Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Cisco targets AI features for collaboration and security

Cisco previewed generative AI features for its Collaboration and Security portfolios that are expected later this year.

A top AI feature is a generative AI-powered summarization capabilities in Webex. The AI will extract the key points, and capture action items with owners. Cisco said the capabilities will ask users to opt in.

In the Vidcast video messaging tool, the AI will produce highlights and chapters. For contact centers, conversation summaries will provide agents with a fast, automated way to consume long-form text from digital chats with customers as well as facilitating post-call wrap-up and resolution with customers. For example, if a customer is escalated to a call with a human agent, they expect that agent to be informed and not have to repeat their frustrations. 

New generative AI capabilities are aimed at policy management and improved threat response. The Cisco Security Cloud will leverage a generative AI Policy Assistant to address this problem by enabling security and IT administrators to describe granular security policies and evaluate how to best implement them across different aspects of their security infrastructure. 

Cisco’s security operations center (SOC) Assistant will augment security analysts with context, correlating intel across the Cisco Security Cloud platform solutions, relaying potential impacts, and providing recommended actions.

The Cisco Policy Assistant can reason with the existing firewall policy set to implement and simplify rules within the Cisco Secure Firewall Management Center. 

“Generative AI will quickly become pervasive as we see businesses and workers embrace the technology to become materially more productive,” said Jeetu Patel, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Security and Collaboration, Cisco. “At Cisco, we’ve been using AI for years. Now we’re unveiling how we’re incorporating generative AI into our existing products, helping customers drive real value to unlock the most secure, unrivaled work experiences possible.”

AT&T and Cisco expand SD-WAN capabilities / reach

AT&T and Cisco are expanding their existing partnership to enhance SD-WAN connectivity with add-on services such as 5G and broadband.

The partnership will also natively integrate Cisco’s Webex Calling with the AT&T mobile network to provide a mobile-first and unified collaboration experience via a single business mobile number.

For small and medium businesses, AT&T is launching a new self-service option to simplify and accelerate SD-WAN deployment.

For larger enterprises, AT&T SD-WAN with Cisco is a fully managed connectivity solution with embedded security and analytics. 

Cisco will also provide the ability to embed AT&T wireless connectivity into Cisco devices enabling zero touch provisioning for Cisco and AT&T customers, through AT&T Control Center powered by Cisco.

"The network is at the core of the modern workforce. The ability to get things done is no longer reliant on where you are, but how you are connected," said Jonathan Davidson, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Cisco Networking. "Hybrid work only works when there is a seamless, consistent, and secure experience for workers, regardless of location.”

Emirates’ du builds 5G fixed wireless with Nokia

du, which is part of Emirates Integrated Telecommunication Company, is deploying a Multi-Access Gateway (MAG) to deliver both residential and business broadband services over 4G/5G fixed-wireless access, in addition to mobile services.

The installation will leverage Nokia 7750 Service Routers, FastMile 5G gateways, MAG, and Nokia professional services.

The companies said fixed-wireless broadband is emerging as one of the most significant use cases of 5G.

Saleem AlBlooshi, Chief Technology Officer, du, said: “Fixed-wireless access is a vital and highly effective initiative, enabling us to provide cutting-edge use cases such as smart home and IoT solutions to our valued subscribers. As a trailblazer in this domain, du takes immense pride in being the first in the MEA region to implement this ground-breaking solution.”

Rima Manna, Vice President, Middle East Market Unit at Nokia MEA, said: “Fixed-wireless access is becoming a game-changer for bringing innovative broadband services to residential and business users. Nokia is committed to helping mobile and converged operators develop new applications and revenue streams with FWA. “

IBM to open Quantum Data Center in Germany

IBM will open its first Europe-based quantum data center in 2024 in Ehningen, Germany, and will serve as IBM Quantum's European cloud region. 

IBM said the data center is being designed to help clients continue to manage their European data regulation requirements, including processing all job data within EU borders. The facility will be IBM's second quantum data center and quantum cloud region, after Poughkeepsie, New York.

"Europe has some of the world's most advanced users of quantum computers, and interest is only accelerating with the era of utility scale quantum processors," said Jay Gambetta, IBM Fellow and Vice President of IBM Quantum. "The planned quantum data center and associated cloud region will give European users a new option as they seek to tap the power of quantum computing in an effort to solve some of the world's most challenging problems."

"At T-Systems, we are collaborating with IBM to combine quantum and classical computing in a seamless and scalable experience for our customers to explore applications of quantum computing," said Adel Al-Saleh, Deutsche Telekom board member and Chief Executive of T-Systems. "Having access to a quantum data center dedicated to Europe will help lower the access barrier for our customers as they decide on how to take their first, decisive steps in exploring and using quantum."

Dell’Oro: Hyperscale drives strong SP router demand in Q1

The worldwide Service Provider (SP) Router and Switch market saw extraordinarily strong growth in the 1Q 2023 fueled by hyperscalers and an unleashed component supply that allowed equipment vendors to fulfill orders and catch up on backlogs, according to a newly released report from Dell’Oro Group. 

 “We were caught by surprise as revenues blew through the roof, growing 15 percent year-over-year. Only three times in the past twelve years has the SP Router market increased at this rate. For over two years, component supplies have constrained vendors’ ability to fulfill orders, and orders were piling to record levels,” said Ivaylo Peev, Senior Analyst at Dell’Oro Group. “For the short-term outlook, we may see another quarter of strong growth, but do not expect it to be sustainable as customers need time to digest inventory, and the bulk of the market deployments come from Telecom SPs which refresh their networks at a steady pace.

“We have seen particular strength recently from Hyperscalers in North America which deploy routers to interconnect geographically dispersed facilities, to connect to Telecom SP wide area networks, and to connect inside the data centers. Within the data center, we are seeing a significant increase towards high-speed network connectivity such as 200 Gbps and 400 Gbps Ethernet switch deployments, which in turn have a cascading effect on the network core. Top router manufacturers benefited from this trend, of notable mention Cisco gained two-share points during the quarter, climbing to its highest level since 1Q 2019,” continued Peev.

 Additional highlights from the 1Q 2023 Service Provider Router and Switch Report:

  • In 1Q 2023, we saw double-digit market growth across all regions except EMEA, which declined. North America led the market with sizable growth, followed by the CALA (Caribbean and Latin America) and APAC.
  • Starting 1Q 2023, we separately report 400 Gbps port shipments. The demand for routers supporting 400 Gbps connectivity continued to grow among both Cloud and Telco SPs, and Hyperscale’s demand was particularly strong in this quarter. We estimate 400 Gbps ports compose approximately 5 percent of total port shipments in 2023.
  • Within the Edge Router segment, Juniper, Ciena, and ZTE gained share.

NEC selected for East Micronesia Cable System

NEC signed a contract  for construction, supply and installation of an optical fibre submarine cable system to be called East Micronesia Cable System (EMCS).

EMCS, with a total length of approximately 2,250km, will connect four islands amongst FSM (Pohnpei and Kosrae), Kiribati (Tarawa) and Nauru with a large-capacity optical fibre submarine cable. This is the first submarine cable connection for the islands of Tarawa (Kiribati), Nauru and the state of Kosrae (FSM).

The contract was awarded by FSM Telecommunications Cable Corporation, based in the Federated States of Micronesia, BwebwerikiNet of the Republic of Kiribati, and Nauru Fibre Cable Corporation. The project is supported by the governments of Australia, Japan and the United States, and will be implemented with grant funding from the three countries. 

Gordon Segal, Chief Executive Officer of FSMTCC and Chairman of the EMCS Management Committee, said “Kosrae is the only state in FSM that remains without a submarine cable connection. This project will support equal access to digital connectivity across all four states of FSM and greatly enhance our ability to access information and essential services. We thank all our project partners for their support and collaboration.“ 

Fortinet names 11 SD-WAN partners

Fortinet announced that 11 new managed security service providers (MSSPs) have adopted Fortinet Secure SD-WAN: Kyndryl; 11:11 Systems; Claro Empresas; Globe Business; InfiniVAN; KT Corporation; Neurosoft; Sify Technologies; SPTel; solutions by stc; and Tata Teleservices.

Fortinet said its Secure SD-WAN serves as the foundation for organizations to seamlessly adopt advanced networking technologies including Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), SD-Branch, and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA).

Fortinet secure networking solutions converge networking and security capabilities and are built to be easily expanded across. Fortinet integrates and manages SD-WAN, SASE, SD-Branch, and ZTNA with a single operating system.

AWS releases a Snowblade for U.S. Department of Defense

Amazon Web Services announces the availability of AWS Snowblade, a 5RU compute/storage rack, for U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract customers. 

AWS Snowblade is designed to provide AWS compute, storage, and other hybrid services in remote locations, including Denied, Disrupted, Intermittent, and Limited (DDIL) environments for the DoD. 

AWS Snowblade is the first AWS Snow Family device designed to meet U.S. Military Ruggedization Standards (MIL-STD-810H). With support for 208 vCPUs, the package is the densest compute device of the AWS Snow Family allowing JWCC customers to run demanding workloads in space, weight, and power (SWaP) constrained edge locations.

AWS Snowblade adds to the AWS hybrid cloud and edge computing services that extend AWS infrastructure and services to the tactical edge, helping run low-latency applications close to where data originates, is processed, and acted upon. AWS Snowblade supports a select set of AWS services that include Amazon EC2, AWS IAM, AWS CloudTrail, AWS IoT Greengrass, AWS Deep Learning AMIs, Amazon Sagemaker Neo, and AWS DataSync.

Nokia: Surge in malicious IoT botnet activity

Malicious IoT botnet traffic surged fivefold over the past year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and stemming from the growing increase in profit-driven hacking collectives operated by cybercriminal, according Nokia’s newly released Threat Intelligence Report.

The report is based on data aggregated from monitoring network traffic on more than 200 million devices globally where Nokia NetGuard Endpoint Security product is deployed.

Some highlights

  • The number of IoT devices (bots) engaged in botnet-driven DDoS attacks rose from around 200,000 a year ago to approximately 1 million devices, generating more than 40% of all DDoS traffic today..
The number of trojans targeting personal banking information in mobile devices has doubled to 9%, 
  • Malware infections in home networks declined from a Covid-high of 3% to 1.5%, close to the pre-pandemic level of 1%, as malware campaigns targeting the wave of at-home workers tapered off, and more people returned to office work environments.