What’s up with… Deutsche Telekom, BT and Infovista, Broadcom and VMware

Oliver Holschke (left) and Marc Geitz, who both work at T-Labs, open the quantum lab of Deutsche Telekom. Source: © Deutsche Telekom/Reinaldo Coddou H. 2023

Oliver Holschke (left) and Marc Geitz, who both work at T-Labs, open the quantum lab of Deutsche Telekom. Source: © Deutsche Telekom/Reinaldo Coddou H. 2023

  • Deutsche Telekom expands its quantum empire
  • BT embraces automation with Infovista
  • Broadcom and VMware ramp up their revenues

In today’s industry news roundup: Deutsche Telekom has opened a quantum lab to explore the future secure communications networking options; Infovista helps BT with the automation of its fixed voice operations; Broadcom and VMware report sales increases ahead of their impending nuptials; and more!  

Broadcom will be in a chipper mood right now. Following various regulatory approvals for its planned $61bn acquisition of VMware, it noted recently that it’s confident it can complete the deal by 30 October. Now both Broadcom and VMware have reported decent sales increases in their most recent financial quarters. For the third quarter of its fiscal year 2023, which ended on 30 July, Broadcom reported a 5% year-on-year increase in revenues to $8.9bn and an 8% increase in adjusted EBITDA to $5.8bn. Meanwhile, VMware reported a 2% year-on-year increase in second-quarter revenues to $3.41bn and a 1% increase in non-GAAP operating income to $977m. 

Deutsche Telekom has opened a ‘Quantum Lab’ in Berlin that is “dedicated to quantum research and the integration of quantum technology into commercial telecommunications networks,” the giant German operator has announced. The Berlin facility has dedicated infrastructure for quantum-optical experiments and is hooked up to 2,000 km of fibre networks that connect the lab to partners around Germany, including the Technical Universities of Berlin, Dresden and Munich, as well as the Fraunhofer Institut HHI and others from academia and the business sector. “The opening of our Quantum Lab is a clear signal that we are serious about bringing quantum technology to the commercial networks of telecommunications providers,” noted Claudia Nemat, chief technology and innovation officer at Deutsche Telekom. “We explicitly invite the research and innovation community to join us in leveraging networks at the interface between R&D and commercial exploration like ours to prove that innovative quantum technology solutions work under real-world conditions and to usher in a new era of communications service,” she added. This is far from DT’s first foray into the quantum computing sector. Its enterprise services division, T-Systems, is already providing its customers with cloud access to IBM’s quantum systems as part of its quantum-as-a-service offering, while DT was earlier this year handed the lead role in a European Commission project to build a high-security communications network, the European Quantum Communication Infrastructure (EuroQCI), which will be designed to protect the European Union (EU) against cyberattacks in the upcoming era of quantum computing. News of DT’s Quantum Lab comes just days after SK Telecom, a very close R&D partner of DT, announced it is using an ITU security group meeting currently being hosted in South Korea to push for the development of global quantum-safe communications standards based on a combination of quantum key distribution (QKD) and post-quantum cryptography (PQC) technologies – see SKT pushes for quantum-safe comms standards.

Telco automation comes in many forms, many of which can be filed under ‘unglamorous but hugely important’. In the UK, the incumbent national telco BT is taking steps to minimise fixed voice outages and service interruptions by introducing automated processes. It is deploying new technology from Infovista, the Paris, France-headquartered network lifecycle automation specialist. BT wants (and needs) the ability to rapidly identify the root cause of service disruptions as part of its drive to increase “operational efficiency and customer satisfaction”. In a press release about the deployment, Infovista noted that for BT it has leveraged its existing Ativa for Fixed Voice assurance solution to develop a tailored solution that will “focus on the automation of RCA [root cause analysis] and notification, improving troubleshooting through intelligent pattern discovery, correlation, analysis and alarm generation.” The expectation is that Infovista’s solution, by promptly detecting network anomalies associated with network degradations within BT’s infrastructure, will reduce current response times to network problems by very quickly identifying the root causes of customer or service disruptions. This, in turn, should reduce the all-important mean time to resolution (MTTR) metric by up to 66% while simultaneously transforming the troubleshooting processes in BT’s trouble-ticketing system. In detail, the Infovista technology provides “automated workflows for issue detection, analysis, and alarm generation, providing relevant data to streamline network, service, and subscriber issue troubleshooting.” The move from manual to automated operations does away with the need for initial level 1 support and fast-tracks direct escalation to level 2 teams, as, when and where required. Reza Rahnama, BT Group’s managing director for mobile networks, noted: “BT is committed to developing and delivering next-generation services that continue to put our customers at the core of what we do and to deliver better outcomes. This means digitally transforming our own operations and using the power of automation across our network, infrastructure, services and operations.”

US fixed wireless access (FWA) network operator Starry, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February this year, has come out the other end of the process, having agreed a restructuring plan with the bankruptcy courts in May. “We said from the beginning that Starry would emerge from this restructuring process stronger and ready to meet the growing demand for high-quality internet services,” noted the company’s CEO Alex Moulle-Berteaux. “Today, as we exit this process, Starry is a stronger company. We are more operationally efficient and laser-focused on driving this business to profitability. I’m immensely proud of all of our employees, who kept their focus on our customers, our network and on delivering an internet service experience that far outshines our ‘big internet’ competitors’. I’m excited for this next phase of company growth and success for the company.” The company also published a blog about what the end of the Chapter 11 period means for customers and the company. Read more

Let’s hear it for Ethernet, the ever-popular, proven and trusted suite of cabled computer networking technologies commonly used in local area networks (LAN), metropolitan area networks (MAN) and wide area networks (WAN). Around for decades before Wi-Fi, Ethernet was for a long time THE way to link computing and comms devices together. The technology was commercially introduced back in 1980 and was initially standardised (as IEEE 802.3) in 1983. Since then, Ethernet has seen off competing wired LAN competitors, such as ARCNET and Token Ring. And, even today, Ethernet retains advantages over Wi-Fi, in that it can be faster, more robust, stable and secure. It has also been repeatedly tweaked to carry increased bit rates, support a higher number of nodes and link longer and longer distances while continuing to retain backward compatibility. And now Ethernet is getting another vote of confidence as, in the US (and elsewhere too), service providers are further increasing Ethernet speeds and reach in response to demand from their business and wholesale customers. The demand is for 100 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity as enterprises and wholesalers upgrade their wired services and explore optical wavelength and dark fibre solutions. According to specialist optical networking publication Lightwave, “Customer demand for retail wavelength circuits continued to outpace wholesale deployments in 2022… due to… the surge in gigabit bandwidth requirements from carriers, webscale network operators and enterprises.” In the US, service providers, such as Cogent, Lumen and Windstream, are reacting quickly to the increased demand and are boosting their networks (either through organic growth or via acquisition) to support more optical wavelength services. For example, Lumen Technologies is expanding its US intercity dark-fibre network to 12 million fibre miles and creating diverse routes to more than 50 major cities nationwide. It also plans to expand its network further over the next five years. And it has built out its 400Gbit/s wavelength network and has deployed its intercity wavelength network across 70 markets, giving customers a multiplicity of routing options. More than 240 datacentres are enabled for 400G Lumen Wavelength Services, and its network boasts more than 800 Tbit/s of capacity. The independent research house Vertical Systems Group, based in Medfield, Massachusetts, says the wavelength circuits sector is enjoying double-digit growth with demand for connections of 100Gbit/s or more expected to remain stratospheric until at least the end of 2027. What’s more, demand is also ramping up for services running at 400Gbit/s or more. And in addition to the impressive demand for wavelength and fibre-optic services, the continuing growth of Ethernet is acting as a foundation for next-gen dedicated internet/cloud access (DIA) and SD-WAN services. Rick Malone, principal of the Vertical Systems Group, wrote in the company’s half-annual US Carrier Ethernet Services Leaderboard report that Ethernet port demand is being driven by the increasing use of DIA and SD-WAN services.

Intel is to invest $1.2bn in its production facilities in Costa Rica over the next two years to ensure its product assembly, research and development (R&D) and global services operations are ready to manage the company’s latest technical innovations, the chip giant announced in a press release (published in Spanish). 

Fascinating news from ‘down under’, where research scientists of the School of Physics and the School of Chemistry at the University of Sydney have used a quantum computer to slow down a simulated chemical reaction by an order of 100 billion! The research team at the Sydney Nanoscience Hub were able, for the first time in history, to directly observe the entire critical process in chemical reactions. The successful experiment was achieved by using a trapped-ion quantum computer in a way never attempted before. A trapped-ion quantum computer is one of several possible practical approaches to the construction of a universal large-scale quantum device. In such a device, ions (charged atomic particles) can be confined and suspended in free space using electromagnetic fields. Trapped ions have relatively long coherence times, which means that the qubits last a long time too. In the experiment, researchers were able to observe the interference pattern of a single atom caused by a common geometric structure in chemistry called a ‘conical intersection’. These conical intersections are known and commonplace throughout chemistry and are critical to rapid photo-chemical processes, such as light harvesting in human vision or photosynthesis on plants. Since as far back as the 1950s, many attempts have been made to directly observe geometric processes in chemical dynamics but the sheer speed of the reactions made it impossible. Now, however, it is possible to map the process onto a quantum device and then slow down the process by a factor of 100 billion. One of two lead authors of the project, Dr Christophe Valahu of the School of Physics, said,  “Until now, we have been unable to directly observe the dynamics of [the] ‘geometric phase’; it happens too fast to probe experimentally. [However] using quantum technologies, we have addressed this problem. Our experiment wasn’t a digital approximation of the process – this was a direct analogue observation of the quantum dynamics unfolding at a speed we could observe.” Lead researcher, Vanessa Olaya-Agudelo of the School of Chemistry added, “In nature, the whole process is over within femtoseconds. That’s a billionth of a millionth – or one quadrillionth – of a second. Using our quantum computer, we built a system that allowed us to slow down the chemical dynamics from femtoseconds to milliseconds. This allowed us to make meaningful observations and measurements. This has never been done before”. She added, “By understanding these basic processes inside and between molecules, we can open up a new world of possibilities in materials science, drug design, or solar energy harvesting. It could also help improve other processes that rely on molecules interacting with light, such as how smog is created or how the ozone layer is damaged.” The research findings are published in the latest edition of Nature Chemistry.

- The staff, TelecomTV

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