Sunday, January 23, 2022

Intel expands its manufacturing plans

Intel will invest more than $20 billion in the construction of two new fabs in Ohio. The initial phase of the project is expected to create 3,000 Intel jobs and 7,000 construction jobs over the course of the build. Air Products, Applied Materials, LAM Research and Ultra Clean Technology will establish a physical presence in the region. Initial production is targetted for 2025.

Today’s investment marks another significant way Intel is leading the effort to restore U.S. semiconductor manufacturing leadership,” said Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel. “Intel’s actions will help build a more resilient supply chain and ensure reliable access to advanced semiconductors for years to come. Intel is bringing leading capability and capacity back to the United States to strengthen the global semiconductor industry.

In a press conference, Gelsinger said the new facilities will produced advanced chip designs at 2nm and below.

“The impact of this mega-site investment will be profound,” said Keyvan Esfarjani, Intel senior vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Operations. “A semiconductor factory is not like other factories. Building this semiconductor mega-site is akin to building a small city, which brings forth a vibrant community of supporting services and suppliers. Ohio is an ideal location for Intel’s U.S. expansion because of its access to top talent, robust existing infrastructure, and long history as a manufacturing powerhouse. The scope and pace of Intel’s expansion in Ohio, however, will depend heavily on funding from the CHIPS Act.”

Intel breaks ground on $20 billion fabs in AZ

Intel broke ground on two new fabs (52 and 62) at the company’s Ocotillo campus in Chandler, Arizona. When fully operational in 2024, the new fabs will manufacture Intel’s most advanced process technologies, including Intel 20A featuring the new RibbonFET and PowerVia innovations. The capacity is expected to be used for Intel's own products as well as for customers of the newly formed Intel Foundry Services.“Today’s celebration marks an important...

TSMC to invest $12 billion in 5nm fab in Arizona

TSMC confirmed plans to build and operate an advanced semiconductor fab in Arizona -- its secend manufacturing site in the United States. The company already operates a fab in Camas, Washington and design centers in Austin and San Jose. The new facility in Arizona represents a $12 billion investment. It will utilize TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology for semiconductor wafer fabrication, have a 20,000 semiconductor wafer per month capacity. TSMC said...

GlobalFoundries plans new $1 billion fab expansion in New York

GlobalFoundries (GF) announced its expansion plans for its most advanced manufacturing facility in upstate New York.GF will invest $1 billion to immediately add an additional 150,000 wafers per year within its existing Fab 8 to help address the global chip shortage. Following that, GF plans to construct a new fab that will create more than 1,000 new high-tech jobs. GF recently announced new fab in Singapore and $1 billion planned investment...

Samsung ramps up automotive memory chips for EVs

Samsung Electronics unveiled a portfolio of automotive memory solutions designed for next-generation autonomous electric vehicles. The new lineup includes a 256-gigabyte (GB) PCIe Gen3 NVMe ball grid array (BGA) SSD, 2GB GDDR6 DRAM and 2GB DDR4 DRAM for high-performance infotainment systems, as well as 2GB GDDR6 DRAM and 128GB Universal Flash Storage (UFS) for autonomous driving systems.The need for high-capacity, high-performance SSDs and graphics...

Dell’Oro: Open RAN on track

Preliminary findings suggest total Open RAN revenues, including O-RAN and OpenRAN radio and baseband, surprised on the upside both in 2020 and during 2021, bolstering the thesis that Open RAN is here to stay and the architecture will play an important role before 6G, according to a new report published by Dell'Oro Group.

“The Open RAN movement has come a long way in just a few years, surprising both proponents and skeptics,” said Stefan Pongratz, Vice President and analyst with the Dell’Oro Group. “While challenging comparisons will weigh a bit on the market over the short-term, it is unlikely that these divergences between the greenfields and the brownfields will leave lasting imprints on the long-term prospects,” continued Pongratz.

Additional highlights from the Dell’Oro Group Open RAN Advanced Research Report:

  • Open RAN revenues are expected to account for around 15 percent of the overall 2G-5G RAN market by 2026, reflecting healthy traction in multiple regions with both basic and advanced radios.
  • The Asia Pacific region is dominating the Open RAN market in this initial phase and is expected to play a leading role throughout the forecast period, accounting for more than 40 percent of total 2021-2026 revenues.
  • Risks around the Open RAN projections remain broadly balanced, though it is worth noting that risks to the downside have increased slightly since the last forecast update.
  • The shift towards Virtualized RAN (vRAN) is progressing at a slightly slower pace than Open RAN. Still, total vRAN projections remain mostly unchanged, with vRAN on track to account for 5 percent to 10 percent of the RAN market by 2026.

FCC launches $14.2 billion Affordable Connectivity Program

The FCC published final rules for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which builds upon the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program), to offer eligible low-income households discounts off the cost of broadband service and connected devices.

The Affordable Connectivity Program reduces the monthly standard benefit from $50 to $30 (up to $75 if on Tribal land). Moreover, the ACP application adjusts the income threshold from 135% to 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines,  and adds Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) as a qualifying program, as required by the Infrastructure Act.   Systems were also adjusted to prevent providers with an approved alternative verification process from indicating that households that these providers were enrolling in the Affordable Connectivity Program were qualified based on substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, or on a provider’s COVID-19 program, which was also eliminated by the Infrastructure Act.  

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel states: "It was a little less than a year ago when the Federal Communications Commission did something truly historic.  It set up the largest-ever broadband affordability program in the United States—the Emergency Broadband Benefit.  It was a short-term effort designed to help households struggling in the pandemic get high-speed Internet access at home.  And thanks to this program, more than nine million were able to do so. Today, the agency makes history again.  We put in place a long-term effort to keep households everywhere connected—the Affordable Connectivity Program.  This $14.2 billion investment, a byproduct of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, is the biggest program we have ever had to help ensure that every family can afford the broadband that is now essential for full participation in modern life."

OneWeb and Hughes plan LEO broadband service for India

OneWeb and Hughes Network Systems signed a strategic six-year Distribution Partner agreement to provide low Earth orbit (LEO) connectivity services across India. 

The arrangement between OneWeb and Hughes Communications India Private Ltd. (HCIPL), a joint venture between Hughes and Bharti Airtel,  follows the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the companies in September 2021.

As the leading satellite broadband provider in India , HCIPL is well positioned to deliver services to enterprise and government with OneWeb capacity, especially in areas outside the reach of fibre connectivity. OneWeb will connect towns, villages, and local and regional municipalities in those hardest-to-reach areas, playing a critical role in bridging the digital divide.

Hughes, through its parent company EchoStar, is a longstanding and supportive OneWeb shareholder. It is also an ecosystem partner to OneWeb, developing gateway electronics – including for those in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu – and the core module that will power every user terminal for the system. Hughes also is the prime contractor on an agreement with the U.S. Air Force Research Lab to integrate and demonstrate managed LEO SATCOM using OneWeb capacity in the Arctic region.

Partho Banerjee, president and managing director, HCIPL, said: “This announcement marks a turning point for Digital India. Enterprise and government customers, including telecom service providers, banks, factories, schools, defense organizations, domestic airlines, and offshore vessel operators, are eagerly anticipating the arrival of new high performing satcom services. We look forward to bringing them high-speed, low-latency services from HCIPL using OneWeb capacity—and catapulting India to the cutting edge of connectivity.”

Neil Masterson, CEO, OneWeb, commented: “OneWeb is delighted to partner with Hughes to offer high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband solutions and contribute to the Digital India vision. OneWeb’s constellation will cover the length and breadth of India, from Ladakh to Kanyakumari and from Gujarat to the Northeast and bring secure solutions to enterprises, governments, 

DE-CIX Frankfurt deploys Nokia 7750 SR-14 edge routers for 800G

DE-CIX Frankfurt is deploying new Nokia 7750 SR-14 edge routerrs as it prepares its Internet Exchange for the future era of 800-Gigabit Ethernet (GE).

Nokia recently introduced new features to its 7750 SR line-up, including 800GE support and a significant reduction in power consumption.  The 7750 SR routers are specialized edge routers powered by the Nokia FP5 network processor. 

DE-CIX has 35 locations in the Frankfurt metro region and over 1,000 connected networks.

Nokia launches its FP5 network processing silicon

Nokia unveiled its fifth-generation FP5 IP routing silicon capable of powering 800GE routing interfaces in service provider networks. Nokia promises a 75% reduction in power consumption and new embedded line rate, flow-based encryption capabilities.  FP5-based platforms will be available starting in the first half of 2022.Nokia's FP5 is a fully programmable network processor (NPU) for Nokia’s IP service routing platforms. The company says the...

Freedom Photonics demos 1550 nm semiconductor laser amplifier

Freedom Photonics demonstrated over 5.0 Watts of continuous wave optical power from a 1550 nm diode laser amplifier with nearly diffraction-limited beam quality. This result doubles the previous record reported just three months ago. 

“This achievement is a testament to the inherent scalability of our aura product line and demonstrates that this is just the beginning of a product life cycle that will see continuous improvements for years to come,” noted Dr. Paul Leisher, VP of Research at Freedom Photonics.

The aura product line is intended to address applications such as free space optical communications, sensing, and LIDAR by enabling watt-level direct use output from a semiconductor chip source. 

Freedom Photonics, which is based in Santa Barbara, California, cites an order-of-magnitude improvement in cost, size, and efficiency through the elimination of erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs) commonly employed to boost optical signals to the watt-level regime. Its aura technology has also recently been extended to the 1300-1400 nm wavelength range with the demonstration of over 3.0 Watts of diffraction-limited optical output power.

Ribbon cites supply chain constraints

Ribbon Communications reported the following preliminary estimates for the fourth quarter of 2021: revenue is expected to be $231 million, gross margin is expected to be 50%, non-GAAP gross margin is expected to be 54%, operating loss is expected to be $4 million and adjusted EBITDA is expected to be $26 million. Cash on hand at the end of the quarter increased to $106 million.

Demand for products and services increased in the fourth quarter of 2021 with sequential sales growth of 10% and a product/service book-to-bill ratio of 1.13. 

However, overall sales were below the company's previous guidance range as supply chain and logistics issues increased significantly in the final weeks of the quarter, impacting the Company's ability to deliver products and reducing sales by approximately $10 million. IP Optical Networks segment sales increased more than 20% quarter-over-quarter to approximately $83 million. Cloud & Edge revenue is expected to be $147 million, with several software deals having moved into 2022 and higher Enterprise Edge hardware sales, impacting both revenue and margin.

Higher component costs, expedite and production fees, and logistics expenses in both segments reduced margins by approximately 220 basis points versus expectations. Customer and deal mix contributed an additional 200 basis points to the lower-than-expected margins. Ribbon anticipates a portion of the higher supply chain related costs to persist at least through the first half of 2022.

"While we are disappointed by the results this quarter and the impact from the challenging supply environment, we remain excited by the continued progress we are making on our strategy to position our IP Optical Networks solutions with key Ribbon customers including several new wins with major carriers this quarter in the US, Japan, and Africa regions, and that investment in fiber networks and communications will position us for growth in 2022 and beyond," said Bruce McClelland, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ribbon Communications. "We will discuss further details on our conference call on February 16, 2022."

Comcast Business ties into Nokia private 5G for sports arena

Comcast Business is using the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud to extend its enterprise connectivity portfolio to deliver 5G private wireless networks.

The first Comcast Business and Nokia showcase deployment will launch at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia during the first quarter of 2022. 

“No two companies are alike – and neither are their connectivity needs. With this strategic partnership, Comcast Business is able to expand its robust portfolio of connectivity solutions to include end-to-end private networking; offering sports and entertainment venues and enterprise customers a one-stop-shop for advanced connectivity solutions,” said Bob Victor, SVP Product, Comcast Business. “The unique combination of our network, WiFi expertise, Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities, spectrum, and managed services, will enable enterprises to address their business challenges head-on while ensuring their network infrastructure remains available, reliable and secure.”

“Nokia 5G industrial-grade private wireless network solutions are designed to meet the security, coverage and performance requirements for a wide range of organizations seeking to restructure their business operations and improve customer experience,” said Stephan Litjens, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions, Nokia Cloud and Networking Services. “In selecting Nokia as a private wireless connectivity partner, Comcast Business can combine its technical expertise, market reach and expanded network solutions to become a leading provider of private wireless to enterprises in North America.”

“Wells Fargo Center is one of the world’s busiest and most innovative sports and entertainment venues, and thanks to this partnership with Comcast Business and Nokia, in addition to our $300 million Transformation project, our arena will remain on the cutting edge of the modern fan experience for years to come,” said Valerie Camillo, President of Business Operations for Wells Fargo Center. “This state-of-the-art network will not only provide unprecedented experiences for our fans, but it will also bolster our health and safety measures, our security protocols, and much more.”

Lumentum and NeoPhotonics merger gains HSR clearance

Lumentum Holdings and NeoPhotonics announced the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 with respect to Lumentum's pending transaction with NeoPhotonics. 

The consummation of the transaction remains subject to other customary closing conditions set forth in the Merger Agreement, including approval of NeoPhotonics' stockholders and approval from the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) of the People's Republic of China. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of calendar year 2022, as previously announced.

Lumentum to acquire NeoPhotonics for $918M amidst strong demand

Lumentum agreed to acquire NeoPhotonics for $16.00 per share in cash, representing a total equity value of approximately $918 million and a premium of approximately 39% to NeoPhotonics' closing stock price on November 3, 2021.

The companies cited significant next-gen 400G+ opportunities as a leading driver for the merger.

NeoPhotonics, which was founded in 1996 and is based in San Jose, is a leading supplier of tunable lasers and optoelectronic components, including devices manufactured in its own Indium Phosphide fabs and combined with electronics using using Advanced Hybrid Photonic Integration techniques. The product portfolio includes coherent components and tunable lasers, coherent transceivers, wavelength management products, as well as fixed wavelength lasers and high speed driver ICs. The company has engineering and manufacturing facilities in Silicon Valley (USA), Japan and Shenzhen, China.

Lumentum said the acquisition strengthens its position in the more than $10 billion market for optical components used in cloud and telecom network infrastructure.