Monday, June 19, 2023

Equinix Fabric to bring 50 Gbps virtual connections to Google Cloud

Equinix will introduce 25 and 50 gigabits per second (Gbps) virtual connections to cloud service providers via its software-defined Equinix Fabric platform beginning in Q3 2023.

"We are excited to collaborate with Equinix and expand our offerings for customers via our Partner Interconnect solution for private cloud access," said Muninder Sambi, VP/GM, Product Management, Cloud Networking, Google Cloud. "As we continue to see a rise of distributed applications in hybrid cloud environments, the need for highly performant, low-latency, secure connectivity between public and private cloud continues to grow. Enabling the provisioning of private connections to Google Cloud from Equinix locations using Equinix Fabric enables customers to securely build, manage and monitor global networks and application workloads simply and efficiently."

Mitsubishi demos light source module for space lasers

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation demonstrated laser optical frequency control using a new light source module, a key component of an envisioned high-capacity laser optical communication network to be deployed in outer space. 

The module, which produces a 1.5-µm wavelength signal, was installed in the OPTIMAL-1 nanosatellite developed through an industry-academia collaboration and released from the International Space Station (ISS) on January 6. The use of a nanosatellite enabled the demonstration to be carried out faster and at lower cost than using a conventional large satellite.

Mitsubishi Electric expects space-based optical technologies  could increase data capacity (by ten times or more) as well as communication speeds and distances compared to systems that use radio waves.

OneWeb to provide LEO backhaul for Telstra

OneWeb will provide low Earth Orbit (LEO) backhaul for Telstra commercial mobile network in Australia. OneWeb currently more than 630 satellites in orbit , with global coverage on track for the end of the year. OneWeb’s services are anticipated to begin in Australia mid-year, with worldwide service available in early 2024.

After testing in Australia, Telstra and OneWeb have agreed commercial terms and will begin moving hundreds of existing remote mobile base stations currently using satellite backhaul to OneWeb’s LEO solution from later this year. 

OneWeb will provide up to 25 Gbps of LEO capacity to remote mobile sites across Australia.

Nikos Katinakis, Telstra Group Executive, Global Networks and Technology, states “It allows us to extend our options for our consumer, small business and enterprise customers in hard-to-reach places across rural and regional Australia - especially those that require added redundancy in the instance of a power or transmission incident. Our initial focus is using the service as a backhaul medium to connect remote mobile base stations. In time, it also offers us capability to deliver voice and fixed broadband services to regional Australia."

“We plan to extend the testing program for additional use cases including network backhaul resilience, such as a back-up to fixed backhaul for selected critical sites. As well as into emerging use cases for business, enterprise and government customers like IoT and connectivity on the move for the emergency services agencies, mining, oil and gas sector,” he said.

David Thorn, Vice President, APAC at OneWeb, said "From our perspective, it's one of the largest single rollouts of LEO satellite capacity for mobile backhaul worldwide. Telstra will also be pivotal in collaborating with us on future generations of OneWeb product development."

KPN acquires Primevest’s fiber network in Netherlands

KPN has acquired the fiber network of Primevest Capital Partners in the Netherlands. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Primevest network consists of 127k homes passed in urban areas in The Hague, Rotterdam and Eindhoven. 

KPN said the dea is in line with its strategy to expand its fiber network and cover ~80% of the Netherlands with fiber by 2026. KPN has an open access network through which wholesale providers can offer their services.

Wouter Stammeijer, Chief Technology & Digital Officer and member of the Board of Management of KPN: “The acquisition of Primevest’s fiber network is a welcome addition to our existing fiber footprint, which totals 4 million households. We’ve been making strong progress with our fiber roll out, which is at the heart of our strategy. In the next few years we will be fully focused to complete this project.”

Intel releases Tunnel Falls quantum chip to R&D partners

Intel released Tunnel Falls, a 12-qubit quantum chip in silicon chip for the research community. Intel also announced a collaboration with the Laboratory for Physical Sciences (LPS) at the University of Maryland, College Park’s Qubit Collaboratory (LQC), a national-level Quantum Information Sciences (QIS) Research Center, to advance quantum computing research.

Fabricated on 300-millimeter wafers in the D1 fabrication facility, the 12-qubit device leverages Intel’s most advanced transistor industrial fabrication capabilities, such as extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) and gate and contact processing techniques. In silicon spin qubits, information (the 0/1) is encoded in the spin (up/down) of a single electron. Each qubit device is essentially a single electron transistor, which allows Intel to fabricate it using a similar flow to that used in a standard complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) logic processing line.

Intel believes silicon spin qubits are superior to other qubit technologies because of their synergy with leading-edge transistors. Being the size of a transistor, they are up to 1 million times smaller than other qubit types measuring approximately 50 nanometers by 50 nanometers, potentially allowing for efficient scaling. 

“Tunnel Falls is Intel’s most advanced silicon spin qubit chip to date and draws upon the company’s decades of transistor design and manufacturing expertise. The release of the new chip is the next step in Intel’s long-term strategy to build a full-stack commercial quantum computing system. While there are still fundamental questions and challenges that must be solved along the path to a fault-tolerant quantum computer, the academic community can now explore this technology and accelerate research development,” stated Jim Clarke, director of Quantum Hardware, Intel.

Vodafone and Three to merge UK operations

Citing the need for greater scale and cost efficiency, Vodafone Group Plc and CK Hutchison Group Telecom Holdings announced plans to merge their UK telecommunication businesses. Vodafone will own 51% of the combined business ("MergeCo") and CKHGT 49%.

The combined business commits to invest £11 billion in the UK over ten years with the aim of creating one of Europe's most advanced standalone 5G networks, while promising shareholders significant cost savings through operational synergies. These are expected to amount to more than £700 million of annual cost and capex synergies by the fifth full year post-completion, with an implied NPV of over £7 billion.

Current Vodafone UK CEO Ahmed Essam will become MergeCo CEO, and current Three UK CFO Darren Purkis will take the role of MergeCo CFO.

Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group Chief Executive, said: "The merger is great for customers, great for the country and great for competition. It's transformative as it will create a best-in-class - indeed best in Europe - 5G network, offering customers a superior experience. As a country, the UK will benefit from the creation of a sustainable, strongly competitive third scaled operator - with a clear £11 billion network investment plan - driving growth, employment and innovation. For Vodafone, this transaction is a game changer in our home market. This is a vote of confidence in the UK and its ambitions to be a centre for future technology."

Canning Fok, Group Co-Managing Director of CK Hutchison said: "Three UK and Vodafone UK currently lack the necessary scale on their own to earn their cost of capital. This has long been a challenge for Three UK's ability to invest and compete. Together, we will have the scale needed to deliver a best-in-class 5G network for the UK, transforming mobile services for our customers and opening up new opportunities for businesses across the length and breadth of the UK. This will unlock significant value for CK Hutchison and its shareholders, realise material synergies, reduce net financial indebtedness and further strengthen its financial profile."

Intel gains support from Germany for Magdeburg fab

Intel reached an agreement with the German federal government regarding incentives and financial support on its planned wafer fabrication site in Magdeburg, the capital of Saxony-Anhalt state.

Intel said the Silicon Junction project now encompasses an investment of more than 30 billion euros for two semiconductor fabs. The site is expected to create 7,000 construction jobs over the course of the first phase of the build, approximately 3,000 permanent high-tech jobs at Intel and tens of thousands of additional jobs across the industry ecosystem.

Intel also confirmed that the fab will use its advanced Angstrom-era technology and that it will produce chips for Intel Foundry Services customers as well as its own designs.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany said, “Today’s agreement is an important step for Germany as a high-tech production location – and for our resilience. Intel’s semiconductor production in Magdeburg is the single largest foreign direct investment in German history. With this investment, we are catching up technologically with the world’s best and expanding our own capacities for the ecosystem development and production of microchips. This is good news for Magdeburg, for Germany and for all of Europe.”

Intel plans assembly and test facility in Poland

Intel selected an area near Wrocław, Poland, as the site of a new semiconductor assembly and test facility.

Intel expects to invest up to $4.6 billion in the facility, which will have the capacity to expand. When completed, the facility will support approximately 2,000 Intel employees. 

Intel is now seeking approval and support from the European Commission.

Intel said its planned investment in Poland, combined with its existing wafer fabrication facility in Leixlip, Ireland, and its planned wafer fabrication facility in Magdeburg, Germany, will help create a first-of-its-kind end-to-end leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing value chain in Europe. 

“Poland is already home to Intel operations and is well positioned to work with Intel sites in Germany and Ireland. It is also very cost-competitive with other manufacturing locations globally and offers a great talent base that we are excited to help to grow,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger. “We’re grateful for the support from Poland as we work to grow the local semiconductor ecosystem and contribute to the EU's goal of creating a more resilient and sustainable semiconductor supply chain.”

HPE completes acquisition of Athonet

HPE completed its previously-announced acquisition of Athonet, a leading private cellular networking specialist. 

Athonet´s private 5G offers high levels of coverage, reliability and mobility across campus and industrial environments. It also augments the cost-effective, high-capacity connectivity provided by Wi-Fi. 

Athonet claims more than 450 deployments across diverse sectors including healthcare, transport and logistics, utilities, and government.

HPE said its international sales team and global partner network can accelerate Athonet’s private network deployments on a huge scale. 

One immediate opportunity it its telco customer base. The emergence of private 5G networks presents a remarkable opportunity for telcos, with enterprise customers demanding customized 5G experiences that offer low latency, increased reliability and extended range.