Wednesday, May 8, 2024

NTIA offers $420 million to promote Open Radio Units

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced up to $420 million in funding to build the radio equipment needed to advance open network adoption in the U.S. and abroad.  

“This $420 million investment will help shore up our supply chain and create opportunities for companies from the U.S. and our allies,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson. “Open, interoperable networks will facilitate competition, make our supply chains more secure, and lead to lower costs.”  

This second round of funding targets two critical areas:

  • Open radio unit commercialization: Accelerating the development of open radio units to the point where they meet the needs of wireless carriers and are ready for commercial trials; and
  • Open radio unit innovation: Improving the overall performance and capabilities of open radio units through targeted research and development.

NTIA expects to grant between $25 million and $45 million per commercialization award, and $5 million to $10 million per innovation award. Applications are due July 10.

NTIA has already awarded more than $140 million to 17 grantees through the first Notice of Funding Opportunity. That initial round of investments is supporting testing research and development, and the establishment of testing and evaluation facilities.

NTIA expects to start making awards from this second funding opportunity this fall.

Tech Update: Open RAN Performance and Interoperability

2024 marks a critical juncture for Open RAN, as industry leaders and telecom operators assess the tangible impacts of this technology on network performance and vendor interoperability. Doug Roberts, EVP and GM, Automated Test & Assurance from Spirent explains: 

- The current state of Open RAN (O-RAN) and its potential for broad-based adoption in the coming year.

- The shift in focus from throughput and volume to performance in next-generation O-RAN architectures.

- The importance of interoperability and performance in complex O-RAN infrastructures for delivering next-generation applications and services.

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CHIPS for America offers $285 million for Digital Twins in fabs

The U.S. Department of Commerce is seeking proposals to establish and operate a CHIPS Manufacturing USA institute focused on digital twins for the semiconductor industry. D

Digital twins are virtual models that mimic the structure, context, and behavior of a physical counterpart. The CHIPS for America Program anticipates up to approximately $285 million for a first-of-its-kind institute focused on the development, validation, and use of digital twins for semiconductor manufacturing, advanced packaging, assembly, and test processes. The CHIPS Manufacturing USA institute is the first Manufacturing USA institute launched by the Department of Commerce under the Biden Administration.

“Digital twin technology can help to spark innovation in research, development, and manufacturing of semiconductors across the country – but only if we invest in America’s understanding and ability of this new technology,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This new Manufacturing USA institute will not only help to make America a leader in developing this new technology for the semiconductor industry, it will also help train the next generation of American workers and researchers to use digital twins for future advances in R&D and production of chips.”

CHIPS for America allocates $3 billion for National Advanced Packaging 

As part of the Chips for America program to drive U.S. leadership in semiconductors, $3 billion will be allocated to a new National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program.  The funding targets advanced packaging technology in the United States that can be deployed to manufacturing facilities, including recipients of CHIPS manufacturing incentives. An initial funding opportunity for this program is expected to be announced in early 2024....

CHIPS for America strategy released

The U.S. Department of Commerce released its strategy for implementing the $50 billion CHIPS Act of 2022 program, which was signed by President Biden last month.  Here are the highlights,The CHIPS Act of 2022 program has four primary goals :Establish and expand domestic production of leading edge semiconductors in the US, of which the US currently makes 0% of the world’s supplyBuild a sufficient and stable supply of mature node semiconductorsInvest...


Microsoft plans $3.3 billion data center in Wisconsin

Microsoft announced plans to invest $3.3 billion in cloud computing and AI infrastructure in Wisconsin.

The state-of-the-art datacenter campus in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin is expected to come online in 2026. The project is expected to bring an influx of 2,300 union construction jobs to the area by 2025, as well as providing long-term employment opportunities over the next several years. 

Along with building a physical data center, Microsoft will partner with Gateway Technical College to build a Data Center Academy to train and certify more than 1,000 students in five years to work in the new data center and IT sector jobs created in the area.

Microsoft also noted its partnership with National Grid to build a new 250 megawatt solar project in Wisconsin that will begin operating in 2027. This additional solar power means that by 2027, Microsoft will exceed 4,000 megawatts of flowing into the local grid – an amount of power equivalent to what’s needed to power more than 3 million homes. As part of this work, Microsoft and National Grid will jointly contribute $20 million over the term of the agreement to a community fund to support under-resourced communities and communities disproportionately impacted by pollution.


Arm sees demand across all segments

Arm reported revenues of $928 million for its fourth fiscal quarter, ended March 31, 2024, up 47% year-over-year, with record royalty revenue and strong growth in license revenue. Royalty revenue amounted to $514 million, up 37% year-over-year was driven by the rapidly increasing penetration of Armv9-based chips which typically command a higher royalty rate, and the recovery in the semiconductor industry.

In its shareholder letter, Arm highlighted multiple growth drivers for its long-term strategy, including:

  • Growth will be driven by royalty revenue. We expect the demand for Arm-based compute to continue across all market segments, especially as AI is deployed in virtually all applications, from the most advanced data centers to the smallest edge devices. All this extra compute requires increased performance with less power consumption, which is driving the need for Arm’s most advanced technology, such as Armv9, into smartphones, servers, smart IoT, and networking devices. Chips based on Armv9 technology now contribute around 20% of royalty revenue, up from around 15% last quarter1.
  • Growth will be driven by the need for more energy-efficient compute and AI capability from the data center to edge computers. As the amount of compute to run these complex AI workloads is increasing exponentially, the amount of energy required will increase too. 
  • According to a 2023 report from Boston Consulting Group, US data centers already consume around 126TWh per year, and this is expected to rise three-fold by 2030. 
  • Arm’s data center customers are reporting substantial performance-per-watt savings compared with legacy architectures and this contributes to why Arm’s energy-efficient technology is being chosen to help run these workloads. 
  • Google recently announced its first custom Arm- based Axion product, which provides 50% better performance and up to 60% better energy-efficiency compared to legacy architectures, and will be used to run AI training and inference. 
  • Ten of the world’s largest hyperscalers are deploying Arm- based chips for their data centers, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Oracle Cloud. 
  • NVIDIA also recently announced their Grace Blackwell Superchip that combines NVIDIA’s Blackwell GPU architecture with an Arm-based Grace CPU. This provides significant power savings compared to running a GPU alongside a legacy server chip. 
  • Arm technology provides similar power-efficiency for chips in PCs, smartphones, automotive applications, and networking equipment, and as AI goes everywhere, we believe it will be enabled by our technology.
  • During the quarter, Arm also announced its next generation family of processors for automotive, including the world’s most power efficient and high performance server-class CPU with safety-critical automotive enhanced (AE) features, Arm Neoverse V3AE. This new family of automotive processors is already being adopted by leading players, including Marvell, MediaTek, NVIDIA, NXP, Renesas, Telechips, Texas Instruments, and others.


Cisco's AppDynamics adds AI to anomaly detection

Cisco announced a new virtual appliance for its AppDynamics On-Premises application observability offering, enabling customers to use a self-hosted observability solution built on AI-powered intelligence for anomaly detection and root cause analysis, application security, and SAP monitoring. 

The new innovations include: 

  • AI-Powered Detection and Remediation with Cognition Engine: Improve the accuracy of anomaly detection by leveraging dynamic baseline performance to understand what normal looks like against historical trend data, in turn reducing the mean time to identify (MTTI) for application performance issues. Performance issues can then be resolved faster with root cause analysis and automated transaction diagnostics – analyzing a continuous stream of transaction snapshots that capture events used in proactive performance troubleshooting. 
  • Application Security: Cisco Secure Application allows customers to locate and highlight application security vulnerabilities with application context, and then leverage an automated business risk score that combines application intelligence and security intelligence, allowing them to prioritize their response by business impact. The addition of Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) enables organizations to defend the business from exploits that target application vulnerabilities. 
  • A Resilient SAP Landscape: Customers can ensure service availability and performance with full-stack observability for on-premises SAP and non-SAP environments, surfacing insights to address performance issues before they impact the business. Cisco brings resiliency into the SAP landscape with application performance, augmented by AI-powered intelligence for the Java stack, enabling SAP developers and BASIS admins to ensure service availability, align performance with SAP business outcomes, and discover SAP related security vulnerabilities to mitigate risk. 
  • Self-Hosted Offerings in Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure: In addition to on-premises deployments, customers can manage their own observability deployments in AWS or Microsoft Azure by using the Amazon Machine Instance (AMI) or Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) images of the virtual appliance. This is valuable when a SaaS instance is not available in the country where a sensitive workload needs to be monitored, or when a customer wants to retain full control of the observability solution. 

Cisco also announced AppDynamics Flex, a new licensing model that provides optionality for customers to choose between self-hosted and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) observability offerings.


Padtec posts Q1 results

Citing inventory saturation with customers and challenging conditions, Padtec reported net revenue of R$58.4 million in 1Q24 and R$347.9 million in LTM 1Q24. In the comparison between 1Q24 and 1Q23, there was a drop of 26.3% and between 1Q24 and 4Q23, the reduction was 34.5%. Gross profit amounted to R$14.9 million in 1Q24 (gross margin of 25.5%) and R$117.7 million in LTM 1Q24 (gross margin of 33.8%).

Padtec noted restructuring including renegotiating contracts with suppliers and a reduction of its workforce to adjust its operations

Company highlights for Q1

  • Good results in the first tests carried out in real networks with prototypes of new dual disaggregated transponders (standalone) with up to 800 Gb/s per optical channel (1.6 Tb/s in total) for medium, long, and ultra-long distances. The launch of LightPad Max, a new generation of Padtec transponders, is scheduled for 1H24.
  • Additionally, Padtec is in the advanced stages of installing a manufacturing unit to produce its own
  • pluggable (coherent transceivers with high transmission capacity). This equipment will be intended for the Company's internal consumption and, indirectly, will contribute to increasing the presence of itshigh-capacity DWDM solutions in metropolitan networks, new demands in large-scale data centers, and the so-called EDGE Data Centers.
  •  The performance of the Services, Software, and Platforms BU contributes to offsetting the momentary saturation of stocks on the networks experienced by the Equipment/DWDM area.
  • The new service, software, automation, and outsourcing solutions Padtec offers help customers
  • perform their activities more efficiently.
  • In the Equipment/DWDM BU, the FIDC Funttel and the FINEP Aquisição Inovadora Telecom financing line (offered by FINEP, the Brazilian Federal Government Funding Authority for Studies and Projects) enable customers to take advantage of favorable conditions for acquiring Padtec equipment.