Tag: Networking

Nokia sees Finnish of bleak sales

Finnish network equipment maker Nokia reported a slowing rate of sales decline, saying the global networks market was showing signs of recovery.

Nokia and its rivals, Sweden’s Ericsson and China’s Huawei Technologies, have struggled in recent years as telecom operators’ demand for faster 4G mobile broadband equipment has peaked, and upgrades to next-generation 5G equipment are still years away.

Nokia said the business momentum was now improving: first-quarter network sales fell six percent from a year earlier to $5.3 billion, compared with a decline of 14 percent in the previous quarter.

Chief Executive Rajeev Suri said: “We slowed the rate of topline decline and generated healthy orders in what is typically a seasonally weak quarter for us… We saw encouraging stabilization in Mobile Networks topline… “I am optimistic about the year ahead, even if cautiously so.”

Nokia repeated that it expects its networks sales to decline in the full year, in line with the market.

Its first quarter group earnings before interest and taxes fell one percent from a year earlier to $371 million, slightly ahead of analysts’ average forecast.

Last year, Nokia bought Franco-American networks firm Alcatel-Lucent in response to industry changes, and is currently axing thousands of jobs.

That deal helped Nokia outperform rival Ericsson, which earlier this week posted a quarterly operating loss.

NASA experiments with X-ray networking

x-rayNASA is researching new technology to transmit data at high rates over vast distances in outer space, as well as enable communications with hypersonic vehicles during re-entry.

At the moment such radio communications are impossible, but NASA boffins think that using X-rays could be just the ticket.

The science is based on the concept that other forms of light can carry data as well. Fibre-optics uses visible and near-infrared light. So NASA started to think about X-rays.

Keith Gendreau, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, thought of developing X-ray emitters that these spacecraft could use as navigational beacons to make sure they stayed in position relative to one another. The system would keep them aligned down to a precision of just 1 micron.

Gendreau then reasoned that by modulating or varying the strength or frequency of these X-ray transmissions on and off many times per second, these navigational beacons could also serve as a communication system. Such X-ray communication (XCOM), might, in theory, permit gigabit-per-second data rates throughout the solar system, he said

X-rays have shorter wavelengths than the visible or infrared light typically used in laser communication. This means that, XCOM can transmit more data for the same amount of power that laser communication requires, Gendreau said.

X-rays have shorter wavelengths, they can be transmitted in tighter beams than visible or infrared light, so less energy is wasted in trying to communicate over vast distances, he added.

A new toy called the Modulated X-ray Source, or MXS, which generates rapid-fire X-ray pulses. MXS is slated to get installed on an experimental pallet that will be deployed outside the International Space Station in 2018.

MXS will transmit data via X-rays about 165 feet to the Neutron-star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER), which is designed to study neutron stars and their rapidly spinning relatives, pulsars, and will launch to the International Space Station in early 2017

Nokia cleans Ericsson’s clock

nokia-in-advanced-talks-to-acquire-alcatel-lucents-wireless-business-reportsUp North networking outfits’s Nokia and Ericsson have been battling it out for an ever-shrinking market but it looks like Nokia is the clear winner.

Finland’s Nokia reported falling quarterly sales and profits for its network gear business, but outperformed rival Ericsson in a weak market. The improvement was thanks to cost cuts after its recent acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent.

Nokia said total third-quarter operating profit decreased 18 percent from a year ago to $606 million, but was buoyed by a one-off patent licensing payment.

Group sales dropped seven percent from a year ago to $6.49 billion, including network equipment sales falling 12 percent to $5.8 billion which was pretty much what everyone was expecting.

In the third quarter, the networks unit’s operating margin was 8.1 percent, compared with a market view of 7.6 percent.

Sweden’s Ericsson, which replaced its chief executive this week, spooked investors earlier this month when its quarterly profit plunged more than 90 percent.

“The trend of declining sales is similar for both companies, but Nokia has been better prepared for slowing demand by continuously improving its efficiency,” Rautanen said.

Nokia projected global network equipment demand was set to fall for the rest of 2016, but for declines in sales to taper in 2017.

Chief Executive Rajeev Suri said he expected market conditions to stabilise next year,

Nokia is cutting thousands of jobs worldwide following the merger as it seeks savings targets of $1.3 billion in 2018.

The company also on Thursday said its chief financial officer Timo Ihamuotila, who had helped the company to restructure from a troubled mobile handset maker into a network equipment company, would resign to join Swiss engineering group ABB.

Cisco blames comic radiation for router failure

the Cisco kidNetworking giant Cisco has come up with a novel reason why its some of its routers were less than 100 per cent – cosmic radiation.

A Cisco bug report addressing “partial data traffic loss” on the company’s ASR 9000 Series routers contends that a “possible trigger is cosmic radiation causing SEU soft errors.”

A reader of Reddit’s networking section asked if anyone had seen ‘cosmic radiation’ as a cause for software errors in a bug report before?  Since the fix was to reload the line card, how on earth does that stop the radiation of distant stars stuffing up your router?

Some readers confirmed that cosmic radiation might be a thing, but its “gotten a bad rep as it’s not well explained and it’s not the be-all and end-all of outages.”

However most people thought that it was rubbish as cosmic radiation does not home in on a specific part of the router. It would also hit the control plane and other parts. ECC memory tends to make this a non-issue.

Cisco said that it has conducted extensive research, dating back to 2001, on the effects cosmic radiation can have on its service provider networking hardware, system architectures and software designs. Despite being rare, as electronics operate at faster speeds and the density of silicon chips increases, it becomes more likely that a stray bit of energy could cause problems that affect the performance of a router or switch.

Cisco wrote a  blog about the topic  in January 2012. In an effort to minimize the impact of radiation from “Single Event Upsets” (SEUs), it wanted to redesign our technology with custom silicon chips and software, and adopt protocols that use resiliency features.

Cisco wins key wireless patent dispute

the Cisco kidCisco has reversed a near $64 million judgment against it in a long running battle over wi-fi patents.

A US appeals court ruled that Cisco did not infringe Commil, a patent holding company’s wifi technology.

The court added that Cisco was not liable for directly infringing or inducing others to infringe a patent held by Commil USA as a method to spread wireless signals over a large area, where multiple access points wereneeded.

Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler said the company was “gratified” by the ruling. “The patent never had anything to do with our products and the millions of dollars spent defending this unmeritorious suit are a travesty.”

Commil USA sued Cisco in 2007, shortly after buying the patent from an Israeli company, Commil Ltd, according to court documents.

In 2011, a federal jury in Texas found that Cisco induced infringement by encouraging its customers to use Cisco products that infringe Commil’s patent. The jury awarded Commil almost $63.8 million in damages. A judge subsequently added $10.3 million in interest.

In 2013, the Washington, D.C.-based Federal Circuit, the nation’s top appeals court specialising in patent issues, ordered a new trial, saying that Cisco should have been able to mount a defence based on its “good faith belief” that Commil’s patent was invalid.

The Supreme Court in May said that defenxe was not legitimate, throwing out the ruling and sending the case back to the Federal Circuit.

A three judge Federal Circuit panel again ruled in favour of Cisco.

The panel said that when it last considered the case, it did not consider some of Cisco’s arguments that it did not infringe the patent. In weighing those arguments this time, the panel said that “substantial evidence did not support the jury’s findings”.

Nokia back in the black

amy winehouseFormer Finnish rubber boot maker, Nokia is now back to black after selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft.

Nokia reported a surprise rise in second-quarter profits, helped by high-margin software sales and fewer low-priced contracts at its mainstay telecom network equipment business.

Nokia appears to be rolling in it and in April proposed a 15.6 billion euro take-over of its French rival Alcatel-Lucent.

Operating profit at its network unit was $343 million in the second quarter, or 11.5 percent of sales.

That was up from $307 million euro a year earlier, and well above analysts’ average forecast of a profit of $257 million euros and a margin of 8.3 percent.

Network equipment sales were $2.99 billion

The company also said its strategic review of its Here navigation business was now in an advanced stage.

Last week, Reuters claimed that Nokia was closing in on a deal to sell the maps to German car makers for about $3.29 billion.

Confusion hits the networking market

The enterprise networking market appears to be down the loo, and how badly depends on which analyst you ask for the numbers.

Beancounters at IDC says the first quarter value was $5.2 billion, while Dell‘Oro Group claims it was $5 billion. IDC said the market lost 12.3 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013 – down around $US730 million – while Dell’Oro said the market lost a billion compared to the previous quarter.

About the only thing the two could agree on was that that Layer 2 / 3 Ethernet was tanking because  pesky enterprises were shifting to WiFi because it is faster and more useful.

IDC said that there had been some large shipments in the data centre market which might have saved the likes of Cicso’s bacon. Network infrastructure VP Rohit Mehra was quoted as saying “10GbE and 40GbE switch ports for the datacentre and campus core remain the growth engine for this market, although we do expect the GbE market to hold its own with port shipments during the coming years.”

Dell’Oro  said that “data centre switching paused as Cisco’s Nexus 9000 product transition continued”.

IDC said   Cisco commands more than 60 percent share of the Layer 2/3 market – slightly down in the quarter – a 4.3 percent revenue decline has an impact on the whole business. Cisco’s service and enterprise router revenue dipped by 1.8 percent.

HP added 4.6 percent Ethernet switch revenue, while Juniper rose 53.4 percent for the same segment over the same period.

Dell’Oro  said that the “white box” switch market nicked market share and value from the name vendors.

However it was not all bad.  Dell’Oro said that future data centre business and the uncertain Chinese market, as offering hopeful signals or the future. IDC thinks that data centre business will keep the industry alive in the long term.

Cisco kid gets all slow on the draw

Industry bellwether and network bits supplier also known as Cisco surprised the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street by posting a shallower-than-expected 5.5 percent drop in quarterly revenue.

It was not as bad as it could have been because demand in regions like the United States and Northern Europe picked up and helped offset sluggish sales in emerging markets.

The company posted gross margins of 62.7 percent in its fiscal third quarter, up from 53.3 percent in the previous quarter and above guidance of 61 to 62 percent.

Cisco has been suffering as its server business faced competition from so-called software-defined networks (SDN) , which offer software that can run on cheap hardware. It has been saved by its Nexus 9000 switches, which can adapt to flows in workloads brought on by cloud computing, and big data.

Nexus 9000 grew to a user base of 175 customers, up from 20 customers last quarter.

Analysts shrugged and said that it was about as solid of a quarter as you can expect with some good margins.

Product orders in the US rose seven percent from one year ago, with enterprise and commercial orders rising more than 10 percent. Order strength in northern Europe was up four percent year-over-year.

The problems were in emerging markets where Cisco has been facings increased competition. Generally orders fell seven percent, with Brazil down 27 percent and Russia down 28 percent.

Cisco’s Chief Executive Officer John Chambers predicted a gross margin of 62.7 percent for the fourth quarter. Cisco had a net profit of $2.2 billion in the fiscal third quarter, down from $2.5 billion in the year-ago quarter.

The company increased its cash dividend in the third quarter to $0.19 per common share.

Cisco reported revenue of $11.5 billion, down from $12.2 billion a year earlier. Wall Street on average had expected $11.36 billion. 

Cisco accused of human rights abuses

The EFF has asked a US court to allow Cisco to be sued for its role in contributing to human rights abuses against the Falun Gong religious minority in China.

For those who came in late, China has been particularly nasty to the Falun Gong religion and arrested, tortured and killed some of its followers. These human rights violations have been well-documented by the UN, the US State Department and were possible thanks to China’s use of sophisticated surveillance technologies.

An EFF spokesman said that technology is the result of some hard work on the part of Cisco which purposefully customised its general purpose router technology to allow the Chinese government to identify, track, and detain Falun Gong members.

This included the building of a library of carefully analysed patterns of Falun Gong Internet activity that enable the Chinese government to identify Falun Gong Internet users. There was also a log/alert systems that provide the Chinese government with real time monitoring and notification based on Falun Gong Internet traffic patterns and software for storing data profiles on individual Falun Gong practitioners for use during interrogation.

Cisco was involved in the creation of software for categorizing individual Falun Gong practitioners by their likely susceptibility to different methods of “forced conversion,” the EFF claims.

The EFF claims to have evidence that the highly advanced video and image analyzers that Cisco marketed as the “only product capable of recognizing over 90 per cent of Falun Gong pictorial information”.

This allowed the creation of a nationwide video surveillance system which enabled the Chinese government to identify and detain Falun Gong practitioners.

The suit also alleges that Cisco not only knew that its customizations would be used to repress the Falun Gong, but actively marketed, sold, and supported the technologies anyway.

The EFF lawyers have their work cut out. Another case, also involving Cisco from last year decided that a tech company could not be held accountable when governments misuse general use products for nefarious purposes.

However it argues that the allegations here are that Cisco has done far more than sell standard router technology and services to the Chinese authorities and that they customised the gear. 

Intel improves Thunderbolt

Bag maker Chipzilla took time out from its gruelling fashion show season to provide its Thunderbolt 2 with networking capability.

Thunderbolt Networking can connect computers with a standard Thunderbolt cable. So far about the only thing the technology could do is connect peripherals to computers and then mostly on Apple gear.

Thunderbolt Networking emulates an Ethernet connection to deliver 10GbE throughput between linked computers.

Writing in his bog, Intel’s Dan “fucking Mike Magee, fucking Mike Magee” Snyder said support for the technology is already built into Apple’s OS X Mavericks operating system and a PC driver for connecting PCs to PCs and PCs to Macs “will soon be available”.

Intel claims Thunderbolt Networking will be important for media professionals using Mac and PC workstations, “adding a new level of workflow flexibility” as well as providing lightning-fast backup and upgrade capabilities across computers.

So far Thunderbolt 2-enabled products include the 2013 Apple Mac Pro, Z Workstation systems from HP, AJA’s CION camera, and external storage drives from LaCie, Western Digital, and Promise Technologies, as well as products from AkiTio, ATTO, Cubix, G-Technology (HGST), HighPoint, Magma, mLogic, Maxx Digital, OWC, and Sonnet, Intel said.

However, it is not clear what the cost of moving to such technology for networking would be. The cost of connectors for peripherals is much more expensive than Ethernet.