BT's broadband expansion to create 1000 new jobs
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Teraxion acquires modulator expertise from COGO Optronics
TeraXion Inc. has acquired COGO Optronics Canadian Subsidiary, a developer of high-speed optical modulators based on indium phosphide (InP), along with intellectual property assets. Woodside Capital Partners acted as the exclusive advisers to the transaction.Terms of the deal were not disclosed.The acquisition is another milestone in the company’s growth strategy, according to TeraXion. The company, best known for its dispersion compensation modules, has moved aggressively into other optical component areas.“The team in Ottawa and California is bringing new and highly complementary expertise to our current capabilities,” said Alain-Jacques Simard, president and CEO, TeraXion. “The InP modulator product line developed over the years at COGO has all the attributes to meet the market’s needs for next-generation 100 Gbps and above transceiver development.”The additional building block will accelerate the development of our photonic integration products roadmap where performance, size and power consumption are key requirements, he adds.“This combination will better service the needs of our existing customers and accelerate the time to market of the rich products pipeline COGO has been developing in conjunction with leading customers," said COGO’s CEO Alka Swanson."Combining the advanced InP technology and products developed by COGO with the larger scale and market reach of TeraXion will result in a more stable commercial platform from which the business can be ramped to its full potential," noted COGO's CFO Ron Lacey.
Researchers integrate Openflow with path computation to improve network navigation
What do software defined networking (SDN) and services like Google Maps have in common? Ramon Casellas, a research associate at the Catalonia Technological Center of Telecommunications (CTTC) near Barcelona, will answer this question when he describes the system developed by his team and colleagues at KDDI R&D Labs in Japan at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC) March 17-21 in Anaheim, CA.The research represents one of many OFC/NFOEC talks on future network capabilities made possible by SDN, expected to be a popular topic at this year’s event. The use of SDN concepts for controlling optical networks is under study within the Open Networking Foundation and in the labs of optical communications technology vendors (see, for example, "Infinera, ESnet demo Transport SDN via Open Transport Switch").Services like Google maps use algorithms to determine the fastest route from point A to point B, even factoring in real-time traffic information to redirect you if, for example, a parade is blocking part of your route. Now, researchers from Spain and Japan have achieved this kind of traffic control for the connections in fiber-optic networks. The flexible-grid system can even redirect the traffic-congesting parade to another street (by re-arranging one or more existing connections), so you (a single new connection) wouldn’t have to go out of your way to avoid gridlock.The system designed by Casellas and colleagues combines two elements: an OpenFlow controller and a so-called stateful path computation element (PCE). An OpenFlow controller uses a protocol that allows the behavior of a network device to be remotely configured. This enables packets of data to navigate the path through the network more efficiently, as if there were multiple, but coordinated remote traffic controllers helping to guide the network traffic. A PCE, in simple terms, is a dedicated computer that finds network routes between endpoints. The functions of a PCE are conceptually similar to Google Maps or GPS navigation systems, according to Casellas.A stateful PCE keeps track of current connections, enabling it to dynamically correct the path computations for all of the connections in the network. Because the existing connections are stored in an internal database, advanced algorithms can use information about them to enhance network speed and efficiency. They do this by improving the optimization of the active connections over the network as a whole instead of individually.The underlying idea is that having extra information is helpful to improve the performance of the path computation, and thus the network. Essentially, the system knows every connection on a network and what it is doing at any given time, with the ability to reroute those connections midstream based on new connections coming in to the network.“Combining a stateful PCE with OpenFlow provides an efficient solution for operating transport networks,” said Casellas. “An OpenFlow controller and a stateful PCE have several functions in common but also complement each other, and it makes sense to integrate them. This allows a return on investment and reduces operational expenses and time-to-market.”Casellas and his colleagues successfully tested their system by using it to dynamically control the optical spectrum in the fibers in a flexible-grid optical network. In such networks, he says, the intrinsic constraints of the optical technology—for example, caused by physical defects in the network—justify the deployment of PCEs.Casellas’ presentation at OFC/NFOEC, titled “An integrated stateful PCE/OpenFlow controller for the control and management of flexi-grid optical networks,” will take place Wednesday, March 20, at 3:45 PM in the Anaheim Convention Center.
BT's broadband expansion to create 1000 new jobs
BT is launching a major new recruitment drive as its £2.5 billion investment in fiber-optic broadband starts to accelerate. More than 1000 engineering jobs are being created at the company’s Openreach business, with most of the new recruits set to install broadband in customers’ homes. The new jobs are in addition to the 1500 extra engineers recruited during the past year.Following this recruitment, there will be more than 6000 people working on what BT claims is the fastest fiber-optic broadband roll out in the world. BT says its fiber-optic broadband network is the largest in the UK, passing more than 13 million premises, and the technology is being made available to an additional 100,000 homes and businesses every week. It combines both fiber to the home (FTTH) and fiber to the cabinet (FTTC) architectures.The recruitment drive reflects BT’s success with winning work from the government to the superfast broadband to areas that may not have been served otherwise (see “BT details next phase of fiber broadband deployments”). It also reflects the strong demand for fiber that the company is now experiencing, according to BT.Prime Minister David Cameron said, “I warmly welcome the announcement from BT today. Working with business, the Government is driving a transformation in UK broadband services and with an extra 100,000 homes and businesses gaining superfast broadband availability each week, this is already taking shape. Providing much faster broadband speeds, and enabling millions more homes and businesses to enjoy these speeds is vital for driving investment and equipping the UK to compete and thrive in the global race.”BT chief executive Ian Livingston added, “Faster broadband will help to fuel the UK economy and the jobs we are creating are part of that. Almost half of the jobs will be offered under our popular apprenticeship scheme giving young people the chance to earn a recognized qualification and pursue a career as a skilled telecoms engineer.”The business will fill the 1,000 posts with a mix of apprentices, further armed forces personnel, and other candidates, including some long-term unemployed.Four hundred apprenticeships are to be offered, providing young people with a training scheme lasting two and a half years. These apprentices will focus on installing new fiber-optic broadband connections in customers’ homes during their first year, before going on to learn the full range of engineering tasks.At the end of their training, the apprentices will achieve a BTEC Level 3 Diploma and Certificate in ICT Systems and Principles. As part of their qualification, apprentices will also complete academic studies in math, English, and ICT, providing them with the skills needed to progress in the workplace.These apprenticeships are likely to be much sought after, says BT. The operator has recruited around 460 apprentices to date in the current financial year having received 18,500 applications – more than 40 for each available position.
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