Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Telstra InfraCo lights up Dark Fibre service in Australia

Telstra InfraCo, the new business unit with the Telstra Group that operates the company's passive and physical infrastructure assets (ducts, fibre, data centres, subsea cables and exchanges) has begun offering a Dark Fibre service for the first time - a significant milestone in Telstra’s T22 transformation.

Fibre optic cables are made up of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of smaller fibre optic strands arranged in pairs. Dark Fibre are pairs that haven’t been ‘lit up’ and can be licensed to organisations that require very high bandwidth.

“With more than 250 pre-defined paths available right now in six state capitals, connected to 68 metro data centres, 78 NBN Points of Interconnect and two cable landing stations, opening up our fixed network to customers in this way is a profound step in unlocking untapped value in our network assets. Available in most capital cities initially, we will soon expand the availability and use cases of Dark Fibre across the nation, beyond just metro locations,” states Telstra InfraCo Fibre Executive Kathryn Jones.

“Dark Fibre is the first of a series of offerings we will bring to the market that will give our customers the capacity, flexibility, security and speed needed to unlock new business opportunities.”

Telstra's 3-way restructuring: InfraCo Fixed, InfraCo Towers, ServeCo

Telstra is proposing a major restructuring that would to create three separate legal entities within the Telstra Group:

  • InfraCo Fixed, which would own and operate Telstra’s passive or physical infrastructure assets: the ducts, fibre, data centres, subsea cables and exchanges that underpin Telstra’s fixed telecommunications network.
  • InfraCo Towers, which would own and operate Telstra’s passive or physical mobile tower assets, which Telstra will look to monetise over time given the strong demand and compelling valuations for this type of high-quality infrastructure.
  • ServeCo, which would continue to focus on creating innovative products and services, supporting customers and delivering the best possible customer experience. ServeCo would own the active parts of the network, including the radio access network and spectrum assets.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the plan is driven by monetisation opportunities for its infrastructure assets where this might create additional value for shareholders.

“The proposed restructure is one of the most significant in Telstra’s history and the largest corporate change since privatisation. It will unlock value in the company, improve the returns from the company’s assets and create further optionality for the future,” Mr Penn said.

“The challenges and disruptions of the last 6-12 months have reinforced the increasing value of infrastructure assets globally; the importance of the digital economy, not only to business but to the whole of Australia and its economic recovery; and the dependence of the digital economy on telecommunications as its platform. Our proposed new corporate structure reflects this new world and will help us support the foundation for it – one that is in the interests of our shareholders, our employees, our customers, and ultimately one that benefits the country overall.”

T-Mobile US pleased with its spectrum position

T-Mobile US confirmed that it invested just over $9.3 billion in the FCC’s C-Band auction, selectively acquiring additional mid-band spectrum, even s its competitors spent record-breaking amounts in the auction. 

T-Mobile won an average of 40 MHz of C-Band in key areas home to nearly 225 million people, which it will deploy to add additional depth to its already strong Ultra Capacity 5G, bringing even greater speed and performance. In the mid-band range, C-Band offers a great mix of coverage and speed, but there are some key differences from 2.5 GHz, the mid-band spectrum T-Mobile is primarily using to roll out Ultra Capacity 5G. Most notably, it doesn’t travel as far. T-Mobile engineers estimate it will require 50% more cell sites for meaningful and continuous coverage, and in some areas, for example in-building, the required densification can be 4x higher than 2.5 GHz. That’s why T-Mobile strategically invested in C-Band to supplement its much broader 2.5 GHz footprint in select urban and suburban areas where it already has a dense network. This will allow for the spectrum to quickly be deployed and provide a more meaningful performance boost for customers.

“T-Mobile customers are the clear winners in this auction. Our already industry-leading 5G network enabled us to be highly selective and strategic, concentrating our wins in top markets nationwide,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile. “As I predicted last fall, the other guys spent an unbelievable amount — because they had to. And even then, the truth is that C-Band is best for urban areas because it doesn’t propagate as well as T-Mobile’s substantial existing mid-band frequencies. For us, C-Band makes a great story even better, and we are incredibly pleased with our clear success in this auction. Our competitors had no choice but to go all in with a break-the-bank attempt to remain relevant in the 5G era.”

“Simply put, Verizon and AT&T bet on the wrong horse — went all in on millimeter wave — and now they’re scrambling … and writing big checks … to try to catch up. Meanwhile we’re on track to deploy Ultra Capacity 5G nationwide before they can even get their hands on C-Band,” said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile. “There’s only one true 5G leader in the US, and that is T-Mobile. All of America wins with better connectivity, more competition, and value that we’re able to bring to consumers and businesses — forcing the other guys to do better for their customers as we always have.”

OFC 2021 to remain all-virtual

The 2021 Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC) will convene in an interactive, all-virtual format, 06 – 11 June 2021. 

“This has been a challenging year for all of us, but as the international event for the global optical communications community to move the field forward, we must ensure that the groundbreaking content is accessible to a broad audience,” said Po Dong, OFC General Chair, II-VI Incorporated, USA. “OFC draws executives, technical experts, academia, media and analysts from all over the world, and this approach will allow our attendees and speakers to connect through an international schedule.”

New topics trending in technical paper submissions include quantum communications and machine learning in terms of network operation and how optics supports machine learning and neuromorphic computing. Free space optical communications (FSO) technology will be the focus of several presentations in addition to photonic integration, spatial division multiplexing (SDM) and 5G.

OFC 2021’s Symposia will focus on industry growth segments:

  • Emerging Photonic Technologies and Architectures for Femtojoule per Bit Optical Networks
  • MEC-based Network Architectures in Support of Enterprise Cloud
  • Quantum Information Science and Technology (QIST) in the Context of Optical Communications​
  • The Role of Machine Learning in Optical Systems and the Role of Optics in Machine Learning Systems

Special Sessions will highlight the following:

  • Lessons Learned: Networks 2020 Status and Next Steps
  • Free Space Optical (FSO) Communication is Finally Real
  • Vision Talks: Beyond 2021 and Towards 2030

The OFC 2021 virtual exhibit will feature an enhanced exhibition experience providing the greatest opportunity to reach customers, connect with colleagues and demonstrate innovative products and solutions to the OFC community.

Apple plans European Silicon Design Center in Munich

Apple announced plans to create a European Silicon Design Center in Munich, adding hundreds of new employees and a new state-of-the-art facility focused on connectivity and wireless technologies. The company plans to invest over 1 billion euros in the new facility and associated R&D over the next 3 years.

Munich is already Apple’s largest engineering hub in Europe, with close to 1,500 engineers from 40 countries working in a variety of areas including power management design, application processors, and wireless technologies.

Apple also notes that it has spent over 15 billion euros in the past five years with more than 700 companies of all sizes across Germany, including the chip manufacturer Infineon, battery company Varta, and the family-owned chemical company DELO, which is delivering resin for Face ID technology in Apple’s newest products, including iPhone 12 Pro.

Nokia develops 5G Business-to-Business trial for LG Uplus in Korea

Nokia will conduct a 5G Business-to-Business (B2B) digital platform trial for LG Uplus in Korea to address new business segments, including Industry 4.0, and smart factory. 

The proof-of-concept test of the 5G B2B digital platform will be completed in two phases.The first phase involves a demonstration in the Nokia Lab and the second phase with a field trial is planned in the LG Uplus Regional Operation Center in KyungNam.

Nokia's solution is based on multi-domain technology and ensures full automation and near real-time delivery of services. The solution includes a service platform powered by Nokia’s Digital Operations software, Cloud Operations Manager, Network Exposure Function, Registers, Cloud Packet Core, Software Defined Networking, and gNB (5G version of eNodeB), across Nokia’s cloud platform. 

Kevin Ahn, Head of Korea, Nokia, said: "We are excited to conduct this pathbreaking trial for LG Uplus to enable its enterprise customers to improve business processes with 5G. Nokia’s 5G B2B digital platform will allow LG Uplus to transform its B2B service creation with agility and automation and delight its enterprise customers with new use cases and operational excellence.”

Dell'Oro: WLAN market sees big spending from education and govt sectors

 The Wireless LAN market experienced double-digit growth year-over-year in 4Q2020 thanks to government and stimulus spending in many countries including China, Japan, and the USA. Overall market outlook strengthens, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group. Wireless LAN vendors lose opportunities as supply lead times extend beyond government funding use by date.

“While government spending is flowing into all vertical industries, it is most notable in K-12 Education and Government,” said Matthias Machowinski, Senior Research Director at Dell’Oro Group. “We estimate those two verticals alone contributed an additional 15 percent to overall market spend during 4Q 2020, as sales to K-12 increased 90 percent and Government increased almost 40 percent—extraordinary rates. Clearly, government spending is lifting overall market sales and by our judgment, is likely to continue through 2021 and beyond,” added Machowinski.

Additional highlights from the Wireless LAN 4Q 2020 Quarterly Report:

  • Wi-Fi 6 achieved a major milestone, accounting for the majority of access point revenue. Notable growth came from government-funded projects in China, Japan, and Mexico.
  • Demand surges for entry-level Enterprise-class access points for remote employees.

Ericsson adds 5G to robot security dog

Ericsson and TDC in Denmark have enabled 5G connectivity for a four-legged security robot named Spot that is now patrolling the perimeter of Hans Christian Anderson airport near the Danish city of Odense.

In collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute, the partners focused on how to unleash Spot – the Institute’s four-legged mobile robot developed by robotic company Boston Dynamics – on TDC NET’s national commercial 5G network.

The trial was one of several 5G use case scenarios developed by the joint Ericsson/TDC NET 5G Innovation Hub in Denmark. The partners have already successfully tested and deployed indoor 5G-powered dedicated industrial network with and deployed indoor 5G-powered dedicated industrial networks with Danish water solutions provider Grundfos.

Thomas Høiberg Giselsson, Senior Specialist, Danish Technological Institute, says: “If you want real-time analyses, it is necessary to be able to process data directly on Spot or to be able to efficiently transfer data to a suitable device.  Our test showed that by connecting Spot to 5G we have an opportunity to conduct real-time analysis.”

NTT DOCOMO invests in Crosser for Edge Data Analytics

NTT DOCOMO Ventures has made an equity investment in Crosser Technologies AB, which provides edge data analytics and integration platform for manufacturers.

Crosser’s edge data analytics platform can handle, process, and utilize data obtained from factory equipment. It helps collect data from various devices and allows intuitive operations using visualized tools, making it possible to convert data into formats suitable for analysis and usage and automatically transform data without programming. The company’s software is deployed in edge devices inside factories, realizing real-time ultrahigh-speed data processing. Besides data processing and analysis, the platform can be used to automatically control manufacturing equipment based on the data; the platform is linked to various external tools such as ERP, MES System, and SAP, allowing users to utilize the platform for company-wide resource planning and management control and in factories. Crosser is based in Stockholm.