Thursday, April 14, 2022

Project Nephio leverages Kubernetes to scale 5G across edge locations

A new open source project called Nephio has been launched by the Linux Foundation and Google Cloud aimed at simplifying the deployment and management of scalable 5G networks across multiple edge locations.

Project Nephio aims to deliver carrier-grade, simple, open, Kubernetes-based cloud native intent automation and common automation templates that materially simplify the deployment and management of multi-vendor cloud infrastructure and network functions across large scale edge deployments. 

Additionally, Nephio will enable faster onboarding of network functions to production including provisioning of underlying cloud infrastructure with a true cloud native approach, and reduce costs of adoption of cloud and network infrastructure.

Nephio has support from several founding organizations including Service providers: Airtel, Bell Canada, Elisa, Equinix, Jio, Orange, Rakuten Mobile, TIM, TELUS, Vapor IO, Virgin Media O2, WINDTRE as well as Network Function, Service and Infrastructure Vendors: Aarna Networks, ARM, Casa-systems, DZS, Ericsson, F5, Intel, Juniper, Mavenir, Nokia, Parallel Wireless, VMware. 

“Telecommunication companies are looking for new solutions for managing their cloud ready and cloud native infrastructures as well as their 5G networks to achieve the scale, efficiency, and high reliability needed to operate more cost effectively,” said Amol Phadke, managing director, Telecom Industry Products & Solutions, Google Cloud. “We look forward to working alongside The Linux Foundation, and our partners, in the creation of Nephio to set an industry open standard for Kubernetes-based intent automation that will result in faster and better connected cloud-native networks of the future.” 

“Collaboration across Telecom and Cloud Service Providers is accelerating and we are excited to bring Nephio to the open source community,” said Arpit Joshipura, GM Networking, Edge & IOT, The Linux Foundation, “As end users demand end to end open source solutions, projects like Nephio complement the innovation across LFN, CNCF, LF Edge for faster deployment of telecom network functions in a cloud-native world.”

SONiC moves under the Linux Foundation umbrella

The Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC, an open source networking operating system), is now part of the Linux Foundation. 

Created by Microsoft for its Azure data centers, SONiC is an open source network operating system (NOS) based on Linux that runs on over 100 different switches from multiple vendors and ASICs. It offers a full-suite of network functionality, like BGP and RDMA, that has been production-hardened in the data centers of some of the largest cloud-service providers. It offers teams the flexibility to create the network solutions they need while leveraging the collective strength of a large ecosystem and community.

“We are pleased to welcome SONiC to the Linux Foundation family of open networking projects,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge, and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “SONiC is a leader in open source data center NOS deployments, and we’re looking forward to growing its developer community.”

The Linux Foundation will primarily focus on the software component of SONiC, and continue to partner with Open Compute Platform(OCP) on aligning hardware and specifications like SAI.

“Microsoft founded SONiC to bring high reliability and fast innovation to the routers in Azure cloud data centers. We created it as open source so the entire networking ecosystem would grow stronger. SONiC already runs on millions of ports in the networks of cloud scalers, enterprises, and fintechs. The SONiC project is thrilled to be joining the Linux Foundation to take the community to its next jump in scale, participation, and usage," said Dave Maltz, Technical Fellow and Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure Networking.

SONiC brings a strong existing ecosystem, with premier members including Alibaba, Broadcom, Dell, Google, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA and 50+ global partners.

“Large hyperscalers agree that merchant silicon, hardware independence, and open source protocol and management stack are essential for running their data center networks. Broadcom has wholeheartedly supported this vision with leading-edge, predictable silicon execution and contributions to the SONiC project. We are excited to see the SONiC initiative join the Linux Foundation and look forward to working with the streamlined ecosystem to drive the data center and hyperscale needs of the future,” said Mohammad Hanif, senior director of engineering, Core Switching Group, Broadcom.

“The Open Compute Project Foundation is pleased to continue its collaboration with SONIC as part of the OCP’s new hardware – software co-design strategy. The open source SONiC Network Operating System is enabling rapid innovation across the network ecosystem, and it began with the definition of the Switch Abstraction Interface (SAI) at OCP. Hardware – software co-design focuses on software that requires intimate knowledge of the hardware to drive maximum hardware performance, and speed time-to-market for hardware where system performance and ecological footprint can be highly dependent on software -hardware interactions," said George Tchaparian, CEO, Open Compute Project Foundation.

LF Networking cites carrier momentum with ONAP and OpenDaylight

In a blog post, LF Networking cites ongoing deployments by leading global carriers for its  ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform) and OpenDaylight, including:

  • Spark New Zealand is using ONAP as an  automation suite to support future use cases that 5G could enable, such as network slicing, and closed loop automation.  In partnership with Infosys, Spark took a relatively short six months to go from kickoff to implementation of ONAP. 
  • Verizon leverages OpenDaylight as its directional SDN controller. After initial work exploring OpenDaylight (ODL), Verizon decided to pull the testing, packaging, support in-house and create their own optimized ODL distribution. ODL now serves as Verizon’s foundational and directional SDN controller with two use cases in production across the network. Currently, Verizon is using Yang model driven platform solutions and wants to integrate different types of data modeling technology, Open APIs, rest platforms, and more. 
  • Deutsche Telekom deploys ONAP in O-RAN Town. In its O-RAN Town project, DT deployed in the city of Neubrandenburg a multi-vendor Open RAN trial network for 4G and 5G services with massive MIMO integrated into the live network — the first in Europe. To automate services on all network domains, DT introduced a vendor-independent Service Management and Orchestration (SMO) component based on ONAP open source. The SMO is to be at the heart of complete lifecycle management of all O-RAN components in this deployment. 
  • Orange deploys automation framework powered by ONAP. Realizing a long-pursued goal of using ONAP, Orange has deployed and trialed an automation framework powered by ONAP. The current use case, in production in Orange Egypt, includes automating network services, network connectivity and resource management inside IP/MPLS, and configuration changes such as provisioning virtual private networks. 
  • Bell Canada automates a significant amount of manual configuration, recovery, and provision work by using ONAP in production across multiple use cases. Since 2017, the use of ONAP at Bell Canada has expanded to automating numerous key network services across all business units. Moving forward, ONAP is playing a major role in 5G and multi-access edge computing (MEC) rollouts. The key metric Bell uses to measure the success of ONAP is the number of recurring manual task hours saved per month

ONAP Honolulu adds cloud-native functionality, O-RAN integrations

LF Networking (LFN) announced the ONAP Honolulu release -- the eighth distribution of the Open Network Automation PlatformONAP Honolulu highlights:More Cloud Native Functionality. Honolulu brings cloud native functionality with seamless configuration of Helm based CNFs and K8s resources. This new functionality includes health checks and is implemented in the Controller Design Studio (CDS) and MutliCloud projects. An ONAP cloud native task force meets...

Cignal AI: Total optical component revenue by company

Cloud operator capex for hyperscale datacenter expansion drove Datacom optical component revenue growth by 27% to reach $4.7B in 2021, as reported in Cignal AI’s new Optical Components Report. This growth outstripped component revenue growth from Telecom, Consumer, and Industrial optical component applications. Total revenue for optical components across all four segments grew 15% to reach $14.5B in 2021.

The Optical Components Report also tracks detailed unit shipments of Datacom and Telecom transceivers across multiple module types and reaches. Shipments of 400GbE Datacom modules doubled and reached record levels in 2021, as large cloud operators and select enterprise customers transitioned from 100G to this new speed.

“The transition to 400GbE is well underway, and pluggable coherent 400Gbps technology is revolutionizing the design of the optical networks that connect datacenters,” said Scott Wilkinson, Lead Optical Component Analyst at Cignal AI. “400Gbps speeds will drive spending and bandwidth growth both inside and outside the datacenter in 2022.”

More Key Findings from the 4Q21 Optical Components Report:

  • Supply chain difficulties limited Telecom optical components market growth the most in 2021. However, the segment is forecast to grow more than 8% in 2022.
  • Consumer component revenue for 3D sensing applications was flat YoY as lower-cost components offset higher unit shipments.
  • Industrial optical components used for welding and medical applications grew 18% in 2021, following a weak 2020. Following the acquisition of Coherent, II-VI is poised to control over 50% of this market.
  • 1.8M QSFP-DD Datacom modules shipped during 2021, most of which were DR4 format. The report also tracks SR4, FR4, and LR4 Datacom transceivers.
  • Over 60k 400Gbps pluggable coherent modules shipped last year, the majority of which were QSFP-DD ZR. The report captures the shipment details of all the emerging derivatives of this format, including ZR, ZR+, 0dB ZR+, and CFP2 based ZR+.
  • Shipments of 200Gbps coherent CFP2 modules grew 17% to just over 200k units during 2021 as Chinese OEMs ramp this speed (which is less dependent on western technology) for longer distance metro and long haul applications.

2Africa makes first landing in Genoa

The first landing of the 2Africa cable was completed in Genoa, Italy.  Vodafone, the 2Africa landing party in Genoa, has partnered with Equinix to land the cable directly into the Equinix Carrier Neutral Data Center (CNDC), with Retelit delivering the fronthaul. As with all 2Africa cable landings, capacity will be available to service providers in Genoa on a fair and equitable basis, encouraging and supporting the development of a healthy internet ecosystem.

Working with a local Italian operator, 2Africa has also developed a new terrestrial route connecting the Genoa cable landing station (CLS) directly to major CNDCs in Milan.

At 45,000km, 2Africa is expected to be the longest subsea cable ever deployed. A total of 46 cable landing locations are envisioned for the project before completion in 2024.

The 2Africa consortium, comprised of China Mobile International, Meta, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC

Equinix and Vodafone to build subsea hub in Genoa for 2Africa cable

Equinix and Vodafone announced a plan to build a new subsea hub in Genoa, called GN1, to serve as a strategic interconnection point for the 2Africa cable system.2Africa is a consortium cable project backed by China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC. At 37,000km long, 2Africa will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects and will interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), the...

2Africa subsea cable boasts design capacity up to 180 Tbps

2Africa, a new subsea cable to serve the African continent and Middle East region, promises to deliver  more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today, with a design capacity of up to 180Tbps on key parts of the system. Consortium partners include China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC. Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been selected to build...

Ericsson's Q1 sales grew by 3% YoY -- builds buffer of vital components

Ericsson reported Q1 2022 sales of SEK 55.1 (49.8) billion, up 3% compared to a year earlier. The company said sales were driven by Networks in North America and in Europe and Latin America. 

Reported gross margin was 42.3% (42.8%) impacted by proactive investments in supply chain resilience in Networks. Rolling four quarter gross margin was 43.2%.

Ericsson cited a provision for impairment of assets and other extraordinary costs due to its indefinite suspension of affected business in Russia, ongoing discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding bribes in Iraq, and its efforts to build a buffer of critical components to handle supply chain problems. 

Comments from Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson:

We continue to execute on our strategy to be a leading mobile infrastructure provider and to establish a focused enterprise business. We see strong business momentum and our investments in technology and a resilient supply chain have allowed us to continue to win market share and deliver on customer commitments in spite of global supply chain challenges. In the quarter, we saw organic sales[1] growth of 3%. Gross margin at 42.3% (42.8%) indicates underlying stability while absorbing cost increases in the supply chain. Our EBITA margin was 11.0%, adjusted for revaluation of holdings and provision related to Russia.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian disaster is a major setback for the world. While mobile infrastructure is essential for communications in Russia, it has been clear from the start of the invasion that business in Russia would have to be reconsidered. Following current sanctions, we have announced an indefinite suspension of our affected business in Russia and recorded a provision for impairment of assets and other extraordinary costs of SEK -0.9 b. in Q1. We will continue to monitor and respond to the situation day by day, with priority on the safety and well-being of our people.

In our core mobile infrastructure business, we foresee a longer investment cycle compared with previous mobile generations as 5G’s broad application usage will drive a continued need to increase capacity. Technology leadership is driving our competitiveness, and in the quarter, we invested SEK -10.7 (-9.6) b. in R&D.

Networks sales grew organically by 4% in Q1 reflecting our continually strengthened market position. Gross margin was 44.7% (46.1%). Software sales vary between quarters, and a certain SEK 1 b. annual software contract that is normally recorded in Q1, is this year delayed into Q2. Gross margin was also negatively impacted by proactive investments in supply chain resilience. Hard work throughout the organization enabled us to deliver on customer commitments despite global supply chain challenges. We also continue to increase our R&D investments to extend our leadership. R&D increased by SEK -1 b. YoY and was primarily related to our Cloud RAN portfolio, which gives customers more flexible deployment options, and to next generation ASICs that provide industry-leading radio performance, energy savings and footprint reduction. We foresee long-term attractive return on our investments similar to the last few years.

Digital Services organic sales were down by -2% YoY in the quarter and EBIT was SEK -1.4 b. We are building a strong platform for Digital Services and sales development in the cloud native 5G core portfolio is encouraging with double digit growth, albeit from a low base. However, the overall result in the quarter is not satisfactory. The target of a limited loss for 2022 is challenging especially in light of the increased investments in R&D in service orchestration and 5G portfolio. We now increase focus on accelerating sales growth and addressing efficiency to improve profitability.

To capture opportunities in the rapidly growing enterprise space, we are focusing on two specific areas. The first focus area is wireless networks for enterprise where we already offer easy-to-use pre-packaged solutions, with Cradlepoint showing strong growth in the first quarter as 5G coverage increases on the US C-band. We also see growing momentum for our 5G portfolio in Dedicated Networks. In addition, we are increasing investments in our enterprise go-to-market organization.

The other focus area is a Global Network Platform, which will be built on global unified interfaces, so called APIs. Developers and enterprises will be able to create new use cases and experiences, like high quality video or XR on top of the 5G network, which enable operators and the industry to monetize the network investment in new ways. Ericsson intends to play a major role in building the API platform. With our previously announced intention to acquire Vonage – more than 1 million developers, 120,000 enterprise customers and a proven scaled API infrastructure – we will have a strong position to deliver on this ambition.           

Ericsson’s IPR licensing revenues in Q1 were affected by several expiring patent license agreements pending renewal and by 5G license negotiations. We are confident in our strong 5G position and leading patent portfolio, positioning us well to conclude pending and future license renewals. Revenues from current IPR licensing contracts are estimated to SEK 1.0–1.5 b. in Q2. The actual revenue impact will depend on timing as well as terms and conditions of new agreements.

We are currently engaging with the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the breach notices it issued relating to the Deferred Prosecution Agreement. The resolution of these matters could result in a range of actions by DOJ, and may likely include additional monetary payments, the magnitude of which cannot at this time be reliably estimated. As this process is ongoing, we remain limited in what we can say about the historical events covered in the Iraq investigation and our ongoing engagement on the matter. We are fully committed to co-operating with the DOJ and our work to further strengthen our Ethics and Compliance program, controls and our culture remains a top priority. It was actually our improved compliance program that allowed us to identify the misconduct in Iraq that started at least back in 2011.

In light of the global supply chain challenges, we decided to create a buffer of vital components in order to secure that we meet customer delivery commitments. In the quarter this had a material impact on inventory levels and therefore Free cash flow before M&A amounted to -1.7 (+1.6) b. We expect elevated inventory levels to remain in the next few quarters.

Renesas intros PCIe Gen6 clock buffers and multiplexers

Renesas Electronics introduced the first clock buffers and multiplexers that meet stringent PCIe Gen6 specifications. 

Renesasis offering 11 new clock buffers and 4 new multiplexers. The new devices, which also support and provide extra margin for PCIe Gen5 implementations, complement Renesas’ low-jitter 9SQ440, 9FGV1002 and 9FGV1006 clock generators to offer customers a complete PCIe Gen6 timing solution for data center/cloud computing, networking and high-speed industrial applications.

The PCIe Gen6 standard supports extremely high data rates of 64 GT/s while requiring very low clock jitter performance of less than 100fs RMS. Renesas’ new RC190xx clock buffers and RC192xx multiplexers have PCIe Gen6 additive jitter specs of only 4fs RMS, making them virtually noiseless, and thereby future-proofing customer designs for the next generation of industry standards.

“PCIe Gen6 timing will be at the heart of new equipment in data centers, high-speed networking and other applications,” said Zaher Baidas, Vice President of the Timing Products Division at Renesas. “As we have done for preceding generations, Renesas is providing customers with the first timing solution to enable these new, higher-performance systems. Our customers know that we have the technical expertise and market knowledge to ensure that their products will be able to meet future requirements as well.”

Kioxia and Western Digital invest in new flash memory plant

Kioxia and Western Digital agreed to jointly invest in the first phase of the Fab7 (Y7) manufacturing facility at Kioxia’s Yokkaichi Plant in the Mie Prefecture of Japan. 

This joint-venture investment adds a sixth flash memory manufacturing facility to the Yokkaichi Plant, enhancing its position as the world's largest flash memory manufacturing site. The first phase of the Y7 facility will produce 3D flash memory including 112- and 162-layer and future nodes.

“We are very pleased to further deepen our strategic partnership with Western Digital through this joint investment in Y7,” said Nobuo Hayasaka, President and CEO of Kioxia. “The rapid digitization of societies underpins accelerating use of memory products. We will continue to leverage our technological partnership and economies of scale to develop and produce cutting-edge semiconductor products and achieve organic corporate growth.”

“This joint investment in Y7 accentuates our productive and positive relationship with Kioxia, underscoring our substantial global share in memory, the ongoing importance of memory and storage and our multi-faceted commitment to Japan,” said Dr. Siva Sivaram, President, Technology & Strategy, Western Digital. “Our strategic partnership with Kioxia has led to the introduction of leading-edge technology while increasing the scale of manufacturing and R&D capabilities. We look forward to continuing to drive long-term success together.”