Ziply Fiber deploys 2 Gig & 5 Gig fiber internet tiers in 60 cities – AT&T can now top that!

Ziply Fiber has launched two multi-gigabit, symmetrical broadband Internet tiers– at 2 Gbit/s and 5 Gbit/s – in 60 cities and towns in parts of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.  The two new fiber Internet service plans will initially be available to nearly 170,000 physical addresses in those three states.  This comes after Ziply conducted a successful small market test in Kirkland, Washington. Customers in Montana will gain access to the multi-gig options later this quarter, with availability expected across most of the company’s existing footprint by the middle of the year.

Pricing for the 2-Gig tier runs $120 per month while the 5-Gig tier costs $300 per month. Both multi-gig tiers will require users to get a special router that includes WiFi 6 compatibility, a 10G WAN port and either a 2.5G LAN port for the 2-gig plan or a greater than 5G LAN port for the 5-gig option.

Ziply is the first among regional and national residential providers — those with a customer base of more than 1% of the US population — to deliver these speeds. By doing so, Ziply has become the fastest major internet provider not only in the Northwest, but across the entire U.S.

Ziply Fiber, formed in 2020 via the acquisition of Frontier Communications’ operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, expects to launch the new multi-Gig tiers to the rest of its footprint by the second quarter of 2022, and to make them available in every new fiber market launched thereafter, said Harold Zeitz, Ziply Fiber’s CEO.

Zeitz told Fierce Telecom that more than half of Ziply’s customers already take its 1 Gbps plan, “so we already have customers who seem to want faster speeds compared to others.”  He added the December trial covered five markets across Washington and Oregon and included a sample group of “tens of customers” who proactively sought access to the faster speed tiers. “There were no problems whatsoever,” Zeitz said of the trial. “We were able to demonstrate measured speed and it gave us confidence to go ahead and launch it broadly.”

Ziply Fiber’s new uncapped and no-contract tiers follow the company’s ongoing deployment of a 10-Gig capable XGS-PON access network and underlying core network.  Zeitz said the launches prove that consumers don’t have to live in a big city to get big speeds. “It’s a revitalization opportunity,” he said. “It demonstrates the future-proof element of the technology.”

The company also sells a 50Mbit/s tier for $20 per month and a 200Mbit/s service for $40 per month. Zeitz estimates that “well over half” of Ziply Fiber’s broadband customers choose the 1-Gig tier.

Zeitz said offering broadband without a cap or a contract puts welcome pressure on the company. “Yes, we think it’s a differentiator, but I also think it helps motivate us to make sure we’re delivering great service, he said.

Other Gig FTTP Internet competitors:

Ziply Fiber’s 5-Gig service appears to raise the bar on a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) residential broadband offering offered in multiple states.  With the exception of Google Fiber and Xfinity, none of the top internet providers have dared to push the internet speed limit past a single gig. Google Fiber offers a 2-gigabit plan throughout most service areas while a limited few Xfinity customers can sign up for 3 gigs, but no 5 Gig yet.  Among smaller regional players,  EPB of Chattanooga, Tennessee, currently offers a residential 10-Gig service starting at $299 per month in select areas.North Dakota’s MLGC debuted a 5 Gbps service tier in 2020, while TDS rolled out a 2-gig offering and Dobson Fiber launched a 10 Gbps offering last year.

Here’s the current competitive status from nationwide FTTP providers:

  • Comcast’s targeted residential FTTP service, Gigabit Pro, was recently upgraded to deliver speeds of 3 Gbit/s for $299.95 per month (with a two-year contract).
  • Google Fiber has been expanding the availability of a fiber-based service that delivers 2 Gbit/s down by 1 Gbit/s up.
  • AT&T has hinted that a multi-gigabit service is in the works, but has not announced pricing or launch timing.

Analysis:

The burning question this author has is how will Zipply customers use even a fraction of their allotted 2 Gig or 5 Gig upload and download speeds?  I have over 10 connected WiFi devices in my home where my 100 Mb/sec download speed is sufficient.

“This is for people to develop new use cases, et cetera,” Zeitz concluded. “I think we don’t know all the things that people will do and so we’re an enabler.”

Also, the extra gear needed won’t be cheap. To open up any potential in-home bottlenecks, Ziply Fiber is recommending an Asus AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 router or a similar device. Customers will also need an SFP+ (enhanced small form-factor pluggable) with an RJ-45 connector that’s compatible with the router to deliver up to 5-Gig.  Ziply Fiber is also selling such products online – an Asus router for $449.95, and the SFP+ for $42.99, or both bundled together for $492.94.

For the full 5-Gig, customers will need a wired Ethernet connection to the router. Depending on the performance capabilities the computer, a customer on Ziply Fiber’s multi-gig service will likely need an Ethernet adapter/dongle that supports 2.5-Gig or 5-Gig.

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24 January 2022 Update:  AT&T can now equal 2 Gig and 5 Gig FTTP speeds

AT&T has boosted its existing fiber in parts of more than 70 metro areas around the U.S. to offer 2-Gig and 5-Gig symmetrical upload and download speeds.

“Where we’re launching 2-Gig and 5-Gig, we previously had 1-Gig speeds available,” said AT&T’s SVP of Broadband Product Development Cheryl Choy. The upgrades announced today affect about 5.2 million people out of about 16 million households that AT&T currently passes with gigabit speeds.

Asked why AT&T isn’t increasing speeds for all 16 million households that it passes with fiber, Choy said it’s because the company is “on a PON evolution.” It is in the process of moving from GPON to XGS PON via card upgrades and software improvements. These upgrades allow it to boost speeds above 1-Gig.  Choy said that since 2019 all of AT&T’s newly laid fiber has been capable of multi-gig speeds.

Although the news of multi-gig fiber today did not require any new fiber to be laid, the company is also laying new fiber, and its goal is to cover 30 million customer locations with fiber by year-end 2025.

Pricing:

AT&T also announced it’s rolling out “straightforward pricing” across its AT&T Fiber portfolio. The 2-Gig fiber service costs $110 per month plus taxes with autopay; and the 5-Gig service costs $180 per month plus taxes with autopay.

Prices are a little higher for businesses at $225 per month for 2-Gig; and $395 per month for 5-Gig.

The company will not charge any equipment fees, nor will it require an annual contract or implement any data caps. The service also includes Wi-Fi.

Choy said, “We’ve amped up our Wi-Fi technology.” In late 2020 AT&T launched its Wi-Fi 6 enabled gateway, which provides more capacity for more connected devices. Those Wi-Fi devices will be able to take advantage of the new multi-gig speeds. AT&T’s Wi-Fi currently uses 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz spectrum.

According to a survey conducted in 2021 by Recon Analytics on behalf of AT&T, the average consumer has 13 connected devices in their home. But that’s expected to boom in the coming years, which will require more bandwidth.

Finally, as part of today’s news, AT&T said it has achieved up to 10-Gig speeds on fiber in its labs.

https://www.fiercetelecom.com/broadband/att-upgrades-its-fiber-network-offer-2-gig-5-gig-speeds

Ziply Fiber References:

https://www.fiercetelecom.com/broadband/ziply-debuts-2-gig-5-gig-internet-tiers-60-cities

https://www.broadbandworldnews.com/author.asp?section_id=733&doc_id=774718&

https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/ziply-fiber-rolls-out-multi-gig-service-to-170000-homes/?ftag=CAD-03-10abf2b

https://ziplyfiber.com/news/release/735

 

New partnership targets future global wireless-connectivity services combining satellites and HAPS

NTT, its mobile subsidiary DoCoMo, aircraft maker Airbus, and Japanese satcoms Sky Perfect JSAT Corporation are partnering to conduct a feasibility study on high altitude platform stations (HAPS). Deployed at altitudes of around 20 kilometers, they are essentially flying base stations that can provide coverage to a radius of around 50 kilometers.

Launched with a memorandum of understanding (MOU), the study will attempt to identify the early deployment requirements of a HAPS-based network. The collaboration will investigate the use of the Airbus Zephyr, the leading solar-powered, stratospheric unmanned aerial system (UAS), and the wireless communication networks of NTT, DOCOMO and SKY Perfect JSAT in order to test HAPS connectivity, identify practical applications, develop required technologies and ultimately launch space-based wireless broadband services.

Illustration of Airbus “Zephyr” HAPS aircraft:

In the global push to further advance 5G and eventually introduce 6G, initiatives are under way to expand coverage worldwide, including in the oceans and in the air. Such initiatives will include HAPS, which fly in the stratosphere about 20 km above the earth, and non-terrestrial network (NTN) technologies using geostationary-orbit (GEO) satellites and low Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites.

HAPS networks are deemed to be a relatively easy solution for air and sea connectivity and an effective platform for deploying disaster countermeasures and many industrial applications. The provision of space-based radio access network services using NTN technologies, collectively called Space RAN (radio access network), is expected to support worldwide mobile communications with ultra-wide coverage and improved disaster resistance as well enhanced 5G and 6G. In addition,

HAPS platforms can also interconnect to the nearest terrestrial network gateway and extend the reach of existing mobile services directly to end-user devices, providing service options including as rural, emergency and maritime connectivity.

With the signing of the MOU, the four companies will discuss and identify possible future developments necessary to unlock future HAPS-based connectivity services, lobby for standardization and institutionalization of HAPS operations, and explore business models for commercializing HAPS services.

Specific themes will include the applicability of HAPS for mobile connectivity on the ground and base station backhaul,1 the performance of various frequency bands in HAPS systems, the technological considerations for linking HAPS with satellites and ground base stations, and the establishment of a cooperative system to test a network combining NTN technology, satellites and HAPS.

As separately announced on November 15, 2021, DOCOMO and Airbus have successfully conducted a propagation test between the ground and a “Zephyr S” HAPS aircraft in the stratosphere, demonstrating the possibility of providing stable communication with such a configuration.

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Nick Wood of Telecoms.com wrote:

If the group achieves its stated objectives, it will have succeeded where a few other big names have failed.

Google, which has a long and rich history of dabbling, had a go at HAPS in 2011. Project Loon as it was called, consisted of a fleet of stratospheric balloons with base stations dangling beneath them. It was spun out of Google’s ‘X’ lab into a standalone company in 2018 and launched its first commercial service in partnership with Telkom Kenya in 2020. However, Project Loon couldn’t drive the costs down low enough to turn it into a viable long-term business, and the whole enterprise ceased operations around this time last year. Alongside Project Loon, Google also flirted with drone-based connectivity. This one was called Project Titan, and it fared even worse than Loon. Test flights began in 2015, but amid rumours of funding issues and technical difficulties, the whole thing was canned in early 2016.

Meta (previously known as Facebook) also had a crack at HAPS. As part of its effort to connect the unconnected and sell their data to advertisers, in 2016 it showed off Aquila: a portable fleet of unmanned, solar-powered drones that would deliver service to rural areas. It gave up on the idea two years later after reaching the not-so-startling conclusion that it wasn’t particularly good at building aircraft.

Despite these high-profile failures, the aviation and telecoms industries are clearly not ready to give up on HAPS just yet. They even launched their own lobby group in February 2020, the HAPS Alliance. Last month it announced the successful test flight of Sunglider, an unmanned, solar-powered aircraft equipped with an LTE base station. Funnily enough, Airbus, DoCoMo and Sky Perfect JSAT are all members of the HAPS Alliance, which aims to create an ecosystem around the technology that will turn it into a sustainable business.

DoCoMo et al are undoubtedly aware of the unproven business case for this technology, and so spreading the risk across several experts – rather than going it alone like Google and Facebook – is probably better than the HAPS-hazard approach taken by those giants of Silicon Valley.

References:

https://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/english/info/media_center/pr/2022/0117_00.html

https://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/english/info/media_center/pr/2021/1115_00.html

NTT hopes to succeed where Google Loon and Facebook Aquila failed

 

Ericsson and HERE partner for custom mine mapping technology using private mobile networks and location tracking

The Ericsson and HERE partnership, announced during CES 2022, will combine private mobile networks from Ericsson with HERE’s location technology, providing real-time customizable maps of mining projects.

The mining industry is in rapid modernization phase, with smart mining operations projected to increase threefold until 20251. A key driver of this transformation is the access to private cellular networks, enabling safer, more productive, and more sustainable mining operations, through reliable and low latency connectivity. Ericsson’s high-performance 5G private networks are purpose-built for mining operations. A business can deploy an on-premise cellular network for its exclusive use. For mining this includes facilities in very remote areas and underground tunnels, both of which are not typically within public cellular range.

The combination of Ericsson connectivity and HERE location services deliver true smart mining capabilities, from mapping private terrain, to pinpointing and navigating assets in real-time. By using location data to build continuously updated private maps on the HERE location platform, mining companies can create a canvas to improve operational efficiency and safety. The living map can then be used to search or track, and deploy routing powered by HERE, as well as custom-built applications and services.

“We are partnering with HERE because of the breadth of their location services – ranging from mapping to routing, positioning and asset tracking. Combining our advanced private network solutions with HERE services will give mining firms a head start on their digitalization journey,” said Thomas Norén, Head of Dedicated Network and Vice-President at Ericsson.

“We look forward to increasing the productivity and safety of the mining industry by bringing location services to Ericsson’s customers. With our private mapping capabilities, we enable mining companies to unleash the power of their location data in many important use cases,” said Gino Ferru, General Manager EMEAR and Senior Vice-President at HERE Technologies.

In summary:

  • HERE is now part of Ericsson’s industry 4.0 partner ecosystem providing location services in combination with private cellular networks for mining operations.
  • HERE map making enables mining companies to build custom maps of open pit mining operations.
  • Mapping of mining sites helps increase safety, efficiency and sustainability by enabling asset tracking, fleet telematics and analytics.

Photo of a Mine with Staircase

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The partnership becomes part of Ericsson’s growing Industry 4.0 ecosystem, which includes HERE alongside numerous additional technology partners, such as Cisco, Cradlepoint, Dell, and HPE.  The value of automation, mapping, and other Industry 4.0 applications making use of the latest connectivity technology cannot be understated. An Ericsson report on ‘Connected Mining’ in December 2020 suggested that 5G private networks could see return on investment at mining operations reach 200% within 10 years, with smart mining operations themselves expected to triple by 2025.

This is not the first mining project that Ericsson has been working towards. In October 2021, the network equipment and managed services vendor teamed up with Russian operator MTS to deploy a private 5G-ready network for the iron ore mining and processing plant JSC Karelsky Okatysh.
Meanwhile, Ericsson’s rivals are also hurrying to prove their worth to mining companies. Nokia, for example, signed a deal alongside Telia and Digita to provide a private 5G standalone network for Finland’s Kittilä Goldmine.
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About HERE Technologies:

HERE, the leading location data and technology platform, moves people, businesses and cities forward by harnessing the power of location. By leveraging our open platform, we empower our customers to achieve better outcomes – from helping a city manage its infrastructure or a business optimize its assets to guiding drivers to their destination safely. To learn more about HERE, please visit https://www.here.com and https://360.here.com.

About Ericsson:

Ericsson enables communications service providers to capture the full value of connectivity. The company’s portfolio spans Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services, and Emerging Business and is designed to help our customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams. Ericsson’s investments in innovation have delivered the benefits of telephony and mobile broadband to billions of people around the world. The Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on Nasdaq New York. www.ericsson.com

References:

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/01/05/2361828/0/en/HERE-partners-with-Ericsson-to-bring-custom-map-making-and-location-services-to-the-mining-industry.html

https://www.totaltele.com/512092/Ericsson-and-HERE-partner-for-custom-mine-mapping-tech

Broadband accounts for 98% of households with home Internet service; 85% of all households have broadband access

Of the 87% of homes in the U.S. that are connected to the Internet via fixed access (mostly wireline), 98% have broadband access.  Of those with high-speed internet, 60% find their service provider (ISP) very satisfactory, while only 7% are not satisfied. Those figures represent significant growth compared to the 83% who had broadband in 2016 and 69% in 2006.

The findings are based on a survey of 2,000 U.S. households from a new Leichtman Research Group (LRG) study, Broadband Internet in the U.S. 2021.

This is LRG’s 19th annual study on this topic. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other related findings include:

  • 63% of broadband subscribers rate the speed of their Internet connection 8-10 (with 10 being excellent), while 7% rate it 1-3 (with 1 being poor)
  • 45% of broadband subscribers do not know the download speed of their service – compared to 59% in 2016
  • 69% reporting Internet speeds of 100+ Mbps are very satisfied with their service, compared to 53% with speeds <50 Mbps, and 58% that don’t know their speed
  • 60% of adults with an Internet service at home watch video online daily – compared to 50% in 2019, 41% in 2016, and 5% in 2006
  • 87% of households use at least one laptop or desktop computer – 95% of this group get an Internet service at home
  • 68% of those that do not use a laptop or desktop computer are not online at home – accounting for 67% of all that do not have an Internet service at home

Also, on-line (OTT) video viewing is a daily activity for six out of ten adults who have internet service, compared to 50% in 2019, 41% in 2016, and 5% in 2006. Another 87% of households use at least one laptop or desktop computer – 95% of this group get an ISP at home. Separately, 68% of those that do not use a laptop or desktop computer are not online at home – accounting for 67% of all that do not have an ISP at home.

“The percentage of households getting an internet service at home is now higher than in any previous year,” Bruce Leichtman, principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said in a statement. “Broadband subscribers generally remain satisfied with their service, with 60% reporting that they are very satisfied, compared to 57% in 2016,” he added.

Broadband Internet in the U.S. 2021 is based on a survey of 2,000 adults age 18+ from throughout the U.S. The random sample of respondents was distributed and weighted to best
reflect the demographic and geographic make-up of the U.S. The survey, conducted in November-December 2021, included a sample of 820 via telephone (including landline and
cell phone calls) used to track the presence of Internet services in the home, and an additional sample of 1,200 with an Internet service at home via an online sample. The phone sample
has a statistical margin of error of +/- 3.4%. The combined phone and online samples of those with an Internet service at home has a margin of error of +/- 2.3%. The online sample
solely used for some questions has a margin of error of +/- 2.8%.

About Leichtman Research Group:
Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) specializes in research and analysis on the broadband, media and entertainment industries. LRG combines ongoing consumer research studies with
industry tracking and analysis, to provide companies with a richer understanding of current market conditions, and the adoption and impact of new products and services. For more information
about LRG, please call (603) 397-5400 or visit www.LeichtmanResearch.com.

References:

87% of U.S. Households Get an Internet Service at Home

https://www.leichtmanresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/LRG-Broadband-Internet-in-the-U.S.-2021-TOC.pdf

Leichtman: Nearly 90% of U.S. Homes Have Internet Service

 

 

Sequans clever CBRS module for Green-GO Digital’s Beltpack Sports

Paris, France based Sequans Communications, a leading provider of cellular IoT chips and modules for massive and broadband IoT, announced that Green-GO Digital is using its Cassiopeia CB410L CBRS module to connect its new Beltpack Sports wireless intercom communications device.

Cassiopeia CB410L Module Highlights:

  • All-in-one standalone module
  • Small 32 x 29 mm leadless chip carrier (LCC) package
  • CBRS networks in USA on LTE band 48
  • MNO networks worldwide on LTE bands 42/43
  • FCC
  • 3GPP Release 10
  • Easy integration into IoT, M2M and broadband applications
  • Drivers compatible with Linux, Android,Google Chrome, MAC OS, Windows and a wide range of embedded and realtime OSes
  • Comprehensive set of interfaces

CB610L and CB410L are used to add LTE connectivity to electronics devices for industrial Internet of Things (IoT), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and broadband consumer applications. The LCC package allows for a cost-efficient platform and simple PCB design. The modules support a wide variety of interfaces, including USB 2.0 device and UARTs.

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The Green-GO Beltpack Sports is designed to facilitate coach to coach communications in professional sports teams. It is connected by LTE technology and designed specifically to run on CBRS (citizens broadband radio service), a new block of spectrum allocated by the FCC to enable private LTE networks on a shared spectrum basis. CBRS provides enterprises in many sectors, including sports, government, education, industry, and agriculture, with an affordable way to set up private networks for their organizations without subscribing to commercial wireless service.

“It’s exciting to see our technology connecting the new Green-GO device now being used in the world of professional sports,” said Bertrand Debray, EVP of Sequans’ Broadband IoT division. “The Green-GO Beltpack is designed with features that facilitate ease of use on the playing field, and it shows how well a private LTE network using CBRS spectrum can meet the communications needs of enterprises like pro sports teams.”

“We selected Sequans’ technology to connect the Green-GO Beltpack Sports because Sequans is an expert in cellular IoT connectivity with particular expertise in solutions for 3.5 GHz, the frequency of CBRS, said Joost van Eenbergen, Principal and Founder of ELC Lighting BV, manufacturer of Green-GO! Digital Intercom. “Sequans’ IoT module is proven reliable in LTE devices and networks all over the world, and it has all the capabilities we required for design into the Beltpack, including small size, low power consumption for long battery life, and most important, reliability.”

The Green-GO CBRS/LTE Beltpack Sports has features designed specifically for use outdoors, including a backlit display for easier viewing in sunlight, weather-tight buttons for protection from rain and for use with gloves. Its four big buttons can be used all as talk buttons or as a combination of talk and call.

The Beltpack can be easily combined with a wired system by using a Green-GO Bridge. There is no need for a separate interface to connect the Beltpack to an existing wired network.  By simply plugging in the bridge and cloning the configuration to the Beltpacks, the wireless device is fully integrated. Each Green-Go Beltpack connects to a port on a bridge as a remote user, providing the same user interface and audio quality of a wired beltpack, with the security and reliable connectivity of LTE.

“As the exclusive US distributor of Green-GO! Digital Intercom, we are excited to introduce this revolutionary product through our network of authorized dealers,” said Jim Casey, President of Nova Lume LLC. “Having worked with the premier professional sports league in the US for almost two years to implement this product across all 32 teams in time for the 2021 season, while dealing with the pandemic restrictions, was a remarkable accomplishment and prepared us to provide this solution to a wide range of use cases needing secure, reliable, wireless intercom.”

Sequans Cassiopeia CB410L/CB610L Modules:
Sequans’ Cassiopeia CBRS modules are available in two versions:

1) Cassiopeia CB410L with LTE Category 4 throughput, and

2) Cassiopeia CB610L with LTE Category 6 throughput.

Both modules are standalone all-in-one solutions delivering robust LTE network connectivity.  The module design benefits from Sequans’ long and extensive experience in 3.5 GHz solutions. The module supports CBRS networks in the USA on LTE band 48 and MNO networks worldwide on LTE bands 42/43.

The Sequans Cassiopeia CBRS modules feature unique LCC (leadless chip carrier) packaging and a compact size, and they are OnGo certified.

The new Green-GO Digital Wireless Beltpack Sports will be on display at CES 2022 in Sequans meeting room at the Venetian at CES TECH WEST.  For more information or to schedule a meeting at CES, please email [email protected].

About Sequans:
Sequans Communications S.A. is a leading developer and supplier of cellular IoT connectivity solutions, providing chips and modules for 5G/4G massive and broadband IoT. For 5G/4G massive IoT applications, Sequans provides a comprehensive product portfolio based on its flagship Monarch LTE-M/NB-IoT and Calliope Cat 1 chip platforms, featuring industry-leading low power consumption, a large set of integrated functionalities, and global deployment capability. For 5G/4G broadband IoT applications, Sequans offers a product portfolio based on its Cassiopeia Cat 4/Cat 6 4G and high-end Taurus 5G chip platforms, optimized for low-cost residential, enterprise, and industrial applications. Founded in 2003, Sequans is based in Paris, France with additional offices in the United StatesUnited KingdomIsraelHong KongSingaporeFinlandTaiwanSouth Korea, and China.

References:

www.sequans.com

https://www.sequans.com/products/cassiopeia-cb410l/

Meta (Facebook) announces 200G/400G switch fabrics and Network OS with open API at 2021 OCP Summit

Next-generation 200G and 400G switch fabrics:

Meta’s data center fabrics have evolved from 100 Gbps to the next-generation 200 Gbps/400 Gbps. Meta has already deployed 200G-FR4 optics at scale in their data centers and contributed to specifications for 400G-FR4 optics that will be deployed in the future.

Meta has developed two next-generation 200G fabric switches, the Minipack2 [1.].   It is the latest version of Minipack, Meta’s own modular network switch) and the Arista 7388X5, in partnership with Arista Networks. Both of which are also backward compatible with previous 100G switches and will support upgrades to 400G.

Note 1.  Minipack2 is Facebook’s 200G fabric switch (leaf/spine switch) that provides 128 x 200G Ethernet ports by a single 25.6Tbps switch ASIC. It supports 128 QSFP56 ports or 64 QSFP-DD ports when deployed in Facebook’s F16 data center networks.  Similar to Minipack (128x 100G), Minipack2 has a modular architecture that supports multiple port interface types. The specification and the hardware design package of Minipack2 will be contributed to OCP. This workshop will go over hardware architecture of Minipack2 and details on key design decisions, including functional block diagrams, chassis architecture, external and internal interfaces, etc.

The Minipack2 is based on the Broadcom Tomahawk4 25.6T switch ASIC and Broadcom re-timer. The Arista 7388X5 is also based on the Broadcom Tomahawk4 25.6T switch ASIC, with versions of the 7388X5 also utilizing a Credo chipset. They’re high-performance switches that transmit up to 25.6 Tbps and 10.6 Bpps with modular line cards. They support 128x 200G-FR4 QSFP56 optics modules and can maintain a consistent SerDes speed at the switch ASIC, the optics host interface, and on the optics line/wavelength. They simplify connectivity without needing a gearbox to convert data streams. They also have significantly reduced power per bit compared with their previous models (the OCP-accepted Meta Minipack and OCP-Inspired Arista 7368X4, respectively).

Meta has deployed 200G optics (modules pictured above) in their data centers

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The Minipack2, Meta’s own modular network switch, developed in partnership with Broadcom

The Minipack2, Meta’s own modular network switch, developed in partnership with Broadcom

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Meta’s network operating system now powered by an open API:

Meta’s network operating system for controlling the network, Facebook Open Switching System, traditionally used the specific API provided by the chip manufacturer. Now, FBOSS (Meta’s own network operating system for controlling network switches) has been adapted to use the Open Compute Project Switch Abstraction Interface, a standard and open API.

Additionally, Meta has worked with Cisco Systems to support FBOSS with SAI (Switch Abstraction Interface) with their ASICs.  Adapting and migrating FBOSS to SAI enables Meta to onboard multiple ASICS from different vendors more quickly and easily onboard new ones in the future. SAI’s API lets engineers configure new networking hardware without needing to delve into the specifics of the underlying chipset’s SDK. Furthermore, SAI has been extended to even the PHY layer, with Credo Semi supporting FBOSS with their own SAI implementation.

That means data centers can quickly and easily migrate FBOSS across multiple ASICs from different manufacturers with greater ease. It also allows engineers to rapidly configure new networking hardware without the need to tinker with chipset development kits.

Meta expects that with hardware being shared through OCP, supporting SAI will also mean closer collaboration with and feedback from the wider industry. Developers and engineers from across the world will have a chance to work with this open hardware and contribute their own software that can be shared with the industry.

The Metaverse and More:

The metaverse will rely on many technologies, including advanced AI at scale. To deliver a diversity of new workloads that will be created as a result, we continue down the path of disaggregated global networks and data centers that will underpin all of this. The technologies that Meta and the wider industry will create will, of course, need to be fast and flexible, but more than that, they will need to operate efficiently and sustainably — from the data center all the way to edge devices. The only way to achieve this will be through collaboration through communities like OCP and other partnerships.

Open hardware drives the innovation necessary to reach these goals. And our collaborations with both long-standing and new vendors to create open designs for racks, servers, storage boxes, motherboards, and more will help push Meta and the wider industry onto the next major computing platform. We’re only about one percent along on the journey, but the road to the metaverse will be paved with open advanced networking hardware.

References:

OCP Summit 2021: Open networking hardware lays the groundwork for the metaverse

https://siliconangle.com/2021/11/09/meta-announces-next-gen-networking-hardware-2021-ocp-summit/

 

IBM says 5G killer app is connecting industrial robots: edge computing with private 5G

At 2021 MWC-LA, IBM CTO for networking and edge computing Rob High suggested that connecting maintenance robots (one named Spot is pictured below) as the so-called killer application for 5G.  citing wide potential benefits for industry.  In a keynote presentation made alongside robotics company Boston Dynamics, the IBM CTO (pictured left) highlighted the benefits of systems employing edge computing (more below) technology together with private 5G in industrial scenarios. The two companies highlighted Spot’s role to assess the performance of analog machinery still in use.

“For all my network operator friends in the audience who keep asking what’s the killer app for 5G? This is it,” High said. “It’s around production processes valuable to industries that are needed, and need 5G to accomplish their tasks to maintain operational readiness and efficiencies,” he added.

“That’s where 5G is going to have its biggest benefit,” he added, noting although the maintenance robot did a lot of local processing it needed to be on a communications network as it was programmed to raise urgent issues.  However, High did not state what benefits/features 5G has that makes robot connectivity the killer app.  In particular, ultra high reliability is required but neither ITU-R M.2150 or 3GPP Release 16 supports that in the 5G RIT/RAN.

Boston Dynamics’ chief sales officer Mike Pollitt (pictured right) highlighted Spot’s ability to assess machinery and other assets across industrial sites in difficult-to-reach areas and those dangerous for humans.  Potential applications include taking readings from analog machines, proactive maintenance and general site investigation.

High added with a long asset life on much industrial machinery, these types of technological solutions could fill the “data gap” by assessing sites without the need to retrofit connectivity hardware into every piece of equipment.

The robotics company has been working with IBM on industrial deployments with Spot relying on the latter’s application management system.

IBM says that edge computing with 5G (requires 5G SA core network) creates tremendous opportunities in every industry. It brings computation and data storage closer to where data is generated, enabling better data control, reduced costs, faster insights and actions, and continuous operations. By 2025, 75% of enterprise data will be processed at the edge, compared to only 10% today.

IBM provides an autonomous management offering that addresses the scale, variability and rate of change in edge environments. IBM also offers solutions to help communications companies modernize their networks and deliver new services at the edge.

References:

https://www.mobileworldlive.com/featured-content/top-three/ibm-spots-killer-industrial-5g-app

https://www.ibm.com/cloud/edge-computing

 

Juniper Research: Mobile Roaming and the $2 Billion Revenue Leakage Problem

Juniper Research has found that the inability to distinguish between 4G and 5G data traffic using current standards will result in greater roaming revenue losses as the travel industry returns to pre-pandemic levels and 5G adoption increases. Juniper expects losses from roaming data traffic misidentification will rise to $2.1 billion by 2026 if the industry doesn’t implement the Billing & Charging Evolution Protocol (BCE), an end-to-end industry-wide standard defined by the GSMA that introduces new capabilities that identify roaming data traffic over different network technologies.

In response, the new research, Data & Financial Clearing: Emerging Trends, Key Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2021-2026, cited the support by operators for the BCE (Billing & Charging Evolution) protocol as being a key strategy to minimize the extent of revenue leakage. BCE is an end-to-end industry-wide standard defined by the GSMA that introduces new capabilities that identify roaming data traffic over different network technologies.

This issue of misidentifying roaming data will only be exacerbated by the rising number of 5G subscribers roaming internationally. The report forecasts that there will be over 200 million 5G roaming connections by 2026; rising from 5 million in 2021. This growth is driven by increasing 5G adoption and a return to pre-pandemic levels of international travel. In response, it urged operators to identify emerging areas of potential revenue leakage by leveraging machine learning in roaming analytics tools to efficiently assess roaming behavior and data usage.

In addition, the report found that, to effectively mitigate the growing complexity of clearing processes arising from increased demand for data when roaming, operators must move away from established roaming clearing practices in favor of BCE.

Research author Scarlett Woodford remarked:

“By combining BCE with AI-enabled roaming analytics suites, operators will be ideally positioned to deal with the rise in roaming data. Separating roaming traffic by network connectivity is essential to allow operators to charge roaming partners based on latency and download speed, and maximize overall 5G roaming revenue.”

Steering of Roaming Explained:

Roaming revenue can be drastically affected by regional regulations and pricing decreases; resulting in operators seeking alternative ways of generating profits from roaming traffic.  The term ‘Steering of Roaming’ refers to a process in which roaming traffic is redirected to networks with whom an operator has the best wholesale rates. Operators are able to prioritize which network a device connects to when multiple networks are within range. Mobile operators are able to decide which partner network their subscribers will use whilst roaming, in order to reduce outbound roaming costs and ensure that roaming subscribers receive high-quality service.

Operators can rely on third-party enterprises to provide this service, such as BICS, with business analytics used to guide roaming traffic and identify preferential partner networks. If implemented correctly, steering of roaming can help operators increase margins through the reduction of operating costs. Roaming traffic is directed to the partner network offering the best rates, ultimately resulting in operators being able to pass these savings onto their subscribers with lower roaming charges.

References:

https://www.juniperresearch.com/pressreleases/roaming-revenue-losses-to-surpass-$2bn

https://www.juniperresearch.com/whitepapers/mobile-roaming-the-2-bn-revenue-leakage

Verizon lab trial reaches 711 Mbps upload speeds using mmWave spectrum

Summary:

Verizon said it has achieved a 5G upload speed of 711 Mbps in a technology lab trial using aggregated bands of mmWave spectrum.  Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. provided the 5G network equipment and 5G endpoint, respectively.

Samsung supplied its 28 GHz 5G compact macro and virtualized radio access network (vRAN) and vCore technology, along with a smartphone form-factor test device that used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X65 5G modem-RF system.

“Our mmWave build is a critical differentiator, even as we drive towards massive and rapid expansion of our 5G service using our newly acquired mid-band spectrum, we are doubling down on our commitment to mmWave spectrum usage,” said Adam Koeppe, Senior Vice President of Technology Planning for Verizon. “You will see us continue to expand our mmWave footprint to deliver game changing experiences for the densest parts of our network and for unique enterprise solutions. We had over 17k mmWave cell sites at the end of last year and are on track to add 14k more in 2021, with over 30k sites on air by the end of this year, and we’ll keep building after that,” said Koeppe.

Although carriers have seen 5G download speeds above 1 Gbps, it has been more challenging to achieve fast speeds on the uplink. Verizon believes that faster upload speeds are valuable for both fixed and mobile users.

Applications for faster upload speeds:

Speeds approaching those seen in this recent trial (for comparison, 700+ Mbps is the equivalent of a one GB movie uploaded in about 10 seconds) will pave the way for uploading videos, pictures and data to the cloud, social media accounts, or sharing directly with others in densely populated venues like downtown streets, concerts and football stadiums. Whether using a traditional mobile link or fixed wireless access, these speeds will also allow students working from home or employees in distributed workforces the ability to upload and synchronize massive files, complete simultaneous editing of documents in the cloud, and collaborate with colleagues effortlessly.

Verizon says that ultra fast uplink speeds will also drive new private network use cases for enterprises.  For example, faster uplink speeds can enable quality control solutions for manufacturers using artificial intelligence to identify tiny product defects in products visible only through ultra HD video feeds. Other upload-intensive solutions such as multi-location, massive security video capabilities and augmented reality centered customer experiences will also get a boost with these increased speeds.

About the trial:

The demonstration surpassed current peak upload speeds by combining 400 MHz of Verizon’s 5G mmWave frequency and 20 MHz of 4G frequency using the latest 5G technologies, including mmWave carrier aggregation and Single-User MIMO (SU-MIMO). Network technology used in the demo included Samsung’s 28 GHz 5G Compact Macro and virtualized RAN (vRAN) and Core (vCore) along with a smartphone form-factor test device powered by the flagship Snapdragon® X65 5G Modem-RF System.

Snapdragon X65 is Qualcomm Technologies’ 4th generation 5G mmWave Modem-RF System for smartphones, mobile broadband, compute, XR, industrial IoT, 5G private networks and fixed wireless access. Commercial mobile devices based on these Modem-RF solutions are expected to launch by late 2021.

Samsung’s Compact Macro delivers 5G mmWave by bringing together a baseband, radio and antenna in a single form factor. This compact and lightweight solution can be easily installed on the sides of buildings, as well as on utility poles, for the swift build-out of 5G networks. The Compact Macro achieved first Common Criteria (CC) certification against Network Device collaborative Protection Profile (NDcPP), an internationally recognized IT security standard.

“In collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and Verizon, we are excited to begin to reach these ultra-fast uplink speeds, which will enable differentiated 5G experiences and deliver more immersive mobile services for all users”, said Junehee Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung looks forward to harnessing the full potential of 5G through new breakthroughs that will bring truly transformative benefits to people around the world and across the enterprise landscape.”

“Enhancing uplink speeds opens the door to new possibilities with 5G mmWave, in transit hubs, downtown areas, shopping malls and crowded venues, while also powering robust 5G fixed wireless access services in homes and small businesses,” said Durga Malladi, Senior Vice President and General Manager, 5G, Mobile Broadband and Infrastructure, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Our collaboration with Samsung and Verizon exemplifies how we are collectively driving 5G mmWave commercialization and enabling new and exciting user experiences – everyday.”

References:

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/uploading-data-whole-lot-faster-5g

Verizon Achieves 711 Mbps 5G Upload Speeds

Ericsson, Singtel and global partners to power Singapore’s 5G enterprise ecosystem

Ericsson and Singtel have partnered to accelerate 5G adoption across multiple industries and leverage industry partnerships to develop and deploy advanced 5G solutions in Singapore. The partnership utilizes Ericsson’s networking expertise and Singtel’s 5G network, test facilities and capabilities, and also involves collaboration with global industry partners across various industries such as oil and gas, maritime, pharmaceutical, aerospace, financial services, retail and construction. The global partners are ABB, Axis Communications, Bosch, Bosch Rexroth, DHL Supply Chain, Hexagon, PTC and Rohde & Schwarz as well as Cradlepoint (part of Ericsson and provider of enterprise 5G wireless edge solutions).

Singtel recently announced a ramp up of its 5G roll out across Singapore and to accelerate the adoption of 5G by enterprises.

Bill Chang, Chief Executive Officer, Group Enterprise at Singtel said, “We are always looking for ways to stimulate conversations and drive even more innovation to encourage more 5G adoption by enterprises. Our partnership with Ericsson have been key to our 5G roll out and offers us a unique opportunity to come together to build an open platform for enterprises to ideate, co-create, test and eventually go-to-market. We have seen some encouraging outcomes from our early trials and key to that success is our common goal of transforming the future of business operations by harnessing the power of 5G. These trials are the springboard to more innovation and we welcome more enterprises to come on board with their ideas.”

“We have seen some encouraging outcomes from our early trials and key to that success is our common goal of transforming the future of business operations by harnessing the power of 5G. These trials are the springboard to more innovation and we welcome more enterprises to come on board with their ideas.””

The ABB single-arm YuMi® cobot used in a 5G setup. Photo Credit: ABB

With large scale applications of 5G as the end goal, Singtel and Ericsson are working with Hexagon on rolling out large scale autonomous shop floor measurement with 5G connection that can have potential benefits in the aerospace, oil and gas, construction, automotive, shipyard and wind energy industries. With a laser tracker device, non-contact, 3D precision measurements can be done easily, quickly and accurately on large pipes and aerospace parts, with the measured data then transmitted to the control center. The laser tracker device is connected to 5G for remote measurement and this allows for accurate measurements even in hard-to-reach areas and provides stability when measuring a freeform surface. With a more significant bandwidth, 5G technology also enables faster and more extensive measurements to be done.

Advances in technology are reshaping security capabilities and Axis Communications is leveraging 5G technology to innovate for a smarter and safer world. Trials have started using high performance Axis devices and cameras connected through Singtel’s MEC network. The trials demonstrate the ease and cost-effectiveness of deploying Axis devices with edge-based analytics for cities in areas that have previously been off-limits or too costly to do so, ultimately making cities safer and providing a better living environment. The new 5G network will also facilitate Axis Communications deployment of advanced analytics together with our devices in hard-to-reach places and enhancing security and protection in hitherto inaccessible areas.

Building a robust 5G ecosystem and shoring up capabilities

The partnership builds on the joint 5G initiatives rolled out by both companies in the past year. These include achieving Singapore’s fastest 5G speeds of 3.2 Gbps at Singtel’s unmanned pop-up retail store UNBOXED, using Ericsson’s high bandwidth, low latency 28 Ghz mmWave technology as well as Singtel’s GENIE, the world’s first portable 5G-in-a-box platform powered by Ericsson to enable enterprises to experience 5G’s capabilities and trial use cases in their own premises.

According to an Ericsson report – “5G for business: a 2030 market compass”, the total digitalisation revenue in Singapore is forecasted to reach US$17.41 billion by 2030, with 5G-enabled revenue estimated at US$6.48 billion. As a regional economic, business and technology hub, Singapore is an ideal launchpad for 5G-empowered industry 4.0 solutions including robotics, Augmented/Virtual/Mixed Reality, Artificial Intelligence and IoT which require fast speeds, high capacity and low latency connectivity.

Martin Wiktorin, Head of Ericsson Singapore, Brunei and Philippines, says: “As a global ICT leader with 97 live networks deployed worldwide, we are also pioneers for research in 5G for industries. Today, digitalization is a top priority for businesses, and 5G will enable a further shift towards digital transformation, accelerated by the current Covid-19 pandemic. With an extensive network of international partner engagements spanning a multitude of different ecosystems, this collaboration is built on the longstanding relationship we hold with Singtel and all global industry leaders. Together, we aim to further accelerate the 5G enterprise ecosystem and enhance Singapore’s leading edge as one of the world’s most competitive nations.”

On-going trials for industrial applications

A total of three trials are ongoing, with ABB, Axis Communications and Hexagon among the first companies to have started their trials. The trials span across advanced manufacturing, logistics, smart city development, analytics and industrial automation.

ABB has successfully tested the potential of 5G in the industrial manufacturing space, supporting the low latency operation of an ABB collaborative robot. The test was conducted in ABB’s workshop, where ABB’s single-arm YuMi® cobot was connected to Singtel’s 5G GENIE to access an on-site Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) platform.

Singtel’s 5G NSA and 5G SA network offerings:

Singtel had initially launched its 5G non-standalone (NSA) network in September of 2020, using spectrum in the 3.5 GHz frequency as well as existing 2.1 GHz spectrum.

Singtel had announced their 5G SA network in the country this May. Singtel had partnered with  Samsung to launch 5G SA. The 5G SA sites use 3.5 GHz spectrum.

Singtel said it plans to intensify its 5G SA deployment across the island state in the coming months as handset manufacturers progressively roll out 5G SA software updates for existing 5G handsets and launch more 5G SA-compatible models in Singapore later this year.

The Asian telco said it is using 28 GHz mmWave spectrum, in addition to the 3.5 GHz and 2.1 GHz bands, to boost its 5G deployment in Singapore.

References:

https://www.singtel.com/about-us/media-centre/news-releases/ericsson-and-singtel-power-up-singapore-5g-enterprise-ecosystem-with-global-industry-partners

https://www.rcrwireless.com/20211008/5g/ericsson-singtel-boost-adoption-5g-industries