Tuesday, December 14, 2021

5G to surpass a half-billion connections by end of 2021

Global wireless 5G connections have reached 438 million by the third quarter of 2021 and are on pace to exceed 540 million by the end of the year, according to data from Omdia, said 5G Americas, the wireless industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas.

Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas said, “Despite challenging times with the COVID-19 pandemic issues, 5G uptake continues at a fast pace as communications and connectivity have taken center stage.”

Omdia estimates global 5G connections reaching 4.8 billion by the end of 2026. Of that, 516 million is expected to come from North America and 301 million from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Omdia principal analyst Kristin Paulin said, “While Oceania Eastern & South-Eastern Asia, which includes China, will account for more than half of all 5G subscriptions at the end of 2026, the Americas region will manage to carve out a 17% portion after growing 1,000% from 2021 to 2026.”

By region, North America had a total of 56.5 million 5G connections by the end of Q3 2021, which is an addition of 12.5 million 5G connections – a gain of 28 percent quarter over quarter. Additionally, it had 505 million LTE connections by the end of Q3 2021.

4G LTE still remains the dominant wireless cellular technology in Latin America and the Caribbean with 484.6 million connections. That represents 21 percent annual growth with the addition of 82.8 million new LTE subscriptions year over year.



euNetworks expands LH network to Warsaw and Bratislava

euNetworks has expanded its long haul network into Poland, delivering three new routes to Warsaw. These routes deliver around 2,977km of newly lit fibre connecting Warsaw directly with Berlin and Hamburg, with the third route via Brno, supporting traffic to Prague, Bratislava and Vienna. 

The company says the new routes are now in service, carrying multiple terabits of customer traffic on each span.

  • The north route is 924km long, extends from Berlin and Hamburg and is unique in the market. Its route diversity also enables customers to bypass Berlin should they need to. 
  • The middle route is 845km long, running from euNetworks’ Berlin data centre facility into Warsaw. 
  • The south route, at 1,178km, delivers the shortest path to market between Vienna and Warsaw and enables Bratislava in Slovakia as a new point of presence for euNetworks along the way.

euNetworks’ long haul network now spans 17 countries, connecting 53 cities. Combined with euNetworks’ extensive metro networks in 17 cities, the long haul network enables any data centre to any data centre connectivity between all these metros on their owned and operated fibre, end-to-end.

“Warsaw is an exciting new region for data centre growth and is an important market experiencing strong bandwidth growth,” said Paula Cogan, President, euNetworks. “It’s a growing cloud region in Europe, with its geographic position making it a key connectivity hub for hyperscalers and cloud service providers. We continue to develop our network in support of our customers’ bandwidth requirements across Europe. Our expansion into Poland enables us to continue to offer a seamless and end to end data centre connectivity experience for our customers on our network with the same service delivery and support experience they have come to value.”

euNetworks’ 100g and 400G Wavelengths, 1G and 10G Ethernet, Cloud Connect and Multi Service Port products and solutions are now available in Warsaw, with plans for additional direct connection to further data centres in the region and in Warsaw to support customers’ needs in the future.


Vodafone and Mavenir complete first call over containerised Open RAN

Vodafone and Mavenir have completed the first data and Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call across a containerised 4G small cell Open RAN solution in a lab environment.

Wind River provided its Containers as a Service (CaaS) software, part of Wind River Studio.

The companies described the demonstration of a containerised solution as a major milestone in the evolution of connectivity equipment away from physical infrastructure to a digital cloud-based environment. 

Having first started work on a containerised indoor enterprise connectivity solution in January 2021, Vodafone has completed tests for an important stage of the technology roadmap. The plug-and-play small cell equipment can ensure comprehensive mobile coverage in every corner of the office. The solution will provide 4G coverage initially, making use of radio hardware from Sercomm and software from Mavenir (Open RAN).

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK, said; “Open RAN is opening doors to simplified and intuitive connectivity solutions. For our wider network deployment strategy, Open RAN is enabling us to work with a wider pool of suppliers and to avoid vendor lock-in scenarios that might prevent us from taking advantage of the latest innovations. The same could be said for enterprise connectivity solutions.

Stefano Cantarelli, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Mavenir, said; “Cloud Native and Open Solutions are becoming the new reality of the mobile world, and these include Radio Access and its containerised implementation. Open vRAN is a very flexible architecture that can serve any type of segment and Mavenir is really pleased to work with Vodafone in the enterprise business and achieved another first together. It is an opportunity to show that automated and AI controlled systems will simplify life to business and industry.”

Vodafone outlines its O-RAN architecture and vendors

Vodafone named Dell, NEC, Samsung Electronics, Wind River, Capgemini Engineering and Keysight Technologies as strategic vendors for its commercial deployment of Open Radio Access Network (RAN) in Europe.Highlights:Samsung will be a reference RAN software provider. Samsung and NEC will supply Massive MIMO radio units based on the Telecom Infra Project's Evenstar whitebox designDell EMC PowerEdge servers will support the combined DU/CU function...

Frontier tests Nokia’s 25G PON

Frontier Communications  completed the U.S.’ first trial of Nokia’s 25G PON. The two companies will continue trials on Frontier’s network while planning for commercial deployment in the second half of 2022.

Veronica Bloodworth, Frontier’s Chief Network Officer, said, “Successfully completing the first U.S. trial of the country’s fastest fiber broadband is a critical step in offering a competitive advantage for Frontier and our customers. We already have one of the largest XGS-PON networks in the country and this technology will ensure our network will continue to offer the fastest, most technologically advanced broadband service available.”

Sandy Motley, President Nokia Fixed Networks, said, “The beauty of fiber is its almost limitless capacity. We’re proud to support Frontier as it makes this transition to 2.5 x higher speeds simply by the addition of new optics. The key to making this work is Nokia’s Quillion chip, which provides a solution that supports three generations of PON technology from a single platform already in the Frontier network.”

Finnish SoC Hub consortium tapes out its first design

The Finnish SoC Hub consortium, which is a collaboration between Tampere University, the government of Finland, and Nokia, has taped out its first System on Chip (SoC) design. 

The new Ballast chip is the first in a series of three chips. The chip will be manufactured by TSMC using its 22nm Ultra Low Leakage process, which is especially well suited for IoT and Edge devices. Ballast contains several different RISC-V CPU cores, a Digital Signal Processor, an AI accelerator, rich sensor-like interfaces and an extension interface to FPGA. A full software stack – including drivers, software development tools and chip debugging support – has also been implemented. The chip supports both real-time operating systems and Linux simultaneously.

“The SoC has been developed using the same methods that are used in industrial production, such as design for testability, extensive verification and focusing on system-level integration instead of single modules,” says Ari Kulmala, professor of practice in SoC design at Tampere University.

According to Kulmala, the chip can also be tested by external stakeholders as it includes a development kit, and it can be integrated into a wide range of other systems.


Serverfarm builds hyperscale data center in Tel Aviv

Serverfarm disclosed plans for ISR3, its first hyperscale data center in Israel.

ISR3, which is being developed in partnership with Israel Infrastructure Fund, will bring 9MW of critical capacity to Israel’s accelerating digital economy in the latter half of 2022.

ISR3 is the first Middle East-based facility and venture for Serverfarm, whose global data center portfolio and operations span over 700 locations in 45 countries, including locations in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Canada and the United States. 

“As leading tech and hyperscale organizations continue to expand into Israel and across the Middle East, we see an opportunity to leverage our expertise and deep roots in this region,” said Avner Papouchado, Founder and CEO of Serverfarm. “With the launch of ISR3, we’re bringing world-class multi-tenant data centers to Israel, allowing organizations to rapidly tap into this growing region and innovate at scale. We’re also introducing our world-leading InCommand DMaaS to the region so more IT and data center leaders can optimize their operations and focus on innovation and digital transformation.”


Zain Jordan to sell and leaseback 2,607 towers

Zain Group in Jordan entered into a 15-year agreement with TASC Towers to sell and leaseback the passive physical infrastructure of its 2,607 tower portfolio in Jordan. The deal is valued at US$88 million. The transaction includes an additional 223 sites transferring to TASC Towers on a managed basis. Zain Group holds a 25% minority stake in TASC Towers.

The deal also includes TASC Towers managing Zain Jordan’s supporting facilities such as power generators, fuel tanks and protection kiosks as well as a build-to-suit agreement allowing for a minimum of 525 network sites to be built over the next five years.

Zain Jordan will retain its active infrastructure, including wireless communication antennas, intelligent software, and intellectual property with respect to managing its telecom network.

TASC Towers, headquartered in Dubai, is an international tower operator focused on sale and leaseback, build-to-suit and growth capital investments in the MENEASA market (Middle East, North & East Africa and South Asia).

Bader Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman of Group CEO said: “This transaction is consistent with Zain’s ‘4Sight’ strategy to create significant value for shareholders through the unlocking of capital and optimization of infrastructure assets which will flourish under the management of an independent team. As a strategic shareholder, we are committed on supporting TASC Towers’ regional expansion in making it a leading operator of telecom infrastructure.”

Al Kharafi added, “The deal gives Zain Jordan greater flexibility to invest in network upgrades and cutting-edge ICT technologies to meet the ever-increasing demand for reliable broadband access and data consumption. It will also enhance operational efficiencies and enable a laser focus on the operator’s core business and customers to offer them the best mobile and data experience in the Kingdom of Jordan.”

This transaction follows similar pioneering deals with respect to 1,620 towers in Zain Kuwait and a recent announcement in Zain Saudi Arabia to sell its 8,100 tower infrastructure. 



Megaport launches VMware SD-WAN

Megaport is now offering VMware SD-WAN on Megaport Virtual Edge (MVE) to enable branch-to-cloud connectivity on Megaport’s global SDN.

With VMware SD-WAN available on MVE, customers can host localised virtual SD-WAN controllers on Megaport’s global platform and reduce the distance data traverses over internet paths from branch locations to critical services in public or private clouds and even other branch locations.

Once connected, VMware customers can access Megaport’s leading ecosystem of more than 700 enabled data centres worldwide and over 360 service providers, including 220+ cloud on-ramps from the world's leading clouds such as Alibaba Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, and Salesforce.

VMware SD-WAN on MVE Highlights:

  • Reduced cloud egress costs to cloud on-ramps when compared to internet rates.
  • Globally distributed for localised connections.
  • Point-and-click network provisioning to support interconnection between branch locations, data centres, cloud providers, and IT services.
  • Real-time provisioning of virtual network infrastructure and interconnections.
  • No hardware to ship, install, or manage.
  • Unified end-to-end network provisioning and management to transform legacy networks.
  • More secure, multi-cloud connections to more than 360 service providers, 700+ enabled data centres, and 220+ cloud interconnect points.

Craig Connors, vice president and general manager at VMware, said, “VMware SD-WAN in combination with Megaport Virtual Edge offers customers more choice for simplifying WAN operations, reliable network performance for business-critical applications, and easier adoption of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud, while reducing latency to cloud workloads.”

MVE is available in 24 metros across North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. 


Latest MIPI M-PHY spec doubles data rate to 23.32 Gbps

The MIPI Alliance, announced a major update to its MIPI M-PHY physical-layer interface for connecting the latest generation of flash memory-based storage and other high data rate applications in advanced 5G smartphones, wearables, PCs, industrial IoT, and automobiles. 

Version 5.0 of the M-PHY interface adds a fifth gear—"High Speed Gear 5" (HS-G5) at 23.32 Gigabits per second (Gbps) — enabling engineers to double the potential data rate per lane compared with the previous specification. M-PHY v5.0 also responds to a range of other ecosystem requirements for connecting flash memory storage, such as ongoing innovation of the JEDEC Universal Flash Storage (UFS) standard.

MIPI M-PHY v5.0 is designed to support the forthcoming MIPI UniPro v2.0 and JEDEC UFS releases. In addition to doubling the data rate to a maximum of 23.32 Gbps per lane to satisfy the storage ecosystem’s growing data rate requirements, v5.0 introduces several new capabilities intended to optimize the M-PHY interface:

  • Data rates have been optimized for target applications, simplifying Phased Lock Loop (PLL) implementation and eliminating design complexity.
  • High-speed startup reduces latency, for example, when accessing flash memory on power up.
  • Eye monitoring visualizes signal health, enhancing debug functionality.
  • New attributes for equalization and other electrical updates to HS-G5 improve the suitability of M-PHY for ultra-high data rate applications.

“The significant data rate and flexibility updates delivered in MIPI M-PHY v5.0 are the product of real-world feedback from the large base of implementers in a broad ecosystem," said Joel Huloux, chairman of MIPI Alliance. "Many of the enhancements in v5.0 come from our close relationship with the JEDEC UFS community, and such cross-industry collaboration is key to fueling and aligning innovation to better serve the global flash memory storage market.”