Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Google funds new subsea cables to Japan

Google will invest $1 billion in new subsea capacity to Japan. The investment covers the expansion of the Pacific Connect initiative and two new subsea cables, Proa and Taihei. 

In collaboration with several partners — including KDDI, ARTERIA, Citadel Pacific, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) — these cables will create new fiber-optic routes between the continental U.S. and Japan in support of Google’s Japan Digitization Initiative, while improving the reliability and resilience of digital connectivity between the U.S., Japan, and multiple Pacific Island countries and territories.

  • The Proa subsea cable from NEC will connect Japan, the CNMI, and Guam and is named after the traditional sailing canoes of the Marianas. To further increase reliability in the region, the NEC cable system Taiwan-Philippines-U.S. (known as TPU) will be extended to the CNMI. As the CNMI’s first international subsea cables, Proa and TPU will together establish a new route between the continental U.S. and Shima, Japan.
  • Taihei, the Japanese word for both “peace” and “Pacific Ocean,” is another NEC cable that will connect Japan to Hawaii. Additionally, Tabua will be extended to Hawaii, building on the plans announced last year to run the cable from the continental U.S. to Fiji and Australia. Once complete, the Taihei and Tabua systems will create a diverse path between the continental U.S. to Takahagi, Japan.

Google will also fund the construction of an interlink cable connecting Hawaii, the CNMI, and Guam. This interlink will connect the transpacific routes, improving their reliability and reducing latency for users in the Pacific Islands and around the world.

“Our investments in subsea cables and our close partnerships with the regional and global telecom carriers not only deliver unparalleled reliability for Google services and Google Cloud, they enhance the reliability of the public Internet as well, as we have seen during the multi-cable outages around Africa and Middle East recently,” stated Bikash Kaley in a blog post.

Google launches Cloud Service Mesh

Google announced Cloud Service Mesh, a fully managed service mesh across all Google Cloud platform types. The idea is to enable secure communication between microservices, allowing them to be composed into robust enterprise applications

Cloud Service Mesh takes the Traffic Director’s control plane and Google’s open-source Istio-based service mesh, Anthos Service Mesh, and combines them into a single offering that provides the best of both worlds. 

With Cloud Service Mesh, customers get:

Google Cloud Networking at Next ’24

Google Cloud is rolling out a series of networking enhancements, including:

  • Planet-scale networking for AI/ML workloads 
  • Any cloud to any service connectivity
  • Securing the workload, data, and users 
  • Gemini-powered network operations 

One highlight is Cloud Load Balancing for inference workloads. Custom metrics provide queue depth as a metric for load balancing AI workloads to deliver faster user response time to prompts while optimizing TPU and GPU utilization. Cloud Load Balancing for streaming inference uses metrics based on number of streams, bytes-in, and bytes-out, versus requests per second and CPU utilization to optimize performance. In addition, Cloud Load Balancing with traffic management for AI models monitors the health of individual model service endpoints and routes requests to healthy endpoints, initiates cross-region failover when an outage is detected, and splits traffic across different models and model versions, helping you to manage rollouts.

Another new feature is Private Service Connect transitivity over Network Connectivity Center, which enables services in a spoke VPC to be transitively accessible from other spoke VPCs. 

“AppLovin operates one of the most successful platforms for app developers to grow their business, reaching over 1.4 billion daily active users (DAUs) worldwide. We are leveraging Google Cloud to advance our next gen AI platform with state-of-the-art hardware to power our training and inference workloads. Google Cloud’s global front-end solution with Load Balancer, Cloud Armor, and CDN not only protects our users but helps businesses reach, monetize, and grow their audiences.” - Omer Hasan, VP of Operations, AppLovin

Palo Alto Networks expands AI security partnership with Google Cloud

Palo Alto Networks has extended and increased its commitment to Google Cloud with a ten-figure, multi-year commitment and named Google Cloud its AI and infrastructure provider of choice. Google Cloud has long considered Palo Alto Networks its preferred next-generation firewall (NGFW) provider, and the expanded agreement solidifies that relationship. The alliance also underscores the critical importance of platformization fueled by AI to automate and consolidate multiple solutions, and deliver near-real-time security resolutions.

The expanded partnership will create customer value as new and existing workloads are developed and managed with: 

  • Zero Trust, World-Class Network Security: Palo Alto Networks Network Security platform with VM Series is embedded into Google Cloud to enable a Zero Trust Network posture and strengthen defenses against threats targeting applications, devices, and users–and it will leverage Cloud Delivered Security Services (CDSS) offerings. The integrated solution provides protection and scalability across public cloud and Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) deployments, even in air-gapped network environments.
  • Enhanced AI Capabilities: Palo Alto Networks Cortex XSIAM, the AI-driven security operations platform for the modern Security Operations Center (SOC), is built on over a decade of expertise in machine learning models and the most comprehensive, rich, and diverse data store in the industry. Backed by Google's advanced cloud infrastructure and advanced AI services, including BigQuery and Gemini models, the combination delivers global scale and near real-time protection across all cybersecurity offerings.

"As the threat landscape intensifies, organizations are betting on AI-powered platformization to protect their most valuable assets," said Nikesh Arora, President and CEO of Palo Alto Networks. "The increased depth of Palo Alto Network's partnership with Google Cloud empowers customers to transform their digital futures without sacrificing security. We look forward to expanding our footprint using Google's capabilities to accelerate and deliver AI-driven cybersecurity advancements."

"Palo Alto Networks is one of Google Cloud's most strategic partners, and we have a long history of delivering solutions that solve our customers' most complex security challenges," said Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud. "Through this major partnership expansion, we will combine our security expertise, product leadership, and trusted infrastructure to help businesses protect against sophisticated threats using tools powered by Google Cloud's generative AI."

Integra Optics launches XGS-PON & GPON combo transceiver

Integra Optics launched a XGS-PON & GPON combo OLT SFP+ BiDi optical transceiver module. This module integrates the functionality of XG(S) PON OLT and GPON OLT optical modules, facilitating seamless network rate deployment within Optical Distribution Networks (ODNs) based on Optical Network Unit (ONU) requirements.

The company says its transceiver module enables a smooth transition from GPON to XG/XGS-PON.  It supports up to 20 km reach over single-mode fiber (SMF) at 10/2.5 G and 10/10 Gbps data rates, ensuring robust and efficient long-distance connectivity. It adheres to the SFP+ MSA and is compliant with GPON/XGS-PON standards, showcasing its versatility and readiness for diverse network environments.

The product accommodates a wide range of operational conditions, offering both industrial operating temperature (-40° to +85° C) and commercial temperature (0° to +70° C) versions, making it suitable for various deployment scenarios.

A key advantage of the XGS-PON & GPON Combo OLT SFP+ module is the elimination of the need for external wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) equipment, simplifying network architectures and significantly reducing both construction and maintenance costs.

Furthermore, the module features a Digital Diagnostic Monitoring (DDM) interface as per the QSFP28 Multi-Source Agreement (MSA), enhancing network reliability through real-time monitoring and diagnostics.

"The integration of GPON and XGS-PON functionalities into a single optical module not only signifies a leap in technology but exemplifies our commitment to innovation and understanding the needs of the telecommunications sector," said Senior Engineering Manager Marlena Miller. "This module is designed to solve real-world networking challenges, offering unparalleled distance coverage, compliance with industry standards, temperature versatility and a simplified network design."

U.S. intros Broadband Nutrition Labels

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced the nationwide launch of Broadband Consumer Labels, which Internet Service Providers will now be required to display to ensure broadband price and service transparency.

The Broadband Consumer Labels resemble the well-known nutrition labels that appear on food products.  To ensure the label benefits all consumers, the Commission adopted language and accessibility requirements for the label's display.  Labels are required for all standalone home or fixed internet service or mobile broadband plans.  Providers must display the label – not simply an icon or link to the label – in close proximity to an associated plan’s advertisement.

“Today is an exciting day for consumers. Broadband Nutrition Labels are finally here.  Consumers across the country can now benefit from consistent, transparent, and accessible point-of-sale information about broadband prices and services,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel.  “These ‘nutrition label’ disclosures are designed to make it simpler for consumers to know what they are getting, hold providers to their promises, and benefit from greater competition—which means better service and prices for everyone.”.

 In 2021, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which directed the FCC to require consumer-friendly labels with information about broadband services. In 2022, the FCC adopted rules requiring broadband providers to display, at the point of sale, labels displaying key information consumers want: prices, speeds, fees, data allowances, and other critical information.

By October 10, 2024, providers will be required to make the labels machine-readable to enable third parties to more easily collect and aggregate data for the purpose of creating comparison-shopping tools for consumers.  At that time, providers with less than 100,000 subscribers must also comply with the rules.