Nokia layoffs possible, Broadcom waves new network silicon, Arista goes 400G and more

The week in networking

Roundup Nokia is sharpening the axe again, looking for €700m in savings after turning in net sales of €5.45bn for Q3 2018, and a net loss of €54m, in what president and CEO Rajeev Suri said was a solid result.

In the company's Q3 announcement, Suri added that conditions had improved in the second half of the year.

Nokia Business Networks gathered the bulk of the revenue at €4.8bn, down 1 per cent year-on-year, while Nokia Technologies shrunk solidly, from €483m to €351m.

On the upside, Suri said costs associated with digesting Alcatel-Lucent and the cost-saving programme are "soon to be behind us".

Further reorganisation is on the horizon, however. A new Enterprise Business Group will consolidate "a range of existing, fast-growing activities", reporting to the president and CEO. The Mobile Networks Business will focus on radio products to maintain the company's "strong momentum in 5G", and its Cloud Core solutions will be reporting to the Nokia Software Business Group.

The company acknowledged there will be an impact on staff, but wouldn't detail how many will be cut.

Huawei gets collaborative

Among Huawei's announcements this week were a couple targeting the increasing virtualization of telecommunications infrastructure: an Intel collaboration, and a prototype access network collaboration.

Huawei and Intel are working together on network function virtualisation (NFV). The Chinese giant will offer Chipzilla's Intel Select Solutions NFV Infrastructure, providing pre-integrated, pre-optimised server configurations for its FusionSphere NFV platform.

The Chinese giant was also among members of the Open Broadband – Broadband Access Abstractions (OB-BAA) community, which this week showed off the OB-BAA 1.0 prototype.

The Cloud Central Office (CloudCO) compliant architecture is designed to both standardise and automate the increasingly-virtualized access network. Its announcement said the prototype "demonstrates the automatic deployment of access devices, automatic service provisioning, and unified management of multiple vendors' devices".

The OB-BAA architecture is described in detail here.

Broadcom slings silicon in all directions

Broadcom also had a busy week, announcing silicon for broadband access and Wi-Fi 6.

In the broadband access space, the company released what it described as the world's first full-duplex G.fast implementation. The capability has been added to the BCM65400 modem family.

Broadcom explained that full-duplex implementations use the entire G.fast spectrum in both upstream and downstream directions. Depending on the carrier's objectives, that can either double the total bandwidth on the link, or it can be used to double the maximum link distance from distribution point to the customer.

Over at the ITU, full-duplex work is being standardised under the G.mgfast initiative.

Broadcom's Wi-Fi 6 announcement is for SoCs that give 802.11ax systems mesh networking support.

The vendor added two platforms to its SmartMesh suite. The single-package BCM6752 has a multi-core CPU, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a two-stream Wi-Fi 6 radio. A separate interface can connect it with the four-stream BCM43684.

The BCM6755 is an integrated repeater, with a multi-core CPU, a single Gigabit Ethernet port, and 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 radios. BMC43684 connection support lets OEMs design high-performance tri-band repeaters.

The company also announced that its Tomahawk 3 chips are the basis for Arista's latest launch – 400Gbps switching systems.

Arista swinging the Tomahawk

So we might as well move directly along to the Arista announcement.

The 400Gbps Ethernet products are under the Arista 7060X4 Series banner, with a choice of two optical module form factors, OSFP and OSFP-DD.

Arista nominated the 12.8Tbps Tomahawk 3 silicon as the switching platform, supporting 32x400G ports in a single rack unit chassis. Each port can alternatively be broken up into 4x100G for a total of 128 ports.

Samsung cosies up to Nokia and NEC

Samsung and Nokia have promised to play nice in the 5G market: the two have extended the patent licensing agreement that was due to expire at the end of 2018.

Terms of the agreement are confidential, but include Samsung slinging simoleons each year in the general direction of Finland, so it can keep designing Nokia's IP into its silicon.

Sammy also announced that it is going to work with NEC on 5G.

The announcement is more than slightly vague about what the pair plan to build together, but when El Reg hears that a vendor with a portfolio of laptops wants "flexible 5G solutions that are localised for each region", there's always that shudder of suspicion that someone's going to embed mobile connectivity into laptops, again.

IoT vendors, secure your sh*t

Enisa and Europol hauled together 400 private and public sector infosec experts, locked them in a room in The Hague for a couple of days, and asked them to come up with baselines for Internet of Things security.

In its media release, the EU security boffins described the problem this way: "What will happen when cheap and unprotected IoT devices allow criminals to watch your every move from your vacuum cleaner's camera, change the settings of your connected medical device or drive your car into a wall?"

The conference added Enisa's voice to those calling for IoT security to be designed into products rather than, as is depressingly common now, vendors grabbing template code from silicon vendors, burning it into silicon with minimum effort, and ignoring security until someone discovers how awful it is.

Law enforcement, Enisa said, needs the ability to investigate abuse of connected devices, and launch prosecutions where appropriate.

ENISA's Head of Core Operations Department, Steve Purser, said: "IoT security is a prerequisite for a secure and safe connected digital society."

We couldn't agree more. ®




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