Nokia targets web giants with fastest routers on market

Updated 14 June 2017
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Nokia targets web giants with fastest routers on market

SAN FRANCISCO, US: Nokia launched the world’s fastest network chips on Wednesday, marking a breakthrough into the core router market dominated by rivals Juniper and Cisco, while giving a boost to its existing network business.
The new traffic routers can handle the greater demands of virtual reality programming, cloud-based Internet services and next-generation mobile communications, the Finnish company said.
Nokia’s new products should help it win business with so-called “web-scale” customers such as Facebook, Google and Amazon – for whom transmission speed is everything and who are still increasing spending on network gear, unlike its traditional base of telecoms customers.
They grew out of Nokia’s 15.6 billion-euro ($17.5 billion) 2016 acquisition of Alcatel and its IP network gear business.
“We need networks with little or no delay... that are able to respond 10 times faster than they do today” Nokia Chief Executive Rajeev Suri told a news conference.
They will also serve Nokia’s existing customers who want speed but must still contend with legacy gear needed to run existing services, as they are compatible with older products.
“Nokia will have the highest-performance system capacity in the market, and a lot of those web-scalers, they just want speed,” Ray Mota, principal analyst at ACG Research, told Reuters.
Nokia is introducing its latest FP4 silicon chipset capable of processing data at 2.4 terabits per second.
These will be built into routers to operate both ultra high-speed “core” networks at the heart of the biggest Internet services and also “edge” networks that link data centers to front-line customer services on mobile or fixed-line networks.
The new chipsets are set to ship in the fourth quarter, with routers using FP4 chips ready in first quarter of next year.
The former Alcatel IP networks business is already the world’s No. 2 player in edge routers behind Cisco, having displaced Juniper Networks, which is now No. 3.
The Nokia business also competes with China’s Huawei in router markets outside the United States, where Huawei is barred for national security reasons.
Nokia faces flat capital spending among its telecom customer base, leading it to pursue more business from web-scale players, which have doubled their spending on network equipment over the past four years, Mota said.

Petabits
Nokia is introducing the 7950 petabit-class router aimed at the core routing market to help it win business from customers such as Facebook and Twitter. A petabit can transmit 5,000 two-hour-long high-definition videos every second.
For edge network customers, Nokia is introducing its 7750 router, offering the highest traffic capacity on the market.
Mota said the Nokia 7750 can deliver speeds of up to 4.8 terabits per slot, compared with Juniper’s 3 terabit edge router speeds, which had been the industry’s fastest. A terabit can transfer a high-definition Netflix TV episode in one second.
Beyond sheer speed, there is enough processing power head-room in its new chipset to offer built-in security features to fend off the growing threat of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
BT managing director and chief network architect Neil McRae said the British telecoms operator, an early customer of Nokia’s new products, is already running thousands of 7750 edge routers and hundreds of 7950 systems in its core network.
“If you look at London, one of the busiest parts of our network, we need this platform today,” McRae said. (Additional reporting by Jussi Rosendahl in Helsinki)


Iran sanctions shadow falls on smaller German banks

Updated 27 May 2018
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Iran sanctions shadow falls on smaller German banks

  • Some German companies plan to press on with Iran dealings
  • German exports to Iran rose 15.5 percent last year

Germany’s biggest lenders have shied away from business with Iran after past penalties for breaching US sanctions, but smaller banks have leapt on opportunities afforded by the nuclear deal rejected by Donald Trump.

There are just months to go until a November deadline issued by Washington after the US president abandoned a hard-fought agreement that loosened business restrictions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for Tehran giving up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

But some firms plan to press on in their dealings with Iran despite the looming threat of penalties.

“We will continue to serve our clients,” for now, said Patrizia Melfi, a director at the “international competence center” (KCI) founded by six cooperative savings banks in the small town of Tuttlingen in southwest Germany.

The center, which supports companies operating in sensitive markets like Iran or Sudan, has seen demand “rising sharply in the last few years, from firms listed on the Dax (Germany’s index of blue-chip firms), from all over Germany and from Switzerland,” she added.

German exports to Iran have grown since the nuclear deal was signed in 2015, adding 15.5 percent last year to reach almost €2.6 billion ($3.0 billion) after 22-percent growth in 2016.

Such figures remain vanishingly small compared with Germany’s €111.5 billion in exports to the US — its top customer.

Nevertheless, the KCI will “wait and see what the sanctions look like” before turning away from Iran, Melfi said.

Already, firms dealing with Tehran must take great care not to fall foul of US restrictions.

Transactions are carried out in euros, and the KCI does not deal with businesses that have American citizens or green card resident holders on their boards.

What’s more, products sold to Iran cannot contain more than 10 percent of parts manufactured in the US.

One of the most important inputs for the business is “courage among our managers” given the high risks involved, Melfi said.

Germany’s two biggest banks, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, avoid Iran completely after being slapped with harsh fines in 2015 over their dealings there, with Deutsche alone paying $258 million in penalties.

DZ Bank, which operates as a central bank for more than 1,000 local co-op lenders, is withdrawing completely from payment services there, a spokesman told AFP.
That left KCI to seek out the German branch of Iranian state-owned bank Melli in Hamburg.

Even that linkage could break if Iran’s biggest business bank appears on a US list of barred businesses as it has before.

Meanwhile, among Germany’s roughly 390 Sparkasse savings banks, business with the regime is mostly limited to producing documents linked to export contracts.
“We will be looking even more closely at those” in the future, a person familiar with the trade told AFP.

Elsewhere in the German economy, the European-Iranian Trade Bank (EIH) founded in 1971 is another conduit to Tehran.

Also based in Hamburg, it for now remains “fully available to you with our products and services,” the bank assures clients on its website, although “business policy decisions by European banks may result in short term or medium term restrictions on payments.”

Neither does the Bundesbank (German central bank) believe that much has so far changed for business with Iran.

“Only the European Union’s sanctions regime will be decisive,” if and when it is changed, the institution told AFP.

Any payment involving an Iranian party would have to be approved by the Bundesbank if things return to their pre-January 2016 state.

German banking lobby group Kreditwirtschaft has called on Berlin and other EU nations to clarify their stance — and to make sure banks and their clients are “effectively protected against possible American sanctions.”

KCI’s Melfi said time is running out for EU governments to act.

“Many firms just want to stop anything with Iran, since they can’t calculate the risk of staying,” she noted.

On Friday for the first time since the Iran nuclear deal came into force in 2015, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany gathered in Vienna — at Iran’s request — without the US, to discuss how to save the agreement.

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