Sunday, December 17, 2023

Democratizing Networking with SONiC

What key learnings from hyperscalers can be applied to enterprise data centers? Kamran Naqvi, Principal Network Architect from Broadcom, explains how they are democratizing networking for everyone:

- Broadcom has taken the benefits and advantages previously only available to hyperscalers and made them accessible to all. They've done this by enabling features in SONiC, an open-source network operating system initially developed by Microsoft for their Azure Cloud.

- They've transformed SONiC into an enterprise-class system by enabling features like CXL, EVPN, telemetry, and time synchronization. This has led to many enterprise customers adopting SONiC.

- Broadcom has also enabled silicon telemetry features in their silicon, which were previously only available to mega scalers. These features allow customers to quickly get to the root cause analysis and understand if an application performance issue is caused by the network or not.

Join Kamran as he discusses how Broadcom is taking SONiC to next gen switching silicon.

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Chiplet Architecture for Next Gen Infrastructure

What's driving the deep interest in chiplet architecture? How does it scale, and is there a role for open interfaces?

Bapi Vinnakota, ODSA Project Lead from Open Compute Project explains:

- Chiplets are currently the fastest and most efficient way to build heterogenous systems, integrating different types of compute into one package. This is essential for accommodating the ever-changing AI workloads.

- The IO bandwidth, both into memory and in terms of raw network, needs to increase dramatically to keep up with the growing demands of data centers. Companies associated with the ODSA are working on solutions to this challenge.

- Open interfaces are believed to be the best way to integrate systems, creating composable systems that integrate chiplet devices from multiple vendors into one usable whole. This is a fundamental belief at the OCP and is key to meeting the requirements of future data centers, especially those with AI-intensive workloads.

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Deutsche Telekom expands fiber reach

Deutsche Telekom added 2.5 million new fiber connections in 2023, reaching a total of eight million households will be able to book a fiber optic connection by the end of the year. The company is on track to reach more than ten million fiber households in 2024 

"Fiber is and remains the hot topic in our industry. The fiber optic boom is really taking off in Germany right now. We are building super-fast Internet for more and more people. There has never been as much fiber as in 2023," said Srini Gopalan, responsible for Germany on Deutsche Telekom's Board of Management, at the company's Network Day in Bonn. 

"We will reach the one millionth contract at the beginning of 2024. We also have more than 700,000 households and companies in the pipeline that have already booked a connection in the pre-marketing phase," Gopalan continued. "We build without any ifs and buts. Our business model is very long-term. We can see that the demand for bandwidth is continuing to grow. With FTTH, we are already building the infrastructure for the future today." This year, Deutsche Telekom has invested more than 2.5 billion euros in pure fiber optic expansion - far more than any other competitor. By 2030, a total of 30 billion euros will flow into the fiber optic rollout. 

  • Deutsche Telekom also continued its extensive expansion in mobile communications: 96 percent of the population can now use Deutsche Telekom's 5G network - in other words, over 80 million people, ensured by a total of over 80,000 5G antennas. 
  • Deutsche Telekom reached a new milestone on 3.6 gigahertz spectrum: over 10,000 antennas are now transmitting in more than 800 cities and municipalities. And with download speeds of up to 1 Gbps.
  • Deutsche Telekom is planning more than 3,000 ORAN-compatible antenna sites by the end of 2026.
  • Next year, private customers will also be able to use 5G Standalone (SA). 

“We will continue with the same concentration and focus in the coming years and keep up the pace," emphasized Gopalan. "We are the reliable partner for Germany. We build what we promise. We want to turn people in Germany into fiber fans and 5G fans." 

Nokia and Deutsche Telekom deploy multi-vendor Open RAN

Nokia and Deutsche Telekom have begun to deploy a multi-vendor Open RAN network with Fujitsu in Germany. 

The technology is fully integrated into DT’s live commercial network and the initial cluster will provide 2G, 4G, and 5G commercial services to customers in the Neubrandenburg area of Northern Germany. The deal marks a significant return for Nokia into DT’s commercial network and is the realization of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by both companies at MWC 2023. Nokia will replace the incumbent vendor in the deal. The project is already underway and will be extended from Q1 2024 onwards.

Nokia will deploy its commercial Open RAN compliant, high-performance, energy efficient 5G AirScale baseband solution in DT’s commercial network including Fujitsu Radio Units. Nokia’s O-RAN solution will ensure DT has full feature, service, and performance parity with classic purpose-built RAN. Both companies have also agreed to explore O-RAN technology around Cloud RAN, 3rd party CaaS, RIC, SMO, and energy efficiency.   

Claudia Nemat, Board Member of Deutsche Telekom AG for Technology and Innovation commented: “Open RAN is crucial to Deutsche Telekom’s strategy to promote greater supplier diversity and accelerate customer-oriented innovation in the radio access network. Our commercial deployment with Nokia and Fujitsu is an important step to prepare multi-vendor Open RAN as the technology of choice for future networks.” 

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: “We are proud to partner with Deutsche Telekom, the largest mobile network operator in Europe, to start deploying a commercial multi-vendor Open RAN network in Germany with Fujitsu. Together, we are making Open RAN a commercial reality. Nokia’s industry-leading radio access portfolio and baseband software ensures that multi-supplier O-RAN systems can be deployed without any compromises in terms of performance, energy efficiency, or security. Together with our ecosystem of partners, we are providing more choice and a higher performance in Open RAN solutions to our customers than they will see from other RAN suppliers. This is another step highlighting Nokia’s commitment to Open RAN.” 

Swisscom deploys Netcracker’s Network Domain Orchestration

Swisscom has deployed Netcracker’s Network Domain Orchestration (NDO) solution to modernize the IT landscape of the operator’s new terabit IP transport aggregation network (TITAN). 

This initiative is part of a large-scale OSS transformation program at Swisscom to create a more flexible, future-proof and automated modern digital architecture with lower operational costs.

Netcracker NDO provides a unifying automation solution incorporating real-time and federated inventory for end-to-end visibility and a single source of truth. It also provides efficient network planning and design that speeds up network rollouts and a DevOps-based design studio to rapidly onboard new devices using vendor-agnostic resource modelling. The solution enables highly automated processes, from device onboarding to rollout planning, physical and logical discovery and reconciliation, and works with any mix of transport network vendors. The cloud-native solution allows Swisscom to share TITAN inventory data in real-time – using open APIs – with multiple external systems using state-of-the-art communication techniques.

“Swisscom is one of the most innovative operators in Europe, and we are very proud of the confidence they have placed in us to be part of their new IP transport network,” said Benedetto Spaziani, GM at Netcracker. “With our NDO solution, we look forward to helping Swisscom deliver positive outcomes for the business as it continues to revolutionize the market.”

Bluebird Network closes $285M in financing


Bluebird Network, a U.S. communications infrastructure provider and operator of more than 11,000 miles of fiber and two data centers,received $285 million of five-year Senior Secured Credit Facilities. 

The company said it has used the credit facilities to refinance its existing indebtedness and to fund ongoing capital expenditures including network upgrades, expansion into new markets, and an awarded Middle Mile grant build. 

TD Securities acted as Lead Left Arranger on the financing and is the Administrative Agent for the Credit Facilities.

“We’re thrilled to announce the closing of this refinancing,” says Michael Morey, President and CEO of Bluebird Network. “It’s a point of pride that we’re viewed by lenders as a trustworthy company to work with.”

 Over the past year, Bluebird has built more than 360 new route miles of fiber and expanded into several additional markets throughout Missouri, Illinois and Iowa. This new financing provides Bluebird with the capital to execute development plans in accordance with the company’s strategic vision to have a fiber presence in 80 percent of cities with a population of 10,000 people or more across its 11-state footprint in the Midwest. Beyond market densification projects, in 2024, Bluebird is planning additional long-haul fiber routes and recently completed an underground river crossing in St. Louis, traversing the Mississippi River and adding a new, diverse route to its network offerings. In 2023, the company was awarded a grant as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program. The grant will be used to build a highly desirable route connecting St. Louis and Tulsa, which is expected to be completed over the next four years. 


Thailand’s Interlink Telecom Selects Ribbon for DCI

Interlink Telecom Public Company Ltd, (ITEL) a leading Thai network services provider, has selected Ribbon Communications to provide  a Data Center Interconnect solution using its Apollo optical networking platform.

"We're extremely proud to be working with ITEL and of our ability to deliver fast project execution, from delivery to service activation," added Drazen Lukic, Ribbon's SVP Global Product Management and Operations IP Optical Networks. "We look forward to building on this relationship with ITEL over the coming years."