Monday, March 12, 2018

Trump blocks Broadcom's proposed takeover of Qualcomm

President Trump signed an executive order prohibiting Broadcom from acquiring Qualcomm or proceeding with any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover of the firm whether effected directly or indirectly.

The order cited "credible evidence" that Broadcom, along with its partners, subsidiaries, or affiliates, impairs the national security of the United States.

Trump said he was taking this action upon review of a recommendation from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Broadcom issued a statement saying it was reviewing the order.

Qualcomm issued a statement saying all of Broadcom’s director nominees are also disqualified from standing for election as directors of Qualcomm. 'the company will reconvene its 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders on the earliest possible date. Stockholders of record on January 8, 2018 will be entitled to vote at the meeting.

Lumentum to acquire Oclaro for $1.8 billion

Lumentum agreed to acquire Oclaro for approximately $1.8 billion in cash and stock.

Under the deal, Oclaro stockholders will be entitled to receive $5.60 in cash and 0.0636 of a share of Lumentum common stock for each share of Oclaro stock, representing a premium of 27% to Oclaro's closing price on March 9, 2018 and a premium of 40% to Oclaro's 30 day average closing price.  Oclaro stockholders are expected to own approximately 16% of the combined company at closing.

The combined company is expected to have annual revenue of $1.733 billion and an operating margin of 19%, prior to synergies from the combination.

Lumentum, which is based in Milpitas, California, supplies a range of optical components and subsystems for telecom, enterprise, and data center networking equipment. The company was created in 2015 as a split off from JDSU.

Oclaro supplies optical components and modules for the long-haul, metro and data center markets. The company is based in San Jose, California.

"Joining forces with Oclaro strengthens our product portfolio, broadens our revenue mix, and positions us strongly for the future needs of our customers.  Oclaro brings its leading Indium Phosphide laser and Photonic Integrated Circuit and coherent component and module capabilities to Lumentum.  The combined company will drive innovation faster and accelerate the development of products to enable our customers to win," said Alan Lowe, Lumentum's President and CEO.  "We are delighted to welcome the talented Oclaro team to Lumentum and look forward to a swift completion of the transaction with a focus on supporting our customers and delivering shareholder value."

"I am very pleased that two of the optical industry leaders, Oclaro and Lumentum, will join forces.  Together, we will be an even stronger player in fiber optic components and modules for high-speed communications and a market leader in 3D sensing.  This is a fantastic combination for all of our stakeholders, including stockholders, employees, customers and partners," said Greg Dougherty, Oclaro's CEO, "I am extremely proud of what the Oclaro team has accomplished over the last five years. We have enjoyed tremendous success and this combination will create even more exciting opportunities for the team."

Infinera’s ICE5 optical engine to drive 2.4 Tb/s capacity, 600G wavelengths

Infinera unveiled its ICE5 Infinite Capacity Engine for powering its next generation of optical transmission systems.

The company said its ICE5 unlocks unprecedented capacity, reach, spectral and power efficiency for internet content providers (ICPs) who are scaling connections between data centers and for communications service providers (CSPs) who are planning fiber-deep architectures including distributed access architecture (DAA) and 5G mobile backhaul.

ICE5 integrates Infinera’s fifth-generation photonic integrated circuit with a FlexCoherent digital signal processor (DSP) and fine-grain software control to deliver 100 to 600 gigabits per second per wavelength in the industry’s first 2.4 Tb/s optical engine. ICE5 is designed for over 40 Tb/s on a single fiber within a fraction of a data center rack, increasing capacity up to 65 percent over currently deployed networks while reducing power by 60 percent.

Infinera Intelligent Transport Network platforms with ICE5 are planned for availability in early 2019.

“Innovation is on fast forward at Infinera as we build on our success with ICE4 to introduce ICE5 - the industry’s first 2.4 Tb/s optical engine,” said Dr. Dave Welch, Infinera Founder, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer. “With ICE5 we are bringing our leading-edge technologies to market faster than ever, enabling our ICP and CSP customers to respond quickly to explosive bandwidth growth and ultimately win in their markets.”

Broadcom’s Terabit Monterey Chip extends Ethernet to LTE and 5G Radios

Broadcom introduced a terabit-class Ethernet switching chip designed for high-capacity cellular fronthaul networks.

The Broadcom Monterey Ethernet switch (BCM56670) targets Ethernet-based 5G radios and while also supporting existing CPRI-based radios.

It supports the IEEE’s new 802.1CM (Time-Sensitive Networking for Fronthaul) standard, which provides an Ethernet synchronization solution, CPRI-to-Ethernet bridging, and nanosecond-scale jitter and delay control.

IEEE 802.1CM specifies how to carry cellular radio traffic over Ethernet, It relies on pre-emption, Synchronous Ethernet, and the 1588 Precision Timing specification.

Broadcom said its Monterey silicon offers an order-of-magnitude increase in synchronization accuracy by moving time stampers from Ethernet MAC to SerDes I/O, exceeding 3GPP, IEEE, and ITU-T specifications for 4G & 5G networks.

Monterey Ethernet switch key attributes:

  • Transports CPRI across standard Ethernet
  • Enables cellular-system designers to leverage the merchant-silicon-based Ethernet ecosystem
  • Connects directly to new Ethernet-based radios and installed CPRI-based radios
  • Terabit-class capacity to meet the 10x increase in capacity needed by 5G networks
  • Serves as a critical component in building mobile-edge computing platforms
  • Hardware support for key 5G requirements, including nanosecond-scale synchronization

“We are very pleased to announce another ground-breaking solution that addresses fundamental problems and opens a new, major market for our switching products,” said Ram Velaga, vice present and general manager, Switch Products at Broadcom. “The Monterey Ethernet switch is an excellent example of Broadcom’s deep commitment to 5G innovation and strategic R&D investment.”
Sampling is underway.

GTT acquires Accelerated Connections, expanding across Canada

GTT Communications has acquired Accelerated Connections (ACI), a Toronto-headquartered provider of managed networking, voice-over-IP (VoIP) and colocation services, serving large distributed Canadian enterprises. Financial terms were not disclosed at this time.

ACI operates a network connecting all of Canada's provinces, as well as two state-of-the-art data center facilities.

GTT said the acquisition extends its market presence and unique network assets in Canada, including its landing station for GTT Express, the lowest latency transatlantic cable system. The acquisition also adds strategic clients in key vertical markets, including hospitality, retail and financial services.

“ACI’s deep experience in delivering cloud networking services to distributed enterprises in Canada significantly expands GTT’s global presence,” said Rick Calder, GTT president and CEO. “This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to invest in assets and capabilities that enable us to deliver on our purpose of connecting people across organizations and around the world.”

“The combination of ACI and GTT creates a disruptive competitor in the Canadian market,” said Michael Garbe, ACI CEO. “Customers will benefit from access to GTT’s Tier 1 IP network, comprehensive service portfolio, global reach and deep experience in connectivity and managed services. We expect a rapid and smooth integration over the coming months.”

GTT's acquisition of Interoute adds 72K km of European fiber to its transatlantic cables

GTT Communications agreed to acquire Interoute, operator of one of Europe’s largest independent fiber networks and cloud networking platforms, for approximately €1.9 billion ($2.3 billion) in cash.

Interoute's European fiber backbone spans 72,000 route kilometers connects nearly 200 data centres and colocation facilities.  Interoute also owns 15 of its own data centers and 33 colocation facilities. Its customers include international enterprises, as well as the world’s major service providers, ICPs and OTT providers. The company also operates 18 Interoute Virtual Data Centres (VDCs) globally, including three in Asia-Pacific, which are tied into its fiber backbone. In October 2017, Interoute launched its "Edge SD-WAN" service.

Interoute offers transport services (wavelength, Carrier Ethernet, managed bandwidth, storage connect, IP transit, cloud connect) and infrastructure services (dark fiber and data center colocation).

Interoute reported revenues of €718 million and adjusted EBITDA of €165 million for the 12 months ending September 30, 2017.

GTT said the merger contributes significant infrastructure, edge and hosted services to its network, as well as over 1,000 strategic enterprise and carrier clients, primarily headquartered in Europe.

In January 2017, GTT acquired Hibernia Networks and its five subsea cables, including Hibernia Express, the lowest latency transatlantic cable system, and eight cable landing stations, new global points of presence, and key clients in the financial services, media and entertainment, web-centric and service provider segments.

“The acquisition of Interoute represents a major milestone in delivering on our purpose of connecting people, across organizations and around the world,” said Rick Calder, GTT president and CEO. “This combination creates a disruptive market leader with substantial scale, unique network assets and award-winning product capabilities to fulfill our clients’ growing demand for distributed cloud networking in Europe, the U.S. and across the globe. Following our successful, proven acquisition model, we expect to complete this integration within three to four quarters postclose and achieve a post-synergy multiple of seven to eight times Adjusted EBITDA or better on a pro forma basis.”

“This is an exciting next chapter for Interoute, GTT, our customers and our team,” said Gareth Williams, Interoute CEO. “The combined assets and strengths of our two companies create a powerful portfolio of high-capacity, low-latency connectivity, and innovative cloud and edge infrastructure services to support our customers in the global digital economy.”

GTT acquires Amsterdam-based Custom Connect

GTT has acquired Custom Connect, an Amsterdam-headquartered provider of high-speed network connectivity serving multinational enterprises and financial trading firms. Financial terms were not disclosed. Custom Connect, which was founded by Olav van Doorn and Jan Willem Meijer, operates a carrier-neutral MPLS/IP network that integrates SD-WAN and public and private clouds alongside existing data centers, offices, and branches. Its range of services...

GTT Communications, a major global cloud networking provide

Renesas ships 25 Gbps Directly Modulated Laser Diodes for base stations

Renesas Electronics announced commercial availability of directly modulated laser (DML) diodes that deliver 25 Gbps x four wavelengths as the light source in 100 Gbps optical transceivers.  The devices are designed for connecting 4.9G and 5G LTE base stations and between data center routers and servers.

Renesas said its new RV2X6376A Series are the industry’s first DML diodes that support full 25 Gbps speed (per individual laser) and industrial temperature (-40°C to 95°C) without cooling. The devices can be designed into compact 100 Gbps QSFP28 optical transceiver modules that use conventional NRZ modulation. They are compatible with the Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM4) standard that specifies four lanes of 25 Gbps optically multiplexed onto and demultiplexed from duplex single mode fiber. The RV2X6376A Series extend the laser diodes family, joining the proven, commercial temperature grade (-5°C to 75°C) NX6375AA Series used in data centers. In addition to providing the ruggedness and reliability base stations require, the RV2X6376A Series also offers data center customers an upgrade to the wider industrial temperature range when additional margin is needed.

Key features:

  • 1.3um AlGaInAs Direct Modulated DFB laser diode
  • Uncooled operation (absolute maximum ratings): Tc=-40℃ - +95℃
  • Output power: Po=7mW @ 25℃
  • SMSR: 35dB min
  • Laser operating current: 55mA max
  • Laser reverse voltage: 2.6 V max
  • High Reliability: MTTF of 100,000 hours (Note: MTTF not guaranteed)

Source Photonics debuts 400G client transceivers #OFC2018

Source Photonics introduced a range of 400G client transceivers including the 400G QSFP-DD FR8/LR8 module for data center applications and the 400G CFP8 FR8/LR8 module for telecom applications. Sampling is expected in Q2.

  • The 400G QSFP-DD is designed to be compliant with the IEEE 802.3bs 400GBASE- LR8/FR8 and QSFP-DD MSA specifications for links up to 10 km. 
  • The 400G CFP8 FR8/LR8 is designed to be compliant with the IEEE 802.3bs 400GBASE- LR8/FR8 and CFP MSA specifications for links up to 10 km.

“We are proving to the market that multiple 400G offerings will be available in the short term to support connectivity between transport, routing and switching equipment.  Operators can now believe a strong foundation exists to plan network upgrades,” says Ed Ulrichs, Director of PLM at Source Photonics.

At this week's OFC in San Diego, Source Photonics is demonstrating an error-free link between their 400G QSFP-DD LR8 and 400G CFP8 LR8, proving that links up to 10km can soon upgrade from 100G to 400G, therefore significantly reducing total cost of ownership in the aggregation layer.

“We have successfully integrated our industry-leading signal integrity work with novel optical coupling concepts to demonstrate the highest density optical transceiver ever.  Since we use a common manufacturing platform with our 100G products, we are confident we will be the first in the market to scale this platform,” says Sheng Zhang, Chief Scientist at Source Photonics.

OFC booth number 3921

MACOM's silicon photonics enables CWDM4, DR1 and FR4 L-PICs

MACOM introduced a CWDM4 transmitter optical sub-assembly as a part of its L-PIC (Laser-integrated Silicon Photonic Integrated Circuit) solution for 100Gbps CWDM4.

The combined solution integrates four high-performance 25Gbps CWDM wavelengths in a single silicon photonic integrated circuit (PIC) to communicate 100Gbps over duplex single mode fiber.

MACOM said its L-PIC platform provides a highly integrated silicon photonic solution targeting specific data center applications that includes four CW lasers, monitor photodiodes, high bandwidth waveguides, modulators and multiplexers. Utilizing MACOM’s patented self-aligning etched facet technology (SAEFTTM) for precision attachment of the lasers to the silicon chip, the L-PIC platform removes the need for active laser alignment and offers a significant cost reduction to the customer, enabling mainstream deployment.

“MACOM is leveraging our L-PIC platforms to enable leading scalability that meets the rapidly increasing CWDM4 module demand,” said Vivek Rajgarhia, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Lightwave, at MACOM. “The platform’s automated self-aligning calibration and firmware control is anticipated to deliver the requisite combination of scale and cost for mainstream Cloud Data Center deployment.”

Molex intros 100G PAM-4 Based 25G/50G/100G/400G

Molex introduced a portfolio of 100G and 400G products based on its 100G PAM-4 optical platform, including multi-Rate 25G/50G/100G PAM-4 DWDM QSFP28, 100G FR QSFP28, 400G DR4 and 400G FR4 QSFP-DD and OSFP.

100G PAM-4 platform-based product solutions include:

  • 25G/50G/100G Multi-Rate PAM4 DWDM QSFP28:
    Supports 40x100 Gbps DWDM with a total of 4 Tbps per fiber pair
    Flexible data rate programmability to support 25 Gbps and 50 Gbps applications
  • 100G FR QSFP28:
    Compliant with 100 Gbps Lambda MSA
    Supporting 100G connectivity up to 2km
  • 400G DR4 and 4x100G FR QSFP-DD/OSFP:
    Compliant with 100G Lambda MSA
    Supporting 400 Gbps connectivity up to 500m
    4X100G FR supporting four times of 100G FR up to 2km
  • 400G FR4 QSFP-DD/OSFP:
    Compliant with 100G Lambda MSA
    Supporting 400 Gbps connectivity up to 2km

“Molex is a leader in the development of the foundational building blocks for 100G PAM-4 optoelectronics, and in collaborations for digital signal processing (DSP) integrated circuits. By leveraging these combined capabilities, we support high bandwidth requirements for a wide range of applications across intra-data center, data center interconnect (DCI) and 5G wireless. In addition, 100G PAM-4 technology also lays the foundation for cost-effective and high-density 400G solutions,” said Rang-Chen (Ryan) Yu, vice president of business development, GM of optoelectronic solutions at Oplink, a Molex Company and co-chair of 100G Lambda MSA.

OFC booth 2512

The tower companies will let us know when 5G rollouts get real

Network densification is a key premise of 5G architecture. Once the rollouts of 5G networks begin in earnest, we should expect to see many more cell sites in urban areas across the world. How many more? That remains to see, but the count of small cells could be 10x of the number of macro base stations common in the 3G/4G era – or maybe even higher than that. Each one of these small cells will need a physical location, which must be purchased or leased from a property owner. It requires permits and authorization from municipal authorities. It must have electrical power, and it must have the backhaul capacity to support multigigabit services – this implies fibre connectivity, although some schemes for meshed wireless backhaul are under consideration as well.

One way to measure the progress of 5G rollouts will be to keep an eye on the companies that actually will handle the deployment of physical equipment on the streets. Once we see the independent tower operators report increased rents do the deployment of massive MIMO antennas or the provisioning of new fibre contracts, then we will know the game has really begun.

Building and managing the physical infrastructure is a headache, especially when there are tens of thousands of sites dispersed across thousands of municipal jurisdictions. For this reason, mobile operators have moved quickly to exit this tricky business. In some countries, they have formed networking infrastructure sharing alliances with their rivals. In other countries, they have spun-out their cell site infrastructure into new companies. In the U.S. market, they have sold their tower operations either to Crown Castle or American Tower.

American Tower, which operates approximately 149,000 communications sites, including approximately 40,000 towers in the United States and more than 108,000 towers internationally, prides itself on being one of the largest global real estate investment trusts (REITs). In addition to the towers (masts) mentioned above, its portfolio also includes more than 800 Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) in malls, casinos, and other indoor/outdoor venues. The Boston-based company, which was founded in 1995, has a simple missions statement – “to be the premier wireless infrastructure provider” – even if it never becomes recognized as a household name by the billions of consumers with smartphones in their hands right now.

In the United States, there are a number of requirements for a company to be considered a REIT, including that the majority of income must be generated by rents or leases rather than services. A different tax methodology can make this form of business organization more appealing than ordinary corporate structures, but there are requirements that may restrict the company’s business activities and strategic manoeuvres. For instance, REITs typically must distribute 90 percent of taxable income to shareholders, rather than using it for other purposes. The structure typically is modeled after mutual funds.  Additionally, REITs must invest at least 75 percent of its total assets in assets, which could restrict the capital investments that the company might make in network equipment.

As of press time, we are awaiting the publication of the company’s financial results for Q4 2017, but American Tower’s recent performance has been good --18 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth in terms of its adjusted EBITDA. Revenue per site is on the rise and with the exception of occasional consolidation of its mobile network customers – which is a major and perennial threat to its business, the general trend is upward and forward. In this era of exploding demand for mobile data, it is a sure bet that mobile operators will be needing more towers and more bandwidth at those towers, than ever before.

In the United States, over the past few quarters, American Tower has experienced organic tenant billings growth at a pace of over 6 percent. The company also sees solid business growth across its diverse international footprint.  American Tower is pursuing a capital allocation strategy that includes stock buybacks, dividends, and acquisitions.

Big breakaway growth opportunities include multi-year network deployments with FirstNet, the first responders' network in the U.S., and Red Compartida, the shared network infrastructure project in Mexico, along with the coming 5G upgrade cycle.

The market is waiting to see financial guidance for how 5G will impact future revenue.
American Tower’s property revenue breaks down as follows geographically.

U.S. 55%
Latin America 18%
Asia                 18%
EMEA 10%

As of June 2017, it’s major customers include the big four U.S. mobile operators

AT&T   15%
Verizon 16%
Sprint             9%
T-Mobile         8%