Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Cignal AI: Optical and routing hardware spending drops 15% in 1Q24

Despite spending from cloud operators, the Optical and Routing Transport equipment market continued to decline in 1Q24, according to a new report from Cignal AI. 

"Cloud Operators continue to provide the financial and technical leadership in the transport equipment market," said Kyle Hollasch, Lead Analyst at Cignal AI. “Based on our discussions within the supply chain, we don’t expect a recovery in spending from traditional service providers until 2025, at the earliest.”

Additional 1Q24 Transport Hardware Report Findings:

  • Spending in North America on Optical Transport equipment declined for the 4th straight quarter, while Routing dropped to levels last seen in 2020.
  • Cloud Operator expenditures hit double digits while traditional service providers continued to cut back. Sales to Cloud & Colo operators exceeded Service Provider spending for the second consecutive quarter. Ciena remains the primary beneficiary of Cloud spending.
  • Network operators in EMEA spent cautiously, apart from buildouts for cloud operators, which grew almost 50%.
  • Chinese operators are upgrading long-haul WDM infrastructure, and the latest contract awards benefitted Huawei, ZTE, and Fiberhome. Routing equipment in the region remains flat.
  • Now that Indian operators have completed a series of 5G related builds, spending in RoAPAC (ex-China and Japan) is in a downturn.


Arista to align compute and network domains as a single managed AI entity

Arista Networks, in collaboration with NVIDIA, hosted a technology demonstration showcasing AI Data Centers that integrate compute and network domains into a single managed AI entity. This initiative aims to help customers configure, manage, and monitor AI clusters uniformly across key components, including networks, NICs, and servers. By demonstrating this unified approach, Arista and NVIDIA highlight the potential for a multi-vendor, interoperable ecosystem that allows for better control and coordination between AI networking and compute infrastructure.

The technology demonstration introduced an Arista EOS-based remote AI agent, which enables the combined AI cluster to be managed as a single solution. With EOS running on the network, this remote AI agent extends its capabilities to servers and SuperNICs, allowing for real-time tracking and reporting of performance issues between hosts and networks. This integration ensures that any performance degradation or failures can be quickly isolated and mitigated, optimizing the end-to-end quality of service (QoS) within the AI Data Center.

As AI clusters and large language models (LLMs) grow in complexity and size, the need for uniform controls across AI servers and network switches becomes critical. The demonstration addressed the challenges of managing disparate components such as GPUs, NICs, switches, optics, and cables. By providing a single point of control and visibility, the Arista EOS-based solution helps prevent misconfigurations and misalignments that can adversely affect job completion times. Additionally, the coordinated management and monitoring of compute and network resources ensure efficient congestion management, minimizing packet drops and optimizing GPU utilization.

Highlights of the demo

  • Collaboration between Arista Networks and NVIDIA for AI Data Centers.
  • Unified management of AI clusters across networks, NICs, and servers.
  • Demonstration of a multi-vendor, interoperable ecosystem.
  • Introduction of an Arista EOS-based remote AI agent.
  • Real-time tracking and reporting of performance issues.
  • Optimization of end-to-end QoS within the AI Data Center.
  • Single point of control and visibility for AI clusters.
  • Efficient congestion management and optimization of GPU utilization.

“Arista aims to improve efficiency of communication between the discovered network and GPU topology to improve job completion times through coordinated orchestration, configuration, validation, and monitoring of NVIDIA accelerated compute, NVIDIA SuperNICs, and Arista network infrastructure,” said John McCool, Chief Platform Officer for Arista Networks.


New Subsea Cable to link UK, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Norway

 IOEMA Fibre announced plans for high-capacity, 1400 km repeatered submarine cable system connecting five key northern European markets – the UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Norway, supporting critical infrastructure security with full armouring and burial.

The 48-fibre pair system will support a minimum overall capacity of 1.3 Pb/s.

The IOEMA cable system consists of a trunk route, connecting Dumpton Gap, UK with Kristiansand, Norway and three branches, connecting Eemshaven, The Netherlands; Wilhelmshaven, Germany; and Blaabjerg, Denmark. The cable connects with vital transatlantic crossings Havfrue (DK), Leif Erikson (NO) and other planned Trans-Atlantic cables.

The IOEMA system will be the first submarine fibre optic cable landing on the North Sea shores of Germany in over 25 years. After decommissioning of TAT-14, SEA-ME-WE 3 and others, the IOEMA submarine fibre optic cable system will be the only cable system connecting Germany to the submarine cable networks in the North Sea and beyond.


AST SpaceMobile signs Verizon for Direct-to-Cellular

AST SpaceMobile announced a strategic partnership with a commitment of $100 million to provide direct-to-cellular satellite service for Verizon.

The partnership will combine Verizon’s terrestrial mobile network, the multi-operator 850 Mhz band and AST SpaceMobile's communications arrays in low Earth orbit. 

The $100 million Verizon commitment includes $65 million ​of​ commercial prepayments, $45 million of which are subject to certain conditions, and $35 million of convertible notes.

“This new partnership with Verizon will enable AST SpaceMobile to target 100% coverage of the continental United States on premium 850 MHz spectrum with two major U.S. mobile operators in the most valuable wireless market in the world, a transformational commercial milestone,” said Abel Avellan, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of AST SpaceMobile. “This partnership will enhance cellular connectivity in the United States, essentially eliminating dead zones and empowering remote areas of the country with space-based connectivity.”

“Verizon has always been strategic and efficient with our spectrum strategy. We use the spectrum entrusted to us to deliver outstanding cellular service for our customers through our terrestrial network. By entering into this agreement with AST, we will now be able to use our spectrum in conjunction with AST’s satellite network to provide essential connectivity in remote corners of the U.S. where cellular signals are unreachable through traditional land-based infrastructure,” said Srini Kalapala, Senior Vice President of Technology and Product Development at Verizon.

AST SpaceMobile now has agreements with more than 45 mobile network operators globally who collectively serve over 2.8 billion existing subscribers. 

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...

AST Mobile Tapes Out Space-to-Cellular ASIC

AST SpaceMobile, which is building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by everyday smartphones, has begun the tape-out phase for its Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), in collaboration with TSMC.AST SpaceMobile's BlueBird Block 2 program, the AST5000 ASIC is a novel, custom and low-power architecture developed to enable up to a tenfold improvement in processing bandwidth on each satellite, unlocking...

Arm readies next-gen, on-device AI silicon

Arm introduced its Compute Subsystems (CSS) for Client, a framework that brings together its Armv9 capabilties into production-ready implementations of new Arm CPUs and GPUs on 3nm process nodes.

CSS for Client provides the foundational computing elements for the company's flagship SoCs and features the latest Armv9.2 CPUs and Immortalis GPUs, as well as production ready physical implementations for CPU and GPU on 3nm and the latest Corelink System Interconnect and System Memory Management Units (SMMUs).

Silicon companies can use the Arm CSS framework to create the lates compute solutions for AI smartphones and PCs, delivering Android workloads with greater than 30 percent increase on compute and graphics performance and 59 percent faster AI inference for broader AI/ML and computer vision (CV) workloads, according to the company.

The new Arm Cortex-X925 CPU cluster is Arm’s most powerful and efficient yet. Using advanced 3nm process nodes and running at 3.8GHz with maximum cache size, the Cortex-X925 achieves a 36% increase in single-thread performance over 2023 flagship 4nm SoCs. For AI applications, it provides a remarkable 41% performance boost, significantly enhancing the responsiveness of on-device generative AI like large language models.

Key Points for the new Arm Cortex-X925 CPU:

Performance: Highest year-on-year performance uplift in Cortex-X history.

Process Node: Advanced 3nm technology.

Clock Rate: 3.8GHz with maximum cache.

Single-Thread Performance: 36% increase compared to 2023 4nm SoCs.

AI Performance: 41% improvement for on-device generative AI tasks.

Arm's press release cites supports from TSMC, Samsung Foundry, and Intel Foundry Services.

CoreSite expands AWS Direct Connect

CoreSite now offers native access to AWS Direct Connect in its Chicago data center campus, offering dedicated connections from 10 Gbps and 100 Gbps and Hosted connections from 50 Mbps to 25 Gbps. 

AWS Direct Connect is natively available in six CoreSite markets including Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Denver, New York, Northern Virginia and now Chicago. This new AWS Direct Connect deployment enables CoreSite customers to more easily build secure, high-performing and resilient infrastructure aligned with the AWS Well-Architected Framework.