Microsoft & Packerland Broadband target 25/3 Mbps (DS/US) using TV White Spaces/WiFi

Microsoft’s Airband TV White Spaces initiative is a project that plans to bring broadband to 2 million rural Americans by 2022, beginning in Michigan and Wisconsin. Microsoft is partnering with Packerland Broadband (a division of CCI Systems).  The companies are aiming for speeds of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream for a fixed wireless deployment in rural Michigan and Wisconsin that will use TV white spaces and other technologies, said Cory Heigl, vice president for Packerland Broadband.  The technology is “maturing pretty rapidly” and the companies hope manufacturers will support 25/3 Mbps speeds by year-end, Heigl said in a phone interview with Telecompetitor.

Packerland will use a mix of technologies to provide broadband to its customers in rural communities, including TV White Spaces and Wi-Fi hardware developed with support from Microsoft, to extend the reach of its existing hybrid fiber-coax and wireless delivery platforms. TV white spaces technology uses vacant TV broadcast spectrum and has excellent propagation, making it well suited to serve locations lacking a clear line of sight to the base station.

Packerland expects to cover approximately 33,750 people by the end of 2019, and approximately 82,000 people by 2022. As part of the Packerland-Microsoft project, Packerland will provide Windows devices, Office 365 and other cloud-based services to small businesses, consumers and students, as well as digital literacy skills training. Packerland will also leverage Microsoft Azure as part of its operations management.

When Microsoft announced Airband plans in July 2017, the company said TV white spaces will be the best approach to reaching communities with population densities between two and 200 people per square mile, while areas with lower population densities would be best served by satellite and those in areas with more than 200 people per square mile would be best served with fiber-to-the-home.   Soon after Microsoft announced their initiative in July, AT&T and NetComm Wireless announced a plan to bring fixed-wireless broadband to 18 states.

Around 34 million Americans, including 19.4 million people living in rural parts of the US, don’t have adequate broadband, according to the release. About 43% of rural Wisconsin and 34% of rural Michigan lack proper internet access and thus miss out on the benefits it can offer, Microsoft said.


“Northern Wisconsin is nothing but forest,” making it challenging to use other wireless technologies, observed Heigl. Distances covered are expected to range from about one to four miles, Heigl added.

The Microsoft – Packerland service, which will also tap other fixed wireless and wired technologies, is targeted to be available to 33,750 people by the end of 2019 and approximately 82,000 people by 2022. This  deployment is one of 12 projects planned as part of the Microsoft Airband TV White spaces initiative, which aims to bring broadband to 2 million people in rural America by 2022.

“This partnership with Packerland Broadband will help us address the rural broadband gap in northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft. “Broadband has become the electricity of the 21st century, essential for education, business, agriculture and health care. Microsoft’s Airband Initiative is focused on bringing this necessity of life to 2 million people in rural counties by 2022.”

“Partnering with Microsoft allows us to bring new services and push our services further into the rural landscape in our region and beyond,” said Cory Heigl, vice president of Packerland Broadband. “We are the people we serve, and in this part of the world, we want to make an impact for the better. Our partnership with Microsoft will help us to influence lives by improving at-home education, enhancing economic opportunities, keeping up with health care advancements and furthering the agricultural innovation of our rural communities.”

“The mission of TechSpark Wisconsin is to bring new digital solutions to our region,” said Microsoft TechSpark Wisconsin Manager Michelle Schuler. “Packerland Broadband and Microsoft are making it possible for people living in rural Wisconsin to have the same opportunities to live, learn and work as people living in connected cities. That’s win-win for the people living here and the region’s economy.”

CCI Systems, Inc. CEO John Jamar said, “We have been focused on making life better by connecting people through innovative communications networks, and we are enthused to team up with our friends at Microsoft to accelerate that.”

“The time is right for the nation to set a clear and ambitious but achievable goal – to eliminate the rural broadband gap within the next five years by July 4, 2022, “said Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft in a blog post announcing the project. “We believe the nation can bring broadband coverage to rural America in this timeframe, based on a new strategic approach that combines private sector capital investments focused on expanding broadband coverage through new technologies, coupled with targeted and affordable public-sector support.”


Packerland Broadband and Microsoft announce agreement to deliver broadband internet to rural communities in Wisconsin and Michigan


Ericsson to demonstrate IoT Accelerator Marketplace at MWC 2018

Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator is a cloud-based horizontal offering composed of platform services and professional services, for service providers. It provides continuous incremental functionality offered as a Service to enable agile creation and deployment of solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The telecom equipment and managed services provider is launching the IoT Accelerator Marketplace to help address the need for collaboration within the digital ecosystem community and benefit developers and service providers alike. It will be demonstrated this week at MWC 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.

Key attributes of the IoT Accelerator are:

  • Enabling massive adoption of Massive IoT is a stepping stone to making 5G a reality
  • IoT Accelerator Marketplace boosts the potential for players in the Cellular IoT ecosystem to deliver value
  • Easy on boarding of partners and customer applications for service providers advancing to enterprise IoT. Application developers and application partners can easily and efficiently join the ecosystem and scale their business in a cost-efficient way

For service providers, it is a catalog to find IoT apps from the global ecosystem to offer enterprise customers and provides shorter time to market for new offerings to their enterprise customers.

For application developers and application partners it is a window to an IoT ecosystem to connect with service providers through one single platform, exposing global cellular connectivity APIs. It also includes monetization and settlement capabilities to facilitate monetization and billing across the ecosystem.

Ericsson’s latest IoT solution covers all the 3GPP cellular technologies, including 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE-M, NB-IOT and emerging 5G, an Ericsson representative confirmed to Fierce Wireless.

Carrie MacGillivray, Group Vice President, Internet of Things & Mobility at Market Intelligence firm IDC:

“Communications service providers are racing to scale and differentiate in the fast moving IoT market. It’s necessary for these service providers to have a robust developer ecosystem that helps them compete. For developers working across multiple service provider networks and platforms, the challenges of fragmentation are addressed by utilizing APIs that apply globally and are consistent across all mobile networks.”

Jeff Travers, Head of IoT, Ericsson:

“The launch of IoT Accelerator Marketplace will unlock the potential for different players in the value chain to deliver value. It is another stepping stone to make 5G a reality by enabling massive adoption of massive IoT. This supports service providers as they seek to expose network connectivity IoT APIs and monetize these assets.”

Application developers can benefit from a new go-to-market exposing their offering globally through Ericsson. This will enable app developers to scale their business and at the same time develop applications based on cellular connectivity APIs with added value for enterprises, such as fast and automated device and subscription onboarding, higher security, ubiquitous cellular coverage around the world improved for indoor utilization, and superior handling of battery life.

Service providers and application developers can request access to the IoT Accelerator Marketplace here: IoT Accelerator Marketplace.


Osvaldo Aldao, head of IoT solutions for Ericsson, talked to TechRepublic Senior Writer Teena Maddox about the new accelerator from his home base of Stockholm, Sweden.

The IOT Accelerator is our platform for acceleration of creation of applications and connection of devices to our service providers. And Ericsson have decided that 3GPP is an extremely competitive technology for IOT. If you think about how in the new tech standards of technology is evolving from narrow band IoT to all the way to 5G, I think what we want is to work with service providers to bring value to enterprises in removing some of the hurdles that we have seen in the market for IoT. And that’s why we have created this IoT Accelerator which is our IoT platform.

And as part of that platform we have now launched the IoT Marketplace and that is the place for being able to connect the application developers with device vendors, with service providers as well, and to enable the collaboration across these different players in the ecosystem.

How Ericsson is using the IoT Accelerator Marketplace to unlock the IOT ecosystem?

 What we work on in this marketplace is to connect application developers and one of the things that we will demonstrate in Barcelona [at Mobile World Congress] is we have two levels of applications developers. We will help the application developers that will have access to certain capabilities connected to this mobile technology, and also we will work with them to develop applications, that those applications can become something that can be taken at some point and offered to enterprise. We have a partnership program in place as well for bringing those applications into the marketplace where in a global scale we will enable that service providers to have access to this kind of global pool of application developers. And the role that Ericsson is doing here is more in the kind of matchmaking between opportunities in local market with service providers and enterprise and how to support or how to deliver value into those opportunities with the ecosystem of application developers.

One of the things that it’s we think very passionate for doing this is the opportunity for being able to remove some of this fragmentation in the market and friction that we see. I think there is a lot of fragmentations around different type of access and service providers and I think what we are doing with this is to have a global ecosystems scale where we could work with those, build applications and build concrete solutions for IoT and then we bring those into somebody else or clients or service providers, but also with a purpose of bringing that kind of innovation closer from service provider to enterprises.

Is massive adoption of IoT a stepping stone toward making 5G a reality?

Correct. What we see is that there is a lot of concurrent opportunities here now with IoT and those are based on narrow band IoT as we could have a much better penetration coverage in indoor areas and also we could have a use case where we could have ten years of battery lifetime. That kind of technology will evolve. We are looking at that evolution as we speak now and so we have steps like Cat-M where we could have mobility and more data functionality. And also there’s a lot of work ongoing for bringing that technology to the next step, is what we see with the 5G.

And I think this activity we are doing here now with narrow band IoT and Cat-M is a extremely important starting point for service providers to build solutions and business in the IoT space, which is really closely connected to what we are doing in the 5G.

During the MWC  we will open up the platform and then we will start to register application developers to be part of our developer community. This is something that we will support them for a number of months to build applications and then we will have a process for how we will move from this incubation into production.



Cignal AI: Strong 4Q-2017 Optical Equipment Growth in Asia, EMEA led by Metro WDM Gear

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.

Image result for optical network hardware market

“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.



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.

Media Contact:

Laura Wood, Senior Manager
[email protected]

AT&T Mobile “5G”: 1st 3 Cities in 2018 vs ITU-R WP 5D IMT 2020

AT&T announced on Tuesday three cities to get its so called “5G” mobile network this year.  The three cities are:  Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas; and Waco, Texas.  The U.S. mega carrier plans on deploying its version of “5G” over mmWave in a total of 12 cities by the end of 2018, as we previously reported.  The remaining cities will be announced at a later date.

Several carriers have been trialing various versions of non standardized 5G networks for some time. AT&T says this rollout will be based on the 3GPP release 15 New Radio specification (which will not by itself be presented as a contribution to ITU-R WP5D for IMT 2020 radio aspects- see Closing Comment below).

This AT&T version of “5G”  is said to offer theoretical peak speeds of several gigabits a second at much lower latency than existing 4G-LTE wireless networks. The combination of faster speeds and lower latency is thought to help speed adoption of real time control of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and electric utilities that require a persistent Internet connection.

“After significantly contributing to the first phase of 5G standards, conducting multi-city trials, and literally transforming our network for the future, we’re planning to be the first carrier to deliver standards-based mobile 5G — and do it much sooner than most people thought possible,” said Igal Elbaz, SVP of Wireless Network Architecture and Design at AT&T.

The AT&T “5G” rollout is ahead of availability of consumer “5G” devices.  Both device makers and wireless carriers need to closely time launching “5G” devices and networks so the return on investment is maximized. If one launches significantly early or late, the other will suffer.

There’s a good chance major hardware makers will announced some of the first “5G” devices next week at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain.  Let’s hope there’s not a proliferation of “5G” device versions- one for each wireless carrier!

From the previously referenced AT&T press release:

We believe 5G and SDN go hand in handA virtualized and software-defined network lets you develop, deploy, and protect new network applications faster than with a hardware-based model.

We’re on the most aggressive network virtualization path that we know of in our industry. We plan to virtualize 75% of our network by 2020. Our goal in 2017 was 55%, and we hit that mark.

The experience we’ve gained by leading the industry transformation to network virtualization and software control will help our customers to get the most out of 5G.

Ultimately, we expect to reach theoretical peak speeds of multiple gigabits per second on devices through mobile 5G. While speed is important, we also expect to see much lower latency rates. With higher speeds and lower latency rates, our mobile 5G network will eventually unlock a number of new, exciting experiences for our customers.

For these experiences to become reality, you need mobile 5G powered by SDN and edge computing. We’re making the cloud smarter, faster and local.

Closing Comment:

Let’s carefully examine this quote from the press release:

“This is standards-based, mobile 5G we’re talking about. AT&T is the only U.S. carrier that’s announced plans to deliver this ground-breaking technology to its customers in 2018.”

AT&T will likely be the first U.S. carrier to deploy mobile “5G” based on millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum and technology.   Sprint’s rollout is expected in 2019, T-Mobile only anticipates national mobile coverage by 2020, and Verizon has focused on fixed access “5G” for its early deployments (also not standardized).

However, AT&T’s mobile “5G” initial deployment is NOT close to being “standards-based mobile 5G,” as the company claims.  That’s because the only true 5G standards will be the ITU-R WP5D IMT 2020 recommendations, which won’t be completed till the end of 2020 (as we’ve pointed out countless times).  ITU-R won’t even start their detailed Radio Interface Technology (RIT) evaluation process till 2019! Further, 3GPP won’t even submit the initial templates for their proposed IMT 2020 RIT till the January 30 to February 7, 2019 ITU-R WP 5D meeting with their final WP 5D  submission in July, 2019.

5g imt image

From the 3GPP website:

The final and fully comprehensive 3GPP IMT-2020 submission (encompassing both Release 15 and Release 16) is planned for July 2019 (to be presented at the July 9-17, 2019 ITU-R WP 5D meeting).

To help the Evaluation Groups in their work, 3GPP is currently planning a workshop to present the 5G solutions to interested external bodies – specifically the Evaluation Groups – to allow a better understanding of the 3GPP technologies for 5G. More news will follow soon – on the date and place of the 3GPP Workshop.


Author’s Opinion:

AT&T should know better than to call it’s 2018 (3GPP New Radio based/mmWave spectrum) wireless roll-outs “standards-based mobile 5G.”  That’s because Stephen Blust ([email protected]) of AT&T chairs the ITU-R WP5D standards committee!  AT&T also sends other delegates to WP 5D meetings, so the company is totally on top of the real 5G/IMT 2020 standards effort which we’ve shared with IEEE techblog readers for several years now.

Also note that neither ITU-R or ITU-T have any serious standards project(s) underway for SDN or network virtualization or NFV aspects of IMT 2020 (standardized 5G).  Those are considered out of scope for ITU.  That leaves it up to Open Source Consortium(s) to develop those related specifications.


From the February 2018 ITU-R WP 5D Meeting in Seoul, Korea:

Addendum 1. High-level scopes for Working Party 5D working and Ad hoc Groups:


Group Scope Chairman
WG GENERAL ASPECTS – To develop deliverables on services, forecasts, and also convergence of services of fixed and mobile networks which take account the needs of end users, and the demand for IMT capabilities and supported services. This includes aspects regarding the continued deployment of IMT, other general topics of IMT and overall objectives for the long-term development of IMT. To update the relevant IMT Recommendations/Reports.

– To ensure that the requirements and needs of the developing countries are reflected in the work and deliverables of WP 5D in the development of IMT. This includes coordination of work with ITU-D Sector on deployments of IMT systems and transition to IMT system.



WG TECHNOLOGY ASPECTS – To provide the technology related aspects of IMT through development of Recommendations and Reports. To update the relevant IMT‑2000 and IMT-Advanced Recommendations.  To work on key elements of IMT technologies including requirements, evaluation, and evolution. To develop liaison with external research and standardization forums, and to coordinate the external and internal activities related to the IMT-2020 process.

– To manage the research topics website and its findings.



WG SPECTRUM ASPECTS – To undertake co-existence studies, develop spectrum plans, and channel/frequency arrangements for IMT. This includes spectrum sharing between IMT and other radio services/systems coordinating as appropriate with other Working Parties in ITU-R. A. JAMIESON

New Zealand

AD HOC WORKPLAN – To coordinate the work of WP 5D to facilitate efficient and timely progress of work items. H. OHLSEN


Addendum 2.   Agreed overall deliverables/workplan of ITU-R WP 5D:

The following table provides the schedule of when approval of the planned major deliverables will be achieved following the procedures of WP 5D.


Date Meeting Anticipated Milestones
June 2018 Mexico WP 5D #30 •     Finalize CPM text on WRC-19 agenda item 9.1, Issue 9.1.8 (MTC)

•     Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.EXPERIENCES]

•     Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT. MTC]

•     Further update/Finalize draft new Report/Recommendation ITU-R

•     Finalize draft CPM text on WRC-19 agenda item 9.1, Issue 9.1.1, and send input to WP 4C

•     Finalize draft CPM text on WRC-19 agenda item 9.1, Issue 9.1.2, and send input to WP 4A

October 2018 [Japan] WP 5D #31 •     Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.MS/MSS.2GHz]

•     Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.1 452-1 492MHz]

•     Finalize draft new Report/Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT.3300 MHz RLS]

•     Finalize draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[MT.3300 MHz FSS]

•     Finalize draft new Report/Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT.COEXISTENCE.AMS]

•     Finalize draft revision of Report ITU-R M.2373

•     Finalize revision of Recommendation ITU-R M.1036

•     Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.BY.INDUSTRIES]

•     Finalize revision of Recommendation ITU-R M.1457

February 2019 Geneva WP 5D #31’bis’
July 2019 [Geneva] WP 5D #32 •     Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/YYY Input Submissions Summary

•     Finalize revision of Recommendation M.2012

•     Finalize draft new Report M.[IMT.AAS]

•     Finalize Addendum 4 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020

December 2019 [Geneva] WP 5D #33
February 2020 [TBD] WP 5D #34 •     Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/ZZZ Evaluation Reports Summary

•     Finalize Doc. IMT-2020/VVV Process and use of GCS

•     Finalize Addendum 5 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020

June 2020 [TBD] WP 5D #35 •     Finalize draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT-2020.OUTCOME]

•     Finalize Addendum 6 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020

October 2020 [TBD] WP 5D #36 •     Finalize draft new Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT‑2020.SPECS]

•     Finalize Addendum 7 to Circular Letter IMT‑2020





AT&T names Atlanta, Dallas and Waco first of 12 US cities to get 5G wireless




Posted in Uncategorized Tagged ,

Huawei 5G “Wireless to the Home” Trial with Telus in Canada + U.S. Sales?

Huawei and Canadian telco Telus will work together on a trial for providing 5G wireless connectivity to residences in Vancouver, Canada. The companies will use tested millimeter-wave technology with 800 megahertz of bandwidth on the 28-gigahertz spectrum.

The end-to-end trial is based in the “5G Living Lab” — a downtown co-venture between the two companies — and conducted in the homes of Telus employees based in the city.

Officials said the system could provide 5G service similar to fiber networks while helping reduce operator costs and bolster accessibility. Initial trials conducted in December saw download speeds of more than 2 Gbps.

“This trial represents continued progress toward the launch of 5G as we start to replicate both the in-home experience and network footprint we will see when 5G becomes commercially available in the near future,” Telus CTO Ibrahim Gedeon said in a statement.

The latest trials are based on successful 3GPP-compliant millimeter wave specification tests conducted by the companies last June.  They operate with 800 MHz of bandwidth on 28 GHz spectrum and utilize Massive MIMO, F-OFDM, Polar Code and other technologies. The tests also use a specially-designed 5G Customer Premise Equipment unit and a 5G gNodeB built at the Living Lab.

The companies said the “Wireless to the Home” trial is believed to be the first of its kind in North America and among the first in the world.

“Millimeter wave technology will be an important tool in ensuring widespread deployment of 5G technology in Canada,” Huawei Wireless CTO Wen Tong said in the statement. “Huawei’s 5G solutions and terminals will enable 5G coverage over a neighborhood or small community cost-effectively, while providing more convenient and high-speed home broadband internet access services.”


Separately,  U.S. intelligence officials said “don’t use Huawei products” in testimony last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks,” FBI Director Chris Wray said. “That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure. It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.”

NSA Director Michael Rogers added, “This is a challenge I think that is only going to increase, not lessen over time for us. You need to look long and hard at companies like this.”

Based on the information leaked out of the agency by Edward Snowden, the NSA conducted an operation dubbed Shotgiant, which resulted in U.S. intelligence operatives hacking into Huawei source code to conduct surveillance. As the New York Times reported in 2014, “The agency pried its way into the servers in Huawei’s sealed headquarters in Shenzhen…It obtained information about the workings of the giant routers and complex digital switches that Huawei boasts connect a third of the world’s population, and monitored communications of the company’s top executives.”

According to reporting, as well as the documents Snowden made public, the NSA hacked into Huawei’s networking equipment “so that when the company sold equipment to other countries–including both allies and nations that avoid buying America products–the NSA could roam through their computer and telephone networks to conduct surveillance.”

To put that another way, the agencies that conclusively hacked into Huawei equipment to conduct cyber espionage are warning against using Huawei equipment because it may be used by the Chinese to conduct cyber espionage.

In response to the Senate testimony, Huawei said in a statement that the company “is aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the U.S. market. Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities.”

Both Verizon and AT&T recently backed out of deals to sell Huawei mobile devices in the U.S.  Furthermore, there are bills in the House and Senate that would prohibit the U.S. government from using gear sold by Huawei and ZTE (the other major Chinese telecom equipment vendor).



Huawei, Telus launch 5G fixed wireless trial in Canada



Intelligence chiefs blast Huawei in Senate testimony



IHS Markit: 25/100GE switch port growth surges; 200/400GE in 2019 + Optical Tranceiver Market Overview

IHS Markit: 25/100GE switch port growth surges; 200/400GE in 2019


IHS Markit recently released its Data Center Network Equipment market tracker, which showed that worldwide data center Ethernet switch revenue grew 12% YoY in 3Q17, reaching $2.9B. Key segments driving demand were purpose-built switches which grew 13% YoY and bare metal switches which grew 47% YoY and continues to flourish as customers transition from traditional switches to white box and branded bare metal models.

Worldwide data center Ethernet switch ports shipped grew 24% YoY in 3Q17, reaching 12.5M. 25GE and 100GE experienced significant uptake, resulting in 251% and 369% YoY growths, respectively; yet the 2 port speeds combined only make up 16% of ports shipped while 10GE still leads with 61% of ports shipped in 3Q17. We forecast 25/100GE ports shipped to rise to 46% combined and 10GE to decrease to 46% by 2021, as customers migrate from 10GE to 25GE server connections and 100GE ASPs decline making them more viable options for large and small cloud service providers (CSPs) to deploy.

IHS Markit expects trials for 200/400GE to begin in 2018 with production shipments occurring in 2019 and revenue to reach approximately $1B by 2021.

We believe 200GE will be deployed first yet have a short shelf life as 400GE is expected to follow closely behind and will become the primary choice going forward. The gap in time will be solely determined by how long it takes for the higher speed to become production-ready with adequate supply. CSPs will be the main customers for 200/400GE as they transition from 100GE in an effort to satisfy increasing high-bandwidth demands,” said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., Senior Research Director and Advisor for the Cloud and Data Center Research Practice at IHS Markit.



More Data Center Ethernet Switch Market Highlights:

·         The need for greater than 100GE speeds results in 200/400GE shipments beginning in 2019.

·         The continued adoption of 25GE between servers and ToR switches will push adopters of 25GE to upgrade to 100GE for inter-switch connectivity. This shift is now underway in the enterprise.

·         The market for 10GE/40GE has seen a shift with ASPs falling rapidly; the number of ports shipped is also slowing, with revenue growth of 10GE and 40GE port shipments following unit shipments.

·         CSPs are the earliest adopters of higher speeds and pave the way for use of higher-speed technologies; large DC cloud environments with high compute utilization requirements continually tax their networking infrastructure, requiring them to adopt high speeds at a fast rate, ultimately resulting in the lowest $/1GE ratios.

·         Vendor performance: Cisco continues to dominate and Arista is #2 in the DC Ethernet switch market; Cisco garnered 53% of DC Ethernet switch market revenue in 3Q17 with revenue up 5% YoY. Arista was #2 with 13% share and 50% YoY growth. Huawei was #3 with 7% share and 23% YoY growth.

Research Synopsis:

The IHS Markit Data Center Networks Intelligence Service and provides quarterly worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2022, analysis and trends for (1) data center Ethernet switches by category [purpose-built, bare metal, blade, and general purpose], port speed [1/10/25/40/50/100/200/400GE] and market segment [enterprise, telco and cloud service provider], (2)application delivery controllers by category [hardware-based appliance, virtual appliance],  and (3) software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) [appliances and control and management software], (4) FC SAN switches by type [chassis, fixed], and (5) FC SAN HBAs. Vendors tracked include A10, ALE, Arista, Array Networks, Aryaka, Barracuda, Broadcom, Cavium, Cisco, Citrix, CloudGenix, Dell, F5, FatPipe, HPE, Huawei, InfoVista, Juniper, KEMP, Radware, Riverbed, Silver Peak, Talari, TELoIP, VMware, ZTE and others.


Global Optical Transceiver Market: Striding to 200G and 400G

Posted on February 1, 2018 by FS.COM

The demand for higher Ethernet speed, couple with the prevalence of Cloud computing, Internet of Things and virtual data center, has driven the prosperity of optical transceiver market. Optical transceivers, direct attach cables (DACs) and active optical cables (AOCs) have evolved dramatically to catch leading edge broadband network capacity. The past decades have witnessed massive adoption of optical transceivers with data rates ranging from 1G, 10/25G to 40/100G, while higher-speed 200G or even data center 400G is just on the horizon. The sales of optical components grows steadily and is expected to continue in the years to come.

10G, 25G, 40G and 100G: Seeing Broad Adoption in Data Center 

As network gets faster and virtualization gradually becomes the norm, data center is undergoing a major transformation. The trend emerges in the industry signifies a migration toward higher speed transceivers and better service. These high-bandwidth transceivers are driving revenue growth which suggests a strong market. The global optical transceiver market is anticipated to reach to $9.9 billion by 2020, driven by the widespread use of 10/25 Gbps, 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps, and with the biggest sales forecasted for 25G and 100G ports. The imminent 200 Gbps and 400 Gbps optical transceivers also poise to hold a fraction of the market share.

optical transceiver market trend forecast

10G Transceiver: Moving to the Edge

Initially offered in the early 2000s, 10 Gigabit Ethernet has matured now to become a commonplace in data center. 10G server connections reached majority of new shipments and have outpaced 1G connection in 2015. Basically the 10G Ethernet is stacked to move to 40G and 100G at the access layer, following the upgrade path of 10G-40G-100G, which, however, will quadruple the cabling complexity, power consumption and overall cost. And this will be exacerbated when aggregating into 100G (10×10G) interface.

25G Transceiver: Pave the Road for 100G

So there comes the game changer: 25G Ethernet for better economics and efficiency. 25 Gigabit Ethernet makes the road to 100G smoother with reduced cost, lower power consumption and less cabling complexity. SFP28 optical transceiver is designed for use in 25G Ethernet, delivering 2.5 times higher speed per lane at lower power. 25G SFP28 can be viewed as the enhanced version of 10G SFP+ transceiver, utilizing the same form factor but running at 25 Gb/s instead of 10 Gb/s. Besides, SFP28 25G is back compatible with SFP+ so it will work sufficiently on SFP+ ports. By the year of 2019, the price of a 25G SFP28 will be almost the same as a 10G SFP+. So you will be saving a great bunch of money if choosing to move to 25G. Some users even plan to skip 10G and directly deploy 25G Ethernet for better scaling to 50G and 100G.

Image result for IHS Markit: 25/100GE switch port growth surges; 200/400GE to begin in 2019

40G Transceiver: Affordable for Mass Deployment

Obviously, 10GbE is no longer fast enough for data centers handling large-scale applications, so 40G is designed to alleviate bottlenecks in the access layer . When firstly planning to scale to 40G, the cost is extremely high that makes the implement of 40G technology difficult. Luckily, we’ve seen significant cost reduction of 40G optics in the past 2 years: QSFP-40G-SR offered by FS.COM is $49 only. The price drop accelerates 40G transceivers adoption in aggregation links, or in access links to connect servers. For scaling to“spine-leaf” architecture, 40G switches can be used as spine switch with the 40G QSFP+ ports breaking out into 4 10G SFP+ ports to support 10G server uplinks. 40G port revenue has peaked in 2016 and will now decline in favor of 25G and 50G ports.

100G Transceiver: Ramping up in Data Center

Currently 100G are the fastest Ethernet connections in broad adoption, which is growing sustainably. And the optical transceiver market indicates that 100G QSFP28 module price will continue to drop, making the cost difference between 40G and 100G even small. For example, FS.COM offers great cost reduction on 100G transceivers: only $199 for QSFP28 100G-SR. Moreover, 100G switch port shipments will outnumber 40G switch port shipments in 2018—as 25G server and 100G switch became commonplace in most hyperscale data centers that replaces previous 10G servers and 40G switches. Vendors of 100G QSFP28 transceiver will continue to grow the product and push the limits of its versatility.

200G and 400G – New Connection Speed Hits Data Center

Another foreseeable trend in interconnect market is the phase out of low speed transceivers in the core of networks and in data centers. So here comes the major shift from 10G and under to 40/100G and higher. New developments with QSFP28 technology in 2018 also will pave the way for the 200G and 400G QSFP-DD: next-generation 200G and data center 400G Ethernet will deploy starting in 2018, and become mainstream by 2019-2020. On the whole, optical transceiver market is evolving to higher speed, more reduced power consumption and smaller form factor. Let’s take a look at these future-proofing optical transceivers.



Data Center, Cloud & Campus Networking Equipment + Cisco Beats

by Patrick Seitz of IBD (edited by Alan J Weissberger)

AI and machine learning have crept into the computer networking gear business as hardware vendors look to add more smarts to their routers and switches to help customers better manage data traffic and solve problems.

Cisco, Arista, Netgear and Extreme build a range of wired and wireless network switches and routers for moving data.

“The overall business is pretty healthy,” IDC analyst Rohit Mehra told Investor’s Business Daily.

Spending on Ethernet switches alone is expected to rise 3% to $26.3 billion this year, he said.

Business campus and enterprise deployments are the largest subsegment, accounting for 57% of Ethernet switch spending in 2016, the most recent year for which research firm IDC has full-year data. Data centers accounted for the remaining 43% of spending.

Cisco is by far the largest name in the industry, with a market capitalization of over $200 billion. At a fraction of that size, Arista is next in line, with a market cap near $20 billion.

While Cisco has a full portfolio of networking products across customer segments, Arista Networks is focused today on data center customers.

On Wednesday, investment bank Goldman Sachs initiated coverage of Cisco and Arista with buy ratings and Juniper at neutral. The report noted that enterprise spending intentions for networking gear are at their highest levels since 2007.

“Almost two-thirds of respondents indicated that they expect to increase networking spend in 2018, with only 6% expecting a decrease,” Goldman analyst Rod Hall said in the report.

Arista Networks Targets High-Speed Cloud Data Centers:

Arista has high exposure to the hyperscale data center side of the market, which is expected to accelerate slightly to 29% capital-expenditure growth this year, Hall said.

“We are modeling for revenue upside (at Arista) from consensus, as cloud capex looks set to accelerate again in 2018,” he said. “Arista has established itself as the dominant vendor of high-speed data center networking solutions, with nearly 25% share of 100G data center switches.”

Other Network Equipment Vendors:

Juniper Networks has been hurt by large data-center customers buying more commodity networking hardware from so-called white-box vendors, analysts say.

Commodity networking hardware from ODMs/white box vendors uses merchant silicon from semiconductor firms such as BroadcomCavium, and Mellanox Technologies  rather than purpose-built chips called application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) from traditional network gear makers like Cisco and Juniper.

Networking gear vendors have avoided the commoditization price trap partly by placing greater emphasis on software and services.

Because of surging data traffic, network administrators need more tools to help them solve bottlenecks, security issues and other concerns.

Cisco (see Update below) has been a laggard in providing predictive analytics and high-level network monitoring and management capabilities, which created opportunities for a host of companies to step in and fill the gap.

But in late January, Cisco announced initiatives to provide more automation and network management capabilities to its product offerings. It introduced tools designed to help information technology teams become more proactive rather than reactive to problems.

Cisco said IT workers today spend 43% of their time troubleshooting. Software innovations should make IT operations more automated, proactive and agile, the company says.

“There’s more of a realization at Cisco that network monitoring, analytics and visibility is key to delivering automation,” IDC’s Mehra said. “If you don’t build automation into your network systems, you’re not going to be there as the market for IoT (Internet of Things) explodes and as cloud continues to gain more affinity in the enterprise.”

Mergers and acquisitions could play a role in the networking gear space this year, especially with cash-rich Cisco.  Cisco could make a meaningful acquisition in 2018, Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz said in a Jan. 17th report.

“We think CEO Chuck Robbins could make a larger, synergistic acquisition (i.e., north of $5 billion to $7 billion) – something that bolsters the company’s cloud, software, security or services presence on day one,” he said.

On Feb. 2nd, Cisco completed its acquisition of BroadSoft for $1.9 billion. BroadSoft adds cloud calling and contact center solutions to Cisco’s calling, meetings, messaging, customer care, hardware endpoints and services portfolio.

Meanwhile, Arista has been a thorn in the side of Cisco’s core networking business, but could become a bigger threat, Moskowitz said.

“If Arista is able to penetrate the enterprise vertical and also gain traction with its routing foray, the headline and fundamental risks (for Cisco) could start to become more meaningful,” he said.


Netgear Plans IPO For Fast-Growing Arlo Security-Camera Business

Juniper Offers Earnings Beat, Buyback — But Outlook Falls Short

Will Resurgent Cisco Slow Down Arista Networks In Cloud Computing?


Update – Cisco Fiscal 2nd Quarter Earnings Report:

Cisco today (February 14, 2018) reported a fiscal second-quarter loss of $8.78 billion, or $1.78 a share, compared with net income of $2.35 billion, or 47 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings, excluding $11.1 billion in charges from the U.S. tax overhaul, were 63 cents a share. Of the 26 analysts surveyed by FactSet, Cisco on average was expected to post adjusted earnings of 59 cents a share; the company had forecast 58 cents to 60 cents a share.

Revenue rose 2.6% to $11.89 billion from $11.58 billion in the year-ago period, breaking a streak of six straight quarters of year-over-year revenue declines. Wall Street had expected revenue of $11.81 billion, according to 23 analysts polled by FactSet. Cisco had predicted revenue of $11.7 billion to $11.93 billion.

  • Product revenue, which makes up 73% of the top line, increased 2.6%.
  • Services revenue rose 2.9% to $3.18 billion, while analysts had expected a 0.9% rise to $3.13 billion. Security revenue, on the other hand, rose 6% to $558 million, while Wall Street had expected a 10% gain to $582.8 million.


Repatriation of overseas cash, mostly to pay for share buybacks and dividends:

Cisco said it would repatriate $67 billion of its foreign cash holdings to the U.S. this quarter, in one of the largest repatriation plans yet revealed.  The company plans to spend much of the newly repatriated cash on share buybacks and dividends, it said Wednesday while reporting earnings, amounting to about $44 billion over the next two years.  At the end of the quarter, Cisco had $73.7 billion of cash and equivalents, with the vast majority held outside the U.S. Under the new tax law, the company will be able to access its money at a significantly lower rate than was previously required.

Critics of the U.S. tax law have said increases in share repurchases and dividends show money saved from the law is going to shareholders instead of being invested in new U.S. jobs, infrastructure, research and development, and related areas.

The focus on stock buybacks and an increased dividend suggests Cisco isn’t likely to use the cash on a major acquisition, said RBC Capital Markets analyst Mitch Steves (that contradicts the IBD story above).  Instead, he expects Cisco to focus on smaller deals, perhaps in a range of $1 billion to $10 billion.


Since taking the helm of Cisco, Chief Executive Chuck Robbins has focused on subscriptions, common in the software industry but more difficult for a hardware company. That kind of transition can have a negative effect on revenue in the short term, as less of the sale is recognized up front with the rest deferred to later quarters, which Cisco has seen in the past couple of years.

Cisco introduced a new switching family called the Catalyst 9000, a software-centric switch that is delivered as a service with subscription fees and long-term contracts, last June. While previously, a sale of a switch — Cisco’s biggest business — would have been recognized in full up front, Chief Financial Officer Kelly Kramer explained that a healthy portion of that sale is now considered to be for software support and recognized over the length of the contract.

“Of total product revenue, 13% of product revenue is recurring,” Kramer said; at the beginning of Cisco’s fiscal 2015, recurring revenue was about 6% of total revenue, she said.

“The Catalyst 9000 is our fastest ramping product in our history,” Robbins crowed on a conference call.

Kramer largely echoed Robbins’s positive tone in a later interview, while avoiding any grand pronouncements. When asked whether the company’s transition was at an inflection point, she said, ‘I am always hesitant to call any inflection, but I am not surprised about the improvement. Overall, we feel very, very good about our portfolio, this is where we have been focused for a long time.”

Robbins has focused on software as a path, making big-money acquisitions like AppDynamics and BroadSoft, and analysts were curious in Wednesday’s conference call about what may be next for the acquisitive company. Company executives said they plan to bring back all of Cisco’s cash that is outside the U.S. by the end of this quarter under the new tax laws that are now taking hold.

After recognizing an $11.1 billion charge largely from repatriation in Wednesday’s report, Cisco will have many billions of dollars to play with, even after adding $25 billion to its stock-repurchase authorization and increasing its dividend 14% Wednesday.

“We are seeing the benefits of the strategy we started executing on 10 quarters ago,” Kramer said. “We are seeing the benefits as we shift the business model and you are seeing it translate through fantastic financials.



Moore’s law alive in the Data Center; Ethernet adapter revenue up 43% YoY

by Cliff Grossner, Senior Research Director & Advisor Cloud & Data Center Research Practice at IHS-Markit


We cannot measure Moore’s law simply in time between generations. Even though it took Intel longer than 2 years to move from 14nm to 10nm silicon, the number of transistors in their 10nm CPUs exceeded Moore’s Law expectation of 2x per 2 years, according to new research by IHS Markit.

For example, improving transistor IC design helped Intel grow transistor density from 37.5 Million Transistor per Square Millimeter (Mtr/mm2)to 100.8 Mtr/mm2 between 2014 and 2017.

“Since 2007 we’ve seen an immense growth in consumer devices, apps, user-generated content and streaming services, as smart phones and social media gained popularity, driving the need for additional data center (DC) server computational capacity to support them. Connected devices and data-intensive applications will continue to fuel global demand for DC compute and push it up significantly ahead of the average growth of the number of transistors on a CPU,” said Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., Senior Research Director and Advisor for the Cloud and Data Center Research Practice at IHS Markit.

“Strong growth in the demand for DC server computation will compel designers of server hardware to think beyond general purpose compute and consider new server architectures purpose-built for parallel computation that will enable artificial intelligence, advanced driver assistance systems and real-time rendering for virtual and augmented reality amongst others,” Cliff added.

More Data Center Compute Market Highlights:

·         Cloud service providers are expected to buy 37% of 2017 DC servers shipped, telco 15% and enterprise 48%.

·         White Box – including all vendors that produce rack server hardware with OS software sold separately, such as QCT, Wiwynn and Inventec – was #1 in units shipped in 3Q17 (23% share) for DC servers.

·         HPE took the #1 sport in server revenue market share (23%), Dell was #2 (19%), and White Box was #3 (17%) in 2Q17

·         Programmable Ethernet adapter revenue was up 7% QoQ and up 43% YoY, hitting $22M in 3Q17

Research Synopsis:

The IHS Markit Data Center Compute Intelligence Service provides quarterly worldwide and regional market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2021, analysis and trends for (1) data center servers by form factor[rack, blade, open compute and tower], server class[entry-level, enterprise, large-scale enterprise, large-scale compute and high performance compute], and market segment[Enterprise, Telco and Cloud Service Provider], and (2) Ethernet network adapters by CPU offload[Basic, Offload and Programmable NIC], port speed [1/10/25/40/50/100GE], form factor [stand-up, piggyback and open compite], usage case [storage and server] and market segment. Vendors tracked include Dell, HPE, Lenovo, Cisco, Huawei, Inspur, IBM, Supermicro, Cray, Intel, Broadcom, Mellanox, Cavium, and others.


In a separate IHS Markit report:

Hyperscale data center owners are driving growth of renewable energy in data centers

By Maggie Shillington, analyst, cloud and data centers, IHS Markit


  • Between 2 percent and 3 percent of developed countries’ electricity consumption is currently attributed to data centers. For most data centers, the largest operational cost is the electricity used for cooling.
  • Onsite generation is the ideal way to implement renewable energy in data centers. The two most popular renewable energy methods are solar and wind power, due to their high-energy production and relative ease of implementation.
  • Offsite renewable energy sources — primarily utility companies and renewable energy suppliers — are typically the easiest way for data centers to obtain renewable energy. Offsite generation removes the large upfront capital expenses to produce onsite renewable energy and the geographical limitations of renewable energy production methods.
  • Although small data centers have a distinct advantage in using onsite options, owners of hyperscale data centers (i.e., Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook) are driving the growth of renewable energy for data centers.

C Spire – Entergy Mississippi Partnership to Build Fiber Network along 5 routes

U.S. service provider C Spire today announced a partnership with electric utility Entergy Mississippi which aims to bring more than 300 miles of fiber to remote areas of Mississippi.  C Spire will build and own the network, with Entergy contributing construction costs, according to C Spire Vice President of Government Relations Ben Moncrief in an interview with Telecompetitor.

Entergy will lease capacity on the network from C Spire to support its smart grid initiatives, he said. C Spire eventually expects to extend the middle-mile network to end user locations to support retail services, he added, although he emphasized that any such plans are not part of today’s news.

Details about the C Spire – Entergy partnership can be found in this press release.   Clearly there were a lot of synergies for these companies to work together.

“This opens the door to offering service to residences and industrial parks,” Moncrief said. “But today is just about getting the (fiber optic) backbone in place.”

When Entergy Mississippi sought the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s approval to build a network to support its smart grid plans, one of the commissioners asked whether that network could also be “at least a foundation for broadband services,” Moncrief explained.

That idea led Entergy to a meeting with C Spire at which representatives of both companies had an “aha moment,” Moncrief recalled.

C Spire initially was a wireless carrier, as well as a provider of wireline business services, but in recent years has been quite aggressive in deploying fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and other broadband network infrastructure in numerous rural markets in Mississippi. Meanwhile, Moncrief said, “Here’s an electric utility that for security reasons is keeping infrastructure away from population centers.”

The network will be installed with a minimum of 144-count fiber, “in some places more,” Moncrief noted. Each company will have its own fiber.  The areas that the network will run through are “very rural” and might have been too costly for C Spire to build out to without the Entergy investment, Moncrief added.

C Spire also will gain connectivity from the rural areas to population centers, Moncrief said.

C Spire Entergy Fiber Network Map


The construction project will involve placing fiber optic cable along five separate routes as follows:

  • Delta: a 92-mile route through Sunflower, Humphreys, Madison and Hinds counties and near the cities of Indianola, Inverness, Isola, Belzoni, Silver City, Yazoo City, Bentonia, Flora and Jackson.
  • North: a 51-mile stretch in Attala, Leake and Madison counties, including near the towns of McAdams, Kosciusko and Canton.
  • Central: a 33-mile route through Madison, Rankin and Scott counties and near the towns of Canton, Sand Hill and Morton.
  • South: a 77-mile route passing through Simpson, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence and Walthall counties and near the towns of Magee, Prentiss, Silver Creek, Monticello and Tylertown.
  • Southwest: a 49-mile stretch in Franklin and Adams counties that’s near the communities of Bude, Meadville, Roxie, Natchez and Eddiceton.

“We’re excited about partnering with C Spire to modernize our electrical grid and expand rural broadband access in some hard-to-reach areas across the state,” said Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi. “We have about 30,000 customers within five miles of the proposed routes who could potentially have access to broadband service when the project is complete. In addition, all of our customers will benefit from the enhancements to our communication systems that connect our facilities, substations, offices and radio sites.” The company provides electric service to an estimated 445,000 customers in 45 counties across the state.

“A robust broadband infrastructure is critical to the success of our efforts to move Mississippi forward by growing the economy, fostering innovation, creating job opportunities and improving the quality of life for all our residents,” said Hu Meena, CEO of C Spire, a Mississippi-based diversified telecommunications and technology services company.


Verizon to deploy NG-PON2 in Tampa, FL using Calix network equipment

Verizon will initiate its NG-PON2 deployments in Tampa, FL, with Calix network equipment.  The telco is expected to use the technology for higher-speed enterprise broadband, small-cell and fixed wireless backhaul. “We’re looking at this platform to cover residential, business and wireless carriers,” said Verizon’s Vincent O’Byrne.

Verizon and other carriers are expected to use NG-PON2 to support higher-speed business services, as well as backhaul for small cell networks. In Verizon’s case, the technology also will be used to provide backhaul for fixed wireless, according to O’Byrne.

“As we go forward, we’re looking at this platform to cover residential, business and wireless carriers,” said O’Byrne. NG-PON2 will be the access portion of Verizon’s vision for the “intelligent edge” network, which also will comprise unified transport and core network changes, he said.  “NG-PON2 is the part that hits customers,” he added.

Although the Tampa, FL NG-PON2 deployment will use equipment from Calix, Verizon continues to test a second supplier in the lab, O’Byrne said.

Verizon NG-PON2

vincent obyrne

Vincent O’Byrne

The NG-PON2 equipment that service providers initially will deploy will support four wavelengths, but providers can turn up just a single wavelength to start or can add an additional four wavelengths in the future, O’Byrne said.

Each wavelength can support 10 Gbps in each direction, supporting speeds of up to 8.5 Gbps for customer traffic. NG-PON2 standards specify a bonding option that would enable a service provider to combine multiple wavelengths together to support a single higher-speed connection, he explained.

Verizon has been testing NG-PON2 in the laboratory for several years. The Tampa customer trials, which will run for about three months, will make sure the carrier has the IT systems in place to support the offering, O’Byrne noted. A key function that will be examined is the ability to move services between wavelengths — a capability that will provide added protection from the consumer perspective and will enable Verizon to load balance. O’Byrne noted that during light traffic periods, Verizon might reduce the amount of power used by shifting customers to a single wavelength and turning off some line cards.

“You would have to be within Verizon to see the amount of positivity that is there that is similar to when we started to launch FiOS,” said  O’Byrne, in an interview with Light Reading.

“We have a lot of big initiatives. These are exciting times. We do see ourselves on a positive cusp or tide of deploying new technologies and making a lot of changes to the network.” Vincent O’Byrne in an earlier video interview with Broadband World News. Vincent O’Byrne in an earlier video interview with Broadband World News. Those changes fit into what Verizon calls its Intelligent Network Edge strategy, designed to simplify and reduce costs across its network by eliminating the need for three separate network infrastructures and also speed its ability to deliver higher-speed services and bring fiber backhaul to the growing set of antennas that 5G deployment will require. Verizon had named two vendors for NG-PON 2 — ADTRAN Inc. and Calix.

It’s now moving forward initially with Calix because that vendor “was, from a timeline perspective, ahead and ready to go out and we have a need to get this deployment out there,” O’Byrne said.

Calix CEO and President Carl Russo shares O’Byrne’s excitement about what this move might mean for the bigger market. He credits Verizon with being willing and able to move quickly in adopting not just a new PON technology but a new overall approach to access networks. “When someone like Verizon, who is known for technical leadership and engineering orientation starts to deploy, it’s kind of like firing off the starting gun to the market saying, ‘Okay guys, this technology is go,’ ” he says in an interview.

“That doesn’t mean everybody rushes to it, it means you now have that legitimacy, that this is a production choice [operators] can make, as opposed to, ‘I’m not quite sure it’s ready.’ Now the market begins.”

Russo was impressed with the speed at which Verizon is working and the Agile processes it is using. “It has been an interesting partner approach because they have functioned as an Agile partner, it has been quite enjoyable,” he says. “It’s been hard, too, but they have engaged in a way that a lot of large customers find difficult to engage. There is a lot more exciting stuff coming, this market is real and it is going to get realer.” Verizon isn’t saying where it will initially deploy NG-PON 2 in Tampa because that will be a marketing decision, O’Byrne says, and will be driven by customer demand. Because NG-PON 2 can use the same physical fiber infrastructure that is already in use by GPON, Verizon will choose to deploy where customers need more than 1 Gbit/s service, he says. Because it’s newer, NG-PON 2 technology costs more than GPON, but those costs are offset by savings in many areas, as part of the transition to an intelligent edge and software-defined access.

For example, the AXOS E9-2 Intelligent Edge System combines subscriber management, aggregation and optical line terminal (OLT) functions into a single box, which offers both power and space savings and significant operational efficiencies, including greater automation, O’Byrne says. The net result is speeds up to 40 Gbit/s throughput and tunable optics for essentially the same cost. “The ability to move all three service sets into one box saves us an inordinate amount of money from processing, and just the ability to increase the speed at which we can provision systems reduces our OSS complexities that we would have,” O’Byrne says.

“That is why this overall intelligent edge network, we kind of see it as a big emphasis within the company.”

The Verizon executive says the company is continuing to work in the labs with Adtran. He calls it “standard practice” to work with two vendors, and move forward first with one and then the other. Thanks to the interoperability trial work that Verizon has already done, producing the Verizon OMCI specification — which is being incorporated into the ITU-T G.988 standard — Calix and Adtran gear will have common interfaces, he says. (See Verizon Proves NG-PON2 Interoperability). For Calix, however, this does represent market validation of its five-year journey to become a software platform company, Russo said.

“This helps people understand just how much that transformation has been completed,” he says. “AXOS being deployed at this level should make it clear what is going on with us, as a platform software company.” When Verizon was doing OSS work on FiOS we were working with the group in Tampa to make it operational. They were doing all the development there. That is consistent with your post Carol. The real question is this part of the rollout of 5G or is it a residential play. My guess is the former. Verizon was quiet open about the services to be offered when FiOS rolled out.

According to a Verizon spokesman, the company still has facilities in Tampa, and that is where they are doing the production testing of the systems and the various technology elements involved in the Intelligent Edge Network, including NGPON2. As Vincent O’Byrne says in the story, the company hasn’t publicly announced what services it will be offering as that is a marketing choice. The spokesman says that “over time we expect to support residential, business and wireless use cases. Once the testing is completed, I expect we’d have more to announce in terms of details.”

While the backhaul connection to the central office for GPON is 2.5 Gbps, that number rises to as much as 80 Gbps for NG-PON2, explained Calix CEO Carl Russo in a separate interview. But “that’s actually not the big thing” about NG-PON2, according to Russo. The big thing, he said, is “all the wavelengths and what they can do for you.”

The way Calix thinks about NG-PON2, he said, is that “it delivers the physical layer we’ve been in pursuit of for 10 years.”

The “efficiency of a shared PON,” he said, includes “the ability of a wavelength to run in a non-shared fashion – you can basically have a point-to-point connection.”

NG-PON2, he said, could be thought of as “the physical layer for unified access.”

calix carl russo

Carl Russo

Calix had to make some modifications to its existing NG-PON2 equipment to meet Verizon’s needs for its converged access network, Russo noted. A key requirement was the ability to switch wavelengths on the fly in less than 25 milliseconds.

“That is a very challenging target to hit,” Russo said.

According to Russo, Verizon also will use Calix’s AXOS software-based management system to support “always on” operation. Modifications can be made to the network without taking the network out of service, Russo said.

Russo expects to see carriers deploying both GPON and NG-PON2 for years to come. The technology that may get squeezed is XGS-PON – an alternative approach to boosting FTTP speeds and capacity that adds only a single wavelength to existing PON infrastructure and which some people viewed as an intermediate technology until NG-PON2 was available, he said.

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