Monday, May 15, 2023

MEF: Standardized APIs drive automation between service providers

Service Providers are increasingly looking to standardized APIs as the most efficient means of automated inter-carrier business functions, according to a newly published report from MEF. 

MEF has developed standards-based Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) business process APIs and operational APIs that uniquely provide the high fidelity (tightly defined context), plug-and-play interoperability, and extensibility. The report primarily focuses on  MEF LSO Sonata APIs that automate business processes between service providers.

MEF’s proprietary research reveals 122+ service providers worldwide are now in some stage of the LSO Sonata adoption lifecycle, with at least 63 companies already in commit, plan, development, test, or production stages.

“Increasingly next-generation services like Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) solutions will be delivered across an ecosystem of many providers, from retail and wholesale service providers, to hyperscalers, to technology solution providers, and so on, and the networks supporting these services will be fully API-driven,” said Pascal Menezes, CTO, MEF. “For this to happen, standards-based automation is required throughout the entire supply chain where all parties adopt a common, standardized set of APIs at both the business process and operational levels.”

MEF’s inaugural State of the Industry report provides in-depth analysis of the current state of service delivery, and explores adoption trends, challenges, and integration with additional new technologies such as blockchain and intent-based networking. The report draws attention to the paradigm shift taking place in the communications industry as more companies embrace automation to streamline their business functions, improve operational efficiency, and accelerate time to revenue. Areas where automation can provide significant benefits are identified within the report, including customer service, billing and settlement, and supply chain management.

Key findings show that service providers implementing standardized business APIs can:

  • realize an average 25% reduction in order cycle times,
  • speed time to revenue for each MEF Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) API-enabled order,
  • boost revenue opportunities by becoming a preferred partner,
  • implement multiple LSO APIs in as little as 3-5 months with the help of LSO solution providers.

“Enterprise requirements for cloud-like experiences are driving industry transformation to secure dynamic services across a global ecosystem of automated networks. Secure NaaS platforms, for example, are particularly reflective of this trend as they combine on-demand connectivity, application assurance, cybersecurity, and multi-cloud-based services,” said Stan Hubbard, Principal Analyst, MEF. “MEF research reveals that over 122 service providers worldwide are now in some stage of the LSO adoption lifecycle. With LSO Sonata APIs service providers can transition from manual processes and isolated islands of customized APIs to an open, interoperable standards model that enables plug-and-play reuse of APIs with any partner and service with minimal additional cost and effort.”

2Africa cable reaches Port Said, Egypt

Telecom Egypt announed that the 2Africa subsea cable has landed in Port Said, on the Mediterranean coast approximately 250 km of Alexandria. This comes five months after the first landing in the Red Sea city of Ras Ghareb, located 100km south of the Zafarana cable landing station. 

The landing in Port Said also marks the completion of 2Africa installations on Egyptian territory. It is worth mentioning that Telecom Egypt completed 2Africa's terrestrial crossing in Egypt ahead of schedule in 2020; meanwhile, in October 2022, it concluded the third marine path connecting the Ras Ghareb and Suez landing stations. 

Mohamed Nasr, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Telecom Egypt, commented: 

“I’m pleased to be working with a team of top-notch professionals to pursue Telecom Egypt’s relentless efforts to strengthen its international infrastructure. Today, we are thrilled to announce that 2Africa has been connected to the Port Said station, our latest and final milestone in linking the world’s longest subsea cable to Egypt. Our contribution to the international submarine infrastructure demonstrates our commitment to offering state-of-the-art solutions to partners and customers both locally and internationally. In the coming phase, we aim to realize more of our potential as we work on new initiatives and roll out cutting-edge products that will take the ICT industry to the next level.” 

Upon completion in 2024, 2Africa will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects interconnecting Europe, Asia, and Africa. The 45,000km system will deliver more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today. With its 16 fibre-pairs’ count and a design capacity of up to 180Tbps, 2Africa will connect 33 countries through 46 landings, ultimately enhancing global connectivity, and facilitating communications for over 3 billion people over fast, secure, cost-efficient routes.

C&W Networks and C&W Business rebrand as Liberty Networks

C&W Networks and C&W Business, which trace their heritage back to Cable & Wireless, the British telecommunications company founded in 1869, unveiled a new name and brand: Liberty Networks. 

As part of Liberty Latin America (LLA), Liberty Networks will focus on the continued development of its critical infrastructure platform serving carriers, hyper-scalers, and enterprise segments in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Liberty Networks plans to invest a minimum of $250 million in the region over the next five years as it executes its strategy of extending and upgrading its terrestrial and subsea reach and increasing the capacity of its cloud and security offerings. The operations provide the backbone for connectivity across the region through an extensive footprint connecting approximately 40 countries with nearly 50,000 kilometers of submarine fiber optic cable and 17,000 kilometers of terrestrial networks.

Ray Collins, Liberty Latin America’s SVP, Infrastructure and Corporate Strategy, leads the operation. Commenting on the rebrand, he said, “Today is an important moment for our employees and our customers. We are unveiling our new brand to reflect who we are, a customer-focused connectivity provider that enables growth across the region. The new brand is another step in our journey as we continually build momentum for this business by investing in our infrastructure and enterprise solutions to meet our customers' digital and connectivity needs, small and large. We are very excited about the opportunities ahead and see exponential demand for capacity and solutions across this fast growing region.”

KDDI and Ericsson place 5G base stations in underground vaults

KDDI is working with Ericsson on the deployment of 5G base stations in underground vaults. The idea is to save precious space in Japan's crowded cities to installing 5G base stations in “manhole-shaped” vaults. Power infrastructure would remain below ground with fiber connected to antennas on the ground level. This allows for fast permit process and deployment, while ensuring no visual impact on street environments.

KDDI is the first communications service provider in Japan to begin operating vault 5G base stations.  

In Japan, many base stations have been installed on steel towers and building rooftops to achieve high-speed and reliable mobile communication over wide areas. However, there have been challenges, such as restrictions on the installation of base stations in scenic areas due to landscape considerations. In July 2021, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) enacted a new system of radio wave protection guidelines for vault base stations, making their construction and operation possible in Japan.  

Ericsson has developed sub-terrain antennas that can deliver robust connectivity in a confined space, like manholes, where fiber and power already exists and where the installation of standard sites is not possible. Being installed underground, the antenna provides optimal radiating characteristics (MIMO) upward in built-up environments while being less susceptible to wind load.

Ethernovia raises $64 million for automotive connectivity

Ethernovia, a start-up based in San Jose, California, raised $64 million in Series A funding for its work in connectivity for software-defined vehicles (SDVs).

Ethernovia, which was founded in 2018 by RaminShirani and a team of experienced semiconductor innovators, is developing a seamless, holistic and streamlined hardware and software system with advanced networking features. The team includes Roy Myers, senior vice president of engineering; Hossein Sederat, chief technology officer; and Darren Engelkemier, vice president of silicon engineering; Christopher Mash, vice president of business development, and Klaas Bult, vice president of data acquisition. 

 Investors include Porsche Automobile Holding SE (Porsche SE), Qualcomm Ventures, VentureTech Alliance, AMD Ventures, Western Digital Capital, Fall Line Capital, Taiwania Capital, ENEA Capital and others.

“We are extremely grateful for the vote of confidence this group of industry-leading investors has given Ethernovia’s technology and vision for the future of the connected car,” said Ramin Shirani, Ethernovia co-founder and CEO. “We take great pride in developing the cutting-edge network architecture to power the car of the future. These innovations set a new industry expectation in what can be achieved in meeting the cost, power and flexibility that car manufacturers and consumers demand in new vehicles.”

 “The trends towards electrification and connectivity in the automotive industry as well as developments in the field of automated driving result in ever increasing requirements on fast and secure data transmission from a wide variety of sources in vehicles and to the cloud,” said Lutz Meschke, Porsche SE board of management member responsible for investment management. “To address these central challenges of automotive transformation, Ethernovia offers technologically leading, integrated Ethernet chips with high bandwidth and advanced security solutions for the energy-efficient processing of large amounts of data. With our investment in Ethernovia, we are excited to support the world-leading experts in bringing the latest Ethernet technologies to vehicles around the world.”

Construction advances on Quantum Loophole's hyperscale fiber ring

Quantum Loophole, which is building a 43-mile fiber ring connecting the company’s 2,100+ acre Quantum Frederick data center campus in Maryland to the Ashburn, Virginia ecosystem, completed its North Potomac River Bore crossing, the second of two Potomac River crossings for the QLoop network conduit system. 

QLoop is designed to hold 34 conduits with full capacity of more than 235,000 strands of fiber. When complete, the system is designed to be capable of connecting Quantum Frederick to the Ashburn internet ecosystem in under one half millisecond Round Trip Time (RTT). 

“This has been by far one of the most challenging projects I have done in my entire career, with each river crossing taking about six-months to complete,” comments Josh Snowhorn, Founder and CEO of Quantum Loophole. “Now we continue with the terrestrial conduit built deep underground, placing our color coded 34x2” ducts, designed to hold 6,912 fiber trunks for a total capacity of over 235,000 strands of fiber. When complete, QLoop will be one of the largest capacity systems ever installed on a middle-mile metro network.”

In parallel developments, civil construction at the Quantum Frederick site is underway. At the 2100+ acre site, construction of roads, water, sewer and grading for a number of areas including the first substation are in motion. The substation site, taking up to 20 acres on the campus, is being graded for the first phase of power which will offer up to 240 MW. Power at the development site is scheduled to become available in April 2024. Soon thereafter, the second phase of power will be underway bringing an additional 336 MW of power to the site with additional tranches of power to follow in short order.

“We could not have done this project without the incredible dedication of the Quantum Loophole team,” Snowhorn continues. “We continue toward completion of our QLoop system with hundreds of feet of conduit a day being deployed. With the bores under the Potomac completed, it’s smooth sailing from here.”

AMS-IX Bangkok goes live

AMS-IX, together with HGC Global Communications Limited (HGC) and International Gateway Company Limited (IGC), celebrated the launch of a major new Internet Exchange in the capital of Thailand.

Under the terms of the partnership, HGC will serve as a commercial partner and marketing arm for AMS-IX Bangkok, while IGC provides IX infrastructure, network, and operation in Bangkok. AMS-IX, with their expertise on peering and network monitoring, will give technical support and has operational management of the exchange.

Bangkok is strategically located at the heart of Southeast Asia which makes it ideal as an international hub for exchanging Internet traffic and a perfect location as a gateway to the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). It is one of the prime locations where Internet companies exchange Internet traffic besides Singapore and Hong Kong. Nearly 250 million eyeballs in Southeast Asia can now enjoy an uplifted online experience.

Samsung debuts first 128 GB DRAM with CXL 2.0

Samsung Electronics introduced the first 128-gigabyte (GB) DRAM to support Compute Express Link (CXL) 2.0. The new CXL DRAM supports PCle 5.0 interface (x8 lanes) and provides bandwidth of up to 35GB per second.

CXL is a next-generation interface that adds efficiency to accelerators, DRAM and storage devices used with CPUs in high-performance server systems. CXL 2.0 supports memory pooling— a memory management technique that binds multiple CXL memory blocks on a server platform to form a pool and enables hosts to dynamically allocate memory from the pool as needed. 

Samsung said the introduction of the 128GB CXL DRAM based on CXL 2.0 will accelerate commercialization of next-generation memory solutions. 

“As a member of the CXL Consortium Board of Directors, Samsung Electronics remains at the forefront of CXL technology,” said Jangseok Choi, vice president of New Business Planning Team at Samsung Electronics. “This breakthrough development underlines our commitment to expanding the CXL ecosystem even further through partnerships with data center, server and chipset companies across the industry.”

Samsung plans to start mass producing CXL 2.0 DRAM later this year.

Montana's Triangle Communications upgrades with Ribbon's IP Optical

Triangle Communications, a telephone cooperative in  Montana, has upgraded its network with Ribbon's IP Optical solutions. The deployment includes Ribbon's NPT IP Routing and Apollo Optical Transport platforms.

Triangle's network which covers 24,000 square miles from Chester to Malta and from the Canadian border to the Wyoming border. 

"We're incredibly proud of our long-term partnership with Triangle Communications and are pleased to continue working with them to modernize their network," said Elizabeth Page, Senior Sales Director, Rural Markets, Ribbon. "As broadband usage continues to grow nationwide, our IP and Optical Services Platform provides fully programmable high-capacity routing and tailored optical networking solutions to fit the business needs of each service provider."