Wednesday, February 1, 2023

2023 5G Challenge for O-RAN solutions offers $6M in prizes

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD), is kicking off a 2023 5G Challenge that aims to accelerate the adoption of 5G open interfaces, interoperable subsystems, secure networks and multi-vendor solutions by advancing towards true plug-and-play 5G interoperability.

The 5G Challenge offers over $6 million in prize money. 

Contestants will create 5G equipment prototypes and then test to see if their subsystems can connect to other contestant’s equipment. Currently, this type of plug and play operation does not exist in the marketplace. 

Applications opened today and must be submitted via email to by 7:00 p.m. ET on March 1, 2023. 

The largest prize of $3,000,000 will go to the top performing contestants that work together to demonstrate network mobility. 

A webinar on the competition will be held February 9.

“A competitive wireless ecosystem is vital for our domestic and economic security. The research conducted from this competition will benefit everything from our cellphones to the secure radio networks needed for our national defense,” said Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. “To ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in wireless innovation, we are looking for a diverse set of companies and researchers from across the 5G industry to come together and participate to come together and participate in this challenge competition.”

Meta trims 2023 data center construction plans

Meta reported Q4 and full year 2022 revenue of $32.17 billion and $116.61 billion, a decrease of 4% and 1% year-over-year for the fourth quarter and full year 2022, respectively. Q4 net income was $4.652 billion, down 55% compared to a year earlier.

Capital expenditures, including principal payments on finance leases, were $9.2 billion, driven by investments in servers, data centers, and network infrastructure.

For 2023, Meta expects capital expenditures to be in the range of $30-33 billion, lowered from a prior estimate of $34-37 billion. The reduced outlook reflects updated plans for lower data center construction spend in 2023 as we shift to a new data center architecture that is more cost efficient and can support both AI and non-AI workloads. Substantially all of the capital expenditures continue to support all of the company's apps.

In the quarterly investor conference call, Mark Zuckerberg stated "Before getting into our product priorities, I want to discuss my management theme for 2023, which is the "year of efficiency". We closed last year with some difficult layoffs and restructuring some teams. When we did this, I said clearly that this was the beginning of our focus on efficiency and not the end. Since then, we've taken some additional steps like working with our infrastructure team on how to deliver our roadmap while spending less on capex."

Some additional metrics:

  • Family daily active people (DAP) – DAP was 2.96 billion on average for December 2022, an increase of 5% year-over-year.
  • Family monthly active people (MAP) – MAP was 3.74 billion as of December 31, 2022, an increase of 4% year-over-year.
  • Facebook daily active users (DAUs) – DAUs were 2.00 billion on average for December 2022, an increase of 4% year-over-year.
  • Facebook monthly active users (MAUs) – MAUs were 2.96 billion as of December 31, 2022, an increase of 2% year-over-year.

BT migrates mainframe apps to the cloud with Kyndryl

BT Group’s Digital Unit is working with Kyndryl to migrate mainframe applications which service its legacy copper business and consumer broadband products to the cloud. 

The ten-year partnership, which draws on Kyndryl’s hyperscaler capabilities and partner ecosystem, will allow BT Group to reduce mainframe operating costs and energy consumption by 70%, leading to savings worth more than £17m a year by 2026.

“We like thinking out of the box to solve complex problems – like how to move off mainframes given the prohibitive increase in legacy infrastructure cost – without rewriting decades-old applications,” explains Harmeen Mehta, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at BT Group. “With that mindset, working with Kyndryl, we figured out how to turn legacy mainframes into modern digital apps and run them at a fraction of the cost.” 

Kyndryl, which currently runs BT Group’s mainframe estate, extends its partnership with BT to deliver the transformation project by 2026, accelerating the drive to reduce cost and open up data insights within these key applications. As part of the project, some applications are being “retired” (contributing to the Group’s target to get to fewer than 500 strategic systems by 2027, simplifying its technology estate), “refactored” (redeveloped into BT Group’s existing strategic systems and architecture) or rehosted (repackaged to operate in a cloud environment).

“It’s exciting to be partnering with BT Group on such an ambitious and critical programme. Migrating from mainframes to cloud extends the usefulness and lifespan of these applications in a modern, micro-services led, cloud-centric way and helps unlock intelligent data insights. We’re excited to draw on our deep knowledge, ecosystem of partners and community of industry leading experts to help deliver this transformation,” comments Petra Goude, Global Practice Leader, Core Enterprise & zCloud, Kyndryl.

What's next for Private 5G in 2023?

Where will Private 5G find the most traction in 2023?Here are 3 predictions from Kyndryl’s Paul Savill.— Check out other 2023 Predictions —See what other experts have to say on NextGenInfra — Amplify your MWC 2023 presence —Looking to record your video for our channel for our MWC 2023 Showcase in Barcelona?  We will be there! Book your session now.&nb...

EE activates 5G on the London Underground,

EE is activating 5G on the London Underground, with the network’s high-speed coverage live at three stations – Archway and Tufnell Park on the Northern line, as well as Notting Hill Gate on the Central line.

In addition to continuous 5G coverage from ticket hall to platform at all three stations, 5G is also live within the tunnel segment at Notting Hill Gate and the same will be true for Archway and Tufnell Park shortly.  

EE notes that he arrival of 5G comes just weeks after 4G landed on the Central and Northern lines for the first time.

Coverage is provided in partnership with BAI Communications.

Mavenir powers OpenBeam radios with AMD RFSoC devices

Mavenir has incorporated the AMD Zynq Ultrascale+ RFSoC devices into its OpenBeam Radio Portfolio. The radio solutions can be used for a wide range of use cases, including basic coverage across all frequency bands, outdoor small cells, for public and private networks providing business and consumer services in both urban and rural environments.

Mavenir also confirmed that its Converged Packet Core has been validated on AMD EPYC CPUs. This means Mavenir’s cloud-native, fully containerized, virtualized Converged Packet Core (4G & 5G) solution can now be deployed on AMD EPYC server CPUs to provide CSPs with more options to implement virtual network functions in cloud data centers.

The elements validated include AMF, SMF, UPF, UDSF, NRF, NSSF, AUSF, UDM, and UDR network functions. Additionally, PCF, NEF, BSF, MME, SecGw, PCRF, MME and SGSN network functions will be validated in the coming months.

“Mavenir’s commitment to enabling networks built on software that runs on any cloud revolves around giving CSPs the ability to use the best components that fit their specific needs, in the cell-site and in the data center,” said Bejoy Pankajakshan, EVP, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer, Mavenir. “Mavenir and AMD are working together to give CSPs multiple options and help them optimize power consumption, network efficiency and total cost of ownership in the radio access as well as the core network.”

“Cloud-native telecom networks empower CSPs with systems that offer flexibility, lower operational cost, ease of system management, and a broader ecosystem for value add, innovation, and upgrade capabilities as network requirements grow,” said Salil Raje, senior vice president and general manager, Data Center and Communications Group, AMD. “We are extremely proud of our close collaboration with Mavenir to help deliver exceptional TCO and predictable scalability along with high performance and power efficient solutions to telecommunications operators leveraging AMD data center products.”

Pilot Photonics intros widely tunable laser

Pilot Photonics introduced a widely tunable laser module offering nanosecond switching and narrow linewidth.

Pilot Photonics said its laser is based on a monolithic InP chip fabricated on an active-passive platform. Electro-optic tuning with reverse-voltage bias of tuning sections allows mA-order dark currents and facilitates nanosecond switching speeds with low power dissipation. It offers more than 30nm of wavelength tuning range in either the C-band or the O-band, and linewidth of 150kHz. Currently available in 14-pin butterfly package or integrated into an OEM or laboratory instrument form-factor module, the
company is also developing a nano-iTLA module for high volume applications.

"We have been working with our partner SMART Photonics on a couple of innovative tunable laser designs made possible with their PIC platform" said Dr. Frank Smyth, founder and CTO at Pilot Photonics. "These devices target specific challenges that our customers are facing, and we are delighted to help solve them".

MaxLinear posts Q4 revenue of $290.6 million, up 17% year-over-year

MaxLinear reported Q4 revenue of $290.6 million, up 2% sequentially and up 17% year-over-year. GAAP gross margin was 56.2%, compared to 58.6% in the prior quarter, and 57.2% in the year-ago quarter. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was $1.07, compared to diluted earnings per share of $1.05 in the prior quarter, and diluted earnings per share of $0.86 in the year-ago quarter.

“In the fourth quarter, we continued our strong execution with revenue up 2% sequentially and up 17% year-over-year, bringing fiscal 2022 revenues to over $1 billion. In particular, in Q4, our Wi-Fi business delivered substantial sequential and year-over-year growth. Our connectivity category almost doubled in Q4 year-over-year, driven by our differentiated Wi-Fi6 feature set. Our results included strong cash flows from operations of approximately $69 million in Q4 and approximately $389 million for the full year. Over the last two years, we have delivered transformative growth and strong financials while balancing disciplined expense management along with investments in technology innovation. Now, as we enter 2023, we have conviction in our strong long-term growth prospects, owing to our developing technology leadership, accelerating design-win momentum, and expanding target markets, including Wi-Fi, fiber access, wireless and optical infrastructure. We are also looking forward to our pending acquisition of Silicon Motion, and are excited for the future growth opportunities of our comprehensive product portfolio,” commented Kishore Seendripu, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO.

MaxLinear to acquire Silicon Motion for NAND flash controllers

MaxLinear agreed to acquire Silicon Motion in a cash and stock transaction that values the combined company at $8 billion in enterprise value.Silicon Motion, which was founded in 1997 in Taipei, Taiwan, specializes in NAND flash controller integrated circuits for solid-state storage devices. The company claims that more NAND flash components, including current and up-coming generations of 3D flash produced by Intel, Kioxia, Micron, Samsung, SK Hynix,...