Wednesday, June 21, 2023

OIF targets Linear Drive / Direct Drive interfaces

OIF has launched a new Energy Efficient Interfaces (EEI) Framework project focused on the next generation of low power optics, also referred to as “Linear” or “Direct Drive”, for data center networking, artificial intelligence (AI) training/machine learning (ML) and disaggregation applications.

“With an increasing industry-wide demand, particularly from data center operators, the focus on energy efficiency is more important than ever,” said Rob Stone, Meta Platforms and OIF Board Member. “Addressing this need head-on, the new OIF framework will explore energy-efficient interfaces for the optical interconnects of next-generation data centers that will support the performance scaling of current internet applications and enable groundbreaking AI-driven applications and immersive experiences.”

Through this project, OIF will explore and study energy-efficient links with less than fully retimed interfaces, which have the potential to unlock a multitude of benefits for diverse stakeholders. The objective is to identify critical applications and their requirements for next-generation electrical and optical links, including die-to-die, co-packaged, near-packaged and pluggable solutions. 

The project will conduct a thorough study to identify critical issues associated with these links and identify opportunities to pursue interoperability standards. The findings of the study will be outlined in the Framework Document, which will serve as a technical white paper for the project.

“A primary goal of this project is to identify new opportunities for interoperability standards, laying the groundwork for potential future collaborations at OIF or other standards organizations,” added Jeff Hutchins, OIF Board Member and Physical & Link Layer (PLL) Working Group Co-Packaging Vice Chair and Ranovus.

“OIF is always listening to the wants and needs our members bring forward, and this project start proposal authored by several industry leading companies directly addresses a need that exists across many IT applications,” said Nathan Tracy, OIF Co-chair of the Market Awareness and Education committee and TE Connectivity. “This one project has the potential to significantly benefit several critical industry applications.”

Additionally, Yi Tang, Cisco Systems, was recently appointed as PLL Working Group Electrical Vice Chair.

Cisco to acquire Accedian for Service Assurance

Cisco announced plans to acquire Accedian, a privately-held company based in Montreal that offers performance analytics and end user experience solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of Cisco’s FY24. 

Accedian's cloud-native Skylight service assurance solution provides granular, end-to-end visibility within “the massive multi” – multi-layer, multi-cloud, and multi-vendor networks. Skylight leverages its high-quality performance data, analytics and machine learning to identify, predict and prevent customer-impacting issues. It uses both hardware and software sensors across network traffic from Layer 2 to Layer 7 on physical, virtualized, and cloud infrastructure.

Accedian says its platform enables customers to launch new assured services based on 5G, SD-WAN and edge technologies. 

Accedian and Cisco have partnered on  a joint automation and assurance solution for service provider customers. 

“Accedian was born in the heart of the world’s largest and most complex networks,” said Dion Joannou, CEO of Accedian. “When we were acquired by Bridge Growth Partners, a leading technology investment firm, in 2017 we transformed the company, accelerated its growth, and evolved to a SaaS-first service assurance platform.  Microseconds matter to customers and customer experience, and precise, granular performance visibility is a foundational requirement for closed-loop automation, agile telco cloud environments, and latency-sensitive 5G services. We look forward to bringing our critical capabilities to a wider set of solutions within Cisco’s Networking portfolio and taking the next step in the partnership we have built with Cisco and our joint customers over the last years.”

In a blog post, Cisco's Kevin W writes  "Cisco has a unique opportunity to link that data into Cisco ThousandEyes’ cloud for end-to-end network assurance. We look forward to welcoming the  Accedian team and working to accelerate Cisco’s vision of bringing high-performance assurance to Service Providers. The  Accedian team will join my Data Center and Provider Connectivity organization within Cisco Networking."

Tech Update: Next Gen Data Switches, DPUs, and Network Services

Top considerations for data center switches till now included speeds, feeds, latency, capacity, telemetry, power consumption and management features. The game is changing. 

In this video, Larry Lunetta discuses next gen data center switches that will bring advanced network services capabilities and which will leverage DPU-powered SmartNICs to boost performance.

Filmed at HPE Discover 2023 in Las Vegas.

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Tech Update: Private 5G Opportunities for Service Providers and Enterprises

Following the recent acquisition of Athonet, HPE's Tom Craig discusses the opportunities for communication service providers and enterprises in the private 5G space. 

Filmed at HPE Discover 2023 in Las Vegas.

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Proxxima deploys Padtec’s 400 Gbps transponder in northeast Brazil

Proxxima Telecom, a telecommunications service provider in Paraíba state, is deploying Padtec’s dual 400 Gbps transponder to upgrade its DWDM transport network in the northeast of Brazil. 

Proxxima, which is headquartered at the city of Campina Grande, began its expansion at the end of last year by building its first DWDM network connecting the municipalities of Campina Grande and Caruaru, in the neighboring state of Pernambuco. 

According to Leonardo Gomes, CEO of Proxxima, now the intention is to expand the carrier's operations to other neighboring cities and states. “The goal is to offer high quality services in a wider geographic area. With this investment, Proxxima reinforces its commitment to providing advanced and innovative solutions, which should strengthen and expand its presence in the Northeast region and drive the company's growth,” he says.

For the expansion, the carrier used a credit line from the investment fund in credit rights (receivables) - FIDC, launched by Padtec together with BNDES Participações (BNDESPar) in 2021. This fund uses resources from the Fund for Technological Development of Telecommunications (Fundo para o Desenvolvimento Tecnológico das Telecomunicações or FUNTTEL), from the Brazilian Ministry of Communications. The objective is to facilitate access to capital funds by small and medium-sized Brazilian industries that operate in the telecommunications sector.

Carlos Raimar, CEO and Investor Relations Officer at Padtec, emphasizes that the offer of different facility options reinforces the company's commitment to the growth of its customers. “For some years, Padtec has been committed to making the expansion of providers networks financially viable,” he says. “The credit facilities bring new options of financial resources to be allocated in capacity increase and operations expansion, in addition to improving the capacity and quality of networks, thus allowing Padtec to keep up with demand growth in the time necessary to meet business and customers requirements,” he adds.

Padtec also offers the market financing options through Finep (the Brazilian federal government's technology and innovation investment arm), FIDC established with the Sifra group, vendor financing with local private banks and forfait operations for international sales.

CableLabs and TIP validate OpenWiFi


CableLabs and Telecom Infra Project (TIP) announced the successful validation of new interoperable hardware and software for OpenWiFi, version 2.9, and the commissioning of a refreshed OpenWiFi Community Lab to serve as a testing ground and demonstration stage for global cable operators. This new initiative is part of CableLabs’ ongoing collaboration with the Telecom Infra Project. 

 OpenWiFi is a community-developed open-source platform designed to lower the cost of developing and operating Wi-Fi networks. It includes a cloud controller SDK and an enterprise-grade access point (AP) firmware, and is designed and validated to work seamlessly together. Interoperable companies participating in the trial and OpenWiFi Lab include hardware manufacturers ActionTec, EdgeCore, HFCL, Indio Networks and Lindsay Broadband, and software cloud controllers companies HFCL, NetExperience, Wavespot, and Indio Networks. 

This new version of OpenWiFi is built on the uCentral communication layer and supports Multi Pre-Shared Key allowing devices to log in based on MAC address. It also supports a captive portal to require user interaction before they are granted Wi-Fi access. For advanced connectivity, OpenWiFi supports OpenRoaming, from the Wireless Broadband Alliance, a roaming federation service enabling an automatic and secure Wi-Fi experience globally.  

“CableLabs has supported OpenWiFi since the launch and we believe in the power of open and disaggregated Wi-Fi solutions,” said Josh Redmore, principal architect, wireless access technologies for CableLabs. “This new version of OpenWiFi leverages open-source software and hardware to greatly reduce the barrier to entry of deploying managed Wi-Fi.”  

“By having OpenWiFi work seamlessly with OpenRoaming out of the box, it creates strategic business opportunities in verticals including retail, hospitality, education, and multi dwelling units,” said Tiago Rodriques, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance. “It’s a smart move by the community developing and building the OpenWiFi solution to include OpenRoaming capabilities.”

  • Launched in 2021, TIP OpenWiFi has announced commercial deployments in the United States with Boingo Wireless, in India with Spectra, in Pakistan with Multinet, in Kenya with ThinkWiFi and Mawingu, and a trial with the City of Dublin and Virgin Media that complies with the European Commission’s WIFI4EU initiative, the benchmark for public Wi-Fi deployments in Europe. Use cases include MDU, Hospitality and Smart Cities, with others on the horizon.

Napatech and Jabil offer optimized server for low-latency Fintech

Napatech and Jabil have developed a server platform for high-bandwidth, low-latency, financial technology (Fintech) applications.

Jabil’s new J322-S server offers pre-validated network adapter configurations that include the Napatech NT100 and NT200 SmartNICs, which perform low-latency lossless networking at 100Gbps and 200Gbps respectively. The SmartNICs also enable complete replay of transaction data with nanosecond precision, for use in analytics, testing and simulation.

“Jabil’s J322-S 2U rackmount server based on the high-performance 4th Gen Intel Xeon Dual Socket processor is optimized to meet the demanding needs of our Fintech customers,” said Ed Bailey, vice president of technology, Jabil Cloud and Enterprise Communications. “Storage needs are addressed by offering NVMe, SAS and SATA drives for hot- pluggable hybrid storage, while the available programmable Napatech SmartNICs deliver the high-performance, low-latency networking features that are required for Fintech applications. We are pleased to team with Napatech on these platforms and look forward to future collaboration as our customers’ needs and opportunities evolve.”

“As Fintech applications become higher-performance and more complex, standard Network Interface Cards (NICs) are unable to handle the increased line speed while delivering data without packet loss,” said Charlie Ashton, senior director of business development at Napatech. “Napatech’s programmable SmartNICs, however, support line speeds up to 200Gbps with zero packet loss under all conditions, while also including large on-board buffers that absorb microbursts and ensure peak network performance at all times. “

Broadcom ships 2nd gen Wi-Fi 7 chips

Broadcom is sampling its second generation of wireless connectivity chipset solutions for the Wi-Fi 7 ecosystem, spanning Wi-Fi routers, residential gateways, enterprise access points, and client devices. 

The first chip, the BCM6765, is a highly-optimized residential access point chip that supports 320 MHz 2-stream Wi-Fi operation. This new platform system-on-chip (SoC) allows the productization of Wi-Fi 7 mass-market access points and smart repeater solutions which span the spectrum of cost, form factor, and performance. 

The second chip, the BCM47722, is an enterprise access point chip that also supports 320 MHz 2-stream operation along with dual IoT radios that support simultaneous operation for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Zigbee, Thread, and Matter protocols. This SoC addresses the growing needs of Internet of things (IoT) applications in the enterprise Wi-Fi market. 

The third chip, the BCM4390, is a low-power Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 802.15.4 combo chip designed for use in mobile devices such as handsets and tablets. It supports 160 MHz 2-stream Wi-Fi operation, dual Bluetooth, and Zigbee, Thread, and Matter protocols to service a broad set of mobile markets.

Broadcom Wi-Fi 7 ecosystem includes

  • support for 3-link MLO, which reduces latency by 50% compared to typical 2-link implementations. 
  • supports for its proprietary SpeedBooster feature, which allows 160 MHz devices, such as mobile devices based on the BCM4390, to use the full 320 MHz access point capacity, thereby doubling Wi-Fi connection speed. 
  • Automatic Frequency Coordination (AFC) for optimal spectrum allocation to enable high-power access points and extend 6-GHz transmit range in both indoor and outdoor environments. 
  • support the latest Bluetooth 5.4 standard 
  • forward-compatibility with the draft Bluetooth Channel Sounding specification for location services, which brings a wide range of new features both to mobile handsets, such as secure vehicle keyless entry, and enterprise access points, including support for asset tracking and electronic shelf labels. 

“High-speed, low-latency wireless connectivity is essential for our homes and offices alike. We launched a complete Wi-Fi 7 ecosystem for mobile handsets and residential and enterprise networks last year to power the next generation of digital experiences,” said Vijay Nagarajan, vice president of marketing for the Wireless Communications and Connectivity Division at Broadcom. “With these three new products, Broadcom enables its customers to build a diverse set of best-in-class Wi-Fi 7 products across a wide range of markets.”

Rivada Space Networks and Artel collaborate on satellite links

Rivada Space Networks (RSN) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Master Services Agreement (MSA) with Artel to bring a new level of high security and low latency satellite communications to the government market through low earth orbit (LEO) constellations.

Rivada's OuterNET constellation will offer customers high-speed, highly secure global communications

Artel is a carrier-agnostic integrator that provides secure network communication services to U.S. government agencies.

Rivada's upcoming LEO constellation will offer access to a secure satellite network with pole-to-pole reach, promising end-to-end latencies similar to or better than terrestrial fiber. The RSN satellite architecture combines inter-satellite laser links with advanced onboard data routers to create an optical mesh network in space. 

Artel is already using first generation LEO constellations to deliver secure communications for government communications.  

"We are committed to delivering state-of-the-art technology solutions to the US Government", said Ed Spitler, Head of Satcoms Programs at Artel. "The Rivada constellation brings a new level of security, performance and global reach that will enable our customers to not only expand their current networks but also address new market opportunities.  We are excited to partner with RSN to provide the next generation of secure connectivity."

Declan Ganley, CEO, Rivada Space Networks, said: "Rivada has a long history of providing mission critical communications, including deploying an emergency network for first responders in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Now with the advanced capabilities of our LEO satellite constellation, where data travels through space alone, we are building something unique, which we call the 'OuterNET.' This new, real private network will provide ultra secure, highly reliable low latency communications anywhere on the globe. And with our manufacturing and launch-services agreements in place, we are moving ahead at full speed to provide our partners with our ground-breaking constellation."