Tuesday, February 15, 2022

OIF publishes CEI-224G Framework Project white paper

OIF's CEI-224G framework project published a white paper summarizing the consensus findings and guidance for new OIF project starts for future CEI clauses addressing specific 224 Gbps reaches and architectures. 

The whitepaper identifies key technical challenges for next-generation systems, defines electrical interconnection applications, and discusses some of the interoperability test challenges.  This provides the OIF and other industry standards bodies with a common language and understanding of the development projects required for the next generation data rate systems. It also establishes baseline materials that will enable 1.6/3.2 Tbps rate architectures and lower cost, lower complexity 800 Gbps and 400 Gbps architectures.

“As demonstrated in the past, most recently at 112 Gbps, OIF plays a key role in driving industry activity to identify and develop critical technical solutions that will enable next-generation data rates to be cost-effectively deployed in future equipment and networks,” said Cathy Liu, Broadcom Inc., and OIF President.

“224 Gbps is going to bring many difficult challenges for the industry to address to achieve practical implementations in an interoperable way,” said Nathan Tracy, OIF VP of Marketing, TE Connectivity. “This Framework project and its resultant white paper align OIF members and industry on many of the key hurdles. Overcoming obstacles can be achieved by having consensus amongst a broad cross-section of component, subsystem and system suppliers to leverage new technologies that drive signaling, architecture and integration developments.” 


OIF approves CEI-224G development project

OIF members have approved the CEI (Common Electrical I/O) 224G Development Project,  the next electrical data rate beyond 112 Gbps. The expected result will be a technical white paper summarizing a consensus-based body of knowledge which will then enable several project starts for next generation CEI clauses addressing specific reaches and architectures. OIF's recent quarterly virtual meeting also resulted in a wrap-up of the “Co-packaging...

Intel to acquire Tower Semi, expanding its foundry footprint

Intel agreed to acquire Tower Semiconductor for $53 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $5.4 billion. 

Tower Semiconductor, which is based in Migdal Haemek, Israel, offers expertise is in specialty technologies, such as radio frequency (RF), power, silicon-germanium (SiGe) and industrial sensors, extensive IP and electronic design automation (EDA) partnerships, and an established foundry footprint. It operates seven manufacturing facilities: Fab 1 and Fab 2 (150mm and 200mm) in Israel, Fab 3 and Fab 9 (200mm) in Newport Beach, California and in San Antonio, Texas and three additional fabs (two 200mm and one 300mm) in Japan via a partnership with  Nuvoton Technology Corporation Japan. Tower is also sharing a 300mm manufacturing facility being established in Italy with ST Microelectronics. Altogher, Tower offers more than 2 million wafer starts per year of capacity. Tower also has a silicon photonics foundry.

“Tower’s specialty technology portfolio, geographic reach, deep customer relationships and services-first operations will help scale Intel’s foundry services and advance our goal of becoming a major provider of foundry capacity globally,” said Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO. “This deal will enable Intel to offer a compelling breadth of leading-edge nodes and differentiated specialty technologies on mature nodes – unlocking new opportunities for existing and future customers in an era of unprecedented demand for semiconductors.”


Intel Foundry Services makes a splash: $1B fund, Arm & RISC-V support, Open Chiplet Platform 

by James E. CarrollThe newly established Intel Foundry Services (IFS) announced several initiatives to accelerate its entrance into the semiconductor fabrication market: a $1 billion investment fund, support for Arm and RISC-V in addition to x86, and pioneering work with chiplet architecture based on 3D packaging technology.The new $1 billion investment fund has three aims:Equity investments in disruptive startups.Strategic investments to accelerate...

Citing supply disruption and strong demand, Ciena updates outlook

 Citing supply chain issues, Ciena now expects revenue for its fiscal first quarter 2022, ended January 29th, to be in the range of $840 to $850 million, compared to the company’s previous expectation of $870 to $910 million. Ciena’s GAAP gross margin for the fiscal first quarter is expected to be approximately 44% to 45%. Adjusted (non-GAAP) gross margin for fiscal first quarter is expected to be approximately 45% to 46%, at the high end of the previous guidance of 43% to 46%. Ciena’s GAAP operating expense for the fiscal first quarter is expected to be approximately $324 million. Adjusted (non-GAAP) operating expense for the quarter is expected to be approximately $290 million, in line with the previous guidance. 

On a conference call, Ciena executives said the supply chain delays included semiconductors, ICs and memory devices -- low value, commercial parts, which were delivered too late in the quarter for manufacturing into finished products. Ciena reiterated that the production issues are resolved, and that many customers are giving visibility into their full year of demand, which remains strong.

“In our fiscal first quarter, we experienced several specific disruptions in the supply chain late in the quarter that exacerbated an already-challenging macro supply situation, which reduced our flexibility to fully mitigate these additional disruptions in the quarter. Nevertheless, we continue to see an unprecedented level of demand for our products and services, as evidenced by extraordinary orders growth and underpinned by an overall acceleration of cloud adoption and traffic growth,” said Gary Smith, president and CEO, Ciena.

Smith continued, “The combination of a very positive demand environment as well as expanding supply chain capacity aligned with increased visibility into the remainder of the year based on our order flow and backlog, provides us greater confidence in our ability to achieve our fiscal 2022 financial objectives. Accordingly, we continue to expect to achieve our revenue guidance of 11% to 13% annual growth for fiscal 2022.”

Ciena expects to announce full fiscal first quarter financial results on March 7, 2022.


FEMA looks to AT&T to modernize disaster response communications

AT&T has been awarded four separate contracts valued at $167 million over 5 years to modernize the communication capabilities of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which coordinates federal response to disasters within the United States. FEMA is already a FirstNet subscriber.

AT&T will transition FEMA voice and data systems, wireless LAN capabilities, Contact Center Capability Modernization Program (C3MP), and The National Warning System from legacy technologies. The goal is a modernized voice and data architecture with a flatter network topology (Layers 2 and 3) that reduces the agency’s enterprise network footprint; lowers management and maintenance resource support costs; increases security and availability; and provides a platform for future scalability. Access options include FirstNet resources with always-on priority/preemption and Band 14 spectrum, as well as satellite and Wi-Fi 6. The upgrade program will also modernize FEMA's in-bound contact center capabilities for disaster survivors. AT&T will provide FEMA a protected, resilient, survivable, and recoverable contact center solution as well as a path to migrate C3MP to the cloud.

“The FEMA mission is noble in intent, expansive in reach, and complex in delivery. As climate events and their impacts continue to increase in number and scope, more and more U.S. citizens turn to FEMA for help. We’re proud to stand beside FEMA and modernize its communications capabilities now and for the future,” said Stacy Schwartz, Vice President, Public Sector and FirstNet, AT&T.


AT&T commits to 155 MW of solar power from Vitol

AT&T confirmed two virtual power purchase agreements for approximately 80 MW and 75 MW from Vitol to support new solar projects in Maryland and Pennslyvania. The projects are expected to be fully operational in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

AT&T said these new deals with Vitol bring its total renewable portfolio to more than 1.7 gigawatts of capacity. AT&T previously purchased 500 megawatts of solar power in Texas in 2019.


Verizon fully allocates third $1 billion green bond

Verizon has fully allocated nearly $1 billion of net proceeds from its third green bond, which was issued in September 2021, to renewable energy purchase agreements (REPAs).  These projects are for an aggregate of approximately 910 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy generating capacity across seven states, of which about 51 percent is wind energy generating capacity and 49 percent is solar energy generating capacity.

“The $3 billion in green bonds that we have issued to date are helping position us to achieve our goal of net zero emissions in our operations by 2035,” said Matt Ellis, Verizon’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. “Renewable energy and energy efficiency are the foundation of our net zero strategy. We are proud to do our part to green the U.S. energy grid and make strides toward achieving our ambitious corporate climate goals.”


Aeris enhances its Intelligent IoT network

Aeris, a global IoT solutions provider currently connecting some 15 million devices, unveiled the the next generation of its Intelligent IoT Network featuring Machine Learning and AI-based capabilities that extends shared intelligence across infrastructure, applications, and services.

New capabilities include an Intelligent Security Center that provides built-in visibility and analytics to help clients accurately prevent, detect, and respond to potential malicious activities. Aeris said its Intelligent Security Center enables cellular IoT solution providers to transition from a reactive security approach to a proactive security plan. Its solution provides tools to detect and prevent potential security breaches and reduce the corresponding response time from months to minutes.

“Today, our company is leveraging decades of vision and experience to help customers realize the remarkable potential of their connected IoT devices by providing access to the most intelligent and secure IoT Network in the market,” said Marc Jones, Chairman and CEO of Aeris. “The Aeris Intelligent IoT Network is the only dynamic cellular IoT network designed from the ground up with intelligence at its core, offering unmatched network security, operational efficiencies and the flexibility to build, launch, and scale complex IoT deployments across the world.”


Keysight and Samsung Research sign 6G MoU

Keysight Technologies and Samsung Research signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to advance research and development of 6G. The two companies will work together to develop test and verification technologies for 6G wireless systems.

The collaboration will accelerate the development of AI-enabled air interfaces that leverage massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) antenna technology. Such air interfaces support deployment of energy-efficient and ultra-dense networks capable of delivering ultra-low latencies and terabit data wireless transmissions.

Keysight said it possesses foundational technology and key building blocks essential to helping 6G, including network, channel and user equipment (UE) emulation, mmWave and sub-Terahertz (THz) signal source and analysis, as well as high-speed Ethernet network emulation and data center connectivity testing. Keysight’s integrated software and hardware test tools, for end-to-end conformance, interoperability, performance and security validation, allow Samsung to accurately and holistically explore the margins of designs used to power future 6G use cases.

“Keysight is pleased to expand its existing collaboration with Samsung, which has resulted in several important achievements towards establishing 5G new radio (NR) as a mature technology,” said Giampaolo Tardioli, vice president of Keysight’s network infrastructure business. “6G is expected to underpin the wireless connectivity fabric that leverages heterogenous networks and the convergence of communication and computing. Establishing a 6G partnership with Samsung enables Keysight to refine our software-driven test solutions, critical in developing differentiated 6G products.”

“The signing of this MoU with Keysight will greatly advance Samsung’s 6G strategy of combining the company’s expertise in communication technology with capabilities in software and AI,” said Sunghyun Choi, executive vice president at Samsung Research. “Joining forces with Keysight enables Samsung to influence a future that uses 6G to improve human connection, health and safety.”

Samsung’s 6G White Paper

Samsung published a whitepaper outlining its vision for 6G, including technical and societal megatrends, new services, requirements, candidate technologies and an expected timeline of standardization. Samsung is predicting that the completion of the 6G standard and its earliest commercialization date could be as early as 2028, while mass commercialization may occur around 2030. Both humans and machines will be the main users of 6G, and 6G will be...

Samsung and UC Santa Barbara demo 6G Terahertz prototype

by Benedict Chua, Associate EditorSamsung Electronics, in collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), demonstrated a 6G Terahertz (THz) wireless communication prototype which consists of a 16-channel phased-array transmitter and receiver modules. These were driven by CMOS RFICs (Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits), and a baseband unit to process signals with 2GHz bandwidth and fast adaptive beamforming. In the over-the-air...

Keysight and LG Electronics collaborate on 6G

Keysight Technologies collaborated with LG Electronics to demonstrate a 6G radio frequency (RF) front-end (RFFE) module at the recent 2021 Korea Science and Technology Exhibition in December.The demonstration leveraged Keysight’s 6G Sub-Terahertz (THz) R&D Testbed and LG’s 6G radio front-end transceiver to generate terabit data wireless transmissions. Keysight’s 6G testbed supports a scalable number of frequency bands and ultra-wide bandwidths....

Keysight joins 6G Flagship Program

Keysight Technologies has joined the multi-party 6G Flagship Program, an initiative supported by the Academy of Finland and led by the University of Oulu, Finland. The parties envision that next generation beyond 5G  will leverage spectrum above millimeter waves called terahertz waves, from 300 GHz to 3 THz, enabling data rates of up to one terabit per second and ultra-low latencies. Keysight said its technical expertise and solutions across...

MaxLinear develops 5G Open RAN platform on Intel Agilex FPGA

 MaxLinear announced a new reference design for next-generation 5G infrastructure Radio Units (RUs) that combines Intel's high performance and low power Agilex FPGA family with MaxLinear RF transceivers and MaxLIN ultra-wideband digital predistortion (DPD) solution.


  • Intel's Agilex SoC FPGA devices use heterogeneous 3D system-in-package (SiP) technology to integrate Intel's first FPGA fabric built on 10 nm SuperFin Technology. Leveraging this advanced process technology and 2nd Gen Intel Hyper-flex FPGA Architecture enables these FPGAs to deliver ~2X better fabric performance per watt when compared to competitive 7 nm FPGA portfolios. Agilex SoC FPGAs offer an integrated quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor and a custom logic migration path from FPGA to structured eASIC for cost and power benefits in the high-volume production.
  • Intel's O-RAN, Fronthaul, and Low-PHY is a complete set of building blocks required to implement an O-RAN Alliance Split 7.2x compliant O-RU fronthaul interface in an Agilex FPGA. Intel also offers FlexRAN software stack, an O-RAN compliant Split 7.2x software covering High-PHY functionality for O-DU running on Intel Xeon processors.
  • MaxLinear's high-performance RF transceiver portfolio supports up to 400MHz instantaneous bandwidth (IBW) and includes the MxL16xx Quad-RF and MxL155x Octal-RF families. These transceivers are software compatible, creating a single platform solution that customers can leverage for radio applications, including macro, massive MIMO, and small cell.
  • MaxLinear's MaxLIN uses advanced machine learning algorithms to exceed the 3GPP and FCC  unwanted emissions requirements with margin while delivering high PA efficiencies of >50%. This capability dramatically reduces power consumption for an 8-transceiver macro implementation by >10% compared with competitive DPD offerings.

“The Open RAN ecosystem will immediately benefit from our cooperation with industry leader Intel. Our RU reference platforms, featuring Intel Agilex FPGAs, will provide the most flexible programmable solution with the highest system performance available on the market for global Open RAN radio use cases,” said Brendan Walsh, vice president of MaxLinear’s Wireless Infrastructure Group. “These high efficiency reference solutions will dramatically reduce the power consumed by 5G radio systems while simultaneously maximizing network performance."

“MaxLinear’s RF transceivers together with Intel FPGAs and IP deliver 2x performance per watt versus competing FPGAs and can offer a leading portfolio of radio solutions to our wireless systems customers allowing them to speed up time to market,” said Mike Fitton, vice president and general manager of the Intel Programmable Solutions Group's Network Business Division. “This is another strong example of industry collaboration – reducing time and complexity, while dramatically accelerating delivery of advanced 5G solutions.”


FCC and NTIA aim to align spectrum management

The FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced a new initiative to improve U.S. government coordination on spectrum management.  

Specifically, the FCC and NTIA committed to the following initial actions:

  • Reinstate High Level Meetings.  For the first time, the Chair of the FCC and the Assistant Secretary will hold formal, regular meetings, beginning monthly, to conduct joint spectrum planning.  This will go above and beyond the existing statutory requirement, as well as the existing Memorandum of Understanding between the agencies, which provides that the Chair and the Assistant Secretary meet twice each calendar year.
  • Reaffirm Roles and Responsibilities.  Building on NTIA’s statutory role as manager of the federal government’s use of spectrum, the FCC and NTIA will update the nearly twenty-year-old Memorandum of Understanding between the agencies to address gaps in government coordination and to better reflect today’s spectrum opportunities and challenges. 
  • Renew Efforts to Develop a National Spectrum Strategy.  To secure America’s leadership, the FCC and NTIA will collaborate to help inform the development of a national spectrum strategy, increase transparency around spectrum use and needs, and establish long-term spectrum planning and coordination.  
  • Recommit to Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking.  The FCC and NTIA will work cooperatively to develop processes for spectrum engineering compatibility analysis. These will include a compilation of principles, guidelines, accepted technical standards, interference protection criteria, propagation models, and other characteristics.  
  • Revamp Technical Collaboration.  The FCC and NTIA will foster proactive technical exchange and engagement with industry and other federal agencies by participating in cross-agency advisory groups.  To start, the FCC will participate as an observer in the Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee, and NTIA will participate as an observer in the FCC’s Technological Advisory Council and the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council.

“Now more than ever we need a whole-of-government approach to spectrum policy,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “Over the past few years we’ve seen the cost of not having one—and we need a non-stop effort to fix that.  I appreciate Assistant Secretary Davidson’s leadership and his willingness to work with me to revitalize the interagency coordination process so that it once again is able to produce results for consumers and the economy.”