Thursday, September 14, 2023

NTT pioneers power transmission over optical fiber

NTT has successfully delivered electric power exceeding 1W to a remote location over more than 10 km using a single optical fiber. This achievement, which marks the world's first instance of maintaining high-speed and high-quality communication while transmitting power through an optical fiber, was accomplished in partnership with Kitami Institute of Technology, part of the National University Corporation Hokkaido Higher Education and Research System (KIT).

NTT says the breakthrough paves the way for extending high-speed optical communication to underserved regions, including areas without electrical power, and establishing emergency communication methods through optical fiber in disaster-stricken situations. Traditional technology limited the distance over which power could be supplied to drive optical communication devices to under 10 km due to optical fiber input light intensity constraints. 

In this experiment, NTT used multi-core optical fiber (MCF) with four optical paths (cores) with the same diameter as the commonly used optical fiber..

The MCF employed in this research matches the thinness of existing optical fibers, with each core exhibiting transmission characteristics identical to those of standard optical fibers.  Each core can function independently, avoiding optical signal interference between cores, allowing for core allocation to power supply, communication or both.

In this study, to maximize optical power supply, a 1550 nm wavelength light source was introduced into four cores. Additionally, two of the four cores were allocated both up and down signals with a wavelength of 1310 nm, facilitating bidirectional optical communication. The configuration allowed for two sets of two-core combinations, creating two separate communication systems.

The capacity of optical power supply can be expressed as the product of transmission distance and supplied power. In this research, MCF was leveraged to maximize power supply per unit cross-sectional area and mitigate return light, which can degrade power supply efficiency. As a result, after transmitting MCF over a distance of 14 km, approximately 1W of power was obtained. This achievement translates to an optical power supply capacity of 14 watt/km, setting a world record.

NTT will present details of its research on October 4, 2023, at the 49th European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) in Scotland.

BT tests liquid cooled network switches and servers

BT is trialling "precision liquid cooled" network switches using a solution provided by Iceotope and Juniper Networks QFX Series Switches, which are widely used in existing network cloud architectures. 

In addition to its trial with Iceotope and Juniper, BT will test the following liquid cooling systems, which were also demonstrated at BT Group’s Sustainability Festival:

  • Precision Liquid Cooled networking servers and data centre equipment, with Iceotope and Juniper
  • Full immersion of networking servers in an immersion tank, with Immersion4
  • Liquid-cooled cold plates of networking equipment in a cooling enclosure, with Nexalus
  • Cooling using sprayed-on partial immersion of data centre equipment, with Airsys.

BT Group expects that several different cooling solutions could eventually be deployed, depending on specific location and operational requirements. The trials will aim to establish which solutions are optimal for each scenario, and the extent of potential energy savings.

Maria Cuevas, Networks Research Director, BT Group said, “As the UK’s largest provider of fixed-line broadband and mobile services in the UK, it isn’t a surprise that over 90% of our overall energy consumption – and nearly 95% of our electricity - comes from our networks. In a world of advancing technology and growing data demands, it’s critical that we continue to innovate for energy efficiency solutions. Liquid cooling for network and IT infrastructure is one part of a much bigger jigsaw but is an area we’re very excited to explore with our technology partners.”

Napatech debuts IPU powered by Intel Xeon + Agilex 7 FPGA

Napatech introduced a 200 Gbps IPU (infrastructure processing unit) based on the Intel IPU Platform F2000X-PL, which leverages an an Intel Xeon D SoC and Intel Agilex 7 FPGA.

Napatech’s F2070XTM IPU is engineered for cloud, enterprise, and telecom data centers that are optimized for hybrid multi-cloud and edge-computing architectures, supporting applications that may be virtualized (virtual machines), cloud-native (containers), bare-metal and microservices-based.

The Napatech F2070X IPU is a 200 Gbps card that includes two ports configurable for 10, 25, and 100 gigabit Ethernet. Multiple versions are
available in various SoC, FPGA, and memory configurations, and are supported in standard, high-volume servers from multiple manufacturers.

The F2070X IPU is powered by Napatech’s feature-rich software and high-velocity roadmap that deliver NIC functionality, while offloading and accelerating networking (OVS), Storage (NVMe/TCP), Security (TLS), and other workloads.

Key benefits of IPUs: 

  • Performance: hardware-based, line-rate forwarding with sophisticated packet processing.
  • Efficiency: offloading of infrastructure processes, reclaiming valuable host CPU resources for applications and services.
  • Customization: software and hardware programmable, delivering hardware performance at the speed of software
  • Security: Hard isolation between tenant applications and services, and operator infrastructure processes.
  • Sustainability: tenant and service scalability per server, reducing cost, power, and cooling per rack.
  • Ease of Use: The Intel Xeon D processor simplifies moving the networking and storage stacks from the host to the

“Napatech is pleased to have reached this important milepost in our collaboration with Intel,” said Henrik Brill Jensen, CEO of Napatech. “Our joint efforts to bring IPU hardware and software solutions to IT organizations of every size unlock new high-growth markets for our products, and underpin our aim for transformational growth of our business.”

“Our collaboration with Napatech is an indication of our commitment to expanding our leadership in infrastructure processing in data center networks,” said Jim Dworkin, Vice President and General Manager of the Cloud & Enterprise Acceleration Division at Intel. “We are pleased to collaborate with Napatech to combine the high performance of Intel Agilex 7 FPGAs with Napatech’s production-grade hardware and software expertise. Napatech’s upcoming F2070X IPU isa high-performance data center infrastructure server on a PCIe card that can help deliver the scalable and high-performance products, solutions, and services customers require to make their cloud and enterprise data centers moreefficient and cost-effective with high feature velocity.”

Prisma Photonics raises $20M for optical sensing of power grids

Prisma Photonics, a start-up based in Tel Aviv, raised approximately $20 million in a Series C round for its optical sensing technology for monitoring large-scale infrastructure, such as power grids.

Prisma Photonics says its optical fiber sensing technology offers power transmission operators better ways to manage their grids. It allows them to maximize the electrical capacity of the current grid to increase the integration of renewable energy sources. Doing that, operators respond to new emerging regulations such as FERC order 881 in the U.S. and similar. Real-time alerts on electrical faults and extreme weather conditions such as wildfires and icing offer better ways to retain grid resiliency in changing environments. Prisma Photonics uses existing optical fibers and can monitor distances of up to thousands of kilometers without the need to install any sensors on the infrastructure itself.

The funding round was led by New York-based global private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners, with participation from Elements, a Climatech fund, SE Ventures (Schneider Electric's venture capital arm), Future Energy Ventures (the venture capital investment and collaboration platform of E.ON),  Events and alerts are reported in real time and within meters of accuracy.

"Grid congestion and the integration of renewable sources have become pressing challenges for power market operators such as our Tier-1 customers," states Dr. Eran Inbar, CEO of Prisma Photonics. "Our AI-driven technology not only adds a layer of resilience to the grid but also enables dynamic line rating capabilities, unlocking the full potential of existing infrastructure. This investment led by Insight Partners highlights the urgent need for innovative, scalable solutions in critical infrastructure management."

  • In January, Prisma Photonics, which has been using optical fibers to monitor Israel's national transmission electrical grid since 2020, was awarded a contract by Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to extend coverage to 1,000 km (over 620 miles), which is 20% of the transmission grid. 

Lumen expands its SASE with cloud-hosted gateways

Lumen introduced new Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) features including:

Security Service Edge (SSE) and cloud-hosted gateways

  • SSE is a collection of integrated, cloud-centric security capabilities – including cloud-hosted gateways – that provide safe access to websites. It also includes the access and sharing of sensitive data and user permission management for software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications provided by leading SD-WAN and security partners.
  • Cloud-hosted gateways enable organizations to adopt "grow as they go" network and security management features without the need for premise-based equipment.

Customers benefit from Lumen-hosted gateways because they:

  • Enable customers to migrate off shared gateways and onto a dedicated node providing enhanced security and reliability nationwide.
  • Provide flexible, centralized security services and dedicated cloud hosting with simplified and predictable pricing.
  • Enable secure remote access from virtually anywhere to the customer's data and cloud applications.

Global expansion

  • U.S.-based customers can now deploy premise-based SASE services to locations in Canada and EMEA.

VIAVI offers Network Intelligence and Optimization on Google Cloud

Viavi released its NITRO AIOps on Google Cloud.


  • Network Performance Optimization: NITRO AIOps enables CSPs to proactively monitor and optimize network performance. By identifying potential bottlenecks and anomalies, CSPs can take timely actions to ensure seamless network operations and consistent, high-quality service delivery. 
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: With granular insights into customer behavior and usage patterns, the solution allows CSPs to tailor services to individual preferences. This results in personalized offerings, improved customer satisfaction, and increased loyalty. 
  • Capacity Planning and Resource Management: The solution's AI-driven analytics aids CSPs in effective capacity planning and resource management. By optimizing network resources, CSPs can achieve better resource utilization and cost efficiency. 
  • Real-Time Anomaly Detection: AIOps empowers CSPs with real-time issue detection, enabling swift response to network anomalies and potential service disruptions, minimizing downtime and enhancing network reliability. 
  • Predictive Maintenance and Quality Assurance: By predicting potential network issues and faults, the solution helps CSPs adopt a proactive approach to maintenance and quality assurance, ultimately leading to improved service quality and reduced operational costs. 

"VIAVI constantly strives to provide innovative solutions and purposeful industry partnerships that address emerging opportunities in our markets. This partnership enables the transition to cloud-based networks with end-to-end visibility. Working with Google Cloud, we are pleased to offer critical problem-solving solutions for service providers as part of their native cloud services," said Deepak Shahane, Vice President and General Manager, Service Enablement, VIAVI. "As this partner demonstration shows, we aim to enable the industry to leverage VIAVI capabilities to improve operations and management that includes fully validated, provisioned, and observable networks in any use case."