Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Cloudflare Acquires Nefeli and Enters Multicloud Networking Market

Cloudflare announced its entry into the multicloud networking market via the acquisition of Nefeli Networks, a start-up based in Berkeley, Califonia focused on reducing the complexity of IT and DevOps teams by providing a unified network management layer for cloud infrastructure deployments. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cloudflare's Magic Cloud Networking promises a simple, secure and scalable way for businesses to connect and secure their public cloud environments. 

By integrating Nefeli’s technology with Cloudflare’s connectivity cloud, Cloudflare now combines cloud network orchestration with the scale of a global network in a unified platform. Cloudflare's SASE platform, Cloudflare One, will offer a seamless management experience throughout an enterprise network, covering both cloud-based and on-site installations.

“At Nefeli, we worked to ensure businesses could get the most out of the cloud, without being constrained by artificial boundaries within or between any particular cloud platform," said Eugenia Corrales, CEO of Nefeli. “By seamlessly integrating Nefeli’s multicloud networking capabilities into Cloudflare’s robust platform, businesses will be now able to easily connect and manage their cloud infrastructure with security and performance built in at scale."

“Since the early days of the Internet, complexity has been one of the biggest roadblocks to innovation,” said Dr. Scott Shenker, Co-founder and Chairman of Nefeli. “That’s why I’m thrilled to see this next chapter for Nefeli’s talented team – bringing simplicity and scalability together to revolutionize multicloud networking.”

Comcast boosts speeds and offers promo for ACP customers

Comcast boosted the performance for millions of Xfinity Internet customers at now additional cost. 

Comcast Xfinity speed increases:

Connect: 75 Mbps to 150 Mbps

Connect More: 200 Mbps to 300 Mbps

Fast: 400 Mbps to 500 Mbps

Xfinity Prepaid: 50 Mbps to 200 Mbps

“Streaming live sports, gaming, and other data-rich applications are driving Internet consumption to new heights,” said Emily Waldorf, Senior Vice President, Consumer Internet Services, Comcast. ”We have regularly increased speeds over the past two decades to provide customers with the connectivity they need to power their increasingly connected lives. And, with the potential that funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program will not be renewed, this year we have really leaned into boosting speeds for these customers so that they can take advantage of these new capabilities.”

Later this year, Comcast will introduce its latest gateway, the XB10, the first to incorporate unified DOCSIS 4.0, WiFi 7, and AI technologies. The XB10 will be capable of delivering symmetrical multi-gig speeds over WiFi and connect up to 300 devices.

Offer for those impacted by ACP cutoff

Comcast also noted special promotions for customers who may be impacted if the federal government's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) ends in April. ACP participants who are existing Xfinity customers or new to Xfinity can take advantage of current promotional offers. Customers are encouraged to call 1-800-Xfinity to learn more about what offers may be available in their area. Teams are ready to work with customers to move them to a plan that fits their budget and connectivity needs if they will no longer be able to afford their current tier of service without the $30 ACP benefit.

Xfinity customers benefitting from ACP are automatically eligible to enroll in Internet Essentials for as low as $9.95 a month or Internet Essentials Plus, which doubles the speed of traditional Internet Essentials for $29.95 per month. Both services provide fast and reliable home Internet with no credit checks or cancellation fees and come with equipment included.

Infinera adds next gen OLS functionality to its GX Series platform

Infinera announced commercial availability of next generation multi-haul optical line system (OLS) functionality on the GX Series compact modular optical transport platform.

The GX OLS solution features a broad set of multi-haul OLS functionality including carrier-grade features and support for Super C- and Super-L bands which provide 35% increased capacity per fiber.

Infinera also announced that it has secured initial design wins for its GX OLS solution from leading CSP and web-scale operator customers, with strong interest across its global customer base.

“The release of our next generation GX OLS capabilities represents the completion of our multi-year journey to converge our edge-to-core networking capabilities onto a single platform,” said Ron Johnson, SVP and General Manager of Optical Subsystems and Global Engineering at Infinera. “The GX was purpose-built to provide network operators with a single platform that can be used to support virtually any application in their network, enable pay-as-you-grow economics, and seamlessly support multi-generational embedded and pluggable optics.”

Broadcom samples PCIe Gen5/Gen6 Retimers

Broadcom has begun sampling the first 5nm PCIe Gen 5.0/CXL2.0 and PCIe Gen 6.0/CXL3.1 retimers, which can be used in combination with its PEX series switches for an end-to-end PCIe solution. 

Broadcom’s  PCIe Gen 5.0 switches are broadly deployed for interconnecting AI infrastructure today and ably complement the Gen 5.0 retimers. In addition, Broadcom’s PCIe Gen 6.0/CXL3.1 switches will sample later this year to deliver an end-to-end PCIe 6.0 portfolio. Broadcom is also committed to accelerate the open AI ecosystem further with PCIe Gen7 based solutions in the near future. 

Broadcom’s wide spanning PCIe portfolio with industry-first Gen5/Gen6 end-to-end solutions include the following features and benefits: 

  • Broadcom In-house SerDes: 40% greater SerDes reach and highest lane count switches in the industry enable customers to build systems with larger fanout; Built-in hardware interoperability ensures reliable signal integrity.
  • Broadcom Architecture: 50% lower power and form factor flexibility with midplane/backplane/cables enable customers to create advanced AI sub-systems.
  • Broadcom Advanced Diagnostics: LINKCAT™ and embedded logic analyzers drastically reduce the system design and validation cycle.
  • Broadcom Software: Integrated software suite substantially eases NPI cycle and accelerates time to market.

“PCIe is one of the most critical and widely-adopted protocols for interconnecting CPUs, AI accelerators, NICs and storage devices. Broadcom’s market-leading PCIe portfolio allows our customers to architect efficient data center solutions with the lowest power and maximum reach,” said Vijay Janapaty, vice president and general manager of the Physical Layer Products Division at Broadcom. “Our PCIe Gen5/Gen6 retimers with CXL support, together with our PEX switches, enable an open, flexible and industry standard based ecosystem for next-generation AI server fabric.”


Infinera raises its outlook for Q4 2023

 Infinera released preliminary financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 30, 2023:

  • Preliminary revenue is expected to be $435 million to $452 million, compared to the Company’s prior outlook of $421 million to $451 million.
  • The resulting preliminary GAAP gross margin is expected to be 38.0% to 40.0%, compared to the Company’s prior outlook of 37.3% to 40.4%.
  • The resulting preliminary GAAP operating margin is expected to be 0.0% to 3.0%, compared to the Company’s prior outlook of 0.7% to 5.0%.
  • The resulting preliminary GAAP net income (loss) per diluted share is expected to be ($0.02) to $0.04, compared to the Company’s prior outlook of ($0.04) to $0.04.
  • Preliminary non-GAAP gross margin is expected to be 39.0% to 41.0%, compared to the Company’s prior outlook of 38.0% to 41.0%, and the preliminary non-GAAP operating margin is expected to be 5.7% to 8.3%, compared to the Company’s prior outlook of 5.5% to 9.5%.
  • Preliminary non-GAAP net income per diluted share is expected to be $0.07 to $0.13, compared to the Company’s prior outlook of $0.05 to $0.13 per diluted share.
  • Preliminary cash and cash equivalents, including restricted cash, was approximately $174 million.

Infinera CEO David Heard said, “We ended 2023 on a high note with a strong fourth quarter during which the midpoints of our preliminary revenue, gross margin, and earnings per share ranges are all expected to come in above those of our prior outlook ranges. For the full year of 2023, we expect to deliver our sixth consecutive year of revenue growth, expand gross margin to a level approaching 40%, and grow earnings per share on a year-over-year basis.”

“As we look ahead, like the rest of the industry, we are expecting a slow first half of the year. Regardless, both the pace and scale of our design wins are accelerating. Already, in the first 60 days of 2024, we have achieved major hyperscale-influenced strategic wins, one of which is among the most significant in the company’s history, based on our Systems and Subsystems solutions. These strategic wins, combined with our design win funnel, position us well to deliver a stronger second half and place us on a path to achieve our seventh consecutive year of revenue growth with continued margin and earnings per share expansion,” continued Mr. Heard.

Infinera’s outlook for the quarter ending March 30, 2024, is as follows:

  • Revenue is expected to be $320 million to $350 million.
  • GAAP gross margin is expected to be 35.3% to 37.4%. Non-GAAP gross margin is expected to be 36.0% to 38.0%.
  • GAAP operating expenses are expected to be $157 million to $161 million. Non-GAAP operating expenses are expected to be $143 million to $147 million.
  • GAAP operating margin is expected to be (13.5%) to (8.2%). Non-GAAP operating margin is expected to be (8.5%) to (3.5%).
  • GAAP net loss per diluted share is expected to be ($0.25) to ($0.17). Non-GAAP net loss per diluted share is expected to be ($0.18) to ($0.10).

Digital Realty and Mitsubishi expand data campus in Chiba Prefecture

MC Digital Realty (MCDR), a 50/50 joint venture in Japan between Digital Realty and Mitsubishi Corporation, inaugurated its second data center at the NRT campus in Inzai City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

NRT12 adds 34 megawatts (MW) of critical IT capacity to the campus, bringing the total to 73 MW to meet the growing demand for scalable, flexible, and AI-ready data centers in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

NRT12 is designed to offer high-density power of up to 70 kilowatts (kW) per rack, innovative Air-Assisted Liquid Cooling (AALC) technologies, low-latency networks, and high-speed connectivity that enable it to meet the demands of high-performance computing (HPC), machine learning, virtual reality, and augmented reality as well as AI/Generative AI workloads.

Additionally, the NRT campus offers Campus Connect, an interconnection service that allows customers to utilize infrastructure across multiple data centers on the campus as a single unit, facilitating efficient data exchange for AI and digital transformation initiatives. The data centers' modular design also allows for dynamic scaling of server environments to accommodate growing AI deployments.

"The launch of NRT12 marks a significant milestone for Digital Realty in Japan. This new data center, designed to world-class specifications, expands our capacity and strengthens our commitment to supporting the growing demand for AI-powered and scalable digital infrastructure in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Coupled with connectivity to PlatformDigital® and ServiceFabric™, NRT12 significantly strengthens our offerings to our customers and partners globally," said Serene Nah, Managing Director and Head of Asia Pacific, Digital Realty.

Said Chris Han, Chief Operating Officer of MC Digital Realty, "With its robust features and strategic location, NRT12 provides an ideal platform for businesses to accelerate their digital transformation journeys and unlock the full potential of cutting-edge technologies like AI and hybrid IT. We are confident that NRT12, alongside our existing data center NRT10 and the broader PlatformDIGITAL® ecosystem, will empower businesses to thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape."

Vertical Systems: 2023 U.S. Carrier Managed SD-WAN LEADERBOARD

 Seven companies qualify for a position on Vertical Systems Group's 2023 U.S. Carrier Managed SD-WAN Services LEADERBOARD as follows (in rank order based on site share): AT&T, Comcast Business, Verizon, Hughes, Lumen, Windstream, and Zayo. Each of these service providers has four percent (4%) or more of the billable Carrier Managed SD-WAN customer sites installed in the U.S. as of December 31, 2023.

“The number of managed SD-WAN sites in the U.S. expanded by 24% in 2023, which was lower growth than expected. Many service providers focused primarily on order fulfillment, upgrading bandwidth, and adding SASE/SSE for existing customers,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group. “Share gains were led by cable MSOs and providers specializing in mid-size business sectors.”

Seven companies attain a Challenge Tier citation for year-end 2023 as follows (in alphabetical order): Aryaka, Cogent, Cox Business, Fusion Connect, MetTel, Spectrum Enterprise, and TPx. Providers in this tier have between one percent (1%) and four percent (4%) share of U.S. Carrier Managed SD-WAN sites.

2023 SD-WAN Research Highlights

  • Rank positions for the top six 2023 SD-WAN LEADERBOARD companies are unchanged from mid-year 2023. Zayo attains the seventh and final position based on U.S. site share, advancing from the Challenge Tier.
  • Five companies retain their Challenge Tier citations from mid-2023: Aryaka, Cox Business, MetTel, Spectrum Enterprise, and TPx.
  • Two companies advance to the Challenge Tier from the mid-2023 Market Player tier: Cogent (includes Sprint assets from T-Mobile) and Fusion Connect.
  • Challenges cited by market leading service providers include delayed purchase decisions due to economic uncertainties, as well as the shifts to WFH or anywhere that are impacting network site requirements. The integration of multiple SD-WAN and SASE/SSE solutions continues to be a challenge for marketing, sales, and technology teams.
  • Five of the seven 2023 U.S. LEADERBOARD companies have MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Service Certification as follows: AT&T, Comcast Business, Verizon, Lumen, and Windstream. Spectrum Enterprise is the only Challenge Tier provider with MEF 3.0 SD-WAN Certification.


Taalas raises $50m for AI silicon

Taalas, start-up based in Toronto, emerged from stealth to announce $50m over two rounds of funding for its development of AI silicon.

Taalas said it is developing an automated flow for rapidly implementing all types of deep learning models (Transformers, SSMs, Diffusers, MoEs, etc.) in silicon. Proprietary innovations enable one of its chips to hold an entire large AI model without requiring external memory. The efficiency of hard-wired computation enables a single chip to outperform a small GPU data center, opening the way to a 1000x improvement in the cost of AI.

The company anticipates tapeout of its first large language model chip in the third quarter of 2024 and planning to make it available to early customers in the first quarter of 2025.

"Artificial intelligence is like electrical power – an essential good that will need to be made available to all. Commoditizing AI requires a 1000x improvement in computational power and efficiency, a goal that is unattainable via the current incremental approaches. The path forward is to realize that we should not be simulating intelligence on general purpose computers, but casting intelligence directly into silicon. Implementing deep learning models in silicon is the straightest path to sustainable AI," said Ljubisa Bajic, Taalas' CEO.

  • Taalas was founded by Ljubisa BajicDrago Ignjatovic, and Lejla Bajic. Prior to co-founding Taalas, Ljubisa founded Tenstorrent in 2016. Drago and Lejla joined Tenstorrent soon after as early engineering leaders. The team has spent decades collectively working together on a long list of AI processors, GPUs, and CPUs across Tenstorrent, AMD, and NVIDIA.

#MWC24: Network Visibility with Encrypted Traffic Intelligence

Check out complete MWC Barcelona 2024 Showcase at:

Maintaining network visibility and security in the age of encrypted communication has become a critical issue. Sebastian Mueller, Head of Sales at ipoque, a Rohde and Schwarz company, provides insights on:

- The importance and challenges of encrypted communication: While encryption is crucial for individual privacy, it can hinder detailed network visibility, which is key for network quality and security.

- The innovative solution of Encrypted Traffic Intelligence (ETI): ipoque's latest innovation, ETI, not only detects end-to-end encrypted applications in real time but also provides further insights.

- The practical application of ETI: Using the example of OTT video models like Prime, Netflix, and Disney+, Sebastian explains how ETI can provide detailed insights about subscriber behavior, enabling service providers to make smart routing decisions and ultimately improve subscriber quality.

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#MWC24: AI Innovations in Retail, Recycling & Network Management

Check out complete MWC Barcelona 2024 Showcase at:

What are the hottest use cases for GenAI from the perspective of network operators? James Weaver, Senior Director of Product Marketing from Cradlepoint explains:

- How AI is being utilized in computer vision applications to automate processes such as identifying items in a shopper's bag for automatic payment, or sorting trash to avoid contamination and calculate carbon footprint credits.

- The development of natural chatbots that can preemptively identify and address network issues, enhancing efficiency and productivity.

- The implementation of AI solutions to prevent employees from inadvertently sharing sensitive information on generative AI sites, thereby bolstering company security and confidence.

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