Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Juniper enhances its Mist AI-Native Networking

Juniper Networks announced new additions to its AI-Native Networking Platform that use artificial intelligence to proactively identify and fix network issues. This update to their cloud-based networking products, powered by Mist AI, is designed to improve user experience and lower operational costs by up to 85% for customers, according to the company. The platform is built on the concept of "AI for Networking" and aims to deliver reliable and secure connections for all devices and users.

Here are the key improvements:

  • Improved video call quality: The platform can now predict call quality before a video session for Zoom and Microsoft Teams calls.
  • Proactive wired network issue detection: Marvis Minis can now diagnose authentication issues in the wired network without requiring users to be present.
  • New service levels for wired network: New service level options allow for monitoring switch bandwidth and connection to RADIUS servers.
  • Network rewind for wireless interference: A new feature allows for easier identification of the root cause of wireless interference issues.
  • Automatic wired packet capture: The platform can now automatically capture packets in the cloud to help identify and fix wired network issues.
  • More efficient wired troubleshooting: Marvis Actions can now identify and fix misconfigured switch ports.
  • Simplified device posture validation: The platform can now integrate with cloud-based Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) and Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions for easier device compliance enforcement.
  • Seamless onboarding for eduroam users: The platform now supports eduroam, which allows users to easily connect to Wi-Fi at over 10,000 locations worldwide.

“This announcement directly addresses two of the top concerns from our customers and partners: how to proactively stay ahead of constantly changing user demands, and how to ensure critical applications like Zoom and Teams perform as desired, regardless of where users are located. By expanding our AI-Native Networking Platform with more industry-firsts such as Marvis Application Experience Insights and wired/wireless digital experience twinning, Juniper continues to pioneer the usage of AI in networking to deliver unsurpassed agility and assurance via proactive insight and automation,” Sudheer Matta, GVP Products for Campus and Branch, Juniper Networks.


ONUG: Networking AI - Omniscient, Omnipotent Genie?

So what are these new AI virtual assistants? Are they genies with supernatural powers? Andrew Coward, GM of Software Networking from IBM, shares some insights:

- AI's potential in managing holistic networks: Andrew discusses how AI can enhance the performance of applications by managing networks end-to-end. He emphasizes that even a slight delay in application performance can significantly impact user experience and sales, and AI can play a crucial role in preventing such issues.

- The prerequisites for AI in networking: Andrew likens AI to a genie that needs to be omniscient and omnipotent to function effectively. He explains that for AI to work efficiently in networking, it must have access to all data from various network elements and the power to make changes and fix issues across the network infrastructure.

- The transformative power of AI: Andrew talks about how AI can automate problem-solving in networking. He mentions that AI can take a problem ticket, enrich it with relevant data, suggest solutions, and eventually be allowed to implement these solutions. He also discusses the potential of AI in predicting network issues and dynamically reconfiguring the network to prevent them.

Join us as we discuss the future of networking, where AI plays a pivotal role in managing and enhancing network performance.

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Cisco posts sales of $12.7 billion, down 13%, but above guidance

Cisco reported revenue of $12.7 billion for its third fiscal quarter, ended April 27, 2024, down 13%, with product revenue down 19% and service revenue up 6%. Cisco completed the acquisition of Splunk during the quarter. Splunk contributed $413 million of total revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2024.

Net income on a generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) basis was $1.9 billion or $0.46 per share, and non-GAAP net income of $3.6 billion or $0.88 per share.

"We delivered a solid Q3 performance in what remains a dynamic environment" said Chuck Robbins, chair and CEO of Cisco. "Our unique ability to bring together networking, security, observability, and data enables Cisco to offer our customers unrivaled digital resilience for the AI era."

"Revenue, gross margin and non-GAAP EPS in Q3 were at the high end or above our guidance range, both including and excluding Splunk, resulting in continued operating leverage," said Scott Herren, CFO of Cisco. "Customers are consuming the equipment shipped over the last few quarters in line with our expectations and we are seeing stabilization of demand as a result. The addition of Splunk to our product line will be a catalyst for further growth." 

In addition, Cisco named Gary Steele as President of Go-to-Market, effective immediately. He will continue to lead the Splunk team through the integration process to ensure a seamless integration into Cisco. 

Some highlights

  • Strong profitability with GAAP gross margin of 65.1% and non-GAAP gross margin of 68.3%
  • Transformed business model, further enhanced by the Splunk acquisition:
  • Total subscription revenue of $6.9 billion including Splunk, representing 54% of total revenue
  • Total annualized recurring revenue (ARR) at $29.2 billion including $4.2 billion from Splunk, up 22% year over year, and product ARR at $15.5 billion, up 44% year over year
  • Revenue by geographic segment was: Americas down 15%, EMEA down 9%, and APJC down 12%. Product revenue performance reflected growth in Security up 36% and Observability up 27%. Networking was down 27%. Product revenue in Collaboration was flat. Security and Observability, excluding Splunk, grew 3% and 14%, respectively, in the third quarter of fiscal 2024.


Tech Update: Testing Wi-Fi 7's 320 MHz Channels, Modulation, MLO

Wi-Fi 7 brings many new capabilities for developers, system vendors, and ultimately, end users.  Leigh Chinitz, Senior Director of Solutions Architecture from Spirent, provides an in-depth explanation:

  • Leigh discusses the transition to Wi-Fi 7, which is based on the 802.11be specification, also known as the extremely high throughput amendment. This change focuses on increasing throughput, with Wi-Fi 7 offering up to 30 gigabits per second.
  • He explains the introduction of multi-link operation in Wi-Fi 7, a technology adapted from the cellular industry. This allows for simultaneous communication on 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz, increasing the reliability and latency of Wi-Fi.
  • Leigh also touches on the concept of Network as a Service (NaaS), a revolutionary approach that allows businesses to scale their network on demand, leading to higher productivity and cost efficiency.

See the full Wi-Fi 7 video from Spirent here:

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Digital Realty bring Liquid-to-Chip cooling to 170 data centers

Digital Realty announced the availability of liquid-to-chip cooling technology, enabling businesses to deploy high-density configurations within a shared environment, in close proximity to the cloud, as well as network and AI service providers.

Key highlights of Digital Realty's advanced high-density deployment support include:

  • The ability to leverage a wide range of mechanical solutions, such as rear door heat exchangers (RDHx) and DLC, enabling the efficient management of power densities ranging from 30 to 150 kilowatts per rack, and beyond. 
  • The combination of RDHx with DLC effectively doubles the power densities that can be supported.
  • Deployment options are available in more than half of Digital Realty's data centers worldwide, with plans to expand support to additional sites and to leverage existing infrastructure to meet emerging AI requirements. 

"We're proud to align with our customers in evolving their infrastructure to support this cutting-edge liquid-to-chip technology, enabling them to land and expand their deployments efficiently and redefine what's possible in the digital age. With this cutting-edge liquid-to-chip cooling technology, we're not just setting a new standard for high-density deployment support, we're revolutionizing the digital infrastructure landscape," said Chris Sharp, Chief Technology Officer, Digital Realty.

The new offering from Digital Realty, which builds upon the company's standardized high-density colocation offering, introduces direct liquid cooling (DLC), bringing liquid directly to customers' infrastructure, allowing for greater relevance and versatility in meeting emerging AI demand. This approach enables 

Alkira raises $100 million for network infrastructure as-a-service

Alkira, a start-up providing on-demand network infrastructure as-a-service, closed a $100 million Series C funding round, bringing the company’s total funding raised to date to $176 million. 

Alkira offers:

  • On-demand network infrastructure as-a-service with integrated security and networking services available globally
  • The ability to securely connect any cloud, any on-prem location, any remote user or app to any other point of presence
  • Agility, elasticity, intelligence, security, and scale for traditional networking use cases
  • A platform to build global, secure networks in minutes, eliminating the need to acquire hardware, manage physical circuits, and run software appliances or agents on-site

The company says its multi-cloud networking will be foundational for AI workloads spanning global networks.

“The explosive growth of cloud applications and A.I. workloads are fueling a surge in demand for agile, secure, scalable cost-efficient networking solutions,” said Amir Khan, CEO at Alkira. “We’re fortunate to have strong partners to help us meet that demand while we accelerate growth, explore exciting new opportunities, and continue delivering exceptional value to our customers. Our talented team is the engine behind Alkira’s success, and we’re deeply grateful for their hard work and dedication in getting us to this point.”

The round was led by Tiger Global Management, a leading global investment firm, with additional investment from Dallas Venture Capital, Geodesic Capital and NextEquity Partners; and participation from existing investors, including, Kleiner Perkins, Koch Disruptive Technologies and Sequoia Capital.

“Increasing cloud and A.I. use is also increasing the complexity, velocity, and scale requirements of network infrastructure,” said Rohit Iragavarapu, investor at Tiger Global. “We believe Alkira is well positioned to unlock the growing potential of this rapidly evolving space with its visionary approach, market traction, and cutting-edge technology.”


AT&T and AST SpaceMobile target space-to-mobiles

AT&T and AST SpaceMobile entered a commercial agreement to provide space-based broadband network direct to everyday cell phones. The deal runs through 2030.

This summer, AST SpaceMobile plans to deliver its first commercial satellites to Cape Canaveral for launch into low Earth orbit. These initial five satellites will enable commercial service that was previously demonstrated with several key milestones. 

Key Takeaways :

  • AT&T and AST SpaceMobile announce a commercial agreement to provide their first space-based broadband network direct to everyday cell phones.
  • The two companies have been on this path together since 2018. This agreement is another key step to providing even more expansive connectivity.
  • Chris Sambar, Head of Network for AT&T, will soon be appointed to AST SpaceMobile’s board of directors. AT&T will continue to work directly with AST SpaceMobile on developing, testing, and troubleshooting this technology to help make continental U.S. satellite coverage possible.
  • On target for July or August delivery of 5 Block 1 satellites to Cape Canaveral
  • First 5 satellites allow U.S. nationwide non-continuous service with 5,600+ cells in premium low-band spectrum
  • Activities and discussions with government regulatory bodies, including FCC, are advancing as expected
  • Continue to advance discussions with additional strategic partners, following the blueprint of commercial payments alongside commercial agreements

“Space-based direct-to-mobile technology is designed to provide customers connectivity by complementing and integrating with our existing mobile network,” said Jeff McElfresh, Chief Operating Officer, AT&T. “This agreement is the next step in our industry leadership to use emerging satellite technologies to provide services to consumers and in locations where connectivity was not previously feasible.”

"Working together with AT&T has paved the way to unlock the potential of space-based cellular broadband directly to everyday smartphones. We are thrilled to solidify our collaboration through this landmark agreement," said Abel Avellan, AST SpaceMobile Founder, Chairman, and CEO . "We aim to bring seamless, reliable service to consumers and businesses across the continental U.S., transforming the way people connect and access information."