (NASDAQ: ALSK) will be acquired by an affiliate of Macquarie and GCM Grosvenor (through its Labor Impact Fund) in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $300 million, including debt. 

Under the deal, all the outstanding shares of Alaska Communications common stock will be acquired for $3.00 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 57% over the closing per share price of $1.91 on November 2, 2020, the last trading day prior to the date the merger agreement was executed.

David W. Karp, Chairman of the Alaska Communications Board of Directors, said, "After carefully evaluating Macquarie Capital’s and GCM’s offer, we are confident that this transaction is in the best interest of Alaska Communications and its stockholders. Macquarie Capital has a proven track record of delivering large and complex transactions globally on accelerated timelines, and GCM’s Labor Impact Fund provides strategy driven capital that we expect will generate real value for our customers and the Alaska Communications workforce."

Bill Bishop, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alaska Communications, stated, "GCM’s Labor Impact Fund provides strategic value to our business both through its experience in the telecommunications sector and in fostering partnerships with a unionized workforce. We firmly believe this transaction will allow us to enhance our expanded fiber network services and drive long-term value for our customers in Alaska and the Lower 48."


Thailand's dtac picks Ericsson for 5G

Thailand's dtac has selected Ericsson 5G RAN products and solutions, including Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, to power dtac 5G services in the Bangkok Metropolitan area, the central plains and the eastern economic and industrial region of Thailand.


dtac is set to deploy its network on the 700MHz band to expand coverage and capacity nationwide, as part of its strategy to bring fast 5G and 4G to all customers.

The 5G deal is the latest stage in a long and successful partnership between Ericsson and dtac. The partnership already spans 3G, 4G and managed services, through the implementation of Ericsson Operations Engine.

Prathet Tankuranun, Chief Technology Officer, dtac, says: “dtac sets the priority on bringing high-speed internet service to all of our customers. We never stop and are speeding up the development of our nationwide 4G and 5G networks. The latter is being deployed on the low-band 700MHz, which will enhance our network efficiency across Thailand, particularly the high-density downtown areas with high-rise buildings. Our customers can experience better and better services from our restless efforts to roll out network through utilizing Massive MIMO technology to increase the upload and download speed by three times. We connect everyone to every important thing in life.”

Nadine Allen, Head of Ericsson Thailand, says: “5G will play a critical role in accelerating the digitalization of the economy and stimulating next-generation innovation for consumers and enterprises in Thailand. Therefore, we are delighted to strengthen our partnership with dtac for 5G deployment in Thailand. Our 5G RAN technology leadership will enhance dtac’s ambitions to deliver the benefits of 5G for consumers and enterprises in Thailand. Based on our technology leadership and experience with 5G deployments across the globe, we are in a good position to support Thailand on its 5G journey.”

  • Ericsson currently has 123 commercial 5G agreements and contracts with unique communications service providers globally, including 77 live commercial 5G networks.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

EXFO acquires InOpticals for 400G/800G testing

EXFO completed its previously-announced acquisition of InOpticals Inc. of Taiwan. 

InOpticals' solutions will be integrated into EXFO's  test and measurement (T&M) product family. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed.

"EXFO has made strategic investments in recent years, both internally and through acquisitions, to increase its footprint in the rapidly growing lab and manufacturing test segments," said Germain Lamonde, EXFO's founder and Executive Chairman. "This latest acquisition of InOpticals raises our T&M addressable market to more than $1 billion by expanding our high-end portfolio related to 400G and 800G technologies. Ultimately, it will allow EXFO to strengthen its leadership position in the global fiber-optic test equipment market."

EXFO to acquire InOpticals for 400G/800G oscilloscopes

EXFO has acquired InOpticals Inc., a Taiwanese supplier of sampling oscilloscopes, bit-error rate testers (BERTs) and other critical test instruments to manufacturers of optical transponders, components and network equipment. Financial terms were not disclosed.

InOpticals' product portfolio specifically addresses 400G/800G high-growth sectors like silicon photonics-based transceivers, active and passive components as well as integrated test systems for R&D and manufacturing use cases.


InOpticals' solutions will be combined with EXFO's advanced optical test offering, bolstered by the Yenista Optics acquisition in October 2017. This latest acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of October, will increase EXFO's global test and measurement (T&M) addressable market by approximately US$150 million to more than US$1 billion. The amount of the transaction, mostly valued in EXFO shares, was not disclosed.

"EXFO has intensified its focus on the research, development and manufacturing market as demonstrated by strong growth in this segment in recent years," said Germain Lamonde, EXFO's founder and Executive Chairman. "InOpticals brings to EXFO a remarkable product portfolio that is highly complementary and strategic. This synergistic acquisition will allow EXFO to leverage InOpticals' innovative test solutions across global sales channels and expand market share."

"We're excited to be joining EXFO, truly a global leader in optical testing," said Jones Huang, CEO of InOpticals. "Combining EXFO's global reach and market knowledge with our proven innovation capability will allow us to jointly have a more significant impact in this high-growth market."

Tejas Networks wins $13M broadband contract

Bengaluru-based Tejas Networks received a $13 milliom purchase order to supply and install its ultra-converged broadband products for a leading telecommunications service provider in South East Asia. The deployment will extend high-speed broadband services to underserved rural communities in the region. The project is expected to be executed within the next 12 months.

Mr. Sanjay Nayak, Managing Director and CEO of Tejas Networks said, "We are delighted to be chosen for this prestigious project that will enable a sizable rural population to experience the tangible benefits of high-speed, reliable and affordable wireless internet for the first time. TJ1400UCB is an innovative product that provides the flexibility to rapidly rollout broadband services on optical fiber, wireless or copper media, as per available infrastructure, at highly affordable costs.  Tejas was selected because of our cutting-edge products, as well as our vast experience in timely rollouts of large-scale broadband access and optical transmission networks around the globe, including Government of India's BharatNet and Railway WiFi projects."


euNetworks acquires fiber network in Manchester

euNetworks Fiber UK Limited acquired 100% of the shares of The Loop Manchester Limited from Gamma Telecom Holdings Limited. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

The Loop is a duct and sub-duct based fibre network stretching 87 km in Greater Manchester (UK). With over 180km of high capacity fibre cables, it connects into 20 data centres, two Exchanges and provides high capacity internet into more than 70 key multi-tenant commercial buildings. Approximately 48km of the duct network is entirely unique routing from alternative operators in the city.

“Manchester is an important and growing digital hub and we have been keen to develop our presence in the city for some time. It also enhances our Super Highway that runs from Dublin through to Manchester, London and Lowestoft,” said Brady Rafuse, Chief Executive Officer of euNetworks. “The acquisition of The Loop network strengthens our customer proposition in the bandwidth infrastructure market. As well as adding unique routes to our Manchester metro, the Loop provides us with a more local presence, the flexibility to connect more data centres and buildings and the opportunity for further expansion. Prior to this acquisition, our Manchester metro consisted of 42km of duct network, 276 chambers and direct connection into 17 data centres. The combined footprint will deliver immediate value to both existing customers and our new customers that we welcome from The Loop.”

“This is a great match for The Loop and we are delighted to have been acquired by euNetworks and to be joining the team,” said Ashley Griffiths, Managing Director of The Loop. “We’ve worked closely with euNetworks for a number of years in Manchester and I know our customers will immediately benefit from this acquisition. We remain focused on delivering a great service experience as well as more fibre-based service options to our customers.”

  • euNetworks owns and operates 17 fibre based metropolitan networks connected with a high capacity intercity backbone covering 51 cities in 15 countries across Europe.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Saudi Arabia's TAWAL picks Nokia for 5G expansion

TAWAL, the leading Saudi ICT Infrastructure company, has selected Nokia to provide full turnkey services towards expanding and deploying 5G for TAWAL’s infrastructure in the western and southern parts of Saudi Arabia. 

This project is part of TAWAL’s plan for 5G expansion in the western and southern parts of Saudi Arabia, where Nokia will be adding 5G capabilities to 670 4G sites over the course of six months. In addition, Nokia will be replacing some existing towers with new ones while modernizing and strengthening others.


Saeed Alshehri, Chief Operation Officer of TAWAL, stated: “We are delighted to work with Nokia in expanding and deploying the 5G network across our infrastructure. This comes in line with our strategy to enrich the communication needs of MNOs, the Government and Businesses by accelerating the roll-out of new technologies, together we will provide the best-in-class services to build and manage the infrastructure that will allow us to stay ahead of our clients’ needs”.

Stating on the partnership, Khalid Hussein, Country Senior Officer at Nokia Saudi, added: “The expansion of the 5G network opens up boundless horizons and strengthens the distinguished partnership between Nokia and TAWAL. This partnership will highlight Nokia's full turnkey services, which will contribute to achieve the Kingdom's 2030 Vision and support the digital transformation. Our partnership will further pave the way for future collaborations with TAWAL in the 5G-era”.

https://tawal.com.sa/

stc tests Open vRAN and invests $500m in cloud with Alibaba

Saudi Arabia's stc is conducting ORAN testing. Altiostar confirmed that its Open vRAN software is part of the trial.

Eng. Khaled Aldharrab, VP, Infrastructure, stc, said: “Open RAN is a large and crucial part of stc’s future virtualized infrastructure. This technology is promising to change the way we currently think of Network solutions, providing: Openness, disaggregation, speed, efficiency and reduced time to market. The future of Cloud-Native, modular software and Micro-services will go far in addressing the customers high expectations and delivering our future vision.

stc Group also announced plans to invest around $500 million in cloud services in a partnership with eWTP Arabia Capital, one of the largest venture capital funds in the region, and Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group.

stc said the investment aims "to reinforce digital infrastructure and to leverage the proven cloud-based technologies and services of Alibaba Cloud to accelerate the growth of local technology ecosystem, in alignment with its “DARE” strategy and Vision 2030 objectives."

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.