More than 1000 homes and businesses in North Melbourne and Sydney’s south will be the first to benefit from new technology under the NBN rollout that will deliver faster broadband speeds. NBN Co is providing a limited release of its fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) technology that will connect to a telecom pit near a driveway outside a home or business rather than a junction box down the street, with a larger release due in the second half of this year. Fiber-optic cable is connected to the pit outside the home or business, with existing copper lines used to connect the Internet to the premise. [That’s the same topology used by AT&T’s U-verse in the U.S.]
NBN Co‘s chief network engineering officer Peter Ryan labelled the Australian-made technology a “breakthrough:”
“It allows us to deliver a lot of the benefits of fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) without the inconvenience of digging front lawns of Australians,” he told reporters. “It allows us to deploy the NBN faster and at a lower cost and complete the network by 2020,” he added.
Testing has seen download speeds of over 100 Mbps and more than 40 Mbps uploads. That could reach a gigabit per second with the addition of new “copper acceleration technology”, which is planned in selected areas by the end of the year.
About one million premises are expected to be connected by 2020, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said, although that could change. “This is really good news and a further development in the evolution of the NBN,” he told reporters alongside Treasurer Scott Morrison at the launch in Miranda, in Sydney’s south, on Sunday.
nbn™ Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) equipment
For more information, please visit: https://www.nbnco.com.au/learn-about-the-nbn/network-technology/fibre-to-the-curb-explained-fttc.html
NBN Co will decide what other locations will get the FTTC broadband access, based on what technology “makes sense” in any given area, Mr. Fifield said. FTTC can deliver the same 100Mbps speeds as fiber-to-the-premise, but at a lower cost, in much less time and with far less disruption to people’s property, he added. Mr Fifield guaranteed all premises would get at least 25 Mbps, with 90 per cent above 50 and 72 per cent at 100 Mbps. “The Turnbull government is keeping broadband bills down and taxes lower by rollout the NBN sooner and more affordably,” he said.
NBN Co’s chief customer officer for residential, Brad Whitcomb, said new “copper acceleration technology” known as G.fast could deliver even faster speeds in selected areas by the end of the year.
Mr Whitcomb said NBN has been working closely with service providers to test the new FTTC over the past few months.
“As with the introduction of any new technology, we will continue to gain insights as we navigate the complexity of the build as well as potential issues which can arise when people connect to the network,” he said in a statement.
Mr. Fifield is confident the network will meet the speed needs of Australians once completed in 2020, but noted NBN Co would pursue upgrade options if needed. “I think the experience people are having today is, overwhelmingly, a good one,” he said.
“From 1876 to 2013 telecom and network equipment design was proprietary….We are now in the 3rd phase of open networking transformation,” said Arpit Joshipura, Linux Foundation GM of Networking at the 2018 OCP Summit. The network equipment design transformation is shown in the figure below:
During his OCP Summit keynote speech, Arpit announced a partnership between OCP and the Linux Foundation to further the development of software and hardware-based open source networking. The organizations will work together to create stronger integration and testing, new open networking features, more scalability, a reduction in CAPEX/OPEX, greater harmonization with switch network operating systems, and increased interoperability for network functions virtualization (NFV) network transformation.
Virtualization of network functions and the resulting disaggregation of hardware and software have created interest in open source at both layers. OCP provides an open source option for the hardware layer, and The Linux Foundation’s OPNFV project integrates OCP along with other open source software projects into relevant NFV reference architectures. Given this alignment, OCP and OPNFV already have been collaborating on activities such as plugfests and joint demos. Now they have committed to expanded collaborative efforts which will accelerate the megatrend of totally open networking.
“It’s exciting to see the principles of open source software development come to hardware, and OCP has already made a substantial contribution to some Linux Foundation project plugfests and demos,” said Arpit Joshipura in the referenced press release. “We see OCP as an integral partner as we explore new opportunities for NFV deployments, performance, features, and footprint. Global network operators agree and ranked OCP very high on a list of the most important projects for OPNFV in a recent survey. We look forward to continued and intensified collaboration across ecosystems.”
The key market disruptors- virtualization of equipment functions, software defined networking and disaggregation of equipment are shown below with the applicable software and hardware entities on the left, and sample open source projects on the right of the figure below.
Arpit said the drivers behind this huge move to open source software running on open source hardware are 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). Mandatory automation of functions (e.g. provisioning and configuration) are (and will be) required to support the high speeds/low latency of 5G and the huge number of IoT endpoints.
The Linux Foundation Networking (LNF) group’s vision includes automating cloud services, network infrastructure, and IoT services as shown in this illustration:
The Linux Foundation Open Source Networking activities include participants from telecom carriers, cloud computing, and enterprises. As shown in the illustration below, 9 out of 10 of the most important projects of participants will use open source software with all 10 of the largest network equipment vendors actively involved and 60% of global subscribers represented. Shared innovation and a 15 minute “new service creation time” are selected goals of the LFN projects.
The .Linux Foundation is leading the way forward to harmonize open source software efforts and get them into the community. In the figure below, the services, software and infrastructure are shown on the left, the various open source projects are shown in the center, and the various standards organizations (but not the actual standards) are shown on the right. It should be duly noted that there are no official standards bodies working on open networking specifications to provide multi-vendor interoperability of exposed interfaces or even APIs within a single piece of equipment.
To clarify that point, Arpit wrote via email: “LFN (which hosts ONAP), is working on de-facto automation open source aspects independent of 5G/4G. The 5G services mandate automation due to IOT and new services that are coming up. The specific specs of 5G are out of scope for Networking Automation. OCP and LFN partnership is limited to what I spoke at the OCP Summit keynote.”
Note: There are more than 20 open source projects for networking currently active at the Linux Foundation (see above illustration). LF also has expanded lately into areas as diverse as software for IoT devices, storage and blockchain. It remains to be seen if the OCP – LNF partnership will create defacto standards (e.g. for virtualization of functions in 5G or IoT) or try to enforce interoperability through certification programs. The current motivation seems to come from carriers like AT&T which are demanding open source software on open source hardware to lower their CAPEX/OPEX and to improve automation of network functions.
Mr. Joshipura asserted that the LFN+OCP partnership would produce the very best of Open Source Software & Hardware. The total community collaboration will include: Hardware Vendors + Silicon Vendors + OEM/Manufacturers + Software Vendors, Systems Integrators + End Users.
Arpit provided a strong conclusion via email:
“Open source networking software is creating de-facto platforms that result in faster innovation across many IT communities. Collaboration between the leaders in open hardware (OCP) and Open Source Software (Linux Foundation Networking) will help propel this even further and broaden the scope of true open networking. This industry collaboration allows faster deployment, but still offers innovation on top.”
France’s Orange remained first while AT&T improved its position to second place in Vertical Systems Group’s (VSG) newly released 2017 Global Ethernet Leaderboard report. UK’s Colt was third while CenturyLink made its first appearance in the rankings finishing in fourth place. VSG said slim margins separated the leaders.
“With very slim margins separating the leading global service providers, Orange remains in first position, AT&T advances to second, and CenturyLink makes its debut,” Rick Malone, principal at Vertical Systems Group said in a press release. “To serve this specialized global market, key providers are increasing deployments of higher speed Ethernet connectivity to MPLS, VPLS and cloud services, while transitioning customers to more dynamic, advanced SDN-based hybrid WAN and SD-WAN offerings.”
VSG also noted that the Global provider Leaderboard companies that have received MEF 3.0 certification are AT&T, Colt, CenturyLink and Verizon. Challenge tier companies attaining the distinction are SingTel, T-Systems, Tata, Telefonica and Vodafone.
Last month, VSG said that CenturyLink, AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, Comcast, Windstream and Cox were, in that order, the top finishers in the U.S. Ethernet Leaderboard last year. The results are noteworthy because it was the first time since 2005 that AT&T did not finish as the leading provider.
The infrastructure for 5G is still only beginning—with wider availability not expected until at least 2020—but cities like New York, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Calif., and Atlanta will soon get a chance to preview the promise of 5G this year when Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint begin rolling out their faster networks in select areas. Using 5G, a city can sense “all sorts of variables across its many areas of interest, be it parking meters, traffic flow, where people are, security issues,” said Ron Marquardt, vp of technology at Sprint.
Mark Hung, an analyst at Gartner, pointed out that while 3G brought web browsing and data communication to the smartphone, 4G greatly enhanced it. And even though towers today can support hundreds or thousands of devices, 5G could help scale the Internet of Things from “hundreds and thousands to hundreds of thousands.”
Here are some of the ways 5G might transform cities over the next few years:
Telecoms will increasingly weave their way into the infrastructure through 5G. By gathering data from buildings, 5G can help cities understand patterns in electricity usage, leading to lower power consumption across the grid. Those savings could vary greatly. According to a 2017 report by Accenture, smart technology and 5G in a small city with a population of around 30,000 could have a $10 million impact on the power grid and transportation systems. A slightly larger city of 118,000 could see $70 million. Meanwhile, a major metro area—say, Chicago—could see an economic impact of $5 billion.
Private-public partnerships are still in the early stages of being developed. For example, Nokia last month announced a partnership with the Port of Hamburg in Germany and Deutsche Telekom to monitor real-time data to measure water gates, environmental metrics or construction sites.
“I think last year the buzzword was fourth industrial revolution, but for me it still rings true,” Jane Rygaard, head of 5G marketing at Nokia, said about the endless possibilities of a 5G network.
As infrastructure becomes digitized through 5G, some agencies are already investing in understanding a 5G-infused infrastructure to help clients adapt to smarter cities. R/GA’s new venture studio with Macquarie Capital will include tackling how 5G will be tied to emerging technologies like AI and blockchain. R/GA chief technology officer Nick Coronges said the connectivity of 5G goes hand in hand with emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain.
Verizon, which will test 5G in nearly a dozen cities in 2018, is making its first broadband debut in Sacramento with a 5G wireless network later this year. As part of the rollout, Verizon is placing 5G in stadiums. Lani Ingram, Verizon’s vp for smart communities, sports and IoT platforms, said 5G could also be put to good use in airports, convention centers and other venues.
“The amount of usage of data during sporting events and concerts is only growing,” she said. “We see that every year during the Super Bowl, for example.”
Many tout the need for 5G to power self-driving cars. For an autonomous vehicle to smoothly travel through a city, it will need to have low latency that allows it to continuously “see” its surroundings. 5G will allow for smart traffic lights, which connect with cars on the road to improve traffic flow. Carnegie Mellon University and Pittsburgh tested the use of smart traffic lights. The result? A 40 percent reduction in vehicle wait time, a 26 percent faster commute and a 21 percent decrease in vehicle emissions.
A 5G network will also make the roads safer. For example, as a car enters an intersection, a smart traffic light will notify it that a pedestrian has just hit the “walk” button, which will provide drivers more warning. Ambulances will be able to change traffic lights faster to accommodate their route and clear intersections.
“We see more and more of our customers linking smart city and safe city,” Rygaard said, adding that 5G isn’t just for consumers. It will improve their daily lives—whether that’s through safety, energy or countless other ways.
New Project and Working Groups:
Along with other TIP updates, three new groups were announced at MWC 2018: Disaggregated Cell Site Gateways, CrowdCell, and Power and Connectivity.
Disaggregated Cell Site Gateways
An Open Optical & Packet Transport sub-group led by Vodafone and Facebook. The sub-group is focused on the definition of a next generation cell site gateway device that operators can deploy at their cell sites. The group is working on technical requirements provided by Vodafone, other major operators, and hardware/software technology partners in an effort to produce a disaggregated device specification with a set of fully open APIs which can drive network cost efficiencies.
Cignal AI’s quarterly optical hardware report was published last week and includes results for almost all vendors in 4Q2017. Global spending on optical network equipment surged due to larger than usual seasonal growth in China and EMEA combined with continued elevated spending in rest of APAC (RoAPAC) = APAC x Japan and China. However, North America and CALA regions each suffered a double digit decline. Here are Cignal AI’s YoY % change from 4Q2016 to 4Q2017:
Key takeaways for the 4th quarter of 2017:
- China – When compared to 4Q2016’s weak spending, 4Q2017’s Chinese spending was massive, with year-over-year revenue increasing 40 percent (see chart above) and reaching record quarterly levels. We expect further discussion with Chinese vendors to provide greater insight on what drove this surge.
- EMEA – Carriers maxed out capex at the end of the year and spent 21 percent more YoY. Beneficiaries of this spending were Huawei and Nokia, while Infinera also reported significant EMEA revenue from a large North American cloud/colo vendor. Vendors believe that 2018 will be better and they expect incumbent operators to spend more.
- Japan – Spending was up 13 percent YoY for the quarter. NEC and Fujitsu accounted for 80 percent of all optical equipment sold in the region in 2014, but by 2017 it has dropped to 65 percent, as vendors such as Huawei, Ciena, and Infinera made inroads in this market. Western vendors are encouraged, and now consider Japan an area of potential expansion.
- RoAPAC – Nokia and Ciena had record revenue in RoAPAC during 4Q2017. Ciena’s revenue exceeded $100 million in the region, while Nokia’s nearly matched that of Huawei. Spending in India remained high, though Cignal AI is monitoring for the impact of the upcoming merger between Jio and Reliance.
- North America – 4Q17 spending continued to slip on a YoY basis for the fifth consecutive quarter with all customer market segments spending at lower levels. Spending by cloud and colo operators has not returned to earlier levels. Multiple vendors also cited continued weakness at Level3/CenturyLink and AT&T, particularly on long-haul WDM equipment. We think AT&T’s spending will be depressed until the end of 2018 as the company prepares its new disaggregated hardware deployment strategy. Component vendors note that shipments used in metro WDM networks such as Verizon’s are trending up for next year.
“One of the biggest surprises in 2017 was massive spending growth in China. Despite slumping purchases from component manufacturers, Chinese optical vendors Huawei and ZTE reported record levels of revenue. A strong component sales rebound should be expected if this divergence was a result of excess inventory,” said Andrew Schmitt, lead analyst for Cignal AI.
Huawei, Nokia, Ciena, Cisco, and Infinera did very well in the EMEA region, according to the Cignal AI report. Huawei, ZTE, Nokia and Ciena all enjoyed a strong quarter overall, thanks in large part to the popularity of their Metro WDM systems and submarine line (undersea cable) terminal equipment (SLTE).
Additional highlights of results for the full year can be found in Cignal AI’s press release.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 1 Summary
- 2 CY17 Optical Revenue by Segment
- 3 4Q17 Optical Revenue by Segment
- 4 CY17 SONET/SDH Revenue by Region
- 5 4Q17 Revenue by Region
- 6 Market Share Overview
- 7 Release notes
Separately, Research and Markets has published “Optical Networking Opportunities in 5G Wireless Networks: 2017-2026” report. According to a press release:
5G will create considerable new opportunities for the optical networking industry going forward in the 5G infrastructure; both backhaul and fronthaul. However, while optical links have been widely used in the mobile telephony industry for many years, revenue generation from optical networking in the 5G space will require carefully thought through strategies by the optical networking industry as a whole.
5G is poised to dramatically increase the use of fiber optics in some parts of the network, while actually reducing the use of fiber in others:
- There is a vision of 5G as a converged fiber-wireless network in which short-haul, but very high bandwidth wireless connections will support high data rates, but with fiber almost everywhere else. 5G as it is currently evolving seems more willing than previous generation to make fiber optic deployments a central part of the network and any general standards that emerge. This makes 5G potentially a huge opportunity for the fiber optics industry – including the makers of modules and components as well as the fiber/cable manufacturers themselves.
- The main beneficiary of the shift towards fiber in the 5G infrastructure will ultimately be NG-PON2. But for now this is really only being championed by one company; Verizon. XGS-PON will provide an interim solution, but the question is for how long?
- On the other hand, 5G, with its high data rates, seems to imply fiber could present a significant challenge to long-held assumptions about the need for fiber-to-the-premises. This suggests that some of the fiber optic opportunities that have been baked into the product/market strategies of many optical networking firms may turn out to be wrong. A faceoff between 5G and NG-PON as service platforms seem likely in the long run.
5G deployment is currently at an early stage. There is no formal standard yet for 5G and there are many different visions of what 5G will ultimately look like. In particular, fiber opportunities will be impacted by the implementation of new approaches using C-RAN architectures and next-generations interfaces that move beyond CPRI. Fiber opportunities in the 5G infrastructure will also depend on the shifting boundaries between fronthaul and backhaul. The votes are still out on what type of 5G network will ultimately evolve and this will impact the size and growth of the 5G network’s need for fiber optics market accordingly.
In this highly uncertain environment, this report is designed to provide guidance to the optical networking industry and where and how 5G backhaul and fronthaul will present new opportunities over the coming decade.
Included in this report are:
An assessment of how current visions of 5G networks vary in terms of their impact on optical network products and fiber optics demand. How will optical links help to support the necessary bandwidth and latency for 5G networks? And what will the concept of an integrated wireless/fiber network mean in practice?
An analysis of the type of optical networking products that 5G will require. In this analysis we cover modules (by MSA, data rate, etc.), components and the types of fiber that would be used in an integrated wireless/fiber network. The report is particularly focused on the role of PONs – especially XGS-PON and NG-PON2 – in providing 5G infrastructure. It also examines how interfaces between fiber and base stations/hubs will evolve in the 5G network
A granular market ten-year market forecast of fiber optics-related opportunities flowing from 5G deployment. The forecast is provided in both unit shipment and market value terms. It is also broken out by type of transceiver product, cable type, data rate, network segment, country/region, etc.
Discussions and assessments of how leading firms in the module and component space are preparing for 5G deployment and what this says about who the fiber optics-related winners and losers will be
A discussion of how the deployment of 5G networks as residential broadband platforms will impede the planned use of fiber in the access network. In particular, the report will take a look at how optical networking firms can readjust their marketing strategies to new product and customer types as the 5G revolution takes hold.
Laura Wood, Senior Manager
By Michael Howard, executive director, research and analysis, carrier networks, IHS Markit, and Heidi Adams, senior research director, IP and optical networks, IHS Markit
- In 2018, 85% of operator respondents to an IHS-Markit survey plan to create, or will have already deployed, smart central offices — that is, installing servers, storage and switching to create mini data centers in selected central offices. These mini data centers are used to offer cloud services, and as the network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructure on which to run virtualized network functions (VNFs) such as vRouter, firewall, CG-NAT and IP/MPLS VPNs.
- More than half of operators (55%) surveyed plan to move each of 10 different router functions from physical edge routers to VNFs running on commercial servers in mini data centers in smart central offices, including customer edge (CE) router, route reflector (RR) and others.
- Seven out of 10 respondents plan to deploy central office rearchitected as a data center (CORD) in smart central offices.
- Operators expect 44% of their central offices will have mini data centers (or smart central offices) by 2023, and deploy CORD (Central Office Re-architected as a Data center) in half of those central offices.
SDN and NFV are spurring fundamental changes in network architecture, network operations and how carriers are organized, which is illustrated by the purchasing decisions of operators worldwide. Nearly every operator around the world is undertaking major efforts.
More importantly, the move to SDN and NFV is changing the way operators make equipment purchase decisions, placing a greater focus on software. Although hardware will always be required, its functions will be refined, and software will drive services and operational agility.
A basic architectural change in motion is the deployment of new functions in large central offices that are closer to end customers. These also serve as locations for distributed broadband network gateways (BNGs), content delivery networks (CDNs), mini data centers and other new functions. Mini data centers (i.e., servers and storage) are used to deliver cloud services within a metropolitan area and house applications including augmented and virtual reality and gaming, to give users better response time as well as provide a place for NFV and VNFs, including vRouters, which run on servers. These central offices with mini data centers are known as “cloud central offices” or “smart central offices.”
Cloud services for business, and internet usage in general, have caused carrier network traffic patterns to change dramatically in and out of data centers. This is true not only for the hyperscale data centers of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, but also for their smaller metro and regional megascale data centers, and large enterprises, as well as smaller data centers used by enterprises and government.
In a large metropolitan area, there might be 10 or more smart central offices aggregating traffic from smaller end offices. Based on our discussions with operators around the world, a common long-range plan is to identify 10 percent to 25 percent of central offices as smart central office locations — all candidates for CORD. The smart central office is the new location of the IP edge, which is creating a need for a new class of optical transport equipment and a new class of routers designed for data center interconnect (DCI) applications.
Routing, NFV and Packet-Optical Survey Synopsis
The 30-page 2017 IHS Markit routing, NFV and packet-optical strategies survey is based on interviews with router/CES purchase decision-makers at 20 global service providers that control a third of worldwide telecom capex and 27 percent of revenue. The survey covers hot and emerging topics in the carrier Ethernet, routing and switching space, with a focus on the IP edge. It looks at deployment plans, strategies and locations, router bypass, 100GE port mix, price per port and more.
Notes & Clarifications:
- Smart central offices are simply central offices containing mini data centers that have servers, storage, and switching. Mini data centers can offer cloud services and typically include NFV infrastructure that supports virtualized network functions (VNFs) including vRouter, firewalls, carrier grade network address translation (CG-NAT), and IP/MPLS VPNs.
- IHS concluded that the reason more operators are leaning this direction is that deploying these functions in central offices brings them close to the end-user. This is part of the greater push by operators and service providers to focus on software to drive services, while refining hardware functions.
- If network operators re-architect their networks by distributing the core network, it would be closer to the end user. Virtualization allows operators to quickly deploy a core anywhere and to scale it at will. Edge computing could be deployed closer to the user without breaking the network topology. This is a major advantage that the telcos have over the cloud players – but they have not been able to capitalize on it. By pushing the core closer to the edge, and through virtualization of the network, operators could capitalize on this advantage.
- As operators push away from hardware into software, the smart central office is a new IP edge, and thus requires a class of routers for data center interconnect (DCI) applications and optical transport equipment.
Google has plans to build three new undersea cables in 2019 to support its Google Cloud customers. The company plans to co-commission the Hong Kong-Guam (HK-G) cable system as part of a consortium. In a blog post by Ben Treynor Sloss, vice president of Google’s cloud platform, three undersea cables and five new regions were announced..
The HK-G will be an extension of the SEA-US cable system, and will have a design capacity of more than 48Tbps. It is being built by RTI-C and NEC. Google said that together with Indigo and other cable systems, HK-G will create multiple scalable, diverse paths to Australia. In addition, Google plans to commission Curie, a private cable connecting Chile to Los Angeles and Hvfrue, a consortium cable connecting the US to Denmark and Ireland as shown in the figure below.
Late last year, Google also revealed plans to open a Google Cloud Platform region in Hong Kong in 2018 to join its recently launched Mumbai, Sydney, and Singapore regions, as well as Taiwan and Tokyo.
Of the five new Google Cloud regions, Netherlands and Montreal will be online in the first quarter of 2018. Three others in Los Angeles, Finland, and Hong Kong will come online later this year. The Hong Kong region will be designed for high availability, launching with three zones to protect against service disruptions. The HK-G cable will provide improved network capacity for the cloud region. Google promises they are not done yet and there will be additional announcements of other regions.
In an earlier announcement last week, Google revealed that it has implemented a compile-time patch for its Google Cloud Platform infrastructure to address the major CPU security flaw disclosed by Google’s Project Zero zero-day vulnerability unit at the beginning of this year.
Diane Greene, who heads up Google’s cloud unit, often marvels at how much her company invests in Google Cloud infrastructure. It’s with good reason. Over the past three years since Greene came on board, the company has spent a whopping $30 billion beefing up the infrastructure.
Google has direct investment in 11 cables, including those planned or under construction. The three cables highlighted in yellow are being announced in this blog post. (In addition to these 11 cables where Google has direct ownership, the company also leases capacity on numerous additional submarine cables.)
In the referenced Google blog post, Mr Treynor Sloss wrote:
At Google, we’ve spent $30 billion improving our infrastructure over three years, and we’re not done yet. From data centers to subsea cables, Google is committed to connecting the world and serving our Cloud customers, and today we’re excited to announce that we’re adding three new submarine cables, and five new regions.
We’ll open our Netherlands and Montreal regions in the first quarter of 2018, followed by Los Angeles, Finland, and Hong Kong – with more to come. Then, in 2019 we’ll commission three subsea cables: Curie, a private cable connecting Chile to Los Angeles; Havfrue, a consortium cable connecting the U.S. to Denmark and Ireland; and the Hong Kong-Guam Cable system (HK-G), a consortium cable interconnecting major subsea communication hubs in Asia.
Together, these investments further improve our network—the world’s largest—which by some accounts delivers 25% of worldwide internet traffic……………….l.l….
Simply put, it wouldn’t be possible to deliver products like Machine Learning Engine, Spanner, BigQuery and other Google Cloud Platform and G Suite services at the quality of service users expect without the Google network. Our cable systems provide the speed, capacity and reliability Google is known for worldwide, and at Google Cloud, our customers are able to to make use of the same network infrastructure that powers Google’s own services.
While we haven’t hastened the speed of light, we have built a superior cloud network as a result of the well-provisioned direct paths between our cloud and end-users, as shown in the figure below.
According to Ben: “The Google network offers better reliability, speed and security performance as compared with the nondeterministic performance of the public internet, or other cloud networks. The Google network consists of fiber optic links and subsea cables between 100+ points of presence, 7500+ edge node locations, 90+ Cloud CDN locations, 47 dedicated interconnect locations and 15 GCP regions.”
In December 2017, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) released a five-year plan outlining a road map for commercial and technological progress in a broad set of optical technologies.
China has optical component makers, but they have generally produce lower-speed devices that lag U.S. companies by a product generation. China’s efforts to develop a domestic optical industry aims to support optical network equipment makers, such as Huawei and ZTE, according to Jefferies analyst Rex Wu.
The 63-page MIIT document is written in Chinese (Mandarin), but Cignal AI commissioned a professional English translation which summarizes the section of the plan about the Chinese optical components industry.
The goals and objectives outlined in the plan are exceptionally ambitious and should gravely concern incumbent component vendors. This document outlines strategic rather than rational economic objectives to catalyze market progress in Chinese component companies. Our interpretation is that this will increase the number of non-rational economic actors participating in the component market.
If executed, this plan will greatly increase the level of competition in an already fractured industry. It will also reduce or in some cases eliminate access for western component vendors to the largest market for optical communications components in the world – China.
NeoPhotonics, Oclaro, Acacia, Lumentum, and Finisar sell the most optical components to China, says a UBS report. Those optical parts makers took a hit in 2017 as demand weakened from China’s telecom service providers. Analysts have been expecting a rebound in 2018 spurred by spending on fiber-optic networks, 5G wireless backhaul and data centers designed for cloud computing services.
China’s domestic optical component makers include O-Net, Accelink and Innolight.
“The government aims to have two to three Chinese optics companies in global top 10 in 2020, and one company in global top 3 in 2022,” Mr. Wu wrote in a Jefferies report to clients. “The market share of Chinese optics companies will reach over 30% worldwide in 2022,” according to the government’s plan, he added.
One unpublicized 2017 telecom story was that the U.S. telecom industry didn’t grow. Revenues were flat (despite continued exponential traffic growth), profits, CAPEX and stock prices were all down. Indeed, telecom was the worst performing S&P 500 sector in 2017 with a -6% loss (vs +37% gain for Information Technology sector). The most obvious top story of the year was the FCC’s vote to end neutrality, which we chronicled in this blog post.
Instead of a review of other telecom stories for 2017, we offer a tribute to radio and wireless transmission pioneer Nikola Tesla. Readers are invited to review the IEEE ComSoc Techblog archives and/or contact this author if you’d like to discuss the past year’s top telecom news and mega trends.
Tesla, whose name Elon Musk chose for his electric car company, was on the cover of Time magazine in 1931 for his achievements. Unfortunately, he died a poor man in 1943 after years devoted to projects that did not receive adequate financing. Although the main Tesla lab building on Long Island, New York is being restored by a nonprofit foundation — the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe — the World System broadcast tower he built there was torn down for scrap to pay his hotel bill at the Waldorf Astoria in 1917. Yet Tesla’s most significant inventions resonate today.
Tesla’s ambitions outstripped his financing. He didn’t focus on radio as a stand-alone technology. Instead, he conceived of entire wireless transmission systems, even if they were decades ahead of the time and not financially feasible. Tesla envisioned a system that could transmit not only radio but also electricity across the globe. After successful experiments in Colorado Springs in 1899, Tesla began building what he called a global “World System” near Shoreham on Long Island, hoping to power vehicles, boats and aircraft wirelessly. Ultimately, he expected that anything that needed electricity would get it from the air much as we receive transmitted data, sound and images on smartphones. But he ran out of money, and J. P. Morgan Jr., who had provided financing, turned off the spigot.
“He proved that you could send power a short distance (without wires),” said Jane Alcorn, president of the Tesla Center. “But sending power a long distance is still proving to be a hurdle. It would be monumental if it could be done.”
Tesla’s wireless house lighting scheme was the first step towards a practical wireless transmission of energy system. The most striking result obtained was two vacuum tubes lighted in an alternating electrostatic field while held in the hand of the experimenter. The wireless energy transmission effect involved the creation of an electric field between two metal plates, each being connected to one terminal of the induction coil’s secondary winding. A light-producing device was used as a means of detecting the presence of the transmitted energy.
- Two high voltage AC plates fill the room with a fairly uniform electric field.
- The bulbs are vertically oriented to align with the electric field.
Tesla recognized that electrical energy could be projected outward into space and detected by a receiving instrument in the general vicinity of the source without a requirement for any interconnecting wires. He went on to develop two theories related to these observations
1. By using two type-one sources positioned at distant points on the earth’s surface, it is possible to induce a flow of electrical current between them.
2. By incorporating a portion of the earth as part of a powerful type-two oscillator the disturbance can be impressed upon the earth and detected “at great distance, or even all over the surface of the globe.”
Tesla also made an assumption that Earth is a charged body floating in space.
“A point of great importance would be first to know what is the capacity of the earth? and what charge does it contain if electrified? Though we have no positive evidence of a charged body existing in space without other oppositely electrified bodies being near, there is a fair probability that the earth is such a body, for by whatever process it was separated from other bodies—and this is the accepted view of its origin—it must have retained a charge, as occurs in all processes of mechanical separation.”
Tesla was familiar with demonstrations that involved the charging of Leiden jar capacitors and isolated metal spheres with electrostatic influence machines. By bringing these elements into close proximity with each other, and also by making direct contact followed by their separation the charge can be manipulated. He surely had this in mind in the creation of his mental image, not being able to know that the model of Earth’s origin was inaccurate. The presently accepted model of planetary origin is one of accretion and collision.
“If it be a charged body insulated in space its capacity should be extremely small, less than one-thousandth of a farad.”
We now know that the earth is, in fact, a charged body, made so by processes—at least in part—related to an interaction of the continuous stream of charged particles called the solar wind that flows outward from the center of our solar system and Earth’s magnetosphere.
“But the upper strata of the air are conducting, and so, perhaps, is the medium in free space beyond the atmosphere, and these may contain an opposite charge. Then the capacity might be incomparably greater”.
We also know one of the upper strata of Earth’s atmosphere, the ionosphere, is conducting.
“In any case it is of the greatest importance to get an idea of what quantity of electricity the earth contains”.
An additional condition of which we are now aware is that the earth possesses a naturally existing negative charge with respect to the conducting region of the atmosphere beginning at an elevation of about 50 Km. The potential difference between the earth and this region is on the order of 400,000 volts. Near the earth’s surface there is a ubiquitous downward directed E-field of about 100 V/m. Tesla referred to this charge as the “electric niveau” or electric level (As noted by James Corum, et al in the paper “Concerning Cavity Q,” PROCEEDINGS OF THE 1988 INTERNATIONAL TESLA SYMPOSIUM, and others).
“It is difficult to say whether we shall ever acquire this necessary knowledge, but there is hope that we may, and that is, by means of electrical resonance. If ever we can ascertain at what period the earth’s charge, when disturbed, oscillates with respect to an oppositely electrified system or known circuit, we shall know a fact possibly of the greatest importance to the welfare of the human race. I propose to seek for the period by means of an electrical oscillator, or a source of alternating electric currents”.
Another Tesla invention combined radio with a remote-control device. We’d now call it a robotic drone. Shortly after filing a patent application in 1897 for radio circuitry, Tesla built and demonstrated a wireless, robotic boat at the old Madison Square Garden in 1898 and, again, in Chicago at the Auditorium Theater the next year. These were the first public demonstrations of a remote-controlled drone.
An innovation in the boat’s circuitry — his “logic gate” — became an essential steppingstone to semiconductors. Tesla’s tub-shaped, radio-controlled craft heralded the birth of what he called a “teleautomaton”; later, the world would settle on the word robot. We can see his influence in devices ranging from “smart” speakers like Amazon’s Echo to missile-firing drone aircraft.
Tesla’s achievements were awesome but incomplete. He created the A.C. energy system and the basics of radio communication and robotics but wasn’t able to bring them all to fruition. His life shows that even for a brilliant inventor, innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires a broad spectrum of talents, skills and lots of investment capital.