Tag: network

100 Gbps is growing like crazy

network-switch-ethernetThe networking channel is finding it harder to shift 40 gbps Ethernet gear, according to beancounters at IDC.

IDC’s network tracker has revealed that 100 Gbps and software-defined kit use is increasing.

Analyst firm IDC reckons the world’s Ethernet switch market laid on 3.3 percent growth year-on-year for the first quarter of 2017, up to US$5.66 billion.

At the same time, however the world is ignoring Cisco gear it slipped by 3.7 percent year-on-year to $3.35 billion. Its Ethernet switch market share lost 3.9 percent year-on-year to 55.1 percent, with Juniper and Arista increasing their presence in the space to 4.3 percent (up from 3.2 percent in Q1 2016) and 5.1 percent (up from 3.9 percent) respectively.

Juniper also expanded its share of the service provider routing business to 15.6 percent, up year-on-year from 14.5 percent.

Huawei also took share in the router business from Cisco, growing from 18.8 percent of the market in the first quarter of 2016 to 19.8 percent in 2017.

Its slice of Ethernet switching also rose from 3.9 percent to 6.3 percent in the same period, with an aberration in Q4 2016, when big deliveries got the Chinese vendor close to 10 percent of the segment.

IDC seems to think that those who are doing well are shipping more and faster ports. Once again this is driven by the cloud and data centre markets.

The market has lost interest in 1, 10 and 40 Gbps gear which saw small slumps in sales. However 100 Gbps gear increased by 323.5 percent.

Juniper spruces up partner programme

JuniperBerriesJuniper Networks has announced some updates to its partner advantage programme in a bid to reward the better performers.

The “Elite” tier has some new categories including cloud services provider, next gen and rising star,  which will give Juniper to rank its partners better. .

A points-based reward schemehas been introduced so that partners can manage and track deals quicker. That programme starts  next month.

Matt Hurley, corporate VP, global channels and field marketing at Juniper, wrote in the company bog:

“As we built out the Juniper Partner Advantage program in 2016, we found that customer demands were changing and our channel partners were reshaping their business models to address those changes.  To account for these changes in partners’ business models, we’ve created new categories within the Elite level of the Juniper Partner Advantage programme. These new categories enrich the Elite partner tier, which is our highest, most operationally sophisticated partner level. Adding new categories within the tier allows us to place partners at the optimal part of the program that works best for their business needs.”

A Next Gen partner is one involved with software, services and XaaS. Rising stars will head to the  Elite level and will be invited to join based on their business plans.

Referencing the other development in the rewards programme it would make life easier for partners, Hurley said

“In addition to a greatly enhanced user interface for claims submissions, the new program is integrated with our updated Deal Registration System (in AMER and EMEA) to ensure deal preference and pricing advantages, helping partners manage, track and close on deals quickly,” he said.

Cisco leans on programmable networks

Cisco Kid Cisco updated its IOS XR network operating system while adding three additional routers to its portfolio as part of a drive to programmable networks.

Greg Smith, head of service provider marketing for Cisco said that rather than asking service providers to build their own programmable networks, Cisco via its IOS XR is committed to delivering those capabilities as a core part of the operating system.

He said service providers would rather buy these capabilities than build it themselves.

The Cisco network initiative is centred on a set of APIs which model data traveling across the network. There is also a software development kit that service providers can use to more easily expose network services to developers and their customers.

Cisco expects service providers to use these tools to create self-service portals through which end customers can provision network services in minutes instead of the several weeks.

Developers could use them to build applications that use those network services through the APIs that Cisco is releasing in its operating system and the announced software-defined Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) networking architecture.

Smith said that the cunning plan is to insert these technologies into the existing tool chain of service providers, because they don’t have a lot of real-time insights into the network.

To help facilitate the deployment of those services at scale, Cisco this week also unveiled the Cisco NCS 5000 Series, which can be configured with up to 40-80 10GE ports and 4 100GE ports, a Cisco NCS 5500 Series that provides up to 288 routed 100GE ports for WAN aggregation, and the Cisco NCS 1000 Series, which provides access to 100/200/250G-bit wavelengths over distances exceeding 3,000km with existing fibre.

Smith claims that Cisco is the only provider of network infrastructure capable of unifying local and wide area networks at that distance.

Cisco sues Arista

ciscologoNetwork equipment maker Cisco Systems has sued Arista Networks for copying its networking technologies.

The lawsuits, filed in a federal court in California, accuses Arista of infringing on 14 patents on networks and also on related copyrights.

Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler wrote in his bog that rather than building its products and services based on new technologies developed by Arista, however, and providing legitimate competition to Cisco, Arista took a shortcut by blatantly and extensively copying the innovative networking technologies designed and developed by Cisco.

Arista was formed by former Cisco employees, including Chief Development Officer Andreas Bechtolsheim, Chief Technology Officer Kenneth Duda, and Chief Executive Officer Jayshree Ullal.

Arista said it had not yet been able to evaluate the lawsuits.

“While we have respect for Cisco as a fierce competitor and the dominant player in the market, we are disappointed that they have to resort to litigation rather than simply compete with us in products,” Arista said in a statement.


Decade old laser tech dusted off

laser1In a bid to save cash on expensive fibre optic lines, 10-year-old laser networking technology is being re-introduced.

The technology that uses parallel radio and laser links to move data through the air at high speeds, in wireless hops of up to 10 kilometres at a time. It is being trailed by three of the largest US Internet carriers and is being rolled out by one telecommunications provider in Mexico, and another in Nigeria.

AOptix, the company behind the technology, claims the system is cheaper and more practical alternative to laying new fibre optic cables because it does not require trenches to install fibre in urban areas.

However, it does face significant bureaucratic and physical challenges and because of its bandwidth is being seen as particularly attractive to wireless carriers.

According to MIT Review, the technology takes the form of a box with an infrared laser and a directional millimetre wave radio beside it. The two technologies form a wireless link with an identical box up to 10 kilometers away. A series of such connections can be daisy-chained together to make a link of any length.

It fixes the two problems associated with laser and radio. Laser beams are blocked by fog, while millimetre wave radio signals are absorbed by rain. Routing data over both simultaneously provides redundancy that allows an AOptix link to guarantee a rate of two gigabits per second with only five minutes or less downtime in a year, whatever the weather.

While fibre connection might be 10 or more times faster than that, due to the limitations of the radio frequency link. However, AOptix says the convenience of its technology makes up for that, and it could be increased to four gigabits or more in the future.

The radio and laser equipment inside an AOptix device move automatically to compensate for the swaying of a cell tower caused by wind.

Why smartphones and tablets need to get dumber

dumbFor a while now smartphones have been trying to load more technology into an ever shrinking body.

Some of this has led to design problems, such as Apple’s incredible bendy phone, but also a problem that the phones are simply too expensive.

Chips in smartphones are now reaching the point where they need the graphics and processing power of a five year old PC.

The answer, which the mobile phone makers have so far ignored, is not to make smartphones smarter, by providing them with ever more features, but to make them dumber and shift the processing power and functionality onto the internet. This has already been seen with the development of Chromebooks.

This is the same logic which has been used, on and off, to promote the use of dumb terminals in PC networks. Instead of requiring huge amounts of processing power at the client side, you shift all the processing work and storage to a server.

With the rise of 4G, this becomes possible on mobile units, such as tablets and phones because the bandwidth between the unit and the ISP becomes that much greater.

What this would mean is that instead of trying to stuff technology onto a mobile or tablet, you can put only hardware that would connect you to a server, a couple of cameras, a microphone, GPS and speakers and a battery. RAM requirements would be much smaller, as would any storage, processing and power needs. The battery life would be much longer because it would not need to run high powered processors.

The unit cost of such a gizmo would be much less with the touchscreen being the only significant outlay.

Such a device would certainly work well on wi-fi, but what would stop it now is the risk of a user entering an area where the bandwidth is not up to snuff.

It would also require the telcos to set up their own cloud-based networks for customers to use that could process the traffic and do all the work that the mobile used to do. This is something of a business opportunity which they have either not seen, or do not think they can manage yet.

However, if I am right, it does mean that ultimately Apple style technology heavy, high-margin devices will become redundant. The devices could be made super-cheaply in China and they would be sold by the telcos.

Each phone would be pretty much the same, and the only difference between them would be the services that the telco offers on its server side.

A bonus of such a system is its security. If a phone is lost or stolen, all the data is stored in a cloud and can be found by reconnecting a new phone to that account. This means that hackers have to take on a cloud security system rather than jailbreak a device. Unless your telco is Apple, that should be a little trickier, particularly if the dumb terminal offers a better form of ID than a password.


For all wif-fi needs — ask the cat

cat-at-laptop-275A US bloke has catapulted into five minutes of fame in the silly season by wiring his grannie’s cat up to sniff out wi-fi networks in his neighbourhood.

Security researcher Gene Bransfield seized his nan’s moggie Coco and stuffed his collar loaded with a Spark chip, a Wi-Fi module, a GPS module, and a battery. Bransfield reasoned that Coco would visit most places in the area and he could use the moggie to sniff out networking catastrophes such as unsecured, or at least poorly secured, wireless access points. These were then categorised by Bransfield as good, bad or cataclysmic.

Coco sniffed out dozens of wi-fi networks, with four of them using easily broken WEP security, and another four that had no security at all.

Bransfield dubbed the whole method as “WarKitteh” which is sort of a mixture of wardriving and lolcat and apparently, you can convert your moggie to something more useful for only a $100.

Of course, everyone knows that cats are evil and only get away with it because they purr and are so so soft and any network work is bound to be part of some devilish plot. “WarKitteh” allows a hacker to send their moggie out with the same collar, identify open Wi-Fi connections, hack them and use them to do evil hacker sorts of things.

Cats are a notoriously unreliable network tool. They may spend 23 hours catatonic and then, when they finally move, will go nowhere near anyone’s wi-fi for days.

Phones 4U gets ads banned by watchdog

phonesPhones 4U has earned itself a ban over two adverts after the Advertising Standards Authority  (ASA) described them as “misleading”.

The retailer fell foul of the toothsome watchdog after people complained that its “upgrades 4u and u and u” ads, aimed at trying to show that people could upgrade with the retailer on any network and not the one they were signed to, were misleading.

They said that  the claims didn’t apply to customers on all networks, including Three and Tesco mobile, as the voice over in the comical broadcast ads suggested.

Both ads  focused on a range of “comical characters”, being told they could upgrade their phones despite their traits.

The voice over said:  “Listen up you lot. You can upgrade your phones at Phones4U”. The ad featured a number of characters with a range of habits such as smelling of fish, keeping a lot of cats and wearing gilets. The voice-over indicated that they could all get upgrades saying “Upgrades for you and you and you at Phones4U”. The on-screen text stated “T&Cs apply”.

In the second ad the voiceover said: “Listen up you lot. You can upgrade your phones at Phones4U.” A woman asked, “I’m scared of long-term commitment. Can I?” The voice-over replied, “I hear you lady. With our exclusive jump contract you could update your phone every 6 months … Upgrades for you and you and you at Phones4U.” The on screen text said: “T&Cs and exclusions may apply”.

When questioned by the watchdog, Phones 4U tried to plead its innocence, telling the ad police that the purpose of the ads was to tell customers that it was possible to upgrade their handsets at its shops. It said there was a common misconception that this could only be done with an existing network provider and that it aimed to show that it offered upgrades on the majority of network providers, even if the customer did not originally get the handset or contract from its stores.

However, the shop chain acknowledged that some networks such as Three and Tesco Mobile were not partnered with it, and so customers of these networks would not be able to upgrade. It said that it had covered itself against this claiming that its  “T&Cs apply” text showed there were exclusions, as well as offering further literature on its site to back this up.

However, the ASA remained unimpressed, claiming that the content in the ads suggested that everyone could upgrade as a result of the characters used. It said that while some customers would understand “upgrade” as meaning a new phone, they may not have expected to change networks to do so. And while Phones 4U had tried to cover its back with the on screen text referring to T&Cs, the ASA wasn’t convinced these made it clear that it was only possible to upgrade on certain networks.

As a result the company was ordered not to show the ads again in their current form.

However, the ruling is probably a drop in the ocean for the chain which yesterday announced that it would be expanding its services to the mobile network industry.

The company said it plans to launch its first mobile network –  “Life Mobile” – which will run as a mobile virtual network operator on mobile operator EE’s 2G and 3G spectra when it launches in March.