Wednesday, February 16, 2022

AWS to build dozens of Local Zones around the world

Amazon Web Services plans to build AWS Local Zones in dozens of metropolitan areas around the world to support edge services.

The company has already completed its first 16 AWS Local Zones in the U.S. and over the next 2 years plans to launch new AWS Local Zones in 32 new metropolitan areas in 26 countries: Amsterdam, Athens, Auckland, Bangkok, Bengaluru, Berlin, Bogotá, Brisbane, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Chennai, Copenhagen, Delhi, Hanoi, Helsinki, Johannesburg, Kolkata, Lima, Lisbon, Manila, Munich, Nairobi, Oslo, Perth, Prague, Querétaro, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Toronto, Vancouver, Vienna, and Warsaw.

AWS Local Zones provide the infrastructure for delivering compute, storage, database, and other AWS services at the edge of the cloud while ensuring single-digit millisecond latency by being closer to end users than regional cloud on-premises data centers. AWS Local Zones allow customers to use core AWS services locally while seamlessly connecting to the rest of their workloads running in AWS Regions with the same elasticity, pay-as-you-go model, application programming interfaces (APIs), and toolsets. 

AWS said it has thousands of customers for its AWS Local Zones, including Netflix, Couchbase, Supercell, and FOX Corporation.

“The edge of the cloud is expanding and is now becoming available virtually everywhere,” said Prasad Kalyanaraman, Vice President of Infrastructure Services at AWS. “Thousands of AWS customers using U.S.-based AWS Local Zones are able to optimize low-latency applications designed specifically for their industries and the use cases of their customers. With the success of our first Local Zones in 16 U.S. cities, we are expanding to more locations for our customers around the world who have asked for these same capabilities to push the edge of cloud services to new places. AWS Local Zones will now be available in over 30 new locations globally, providing customers with a powerful new capability to leverage cloud services within a few milliseconds of hundreds of millions of end users around the world.”

Comcast sees a surge in Wi-Fi connected devices in consumer homes

The number of devices connected to WiFi has skyrocketed by 12X since 2018 as Xfinity households connected nearly 1 billion devices in 2021, according to Comcast’s newly published 2021 WiFi Trends Report. 

“The ecosystem of connected devices in the home and the applications running on them has exploded over the last few years, driving a shift in consumers perceptions on what truly is important to their connectivity experience,” said Sophie Ahmad, Chief Marketing Officer of Xfinity Consumer Service, Comcast Cable. “Unbeatable Internet that provides the best connection, complete security, faster speeds and the best tech is now integral to how Americans work, exercise, parent, and entertain.”

Key findings from the 2021 report include:

Smartphones dominate the connected device category – nearly 347 million connected in Xfinity households in 2021 accounting for nearly one-third of all devices over the year, a 23X increase from 2018.

Health was the fastest rising device category, with more than 49 million smartwatches and fitness trackers connected to WiFi in Xfinity households––a 39X increase from 2018. Exercise equipment connected to WiFi also increased 93X for a total of almost 841,000 devices. This trend will continue, with 20 percent of households planning to purchase fitness-related devices over the next 12 months.

Xfinity households connected more than 2.5 million IoT devices in 2021, a 31X increase over 2018 levels. This category include connected cameras, doorbells, thermostats, etc.

Streaming continued to see significant growth in Xfinity households in 2021, with 119 million devices connected to WiFi during the year – a 14X increase from 2018.

More than 36 million gaming consoles connected to WiFi in Xfinity households – a 15X increase from 2018. Nearly two in three Americans who play online games (or live with others who do) say online video games are being played more today compared to five years ago.

More than 1 million Xfinity households used xFi parental controls, with customers pausing/unpausing WiFi nearly 100 million times. In the same year, more than 477,000 customers created a total of more than 1 million “downtime” schedules, with the most popular moment being bedtime – followed by homework and dinnertime.

Nearly three in five Americans (59 percent) improved their WiFi last year, with about a third upgrading their equipment (28 percent) or increasing their speeds (27 percent). In addition, Xfinity Internet customers have purchased more than one million xFi pods, WiFi extenders that ensure stronger WiFi coverage throughout the home, over the last 3 years. Two in five Americans (45 percent) also said that WiFi is more important to their daily lives than reliable transportation.

Cisco reports strong business momentum, sales rise 6% yoy

Citing robust demand across its business lines, Cisco reported revenue of $12.7 billion, net income on a generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) basis of $3.0 billion or $0.71 per share, and non-GAAP net income of $3.5 billion or $0.84 per share for its second fiscal quarter, ended January 29, 2022. Revenue was up 6% year over year. On a GAAP basis, total gross margin, product gross margin, and service gross margin were 63.3%, 61.8%, and 67.3%, respectively, as compared with 65.1%, 64.5%, and 66.6%, respectively, in the second quarter of fiscal 2021.

Cisco also reported solid progress on business model transformation with total Annualized Recurring Revenue (ARR) at $21.9 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2022, up 11% year over year. 

"We continue to see incredibly strong demand across our portfolio, emphasizing the criticality and relevance of Cisco's innovation," said Chuck Robbins, chair and CEO of Cisco. "Our robust order strength, record backlog and double-digit growth in annual recurring revenue position us well to deliver growth."

Some highlights:

  • Total revenue was up 6% at $12.7 billion, with product revenue up 9% and service revenue down 1%. 
  • Revenue by geographic segment was: Americas up 3%, EMEA up 11%, and APJC up 13%. 
  • Product revenue performance was led by growth in Secure, Agile Networks up 7%, Internet for the Future up 42%, End-to-End Security up 7%, and Optimized Application Experiences up 12%. 
  • Hybrid Work was down 9%.

NVIDIA posts record quarterly revenue of $7.64B, up 53% yoy

Citing record sales for its gaming, data center and professional visualization platforms, NVIDIA reported record revenue for its fourth quarter ended January 30, 2022, of $7.64 billion, up 53 percent from a year ago and up 8 percent from the previous quarter. 

GAAP earnings per diluted share for the quarter were a record $1.18, up 103 percent from a year ago and up 22 percent from the previous quarter. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $1.32, up 69 percent from a year ago and up 13 percent from the previous quarter.

For fiscal 2022, revenue was a record $26.91 billion, up 61 percent from $16.68 billion a year ago. GAAP earnings per diluted share were a record $3.85, up 123 percent from $1.73 a year ago. Non-GAAP earnings per diluted share were $4.44, up 78 percent from $2.50 a year ago.

“We are seeing exceptional demand for NVIDIA computing platforms,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. “NVIDIA is propelling advances in AI, digital biology, climate sciences, gaming, creative design, autonomous vehicles and robotics – some of today's most impactful fields.

“We are entering the new year with strong momentum across our businesses and excellent traction with our new software business models with NVIDIA AI, NVIDIA Omniverse and NVIDIA DRIVE. GTC is coming. We will announce many new products, applications and partners for NVIDIA computing,” he said.

NVIDIA paid quarterly cash dividends of $100 million in the fourth quarter and $399 million in fiscal 2022. It will pay its next quarterly cash dividend of $0.04 per share on March 24, 2022, to all shareholders of record on March 3, 2022.

Infinera reports revenue of $403 million, up 13% yoy, record bookings

Infinera reported revenue of $400.3 million (GAAP) for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 25, 2021. This compares to $355.8 million in the third quarter of 2021 and $353.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. GAAP gross margin for the quarter was 35.6% compared to 33.2% in the third quarter of 2021 and 35.7% in the fourth quarter of 2020. GAAP net loss for the quarter was $(33.1) million, or $(0.16) per share, compared to $(53.8) million, or $(0.26) per share, in the third quarter of 2021, and $(9.9) million, or $(0.05) per share, in the fourth quarter of 2020. Non-GAAP net income for the quarter was $5.7 million, or $0.03 per share, compared to net loss of $(3.0) million, or $(0.01) per share, in the third quarter of 2021, and a net income of $16.7 million, or $0.13 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Infinera CEO David Heard said, “Q4 was a pivotal quarter for us. We achieved record revenue and bookings for the company, and exited the year with substantial backlog. Our strong performance in the quarter was the perfect way to wrap-up 2021, a year in which we strengthened our portfolio, bolstered our management team, accelerated growth and expanded margins.”

“Looking ahead to 2022, we intend to build on the foundation we established in 2021,” continued Heard. “The demand drivers fueling our business are robust. While we expect the industry-wide supply chain challenges to remain intense through at least the first half of the year, we are focused on driving 8-12% revenue growth in 2022 and delivering on our longer-term target business model.”

An investor presentation is online.

Vodafone conducts RIC trial with Juniper, Parallel Wireless

Vodafone is conducting a multivendor RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) trial for tenant-aware admission control use cases. The trial, which is being conducted in partnership with Juniper Networks and Parallel Wireless, is initially running in Vodafone’s test labs in Turkey and with plans to move into its test infrastructure.

The trial supports O-RAN interfaces and addresses the key business challenges faced by mobile operators around personalized user experience, viable revenue generation and reduction in both CAPEX and OPEX for 4G and 5G services.

The trial is based on an open, software-driven architecture that leverages virtualization to deliver more programmable, automated granular-by-user traffic management. The initial focus is on delivering tenant-aware admission control capability, enabling operators to personalize services and provide superior user experiences. Real-time tracking and enforcement of radio resources across the RAN enables mission-critical users – for example, hospitals and schools – to receive prioritized mobile data services delivery. This capability is enabled by Juniper’s rApp/xApp cloud-based software tools that manage network functions in near real-time, along with Parallel Wireless cloud-native Open RAN functions.

Juniper’s RIC solution is architected as an open platform supporting open interfaces on the north bound and south bound side, enabling easier integration with Open RAN partners in the ecosystem. Juniper’s RIC platform will also enable easy integration of third-party rApps/xApps, using UI-based onboarding and deployment tools coupled with flexibility to select between either network-based or SDK-based APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).

Parallel Wireless brings cloud-native Open RAN solutions - which are now integrated with the leading-edge RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) based on O-RAN ALLIANCE specifications from Juniper Networks, giving operators more choices to build the best-of-breed RAN.

“Vodafone has a clear vision that all mobile network radio infrastructure should be open - enabling rapid adoption of innovative services. We see this as a key stepping stone to rich innovation and collaboration, the only way that groundbreaking new use cases in 4G and 5G can be developed and cost-effectiveness maximized. In order to accelerate progress in this exciting journey, I am very pleased that Vodafone is hosting a lab and field trial for tenant-aware admission control using O-RAN interfaces, alongside an ecosystem of like-minded technology partners, including Juniper Networks and Parallel Wireless. By working together, we will be able to build smarter networks, better user experiences and drive stronger sustainability measures for B2B use cases,” stated Paco Martin, Head of Open RAN at Vodafone Group.

Juniper integrates RAN Intelligent Controller with Intel FlexRAN

Juniper Networks is collaborating with Intel to accelerate advancement in the Open RAN (ORAN) ecosystem. The collaboration includes:Juniper RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) and Intel FlexRAN platform are pre-integrated and pre-validated to enhance usability of a full ORAN-compliant Intelligent RAN systemCollaborative R&D work with Intel Labs for RIC platform-specific apps to improve customer experience, maximize ROI and drive rapid ORAN ecosystem...

#MWC22 : Is FWA a Killer App for O-RAN?

Is Fixed Wireless Access a killer use case for O-RAN? Eugina Jordan, VP, Marketing at Parallel Wireless, shares her thoughts on fixed wireless access ahead of #MWC22.

O-RAN Alliance demos at MWC Barcelona

 O-RAN ALLIANCE will host 22 demos at the upcoming MWC Barcelona 2022 as well as 24 additional demos online at the O-RAN Virtual Exhibition. Here are highlights.Intelligent RAN control demosEricsson presents its approach to SMO as an enabler of automation and value creation in the context of open innovation with rApps. Ericsson Intelligent Automation Platform provides multi-vendor and multi-technology support for RAN and empowers CSPs to accelerate...

Ericsson may have bribed ISIS in Iraq

An internal investigation at Ericsson has found unusual expense claims in Iraq, dating back to 2018 with evidence of corruption-related misconduct. 

Regarding the situation, Ericsson issued this statement (in part):

"The investigation included the conduct of Ericsson employees, vendors and suppliers in Iraq during the period 2011-2019. It found serious breaches of compliance rules and the Code of Business Ethics. It identified evidence of corruption-related misconduct, including: Making a monetary donation without a clear beneficiary; paying a supplier for work without a defined scope and documentation; using suppliers to make cash payments; funding inappropriate travel and expenses; and improper use of sales agents and consultants. In addition, it found violations of Ericsson’s internal financial controls; conflicts of interest; non-compliance with tax laws; and obstruction of the investigation."

"The investigating team also identified payments to intermediaries and the use of alternate transport routes in connection with circumventing Iraqi Customs, at a time when terrorist organizations, including ISIS, controlled some transport routes. Investigators could not determine the ultimate recipients of these payments. Payment schemes and cash transactions that potentially created the risk of money laundering were also identified. "

"Ericsson invested significant time and resources to understand these matters. The investigation could not identify that any Ericsson employee was directly involved in financing terrorist organizations."

In an interview with a Swedish newspaper cited by Bloomberg, Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm said the unusual payments may have been bribes to ISIS to secure contracts or operations in Iraq.

Ericsson said its has dismissed several employees, terminated a number of third-party relationships, and is working with external counsel to review other remediation measures,

SEMIFIVE raises $109 million for its chip design platform

SEMIFIVE, a start-up based in Korea, raised $109 million in Series B funding for its platform-based SoC design solution.

SEMIFIVE’s platform SoC approach aims to significantly reduce chip development time and cost. SEMIFIVE said its platform enables custom silicon chips based on Samsung Foundry’s advanced FinFET process nodes. So far, SEMIFIVE has signed several AI-based semiconductor startups, such as FuriosaAI, Rebellions and Mobilint, as customers. The  In addition to AI, SEMIFIVE offers design platforms for edge compute, AIoT, and data acceleration. 

The new funding round brings the total capital raised for SEMIFIVE to $147 million since its inception in 2019 with investments from BonAngels, Game Changer, Korea Investment Partners, LB Investment, Mirae Asset Venture Investment and Pavilion Capital (a subsidiary of Temasek).

“SEMIFIVE’s key focus is to enable innovation by making custom silicon accessible and affordable. We envision ourselves as the new global hub of custom silicon,” said Brandon Cho, CEO and founder of SEMIFIVE. “With the strong support from our investors, we are accelerating our strategy in the U.S. which is a pivotal base for business expansion and added capabilities. Anticipating strong growth, we are scaling our sales, customer and technical support organizations.”