What’s up with... Ericsson, BT, Orange

  • Ericsson to exit China R&D site
  • BT makes a quantum leap
  • Orange Innovation appoints new Director of Research 

Ericsson’s decision to scale down its activities in China and BT’s advances with quantum technology and hollow core fibre take poll position on today’s news grid.

Ericsson is closing one of its R&D centres in China, where it has been losing business this year as a result of geopolitical pressures. The South China Morning Post reported that Ericsson had confirmed it will close its research centre in Nanjing by November and that the 630 staff who work there will be offered the chance to work at systems integration firm TietoEVRY, which has operations in China. Ericsson, which will still have four R&D centres operating in China once the Nanjing site is closed, has seen the value of its 5G RAN contracts with the major Chinese operators decimated this year.

As we reported in earlier this month, BT says it has achieved a new milestone in the development of quantum-secure communications by conducting the world’s first trial of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), a method of ultra-secure communications, over hollow core fibre cable developed by Southampton University spin out, Lumenisity. BT has recently been trialling a new type of optical fibre – Nested Anti-Resonant Nodeless Fibre (NANF) hollow core fibre – and is now looking at the potential benefits of deploying it for the high-speed transactions and bandwidth increases needed in applications such as Data Centre Interconnect (DCIs), Edge and 5G xHaul. Hollow core fibre doesn’t have internal material – only air – so there is less light scattering and less crosstalk between channels, even at a single photon level. This clearer separation makes it easier to deliver both a high-speed encrypted data stream, and the faint quantum signal that carries the encryption key, over the same fibre. Lumenisity’s cable also demonstrated further benefits for the deployment of QKD, as commercial telecommunications equipment will not need to be optimised in order to send a data-encrypted key. This is critically important because the equipment can be used normally without modifications, which is not the case when sending secure signals over standard fibre. For more, see this BT announcement.

Jean Bolot has been appointed as the new Director of Research at Orange Innovation, which “brings together activities around the creation of strategic innovations, research and the implementation of technical and data policies for Orange.” Bolot, who is tasked with initiating new projects that will help create a future where “technology serves people,” was most recently head of the artificial intelligence lab at InterDigital: Previously, he also created and led Technicolor's research lab in Silicon Valley, and led the research lab at Sprint.

Ethernet never dies – it just gets faster. Proof of that old saying (that I just made up) from Dell’Oro today as it publishes its report on the smart Network Interface Card (NIC) market. It says Amazon and Microsoft are behind a significant spike in sales in Q2 “as vendors proactively increased purchases in anticipation of strong demand from data centres.” It notes: “These two Cloud service providers, which command more than 80 percent of the Smart NIC market by revenue, have scaled their internally developed Smart NICs with their Cloud server deployments. However, we expect the Ethernet adapter vendors, such as Broadcom, Intel, Marvell, and Nvidia, to increase their share of the Smart NIC market with recent product introductions targeted at the Cloud and Enterprise markets,” said Baron Fung, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group. Stats to ponder include: Total Ethernet controller and adapter revenue forecast to grow 5 percent in 2021; 25 Gbps port shipments forecast to surpass 10 Gbps port shipments in 2022; Major cloud service providers are transitioning to 100 Gbps port speeds in conjunction with network upgrades.

The legal battle between Apple and Epic Games is set to continue after Epic filed an appeal against the ruling made late week: The presiding judge decided that Epic had not made the case that Apple was a monopoly in the gaming market and ordered Epic to pay damages to Apple, reports The Verge.

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