Superloop, Comscentre to provide network, hosted and managed services

Brisbane-based elastic fibre provider Superloop has entered into a strategic partnership with Australian enterprise-grade network specialist Comscentre to deliver a suite of network, hosted and managed services.

Superloop said under the collaboration its own metro fibre network allowed Comscentre to deliver network, hosted and managed services to its customers at speeds of up to 90Gbps and beyond.

0“Our partnership with Comscentre means our customers have a single source for network, hosting and managed services,” added Superloop CEO Drew Kelton.

“With Superloop’s metropolitan fibre networks providing high speed capacity and ubiquitous connectivity, and Comscentre’s network, hosting and managed services, customers can expect real value, seamless connectivity, low latency, and value add unrivalled in Australian network infrastructure and managed services delivery.”

Comscentre MD Ben Shipley said by combining Superloop’s network-based infrastructure platform with Comscentre’s hosted services, comms and collaboration capabilities, his firm is able to deliver  differentiated value to its customers, “significantly reducing costs associated with legacy network infrastructure and connectivity providers.”

Drew Kelton, Chief Executive Officer, Superloop said: “Our partnership with Comscentre means our customers have a single source for network, hosting and managed services. With Superloop’s metropolitan fibre networks providing high speed capacity and ubiquitous connectivity, and Comscentre’s network, hosting and managed services, customers can expect real value, seamless connectivity, low latency, and value add unrivalled in Australian network infrastructure and managed services delivery.”

Mellanox eyes hyperscale Ethernet security opportunity with new cloud-focused network adapter

Sunnyvale-based computer networking specialist Mellanox Technologies has unveiled it’s focusing on dramatically rising demand for secure cloud Ethernet services by a broad sweep of customers including hyperscalers, as cloud, e-commerce, and social media enterprises are increasingly able to access to the data of hundreds of millions of users.

Speaking to media and analysts at the NetEvents Global IT Summit  in San Jose, Mellanox VP of Ethernet adapters and SmartNIC Yael Shenhav said the company had started shipping the ConnectX-6 Dx – which she billed as “the world’s most advanced secure 200Gb/s Cloud Ethernet network adapter.”

0 (19)“The best just got better,” she said, referring to recent comparison testing by Tolly Lab, in which ConnectX-6 Dx’s predecessor, the ConnectX-5 25G/bs NIC had outflanked rival Broadcom’s NetXtreme E adapter.

The report concluded that the earlier model delivered up to twice the throughput of the Broadcom adapter in a range of environments and under different workloads common to cloud and flash storage rollouts.

In addition, she said the testing showed that the Mellanox device can handle more connections, transmitting more data without packet loss and using fewer host CPU cycles per packet.

Shenhav also said that in addition to better performance, customers also considered open source and collaboration as key capabilities, along with the ability to achieve uncompromising flexibility with a “software-defined, hardware-accelerated architecture.”

Finally, Shenhav highlighted the firm’s involvement in the Open Compute Project, noting key OEM partnerships with Dell and HPE, as well as agreements with software partners such as Microsoft, IBM/Redhat and VMware.

Telecom Times was in San Jose as a guest of NetEvents

 

Huawei Australia tips ACCC acceptance of TPG claims vendor’s role in planned mobile net build is pivotal vindicates 5G case

Huawei Australia has provided evidence in the Federal Court proceedings no. 818 of 2019, Vodafone Hutchison Australia versus the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission & Anor.

According to the Shenzhen-based vendor, the evidence it offered supports TPG’s propositions that it is unable to roll out a mobile network in Australia without Huawei, and that the products that the network specialist proposed to provide to TPG were superior in terms of technology, quality and costs.

Specifically, Huawei  Australia said as part of the proceedings it provided four affidavits to TPG which were served by the operator in support of its joint application with VHA for a declaration from the Federal Court of Australia. “The ACCC has not objected to the content of the affidavits at all and, as part of its acceptance of the Huawei evidence, no Huawei witness was called for cross-examination,” it added.

As a result, Huawei Australia said this constituted “therefore, uncontested evidence of fact that has been accepted by the Australian Federal government authority.”

“We are very pleased that the ACCC has accepted our proposition that our 5G products are world-leading and cannot be replicated by any of our competitors,” said Jeremy Mitchell, Director of Corporate and Public Affairs at Huawei Australia.

“It is therefore even more regrettable that Australians will not be able to access our world leading 5G technology and will pay more for inferior technology and get poorer quality 5G.”

NBN service quality complaints on the rise

Complaints about service quality, connections and migrations involving Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) rose in the first six months of 2019, despite complaints relating to the country’s broader telecommunications services falling overall during the year ending June.

This is according to the latest figures by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). The TIO’s annual report for the financial year ending June 2019, released on 25 September, paints a picture of increasing complexity among the issues Australians are complaining about when it comes to their telecommunications services.

“Complaints about phone and internet services in Australia have continued their downward trend, and this is good news for consumers and the telecommunications industry, but this is only one part of the story,” said Ombudsman Judi Jones. “The volume of complaints coming back to us unresolved shows an emerging picture of complexity in technical and small business issues.

“Some measures we have taken to address this are the formation of specialist teams to handle these escalated complaints, and working closely with the phone and internet providers to better understand the barriers to resolving these issues,” she said.

According to the TIO, the 12 months from July 2018 to June 2019 saw 47 per cent of escalated complaints closed within 60 days, compared to 77 percent in FY2017-18.

The top five complaint issues about internet services were no action or delayed action by a service provider, with 13,976 complaints, service and equipment fees (13,509 complaints), slow data speed (8,668 complaints), intermittent service/dropouts (7,915) and delay establishing a service (7,431).

At the same time, the top five complaint issues about mobile services were service and equipment fees, with 12,905 complaints, no or delayed action by provider (11,675 complaints), resolution agreed but not met (4,263), misleading conduct when making a contract (3,656) and termination fees (2,975).

Altogether, the TIO received 132,387 complaints throughout the year, representing a year-on-year fall of 21 percent. However, for the first time, complaints relating to internet services exceeded those of mobile services, with 43,164 complaints – or 32.6 percent – and 40,103 complaints, respectively.

Complaints relating to services delivered via the NBN comprised a large portion of the total regarding internet services. According to the report, 23,362 complaints were recorded in FY2018-19 about service quality on the NBN. Complaints increased from 2.1 per 1,000 premises on the network in the first half of the year to 2.5 per 1,000 in the second half of the year.

Services delivered over the NBN were the subject of 48.2 percent of complaints about service quality during the 12-month period. By comparison, 40.4 percent of such complaints revolved around services delivered via other networks. Mobile networks accounted for 11.3 percent of complaints of this nature.

Meanwhile, 11,635 complaints were recorded in FY2018-19 about changing providers or establishing a connection to the NBN. Complaints increased from 6.7 per 1,000 premises added in the first half of the year, to 8.6 in the second half of the 12-month period.

Indeed, 56.4 percent of all complaints relating to connection and changing providers were about services delivered over the NBN. However, this comes as little surprise, given that, as the national broadband wholesaler draws closer to the completion of its rollout, more end consumers are being connected to the network.

“With transition to the NBN, providers offered a range of new products and services. As a result, we saw a new range of complaints and enquiries from consumers navigating the changed environment. The increase in complaints about internet services is one example of this,” the TIO report stated.

By comparison, such complaints involving services delivered via other networks accounted for 30.6 percent of the total, while mobile network services were at the centre of 13 percent of complaints about connection or changing providers.

Unsurprisingly, the country’s largest telecommunications player, Telstra, claimed the lion’s share of complaints, accounting for roughly 50.2 percent, although it should be noted that the company enjoyed a 19.5 percent fall in complaints from the previous year’s tally of 82,528.

Optus, as the country’s second largest telco, came in second, with 23.9 percent of the total. Like Telstra, Optus saw a fall in complaints against its name, enjoying a 22.2 decrease, year-on-year. Optus was followed by Vodafone, iiNet and TPG Internet, with 5.1 percent of the total, 4.3 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively. All experienced a year-on-year decrease.

“We are pleased to see that complaints decreased in every state, and for all of the providers listed in the report,” said John Stanton, CEO of telecommunications industry body, the Communications Alliance.

“There has been significant work over the past two years by Industry to improve the customer experience, including – but certainly not limited to – NBN Co and RSPs [retail service providers] achieving better communication and coordination for consumers and businesses as they migrate services to NBN-based networks,” he said.

Equinix boosts Oracle play with multi-region cloud connectivity expansion

Equinix has ramped up its collaboration with Oracle, expanding its private and secure connectivity to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in dozens of metropolitan areas around the world, including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Hong Kong.

According to the interconnection and data centre provider, its recent expansions in Sydney, São Paulo, Tokyo, Toronto and Zurich now offer customers in those regions private connectivity to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect via Equinix Cloud Exchange (ECX) Fabric.

An on-demand, software defined network (SDN)-enabled interconnection service, ECX Fabric is designed to help customers connect to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect, and other clouds and network providers located around the world.

“Our expansion in Sydney demonstrates our commitment to helping businesses in Australia further their digital transformation journeys and we are thrilled to offer our customers with a presence in our local facilities access to the Oracle Cloud via our ECX Fabric,” said Glenn Uidam, senior director of operations at Equinix Australia.

Equinix claims that the recent expansions now sees it offer more private connections to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect than any other data centre player in the market, with connectivity via ECX Fabric available in 34 metro areas globally.

These include seven metro areas in the Asia Pacific region, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Hong Kong, Osaka, Singapore and Tokyo; 14 areas in North America; and 13 across Europe.

For Robert Blackburn, global managing director, Oracle strategic alliance, Equinix, this expansion of the long-running partnership between Oracle and Equinix meets a growing need in the market.

“As companies around the world are prioritising digital transformation as a way to gain a competitive advantage, we’re seeing increased customer demand to migrate Oracle workloads to Oracle Cloud,” Blackburn said. “The reality is that companies that are adopting digital transformation are thriving, and those that are not are being left behind.

“With this direct access, our mutual customers can create a high-speed, low-latency connection that allows them to fully realise the benefits of their Oracle deployment. We are excited to deepen our collaboration with Oracle and offer this service in these new metros across the globe,” he said.

NBN Co stands by CVC charges amid wholesale pricing overhaul

NBN Co has proposed a series of wholesale discounts and higher capacity inclusions across its products as part of its latest industry consultation round, but refuses to bow to telco pressure to drop its controversial connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) charge. 

The company behind the country’s National Broadband Network (NBN) released the second paper of its wholesale pricing review consultation with industry on 17 September, following twelve weeks of consultation with more than 50 NBN retail service providers (RSPs) and industry groups.

Among the big changes proposed by the network builder are wholesale discounts and higher capacity inclusions across its high-speed tiers. These include a 100/20 bundle discount starting with 3.75Mbps of included capacity at an effective charge of A$58 per month, as flagged at the beginning of the consultation process in June.

Additionally, the changes would include a 250/25 bundle discount starting with 4.75 Mbps of included capacity at an effective charge of A$68 per month, and an up to 1000/50 bundle discount starting with 5.75Mbps of included capacity at an effective charge of A$80 per month.

It should be noted that the 100/20Mbps Access Virtual Circuit (AVC) Traffic Class 4 (TC-4) proposal is being considered across all fixed line footprints, with ranged peak information rates (PIRs) being provided for the fibre-to-the-basement (FttB), fibre-to-the-curb (FttC) and fibre-to-the-node (FttN) network services.

The 250/25Mbps and the 1Gbps/50Mbps proposals are being considered for NBN Co’s fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) and hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) footprints, while the feasibility of offering these tiers in the (FTTC) footprint is still being investigated.

According to NBN Co, the new 100/20 bundle discount is around 11 percent cheaper than the A$65 effective charge for the 100/40 bundle discount and the increase in CVC inclusion improves the total value by 20 percent. At the same time, the new 250/25 bundle discount is 32 percent cheaper than the A$100 effective charge for the 250/100 bundle discount.

The new up to 1000/50 bundle discount, meanwhile, 55 per cent cheaper than the previous A$180 effective charge for the 1000/400 bundle discount. Additionally, an almost doubling of the CVC inclusion to 5.75Mbps improves the total value by almost 68 per cent. 

For Ken Wallis, NBN Co general manager, commercial, these new high-speed tier offerings represent the biggest changes in NBN Co’s latest wholesale pricing proposals.

“We brought down the price, created the new 100/20 to 250/25 and the new up to 1Gbps/50Mbps so that they are at a much lower cost for RSPs to upsell,” Wallis told Telecom Times. “I feel this is the really big change here, and really opens up some greater opportunities for customers, as well as RSPs, in terms of their business cases as well.”

At the other end of the spectrum, NBN Co is planning to introduce a modified 12/1 Entry Level Bundle (mELB) discount on 1 October 2019.

Although the starting effective wholesale charge of A$22.50 and inclusion of 150Kbps (0.15Mbps) remains unchanged for voice only customers and those who use limited data, the additional charge that is applied when the average monthly peak usage across relevant services exceeds the included 150Kbps will be reduced from A$22.50 to A$5.70. 

This additional charge is proposed to be further reduced to A$4.90 in May 2020 and to A$4.10 in October 2020. There will also be the option of an additional CVC charge of A$8/Mbps to accommodate higher data users.

NBN Co is also proposing changes to its mid-tier offering. In an effort to deliver a more economically attractive 25/5 bundle discount to RSPs, the company is proposing to reduce the wholesale effective charge from A$45 (including 2Mbps of CVC) that exists today to A$37 (including 1.25Mbps of CVC) in November 2019, and to increase this capacity allocation to 1.5Mbps in May 2021.

Given that, according to NBN Co, 65 percent of end customers are currently subscribed to the 50/20 wholesale speed tier, the company is proposing to help RSPs improve their service experience by adding extra CVC inclusion to the ($45) 50/20 wholesale bundle discount, increasing from a CVC inclusion of 2Mbps today to 2.25Mbps in May 2020, 2.5Mbps in May 2021.

While NBN Co’s Pricing Review 2019 Consultation Paper 2 appears to have allowed for a series of discounts and other changes to appease the country’s telcos, the company has reiterated its commitment to retain its CVC charge model, despite ongoing criticism by a number of RSPs, most notably Telstra, NBN Co’s biggest retailer.

image (1)“While we know that some RSPs have called for the removal of CVC charges, the reality is that there is a real cost in provisioning and dimensioning the network to accommodate rising data consumption.,” said NBN Co chief customer officer, residential Brad Whitcomb.

“We believe our bundled charges are the fairest way to implement a user-pays approach to wholesale pricing at this time.”

As such, according to Whitcomb, NBN Co believes the higher CVC inclusions proposed in the paper strike the right balance between helping RSPs to develop affordable offerings for end customers, giving service providers a platform where they can compete, while also allowing NBN Co to generate a “fair and reasonable return” to invest back into the network.

However, in an effort to provide RSPs with additional certainty around CVC, NBN Co’s proposals see an increase in CVC across most wholesale bundles discounts and, for the first time, the company will begin publishing a rolling two-year roadmap of future pricing with incremental annual increases in capacity inclusions on most bundle discounts to meet customers’ growing data demand.

“This roadmap is an important step in showing service providers that we are listening and taking decisive action to provide greater certainty to the industry,” Whitcomb said.

NBN Co has also taken the prospect of differential pricing for video streaming, dubbed a ‘Netflix tax’ by some pundits, off the table. According to the company, the majority of respondents in the first round of consultation highlighted streaming video as an important application driving the need for higher download speeds and more data inclusions.

While the company investigated the possibility of lowering the price of video traffic by differentiating video traffic flows during the initial consultation, only two RSPs supported the proposed initiative, leaving NBN Co to instead focus on ways to meet the challenge of growing video traffic by increasing CVC inclusions and making higher speeds more affordable. 

Going forward, the network builder expects to conduct annual, industry-based consultations to review and refine bundle discounts and inclusions. For now, the company is calling on further feedback from RSPs on the proposals in the consultation paper.

The final outcomes of the wholesale pricing consultation are expected to be announced in November 2019.

Mellanox set to ship record 1m plus ConnectX adapters in Q3 2019

Mellanox Technologies, a primary supplier of high-performance, end-to-end smart interconnect services for data center servers and storage systems, is on track to ship over one million ConnectX and BlueField Ethernet network adapters in Q3 2019, which the firm has billed as a new quarterly record.

It said the milestone reflected the growing need of public and private clouds, telco operators and enterprise data centers for faster compute and storage platforms, driving the adoption of faster, more advanced and more secured networking infrastructure.

Mellanox said its ConnectX and BlueField SmartNICs devices enabled data center operators to leverage networking speeds of 25, 50, 100, and 200 Gb/s, and take advantage of advanced offload capabilities to speed up networking, virtualization, storage and security tasks, freeing up server CPUs for lucrative applications.

“We expect this number to continue and grow in the coming quarters as more of the market is transitioning to 25 Gb/s Ethernet and faster speeds,” said Eyal Waldman, president and CEO of Mellanox Technologies. “The extensive portfolios of ConnectX cards and ICs, and BlueField IPUs, are positioned for a wide variety of data-center, cloud and AI applications, delivering maximum productivity, efficiency, scalability and return on investment.”

ConnectX-6 Dx’s hardware offload engines include IPsec and TLS inline data-in-motion encryption, advanced network virtualization, RoCE and NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) storage accelerations.

The BlueField-2 IPU integrates the advanced capabilities of ConnectX-6 Dx with an array of powerful Arm processor cores, high performance memory interfaces, and flexible processing capabilities in a single System-on-Chip (SoC), supporting both Ethernet and InfiniBand connectivity up to 200Gb/s.