Wednesday, December 13, 2023

OIF: Optics Leads the Way for Next Gen Data Centers

Nathan Tracy, OIF President, underscores the rising importance of machine learning and artificial intelligence in data centers, driving the need for increased bandwidth and density. 

- The future data centers will require a significant shift in bandwidth and bandwidth density to meet the demands of machine learning and artificial intelligence. This will inevitably drive power consumption and thermal management in these data centers.

- OIF is working on several key developments to enable the next generation of hyperscale data centers. These include the 200 Gbps electrical interface developments, which are optimized for the lowest possible power, and the development of the 112 Gbps Linear Optics specification, which provides significant savings on power consumption and cost.

- OIF has also initiated the Energy Efficient Interfaces project, which takes a holistic view of all the electrooptical link requirements needed in an AI data center. This includes fabric data rates and latencies required directly at the GPU and CPU interface, as well as the backend fabric where 200 gigabit will be a critical building block for next-generation bandwidth and bandwidth density.

Windstream carries 800G over 1,386km with Nokia

Windstream Wholesale and Nokia completed a trial of 800 Gigabit Ethernet (GE) service transmission over a single 800 Gbps wavelength on an over 1,386-kilometer link across Windstream’s live network.

The trial used Nokia FP5 IP service routing platforms with 800GE interfaces and Nokia optical transport platforms with 6th generation super coherent Photonic Service Engine (PSE-6s) technology. The demonstration validates the readiness of Windstream Wholesale’s network to provision 800GE business and wholesale services to support soaring customer traffic volumes.

The trial was conducted over Windstream’s Intelligent Converged Optical Network (ICON) backbone connecting Atlanta, Georgia, to Miami, Florida, and leveraging one of Windstream Wholesale’s latest East Coast ICON routes into Florida. The Nokia 7750 Service Router with an 800GE interface was connected to Nokia’s production-ready 1830 PSI-M optical transport platform with PSE-6s linecards operating at 800Gb/s per wavelength over a third-party WDM line system. The trial ran across 16 spans and seven ROADM nodes in the Windstream ICON network and demonstrated the first turn-up of error-free performance at 800G over a long-haul link with 800GE service bandwidth.

This combination of Nokia 800GE routing, shipping since 2022, and 800Gb/s long-haul optical transport enables Windstream Wholesale to efficiently scale network capacity over its backbone and provide wholesale Wave service connectivity at both 400GE and 800GE speeds. In addition, Windstream can utilize fewer client and transponder ports while reducing network power per bit for both IP and optical network layers. A significant industry milestone, this transport and technology breakthrough will undoubtedly pave the way for more advanced and efficient communication networks in the future.

“We are thrilled with the success of this trial and its confirmation of our continued optical technology leadership and readiness to deliver ever-greater bandwidth and service choice across our nationwide footprint,” said John Nishimoto, Windstream Wholesale senior vice president of product marketing and strategy. “We pride ourselves on being ‘fast and flexible,’ and with the combination of Nokia 800GE routing and PSE-6s technology we will continue to lead the marketplace in innovation and excellence.”

Nokia intros 6th gen super-coherent photonic service engine

Nokia introduced its sixth-generation super-coherent photonic service engine, enabling efficient delivery of 400G to 800 Gigabit Ethernet over distances of 2,000km and beyond. 

Nokia's PSE-6s, which integrates the latest generation of 5nm coherent digital signal processors (DSPs) with Nokia’s CSTAR silicon photonics, operates at 130 Gbaud for coherent transport at up to 1.2Tb/s of capacity per wavelength. The PSE-6s optical engines support a unique chip-to-chip interface that enables them to be deployed in pairs for 2.4 Tb/s coherent capacity, supporting any combination of high-speed client services including 400 and 800GE. 

Nokia says this next generation photonic service engine provides an economic case for 800GE services in metro and datacenter interconnect (DCI) applications, and with reach of 2,000km and beyond, across long-haul networks and trans-oceanic cables. In terms of energy efficiency, the PSE-6 promises network power reduction of up 40% per bit transported. 

Significantly, the PSE-6s cards can be deployed across the company's existing 1830 family of optical networking platforms, including the 1830 PSS, 1830 PSI-M and 1830 PSS-x, leveraging existing ITU-T WDM channel plans.

James Watt, Vice President Nokia Optical Networks, said: “Additional capacity often means additional complexity for operators. But PSE-6s is designed to make scale simple. PSE-6s is available as an upgrade across our portfolio. Powerful enough to redefine the frontier of coherent transport, it’s nevertheless simple to deploy, so network operators can take immediate advantage of its scale and performance capabilities. What’s more, these benefits come with lower power consumption per bit, resulting in a better TCO, as well as helping operators meet increasingly aggressive carbon reduction targets.”

Keysight 400GE Network Test Platform Validates Fortinet’s Hyperscale DDoS

The Keysight APS-M8400 network cybersecurity test platform was chosen by Fortinet to validate the hyperscale DDoS defense capabilities and carrier-grade performance of its FortiGate 4800F next-generation firewall. 

The APS-M8400 platform generated 3 Tbps of legitimate and malicious traffic in a single test, validating the hyperscale firewall protection offered by the FortiGate 4800F, which successfully defended against an 800 Gbps layer 2-3 DDoS attack while continuing to deliver 2.2 Tbps of legitimate layer 4-7 traffic. The single pane of glass management of the APS-M8400 allowed Fortinet to  configure the multiple compute node and FPGA resources required to run a hyperscale, multi-terabit test, reducing their overall test time and system maintenance.

John Maddison, Executive Vice President of Products and Chief Marketing Officer, Fortinet, said: “The FortiGate 4800F is the industry’s fastest compact hyperscale firewall, offering carrier-grade performance and scalability to safeguard datacenters and service providers as cyberattacks continue to accelerate at an unprecedented pace. Powered by 16 of Fortinet’s custom built seventh-generation network processors, this NGFW delivers the necessary 400GE port density, multi-terabit application throughput, and session scalability to protect customers against DDoS attacks. This is validated by Keysight's innovative APS-M8400 8x400GE cybersecurity test platform, proving that the FortiGate 4800F delivers the hyperscale performance and real-time threat protection our customers expect.”

Ram Periakaruppan, Vice President and General Manager, Keysight Network Test and Security Solutions, said: “Cybersecurity threats like DDoS attacks are continually increasing in scope, scale, and impact on their potential victims. It is vital that carriers, service providers and data centers protect their critical infrastructure from these attacks to continue serving the hyperscale volumes of legitime traffic that continue to grow at a rapid pace. Keysight's APS-8400 helps network equipment manufacturers like Fortinet validate that their solutions are up to the task, delivering carrier-grade application and cybersecurity test loads in a flexible, 8x400GE solution that can grow with their changing needs."

Dell'Oro: The Party Is Still On for the Campus Switch Market

Worldwide sales of Campus Switches in 3Q 2023 surged by 24 percent year-over-year (Y/Y), marking the fifth consecutive quarter of over 20 percent growth in this market and reaching record levels, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group. This achievement is remarkable given the market's historical mid-to-high single-digit growth rate prior to the pandemic. Several vendors including Arista, Cisco, CommScope, Extreme, HPE Aruba, and Juniper experienced a robust increase in sales but HPE grew the fastest; gaining more than three points of revenue share during the quarter.

"The market continues to showcase impressive growth, reflecting primarily backlog fulfillment as the supply environment continues to improve and lead times continue to shrink," said Sameh Boujelbene, Vice President at Dell'Oro Group. 

"We would like to note, however, that despite this improvement in supply that facilitated the ongoing release of backlog, total port shipments declined, marking a departure from five consecutive quarters of growth. Most of the decline originated from products and customer segments that were early to receive their orders and therefore were the first to be hit by a pause and a "digestion" phase. That is the case of the 1 Gbps port speeds as well as fixed switch form factors. In the meantime, we saw impressive growth in the higher priced 2.5/5.0 Gbps products as well as modular switches. This shift to a richer product mix resulted in higher prices that were able to more than offset the decline in total port shipments and resulted in ongoing growth in sales during the quarter," added Boujelbene.

Additional highlights from the 3Q 2023 Ethernet Switch – Campus Report:

  • Double-digit sales growth was broad-based across all regions, except China, which declined 8 percent in 3Q 2023.
  • 2.5/5.0 Gbps ports more than tripled Y/Y in 3Q 2023. This surge underscores significant improvements in supply, coupled with rising demand stimulated by the increasing adoption of Wi-Fi 6E Access Points (APs).

FCC rejects Starlink for $900M in subsidies for rural broadband

The FCC voted to reject Starlink’s application to receive $900 million in public support through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program.

The FCC determined that “Starlink failed to demonstrate that it could deliver the promised service,” and therefore funding “would not be the best use of limited Universal Service Fund dollars to bring broadband to unserved areas across the United States .”

The RDOF program authorized more than $6 billion in funding to bring primarily fiber gigabit broadband service to over 3,458,000 locations in 49 states and the Northern Mariana Islands.  

“The FCC is tasked with ensuring consumers everywhere have access to high-speed broadband that is reliable and affordable.  The agency also has a responsibility to be a good steward of limited public funds meant to expand access to rural broadband, not fund applicants that fail to meet basic program requirements,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “The FCC followed a careful legal, technical and policy review to determine that this applicant had failed to meet its burden to be entitled to nearly $900 million in universal service funds for almost a decade.”

In a dissenting statement, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr writes “Today, the Federal Communications Commission adds itself to the growing list of administrative agencies that are taking action against Elon Musk’s businesses.  I am not the first to notice a pattern here….First, the FCC revokes Starlink’s $885 million award by making up an entirely new standard of review that no entity could ever pass and then applying that novel standard to only one entity:  Starlink.  In particular, FCC law provides that a winning bidder like Starlink must demonstrate that it is “reasonably capable” of fulfilling its end of the bargain that it struck with the FCC back in 2020.  In this case, that means Starlink needed to show that it was more likely than not that Starlink could provide high-speed Internet service (specifically, low-latency, 100/20 Mbps service) to at least 40% of those roughly 640,000 rural premises by December 31, 2025.  Starlink did exactly that in a voluminous series of submissions that it filed with the FCC throughout 2021 and 2022.  Indeed, the record leaves no doubt that Starlink is reasonably capable of providing qualifying high-speed Internet service to the required number of locations by the end of 2025.“

Nokia to acquire Fenix Group for defense solutions

Nokia agreed to acquire Fenix Group, a privately held company that specializes in tactical 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) communications solutions for the defense communities. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Fenix Group, which is based in Chantilly, Virginia, specializes in tactical communications products, including its Banshee product family. The systems are designed to provide high-speed, low latency data connections to many devices and users simultaneously, making them ideal for supporting a wide range of military applications. Fenix Group is a portfolio company of Enlightenment Capital.

Nokia is a leading global provider of commercial 5G mobile broadband technology and private wireless solutions for ultra-reliable, mission-critical applications. The addition of Fenix’s tactical communications capabilities will allow Nokia to offer a more comprehensive suite of solutions to its defense customers.

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “The acquisition of Fenix Group is an important milestone in our strategy to grow our defense business. We are excited to welcome Fenix to the Nokia family, and we look forward to working together to create a more stable world with high-performance, secure, and reliable communications solutions.”