Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Keysight's 800GE Layer 1-3 platform hits 51.2 Tbps test load

Keysight Technologies' AresONE-M 800GE Layer 1-3 Ethernet performance test platform set a new benchmark for validating Ethernet silicon switches by processing  1.2 Tbps of traffic across 64 x 800GE links while measuring loss, latency, and jitter.

The tests were conducted on the Marvell Teralynx 10 Ethernet switch chip.

Highlights from the validation include:

  • High throughput and high speed – The Keysight AresONE-M 800GE generated 51.2 Tbps of traffic, sending it successfully through the Teralynx 10 switch to test its limits. The test validated an 800GE interface speed based on 112G SerDes, which facilitates faster data transfer between devices and extended reach in data center interconnects or telecommunications networks that run data-intensive AI applications.
  • Scalability – Eight AresONE-M 8-port chassis were chained together, providing an industry first 64 x 800GE link configuration to achieve a high scale test bed running at 800GE line rate.
  • Low latency – Low latency is critical for achieving the shortest job completion time for AI training and other highly distributed applications. These AI workloads depend on the switching fabric to provide the lowest possible latency — and to do so predictably.
  • Performance analysis – Beyond the need for high bandwidth and low latency, measuring the performance of all 64 x 800GE links was an important aspect of the testbed, providing deeper, actionable analytics around loss, latency, and jitter at line rate. 

Rishi Chugh, Vice President of Product Marketing, Network Switching, Marvell, said: “To definitively measure and validate the low-latency capabilities of Teralynx 10, Marvell turned to Keysight and its industry-leading AresONE-M 800GE test equipment. Their thorough evaluation and collaboration with our team made the process smooth and ensured the integrity of the strong results we achieved.”

Ram Periakaruppan, Vice President and General Manager, Network Test & Security Solutions, Keysight, said: “The switching fabric is a vital component of the back-end network architecture used for AI training. AI training workloads trigger a huge increase in traffic volume and compared to front-end networks, are persistently pushing this higher traffic volume around the clock. At these sustained rates, benchmarking low latency becomes very critical for ensuring that the AI training algorithms achieve the most efficient job completion time.”

Keysight intros 800GE test platform 

Keysight Technologies introduced its AresONE-M 800GE Layer 1-3 Ethernet performance test platform, supporting data center interconnect speeds from 10GE to 800GE. 

The new Keysight AresONE-M 800GE enables design engineers and data center operators to validate networking equipment interoperability and bandwidth performance while supporting the transition to 400GE and 800GE networks with the capability to also test slower, legacy Ethernet speeds.

Highlights of the AresONE-M 800GE:

  • Ethernet speeds – 1x800GE, 2x400GE, 4x200GE, and 8x100GE.
  • PAM4 and NRZ signaling support – Features 106.25 Gb/s host electrical lane signaling with the ability to downshift to the lower electrical lane speeds of 53Gb/s and 25Gb/s for 400GE and 100GE speeds.
  • Single test platform – Supports all required forward error correction (FEC) types and a full array of in-depth link tuning, stability, reliability, and performance measurement statistics.
  • Complete 800GE high-scale protocol emulation and performance testing – Provides the protocol support required to test enterprise, metro, and cloud-capable Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching and routing network equipment through the IxNetwork software application.
  • Highest port density available today for 800GE test systems – Supports 8 ports in a single, 2-rackmount unit chassis with additional configurations for 2 and 4 ports.

The AresONE-M 800GE uses an integrated physical layer Digital Signal Processor (DSP) from Credo Technology Group for fast and efficient data transfer with low latency that enables data transit requirements of hyperscalers, enterprises, 5G carriers, and service providers. The Credo chip also optimizes power consumption to reduce operational costs, minimize heat dissipation, and meet energy-efficient standards for advanced networks.

Google Cloud opens in Johannesburg

 Google activated its new Johannesburg cloud region in South Africa.  

The Johannesburg region is connected to Google’s secure network, including the recently-completed Equiano subsea cable system that connects Portugal with Togo, Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa, and St. Helena.

With this opening, Google now operates  40 cloud regions and 121 zones, which together deliver Google Cloud services to over 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Lumen expands NaaS with Ethernet On-Demand and IP-VPN

Lumen Technologies introduced two Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) offerings: Lumen Ethernet On-Demand and Lumen IP-VPN (Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network) On-Demand. 

These services are designed to provide private cloud connections, ensuring data protection and enhanced security, vital for businesses handling substantial amounts of sensitive data.

The new private Ethernet and IP-VPN Network-as-a-Service connections bring several advantages to Lumen's customers. These include enhanced security through encrypted data on private connections, compliance with strict data protection regulations, cost efficiency by accessing cloud resources on demand without the need for expensive hardware, scalability in bandwidth management, and reliable connections across multiple business locations. Furthermore, Lumen is set to bolster its secure on-demand experience by introducing DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) protection to its Lumen Internet On-Demand solution. This upcoming feature will be powered by threat intelligence from Lumen's Black Lotus Labs.

"Many businesses face a dilemma between security and innovation. They need to protect their data with robust and flexible network solutions, but they also want to leverage the cloud and AI for productivity and growth," said Miriana Martinova, Lumen SVP of Product Management. "Lumen NaaS Private Connections resolves this challenge by offering both performance and enhanced security over their network connections. Financial and healthcare companies can protect their data from breaches, cyberattacks, or unauthorized access across any cloud environment, with confidence in Lumen's secure, resilient, and global network."

Dell'Oro: AI infrastructure is delaying front-end networks

AI infrastructure build-outs, also known as 'Back-End Networks', are causing budget cuts and project delays in general-purpose infrastructure, or 'Front-End Networks', according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group. Despite these project delays, 800 Gbps port shipments are forecast to quadruple in 2024.

"Recent interviews with major Cloud service providers (SPs) unveiled multiple projects experiencing delays or being put on hold due to a shift in focus to AI infrastructure build-outs," said Sameh Boujelbene, Vice President at Dell'Oro Group. "Project delays and budget cuts have led to a shift of the 800 Gbps adoption timeline by approximately a year for certain major Cloud SPs. Consequently, our forecast for sales of switches deployed in front-end networks has been revised downward compared to our July 2023 report.

"Despite project delays, 800 Gbps port shipments are expected to quadruple in 2024, driven mainly by the anticipated adoption by a major Cloud service provider, specifically Amazon; and propelled by the availability of 51.2 Tbps chips in the market. 800 Gbps will be adopted in both back-end as well as front-end networks. While our traditional data center switch report focuses on front-end networks, we delve into back-end network deployment in our recently published advanced research report 'AI Networks for AI Workloads'," added Boujelbene.

Additional highlights from the Ethernet Switch—Data Center 5-Year January 2024 Forecast Report:

  • 1600 Gbps is expected to start shipping in 2025/2026. Together with 800 Gbps, these high speeds are expected to comprise nearly 40 percent of the data center switch ports by 2028.
  • Linear Drive Optics, an alternative to Co-packaged optics, are expected to gain material traction during our forecast horizon.
  • SONiC adoption is expected to accelerate, achieving a 10-20 percent penetration rate in Tier 2/3 Cloud SPs and large enterprises by 2028.

Qualcomm posts higher revenues and earnings

Qualcomm reported quarterly revenue of $9.935 billion, up 5% compared to $9.463 billion for the same period a year earlier. Net income amounted to $2.767 billion, up 24% compared to a year earlier.

“We are extremely pleased to report strong quarterly results, with revenues and EPS exceeding the high end of our guidance,” said Cristiano Amon, President and CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated. “Looking ahead, we are building on this momentum with our leading Snapdragon platforms and technology differentiation in connectivity, computing and on-device generative AI, across Handsets, Automotive, PC, XR and Industrial IoT.”

MaxLinear sees promise in wireless and optical datacenter

MaxLinear reported net revenue of $125.4 million, down 8% sequentially and down 57% year-over-year. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was $0.01, compared to $0.02 in the prior quarter, and $1.07 in the year-ago quarter.

For the full Fiscal Year 2023, MaxLinear reported net revenue of $693.3 million, down 38% over fiscal 2022. GAAP gross margin was 55.6%, down from 58.0% in the prior year, and non-GAAP gross margin was 60.8%, down from 61.6% the prior year.

“As we look ahead, we believe 2024 will be the start of an exciting period of growth and opportunity for MaxLinear. Market headwinds of the past year in broadband and connectivity are likely to become tailwinds over time when customer inventory rationalization winds down and incentive programs begin to provide new market stimulus. Most importantly, the investments we made in product innovations in wireless and optical datacenter network infrastructure, Wi-Fi, ethernet, and fiber broadband access gateways are beginning to open up new and significant revenue opportunities that are expected to drive our growth for many years to come,” commented Kishore Seendripu, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO.

Extreme Networks expects more normalized revenue/earnings

 Extreme Networks reported quarterly revenue of $296.4 million, down 6.9% year-over-year. SaaS ARR $158.0 million, up 37.4% year-over-year. Non-GAAP diluted EPS amounted to $0.24, compared to $0.27 in the prior year quarter. 

"The integration of AI, security and analytics into a single platform is a key differentiator for Extreme and helped drive 37% subscription ARR growth in the quarter. We enhance network security, visibility and performance through our AIOps and machine learning capabilities and Zero Trust security posture. With our One Network, One Cloud strategy, we make networking simple and flexible and help customers drive meaningful impact across their organizations. Meanwhile competitors in our space remain challenged by portfolio integration and rationalization," said Ed Meyercord, President and Chief Executive Officer.

"The networking industry, like much of IT, is exiting the final stage of the COVID-induced era of supply chain constraints, which is still impacting our business. As a result, our distributors and partners have lowered inventory purchases, which we expect to accelerate in the third quarter. We expect to emerge in the fourth quarter at a more normalized level of revenue and earnings. Our bookings trends and funnel of new opportunities are a better reflection of customer demand. We’re seeing stabilization across EMEA and growth in APAC. And, we remain focused on innovation with this week’s introduction of new Wi-Fi 7 access points and 4000 Series Universal Switches, which help highly distributed enterprise organizations improve network connectivity, security and application performance. These trends, and our expanded go to market opportunities, give us confidence that we are positioned for a return to meaningful growth in FY25," concluded Meyercord.

NETGEAR's Patrick C.S. Lo steps down

NETGEAR that Patrick C.S. Lo, current Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the board, is retiring from his position at NETGEAR and from the company’s Board. Lo will remain as a strategic advisor to support a seamless leadership transition through July 2024. 

NETGEAR's Board has appointed Charles (CJ) Prober, a senior technology executive, to succeed him effective immediately. Prober is also joining NETGEAR’s Board of Directors. is experience spans leadership positions at top consumer and technology brands, including roles as President of Life360, CEO at Tile (acquired by Life360), Chief Operating Officer at GoPro, and SVP of Digital Publishing at Electronic Arts (EA).

“As co-founder of NETGEAR, and leader for nearly three decades, it goes without saying that Patrick Lo’s impact on the company is undeniable. His vision for delivering the future of connectivity through advanced networking products and solutions has shaped who we are as a company, and we celebrate all he has accomplished,” said Thomas H. Waechter, NETGEAR Lead Independent Director. “CJ has the full confidence of the Board. We look forward to working with him and the NETGEAR leadership team to take the company forward for its next phase of innovation.”

“When Mark Merrill and I founded NETGEAR 28 years ago, the internet was beginning to show its impact on the world,” said Lo. “We seized the opportunity, and we’ve been innovating and leading the industry in the creation of advanced networking technologies for homes and businesses around the world ever since. We’ve pushed the boundaries of what can be experienced in a connected world, and I am all for the next chapter of the NETGEAR story.” 

  • Separately, NETGEAR released preliminary financial figures, saying it currently expects net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2023 to be between $179 million and $189 million, compared to prior guidance of $175 million to $190 million for the fourth quarter of 2023. The company continued to experience strong underlying demand in the premium portion of its CHP product portfolio, riding on the success of its Orbi WiFi 7 launch which continued through the holiday season. The Company is also encouraged that its retail channel partners maintained their inventory positions as expected. The Company continued to work with its SMB channel partners to optimize their inventory carrying levels. The uncertain macro environment created by high interest rates, geopolitical tensions, and stagnant GDP growth in certain markets continued to weigh on the Company’s SMB business as expected.

Dell'Oro: Wi-Fi 7 Sales Will Lift the Market

Sales of Wi-Fi 7 Access Points (APs) will reach nearly three quarters of total APs revenues by 2028, according to a new report from Dell'Oro Group.  The introduction of Wi-Fi 7 to enterprises will be one of the few bright spots for vendors in 2024, in a market that is expected to contract by 9 percent.

“There has been a flurry of vendors announcing new Wi-Fi 7 APs in January,” said Si├ón Morgan, Wireless LAN (WLAN) Research Director at Dell’Oro Group. “We expect that Wi-Fi 6E APs will still outsell Wi-Fi 7 in 2024, but adoption of Wi-Fi 7 will be responsible for all of the revenue growth by 2025.

“However, total WLAN AP revenues are expected to decrease in 2024. After the backlog-driven revenues of 2023, enterprises are busy digesting all the equipment they received.  It’s going to take a few more quarters of downturn before the market begins to expand again,” continued Morgan.

Additional highlights from the Wireless LAN 5-Year January 2024 Forecast Report:

  • The geographic balance of WLAN revenues changed in 2023, with North America and Europe taking share from China.
  • Wi-Fi 6E adoption is still growing but is forecasted to peak in 2024.
  • Average Selling Prices for APs are expected to contract, putting further pressure on vendor revenues.
  • HPE’s announced intent to purchase Juniper Networks has increased expectations of revenues from Public Cloud-Managed WLAN.
  • The first AP shipments of the standard expected to be branded as ‘Wi-Fi 8’ are expected in 2028.