Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Celestial AI raises $100M for its Photonic Fabric Optical Interconnect

Celestial AI, a start-up developing an optical interconnect for disaggregated, exascale compute and memory clusters, raised $100 million in Series B funding.

Celestial AI is working on Optical Compute Interconnect (OCI) to enable disaggregation of scalable data center memory and accelerated computing.  The company says its Photonic Fabric is unconstrained by package beachfront limitations and can deliver data to any location on the compute die, directly to the point of consumption. It promises greater scalability and more than 10X lower latency and power consumption compared with any optical interconnect alternative, such as Co-Packaged Optics (CPO).

Celestial AI’s Photonic Fabric ecosystem will consist of AI compute, memory suppliers, hyperscalers and high-volume commercial supply chain partners. The technology is compatible with existing industry standards including CXL, PCIe, UCIe, JEDEC HBM, and proprietary electrical communication links. 

The new funding was led by IAG Capital Partners, Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) and Temasek’s Xora Innovation fund. Other major investors in the round include Samsung Catalyst, Smart Global Holdings (SGH), Porsche Automobil Holding SE, The Engine Fund, imec.xpand, M Ventures and Tyche Partners. 

“We are at the beginning of an unprecedented journey toward the next generation of intelligence which will transform our way of life,” said Dave Lazovsky, Celestial AI founder and CEO. “Generative AI and Recommendation Engines, which today are running on general purpose computing systems, have already begun to measurably impact business processes, products and services. A rapid transition will take place in the coming years as global data center infrastructure transitions from general purpose to accelerated computing systems. This next wave of data center infrastructure is being architected to deliver tremendous advancements in AI workload efficiencies, resulting from disaggregation of memory and compute resources which is enabled by optical interconnectivity. Our technology solutions are lighting the way to the future of accelerated computing.”

NTT activates Chennai data center campus connected to MIST subsea cable

NTT Ltd. inaugurated its latest hyperscale data center campus, Chennai 2, and the arrival of its subsea cable system - MIST in the city. 

The Chennai 2 campus is located in Ambattur, spread across 6 acres is a state-of-the-art project with a total planned capacity of 34.8 MW critical IT load from 2 data center buildings. The first facility, which is now live, has a 17.4 MW IT load capacity.

MIST subsea cable, constructed by consortium members including NTT Communications India Network Service Pte. Ltd. and Orient Link Pte. Ltd., is the first cable system for NTT group to directly provide connectivity to/from India. It spans an impressive 8,100 km and will connect Malaysia, India, Singapore, and Thailand. The MIST cable system also represents India's first cable landing of a 12-fiber pair capacity, capable of carrying more than 200 Tbps of data. 

Shekhar Sharma, CEO & Managing Director - NTT Global Data Centers & Cloud Infrastructure India Pvt. Ltd & NTT Communications India Network Services Pvt. Ltd. said, “The launch of the state-of-the-art data center campus along with the MIST cable system in Chennai mark major milestones in our journey in India. These projects are perfect examples of Japanese design quality and global expertise, tailored to the Indian market. They have reinforced our position as the leader for data center services in India and helped transform Chennai into the new destination for data centers in Southeast Asia. We’re glad to be able to play a part in making Chennai the gateway connecting digital businesses across India, Southeast Asia, and the world. With our capabilities, we’re eager to help our clients unlock greater value from their digital transformation efforts.”

With the launch of the Chennai 2 Data Center campus, NTT’s data center footprint in the country has grown to 16facilities, with more than 3.1 million sq. ft. (288,104.09 m2) and 205 MW of IT power, further strengthening its position as the market leader in India in this segment.

Broadband Forum launches Fixed Wireless Access Extension project

The Broadband Forum launched a project to help connect Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs), such as apartment complexes, with 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA).

The “Fixed Wireless Access Extension” project from Broadband Forum’s Wireless Wireline Convergence (WWC) Work Area will focus on reusing the existing property infrastructure cabling to extend FWA connections.

One issue commonly faced when using 5G mmWave technology, is the difficulty sending mmWave signals through walls. Gigabit and multi-gigabit services require operators to use mmWave within the 24 – 100GHz spectrum to reach the service speed criteria. At these high frequencies, signal strength can be attenuated as much as 45dB through each wall resulting in the 5G mmWave in-door coverage being uncertain and, in many cases, not possible.

A further challenge needs to be overcome if FWA modems are installed on the rooftop of an MDU as expensive Ethernet cabling must be laid to each apartment. Today, typically one FWA modem for each subscriber is deployed on the rooftop. In a large MDU this could require more than 100 modems to deployed, which presents the challenge of finding adequate rooftop space, the required RF separation, and co-site interference issues.

“Broadband Forum is aiming to address and solve these challenges by leveraging the existing in-building infrastructure, such as telephone wiring or coaxial cabling, to extend 5G FWA to each apartment within a hotel block or apartment complex,” said Christele Bouchat, Nokia and Wireless Wireline Convergence Work Area Co-Director at Broadband Forum. “We have launched this project to bring tangible benefits to operators and make the rapid and efficient delivery of multi-gigabit connectivity for residents and building owners a very real possibility.”

University of Twente studies quantum properties in optical chip

Researchers at the University of Twente used photons in an optical chip to demonstrate how quantum mechanics and thermodynamics can be true simultaneously. 

The results, which were recently published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, examined the properties of photons as they passed through entangled channels within an optical chip.

Thales: Security risks in the dynamic multicloud landscape

More than a third (39%) of businesses have experienced a data breach in their cloud environment last year, an increase on the 35% reported in 2022, according to the 2023 Thales Cloud Security Study.

Some highlights: 

  • Three quarters (75%) of businesses said that more than 40% of data stored in the cloud is classified as sensitive, compared to 49% of businesses this time last year.
  • More than a third (38%) ranked Software as a Service (SaaS) applications as the leading target for hackers, closely followed by cloud-based storage (36%).
  • Only a fifth (22%) of IT professionals reported that more than 60% of their sensitive data in the cloud is encrypted. According to the findings, on average, only 45% of cloud data is currently encrypted.
  • Only 14% of those surveyed stating that they controlled all of the keys to their encrypted data in their cloud environments. 
  • Almost two thirds (62%) say they have five or more key management systems – creating increased complexity when securing sensitive data.
  • More than three quarters (79%) of organisations having more than one cloud provider.
  •  In 2021, 16% of respondents reported their enterprises utilising 51-100 different SaaS applications, while in 2023 this percentage increased to 22%.
  • More than half (55%) expressed that managing data in the cloud is more complex than in on-premises environments – up from 46% compared to the previous year. 
  • Eighty three percent expressed concerns over data sovereignty, and 55% agreed that data privacy and compliance in the cloud has become more difficult.
  • The adoption of robust multi-factor authentication (MFA) has risen to 65%, indicating progress in fortifying access controls.
  • Only 41% of organisations have implemented zero trust controls in their cloud infrastructure, and an even smaller percentage (38%) utilises such controls within their cloud networks. 

"The study shows that organisations are operating in a dynamic multicloud landscape, demanding seamless and efficient access to on-demand IT infrastructure and services," stated Sebastien Cano, Senior Vice President for Cloud Protection and Licensing activities at Thales.

“Treating cloud environments as an extension of existing infrastructure while maintaining exclusive control and security of data, especially sensitive data, is key to cloud security. Customer control of encryption keys is essential as it allows organisations to leverage the scalability, cost efficiency, and accessibility benefits of the cloud while ensuring the utmost integrity and confidentiality of their valuable information.”

Telstra to offer voice-only and voice plus broadband by Starlink

Telstra will  become the first provider in the world to offer voice-only and voice plus broadband powered by Starlink to rural and remote Telstra customers in Australia. Under the agreement, Telstra will also provide connectivity options for our business customers in Australia and overseas, as a higher bandwidth business grade option in areas without fixed and mobile connectivity. Launch is expected later this year.

“Telstra is always looking to invest in new and better connectivity options for our customers. We know that collaborating with the right partners is one of the best ways to help unlock a digital future, in this case for people in rural and remote Australia looking for an improved voice or broadband service,”stated Telstra CEO Vicki Brady.

Telstra currently uses a mix of technologies to provide voice and broadband services in rural and remote Australia, including nbn Fixed Wireless, Telstra’s own world-leading mobile network and older copper and radio networks.

Nokia and Apple sign long-term patent license agreement

Nokia signed a new patent cross-license agreement with Apple which will replace the current license that is due to expire at the end of 2023. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nokia said it expects to recognize the revenue related to this new patent license agreement starting in January 2024.

Jenni Lukander, President of Nokia Technologies, said: “We are delighted to have concluded a long-term patent license agreement with Apple on an amicable basis. The agreement reflects the strength of Nokia’s patent portfolio, decades-long investments in R&D, and contributions to cellular standards and other technologies.”

Infinera names Scotty Benda as SVP of Worldwide Systems Engineering

Infinera named Scotty Benda as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Systems Engineering.  He previously held senior technical leadership positions with LightRiver Technologies, Ciena, Nokia, and Nortel.

“With a focus on delivering unparalleled value to our customers with industry-leading open optical platforms and intelligent pluggable solutions, Scotty brings deep technical expertise, proven leadership, and a customer-centric approach aligned with our go-to-market strategy,” said Nick Walden, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales. “I am excited to have Scotty at the helm of our sales systems engineering team as we leverage our best-in-class products, technology alliances, and partnerships to drive growth.”

Coherent appoints Dr Young-Kai Chen as Deputy CTO

Coherent appointed Dr. Young-Kai (Y.K.) Chen as Deputy Chief Technology Officer (DCTO), reporting to CTO Dr. Julie Sheridan Eng.

Prior to being named DCTO, Dr. Chen was Chief Scientist in Coherent’s New Ventures and Wide-Bandgap Electronics Technologies group. Before joining Coherent in 2021, he was a program manager at DARPA, where he initiated and managed programs in advanced semiconductor electronics, secured communications, and artificial intelligence and machine learning processing. Dr. Chen was previously a senior director at Nokia Bell Labs, responsible for advanced research and technology development in high-speed electronics and optoelectronics including integrated lasers, silicon photonics, coherent optical data links, and wireless backhaul transceivers.

Dr. Chen received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in Electrical Engineering. He is a Fellow of Bell Labs, IEEE, and Optica (OSA); a member of the National Academy of Engineering; and recipient of the prestigious IEEE David Sarnoff Award and the Edison Patent Award. He has authored or co-authored three book chapters and over 190 journal articles, and holds 33 U.S. patents.

Ericsson consolidates manufacturing and tech hubs in Estonia

Ericsson will consolidate all of its operations in Estonia into a single, state-of-the art, 50,000 sq m smart hub that comprises test labs, warehouses, production lines, and offices.  The company currently has more than 2,200 employees in Estonia. Its existing factory plays a strategic role in Ericsson’s global supply footprint, accounting for more than 40 percent of the industrialization of Ericsson 5G products.

The new smart manufacturing and technology hub in √úlemiste City in Tallinn represents a  green field investment of about EUR 155 million (US$169 million). The facility is expected to be operational in early 2026.