Sunday, March 14, 2021

HyperLight claims breakthrough with its lithium niobate optical modulator

HyperLight, a start-up based in Cambridge, MA developing thin-film lithium niobate (LN) photonic integrated circuits (PICs), announced breakthrough voltage-bandwidth performances in integrated electro-optic modulators. 

HyperLight says its electro-optic PIC could lead to orders of magnitude energy consumption reduction for next generation optical networking.

Current electro-optic modulators require extremely high radio-frequency (RF) driving voltages (> 5 V) as the analog bandwidth in ethernet ports approaches 100 GHz for future terabits per sec capacity transceivers. In comparison, a typical CMOS RF modulator driver delivers less than 0.5 V at such frequencies. Compound semiconductor modulator drivers can deliver voltage > 1 V at significantly increased cost and energy consumption but still fall short to meet the optimum driving voltage. The limited voltage-bandwidth performance in electro-optic modulators poses a serious challenge for meeting tight power consumption requirements from network builders.

HyperLight's integrated electro-optic modulator is capable of 3-dB bandwidth > 100 GHz, a previously impossible voltage-bandwidth achievement. The results are described in a manuscript entitled “Breaking voltage-bandwidth limits in integrated lithium niobate modulators using micro-structured electrodes,” published in Optica on March 8th, 2021.

“We believe the significantly improved electro-optic modulation performance in our integrated LN platform will lead to a paradigm shift for both analog and digital ultra-high speed RF links,” said Mian Zhang, author, CEO of HyperLight. “For example, using sub-volt modulators for digital applications, high speed electronic drivers may have largely reduced gain-bandwidth requirements or possibly be completely bypassed with modulators directly driven from electronic processors. This would save building and running costs for network operators. For RF links, the low-voltage, high bandwidth and excellent optical power handling ability could enable sensitive and low noise millimeter wave (mmWave) photonic links in ultrahigh-frequency bands.”

AT&T to spend $6-8 billion deploying newly acquired C-band spectrum

In an Analyst & Investor Day presentation, AT&T updated its 5G strategy for deploying 5G in both sub-6 (5G) and mmWave (5G+) spectrum bands in 2021.

Some highlights:

  • AT&T will begin offering 5G access to consumers on its current unlimited wireless plans at no additional cost.
  • AT&T secured 80mhz of spectrum and a 29% share of the available licenses in the recent C-band auction. The company plans to begin deploying the first 40 MHz of this spectrum by the end of 2021. AT&T expects to spend $6-8 billion in capex deploying C-band spectrum, with the vast majority of the spend occurring from 2022 to 2024. Expected C-band deployment costs are already included in the company’s 2021 capex guidance and in its leverage ratio target for 2024.
  • Funding C-band spectrum. AT&T’s investment in C-band spectrum via Auction 107 totals $27.4 billion, including expected payments of $23 billion in 2021.
  • AT&T currently has 70% of its low and mid-band spectrum in service. 
  • In 2021, AT&T plans to increase its fiber footprint by an additional 3 million customer locations across more than 90 metro areas.
  • AT&T's 5G+ service is now available in parts of 38 cities in the U.S.
  • AT&T plans to deploy 5G in 17 venues across the country by the end of 2021 including stadiums, arenas and practice facilities.
  • AT&T plans to deploy 5G at 8 U.S. airports by the end of this year.
  • AT&T has begun offering fixed 5G wireless solutions for businesses.
  • AT&T is working with cloud service providers to deliver optimized network routing to localized edge computing zones that can support latency-sensitive applications without dedicated on-premises hardware.
  • AT&T expects between 120 million and 150 million worldwide HBO Max and HBO subscribers by the end of 2025, up from the 75-90 million projected in October 2019.
  • AT&T recently announced plans to spinoff its U.S. video business operations into a newly formed entity jointly owned with TPG Capital.
  • Between 2016 and 2020, AT&T’s total investment in the United States, including capital investment and acquisitions of spectrum and wireless operations, was more than $105 billion.

“Connectivity is at the heart of everything we do - 140 years and counting. From our fiber network backbone to the layers of wireless spectrum technology, we provide 5G network coverage that delivers the speeds, security and lower latency connections that customers and businesses need,” said Jeff McElfresh, CEO – AT&T Communications.

SpaceX completes 22nd Starlink mission on Sunday

Only three days since its last Starlink mission, SpaceX launched a further 60 Starlink satellites on Sunday, March 14 at 6:01 a.m. EDT. The booster landed successfully on a drone ship in the Atlantic.

The mission was the ninth launch and landing of this Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously supported launch of Crew Dragon Demo-1, RADARSAT Constellation, SXM-7, and five Starlink missions.

It also marks the 77th successful recovery on an orbital class booster by SpaceX.

Verizon expands fixed 5G Home service to 10 more cities

Verizon is expanding its fixed 5G Home Internet service to 10 more cities including Cleveland, OH; Las Vegas, NV; Louisville, KY; Omaha, NE; San Diego, CA; Charlotte, NC; Cincinnati, OH; Hartford, CT; Kansas City, MO and Salt Lake City, UT.

As it activates its newly acquired C-band spectrum, Verizon anticipates expanding the service to roughly 15 million homes by the end of 2021.

“We continue to lead the industry with ever-expanding broadband and mobility options for our customers, and our new C-band spectrum holdings, in combination with our extensive mmWave spectrum holdings, will only accelerate that for customers,” said Ronan Dunne, CEO, Verizon Consumer Group. “5G internet disrupts the current delivery of broadband internet service and provides speed and reliability, possible only because of our winning network combination. That’s 5G Built Right.”

Verizon's 5G Home Internet has no data limits and offers speeds up to 1 Gbps. It is priced at $50 a month for Verizon customers with a qualifying mobile plan, and $70 a month for non-Verizon customers.

IP Infusion's OcNOS validated for TIP's DCSG and Cassini

IP Infusion's OcNOS network operating system, running on Telecom Infra Project’s (TIP) Cassini and Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG), has been validated by testing at TIP’s Community Labs at Brazil-based CPqD.

In its trial of TIP’s Cassini and DCSG solutions in extended metro and long-haul scenarios, CPqD found that it was possible to achieve an optical coherent 100/200Gbps transmission over 2,000km without regeneration for long-haul scenarios.

CPqD has been testing and validating open and disaggregated solutions such as DCSG, Cassini, and OpenRAN since opening the TIP Community Lab in Campinas, Brazil in 2018, and were presented by CPqD for the first time at Futurecom in 2019. Since then, CPqD, Padtec, EdgeCore Networks, IP Infusion, Lumentum, and Viavi have been running comprehensive testing protocols for different use cases at the lab.

  • Cassini is an open packet and optical transponder that integrates 200GbE switching with Layer-1 optical transport functions as line-card modules, and covers data center interconnect, metro and access backhaul use cases. It is currently the industry’s highest capacity open-sourced white box packet transponder.
  • DCSG is a 1RU fully-featured cell site router with a wide range of Ethernet connectivity options for client and network sides. As a cell site gateway, DCSG supports Layer-2, Layer-3 and MPLS features – with native time synchronization protocols such as IEEE-1588 v2 and Synchronous Ethernet for the mobile base stations.

“IP Infusion is excited to have collaborated with TIP to demonstrate and prove how disaggregation delivers faster innovation and lowers TCO. In this successful trial, our OcNOS® network operating system, running on Cassini and DCSG solutions, proved once again that high capacity and new advanced services can be achieved with disaggregated solutions,” said Atsushi Ogata, President and CEO, IP Infusion.

WSJ: Facebook drops plans for Hong Kong - U.S. cable

Facebook has withdrawn an application with the FCC for the Hong Kong - Americas (HKA) subsea cable project, which had sought to build a state-of-the-art trans-Pacific system terminating in Hermosa Beach, California, according to the Wall Street Journal. The project might be re-configured to land in Taiwan instead. 

Other subsea cable projects to Hong Kong have also been canceled or been forced to change plans due to ongoing political tension with China, including the Pacific Light project

Google gains partial clearance for Pacific Light subsea cable

Google was granted clearance by the FCC to operate the segment of the Pacific Light Cable Network System connecting the United States to Taiwan for the next six months, pending a final disposition of the license application. The temporary authorization does not authorize any commercial traffic on the subsea cable segments to/from the Philippines or Hong Kong. The U.S. Department of Justice, along with the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense,...