Tuesday, February 13, 2024

FirstNet targets $8 billion in upgrades for next phase

The FirstNet Authority and AT&T have unveiled a 10-year, $8 billion investment initiative to advance and widen FirstNet, America's dedicated public safety network. This strategic move aims to ensure that FirstNet remains at the cutting edge of technology, providing first responders with the tools they need to save lives and protect communities.

A substantial portion of this investment, $6.3 billion, will be allocated through the network contract with AT&T, with an additional $2 billion expected to further enhance coverage based on discussions between the parties. These enhancements are pivotal for expanding FirstNet's reach and evolving the network with the latest in lifesaving technologies.

Since its inception, FirstNet, the only network crafted specifically for America's first responders and the broader public safety community, has seen remarkable growth under AT&T's stewardship. It now boasts over 5.5 million connections and serves approximately 27,500 public safety agencies nationwide, offering unparalleled reliability for communication during routine operations, large-scale events, and emergencies.


  • $8 billion investment in FirstNet over 10 years;
  • $6.3 billion will be spent on immediate upgrades, including always-on priority and preemption on AT&T's 5G spectrum, thousands of new cell sites, and a dedicated 5G core. 
  • An additional $2 billion is in discussion for further coverage enhancements.

AT&T says the transition to a full 5G network will enable FirstNet to keep pace with current evolutions in technology and 3GPP standards-based mission critical advancements. The planned 5G network upgrades will generate faster speeds, increase capacity, enhance the quality of service for FirstNet users, and drive innovations in 5G mission critical services. 

“We are dedicated to the future of public safety communications, and that starts with expanding and evolving FirstNet to meet first responders’ needs. With this investment, we are ensuring FirstNet remains at the forefront of technology so that public safety can respond smarter, safer, and more effectively. I look forward to our continued partnership with the public safety community and AT&T to deliver the most reliable, innovative communications network for public safety,” states Joe Wassel, Executive Director and CEO, FirstNet Authority.

"Our partnership with the federal government has given us the distinct privilege of delivering America's public safety network. FirstNet is critical infrastructure that is reliably connecting those who tirelessly protect and serve. With 5G, public safety will unlock new and innovative tools to keep them mission ready — and we aren't stopping there. Together with the FirstNet Authority, we will continue to expand and enhance public safety’s network based on their feedback, giving them the solutions and connectivity they need, both now and in the future. That's the FirstNet promise — continually prioritizing first responders and the communities they serve,” states Jim Bugel,President—FirstNet, AT&T.


Meter attracts Silicon Valley investors for its NaaS

Meter, a start-up based in San Francisco, announced a $35 million round of funding, for its Network as a Service (NaaS).

Meter's Network as a Service offering is delivered as a full stack solution, including its own hardware, software, and operations. Using its cloud-managed dashboard, which serves as a digital counterpart for routing, switching, wireless, security, DNS security, VPN, and SD-WAN, customers can easily schedule maintenance, adjust configurations precisely, and gain a comprehensive overview of their network. 

The company says its footprint under management has expanded to support millions of square feet in over 125 cities across 31 states and provinces in the US and Canada, covering nearly every industry sector (including education, logistics, life sciences, manufacturing, retail, technology) and various types of commercial spaces (such as labs, offices, schools, retail stores, warehouses).

The funding round was led by Sam Altman (CEO, OpenAI) and Lachy Groom (Stripe), with participation from existing investors, who have included Meraki co-founders John Bicket and Sanjit Biswas, Diane Greene(Founder, VMware), Tobi L├╝tke (CEO, Shopify) , WndrCo, Scott Belsky, Patrick & John Collison (Stripe), Sam Hinkie, Reid Hoffman, Claire Thielke, Allen & Company, and Tishman Speyer.

Meter was founded in 2015 by brothers Anil and Sunil Varanasi.

Watch Anil Varanasi, Co-founder and CEO from Meter, share lessons from his recent funding round. He touches on: 

 - The importance of selecting investors who bring specific skills that can help your company grow. 

 - The value of having a diverse group of investors who represent different parts of the industry. 

- Meter's ethos around investors, focusing on what the company needs and identifying the best people in the world who have done it before and connecting with them.


“Over the past decade, we set out to build a modern utility, and we’ve been making incredible progress towards that in the past year. Businesses are moving into spaces where Meter is already installed–they simply need to turn it on,” shared Anil Varanasi, CEO and Co-Founder of Meter. “We’ve also made significant progress in terms of customer growth and product development. Our progress is a result of our dedication to making a better product and experience for our customers.”


Samsung tests Open RAN radio interoperability on Verizon

Samsung Electronics completed the Open RAN conformance and interoperability testing for its commercial-grade LTE and 5G NR radios on Verizon's network. 

The testing, conducted in Samsung's Dallas, Texas laboratory, featured a range of Samsung's leading radios that adhere to O-RAN standards. This included CAT-A radios 4T4R for 700/850 MHz and AWS/PCS bands, CAT-B 64T64R Massive MIMO C-Band radios, and a 16T16R dual-band radio for C-band and CBRS frequencies.

Samsung says the testing reflects its prowess in Massive MIMO technology, particularly through its 64T64R Massive MIMO radio, which has been extensively deployed by Verizon in its nationwide commercial vRAN networks. The integration of these advanced Massive MIMO radios—especially the more complex 64T64R Massive MIMO radios compared to the simpler CAT-A radios—demonstrates Samsung's advanced capabilities in managing sophisticated network technologies.

The testing used Keysight Technologies’ Open RAN distributed unit (O-DU) emulator.

"We’re excited to achieve Open RAN conformance across five key radios in our portfolio compliant with the latest O-RAN and 3GPP standards,” said Jisha Hall, Vice President, Operations, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics America. “This joint work shows how Samsung is empowering forerunning operators like Verizon to deploy virtualized Open RAN, backed by our strong ecosystem and proven expertise in commercial networks for Tier 1 operators in North America, Europe and Asia.”

“O-RAN is a very important component of our network evolution strategy,” said Steven Rice, Vice President of Network Planning at Verizon. By leveraging O-RAN radios and software-driven infrastructure with industry-leading partners like Samsung and Keysight, we continue to drive the industry towards a more open, interoperable environment which will provide greater flexibility, greater innovation and better performance for our customers.”


Samsung and Vodafone demo Open RAN on AMD processors

Samsung Networks and Vodafone, in collaboration with AMD, demonstrated an end-to-end call with the latest AMD processors enabling Open RAN.

 The demo was conducted in Samsung’s R&D lab in Korea.  Key components included:

  • Samsung's vRAN software: This versatile and O-RAN-compliant software virtualizes the RAN, providing flexibility and scalability.
  • AMD EPYC 8004 Series processors: These powerful processors from AMD delivered the performance needed for the demanding network environment.
  • Supermicro's Telco/Edge servers: These specialized servers optimized for telecom and edge computing provided the robust hardware foundation.
  • Wind River Studio CaaS platform: This containerization platform supported the efficient deployment and management of the software components.

The companies will demonstrate its test result exceeding 1Gbps throughput for multi UE on multi-cell configuration at #MWC24.

Samsung and Vodafone said the demo reflects their ongoing commitment to the Open RAN market.

"Open RAN represents the forthcoming major transformation in advancing mobile networks for the future. Reaching this milestone with top industry partners like Samsung and AMD shows Vodafone’s dedication to delivering on the promise of Open RAN innovation," said Nadia Benabdallah, Network Strategy and Engineering Director at Vodafone Group. "Vodafone is continually looking to innovate its network by exploring the potential and diversity of the ecosystem."

"This collective effort marks a key milestone for the mobile network industry to steer Open RAN forward, by embracing multiple providers at every layer of the network stack. The demo illustrates Samsung’s commitment to delivering the full potential of mobile networks by embracing openness,” said June Moon, Executive Vice President & Head of R&D, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. "Samsung is constantly working with other technology frontrunners to offer operators the means to transform their networks and capitalize on the diversity of the Open RAN ecosystem."


Vertical Systems: 2023 U.S. Carrier Ethernet LEADERBOARD

For the second consecutive year, AT&T retains the #1 rank on Vertical Systems Group's U.S. Ethernet LEADERBOARD, which ranks six companies based on retail port share as of December 31, 2023): AT&T, Lumen, Spectrum Enterprise, Verizon, Comcast Business and Cox Business. These network providers each have four percent (4%) or more of the U.S. retail Ethernet services market to qualify for a rank on this LEADERBOARD.

  • 2023 U.S. Ethernet Market Analysis:
  • Lumen remains in second position based on port share that accounts for its spinoff of U.S. assets to Brightspeed, European assets to COLT, and South American assets to Stonepeak.
  • Shares are tightening between several LEADERBOARD companies, which may impact mid-2024 rank positions.
  • Rank positions changed for several companies cited in the Challenge Tier.
  • DIA (Dedicated Internet/Cloud Access) is the top U.S. Ethernet service, outpacing Ethernet Private Lines, Ethernet Virtual Private Lines, E-Access to VPN, Metro LAN, and WAN VPLS.
  • Ethernet pricing has stabilized for lower speed services, while price compression persists for gigabit speed offerings.
  • AT&T, Lumen, and Verizon are the three LEADERBOARD companies with MEF 3.0 Carrier Ethernet (CE) certification.

“The U.S. Ethernet market rose 2.4% overall, driven by substantial growth in the DIA segment, offset by continued declining demand for switched services,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group. “2023 was a challenging year for most Ethernet providers as they contended with the ongoing transition from legacy wireline data services to SD-WAN/SASE architectures.”


Video: Integrating Chiplets into Complete Systems

What are the workflows for integrating chiplets into complete systems? David Ratchkov, Founder of Thrace Systems, explains:

- The comprehensive nature of the Open Compute Project's newly completed white paper, which delves into the workflows for integrating chiplets, contributed by industry experts and leaders.

- The various aspects covered in the white paper, including chiplet partitioning, architectural exploration, power thermals, signal integrity, power integrity, and testing of 3D ICs and chiplet-based systems.

- The focus of their previous white paper, which was on chiplet design kit and what vendors need to provide for chiplet integrators to integrate 3D ICs. 


Stay tuned for the release of this insightful white paper on the Open Compute Project's website.

Want to be involved our video series? Contact info@nextgeninfra.io

Keysight intros Wi-Fi 7 test emulation platform

Keysight Technologies introduced its E7515W UXM Wireless Connectivity Test Platform for Wi-Fi, a network emulation solution delivering signaling radio frequency (RF) and throughput testing for devices using Wi-Fi 7, including 4x4 MIMO 320 MHz bandwidth.

 The newest Keysight UXM Wireless Connectivity Test Solution simplifies Wi-Fi 7 testing and provides physical (PHY) layer and media access control (MAC) layer insights.

It supports client and access point (AP) test setup, interworking testing, functional testing, load testing, and FWA testing from a turnkey, integrated, compact solution.

Built on the same hardware architecture as Keysight's E7515B UXM 5G wireless test platform the E7515W can perform extensive RF parameterized testing, IEEE conformance, with full rate throughput and introduces a unique Rate vs. Range test, enhanced Rx Sensitivity, and a Wi-Fi 6/6E/7 DUT OFDMA analysis sweeping through every possible RU allocation. 

For Clients, it will characterize device mobility, with extensive metrics including throughput, packet loss, retransmissions, aggregation, jitter, etc. It will support Wi-Fi Cellular Interworking like Wi-Fi Offload and VoWiFi Calling, running both the Cellular and Wi-Fi simultaneously.


Astound Business Solutions deploys 400G with Ciena


Astound Business Solutions, a nationwide provider of high-capacity and secure connectivity for business customers, has launched 400G Wavelength, a commercial service that leverages Ciena’s WaveLogic 5 Extreme (WL5e) 800G and WaveLogic 5 Nano (WL5n) 400G coherent optics.

Astound’s nationwide fiber-optic network covers more than 41,000 route miles and provides connectivity for over 75,000 business customers, as well as to more than 100 data centers across the U.S.

“One of the main drivers of 400G wavelength service adoption is the need for greater connectivity speeds between multiple locations and meeting the demand of these higher-speed requirements in sites like data centers,” said Patrick Knorr, Chief Commercial Officer, Astound Business Solutions. “With 400G Wavelength, powered by Ciena’s best-in-class optical technology, we provide dedicated low-latency, point-to-point bandwidth to common carrier points-of-presence and hyperscaler locations.”


  • Astound Business Solutions was formed through the merger of three established cable companies: RCN Corporation (eastern U.S.), Grande Communications (Texas and New Mexico), and Wave Broadband (California, Oregon, and Washington). These three companies were acquired by private equity firm TPG Capital in 2017 and subsequently merged to form Astound Broadband, the parent company of Astound Business Solutions. 

Edgecore intros Layer 3 switches with 25G uplinks

Edgecore Networks unveiled its new ECS4650 Layer 3 Gigabit Ethernet Switch series with 25G uplinks to help SMBs, enterprises, and campus networks keep up with the growing demands placed on their networks. The ECS4650 Series includes two different models. 

The ECS4650-54T supports six 25G SFP28 uplinks, providing further extensibility and resilience for network expansion. It is an ideal for Gigabit access/aggregation, enterprise core, and cloud edge access/aggregation applications.

The ECS4650-54P can supply up to 90W to a wide range of PoE devices that require high power, such as wireless access points, VoIP phones, surveillance cameras, and IoT devices. Both models support IPv6, advanced QoS, and a CLI, offering ease of use, network visibility, and readiness for the future of networking.


  • Best price-performance Gigabit Ethernet access/aggregation switch with 25G uplinks
  • ITU-T G.8032 ERPS L2 Ring protection with <50 ms convergence time
  • Comprehensive and field-proven software features for ISPs/carriers, providing broadband access, IPTV services
  • Full L3 features with commonly-used unicast and multicast routing protocols, redundant routing protocols, and DHCP relay and server.
  • Enhanced security, IPv6, and multicast features
  • Simple management (CLI, SNMP, Web)
  • Complete Private MIB to fully control and monitor the switch via a customer’s EMS