Thursday, December 14, 2023

Amazon's Project Kuiper will be an optical mesh in orbit

Following successful tests of 100 Gbps optical links between its prototype satellites, Amazon confirmed that its is now confident in the optical inter-satellite link (OISL) capabilities of Project Kuiper.

These tests validated Project Kuiper’s advanced communications architecture by maintaining 100 Gbps optical links between prototype satellites, KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2, over nearly 621 miles (1,000 kilometers) for the entire test window. 

The plan now is for each Project Kuiper satellite to be equipped with multiple optical terminals to connect many satellites at a time, establishing high-speed laser cross-links that form a secure, resilient mesh network in space. 

Manufacturing of Kuiper satellites is now beginning. Large-scale launches are set for later in 2024.

“With optical inter-satellite links across our satellite constellation, Project Kuiper will effectively operate as a mesh network in space,” said Rajeev Badyal, Project Kuiper's vice president of technology. “This system is designed fully in-house to optimize for speed, cost, and reliability, and the entire architecture has worked flawlessly from the very start. These immediate results are only possible because we approached our OISL architecture as one part of a fully integrated system design, and it’s a testament to this team’s willingness to invent on behalf of customers. We’re excited to be able to support these next-generation OISL capabilities on every Kuiper satellite from day one.”

Amazon also notes that becauseight travels faster in space than it does through glass, Kuiper's orbital laser mesh network can move data approximately 30% faster than if it traveled the equivalent distance via terrestrial fiber optic cables.

Intel launches its Next-Gen AI processors

Intel introduced its latest processors for the data center, cloud, network, edge and PCs, and featuring AI optimizations. 

Some highlights:

5th Gen Intel Xeon processors (code-named Emerald Rapids) optimized for networking workloads including specialized AI and virtualized workloads.

Xeon for the network

  • 1.51x higher throughput with 5G core user plane functions (UPF) vs. prior generation.
  • 1.37x performance per watt improvement with Intel Infrastructure Power Manager software for 5G UPF applications vs. prior generation.
  • • 3.73x higher throughput on VPP IPSec (1420B) with integrated Intel QAT accelerator (as compared to without Intel QAT).
  • 1.69x higher connections per second on NGINX TLS 1.3 Webserver Handshake with integrated Intel QAT accelerator vs. prior generation.

Xeon for the edge

  • 1.29x average performance-per-watt gain vs. 3rd Gen Intel Xeon® Gold 6348 processor.
  • 1.59x average performance gain vs. 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Gold 6348 processor
  • 3.13x higher real-time inference performance for image classification vs. AMD EPYC 9334
  • 5.28x higher real-time inference performance for object detection vs. 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Gold 6348 processor

Intel expects to deliver its Gaudi3 AI accelerator for deep learning and large-scale generative AI models.

Intel Core Ultra processors for the edge

  • 1.5x the AI performance
  • • 1.81x the Graphics performance
  • • 2.56x the AI Performance per Watt

Nokia's Cloud RAN trial with In-Line acceleration with Arm and HPE

Nokia conducted a collaborative laboratory trial of Cloud RAN featuring In-Line acceleration in partnership with Arm and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). 

The successful trial, which saw the completion of an end-to-end Cloud RAN L3 data call, demonstrated the flexibility of Nokia’s Cloud RAN solution using In-Line accelerator architecture which works seamlessly on multiple silicon architectures. The test was held at Nokia’s Open Cloud RAN Innovation Center in Dallas, Texas.

The trial saw the completion of a Cloud RAN L3 data call utilizing Ampere Computing’s Arm®-based general-purpose processor, the HPE ProLiant RL series server as well as Nokia’s Cloud RAN In-Line Layer 1 accelerator and Cloud RAN software. It took place over-the-air utilizing Nokia’s AirScale massive MIMO radios utilizing 100MHz cells on the n78 spectrum band (3.5 GHz band), which is the most common 5G capacity band worldwide. Data calls were successfully performed with a selection of both test and commercial user devices. The trial successfully proved the performance of the In-Line acceleration architecture chosen by Nokia.

Nokia said the trial highlights the openness offered by its anyRAN approach. In-Line acceleration in servers with Arm processors works in Nokia’s Cloud RAN architecture. The approach ensures the same performance and interoperability as purpose-built RAN and Cloud RAN with other server designs. It is this flexibility that provides network operators with a smooth evolution path in hybrid networks, as well as ensuring that Cloud RAN with Nokia is open to server processor design choices.

Mohamed Awad, senior vice president and general manager, Infrastructure Line of Business, Arm said: “Network operators are being challenged with increasing energy costs and looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their networks. Our collaboration with Nokia and HPE is enabling innovative CloudRAN solutions, powered by energy-efficient and high-performance Arm Neoverse-based servers and In-Line accelerators, to deliver the flexibility and scalability the 5G era demands.”

Mark Atkinson, Head of RAN at Nokia, said: “We have once again proven the effectiveness and maturity of Nokia’s anyRAN approach by demonstrating how our Cloud RAN solution using In-Line accelerator architecture works seamlessly on multiple silicon architectures, and harnesses the power of Arm-based servers to enable 5G at scale. Nokia’s approach to Cloud RAN means we can deliver performance consistency between Cloud RAN and purpose-built RAN ensuring our customers have choice and flexibility.”

ONF projects move under Linux Foundation

The following Open Networking Foundation (ONF) projects become independent projects under the Linux Foundation (LF):

  • LF Broadband Directed Fund - supports a collection of projects that transformed broadband networks and the Passive Optical Network (PON) industry. The portfolio includes the SEBA reference design for building open broadband networks, and the VOLTHA open source project for virtualizing multi-vendor PON systems. These projects are in deployment with Deutsche Telekom, Jio, Türk Telekom and elsewhere around the world.

  • Aether Directed Fund - supports the portfolio of 5G mobile networking projects, including Aether (private 5G and edge computing), SD-Core (open 5G mobile core) and SD-RAN (open RAN). Telco, commercial and research deployments rely on these projects, and a $2M US government research grant was just awarded to the project to advance energy savings and sustainability of 5G networks.

  • P4 Directed Fund - supporting a body of work enabling programmability of the networking dataplane, including P4 Architecture, Language, APIs, Applications and Platforms. This includes open source compilers and stack implementations of programmable network fabrics (SD-Fabric, Stratum), with diverse deployments from cloud to data centers and operator edge networks (e.g. Comcast, Google, SKT, Tencent, and Brazil's air traffic control system).

Additionally, a new Open Network Models and Interfaces (ONMI) project is hosting ONF's network modeling and interface projects (OIMT, OTCC, T-API, Wireless xHaul), the output of which various standards organizations continue to rely upon today.

The ONF's current Technical Steering Teams (TSTs) will remain at the helm of each project, ensuring the continuity of their technical guidance. The significant shift lies in the creation of fresh Governing Boards for each of the newly established directed funds. This move grants the community full control over project direction and the allocation of the approximately $5 million in funding provided by ONF to initiate these directed funds.

"ONF is pleased to transition our robust portfolio of open source platforms into a set of LF-hosted community-led projects," said Timon Sloane, general manager, ONF. "With this merger, the ONF's amazing portfolio of work that has been incubated and advanced over the last decade will naturally graduate into a community-driven open source model leveraging the best practices of the Linux Foundation."

"Linux Foundation is merging ONF's marquee portfolio of broadband, mobile, edge and cloud networking projects under the LF umbrella to help usher in the next phase of community growth," said Jim Zemlin, executive director, Linux Foundation. "Open source has already achieved a dramatic impact on networking, and by bringing together ONF's body of work with the broader LF portfolio we're creating more opportunity for collaboration, synergy and reuse to further fuel the open networking movement."

Intel acquires the Open Networking Foundation's team

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF), which was established in 2011 with a mission of transforming networking by championing software-defined networking (SDN), disaggregation and open source, has released all of its projects to open source with permissive software licenses as it transitions away from code development by an internal team. To this end, ONF has open sourced the entirety of its portfolio of production-ready platforms, including solutions...

Dell’Oro: Amazon, Meta, and Enterprise to drive data center CAPEX

Worldwide data center CAPEX is forecast to rebound to 11 percent growth in 2024 as select hyperscale cloud service providers return to an expansion cycle and the spending freeze in the enterprise markets thaws, according to a new report from Dell’Oro Group.

"Worldwide data center capex is projected for only a 4 percent growth in 2023. The slowdown in general-purpose server and storage deployments weighed down the market despite increased AI-related investments. While Microsoft, Google, and Oracle have increased their data center investments in 2023 year-to-date, other cloud service providers such as Amazon and Meta have trimmed their data center capex," said Baron Fung, Sr. Research Director at Dell'Oro Group. "Our outlook for 2024 is more optimistic. New AI applications such as generative AI will be a key investment driver in the cloud and enterprise. Furthermore, we anticipate demand for general-purpose servers to recover following a prolonged correction, and as customers make a transition to new server platforms that enable more efficient computing," explained Fung.

Additional highlights from the 3Q 2023 Data Center IT Capex Quarterly Report:

  • Server and storage system revenue is forecast for growth greater than 20 percent in 2024, while network and physical infrastructure revenues grows single digits.
  • Dell led all OEMs in server revenue in 3Q 2023, followed by IEI Systems (formerly Inspur) and HPE. White box server vendors gained 8 points of revenue share year-over-year compared to the OEMs.
  • The hyperscale cloud service providers are forecast to increase their data center capex by 13 percent in 2024.

Nokia Drone gains FCC certification for Beyond Visual Line of Sight

The Nokia Drone Networks solution has received certification from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), making it the first fully certified 4G/5G drone-in-a-box solution by the agency. This achievement is a significant milestone, as it offers a reliable and industrial-grade 4G/5G drone solution for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations in the United States. Nokia plans to utilize its recent partnerships for private LTE and 5G solutions to expedite its entry into the market.

Nokia's Drone Networks solution places a strong emphasis on robust and resilient connectivity, crucial for remote drone operations, real-time data streaming during missions, and BVLOS operations across various 3GPP spectrum bands. The solution incorporates features like network redundancy, multi-operator support, and hot failover for enhanced operational reliability.

Nokia and Rohde & Schwarz initially collaborated in 2022 to integrate Rohde & Schwarz QualiPoc 4.9G/LTE and 5G network measurement capabilities into the Nokia Drone Networks platform, expanding its use cases for customers. This collaboration extended to device testing and certification, with Rohde & Schwarz's R&S CMX500 radio communication tester being employed for rigorous testing at Nokia Bell Labs Global Product and Compliance Laboratory. The R&S CMX500's comprehensive toolset and user-friendly interface played a pivotal role in conducting thorough signaling protocol tests.

Olaf Heisch, Director Target Accounts Mobile Network Testing at Rohde & Schwarz, said: “This achievement underscores the transformative capabilities of our Radio Communication Tester R&S CMX500. Its role in securing FCC certification for Nokia Drone Networks is a testament to its pivotal position in driving innovation in the 5G and drone technology landscape. This collaboration highlights the power of cutting-edge technology and strategic partnerships in shaping the future of the industry.”

Thomas Eder, Head of Embedded Wireless Solutions, Nokia, said: “This achievement highlights the vital role that collaboration and diligent testing play in the 5G era. By meeting the FCC’s rigorous standards, we are shaping the path in the U.S. for industrial and public sector use cases, improved 5G spectrum monetization, and the nationwide roll-out of drones for BVLOS operations on 3GPP spectrum. With more than 675 private wireless customers worldwide and leadership in building nationwide wireless networks, Nokia is well positioned to expand its market leadership into the U.S. with a certified industrial grade drone-in-a-box solution.”