We’ve hit the super busy travel and event season! Roy was at Topio’s Edge Computing World (11th/12th October) in Santa Clara before flying off to Singapore to visit his parents and for FutureNetAsia (18th/19th October). The show was a success if the feedback from attendees and exhibitors were any indication. Nice location (Westin Singapore), with seamless logistics and an enthusiastic audience. One of the sponsors was pointing out to Roy the key industry folks from regional carriers — naming them as he gestured. Sponsors were pleasantly surprised at the seniority of staff and diversity of carriers at the show.
In parallel, our partner, Jim Carroll of Converge Digest, was at the OCP Summit 2022 (18th-20th October) in San Jose, examining disaggregated and open computing and storage architectures. It was a successful event for OCP, with plenty of announcements like Meta’s Grand Teton, hardware for AI/ML, and inferencing. You may have seen our OCP 2022 videos on social media and our YouTube NextGenInfra.io channel; plus, we’ll be putting up a video showcase on our NextGenInfra.io resource site shortly.
Then it was to Madrid for Roy the following week for the Fyuz (O-RAN Alliance, TIP, Meta Connectivity) three-day extravaganza (25th-27th October). With around 1,600 registrants (we don’t have attendance numbers yet), the show packed the IFEMA Palacio Municpal — an event center with unique architecture. As attendees mingled with exhibitors in the bright and airy top level of the event center while sampling street food from vendor stalls, Roy heard them remarking on how well the food and technology fusion concepts came together — one of the prettiest stage setups across the main stage and breakout rooms, and a democratic yet stylish exhibition area.
In between interviews with famous chefs each day, distinguished speakers and panelists discussed open and disaggregated networking — from the access layer (RAN, WiFi, Fixed), through transport, and the core. And Day 3 saw the conversation move to the newest class of applications: metaverse apps and how the network needs to support those apps. Plenty of news and coverage from the event, including Open Fixed Access Network Group, discussions around testing, and training and skills with the TIP Academy. There were some grumblings from startups around Vodafone announcing that Nokia and Marvell would fulfill open RAN needs for them (not exclusively), but it does mean there’s additional momentum for the concept, which should be welcome.
Rakuten, as always, made its mark at the show, with Tareq and Rakuten releasing an Open RAN security guide and announcing their move to dump Red Hat (known for some time) in favor of Rocky Linux from CIQ. CIQ was founded by Gregory Kurtzer, who was co-founder of CentOS — the free distribution that closely followed Red Hat Enterprise Linux without support costs. Many exhibitors Roy spoke with at the show were pleased with the turnout, quality, and quantity of conversations at their booths and in one-on-one meetings. Most expressed interest in returning for Fyuz 2023 in Madrid, which bodes well for the organizers.
Up next are the esteemed Upperside Conferences’ SD-WAN/SASE (Paris) (did you know Upperside has been running networking conferences since 1994), Linux Foundation ONE Summit (Seattle), followed by AWS re:Invent (Las Vegas), and then another trip back to Europe (yes, again) for Roy for Layer 123 World Congress in London at the QE II centre, which promises to be an exciting event with BT as the host operator.
2022 MWC Americas Showcase
If you missed it, check out our 2022 MWC Americas Showcase on NextGenInfra.io —lots of relevant content around telco clouds and private networks. It features Tareq Amin, Iyad Tarazi of Federated Wireless, Sandro Tavares of Dell Technologies, and many more.
Finally, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating or sponsoring upcoming sites: telco and edge infrastructure (almost here), the new middle mile (in progress), SD-WAN/SASE, private mobile networks, data center networking, and infrastructure security. On with the news!
SASE and SD-WAN
Zayo Debuts New Edge Portfolio to Accommodate Multi-cloud Shift
Zayo launched a new portfolio of edge products that build off its acquisition of QOS Networks. Those products include software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and secure access service edge (SASE) capabilities. It also partnered with Cloudbrink to deliver its new edge solutions with just 5 to 20 milliseconds of latency. Zayo said that the company launched these edge products to capitalize on what it sees as a major shift in its business customers toward a multi-cloud environment. “We fundamentally believe multi-cloud is driving network demand,” said Frank Cittadino, senior vice president of Edge Solutions for Zayo, in a pre-briefing with Telecompetitor. At the same time, Cittadino said, cloud providers, are moving to a more distributed approach, with cloud resources pushed closer to the network edge.
Versa Networks Raises $120M to Expand SASE
Versa Networks raised $120 million in pre-IPO funding to accelerate and expand its secure access service edge (SASE) product. BlackRock led the round of funding, and Versa said that this funding would put the company on the path to its planned initial public offering (IPO). Versa plans to use the funding to focus on developing technologies like zero-trust local area networking and incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities into its campus and SASE product. Versa has raised a total of $316 million in funding.
Fortinet Adds New Capabilities to its SASE
Fortinet is wrapping some new capabilities into its secure access service edge (SASE) product that is designed to make it easier for customers to keep their private and cloud-based assets secure. The company added secure private access and secure software-as-a-service (SaaS) features to its security platform. The secure private access lets branch customers access Fortinet’s cloud-based software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) connectivity features. The secure SaaS provides customers with more visibility and control of all the SaaS applications supported by Fortinet’s SASE. Fortinet’s security platform includes SD-WAN, a secure web gateway, firewall as a service, and zero-trust network access.
Cox’s RapidScale Launches Managed SASE
RapidScale, a unit of Cox Business company that handles managed cloud services, debuted a new managed secure access service edge (managed SASE) that will protect enterprise customers from network vulnerabilities, particularly with hybrid workforces. RapidScale’s managed SASE lets users work from any location at any time, using any device, and provides a consistent experience. It can accommodate customers that have already made other investments in cloud services and software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) by providing enhanced security at the network edge where vulnerabilities typically occur. It also is policy-based to help enterprises centrally manage devices, users, and applications.
Aryaka Adds Security to its SASE Architecture
Aryaka is evolving its secure access service edge (SASE) architecture to include Secure Web Gateway and Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) capabilities. Both of these elements make up the Secure Service Edge (SSE) portion of the SASE architecture. Aryaka said that by combining these security features with its SASE architecture, it would be able to help enterprises roll out cloud-based security functions more quickly than if they were to purchase them all separately. Secure Web Gateway and FWaaS are part of the Zero Trust networking principles that are key to SASE architectures, but FWaaS is a fairly new capability that is still trying to get traction in the market. Dell’Oro Group recently said that demand for virtual firewall solutions increased 61% in Q2 2022 compared to the same quarter in 2021.
Cisco and Microsoft Integrate SD-WAN and Azure
Cisco is teaming with Microsoft to more tightly integrate its software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) with Microsoft’s Azure cloud, making it possible for enterprises to build single or multiple overlays on top of Microsoft’s backbone to connect enterprise sites. In addition, this integration will allow enterprise sites to connect sites to workloads running inside Azure. Cisco also said its SD-WAN product would soon let Azure customers build automated site-to-site connectivity over Microsoft’s network using the Cisco SD-WAN Cloud Hub and the Azure virtual WAN. Cisco has a similar SD-WAN integration arrangement with Google Cloud.
Verizon Executive Says Telcos Should Control Their Core Network
Verizon Business CEO Sampath Sowmyanarayan told attendees at a Network X event in Amsterdam earlier this month that the company will never put its core network on a hyperscaler. “We need to control it, we need to own the stack, we need to manage through it. Some of our partners and competitors have done that. We will not be doing that. I want to have control over our OSS/BSS stack,” he said. Sowmyanarayan’s comments are likely directed at competitor AT&T, which announced last year that it plans to run its 5G network, core and all, in the public cloud of Microsoft Azure.
AWS, Google, and Microsoft Gain Ground in the Cloud
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft are already the dominant players in the cloud market, but their market share is increasing. Synergy Research Group data indicates that Amazon alone accounts for more than one-third of cloud infrastructure spending. AWS’ market share increased to 34% in Q3, one percentage point higher than a year ago. In addition, Microsoft and Google each gained one percentage point in 3Q, increasing their shares to 21% and 11%, respectively.
AWS’ Neptune Serverless Scales for Unpredictable Workloads
Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced a new serverless computing option, Amazon Neptune Serverless, that will automatically scale to support unpredictable and business-critical graph database workloads. AWS said Neptune Serverless is a fast, reliable, and fully managed service that can build and run applications that need a graph database to efficiently store and query complex datasets. There are no upfront commitments or additional costs to use Neptune Serverless.
Alphabet Warns of Cost Cuts, but Google Cloud Remains a Priority
Alphabet told investors that it plans to dramatically reduce its hiring in Q4 by 50% as it looks for ways to reduce its operating expenses during the uncertain economic climate. However, the company will make Google Cloud business a top priority. During the company’s Q3 earnings call, CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company is realigning its resources and investing in the biggest growth areas, such as the cloud. The company reported consolidated revenue of $69 billion for the quarter, up 6% year over year. However, profits fell 26.5% to $13.9 billion. Google Cloud revenue was $6.9 billion for the quarter, an increase of nearly 38% year on year. However, Google Cloud continued to operate at a loss, with this rising year on year from $644 million to $699 million.
Microsoft’s Cloud Growth Slows in 3Q
Microsoft’s overall business in 3Q 2022 was strong, but the growth of the company’s Azure public cloud was a little slower than in the past quarters. The company posted overall revenues of $50.1 billion for the quarter, with $17.6 billion in profits. However, Microsoft Azure and other cloud services revenue, while up 35% in the quarter, is pacing at about one percentage point lower than expected. Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said that this slight downturn in growth was due to the company helping customers optimize their current workload while they prioritize new workloads, which resulted in a moderation in Azure’s consumption growth. That 35% growth for the quarter was down from the 40% growth it recorded in 2Q and the 50% growth it reported in 1Q. Similar to Alphabet, Microsoft said it intends to reduce some spending and focus on growth areas.
Nvidia AI Will Be Part of Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure
Oracle will incorporate Nvidia’s computing stack—from GPUs to systems and software—into its Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Oracle said it would add “tens of thousands” of NVIDIA GPUs, including the A100 and the upcoming H100, into its cloud infrastructure and provide enterprises with a greater number of options when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning inference at scale. The two companies said that this collaboration would be beneficial to customers across many industries, including telecom, manufacturing, healthcare, and financial services. “Enterprises are increasingly turning to cloud-first AI strategies that enable fast development and scalable deployment. Our partnership with Oracle will put Nvidia AI within easy reach for thousands of companies,” said Jensen Huang, CEO, and founder of Nvidia.
T-Mobile Will Use Google Cloud to Personalize its Customer Care
T-Mobile will use Google Cloud’s data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to deliver more personalized customer care. The company said it plans to use these Google Cloud tools so it can better analyze customer needs and improve customer experience. Specifically, T-Mobile will use Google Cloud’s BigQuery and BigQuery ML to predict usage trends and identify and respond to customer opinions. In addition, the carrier will use Google Cloud’s Dialogflow and Content Center AI to interact with customers through AI-powered conversations. T-Mobile previously had a deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to use its machine learning predictive capabilities to help its customer service agents. It’s unclear if this latest Google Cloud deal is in addition to the AWS deal or if it replaces the AWS relationship.
Amazon Makes it Possible to Batch Jobs for Elastic Kubernetes Service
Amazon introduced a new service called AWS Batch for Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) that makes it possible for customers to batch their EKS workflows. In a blog post, the company said that AWS Batch is ideal for customers who no longer want the burden of having to configure, fine-tune and manage Kubernetes clusters and pods to use with their batch processing workflows. The company added that the AWS Batch service is available for no charge, and customers only have to pay for the resources that their batch jobs launch.
Qualcomm Tests Open RAN in Vodafone Lab
After months of collaboration with Vodafone, Qualcomm said it would begin testing its X100 5G RAN accelerator card and its QRU100 5G RAN platform in Vodafone’s lab and then will likely be commercialized in Vodafone’s network. Gerardo Giaretta, senior director of product management at Qualcomm Technologies, said that once the two products are validated in Vodafone’s lab, he expects field trials to begin in mid-2023 with commercialization likely to follow in late 2023 or the beginning of 2024. He also said that once Qualcomm’s open RAN products meet Vodafone’s requirements, they will likely be accepted by other European operators as well.
Facebook’s TIP Looks to Solve Open RAN Integration Challenges
Slides circulated at a board meeting of Facebook’s Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and obtained by Light Reading indicate the group is well aware that the disaggregated Open RAN model “provides a choice of suppliers but creates inefficiencies in integration, validation and lifecycle management.” TIP’s internal slide show indicates that the group recognizes that integration is a problem and may be considering a new initiative called “Open RAN Innovation Hub” that will be aimed at moving the industry past this disaggregated model and one where integration and validation would be coordinated by TIP. “TIP is planning to set up the Open RAN Innovation Hub to accelerate deployments and validate open RAN solutions against specific use cases for the mobile operators,” said Kristian Toivo, TIP’s executive director. “TIP will be opening up the innovation hub to like-minded companies that want to drive open RAN initiatives.”
Triangle Communications Deploys Open RAN from Mavenir
Triangle Communications, a small operator in Havre, Montana, is working with Mavenir to replace equipment made by Huawei and ZTE and replacing it with gear that is deemed secure. Mavenir is working with the operator to deploy its cloud-native converged packet core, open Radio Access Network (RAN), and O-RAN-compliant Radio Units. Mavenir said Triangle’s deployment is a “first of its kind” where Mavenir has, on a turnkey basis, replaced the Chinese network components with new infrastructure.
Mavenir Raises $155M in Financing
Mavenir raised another $155 million in capital, bringing its total amount of financing since July to $250 million. The latest round of financing includes existing investors Siris and Koch Strategic Platforms, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Mavenir said the funds would be used for working capital so that Mavenir could plan for the supplies it would need for the future.
Dish’s Project Genesis 5G Network Covers Less than 30% of the U.S. Population
Four months after meeting the FCC’s June 14, 2022, coverage requirement of offering 5G to 20% of the population, Dish Network says its 5G standalone network, which it calls Project Genesis, covers less than 30% of the U.S. population. Speaking at an industry event in Denver earlier this month, Tom Cullen, EVP of corporate development at Dish, referred to Project Genesis as “a nationwide beta test” and said that the company will be significantly expanding that network in early 2023. But only growing the company’s coverage by little more than 5% in four months doesn’t sit well with the financial community.
Verizon Business is a Bright Spot in Company’s 3Q
A silver lining in Verizon’s otherwise disappointing 3Q 2022 financial results was the company’s enterprise-focused business. Verizon’s total wireless service revenue grew to $18.8 billion in the quarter, a 10% year-over-year increase. However, that growth came primarily from the company’s hike in administrative fees that it put in place in June. The company’s consumer business lost 189,000 customers in the quarter, but Verizon’s business division added 197,000 customers, so Verizon ended the quarter with a total of 8,000 postpaid phone net adds. Wireless service revenue for Verizon Business was $3.3 billion for the quarter, up from $3.1 billion in 3Q 2021, a 5.7% increase. Counterpoint Research said that Verizon still dominates in the enterprise space with a 45% market share.
AT&T Adds 708K Postpaid Phone Net Adds in 3Q
AT&T beat analyst expectations in 3Q by reporting 708,000 postpaid phone net adds in the quarter. Although the company doesn’t break out the different categories of its net adds, Amir Rozwadowski, AT&T’s SVP of Finance, said that there was north of 300,000 FirstNet public safety connections that contributed to the company’s strong postpaid performance, but he said those net adds were not all phones. AT&T’s wireless service revenues for the quarter were $15.3 billion, an increase of 5.6% compared to the third quarter a year ago. On the fiber side, AT&T said for the first time, its fiber customers outnumber its non-fiber broadband customers. But despite the strong fiber uptake, the company saw its total broadband subscriber number fall as customers churned from non-fiber services at a higher rate than new fiber customers were acquired.
Verizon Makes Progress with Standalone 5G Network
Verizon is finally moving customer traffic onto its standalone (SA) 5G core, which is nearly two years later than when the company originally said it would migrate to SA. In the summer of 2020, Verizon said it would move traffic to its SA core in the second half of 2020 and full commercialization in 2021. That didn’t happen, and Verizon isn’t alone. Other operators around the globe have also slowed their deployment of 5G SA. Analysts say the delays are due to a number of reasons, including the lack of SA-capable devices and the fact that operators are more focused on expanding their 5G network coverage. Verizon said that its 5G core will work on top of the Verizon Cloud Platform and will support technologies such as edge computing and voice over 5g new radio (VoNR).
T-Mobile Beats AT&T and Verizon in 3Q Postpaid Net Adds
T-Mobile is winning in wireless, at least in terms of postpaid net phone subscriber additions. In Q3, T-Mobile reported it added 854,000 postpaid net phone customer additions, which is higher than AT&T’s 708,000 postpaid net phone customer additions in 3Q and much higher than Verizon’s dismal 8,000 postpaid net phone customer additions. T-Mobile also said it expects to maintain that momentum throughout the rest of the year. The company credited its 5G network as the reason for its strength in the market.
Comcast Cybersecurity Report Finds SMB Customers Face Persistent Threats
A Comcast Business small/medium business (SMB) cybersecurity report found that SMBs face ongoing phishing attacks and malware threats. The survey said that as many as 65% of Comcast Business SecurityEdge customers experienced blocked attacks from July 2021 to June 2022, with up to 55% experiencing a botnet attack and nearly 50% experiencing malware and phishing attacks. The survey said that malware, botnet, and phishing attacks are the most common threats to SMBs, and companies with less than 100 employees are three times more likely to be the target of a cyberattack than larger enterprises.
AT&T to Have 12 Edge Zones Operational by Year-end
AT&T is launching what it is calling “edge zones” around the U.S. In a blog post, AT&T CTO Jeremy Legg said that the company has ten edge zones operational today and will have 12 up and running by year-end. These edge zones are intended to bring new capabilities to the company’s 5G network that were not possible with 4G because they allow AT&T to reduce the geographic distance between the user and the data, providing lower latency and faster response time. Legg added that AT&T’s 5G standalone network would consist of three key elements: local standalone network cores; local public cloud or private data center computing resources; and software-defined network (SDN) capabilities and virtualized network functions. The company’s standalone network cores and SDN capabilities will be located in network data centers close to cross-connect facilities that are all connected to hyperscale cloud facilities.
Utility Company Evergy Is Building an LTE Private Wireless Network
Investor-owned utility company Evergy is building a private wireless LTE network that could eventually include more than 100 cell towers covering roughly 49,000 square miles, or 80% of the company’s coverage area. The company is building the network primarily to support the thousands of sensors that it needs to deploy to modernize its grid. The company is working with Ericsson on the project, and Ericsson said it activated 20 cell sites in October after just two months of work.
NFL Coaches Are Using a CBRS Private Network
The National Football League is using an in-stadium coach-to-coach communications system in the 3.5 GHz CBRS spectrum band. The network is important because it highlights that private networks in the CBRS spectrum band can deliver time-sensitive communications inside NFL football stadiums during games. In an FCC filing on the use of the CBRS spectrum by the NFL, it said that the NFL desires to operate its in-stadium coach-to-coach network in all NFL stadiums. The filing also said that the NFL is using a Lumen hardwired internet connection at each stadium and Verizon LTE network as the backup network. It also uses Cisco Meraki switching gear to provide automatic rollover from the Lumen connection to Verizon should the Lumen connection fail.
And that wraps it up for October’s news highlights. We’ll see you back here for November’s highlights in a month. For our readers who celebrate the occasion, have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones. And perhaps we’ll see you in person at Upperside Conference’s SD-WAN SASE Summit in Paris, Linux Foundation’s ONE Summit in Seattle, AWS re:Invent in Vegas, or Layer 123 World Congress in London at the beginning of December!