Category Archives: Broadband

Updates from Ciena

Photonic integration and co-packaging: Design tools for footprint optimization in data center networks
As traffic within and between data centers continues to grow, operators need to constrain the resulting increase in power consumption to minimize operational costs. This is driving the need to manage footprint and power at the system design level. Photonic integration and co-packaging are related approaches to addressing area and power challenges for networking applications.

By Patricia Bower – Data center networks have evolved rapidly over the last couple of years, in large part due to the scalability and flexibility supported by today’s compact modular DCI solutions.  System designers leveraged advances in key foundational technologies to pack significant capacity and service density into these products, and their popularity is growing as these solutions capture new market segments.

The same advances have also paved the way for new consumption models for coherent optical technology in the form of footprint-optimized, pluggable solutions. As traffic growth for server interconnect within data centers continues to increase, greater for interconnect between data centers (DCI) will be required.

Scaling of data center traffic to get more bandwidth adds to the power consumption overhead and real estate requirements for operators which adds to capital and operational costs.

With each new generation of switching platform and coherent optical transport systems, designers have met the challenges by increasing throughput density and reducing power/bit. Both intra-DC and DCI traffic flows will increasingly rely on advances in foundational technologies and system design options to mitigate power consumption while maximizing interconnect densities.

What are these foundational technologies?  They include:

  • Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS)
  • Indium phosphide (InP)
  • Silicon photonics (SiPhot)

In networking applications, CMOS is the basis for both high-capacity switch chips used in router platforms and coherent optical digital-signal-processors (DSP).

InP and SiPhot are used to build electo-optical circuits for signal transport over optical fibers.  Together, the DSP and electro-optical components are the heart of coherent optical transport systems. more>

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Updates from Siemens

Paragon VTOL Aerospace adopts solutions from Siemens to streamline next-generation design
By Alisa Coffey – The need for increased performance and reduced time-to-market has led Paragon VTOL Aerospace, a global vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft provider for numerous industries, to adopt solutions from Siemens Digital Industries Software through its product development process. Paragon produces industry-specific drone hardware ranging from security applications for agricultural theft and commuter law adherence to human passenger drones.

Paragon is also partnering with Aerotropolis Jamaica, a national project spearheaded by the Hon. L. Michael Henry in the Office of the Prime Minister, to build an ecosystem for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The company plans to achieve positive results by reducing time and cost of its product development and testing through implementation of key technology from Siemens.

“Our vision is to provide a portfolio of intellectual property, industry specific drones, human passenger drones, and virtual highway platforms in Jamaica,” said Paragon VTOL founder and oil executive Dwight Smith, a native Jamaican and American citizen. “We currently have plans to implement software and hardware programs in 2019 and begin testing their two to four passenger drones by year-end 2019.”

Paragon has been developing their platform and much of the technology through collaboration with Siemens, major American universities, Silicon Valley experts, and ex-military personnel. Siemens is providing an integrated set of software solutions including STAR-CCM+, Simcenter, and NX for Paragon to design, test, produce, and monitor its extensive range of drone systems. more>

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Updates from Datacenter.com

What is a DDoS attack and how to mitigate it?
Datacenter.com – A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming it with a flood of internet traffic (Cloudflare, 2019).

DDoS attacks are much like traffic on a highway. Imagine regular traffic moving at a steady pace and cars on their way to their desired destination. If a flood of cars enters the highway at a particular point, it significantly delays or prevents the cars behind them from reaching their destination at the time they should.

In 2018, more than 400,000 DDoS attacks were reported worldwide (CALYPTIX, 2018). In 2018’s 4th quarter, Great Britain was responsible for 2.18% of these attacks, a staggering difference compared to 2019’s 1st quarter of 0.66% (Gutnikov, 2019).

The goal of this attack is to create congestion by consuming all available bandwidth utilized by the target to access the wider internet it wishes to interact with (Cloudflare, 2019). Large amounts of data are sent to the target by utilizing a form of amplification or another means of creating massive traffic, such as requests from a botnet (which is a group of devices infected with malware that an attacker has remote control over). more>

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Updates from Ciena

How coherent optics improve capacity, performance and competitiveness for cable MSOs

Cable Multiple System Operators (MSOs) will be using coherent optics in their access networks to help solve a vital business challenge: the need to improve scale and reduce costs while delivering high data rates to end customers.
By Fernando Villarruel – MSOs must build a foundation for their networks that provides the needed capacity, introduces significant operational and cost efficiencies, and positions their businesses for future growth. This growth includes symmetric bandwidth support for the evolution of packet cores to cloud and aggregation of multiple revenue streams including mobile, business services and IoT.

Coherent optics facilitates growth because it enables massive scalability and maximizes network performance while using far fewer components, reducing equipment costs as well as the time and effort it takes to manage the network. These cost and operational benefits allow MSOs to be more competitive as they can place greater attention on delivering a compelling and differentiating customer experience.

Coherent optics employ a technique well known in the cable RF community—QAM, but in optics! This technology uses sophisticated symbol-based modulation scheme with higher baud to efficiently use the optical spectrum available so MSOs can optimize capacity and reach for a given link. With Ciena’s recently announced WaveLogic 5, we will be able to support 800Gb/s in one wavelength, for transport, and up to 200Gb/s in one coherent pluggable wavelength, in access! more>

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Updates from Ciena

Enterprise trends: Cloud, digital transformation, and the move to the Adaptive Network
In today’s digital world, enterprises in every industry vertical must now be hyper-focused on providing a higher quality customer experience, leading to the use of new technologies like AI, IoT, edge computing and others.
By Chip Redden – Before the world went digital, bringing new customers to an enterprise’s marketplace was a pretty straightforward process. Buyers had access to only limited sources of information, allowing the sellers to control the entire journey from discovery to sale to partnership.

Global digitization has changed this dramatically. Buyers have access to almost unlimited information and are entering the sales process well aware of the pluses and minuses of every sales equation, and are very quick to change relationships for a better deal. They are demanding the same type of predictive, personalized, and custom experience they receive from digital innovators like Amazon, Google, and other leaders. And, to add to all this, buyers are asking for service and applications access 24 x 7 from multiple types of devices –including mobile devices.

This means that enterprises in every industry vertical must now be hyper-focused on providing a higher quality customer experience, actively partnering with customers who are willing to advocate in terms of this better experience. It also means that the network that underpins this relationship has to change and adapt.

Enterprises have wholeheartedly embraced the move to cloud architectures and are now actually taking better advantage of the cloud’s abilities. Many enterprises have begun transforming themselves to a more “platform-ized” model by using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to bundle applications and services from multiple and sometimes competing vendors and then deliver these bundles through a single platform/portal to the end customer. more>

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What Happens to ‘Smart Cities’ When the Internet Dies?

By Lee Gardner – One of the chief criticisms of smart city technology is that it’s very generic. These technologies are very much off-the-shelf solutions—and “solutions” in quotation marks, because a lot of the smart-city stuff views cities as a problem that needs to be solved.

My view—and Bristol is a good example of this—is that cities exist as a bunch of different conflicts between different priorities and different communities and different infrastructures, and those conflicts are unique to every city. The idea that a top-down solution can be dropped onto every city is really dangerous.

One thing that cities and the internet have in common, it seems, is that they both embody these contradictory impulses people have to be together, and also to maintain privacy.

What’s public and what’s private is increasingly blurred by technology and the internet, and the privatization of public spaces is an issue that the book was trying to tap. What were previously common spaces, or public spaces, are increasing corporatized, even if just by advertising or through surveillance technologies.

In most cities in the world, there’s very little regulation. The use of surveillance technology by the city itself might be regulated, but it’s less regulated for people that own property.

That idea that you are being watched, that you don’t have privacy in public spaces, which sounds, I guess, oxymoronic in some ways—I think we should be allowed to have an anonymity in public spaces to a certain extent. That’s a real conflict, and I hope the book makes that something that people think about.

We buy into that saying that if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to hide. I think that’s an incredibly dangerous expression, because it simplifies the surveillance argument down to one about law and order. I come from the perspective that that kind of law and order is probably incredibly dangerous in itself. But it’s more to the fact that we are being surveyed for our behavior and our data rather than for moralistic or legal reasons. more>

Updates from Siemens

Bearings manufacturer meets stringent accuracy requirements while improving productivity
Siemens – Humankind has been trying to improve the mobility of people and materials by reducing friction between moving parts for centuries. The creators of the pyramids and Stonehenge were able to move massive structures by placing cylindrical wooden rollers beneath great weights to reduce the coefficient of friction and the force required to move them. These world wonders were made possible by some of the earliest known applications of bearings.

Modern bearings with races and balls were first documented in the fifteenth century by Leonardo da Vinci for his helicopter model. Since then, the design, mobility and precision of bearings have developed dramatically in many application domains. In the semiconductor and medical device industries, miniaturization and increasing product complexity have revolutionized motion systems and their components. The precision and accuracy of motion systems are highly dependent on bearings assemblies and how they are integrated into systems. Precisie Metaal Bearings (PM-Bearings) is one of only a few manufacturers in the world that provide high-precision linear bearings.

PM-Bearings specializes in the design and manufacture of high-precision linear bearings, motion systems and positioning stages, and supplies the high-end semiconductor, medical device and machine tool industries. The company was founded in 1966 as a manufacturer of linear bearings, and has expanded to include design, manufacturing and assembly of custommade multi-axis positioning stages with complete mechatronic integration. Located in the Netherlands at Dedemsvaart, the company employs 140 people and supplies customers worldwide.

The company’s products range from very small bearings (10 millimeters in length) up to systems with footprints of 1.2 to 1.5 square meters with stroke lengths of one meter. The portfolio encompasses linear motion components including precision slides, positioning tables and bearings stages. PM-Bearings is part of the PM group, along with other companies specialized in hightech machining. Its global customer base extends from Silicon Valley to Shenzhen.

To maintain a competitive edge, PM-Bearings knew that complete control of the product realization, from design to delivery, was essential. This is why the company chose a comprehensive set of solutions from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software. These include NX™ software for computer-aided design (CAD), Simcenter™ software for performance prediction, NX CAM for computer-aided manufacturing and Teamcenter® software for PLM to make certain that all stakeholders use the same data and workflows to make the right decisions. more>

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Why Autonomous Vehicle Developers Are Embracing Open Source

By Chris Wiltz – GM Cruise is turning loose its tool for autonomous vehicle visualization to the open source community for a wider range of applications, including robotics and automation. But its only the latest in a series of similar developments to happen over the course of the year.

This time the General Motors-owned Cruise is open-sourcing Webviz – a web browser-based tool for data visualization in autonomous vehicles and robotics. Webviz is an application capable of managing the petabytes of data from various autonomous vehicle sensors (both in simulation and on the road) and creating 2D and 3D charts, logs, and more in a customizable user interface.

Cruise is making that tool available to engineers in the autonomous vehicle space and beyond. “Now, anyone can drag and drop any [Robot Operating System (ROS)] bag file into Webviz to get immediate visual insight into their robotics data,” Esther Weon, a software engineer at Cruise, wrote in a Medium post.

Difficulties in testing autonomous vehicles have played in a key factor in major automakers rethinking their timetables on the delivery of fully-autonomous vehicles. Simulation is becoming an increasingly common solution in the face of time-consuming real-world road tests. But simulation comes with its own challenges – particularly around data and analysis. A robust autonomous vehicle is going to have to be intelligent enough to navigate and respond to all of the myriad of conditions that a human could encounter – everything from bad weather and road hazards to mechanical failures and even bad drivers.

To create and train vehicles to deal with all of these scenarios requires more data than any one company could feasibly gather on its own in a reasonable time frame.

By open sourcing their tools, companies are looking to leverage the wider community to take part in some of the heavy lifting. more>

I’m a hacker, and here’s how your social media posts help me break into your company

By Stephanie Carruthers – Think twice before you snap and share that office selfie, #firstday badge pic, or group photo at work.

Hackers are trolling social media for photos, videos, and other clues that can help them better target your company in an attack. I know this because I’m one of them.

Fortunately, in my case, the “victim” of these attacks is paying me to hack them. My name is Snow, and I’m part of an elite team of hackers within IBM known as X-Force Red. Companies hire us to find gaps in their security–before the real bad guys do. For me, that means scouring the internet for information, tricking employees into revealing things over the phone, and even using disguises to break my way into your office.

Social media posts are a goldmine for details that aid in our “attacks.” What you find in the background of photos is particularly revealing–from security badges to laptop screens, or even Post-its with passwords.

No one wants to be the source of an unintended social media security fail. So let me explain how seemingly innocuous posts can help me–or a malicious hacker–target your company.

The first thing you may be surprised to know is that 75% of the time, the information I’m finding is coming from interns or new hires. Younger generations entering the workforce today have grown up on social media, and internships or new jobs are exciting updates to share. Add in the fact that companies often delay security training for new hires until weeks or months after they’ve started, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Knowing this weak point, along with some handy hashtags, allows me to find tons of information I need within just a few hours. Take a look for yourself on your favorite social apps for posts tagged with #firstday, #newjob, or #intern + [#companyname].

So, what exactly am I looking for in these posts?

There are four specific kinds of risky social media posts that a hacker can use to their advantage. more>

Scholarly publishing is broken. Here’s how to fix it

By Jon Tennant – The world of scholarly communication is broken. Giant, corporate publishers with racketeering business practices and profit margins that exceed Apple’s treat life-saving research as a private commodity to be sold at exorbitant profits. Only around 25 per cent of the global corpus of research knowledge is ‘open access’, or accessible to the public for free and without subscription, which is a real impediment to resolving major problems, such as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Recently, Springer Nature, one of the largest academic publishers in the world, had to withdraw its European stock market floatation due to a lack of interest. This announcement came just days after Couperin, a French consortium, canceled its subscriptions to Springer Nature journals, after Swedish and German universities canceled their Elsevier subscriptions to no ill effect, besides replenished library budgets. At the same time, Elsevier has sued Sci-Hub, a website that provides free, easy access to 67 million research articles. All evidence of a broken system.

The European Commission is currently letting publishers bid for the development of an EU-wide open-access scholarly publishing platform. But is the idea for this platform too short-sighted?

What the Commission is doing is essentially finding new ways of channeling public funds into private hands.

At the same time, due to the scale of the operation, it prevents more innovative services from getting a foothold into the publishing world. This is happening at the same time as these mega-publishers are moving into controlling the entire research workflow – from ideation to evaluation. Researchers will become the provider, the product, and the consumer. more>