Month: May 2018

Intel at last announces Optane memory: DDR4 that never forgets

New memory offers huge capacities and persistence, but fits in a DDR4 slot.

Ever since Intel and Micron announced 3D XPoint memory in 2015, the world has been waiting for the companies to use it to build memory sticks.

3D XPoint blends the properties of flash storage and DRAM memory. Like flash, it’s persistent, retaining its value even when systems are powered down, and it’s dense, with about 10 times the density of DRAM. Like DRAM, it supports low latency random access. Intel also claimed that its write endurance is substantially better than that of flash.

This combination of features created the prospect of memory sticks that look like DIMMs and appear to the system as if they’re DDR4 RAM but with much greater capacities and with persistence: data written to "RAM" is retained permanently. Memory with these properties is exciting for a wide range of applications—for example, databases that no longer need to concern themselves with flushing data back to disk—and might one day provoke significant changes in the way operating systems and software are designed.

But while persistent memory was perhaps the most interesting application of 3D XPoint, the first products to hit the market were simply storage drives using "Optane" as their branding. There was a series of drives for enterprise customers and some consumer-oriented M.2 sticks designed to be paired with a spinning disk to produce a high-speed hybrid. While 3D XPoint did offer some benefits over flash SSDs—in particular, the latency of the drives is significantly lower than that of comparable flash units, and the I/O performance is sustained even under heavy mixed read/write workloads—this wasn’t quite the revolution that we were hoping for.

No longer. Today, Intel announced Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory. This is a series of DDR4 memory sticks (with capacities of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB) that use 3D XPoint instead of traditional DRAM cells. Result? The latency is a bit worse than real DDR 4, but the sticks are persistent. Although they use the standard DDR4 form factor, they’ll only be supported on Intel’s next-generation Xeon platform.

Intel is pitching the new memory as a way to greatly increase the amount of memory available to processors and eliminating the latency that normally occurs when moving data from memory to persistent storage. This is valuable to a range of database-like and caching workloads. The persistence means that freshly booted servers no longer need to load terabytes of data into memory—the data is, in effect, already there. Because persistent memory has such big implications for software developers, Intel will also have a scheme that gives developers (under NDA) remote access to machines using Optane Persistent Memory so that they can develop and test software that takes advantage of its persistent capabilities.

Beyond this basic information, there’s still a lot we don’t know about Optane DC Persistent Memory: performance, endurance, power consumption, system/processor compatibility—all remain unknown at this point. Intel is also vague on the product’s availability: wide availability is going to happen some time in 2019, but selected customers will be able to get their hands on it this year.


What are the Standards of the G’s

It is still a challenge to get a true 4G connection, which promises upwards of a 1Gps, Gigabit per second, transfer rate if you are standing still and in the perfect spot. 4G LTE comes very close to closing this gap. True 4G on a wide spread basis may not be available until the next generation arrives. 5G?

Watch video here:  History of Wireless –

What are the Standards of the G’s

Each of the Generations has standards that must be met to officially use the G terminology. Those standards are set by, you know, those people that set standards. The standards themselves are quite confusing but the advertisers sure know how to manipulate them. I will try to simplify the terms a bit.

1G – A term never widely used until 2G was available. This was the first generation of cell phone technology. Simple phone calls were all it was able to do.

2G – The second generation of cell phone transmission. A few more features were added to the menu such as simple text messaging.

3G – This generation set the standards for most of the wireless technology we have come to know and love. Web browsing, email, video downloading, picture sharing and other Smartphone technology were introduced in the third generation. 3G should be capable of handling around 2 Megabits per second.

4G – The speed and standards of this technology of wireless needs to be at least 100 Megabits per second and up to 1 Gigabit per second to pass as 4G. It also needs to share the network resources to support more simultaneous connections on the cell. As it develops, 4G could surpass the speed of the average wireless broadband home Internet connection. Few devices were capable of the full throttle when the technology was first released. Coverage of true 4G was limited to large metropolitan areas. Outside of the covered areas, 4G phones regressed to the 3G standards. When 4G first became available, it was simply a little faster than 3G. 4G is not the same as 4G LTE which is very close to meeting the criteria of the standards.

The major wireless networks were not actually lying to anyone when 4G first rolled out, they simply stretched the truth a bit. A 4G phone had to comply with the standards but finding the network resources to fulfill the true standard was difficult. You were buying 4G capable devices before the networks were capable of delivering true 4G to the device. Your brain knows that 4G is faster than 3G so you pay the price for the extra speed. Marketing 101. The same will probably be true when 5G hits the markets.

4G LTE – Long Term Evolution – LTE sounds better. This buzzword is a version of 4G that is the latest advertised technology and is getting very close to the speeds needed as the standards are set. When you start hearing about LTE Advanced, then we will be talking about true fourth generation wireless technologies because they are the only two formats realized by the International Telecommunications Union as True 4G at this time. But forget about that because 5G is coming soon to a phone near you. Then there is XLTE which is a bandwidth charger with a minimum of double the bandwidth of 4G LTE and is available anywhere the AWS spectrum is initiated.

VerizonT-Mobile and Sprint have all advanced to the LTE technology with each carrier adding their own combination of wireless technologies, including XLTE, to enhance the spectrum.

5G – There are rumors of 5G being tested although the specifications of 5G have not been formally clarified. We can expect that new technology to be rolled out around 2020 but in this fast-paced world it will probably be much sooner than that. Seems like a long ways away but time flies and so will 5G at speeds of 1-10Gbps.

Where does it go from here and why does this site exist? Not sure where this path will lead but the reason I wrote this was to try to understand the lingo a bit better. I think I cleared it up for myself so I thought I would pass it along. Check out the rest of the site to understand more. Hope it helps!


MTN to deploy 4G alongside 2G, 3G at 900MHz

MTN South Africa plans to deploy 4G/LTE technology in the 900MHz band, sharing the relatively low-frequency spectrum with its 2G, 3G and Internet of things communications technologies.

The solution, called CloudAir 2.0, is being rolled out in partnership with Chinese telecommunications equipment provider Huawei.

CloudAir 2.0 will help MTN cope with the shortage of new spectrum to deploy 4G, with the company calling the deployment a “global first”. In other countries, where spectrum has been allocated by regulators, operators tend to deploy 4G networks in the 700MHz and 800MHz bands, but in South Africa these frequencies are still being used by analogue television broadcasters because of the delays in the country’s digital migration programme. Spectrum at 900MHz was first allocated to MTN and rival Vodacom in the mid-1990s to allow the companies to deploy 2G networks.

MTN South Africa and Huawei established a joint innovation programme in 2017 to research and trial new technologies. CloudAir 2.0 allows MTN “to make more efficient use of its limited 900MHz spectrum allocation, and achieve a 45% increase in LTE throughput within the band”, it said.

“Spectrum is an extremely precious asset. This new network optimisation technique improves spectral efficiency and gives MTN the ability to deploy LTE within the same 900MHz band alongside GSM, UMTS and narrowband-IoT, while significantly improving LTE coverage and user experience,” said MTN South Africa chief technology and information officer Giovanni Chiarelli in a statement.

Edward Deng, president of the wireless network product line at Huawei, said: the solution allows MTN to allocate and adjust spectrum resources according to changes in mobile traffic and avoid legacy radio access technologies from occupying prime spectrum.




5G is coming, but what is it exactly?

Every decade or so, the wireless industry rolls out a new cellular communications standard that can transmit more data more quickly. Already under development is the next round, called “5G” because it’s the fifth major generation of these standards for encoding and transmitting data over radio waves.




The first generation, retroactively called 1G, was a fully analogue system for transmitting voice. In contrast, 2G phones transmitted voice and data digitally. Subsequent generations, 3G in 2000 and 4G in 2010, made technical improvements that brought data rates up from 200kbit/s to hundreds of megabits per second. With 2020 approaching, 5G is expected to transmit 1Gbit/s — and perhaps as many as 10.

Being able to send and receive that much data so quickly opens new opportunities for augmented and virtual reality systems, as well as automation.

For instance, self-driving cars could communicate with each other, road signs, traffic signals, guard rails and other elements human drivers simply see. That would require an additional technical leap — reducing what is called “latency”, or the delay between when a signal is sent and when it’s received, to one millisecond. (If a network’s data rate is how wide a garden hose is, latency is how long it takes from the moment the tap is turned on until water comes out the end.)


Achieving high data rates with low latency requires a number of technical changes, including sending data using higher radio frequencies and designing arrays of antennas to reduce interference between many devices all communicating at the same time. Together these add up to a 5G network with many more base stations — each of which is physically smaller than a current cellular tower and placed much more closely together. 5G base stations could be placed every 250 metres, rather than the every 1km to 5km needed for 4G.

In addition, 5G systems offer the possibility of providing reliable connections to massive numbers of wireless devices simultaneously. This could enable a huge expansion of the number of “Internet of things” devices in use, monitoring nutrients in soil for farmers, package locations for shipping companies and vital signs for hospital patients, for instance.

Early 5G networks are being rolled out now in some US cities. The Tokyo Olympics in 2020 are supposed to present the very first showcase of the full range of what 5G technology can offer. Between now and then — and even beyond — companies rolling out 5G networks will deploy a new technology while it’s still evolving, as they did with earlier generations.Description: The Conversation

·         Written by Jan Rabaey, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, University of California, Berkeley

·         This article was originally published on The Conversation





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