Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Hawaiki activates 400GbE on transpacific cable

Commercial 400GbE services on the Hawaiki Transpacific Cable, which is owned by BW Digital. The 13,540km Hawaiki cable connects Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, Hawaii, and the U.S. West Coast.

The new capability is powered by Ciena's GeoMesh Extreme submarine network solution. It is supported by the Waveserver 5 compact interconnect platform, powered by WaveLogic 5 Extreme programmable 800G technology, running over the 6500 Packet-Optical Platform Submarine Line Terminal Equipment (SLTE). 

Validation was performed using EXFO’s multi-technology 400G Test Set, which is an Open Transceiver System and Intelligent Pluggable Optics test application. Results demonstrated smooth traffic and no latency impact across the Sydney to Hillsboro segment. BW Digital was supported by WWG Comtest, the EXFO partner in New Zealand, for the loan and technical support on the EXFO Test Set.

The Hawaiki cable has previously tested and achieved 500Gbps channel wavelengths.

“Our recent upgrades with Ciena’s GeoMesh Extreme put us in good stead to respond to ever-growing market requirements for international connectivity,” said Ludovic Hutier, Chief Executive Officer, BW Digital, which owns the Hawaiki cables. “Ciena and BW Digital have a long-standing relationship, and this is but one of many connectivity highlights that we hope to continue to bring to our customers.”

“Cable operators globally are always looking for ways to upgrade their cables to be faster, smarter, safer, and more open. Our GeoMesh Extreme is providing BW Digital an end-to-end network architecture, enabling the Hawaiki cable to deliver 400GbE services on its network, which is crucial in meeting the needs of today’s digital consumers, enterprises, and content providers,” said Thomas Soerensen, Vice President, Global Submarine Solutions, Ciena.

More notes on HPE + Juniper

On a conference call, executives from HPE and Juniper Networks said the strategic imperative for their proposed merger “will strengthen HPE’s position at the nexus of accelerating macro-AI trends, expand our total addressable market, and drive further innovation for customers as we help bridge the AI-native and cloud-native worlds.”

In particular, the companies see an opportunity to expand their combined Edge and Networking total addressable market by 30% by 2026. They cite:

  • The Juniper integration will make HPE’s portfolio will be even more diversified and more heavily weighted toward its high growth, higher margin businesses.
  • Minimal overlap in product lines and customer segments
  • For Juniper, it grows their footprint in data centers and cloud providers. 

Some slides from the webcast (linked below)

DriveNets and Acacia team on 400G ZR/ZR+ cloud

 In response to the requirements of Tier-1 operator customers, DriveNets and Acacia have developed a joint solution that integrates multiple Acacia 400G ZR/ZR+ optical modules with DriveNets' Network Cloud platform.

Last September, DriveNets announced that Network Cloud was the first Disaggregated Distributed Chassis/Backbone Router (DDC/DDBR) to support ZR/ZR+ optics as native transceivers that can be inserted into any Network Cloud-supported white boxes. 

The companies cite several benefits:

  • The joint solution will deliver significant simplicity and cost savings by collapsing Layer-1 to Layer-3 communications into a single platform.
  • The use of 400ZR/ZR+ eliminates the need for standalone optical transponders, lowering the number of boxes in the solution, and reducing operational-overhead, floor-space, and power.
  • DriveNets and Acacia worked together to ensure that the DriveNets NOS (DNOS) supports the 400ZR/ZR+ modules beyond simply plugging them into the box. The collaboration ensures the 400ZR/ZR+ modules can be tunable, configurable, and manageable by DriveNets Network Cloud software.
  • This integration also goes beyond interoperability validation. DriveNets Network Cloud offers full software support for the Acacia modules, including configuration (channel and power), monitoring, and troubleshooting for Acacia Bright 400ZR+ transceivers with transmit power greater than +1dBm.

"Today's announcement is further proof of the growth of disaggregated networking solutions and demonstrates that more operators are looking for open solutions that will allow them to mix elements from multiple vendors and avoid being locked to a specific end-to-end vendor solution," said Nir Gasko, Vice President, Global Strategic Alliances for DriveNets. "By collaborating with Acacia, we enable our joint customers to quickly adopt cutting-edge technologies and evolve their networks faster."

"Partnering with DriveNets on this joint solution will allow network operators to deploy Acacia's high-volume standard-based coherent pluggable portfolio in open disaggregated networks with less effort," said Fenghai Liu, Senior Director of Product Line Management for Acacia. "Through this collaboration customers can achieve significant capex and opex savings with router-based coherent optics."

FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program is running out of funds

 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is sounding the alarm that without immediate congressional action the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) will begin running out of funds in April 2024 and be completly without money in May. This will result in millions of households losing financial support to afford internet services. Approximately 1,700 internet service providers across the country will be affected by the termination of the ACP and may be forced to disconnect service to households that no longer receive program support.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel is urgently requesting $6 billion from Congress to keep the program operational.

The urgent need for congressional action stems from the fact that while Congress initially allocated $14.2 billion for the ACP, further funding is essential to sustain the program.

Furthermore, the termination of the ACP could jeopardize the success of the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program, for which the ACP provides a stable customer base, incentivizing broadband deployment in rural and underserved areas.

Key facts:

  • Launched on December 31, 2021 under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Affordable Connectivity Program is the largest internet affordability program in U.S. history.

  • The program has enrolled nearly 23 helping close the digital divide by bringing more households online.

  • Under the current program, eligible low-income households can receive a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service and up to $75 per month for eligible households on qualifying Tribal lands.

  • Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

  • While the program helps connect households in rural and urban communities alike, rural households have enrolled at a higher rate than their urban counterparts.

This week, a bipartisan bill has been introduced in Congress. The Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) published the following statement:

“The Fiber Broadband Association commends Senators Peter Welch (D-VT), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Jacky Rosen (R-NV) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Representatives Yvette Clarke (D-NY-9) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) for their bipartisan, bicameral leadership in introducing legislation that will allow the Affordable Connectivity Program to continue into 2024. More than 20 million households are currently benefiting from this important program, allowing them to fully participate in all aspects of the economy and society.” –Gary Bolton, President & CEO, Fiber Broadband Association.

FBA Predictions2024: Fiber Broadband Deployments in 2024

Gary Bolton, President from Fiber Broadband Association predicts:

- The supply chain for fiber broadband will normalize in the first half of 2024, allowing for new shipments and record deployment.

- Access, affordability, and adoption of fiber broadband will increase, with funding from the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) ensuring everyone can participate on the internet.

- 2024 will be the year of workforce development, with over 200,000 fiber optic technicians needed. The Fiber Broadband Association's technician training program will expand across all states and territories, and states will begin to allocate funding for workforce development.

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Global Foundries Predictions 2024: Silicon Photonics & Novel Materials

Vikas Gupta, Senior Director of Product Management from GlobalFoundries, anticipates:

- The growth of the Silicon Photonics ecosystem, with a surge in non-traditional OSATs (Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test ) taking the lead in Silicon Photonics packaging.

- The rise of a cottage industry associated with IP development, fiber supply, laser suppliers, and test equipment, all crucial components in the Silicon Photonics landscape.

- The increasing usage and development of novel materials such as, lithium niobate, barium titanate, and other organic polymers. Gupta emphasizes the importance of these materials over the next four to five years.

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Infinera Predictions 2024: 400G Plugables & Beyond

Check out all 2024 Predictions from Industry Thought Leaders:

Tim Doiron, VP of Solution Marketing from Infinera, predicts:

- A surge in the adoption of 400G coherent pluggables by traditional network operators. These high-performance pluggables are suitable for longer distances and complex architectures.

- Expanded transmission spectrum on fiber that will enable increased capacity and reduced cost per bit per kilometer.

- The arrival of 800G coherent pluggables based on 5nm DSP technology offering multivendor interoperability, reduced power, and extended reach.

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Adtran Predictions 2024: Service Provider Networking Trends in 2024

 Ronan Kelly, CTO, EMEA from Adtran, predicts:

- Better inventory alignment at carriers to reduce their high uncertainty buffers of stock. This will free up cash flow, allowing a renewed investment on connecting subscribers.

- A shift towards more efficient solutions, not just for energy, but broader resource consumption, streamlined workflows, and improved operational efficiency.

- A growing need for interoperability, allowing operators to bring disparate networks from different vendors under common control, delivering a homogeneous service offering.

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DISH lands $50M NTIA grant for 5G Open RAN center

DISH Wireless has been awarded a  $50 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to establish the Open RAN Center for Integration & Deployment (ORCID). 

ORCID, which will be housed in DISH's secure Cheyenne, Wyoming campus, will allow participants to test and validate their hardware and software solutions (RU, DU and CU) against a complete commercial-grade Open RAN network deployed by DISH. The facility will be supported by consortium partners Fujitsu, Mavenir and VMware by Broadcom and technology partners Analog Devices, ARM, Cisco, Dell Technologies, Intel, JMA Wireless, NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Samsung. 

At ORCID, participants will be able to test and evaluate individual or multiple network elements to ensure Open RAN interoperability, performance and security, and contribute to the development, deployment and adoption of open and interoperable standards-based radio access networks. ORCID's "living laboratory" will drive the Open RAN ecosystem — from lab testing to commercial deployment.  


  • ORCID will combine both lab and field testing and evaluation activities. ORCID will be able to test elements brought by any qualified vendor against DISH's live, complete and commercial-grade Open RAN stack. 
  • ORCID will use DISH's spectrum holdings, a combination of low-, mid- and high-band frequencies, enabling field testing and evaluation. 
  • ORCID will evaluate Open RAN elements through mixing and matching with those of other vendors, rather than validating a single vendor's stack. DISH's experience in a multi-vendor environment will give ORCID unique insights about the integration of Open RAN into brownfield networks. 
  • ORCID's multi-tenant lab and field testing will occur in DISH's secure Cheyenne, Wyoming facility, which is already compliant with stringent security protocols in light of its satellite functions.

"The Open RAN Center for Integration and Deployment (ORCID) will serve a critical role in strengthening the global Open RAN ecosystem and building the next generation of wireless networks," said Charlie Ergen, co-founder and chairman, EchoStar. "By leveraging DISH's experience deploying the world's first standalone Open RAN 5G network, ORCID will be uniquely positioned to test and evaluate Open RAN interoperability, performance and security from domestic and international vendors. We appreciate NTIA's recognition of DISH and ORCID's role in driving Open RAN innovation and the Administration's ongoing commitment to U.S. leadership in wireless connectivity."

EKINOPS publishes 2023 financial results

 EKINOPS reported its consolidated revenue figures for the fiscal year ending on December 31, 2023, revealing the following key points:

  • Total Revenue: EKINOPS reported a consolidated revenue of €129.1 million for the year 2023, marking a modest year-over-year increase of +1% compared to the previous fiscal year. When accounting for constant exchange rates, annual revenue showed slightly stronger growth at +2%.
  • Fourth Quarter Growth: In Q4 2023, EKINOPS experienced a sequential revenue growth of +9% compared to the previous quarter, recovering from Q3 2023, which was the low point of the year. However, year-over-year, Q4 2023 revenue decreased slightly to €30.3 million from €31.5 million in Q4 2022, representing a quarterly decline of -4% (-3% at constant exchange rates).
  • Optical Transport Success: EKINOPS saw substantial growth in its Optical Transport business line, with a +27% increase in revenue over the course of 2023. This growth was driven by successful implementations of Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) solutions, particularly in France and EMEA (Europe - excluding France - Middle East and Africa). New customer wins, especially in Eastern Europe, contributed significantly to this success.
  • Access Solutions Decline: In contrast, sales of Access solutions faced challenges in 2023, experiencing a significant decline of -15% over the year. This decline was particularly pronounced in the second half of the year, with a -25% decrease. Factors contributing to this decline included a slowdown in demand, increased caution among clients in making investments, high equipment inventories among major operators, and difficulties in securing financing sources for operators.
  • Software & Services Growth: The share of Software & Services in EKINOPS' revenue increased to 17% of the company's total revenue for FY 2023, compared to 15% in the previous fiscal year. In H2 2023, Software & Services accounted for 20% of the company's revenue. Revenue generated by Software & Services saw an impressive +12% growth over the full year, driven by network virtualization solutions, SD-WAN solutions, and associated services.
  • International Expansion: EKINOPS recorded an +8% growth in international sales for the fiscal year 2023. In North America, revenue increased by +6%, reaching €31.7 million, despite a demanding comparison basis from the previous year. EMEA showed robust growth, with revenue in the region increasing by +23%. In contrast, Asia-Pacific experienced a substantial -63% decline in revenue.
  • Domestic Market Performance: EKINOPS' sales in its domestic market, France, decreased by -11% in 2023. Access equipment, the company's core business in France, saw a -18% drop in sales due to the economic slowdown and high inventory levels at major operator customers. However, Optical Transport continued to perform well, with a significant +57% increase in sales over the year.
  • EBITDA Margin Target: Despite challenging market conditions, EKINOPS confirmed its EBITDA margin target for 2023, aiming for a margin between 13% and 17%. The second half of 2023 was particularly impacted by adverse market conditions in the Access activity.

Didier Br├ędy, Chairman and CEO of Ekinops, said: "Changes in the economic climate during 2023, affecting company investment policies and health, penalized our Access business in the second half of the year. In contrast, we significantly outperformed the Optical Transport market, both in Europe and the United States. After the low point of Q3, our aim is to generate a higher level of revenue in H1 2024 than that of H2 2023. FY 2024 revenue should be driven by a rebound in Access equipment sales as the economy recovers, and by the launch of a major new optical transport product over the summer.

In terms of acquisitions, Ekinops' management remains fully mobilized, and we aim to complete one or more transactions over the coming months, while favoring non-dilutive financing."