Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Ericsson Silicon powers its new RAN compute portfolio

 Ericsson introduced its most advanced RAN Compute products to date, designed for the network demands of 5G Advanced and enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and powered by latest generation of Ericsson silicon.

Ericsson’s next-generation RAN Compute portfolio includes four products with high and standard capacity variants, and with both enclosure and outdoor formats, to cater to varying site needs. The two high-capacity processors, RAN Processor 6672 and Radio Processor 6372, offer four times the capacity compared to previous generation and can support up to six 4G and 5G modes, in a single unit. Advanced 5G markets typically utilize three to four modes in basebands at present.

Ericsson says the additional modes made possible by the products announced today will allow CSPs to run more technologies simultaneously on one RAN Compute board, including 5G time division duplex (TDD) Massive MIMO, 4G and 5G frequency division duplex (FDD), and more, with modes to spare for future needs. 

Michael Begley, Head of RAN Compute, Ericsson, says: “Our new and enhanced RAN Compute portfolio was designed with Ericsson’s customers and their future needs in mind. It both addresses their need to maximize spectrum utilization and facilitates their desire to future-proof their networks with support for Open RAN architectures. The focus on innovation and energy efficiency while reducing both footprint and total cost of ownership has resulted in powerful hardware and software that is both reliable and flexible.”

Ericsson is working with Intel as key partner for this new generation of RAN Compute products, utilizing Intel 4 technology, as the two companies continue to build on their strategic collaboration.


  • Four next-generation processors in Ericsson RAN Compute: the high-capacity RAN Processor 6672 and Radio Processor 6372, as well as, standard capacity options, RAN Processor 6655 and Radio Processor 6355 
  • Two innovative software capabilities: Automated Carrier Aggregation, which helps automatically configure complex carrier aggregation cell relations using innovative software algorithms, as well as Carrier Aggregation Data Steering, a feature that significantly maximizes mid-band TDD spectrum utilization, while reserving the precious FDD capacity when needed. 
  • Two high-capacity Router 6000: Router 6678, a 4.8Tbps aggregation and Centralized RAN hub router that is three times more energy efficient compared to previous generation and Router 6671, an energy-efficient 25GE optimized cell site router. Both Router 6678 and 6671 have built-in intelligence for AI-analytics and automation, which can be leveraged through the new Ericsson Transport Automation Controller, announced separately 


  • In July 2023, Ericsson confirmed plans to use Intel’s 18A process and foundry service for its next-generation optimized 5G silicon.
  • 18A is Intel's most advanced node on the company's five-nodes-in-four-years roadmap. After new gate-all-around transistor architecture – known as RibbonFET – and backside power delivery – called PowerVia – appear first in Intel 20A, Intel will deliver ribbon architecture innovation and increased performance along with continued metal linewidth reduction in 18A.
  • Under the agreement, Intel will manufacture custom 5G SoCs (system-on-chip) for Ericsson to create highly differentiated leadership products for future 5G infrastructure. Additionally, the companies will expand their collaboration to optimize 4th Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors with Intel vRAN Boost for Ericsson’s Cloud RAN (radio access network) solutions to help communications service providers increase network capacity and energy efficiency while gaining greater flexibility and scalability.

Ericsson intros Transport Automation Controller powered by AI

Ericsson introduced a Transport Automation Controller that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze and automate microwave, IP and optical networks, providing communications service providers (CSPs) with an advanced solution for maximizing mobile transport network efficiency. 

The Ericsson Transport Automation Controller pinpoints degradations and capacity utilization issues and provides insights on how to optimize the overall network performance. 

Jari Augustin, Head of Product Line Transport Automation says: “Ericsson Transport Automation Controller is our latest cloud-native AI software that allows our customers to see, understand, and automate their microwave, IP and optical networks easily and cost-efficiently. It builds upon nearly 50 years of experience in microwave technology, with more than a decade of extensive research in artificial intelligence and machine learning for transport networks. This new product is a unique combination of an analytics tool and a software-defined network controller, leading the way toward a self-optimizing and self-healing transport network.”


Avicena shows its microLED-based multi-Tbps interconnect

At this week's SuperComputing Conference (SC23) in Denver, Avicena is demonstrating its 1 Tbps optical transceiver as part its microLED-based LightBundle multi-Tbps chip-to-chip interconnect technology.

Currently, high-bandwidth memory (HBM) modules must be co-packaged with GPUs because the GPU-memory electrical interconnect is limited to just a few millimeters in length. Subsequent HBM generations will require IC shoreline densities in the range of 10 Tbps/mm or more. 

Avicena says conventional optical interconnects based on VCSELs or Silicon Photonics (SiPh) promise to extend the interconnect reach but struggle to meet size, bandwidth density, power, latency, operating temperature, and cost requirements. Its microLED-based LightBundle interconnects provide higher bandwidth density, much smaller size, much lower power and latency, and very low costs.

“At Avicena we are excited to showcase the world’s most compact 1Tbps transceiver in the shape of a 3mm x 4mm CMOS ASIC using our patented microLED optical interface,” says Bardia Pezeshki, Founder and CEO of Avicena. “Everyone is talking about SiPh solutions for applications in AI clusters. However, for short reach interconnects with less than 10m reach, we believe that our LED based solution is inherently better suited because the compact size, higher bandwidth density, lower power and latency, and temperature tolerance up to 150°C.”


Compute Express Link (CXL) 3.1 spec released

The CXL Consortium announced the release of the Compute Express Link (CXL) 3.1 specification with improved fabric manageability to take CXL beyond the rack and enable disaggregated systems.

Highlights of the CXL 3.1 specification:

CXL Fabric improvements and extensions

  • Fabric Decode/Routing requirements
  • Fabric Manager API definition for PBR (Port Based Routing) Switch
  • Host-to-host communication with Global Integrated Memory (GIM) concept
  • Direct P2P CXL.mem support through PBR Switches

Trusted-Execution-Environment Security Protocol (TSP)

Memory Expander Improvements

  • Extended Meta Data with support for up to 32-bits per cache line of host specific state
  • Improved visibility into CXL memory device errors
  • Expanded visibility and control over CXL memory device RAS (Reliability, Availability, Serviceability)

Full backward compatibility with CXL 2.0, CXL 1.1, and CXL 1.0

IDC: Semiconductor Market Outlook Improves

IDC upgraded its Semiconductor Market Outlook by calling a bottom and return to growth that accelerates next year thanks to better visibility as the long inventory correction subsides in two of the largest market segments: PCs and smartphones.

IDC raised its September 2023 revenue outlook from $518.8 billion to $526.5 billion in a new forecast. Revenue expectations for 2024 were also raised from $625.9 billion to $632.8 billion as IDC believes the U.S. market will remain resilient from a demand standpoint and China will begin recovering by the second half of 2024 (2H24).

IDC notes that elevated inventory levels for the automotive and industrial segments are expected to return to normal levels in 2H24 as electrification continues to drive semiconductor content over the next decade. Technology and large flagship product introductions will drive more semiconductor content and value across market segments in 2024 through 2026, including the introduction of AI PCs and AI Smartphones next year and a much-needed improvement in memory ASPs and DRAM bit volume.

"We upgraded our Market Outlook to GROWTH as the semiconductor market returns to sustained growth," said Rudy Torrijos, research manager, Worldwide Semiconductor Supply Chain Technology Intelligence at IDC. "While inventory levels remain elevated with suppliers, visibility has clearly improved in the channel and with OEMs in key market segments. We see revenue growth matching end user demand beginning in 1H24. As a result, we expect capex to improve subsequently initiating a new investment cycle within the supply chain."

"Overall, IDC expects the total semiconductor industry to decline by 12% in 2023, which is an improvement from our September outlook. Revenues will continue to recover gradually and accelerate in 2024," said Mario Morales, group vice president, Semiconductors and Enabling Technologies at IDC. "The semiconductor market reached a bottom and has begun to grow on a quarter-over-quarter basis. ASPs are improving in DRAM, which is a good early indicator and IDC expects suppliers will continue to control capacity additions and utilization rates to drive a sustainable recovery. Accelerating demand for AI servers and AI-enabled end point devices will drive more semiconductor content in 2024-2026 fueling a new upgrade cycle across enterprises. We expect that by the end of our forecast period, AI silicon will account for almost $200 billion in semiconductor revenues."

Some additional highlights from IDC:

  • Wafer capacity pricing will remain flat next year as foundry suppliers gradually improve utilization rates and demand returns from their core fabless customers. 
  • CapEx is expected to improve by 2H24 as revenue shipments match end demand and regional ChipAct incentives stimulate investment across the supply chain.
  • Worldwide semiconductor revenue will grow to $526.5 billion in 2023, down 12.0% from $598 billion in 2022. This is up from the $519 billion IDC forecast in September. 
  • For 2024, IDC sees year-over-year growth of 20.2% to $633 billion, up from $626 billion in the prior forecast.


Canada opens FTTH in Ontario and Québec, Bell cuts capex

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is taking action on a temporary and expedited basis that allows competitors sell Internet services using the fibre-to-the-home networks of large telephone companies in Ontario and Quebec.

The CRTC is also setting the interim rates that competitors will pay when selling services over these fibre-to-the-home networks.

CRTC said it is taking this action due to the significant decline in competition for broadband services.

A public hearing on the issue is set for February 12, 2024.

“The CRTC is acting quickly to improve Internet services competition across Canada. Today’s initial decision will bring new options to more than five million households. As the CRTC’s review advances, Canadians can expect continued action to increase choice and affordability, while supporting investment in high-quality networks,” stated Vicky Eatrides, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, CRTC.

In response, Bell Canada has declared plans to cut its capital spending by more than $1 billion in the 2024-25 period, which includes a projected reduction of between $500 to $600 million in 2024 alone. This funding was initially earmarked for extending high-speed fibre Internet access to a substantial number of homes and businesses across rural, suburban, and urban areas. Furthermore, this cutback comes on top of a $100 million reduction in Bell's 2023 capital expenditure budget, a move made in anticipation of the CRTC's decision to steadfastly enforce wholesale access, a policy that Bell views as detrimental to essential network investments.

"When others scaled back investment at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bell leaned in and accelerated our annual capital expenditures to historic levels to provide Canadians with the reliable connectivity that they needed. Since 2020, we have invested over $18 billion in our networks and expanded high-speed fibre Internet to over three million homes and businesses across Québec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada and Manitoba. When public policy conditions in telecommunications support major investments and job creation, Canadians in small and large communities benefit directly from the best network technology available,” stated Mirko Bibic, President and Chief Executive Officer, BCE and Bell Canada.



From Bell's Q2 2023 investor presentation

Bell Canada and FirstLight team on 400G wavelength services

Bell Canada is working with FirstLight Fiber to offer 400G wavelengths services with triple redundancy routes between Secaucus, NJ, Toronto and Montréal.

The new routes will terminate in Equinix's data center campus in Secaucus, bypassing New York City for two routes:

  1. Toronto – Secaucus
  2. Montréal – Secaucus, via Albany
  3. Montréal – Secaucus, via the Maritimes, going through Manhattan

In addition to existing routes to New York City, these new routes will also enable triversity into New York City:

  • Toronto – Secaucus - NYC
  • Montréal – NYC, via Albany
  • Montréal – NYC, via the Maritimes

"With continued growth in data demand, – particularly because of cloud technology and AI delivered by leading telecom networks like Bell Canada – we are excited to fortify Bell's extensive footprint further with these new routes, which will enable faster and more reliable data transport between the major hubs in Secaucus, Toronto, and Montréal," states Ivan Mihaljevic, SVP, Bell Wholesale.


Keysight intros composable network test software

Keysight Technologies introduced composable network test platform based on open vendor-neutral API and designed for continuous integration (CI).

The new Keysight Elastic Network Generator (KENG) software integrates with several network emulation platforms, and drives a range of Keysight network infrastructure test software and hardware products. This includes containerized Ixia-c software and the new white box composable UHD400T line-rate 400GE traffic generator.

The Keysight Elastic Network Generator software:

  • Introduces a ‘Compliance as a Code’ workflow – Simplifies compliance testing, ensuring seamless vendor equipment qualification and interoperability.
  • Offers adaptability and can run in any containerized environment – Allows the same tests to be run in various environments including developer laptops, software pipelines in public / private clouds, certification labs, as well as data center and edge locations to facilitate collaborative multi-vendor testing.
  • Incorporates test cases from the field into the development cycle – Improves quality and avoids costly, repetitive design and test issues.
  • Enables write a test once and run it anywhere capabilities – Reduces the time-to-test and provides a more agile developer and tester user experience.
  • Accelerates network validation – Minimizes the need to use real network hardware to replicate physical network topologies in a lab.

Ram Periakaruppan, Vice President and General Manager, Network Test & Security Solutions, Keysight, said: “Keysight Elastic Network Generator software represents a significant departure from the legacy black-box approach. Our new solution seamlessly provides test coverage across the entire life cycle of network functions or services. Its open, disaggregated and API-first design has been field tested and proven to be ideal for modern DevOps.”

Adtran integrates Intel NetSec accelerator with Ensemble Cloudlet

Adtran is integrating the Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design with its Ensemble Cloudlet solution to enhance edge cloud deployments with advanced security, faster data processing and improved networking performance. 

The Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design delivers an advanced, Intel processor-based PCIe add-in card for encryption acceleration and compute offload in edge cloud applications. 

Adtran says that when paired with its Ensemble Cloudlet, the solution can be used to orchestrate and manage mission-critical edge applications, or for security workloads such as IPsec, SSL/TLS, firewall, SASE, analytics and inferencing. The solution can support various use cases such as network-as-a-service (NaaS), secure networking overlays including SD-WAN/SSE/ZTNA, and AI/ML processing offload.

“By integrating the Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design with our Ensemble Cloudlet, we’re providing a solution perfectly tailored for the challenges of today’s edge cloud networks. This combination not only streamlines workload hosting and bolsters network performance, but it also delivers a turnkey platform that merges scalable processing with intuitive control,” said Mike Heffner, GM of business solutions at Adtran.