Wednesday, December 22, 2004

KT Kornet Selects Juniper Networks

KT Kornet has again selected Juniper Networks' T-series routing platform for its Internet backbone. This new deployment follows previous deployments of the T640 in initial phases of KT Kornet's backbone network deployment. KT Kornet anticipates that its commercial and consumer IP services, such as ADSL, VDSL and access services based on metro switches, will grow to 350 Gbps by the end of 2004. Juniper said its "Matrix" technology will enable multiple T640 platforms to interconnect and operate as a single router that delivers ten or more terabits of throughput. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

mPhase Selected for IPTV Network in Turkey

Beyaz Holding Company, owner of Turkey's leading television news and entertainment station, selected mPhase Technologies to provide technology enabling the introduction of an array of new digital television services throughout the country. The deployment will use the IP transport capabilities of Turk Telecom, the soon-to-be privatized Turkish telecommunications company, as the foundation of the broadband network. mPhase will provide the equipment and technical video expertise for the deployment, while Beyaz-owned Kanal 7 will organize and aggregate the content and manage the marketing of the services.

ECI Telecom Confirms Commercial PON Order in Europe

ECI Telecom confirmed that its Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) equipment is being deployed by a major European Utility provider under a contract with Nortel Networks. The ECI solution will allow the customer to deliver advanced "triple play" services - video, voice and data - to its customers over an optical broadband connection.

ECI said the order represents the first mass commercial deployment of FTTH PON in Europe. The announcement follows last month's announcement that ECI's equipment is carrying live traffic in England as part of BT's 21st Century Network initiative.

The ECI solution integrates video, voice and data services from a single, highly flexible platform. The Hi-FOCuS 4 Multi Service Access Gateway is used at the central office side and the Hi-FOCuS B-Light family of ONTs is used at the customer premises.
  • Earlier this month, it was announced that EnergiMidt, a Danish utility company, had selected Nortel to provide a turnkey solution for delivering Triple Play residential services over a new PON network. EnergiMidt Broadband plans to deliver the services to all of its 162,000 customers. Nortel is also providing EnergiMidt with a carrier-grade optical transport network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

  • The network will use Nortel's Broadband Access Services Gateway (BASG) product line, Nortel's optical Ethernet portfolio and a host of leading video and in-home networking partners – all brought together, tested and approved by Nortel to form a triple-play solution. The technologies behind Nortel's BASG portfolio are supplied by ECI Telecom.

  • EnergiMidt will be adopting a phased rollout of its service to its current energy customers, aiming for approximately 2000 subscribers by the end of 2005. As part of the deployment strategy, EnergiMidt will connect each of the homes passed by their FTTH deployment, thus greatly reducing the time to turn up service for new customers.

Cisco to Acquire Protego Networks for Security Monitoring

Cisco Systems agreed to acquire privately-held Protego Networks, a provider of security monitoring and threat management appliances for enterprise and small-to-medium business networks. Cisco will pay approximately $65 million in cash for Protego. The acquisition is subject to various standard closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2005, which ends on 29-January-2005.

Protego's scalable appliances combine traditional security event monitoring with network intelligence, context correlation, vector analysis, anomaly detection, hotspot identification and automated mitigation capabilities. The products help identify and eliminate network attacks while maintaining network compliance.

Cisco said Protego's products would extend its Self-Defending Network initiative. Protego is currently a member of Cisco's AVVID partner program and the companies have been successfully working together to sell security products to customers. The Protego team will be integrated into Cisco's Security Technology Group.
  • Protego Networks was founded in 2002 and has 38 employees. The company is based in Sunnyvale, California.

Indonesia's PT Aplikanusa Lintasarta Selects Juniper for IP/MPLS

PT Aplikanusa Lintasarta, which is part of Indonesia's Indosat Group, has deployed a next-generation IP/MPLS network using Juniper Networks' M-series routing platforms. The new network, Juniper Networks' first major network deployment in Indonesia, supports multiservice IP VPN services to corporate users. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Empirix Enhances VoIP and TDM performance testing system

Empirix introduced an enhanced version of its "Hammer NXT" VoIP and TDM performance testing system featuring the ability to scale to more than 50,000 endpoints (signaling and media). The Hammer NXT offers up to 24K simultaneous signaling/media endpoints per system for high-density performance testing. The system can detect and analyze the content of each media stream generated (up to 24 K) at full Ethernet line rates, including detection of tones, DTMF, voice prompts, silences, and energy, allowing users to stress and verify media functionality under high-density conditions. A wide range of codecs are supported, as well as unique IP and MAC address emulation.

The new NXT shares a common signaling engine and architecture with the company's Hammer FX-IP functional test system. Customized protocol and signaling configurations can be ported between the two platforms.

WiQuest Raises $13 Million for Ultrawideband

WiQuest Communications, a start-up based in Allen, Texas, raised $13 million in funding for its ultra wideband (UWB) technology. WiQuest said it is building complete solutions for ultrawideband applications, from mobile handsets and portable gaming to audio/video systems in the modern digital home. The technology is expected to enable a new class of consumer product features, including wireless multimedia, flexible PC connectivity, and simplified, lower cost home theatre installation.

As an early contributing member of the MultiBand OFDM Alliance Special Interest Group (MBOA-SIG), WiQuest engineers have been actively involved in the development of the recently released MBOA-SIG physical layer (PHY) as well as the media access control (MAC) specifications.

WiQuest supports the MultiBand OFDM UWB proposal, currently under consideration in the IEEE 802.15 personal area network working group. The company is also a member of the USB Implementer's Forum and is active in its nascent wireless USB efforts.

The new funding was led by Menlo Ventures and Palomar Ventures.
  • WiQuest was founded by and is headed by Matthew B. Shoemake, who most recently served as Director of Advanced Technology for Texas Instruments WLAN Business Unit. Shoemake was an initial team member at Alantro Communications which was acquired for $300 million by Texas Instruments in 2000. Dr. Shoemake served the IEEE 802.11 Working Group for over five years in various capacities including chairing the 400-plus member IEEE 802.11n Task Group that is setting the standard for the next generation of Wi-Fi products and chairing the IEEE 802.11g Task Group, which extends Wi-Fi data rates to 54 Mbps. Dr. Shoemake is co-inventor of the high performance option (PBCC) in the 802.11b and 802.11g standards, and he was a lead designer of TI's IEEE 802.11b compliant processors.

  • WiQuest Communications was founded in September 2003.

Elcoteq and Thomson Enter Set-top Box Outsourcing Agreement

Thomson reached an outsourcing agreement with Elcoteq Network Corporation, a global provider of electronics manufacturing services . The deal includes the acquisition of Thomson's manufacturing operation in Juarez, Mexico, and manufacturing co-operation in the set-top box business.

Under the deal, Elcoteq will pay US$33 million for certain fixed assets and inventories of Thomson's Juarez manufacturing operation. Thomson's personnel in Juarez, Mexico will continue in Elcoteq's organization. Currently the plant employs approximately 2,000 employees.

Under the long-term manufacturing agreement, Elcoteq will become a preferred manufacturing partner to Thomson for the manufacture of set-top box products and produce Thomson's set-top boxes in Juarez, Mexico. In addition to manufacturing services Elcoteq will also offer other value add services such as component sourcing services to Thomson.

The acquisition of the Juarez plant will double Elcoteq's manufacturing capacity in Mexico. The Juarez plant is ideally located in the border region between Mexico and the US. http://www.thomson.net

Thursday, December 16, 2004

ZigBee Wireless Specification Finalized

The ZigBee Alliance ratified the first ZigBee specification for low-cost, low-power wireless networks. Expected applications for ZigBee include wireless sensor networks for remote monitoring, home control, as well as industrial automation.

The ZigBee Alliance, which includes more than 100 member companies, plans to validate the specification through expanded interoperability and scalability tests.

NTT DoCoMo Tests 1 Gbps VSF-Spread OFDM

NTT DoCoMo has successfully tested a broadband wireless access system with 1 Gbps downlink capability. The 4G radio access equipment employed variable-spreading-factor spread orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (VSF-Spread OFDM) radio access technology along with multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) multiplexing techniques and a new signal detection algorithm in order to achieve the 1Gbps data transmission within 100 MHz of spectrum.

NTT DoCoMo said it is currently conducting indoor tests with various radio conditions as preparation for future field tests to develop a 4G global standard in coordination with the ITU.

PacketFront Supplies In-Building Broadband for Tokyo's Four Seasons Hotel

PacketFront, together with NEO Index Corporation and Soliton Systems KK, are suppliying a new broadband network for the Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-so. The fully automated network will be based on PacketFront's Intelligent Broadband Solution and will offer 300 hotel rooms and conference facilities a selection of Triple Play services. Soliton Systems has built and is operating the network, while NEO Index Corporation offers Triple Play services to the hotel. The hotel is now providing access to a content library with over 5,000 video titles from major Hollywood studios, as well as Japanese films. http://www.packetfront.com

KPN Selects Siemens Surpass for Network Upgrade

KPN selected Siemens as the strategic IP partner for its fixed network and mobile activities in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Under the five year agreement, Siemens Communications will set up a completely new IP environment for the whole of KPN, laying the foundation for a new generation of communication services.

Siemens will supply network elements and application platforms (IMS, IP Multimedia Subsystem) mostly based on its IP convergence architecture Surpass. Financial terms were not disclosed.

KPN is already a major supplier of IP-based services to businesses in the Netherlands and abroad, offering IP-PBX and IP-VPN connectivity.

Thomson Completes TR-069 Testing with SupportSoft

Thomson and SupportSoft successfully conducted interoperability testing of the DSL Forum CPE WAN Management protocol. Known as TR-069, this specification ensures that DSL modems can be easily configured, activated and managed from a console in the network, helping service providers to effectively address the costs of deployment and support of their CPE as well as tightly manage broadband service delivery. TR-069 provides the necessary framework for efficient and scalable deployment of new services on top of the DSL broadband infrastructure. Thomson and SupportSoft have validated that Thomson's DSL CPE devices and SupportSoft's netConfiguration software interoperate in accordance with the DSL Forum TR-069 specification. http://www.supportsoft.com

AMC-16 Satellite Launched from Atlas V

The AMC-16 telecommunications satellite, which was designed and built by Lockheed Martin for SES AMERICOM, was successfully launched aboard a Lockheed Martin-built Atlas V rocket provided by International Launch Services (ILS).

AMC-16, a hybrid satellite featuring the second operating Ka-band payload in the SES AMERICOM fleet, with 12 spot-beams and 24-36Mhz transponders of Ku-band capacity for both fixed satellite service or direct broadcast service. The Ka-band beams will be deployed in a pattern to take advantage of frequency re-use while eliminating interference between and among the beams.

SES AMERICOM has an agreement with EchoStar Communications Corporation, a leading U.S. satellite TV provider, to use both payloads on AMC-16.

AMC-16 is the fourth Lockheed Martin-built satellite ILS has launched in 2004 to expand SES AMERICOM's fleet of satellites, which provide global distribution of cable, broadcast television and radio programming, mobile communications, business television, broadband data and telecommunications services.

AMC-15, which features the first Ka-band operating payload in the SES AMERICOM fleet, was successfully launched in October aboard an ILS Proton vehicle from Baikonur, Kazakhstan in October.

MaxStream Adopts Freescale ZigBee Wireless

MaxStream, a supplier of embedded RF modules, has adopted Freescale Semiconductor's ZigBee wireless silicon. In Q1 2005, MaxStream will introduce the FCC and CE-type approved XBee family, which incorporates Freescale's ZigBee-ready and 802.15.4 chipsets onto MaxStream's RF modules. The XBee line of RF modules and stand-alone connectivity solutions will allow OEMs to add ZigBee wireless capabilities to their products.

The ZigBee wireless standard enables the connection of electronic devices in a short-range wireless mesh network.

Sumitomo Electric Ships IP Set-top to NTT Communications

Sumitomo Electric Networks announced commercial shipment of its "StreamCruiser" IP set-top boxes to NTT Communications for its "OCN Theater" video distribution service.

OCN Theater is a VOD service for NTT Comm's OCN optical fiber "B FLET'S" service. It features Hollywood movie productions, Japanese movies and the currently popular Korean dramas. In addition to VOD, the service provides video kara-oke, games, news news, weather reports, maps and other content.

Sumitomo Electric's StreamCruiser IP-STB connects to the TV set in the home as a set-top box using an FTTH or ADSL. The product uses "Raptor" high-speed, low-latency, packet-loss recovery technology developed through the collaboration betwen Sumitomo Electric Networks and US-based Digital Fountain.

StreamCruiser is also available with NTT East Corporation's IPv6 network service (FLET'S.Net), and implements links with the Digital Rights Management (DRM) system using content encryption, supporting video distribution service on a fully commercial basis. http://www.sei-networks.com

Nortel Softswitch Achieves Euro-PacketCable Qualification

Nortel's Communication Server (CS) 2000 has been awarded EUR-PacketCable Call Management Server (CMS) qualification status by the EUR-Cable Certification Board (ECB), a consortium consisting of 12 major European cable. EUR-PacketCable is the set of procedures for IP-based telephony over cable and builds on the North American PacketCable standard developed by CableLabs. The standard enables a range of multimedia services, including IP telephony, multimedia conferencing, interactive gaming, and general multimedia applications.

Nortel said it is the only CMS vendor with cable VoIP solutions qualified in both Europe (by ECB) and North America (by CableLabs). Nortel added eight new cable VoIP contracts in 2004. Announced cable VoIP deployments in EMEA include TeleCable (Spain), ish and Kabel BW (Germany) and Telenet (Belgium).

TANDBERG TV to Acquire N2 Broadband

TANDBERG Television agreed to acquire N2 Broadband, Inc., a provider of scalable, open-platform solutions for on-demand entertainment, in a cash and stock transaction valued at $110 million to $130 million.

The companies said their merger would create a global force in the provision of enabling technologies for the delivery of digital multimedia content. TANDBERG Television is a market leader in digital video compression, offering a portfolio of standard definition and high definition compression solutions for MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC and SMPTE VC-1. The company is the primary supplier of digital cable head ends in Europe, with a strong position in the global DTH satellite market and a market lead in the provision of IPTV delivery systems to telcos around the world.

N2 Broadband provides an open-platform solution that enables network operators and content providers to efficiently and confidently offer on-demand services. The company serves the North American cable market and has established relationships with the top cable operators, and an engineering staff intimately familiar with current and next generation cable system architectures.

"The North American market represents the largest growth opportunity for TANDBERG Television's products and services over the next several years and N2 Broadband will immediately strengthen the route to market for our video compression systems into the US cable market," said Eric Cooney, President and CEO of TANDBERG Television. "Of equal importance over the long term is the expanding worldwide market for on-demand services such as VOD. Our pole position in European and Asian cable markets, as well as our global lead in the telco IPTV segment, provides an established route to market for N2 Broadband's industry-leading VOD software."http://www.tandbergtv.com

Verizon Wireless Extends EVDO in California

Verizon Wireless announced the extension of its BroadbandAccess EVDO wireless service to nearly all of Los Angeles County and, for the first time, portions of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. California. Verizon Wireless said its BroadbandAccess wireless service is now providing typical download speeds of 300 - 500 kbps throughout nearly 4,400 square miles of Southern California.

In addition to its ongoing annual capital investment program to build network capacity and coverage, Verizon Wireless expects to invest $1 billion through 2005 to further deploy its EV-DO technology nationally. In California, the company has invested $3 billion in its network since the company was founded in mid-2000.

BroadbandAccess service is priced at $79.99 monthly access for unlimited use with a 1- or 2-year customer agreement. The notebook interface card is priced at $49.99 with a 2-year customer agreement or $99.99 with a 1-year customer agreement after $150 mail-in rebate.

Verizon Wireless' BroadbandAccess is currently available in 17 cities across the U.S. and in over 25 major airports.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

TenXc Wireless Raises $13.9 Million for Intelligent RF

TenXc Wireless, a start-up based in Ottawa, Canada, raised US$13.9 million in Series A funding for its development of intelligent radio frequency solutions. TenXc is working on solutions for improved spectral efficiency and signal quality that address capacity, quality, and coverage constraints for in wireless networks. The company said its technologies are based on research and application of radio propagation, digital beamforming, signal processing, and other radio frequency advancements for commercial satellite, mobile, and other wireless applications.

VenGrowth Capital Partners and U.S.-based JK&B Capital, co-led the financing round. Additional investors include Venture Coaches/Skypoint Capital, and BDC Venture Capital.

TenXc Wireless also named Graham Belcher as its Vice President of Engineering. Belcher previously served at Lucent Technologies as Director, WCDMA Base-station Hardware Design, and he previously had held senior management positions associated with GSM, GPRS and UMTS products. He played a leading role in the design and implementation of the first US Cellular System in Chicago in 1978 and has been working with evolving wireless technologies ever since.

Cisco Invests $12 Million in Japanese R&D Center

Cisco Systems will open an R&D center in Tokyo, Japan, focused on advanced IPv6, multicast, and wireless, in addition to improving existing security and QoS technologies. The Tokyo R&D center will initially employ 10 engineers.
  • Earlier this month, Fujitsu Limited and Cisco Systems announced a strategic alliance focusing on routers and switches for the Japanese markets. Specifically, the companies agreed to jointly develop high-end routers and will collaborate on development of Cisco's IOS-XR operating system for multi-terabit routers. This is the first time Cisco has joined with another communications equipment manufacturer in router operating system development. Fujitsu will offer Fujitsu and Cisco co-branded routing products running IOS-XR to telecommunications service providers in Japan.

Equant Introduces Global LAN Utility Service

Equant introduced a global LAN utility service that is seamlessly integrated with its Cisco-based IP VPN service. The new Equant LAN VPN service is a fully managed LAN service for a monthly fee per site or per port. Equant is offering wired and wireless LANs built with Cisco equipment. The service also provides Web-based views of the WAN and LAN performance. An Equant customer could, for instance, compare in real time the performance between a LAN in New York and a LAN in Amsterdam.

Staccato Demos All-CMOS UWB Chip

Staccato Communications, a start-up based in San Diego, demonstrated the first version of its single-chip design for all major components of the RF and baseband specified by the newly completed MBOA PHY specification.

The company said its all-CMOS implementation clears the path for low-cost, highly integrated silicon solutions for wireless USB and other UWB applications by taking advantage of mainstream generic CMOS foundry processes.

Staccato Communications' single-chip PHY products are expected to sample in early 2005. Complete single-chip wireless USB silicon will sample in late 2005.

LG Electronics Selects Texas Instruments' VoIP

LG Electronics has chosen Texas Instruments' VoIP products for its access gateway platforms and next- generation trunking gateways. TI silicon and software currently power LGE's Compact Access Module (CAM), Total Access Module (TAM) and trunking gateways and are intended to replace existing toll telecom exchange systems.

Riverstone Hires Nortel Exec for North American Sales

Riverstone Networks named Dan Middleton as its Vice President of Sales for North America. Middleton joins Riverstone after ten years with Nortel Networks where held a number of senior sales and marketing positions. Most recently, he served as a sales Vice President in Nortel's Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) region, where he was responsible for expanding Nortel's IP Convergence Business.

AT&T Enhances its CallVantage Consumer VoIP Service

AT&T has enhanced its CallVantage consumer VoIP service with a new sub-account capability that provides up to nine distinctive telephone numbers along with the ability to manage each as a separate calling experience while sharing the same line. Other new features include:

  • Second lines to the same adapter

  • Support of facsimile machines and some modems. It may also work with some Personal Video Recorders and satellite TV systems that use a dial-up modem for network support.

  • Call filtering capabilities provide the ability to direct calls based on who is calling. For example, using 'Do Not Disturb' users might elect to send calls from friends directly to voicemail, while allowing calls from children always to ring through. The monthly charge for this feature is $1.99.

  • Record and send, a feature that allows the user to record a message and quickly deliver it to as many as 20 separate phone numbers. After a free trial period, the feature will cost $0.49 per use beginning in February 2005.

  • Locate Me VIP List, that provides the option of forwarding all calls, or only a select group of numbers.

  • Phone Book Import/Export, which provides synchronization of up to 250 names to Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Palm Powered handhelds.

  • AT&T has now begun charging $0.35 per minute for the Conference Calling feature.
    Introduced in March 2004, AT&T CallVantage Service is now serving consumers in more than 170 markets in 39 states and Washington, D.C.

iTunes Music Store Downloads Top 200 Million Songs

Apple's iTunes Music Store passed the milestone of 200 million songs downloaded to date, making it the world's number one online music store by far. The iTunes Music Store currently features a catalog of more than one million songs and over 9,000 audiobooks.

Motorola Debuts IP-based Push-To-Talk Engine for iDEN

Motorola announced an agreement with Nextel Communications to implement Next Generation Dispatch (NGD), a new IP-based Push-To-Talk (PTT) call processing engine. The NGD solution used with Motorola's iDEN technology is designed to replace the call processing system currently used in Nextel's nationwide network.

The NGD development contract includes development of the new IP-based PTT server solution, associated hardware needed to deploy the solution in Nextel's largest markets, plus the development of an All Frame Relay backhaul solution from cell sites to the switching core. NGD will replace legacy PTT call processors, voice duplication equipment and router equipment used in the current architectural design.

The NGD agreement includes the development of technology that will enable Nextel to convert its cell site transport facilities to an All Frame Relay IP based network, which is designed to increase the capacity of existing T1 span lines by reducing Nextel's operating expense. Commercialization is scheduled to commence in the first half of 2006.

Motorola said NGC significantly simplifies the iDEN PTT architecture and extends interoperability for IP-based PTT services on 3G broadband networks that utilize CDMA 1XRTT and EV-DO technology.

Siemens Sells Partial Equity Holdings of Juniper Networks

Siemens has sold approximately 13 million shares of its holdings in Juniper Networks' common stock. Siemens remaining ownership in Juniper Networks common stock is below 5% of the total outstanding shares. Siemens received these shares in connection with the acquisition by Juniper Networks of Unisphere Networks from Siemens in 2002.

Siemens said it will continue to develop its commercial and technology relationship with Juniper Networks.
  • In 2002, Juniper Networks acquired Unisphere Networks, a division of Siemens, for $375 million in cash and 36.5 million JNPR shares. At the time the deal closed, Siemens held slightly less than 10% of the outstanding shares in Juniper. Unisphere developed the ERX edge router.

Allstream and AT&T Extend Agreement through 2011

Allstream (formerly AT&T Canada) has further extended its Master Services Agreement with AT&T Corp. until June 30, 2011. The deal provides continuity for certain Allstream voice services and features built on AT&T capabilities and technology. The deal also will enable the two companies to offer customers cross-border routing, a capability used by many Contact Centres with locations in Canada and the U.S. http://www.allstream.com

Motorola Announces Three-Year Extension of iDEN Contracts with Nextel

Motorola reached an agreement with Nextel Communications to extend its iDEN infrastructure and iDEN subscriber supply agreements for a period of three years from January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2007. The contract covers base station equipment, core network equipment, plus software and hardware maintenance and support services necessary to expand, upgrade and support Nextel's nationwide iDEN based network. The extension of the iDEN subscriber supply agreement includes pricing and other terms relating to current and proposed new handset models for Nextel, including handset models to be marketed under Nextel's youth- lifestyle brand, Boost Mobile.

Motorola said it expects the value of its infrastructure and subscriber shipments to Nextel to be comparable to the average levels seen over the past two years.

Motorola noted that more new models of iDEN handsets are expected to be introduced in the next 12 months, including new models that incorporate the new WiDEN data functionality that increases data rates up to four times faster than customary iDEN data rates.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Verizon Signs Discovery Channel for its FTTP TV Service

Verizon has signed the Discovery Network as a content partner for its upcoming "FiOS " FTTP TV service.

Under the agreement, Verizon's programming lineup will include Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Times Channel, The Science Channel, Discovery Home Channel, Military Channel, Discovery en Espanol, FitTV, BBC AMERICA, and Discovery HD Theater, the company's 24-hour high-definition network. The agreement also includes Discovery On Demand, Discovery's video-on-demand service
  • In September, Verizon Communications hired Terry Denson, former vice president of programming for Insight Communications, the ninth-largest cable operator in the country, to manage entertainment content and marketing strategies. As vice president of video programming and content marketing and strategy for Verizon, Denson will guide video product packaging, pricing and marketing strategies; video content acquisition and distribution agreements; and customer education, acquisition and retention planning.

CWA Calls for Scrutiny of Sprint, Nextel Wireless Merger

The Communications Workers of America, a union that represents about 3,400 Sprint employees who work for Sprint's local telephone companies, calling on federal and state regulators to carefully address the critical issues raised in the proposed deal by Sprint Corp. to acquire Nextel Communications.

The CWA is concerned that the spinoff of Sprint's local telephone companies, which now serve 7 million mostly rural customers in a number of states, might saddle rural ratepayers with a disproportionate share of the company's wireless debt. CWA is also calling on regulators to make certain that Sprint workers at the local telephone companies are not subject to job loss, reduction in their standard of living and loss of pensions and other benefits, due to this wireless acquisition.

Covad and Verizon Sign Commercial DSL Line-Sharing Agreement

Covad Communications and Verizon signed a commercial agreement enabling Covad to continue to provide line-sharing services to DSL subscribers throughout Verizon territory for a four-year period.

Line-sharing allows communications providers like Covad to deploy DSL on the same line customers use for their voice phone services.

Covad said that while the specific terms of the agreement are confidential, the economic terms of the agreement are comparable to those of its other commercial line-sharing agreements.

Telecom Italia and Cisco Systems Collaborate on VoIP

Telecom Italia and Cisco Systems agreed to collaborate on VoIP solutions targeted at midsize and large businesses. The companies said that in addition to offering VoIP services, the integration of Cisco IP solutions on the Telecom Italia platform, would help customers adopt advanced services and solutions, including multimedia messaging, videoconferencing, file and document sharing and call center applications.

The agreement follows from Cisco's strategic technology partnership with Italtel.

HP and Cisco Align Support Services

HP and Cisco Systems agreed to deliver co-branded support services - via a single point of contact - to help customers maintain their enterprise networks on a global scale.

The agreement is part of Cisco's Global Services Alliance program, which was established by Cisco in June 2004. HP has been selected by Cisco for this new alliance program focused on services.

In addition, HP is the first partner to have earned Cisco's Global Certified Partner status

FCC Adopts New Network Unbundling Rules

The FCC adopted rules concerning incumbent local exchange carriers' (incumbent LECs') obligations to make elements of their network available to other carriers seeking to enter the local telecommunications market.

The new rules were issued in response to the March 2004 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit which overturned portions of the Unbundled Network Element (UNE) rules in the FCC's Triennial Review Order.

The FCC said the new framework builds on its actions to limit unbundling and provide incentives for both incumbent carriers and new entrants to invest in the telecommunications market in a way that best allows for innovation and sustainable competition. Highlights of the new rules include:

An Unbundling Framework. -- The new rules clarify the impairment standard adopted in the Triennial Review Order in one respect and modify its application in three respects. First, impairments are evaluated with regard to the capabilities of a reasonably efficient competitor. Second, the Triennial Review Order's "qualifying service" interpretation of section 251(d)(2) is set aside. The use of UNEs are prohibited for the provision of telecommunications services in the mobile wireless and long-distance markets, which the FCC previously found to be competitive. Third, the impairment test draws reasonable inferences regarding the prospects for competition in one geographic market based on the state of competition in other, similar markets. Fourth, the appropriate role of tariffed incumbent LEC services are considered in the unbundling framework, and that in the context of the local exchange markets, a general rule prohibiting access to UNEs whenever a requesting carrier is able to compete using an incumbent LEC's tariffed offering would be inappropriate.

Dedicated Interoffice Transport. -- Competing carriers are impaired without access to DS1 transport except on routes connecting a pair of wire centers, where both wire centers contain at least four fiber-based collocators or at least 38,000 business access lines. Competing carriers are impaired without access to DS3 or dark fiber transport except on routes connecting a pair of wire centers, each of which contains at least three fiber-based collocators or at least 24,000 business lines. Finally, competing carriers are not impaired without access to entrance facilities connecting an incumbent LEC's network with a competitive LEC's network in any instance. The new framework adopts a 12-month plan for competing carriers to transition away from use of DS1- and DS3-capacity dedicated transport where they are not impaired, and an 18-month plan to govern transitions away from dark fiber transport. These transition plans apply only to the embedded customer base, and do not permit competitive LECs to add new dedicated transport UNEs in the absence of impairment. During the transition periods, competitive carriers will retain access to unbundled dedicated transport at a rate equal to the higher of (1) 115% of the rate the requesting carrier paid for the transport element on June 15, 2004, or (2) 115% of the rate the state commission has established or establishes, if any, between June 16, 2004 and the effective date of this Order.

High-Capacity Loop. -- Competitive LECs are impaired without access to DS3-capacity loops except in any building within the service area of a wire center containing 38,000 or more business lines and 4 or more fiber-based collocators. Competitive LECs are impaired without access to DS1-capacity loops except in any building within the service area of a wire center containing 60,000 or more business lines and 4 or more fiber-based collocators. Competitive LECs are not impaired without access to dark fiber loops in any instance. We adopt a 12-month plan for competing carriers to transition away from use of DS1- and DS3-capacity loops where they are not impaired, and an 18-month plan to govern transitions away from dark fiber loops. These transition plans apply only to the embedded customer base, and do not permit competitive LECs to add new high-capacity loop UNEs in the absence of impairment. During the transition periods, competitive carriers will retain access to unbundled facilities at a rate equal to the higher of (1) 115% of the rate the requesting carrier paid for the transport element on June 15, 2004, or (2) 115% of the rate the state commission has established or establishes, if any, between June 16, 2004 and the effective date of this Order.

Mass Market Local Circuit Switching. -- Incumbent LECs have no obligation to provide competitive LECs with unbundled access to mass market local circuit switching. The new rules adopt a 12-month plan for competing carriers to transition away from use of unbundled mass market local circuit switching. This transition plan applies only to the embedded customer base, and does not permit competitive LECs to add new switching UNEs. During the transition period, competitive carriers will retain access to the UNE platform (i.e., the combination of an unbundled loop, unbundled local circuit switching, and shared transport) at a rate equal to the higher of (1) the rate at which the requesting carrier leased that combination of elements on June 15, 2004, plus one dollar, or (2) the rate the state public utility commission establishes, if any, between June 16, 2004, and the effective date of this Order, for this combination of elements, plus one dollar.

Representing the majority, FCC Chairman Michael Powell wrote "For eight years, the effort to establish viable local unbundling rules has been a litigation roller coaster. Regrettably, years of fierce battles to bend the rules entirely toward one sector or another without proper respect for the legal constraints have contributed to a prolonged period of uncertainty and market stagnation... Facilities competitors are favored under the Act and Commission policy and we have attempted to permit wide unbundling for the key elements of loops and transport, where there is clear and demonstrable impairment."

In a dissenting opinion, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said "What we have in front of us effectively dismantles wireline competition. Brick-by-brick, this process has been underway for some time. But today's Order accomplishes the same feat with all the grace and finality of a wrecking ball. No amount of rhetoric about judicially sustainable rules and economically efficient competitors can hide the blockbuster job this Commission has done on competition. During its tenure, the largest long distance carriers have abandoned the residential market. And as a result of today's decision, other carriers will follow suit. In their wake we will face bankruptcies, job losses and customer outages. Billions of dollars of investment capital will be stranded. And down the road consumers will face less competition, higher rates and fewer service choices."
  • In March 2004, a three-judge panel in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the FCC's Triennial Review Order with regard to network unbundling rules. The FCC rules, which were announced in February 2003 but actually issued in August 2003, empowered state public utility commissions as the decision makers on issues regarding UNE-P unbundling and local competition. The Court of Appeals said the FCC erred by not providing unified, federal guidelines and by pushing many FCC decisions to the states. The court also upheld the Triennial Review Order's exemption provided to incumbent carriers from unbundling for certain fiber-fed loops and for line sharing.

FCC Promotes Broadband on Planes, Ships

The FCC will auction new licenses in the 4 MHz of spectrum in the 800 MHz band currently dedicated to commercial air-ground service. There are three possible band plan configurations. The ultimate band configuration will be determined based on the results of the auction. However, in order to further competition and ensure maximum use of the frequency band for air-ground services, the Commission imposed an eligibility limitation to prevent a single entity from holding new licenses for all 4 MHz of air-ground spectrum.

New air-ground service may be any type (e.g., voice, data, broadband internet, etc.) and may be provided to any or all aviation markets (e.g., commercial, military, and general). The FCC decided not to authorize ancillary services in the band.

To ensure protection to adjacent public safety operations in the 800 MHz band, the FCC applied to 800 MHz air-ground licensees the same interference rules and other specific protections adopted earlier this year in the 800 MHz public safety proceeding.

In a related action today, the Commission began an inquiry into whether its ban on using cellular telephones on airborne aircraft should be modified. Verizon Airfone, the current operator in the 800 MHz air-ground spectrum, was granted a non-renewable 5-year license, subject to existing narrowband technical limits.

In a separate item, the FCC approved new licensing and service rules for satellite earth stations on vessels (ESVs) in the C and Ku bands. The rules are expected to promote the availability of broadband services on cruise ships, merchant ships, ferries, barges and other vessels. Specifically:

  • In the C-band (5925-6425 and 3700-4200 MHz) ESV operators currently share the band with the fixed terrestrial and fixed-satellite service. To protect the incumbent fixed terrestrial service, ESVs will be subject to operation and spectrum limitations and coordination requirements. To protect fixed satellite operators, the new rules have placed power limits on ESV operations.

  • In the Ku-band (14.0-14.5 and 11.7-12.2 GHz) ESV coordination with the fixed terrestrial service is not required because these operations are limited in the band. In the 14.0-14.5 GHz band, ESV coordination is required near a limited number of federal government earth stations. As in the C-band, the new rules place power limits on ESV operations to protect fixed satellite operators. ESVs will be permitted in portions of the "extended" Ku-band downlink (10.95-11.2 GHz and 11.45-12.2 GHz) and must accept all interference from fixed service operations.

For foreign registered ESVs, the Commission established a separate regulatory framework to allow communication to take place near the U.S. without causing harmful interference to domestic operations.

FCC Permits New Unlicensed UWB Devices

The FCC adopted new rules to permit unlicensed wideband devices in the 6 GHz, 17 GHz and 24 GHz bands. Specifically, the FCC amended its rules for general Part 15 unlicensed operations that use wide bandwidths but are not classified as UWB devices under its rules. It increased the peak power limits and reduced the unwanted emission levels for 3 frequency bands that were already available for unlicensed operation: 5925-7250 MHz, 16.2-17.2 GHz, and 23.12-29 GHz, and indicated that higher peak power limits in these bands would facilitate wideband operations such as short range communications, collision avoidance, inventory control and tracking systems. The Commission also amended its measurement procedures to permit frequency hopped, swept frequency, and gated systems operating within these bands to be measured in their normal operating mode.

No changes were made to the current UWB technical requirements, indicating that changes to these rules at this early stage could be disruptive to current industry product development efforts.
  • In February 2002, the FCC decided to permit the use of ultra-wideband (“UWB�?) technology in certain types of new products, such as short-range, high-speed wireless data transmissions or ground penetrating radar. UWB operates by employing very narrow or short duration pulses that result in very large or wideband transmission bandwidths. With appropriate technical standards, UWB devices can operate using spectrum occupied by existing radio services without causing interference, thereby permitting scarce spectrum resources to be used more efficiently. For communication and measurement systems, such as networking devices as well as storage tank measurement devices, the rules state that devices must operate in the frequency band 3.1-10.6 GHz and be designed to ensure that operation can only occur indoors, or must be hand-held devices that may be employed for such activities as peer-to-peer operation. Additional frequency and allowable-use restrictions are given for ground penetrating radar, vehicle radar systems, in-wall imaging systems, through-wall imaging systems, medical systems and surveillance systems.

  • Ultra-wideband operates without using an RF Carrier for its signal. Instead, data is transmitted using time and amplitude modulated pulses of less than one nanosecond in duration. The U.S. military has long used the technology for highly secure communications and other applications.

Zarlink Launches Low-Density Circuit Emulation-over-Packet Processors

Zarlink Semiconductor launched three low-density CES (Circuit Emulation Services)-over-Packet processors for supporting TDM voice, video and data services over expanding metro Ethernet and wireless networks.

Zarlink's three-chip ZL50117 family utilizes CES-over-Packet technology to seamlessly "tunnel" one, two or four streams of TDM traffic, with associated timing and signaling, across Ethernet, and MPLS networks. Zarlink's CES-over-Packet technology can be designed into line cards in the base station and base station controller to seamlessly carry TDM traffic across the Ethernet connection. TDM traffic timing information is carried end-to-end across the packet network to ensure service still meets relevant T1/E1 standards. Similarly, with Wi-Fi and WiMAX technologies gaining acceptance, CES-over-Packet allows the wireless backhaul of T1/E1 trunks across an Ethernet-based local area network at a lower cost than a microwave link.

The ZL50117 packet processor family consists of three devices. The ZL50115 chip supports a single T1/E1 stream, the ZL50116 device supports two T1/E1 streams, while the ZL50117 chip supports four T1/E1 streams.

Cogent Launches Managed Security Service

Cogent Communications began offering two levels of Managed Security services to further enhance its dedicated Internet access connections. Available immediately, Cogent's Advanced and Premium level services are offered through an agreement with Tekmark Global Solutions ("TGS"), a third party provider of security services. Cogent will maintain the direct customer relationship and handle all issues and requests related to the managed security service.

For $199 a month, Advanced level customers receive a firewall powered by Internet security leader SonicWALL, which allows an unlimited number of user devices behind the firewall. Also included are VPN remote client licenses, 24x7x365 customer support and online reporting via a web portal. Premium level customers receive everything above plus content filtering and desktop anti-virus services for $259 a month. All equipment is pre-configured to meet customer requirements and shipped directly to the customer.

Service is being launched across the United States and Canada and will be available to Cogent's SME business customers who connect at speeds from 1.5 Mbps to 100 Mbps.

QUALCOMM Opens BREW Developer Lab in India

QUALCOMM opened a BREW Developer Lab in Mumbai, India. The new lab, one of nine BREW developer labs worldwide, will provide Indian application developers access to the latest BREW-enabled handsets, software and testing tools. In addition, the lab provides developers access to hands-on technical support from QUALCOMM. Developers will also be able to attend a three-day BREW workshop following the opening of the lab.

Bell Canada Cites Progress in Move to Next Gen Services

At its annual Business Review Conference, Bell Canada said it is making significant progress in migrating to next generation services. Currently 60% of Bell Canada's revenues come from its legacy services, such as local and long distance, while 40% come from new, high- growth services - such as wireless, video, high-speed Internet, IP and Value-Added Services. By the end of 2006, Bell expects the ratio to have shifted with about 45% of revenue coming from legacy services and about 55% coming from new services. Today, Bell adds approximately $1.50 in new service revenue for every $1 decline in revenue from legacy services. By late 2006, the company expects to generate $2.50 in new service revenue for every $1 decline in legacy revenue.

"We are successfully executing our plan to reshape Bell Canada by 2006," said Michael Sabia, President and Chief Executive Officer of BCE Inc. ""Our strategy is to change the "customer experience" by making it easy to use our services and to stay with Bell, to build a broadband network that can deliver all the services of the future, and then deliver that future by creating the next generation of services that customers want."

Highlights of BCE's Business Review Conference include:

  • Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) increased its annual common share dividend by 12 cents per share or 10%, raising the annual dividend to $1.32 per share.

  • The implementation of a new cost structure (known as Galileo) is expected to result in a $1 billion to $1.5 billion of annualized expense reduction by the end of 2006. In addition to guiding the implementation of IP, Galileo is driving the simplification of Bell's business. It aims to give Bell competitive advantage by being the simplest and easiest to deal with service provider in the marketplace.

  • Bell will invest $1.2 billion to bring high-speed broadband access to 4.3 million households by 2008

  • Bell's recently announced EVDO high-speed wireless data service will bring a host of new services, including video messaging and conferencing, to mobile devices. The company expects to launch EVDO beginning in major Canadian urban centers in late 2005.

  • BCE's 2005 guidance forecasts solid financial performance by the company with the medium-term expectation that annual free-cash flow should be sustainable at least $1 billion.

  • 60% of Bell's core network now running on IP. By 2006, Bell Canada will have retired 100 legacy services and 10,000 network elements with the removal of 5,000 product and service codes from its systems.

  • Expected 2005 subscriber growth for video and wireless is in the 10 to 15% range, and subscribers to high-speed Internet are expected to grow between 15 to 20%.

AT&T Extends Its Global VPN and VoIP Capabilities

AT&T announced a series of enhancements to its VPN and VoIP services, including a real-time "hoot and holler" conference calling feature. This feature creates a conference bridge with IP multicasting technology to connect as many end points as needed. AT&T is also added a new "automatic ring down" feature enables two phones to be instantly connected just by lifting the handset. Both features are particularly aimed at the financial services industry, where there is a high demand for instant connectivity among multiple users.

AT&T is also providing new Voice over VPN customers with free off-net calling (those calls terminating outside a company's VPN) to all U.S. and non- U.S. locations for 60 days. Key features of this global VPN offer include:

  • support for a wide array of premises equipment including classic digital and analog Public Branch Exchanges (PBXs), as well as IP PBXs;

  • a voice quality service level commitment that is both VoIP-specific and International Telecommunication Union standards-based;

  • an array of customer reports delivered via AT&T's BusinessDirect portal, including in-depth call detail and summary reports;

  • greater flexibility and effectiveness of call center employees through advanced routing features;

  • dynamic real-time bandwidth allocation/prioritization, allowing customers to optimize their converged voice and data traffic flows;

  • in-region, in-language, global customer support, and

  • unified billing for customers' voice and data services.

Avaya Acquires RouteScience

Avaya acquired substantially all of the assets of RouteScience Technologies, a start-up based in San Mateo, California, that developed a "route controller" platform for optimizing a company's multiple ISP links. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RouteScience offers adaptive networking software (ANS) for enterprises and service providers. ANS monitors, assesses and automatically adjusts the network environment to optimize data traffic flow and enhance the performance of advanced applications, such as IP telephony.

Most of RouteScience's employees have now joined Avaya.

Avaya said the acquisition enhances its software development team in the critical areas of application-based network assessment, monitoring and intelligent route adjustment. Avaya will continue to support RouteScience customers and offer ANS while developing expanded offerings that continue to advance Avaya's strategy to provide solutions and services that deliver superior reliability and performance in converged voice and data networks.
  • In January 2004, RouteScience announced the appointment of Mark Lazar as CEO. Mr. Lazar takes over in that role from the Acting CEO, Herb Madan, who will retain his position as Chairman. Lazar joins RouteScience from Talking Blocks, where he served as CEO until it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2003.

  • RouteScience was founded in December 1999. Its founders included Herb Madan, who previously was Vice President and General Manager, Service Provider Line of Business at Cisco Systems, and CEO and Co-Founder of Netsys Technologies (acquired by Cisco in 1996); Jim McGuire, previously Senior Director of Engineering, Service Provider Line of Business at Cisco Systems and Co-Founder of Netsys; Joel Evanier, previously Director of Enterprise Sales at Cisco Systems and Vice President of Sales at Netsys; and Mike Lloyd, who was the principal architect for the MPLS VPN provisioning system at Cisco Systems, and a senior engineer on BGP and other routing simulations.

Sprint Nextel to Pursue on CDMA-EVDO Vision, Spinoff Wireline Divisions

Sprint and Nextel Communications confirmed their plans to merge into a larger wireless and integrated communications service provider. The two companies currently serve more than 35 million wireless subscribers and 5 million additional subscribers through affiliates and partners.

The new company would look to leverage a strong spectrum position to deliver nationwide mobile data and push-to-talk services. The company is also aiming to deliver new broadband wireless services for consumers. Some infrastructure implications for the merger include:

Sprint LEC spinoff: Following the close of the merger, Sprint Nextel intends to separate Sprint's local telecommunications business, including consumer, business and wholesale operations from its other businesses and then spin this separated company off to the Sprint Nextel shareholders in a transaction that is expected to be tax free. The inclusion of Sprint's North Supply business in the spin-off will be determined at a later date.

Sprints local telecommunications business, which has 7.7 million local access lines in 18 states and had revenues of more than $6 billion over the past four quarters, would be the largest independent local telephone company in the U.S. The independent company would maintain commercial operating relationships with Sprint Nextel for mobile and long-distance network services and will receive certain transitional services, including corporate support functions. Its corporate headquarters would be in Kansas City.

Nextel's' iDEN Network: Nextel operates a nationwide network based on Motorola's Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN) technology, combines a digital wireless phone, two-way radio with "push-to-talk" feature, alphanumeric pager and "always connected" internet microbrowswer capabilities. iDEN leverages TDM, which uses Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) to reference a synchronized time, and then divides the channel into time slots.

Nextel had been planning to deploy Motorola's WiDEN technology in its nationwide digital iDEN voice and packet data network. Motorola's WiDEN higher speed data technology is designed to quadruple data speeds. Nextel has also been testing a wireless broadband service in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. market using Flarion Technologies' FLASH-OFDM technology.

The combined company would continue to invest in its iDEN network until all voice traffic can be supported on the CDMA network. Nextel's push-to-talk (PTT) service would continue to run on the iDEN network until PTT could be supported on CDMA EVDO (Rev A) in about 2008.

Sprint's CDMA network: Sprint's national 1.9GHz/CDMA network would expand through the use of Nextel cell sites and spectrum. The company would also continue its CDMA-EVDO upgrades. Earlier this month, Sprint finalized multiyear wireless services infrastructure build-out agreements totaling approximately $3 billion with Lucent, Motorola and Nortel. Sprint expects to spend about $1 billion of the $3 billion investment total to upgrade its network to EV-DO. The contracts involve new switching and radio hardware and software for cell sites, capacity augmentation, and Sprint's EV-DO (Evolution, Data Optimized) wireless high-speed data network deployment. The contracts also include future 1xEV technology upgrade options.

In June 2004, Sprint announced its plan to provide next-generation EV-DO wireless service at peak data rates of up to 2.4 Mbps to major U.S. metro areas during 2005. These rates could be boosted to 3.1 Mbps downlink and 1.8 Mbps uplink by 2006/7.

Sprint's Fiber Backbone Sprint Nextel would leverage Sprint's nationwide fiber optic wireline network which extends to 60 metropolitan networks and 37 international fiber points of presence.

Merger Synergies The merged company is expected to yield OPEX and CAPEX savings of over $12 billion by: reducing the number of cell sites and switches; lower overall investment by extending the advantages of Sprint's current deployment of next-generation EV-DO technology to the combined customer base; migrating Nextel backhaul and other telecommunications traffic to Sprint's long haul infrastructure; optimizing customer care, billing and IT costs by consolidating operations, infrastructure support costs and overhead; reducing combined sales and marketing costs; and reducing network capital expense after the merger by building a true IP-based multimedia network. http://www.sprint.com
  • Nextel was founded in 1987 (originally called Fleet Call). In the early 1990s, it merged with a number of other carriers, including OneComm and Dial Call. In 1994, Nextel acquired all of Motorola's SMR radio licenses in the United States, providing Nextel with significant spectrum rights in each of the top 50 U.S. markets. In 1995, Craig O. McCaw and his family agree to invest up to $1.1 billion in Nextel. In 1996, Nextel introduced Motorola's iDEN technology into its network.

  • Nextel Communications ended Q3 with approximately 15.3 million total subscribers including 14.5 million Nextel subscribers and 800,000 Boost Mobile subscribers. During the quarter, Nextel added 550,000 new subscribers, average revenue per user (ARPU) was $69 and customer satisfaction improved as churn was reduced to 1.5%. In addition, Boost Mobile added 195,000 subscribers during the third quarter.

  • At the end of Q3, Sprint had 23.2 million wireless subscribers, consisting of 17.3 million direct, 3.1 million from affiliates and 2.8 million wholesale. Average subscriber usage was just under 17 hours per month. The Sprint PCS Vision service currently has over 7 million wireless data subscribers. In Q3, Sprint PCS had ARPU of $63. The company added 952,000 net wireless subscribers in Q3, including 422,000 wholesale subscribers. Sprint currently has over 2.5 million wholesale wireless subscribers.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Veraz Launches New Subsidiary in India

Veraz Networks has opened a subsidiary in New Delhi, India to handle sales, marketing, and support of local partners. Yogesh S. Bijlani has been appointed country manager. Mr. Bijlani was the Vice President Sales & Marketing (Indian Subcontinent) at UTStarcom Inc. Before that, he was the Director of Business Development for Wireless Infrastructure (Indian Subcontinent) with Lucent Technologies.

Veraz also operates a facility in Pune, India that focuses on R&D and customer support. Veraz is one of the few next-generation network vendors to receive certification from the Indian government's Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) for its highly scaleable softswitch and media gateway solution.

McLeodUSA Announces Resignation of President

Stephen C. Gray is stepping down from his posts as president of McLeodUSA and a member of the company's Board of Directors, effective December 31, 2004. Gray has worked 21 years in the telecom industry and over 12 years with McLeodUSA .

Chris A. Davis remains as McLeodUSA's Chairman and CEO.
  • As of September 30, 2004, McLeodUSA had 38 ATM switches, 39 voice switches, 696 collocations, 435 DSLAMs and 2,474 employees for its network serving 25 Midwest, Southwest, Northwest and Rocky Mountain states.

Hollywood Studios File Suit Against P2P Server Operators

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which represents the major Hollywood studios, filed law suits in U.S. and U.K. courts against individuals operating servers that index millions of illegal copies of movies and TV programs used on computer networks such as BitTorrent. The MPAA said it is working with law enforcement and civil authorities around the world to shut down illegal servers on eDonkey and DirectConnect networks.

The MPAA is targeting "peer-to-peer" file-trading networks, such as BitTorrent, Direct Connect and eDonkey, which index files available for downloading elsewhere online. In addition to the legal actions in the U.S. and the U.K., the MPAA and local rights-holder organizations are also sending cease-and- desist letters to Internet service providers worldwide that host eDonkey servers and DirectConnect hubs.

Nortel Provides Estimated Unaudited Results

Nortel Networks announced limited estimated unaudited financial results for the third quarter of 2004, and updated limited estimated unaudited results for the first and second quarters of 2004 and for the years 2001, 2002 and 2003. The company expects to file final reports on 10-January-2005.

Estimated unaudited revenues in Q3 2004 were approximately US$2.3 billion and the Company estimates an unaudited net loss per share in the quarter of US$0.06. The net loss per share in the quarter included approximately US$0.03 per share for the majority of the investment costs associated with a wireless contract in India and approximately US$0.02 per share in special charges associated with restructuring activities in the quarter, primarily related to the work plan announced in August 2004 and updated in September 2004, which were partially offset by a gain of approximately US$0.01 per share on the transfer in the quarter of certain assets of the directory and operator services business to a joint venture in return for a minority equity interest in such venture.

While customer support remains strong, the ongoing restatement activities and the internal restructuring and realignment programs initiated in August have impacted business performance in the third quarter but this impact is temporary. I expect Q4 2004 revenues in the range of US$2.8 billion to US$2.9 billion," said Bill Owens, president and CEO of the company.

Some highlights for Q3:

Sales by Product category:

Wireless Networks 46%

Enterprise Networks 26%

Wireline Networks 17%

Optical Networks 11%

Sales by Geography:

United States 49%

EMEA 26%

Asia Pacific 14%

Caribbean and Latin America 6%

Canada 5%

Gross Margin 37%

India's BSNL Selects Nortel to Expand GSM/GPRS

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the largest telecommunications company in India, awarded a contract valued at approximately US$500 million to Nortel Networks to expand its GSM/GPRS digital wireless network in the eastern and southern areas of the country. Under the contract, Nortel will deploy an end-to-end GSMand GPRS solution -- including GSM radio base stations, mobile switching centres (MSCs), intelligent networks (IN) and other related equipment.

Commitments to date against the contract represent the majority of the investment and are expected to result in an approximately $0.03 per share cost impact to Nortel's third quarter in 2004.

First Avenue Raises $93 Million in Equity

First Avenue Networks raised $93.3 million through 12,870,000 shares of common stock priced at $7.25 per share. Over 20 institutional investors participated in the sale.

First Avenue intends to use the net proceeds for its mobile backhaul network initiatives and to develop fiber extension facilities for targeted metropolitan markets. The funds also will be used for debt repayment and general corporate purposes.

First Avenue also announced that all conditions for closing the acquisition of Teligent's assets and operations were met. The FCC has approved the request to transfer 24 GHz licenses to be purchased by First Avenue from Teligent in connection with the acquisition. First Avenue believes the deal will close by December 31st.
  • In November, First Avenue Networks agreed to acquire substantially all of Teligent's assets and fixed broadband wireless operations in a stock swap deal valued at approximately $133 million.

Road Runner Deploys Vibe's Video Mail Application

Time Warner Cable has deployed Vibe Solutions Group's video mail application for the more than three million cable modem customers using the Road Runner service. The Vibe Video Mail service enables users to record and send high-quality video mail, create and send customized greeting cards and text, and record video and digital photos.

Juniper Networks Appoints Flextronics Exec as New CFO

Juniper Networks named Robert R. B. Dykes to the position of CFO and executive vice president, Business Operations. He previously served at Flextronics as CFO and president of the Systems Group. Prior to that, Dykes spent 9 years as executive vice president, Worldwide Operations and CFO of Symantec Corporation where, having guided the company through its IPO. Starting on January 1st 2005, Dykes will oversee all business systems functions at Juniper Networks, and will have responsibility for finance, legal, information technology, human resources, investor relations and manufacturing operations.

Dykes will succeed Marcel Gani, who will remain with the company in the role of chief of staff. Gani will assist chairman and CEO, Scott Kriens, in driving some of the internal and external tasks involving overall strategy and direction.

Danish Utility Selects Nortel for Triple Play Network

EnergiMidt, a Danish utility company, selected Nortel to provide a turnkey solution for delivering Triple Play residential services over a new PON network. EnergiMidt Broadband plans to deliver the services to all of its 162,000 customers. Nortel is also providing EnergiMidt with a carrier-grade optical transport network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The network will use Nortel's Broadband Access Services Gateway (BASG) product line, Nortel's optical Ethernet portfolio and a host of leading video and in-home networking partners -- all brought together, tested and approved by Nortel to form a triple-play solution. The technologies behind Nortel's BASG portfolio are supplied by ECI Telecom.

EnergiMidt will be adopting a phased rollout of its service to its current energy customers, aiming for approximately 2000 subscribers by the end of 2005. As part of the deployment strategy, EnergiMidt will connect each of the homes passed by their FTTH deployment, thus greatly reducing the time to turn up service for new customers.

EnergiMidt also plans to offer enterprise services, including VPNs.
  • In February 2004, Nortel Networks announced a strategic relationship to resell ECI Telecom's access and aggregation platforms for central office DSLAM, Optical Line Termination (OLT), and remote terminal applications.

IP Unity and Atreus Partner on Automated VoIP Provisioning

IP Unity and Atreus Systems announced a marketing partnership aimed at automating the provisioning of advanced IP features for top-tier carriers worldwide.

TELUS, the largest telecommunications company in Western Canada, has deployed IP Unity's unified messaging features and will soon implement the joint solution of IP Unity features with Atreus' service fulfillment solution in its production network. http://www.atreus-systems.com

MCI Leverages Oracle Grid Control for Managing Hosting Services

MCI is working with Oracle to enhance service delivery of its Enterprise Hosting application management services and optimize its managed hosting infrastructure.

MCI Enterprise Hosting is now using the Grid Control functionality of Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g to help reduce the cost and complexity of managing its advanced IP applications and systems via a single integrated console. MCI monitors and measures the performance availability of hundreds of database servers. The Oracle Grid Control is used to track changes in hardware and software configurations. In addition, MCI administrators receive a consolidated view for end-user, service and system performance to manage and monitor their systems from anywhere at anytime via Oracle Grid Control.

Atheros Launches Single-Chip 802.11g Access Point Device

Atheros Communications introduced the first 802.11g wireless access point on a chip. The new AR5006AP-G integrates the wireless network processor, media access controller (MAC), baseband and radio functions into a single silicon chip. Atheros has also integrated many of the discrete components required by previous 802.11g access point designs.

Atheros said the transition from a two-chip design to a single-chip implementation produces substantial cost benefits. In addition, Atheros has reduced the rest of BOM (bill-of-materials) by almost 20 %. Applications include 802.11g-based consumer residential gateways at mass-market price points. The chip's design also enables it to be embedded into emerging wireless networking devices including media and print servers, external hard-drive storage devices, and home media gateways.

It includes full support for the IEEE 802.11i security standard using an AES encryption engine built into the hardware, and support for Atheros XR (eXtended Range) and Super G performance enhancements. Atheros also supports the draft 802.11e QoS specification, providing advanced features for delivering wired-quality video and audio content via a wireless connection.

List price for the AR5006AP-G is below $13 in 10,000-unit quantities.

Comcast Completes $350-Million Network Upgrade in Chicago

Comcast announced the completion of its $350 million broadband network upgrade in the Chicago region. The upgrade provides its cable customers with access to ON DEMAND and Digital Video Recorders and High Speed Internet with download speeds of up to 4Mbps.

Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) will be available in the Greater Chicago Region in early 2005 for only $9.95 a month with no fee for the box. All Comcast Digital Cable customers in the region will automatically have access to VOD.

Comcast Cable serves more than 1.7 million customers in the Greater Chicago region.

deltathree Enhances VoIP Reseller Program

deltathree, a provider of SIP-based VoIP, launched new features and services for its Reseller Program, including expanded inbound calling numbers, call forwarding, voicemail, web call and Web and SMS callback features. In addition, deltathree has expanded the broad range of devices that it has certified are interoperable with its services, and recently launched new pricing plans and an enhanced look and feel for its VoIP services.

The expanded choice of Inbound local phone numbers gives customers a choice of receiving calls via these local phone numbers from a variety of countries, including the U.S., Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel and the U.K. These numbers are available to end users without regard to where they are physically located around the world.

deltathree's new customizable web-based and SMS-based callback features allow the end user to decide if the call should occur immediately or at a later time.

deltathree said it is targeting its Reseller Program at calling centers/shops, Internet Cafes, local hardware and software distributors, local ISPs, calling card and callback companies, telecom consultants, Web portal and entrepreneurs.

Terayon Offers Distributed Digital Video Processing for MSOs

Terayon Communication Systems has added significant new capabilities to its flagship Terayon 6400 Network CherryPicker digital video processing platform that enable cable television and other network operators to accelerate their transition to all-digital, next-generation networks and to deliver new digital video applications. New features and capabilities include:

  • Distributed Chassis design that enables operators to acquire, manage and distribute digital video services from any point in the network to any other point in the network. Regardless of the physical or geographic locations of CherryPickers in the network, Distributed Chassis delivers the flexibility to distribute the ingest, processing and distribution of digital video services instead of having to replicate those operations in each physical location such as a head-end or distribution hub. The distributed chassis also increases the input capacity up to 400% without the use of an external switch.

  • Master Control Management Console (MC2) -- a point-and-click environment that simplifies the configuration, monitoring and management of multiple networked CherryPickers.

  • Program redundancy substantially improves the reliability of service delivery by automatically switching to an alternate or back-up program source -- either local or remote -- should the primary source fail.

  • Expanded IP video networking capabilities, including new Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) output replication capability that enables operators transitioning from ASI to GigE to process each digital video service feed only once, eliminating the cost and complexity of processing both feeds simultaneously and providing a cost-effective accelerator to an end-to-end IP video network.

Terayon expects the annual market value for Gigabit Ethernet video delivery equipment to top $900 million by 2008.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Spirent Offers MPLS and Security Testing Services

Spirent Communications introduced new MPLS Flow Monitoring and Firewall Assessment Services as well as a new level of advanced network technology certification training.

Spirent's Flow Monitoring Service is designed for network operators deploying MPLS-based IP VPN networks. The on-site, five-day service combines Spirent's AX/4000 Broadband Test System and its test experts to assess the performance, interworking and stability of demanding multiple protocols associated with MPLS-VPNs. The AX/4000 monitors and analyses an operator's network in the predeployment phase by emulating its unique topology, helping customers to diagnose, isolate and correct faults among a million or more MPLS-VPN flows.

Spirent's Firewall Assessment Service helps enterprise network engineers to validate the performance and reliability of their security and network infrastructures. Spirent test professionals use the Spirent Avalanche platform for firewall and network testing. Within two weeks, customers receive reports of system performance, behavior under load and attack, user handling capacity and bandwidth capability. This report provides the insight necessary to resolve performance, scalability or security issues.

Finally, Spirent's new certification service provides an ongoing learning experience to customers, enabling them to train and certify in-house staff in testing and network performance analysis. The service leverages Spirent's extensive work with leading network equipment manufacturers to provide customers testing training designed around state-of-the-art hardware, testing applications and network architectures. Students may engage in online, self-paced training or in scheduled on-site, instructor-led courses focused on a "how-to-test" curriculum. Both online and on-site training culminates in the award of SCPA (Spirent Certified Professional Associate) or SCPE (Spirent Certified Professional Expert) certifications.

Passavé Adds Dynamic Bandwidth Allocation to EPON Chips

Passavé has introduced a programmable dynamic bandwidth allocation (DBA) engine along with a new algorithm aimed at optimizing traffic over FTTH networks. Passavé said its "Plato" algorithm improves upstream utilization, reduces upstream delay and delivers quality of service supporting triple-play applications as well as legacy TDM traffic emulation over advanced Gigabit EPON systems. The programmable DBA engine comes with all Passavé devices enabling carriers who already have Passavé -based EPONs to utilize the Plato algorithm immediately.

Passavé s programmable DBA engine is already in field deployments, including in Japan.

Pulse~LINK Shows 667 Mbps Wireless UWB

Pulse~LINK, a start-up based near San Diego, demonstrated 667 Mbps data rates transmitted and received over an Ultra Wideband (UWB) wireless connection using forward error correction. The company said its new high-speed chipset architecture is capable of surpassing one Gigabit rates.

"Our actual over-the-air data rate is at present 1.3 Gbps per second, with the data throughput presently at 667Mbps," states John Santhoff, Founder and CTO. "Over the next thirty to sixty days, optimization will bring the throughput to Gigabit data rates."

Pulse~LINK plans to launch Gigabit wireless UWB evaluation kits to partners in February 2005. The company's Gigabit RFIC is presently in fabrication and evaluation kits based on the sample RFIC are planned for release in April 2005. In addition to its high speed UWB technology, Pulse~LINK is introducing a new forward error correction technology for wireless communications that it claims is far more efficient at extremely high data rates than the Viterbi forward error correction technology commonly used in other wireless communications.

Pulse~LINK said applications for its chipset could include wireless solutions for DVI (Digital Visual Interface), HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) and 1394b (Firewire) cabled devices.

Along with providing higher data rate solutions, Pulse~LINK is developing longer-range UWB transmissions for Wireless LANs. In recent demonstrations, Pulse~LINK transmitted two simultaneous HDTV signals for "picture-in-picture" television through a combined seven inch thick concrete wall and an additional steel-frame drywall at ten meters and has demonstrated the same two streams at distances of 25 meters through one steel-frame drywall.

TelCove Launches OC-192 and 10G Wavelength Services

TelCove announced the launch of its OC-192 and 10G wavelength services. The carrier already offered OC-48 and 2.5G Intercity Private Line (IcPL) and Local Private Line (LPL) services. In addition, TelCove is offering a variety of storage networking connections, including Fibre Channel, Enterprise Systems Connectivity (ESCON), Fiber Connectivity (FICON), and Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex (GDPS).

TelCove operates throughout 50 markets in the eastern half of the United States.

FiberNet to Acquire Con Edison Communications

FiberNet Telecom Group agreed to acquire Con Edison Communications (CEC), a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, for approximately $37 million in cash. Both FiberNet and Con Edison Communications provide managed network services in the New York metropolitan area. In acquiring CEC, FiberNet gains access to the Con Edison Company of New York (CECONY) electric conduit system, positioning FiberNet as the only company to extensively use both the electric utility and conventional telecommunications rights-of-way. FiberNet said it will therefore be able to offer customers true physical diversity to support their business continuity and disaster recovery needs.

Together, FiberNet and CEC currently serve more than 400 customers, comprising global telecommunications carriers and Fortune 500 corporations, including major financial institutions, the world's leading trading exchanges and other sophisticated data networking users. Combined network assets will include almost 80,000 fiber miles and access to 190 buildings in New York and Los Angeles, including 18 central offices, 22 carrier hotels and 150 commercial buildings.

The companies said that based upon current results, approximately 63% of the combined company's revenues will be from telecommunications carriers, and 37% will be from enterprise customers. In the first nine months of 2004, FiberNet posted $23.7 million in revenues, excluding a non-recurring arbitration award. CEC recorded $23.9 million in revenues during the same period.

The acquisition is pending regulatory approval from federal, state and municipal authorities. http://www.ftgx.com

MaXXan Secures $29 Million for Net Storage Solutions

MaXXan Systems, a start-up based in San Jose, California, received an additional $29 million in venture funding for network-based intelligent storage solutions. The products are used in applications such as disaster recovery, storage consolidation and NAS/SAN integration.

The new funding was led by BA Venture Partners. Other investors included US Venture Partners (USVP), Venrock Associates, China Development Industrial Bank, Inc. and Inventec Corporation.

MaXXan Systems has raised $113 million in funding since its incorporation in 2000.

BT and iPass Team Up to Expand Wi-Fi Roaming

BT Openzone and iPass signed a Wi-Fi roaming agreement. The deal will enable the 500,000 plus active monthly iPass users to access more than 1,500 BT Openzone hotspots across the UK. iPass already provides access to 14,200 broadband access points worldwide.

Samsung Networks and SingTel Sign IP-VPN Deal

Samsung Networks will resell SingTel's IP-VPN services in South Korea. Through interconnecting with SingTel's extensive and reliable regional network, Samsung Networks can offer their Korean customers seamless IP-VPN services and connectivity within and outside of Asia. SingTel's IP-VPN is based on MPLS.

Sun Unveils its Latest Thin Client Technology

Sun Microsystems introduced its latest Sun Ray Server Software, an interoperable, platform that enables secure access to corporate applications and data from broadband-enabled home, satellite and remote offices. Sun Ray Software 3.0 uses bandwidth adaptation and compression techniques, including Discrete Wavelet Transform compression for images and Lemple Ziv 77 for text and data, to reduce bandwidth requirements for clients by more than half.

Sun also introduced the Sun Ray 170, a desktop thin client incorporated into a 17-inch flat panel display.

Motorola Reorganizes into Four Units

Motorola announced a corporate restructuring aimed at advancing its ambition to be "the world's preeminent seamless mobility company." Starting January 1st, Motorola will be organized into four business groups:

  • Personal Devices . To leverage its leadership in multi-mode, multi-band communications technology, Motorola will combine its personal communications businesses for economies of scale and consistent experience design. In addition, this new organization will produce phone centric devices for the enterprise and for the home in conjunction with the new enterprise and connected home businesses. Ron Garriques, president, will lead the new Personal Devices business.

  • Networks . Motorola will consolidate its network businesses into a single seamless organization to leverage talent, R&D and operating efficiency. The new Networks business will focus on existing cellular radio access networks, core IP networks including next generation IMS/softswitch technologies, iDEN infrastructure, telco wireline access, embedded communications and computer platforms, a new 802.XX mobile broadband group and a services and an applications management services business. Adrian Nemcek, president, will lead the new Networks business.

  • Government and Enterprise . Building on the success of the company's mission-critical voice and data delivery to traditional and emerging customers, Motorola will consolidate its market- and solutions-oriented businesses into a new organization that will bring our most advanced seamless mobility applications to Fortune 500 class enterprises, governments and automobile manufacturers worldwide. Greg Brown, president, will lead the new Government and Enterprise business.

  • Connected Home< . This business will serve existing and new cable and satellite customers while expanding to deliver home-based products and solutions for the broadband networked home. This business will also manage Motorola's efforts for telecom video solutions. Dan Moloney, president, will lead the new Connected Home business.

Conexant to Reduce Channel Inventory, Lowers Guidance

Conexant Systems announced actions to reduce its channel inventory by $50 million during its first fiscal quarter, which ends Dec. 31, 2004. As a result of this new inventory initiative, Conexant now anticipates that first fiscal quarter revenues will be approximately $140 million. In November, the company expected revenues between $175 million and $185 million.

The company also said that its current-quarter results will include a one-time charge against earnings in the range of $40 million to $50 million, reflecting its previous communication of lower market prices and reduced end-customer demand for DSL and wireless LAN products.

Cable & Wireless Barbados Selects Paradyne's ADSL2+

Cable & Wireless, the incumbent PTT serving Barbados, has chosen Paradyne's broadband access system to upgrade its residential and business-class high-speed networking services. The Cable & Wireless network utilizes Paradyne's Broadband Access Concentrators (BAC) within its central offices and remote terminals throughout Barbados. The upgrade will use ADS2+.

In addition, Paradyne's professional services will provide on-site training for DSL and network management; equipment installation and cabling; DSL provisioning; testing and integration; element management system (EMS) installation and configuration. Financial terms were not disclosed.

IP Unity Launches New Software Development Centre in Bangalore

IP Unity has opened a new software and solutions development centre in Bangalore, India. The focus of the new centre is the rapid development of new enhanced services features that include audio/web/video conferencing, voicemail and unified messaging, speech recognition and innovative collaborative communications features. These features will be delivered via IP Unity's flagship service platform, the HMS6000 Media Server.
  • IP Unity is based in Milpitas, California.

ADC Providing Professional Services for Sonus VoIP Deployments

ADC will provide professional services to Sonus Networks' VoIP customers under a global alliance announced by the firms. For several Sonus VoIP deployments, ADC has already provided engineering, furnishing and installation (EF&I) services, rack-and-stack services, commissioning, integration, and installation-related materials. http://www.adc.com

Qwest Reaches One Million DSL Subscriber Milestone

Qwest Communications reached the one million DSL subscriber milestone. The company said it has now chalked up four consecutive quarters of double-digit subscriber growth, outpacing the current U.S. industry average. To expand its DSL footprint and reach more customers, Qwest will install 4,000 remote terminal locations by the end of 2004. As a result, the company can now offer high-speed Internet access to nearly 10 million homes (65% of Qwest households) within its 14-state local service area.

3Com to Acquire TippingPoint for Intrusion Prevention System

3Com agreed to acquire held TippingPoint Technologies (Nasdaq: TPTI) for $47 cash per outstanding share of TippingPoint stock, representing a 13% premium over the closing price on 10-Dec-2004. The total purchase price will be approximately $430 million including acquisition costs and assumed options.

TippingPoint supplies a network-based Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) that delivers in-depth application protection, infrastructure protection and performance protection for corporate enterprises, government agencies, service providers and academic institutions. TippingPoint's in-line system can be used to protect all IP-based voice and data traffic.

3Com said the acquisition strengthens its enterprise-focused products and uniquely complements its VoIP portfolio.
  • TippingPoint is headed by Kip McClanahan, who previously was President of Motive. Prior to Motive, he was Founder, President and CEO of BroadJump, Inc., a privately held broadband software company based in Austin, Texas. Prior to founding BroadJump, Mr. McClanahan was a part of management at NetSpeed, a DSL broadband equipment company which was acquired by Cisco Systems in 1998.

  • TippingPoint's Threat Suppression Engine (TSE) leverages network processors and its own set of custom ASICs. The TSE is a line-speed, hardware engine that contains all the functions needed for Intrusion Prevention, including IP defragmentation, TCP flow reassembly, statistical analysis, traffic shaping, flow blocking, flow state tracking and application-layer parsing of over 170 network protocols. The TSE reconstructs and inspects flow payloads by parsing the traffic at the application layer. As each new packet belonging to a flow arrives, the flow is re-evaluated for malicious content. The instant a flow is deemed malicious, the current packet and all subsequent packets pertaining to the flow are blocked.

  • TippingPoint is based in Austin, Texas

Hammerhead Aggregates at Layer 2.5 for Pseudowires, Dry Martini

Hammerhead Systems, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, extended its switching solution to include unique "Layer 2.5" capabilities aimed at accelerating the delivery of metro Ethernet services using new "PseudoWire" and "Dry Martini" technologies. The company said service providers are experiencing a need for high-density Layer 2.5 traffic aggregation because existing access services (wireline, broadband, broadband fixed wireless and 3G) are typically based on Layer 2 connection-oriented technologies, while new services are based on Layer 3. For example, enterprise networks increasingly are seeking VPNs that include existing FR/ATM locations as well as Ethernet-connected offices.

Hammerhead is extending its HSX 6000 platform, which already supports the migration of Frame Relay / ATM services onto MPLS backbones, so that it can be used as an aggregation platform in an Ethernet service architecture, offering native Gigabit Ethernet as well as Ethernet-over-SONET (both GFP and x.86) trunking capabilities. On the subscriber side, the HSX 6000 switch offers high-density fan-in across a range of new and legacy service interfaces, media and speeds, including Ethernet. The switch is optimized for efficient grooming and SLA assurance. Significantly, Hammerhead said its service interworking capability scales to support over one million flows on a single switch. Hammerhead supports both MPLS and ATM control planes.

Unlike traditional multiservice switches, Hammerhead's Layer 2.5 Aggregation platform provides Layer 3 application awareness and MPLS connectivity. This includes PseudoWire aggregation, grooming and operational features. PseudoWires provide the ability to emulate the full breadth of Data-Link and Transport Layer services across any core network. Hammerhead has been active in driving the PseudoWire (PWE3) Dry Martini technical drafts through the IETF. Dry Martini extends PseudoWires beyond MPLS to work across any infrastructure, including SONET and ATM.
  • Hammerhead aggregation platform leverages a unique switch architecture that "virtualizes" expensive system resources, enabling a higher efficiency and service density than other Layer 2 service aggregation platforms. Key to the design is a Distributed Service Interworking Engine that is bi-directional, control plane agnostic, and scales to handle thousands of fine-grained flows. Hammerhead has developed a Bandwidth Pooling Architecture that allows switch processing cards to be shared by physical interface cards. The company said this innovation would free-up switch resources that are otherwise stranded when lower-rate interface cards are deployed in an aggregation switch. The virtualization of forwarding processors also provides redundancy without having to buy a separate back-up processor card for each physical interface. Hammerhead has also implemented a dual control plane architecture -- both ATM and MPLS running simultaneously.

  • Earlier this month, Hammerhead Systems named Peter Savage as President, CEO and Chairman. He previously led Applied Digital Access (ADA) as President and CEO, and Chairman of the Board, from a small private company through an IPO, three acquisitions, and an acquisition by Dynatech. He was also President and CEO of Hatteras Networks, President and COO of Commterm – Alliance Telecom, and President and COO of Xylogics. He has also served as a Director of Atmosphere Networks, and Path 1 Network Technologies, and an officer of Infinet and Frederick Electronics – Plantronics. Previously, Savage held technical and management positions at Bell Laboratories.

  • Hammerhead has a strategic distribution partnership with Fujitsu Network Communications in North America.

  • Hammerhead has raised $43 million in venture funding to date.

China Unicom Awards $344 Million in Contracts to Motorola

China Unicom awarded Motorola multiple contracts, which resulted in approximately US$344 million of orders, during the past six months for a major Phase 3.2 CDMA2000 1X wireless network expansion. Equipment for the new CDMA2000 1X network has been deployed and is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2004.

Motorola has been providing equipment and global network services that will significantly enlarge network coverage in 11 provinces. China Unicom estimates this expansion will enable it to grow the subscriber capacity of its 800 MHz CDMA2000 1X network by more than 5.4 million.

Motorola said it has been the largest mobile wireless system supplier to China Unicom since 1994 when it began supplying GSM solutions, and has played an integral role in China Unicom's migration to advanced CDMA technology.
  • China Unicom currently has over 110 million subscribers on its CDMA and GSM networks nationwide.

NexTone Launches Real-time Session Manager Leveraging MPLS

NexTone Communications introduced a new session management solution that combines both transport and application QoS to deliver deterministic performance for real-time services over converged IP networks. The new platform includes a NEBS3-compliant, chassis-based Real-time Session Manager (RSM), which acts as a centralized policy manager and enforcement point to manage network resources and optimize call distribution, and the Multiprotocol Session Controller (MSC), enhanced with microflow management capabilities to work with MPLS routers to enforce QoS policies across the network edge.

NexTone said that softswitch vendors have architected their products to replace TDM voice switches and are very focused on bridging between TDM and VoIP. Meanwhile, MPLS routers are being built to provide deterministic IP transport but are not architected to process computationally-intensive real-time signaling and media transcoding. Other session border controller vendors focus on security for real-time services. NexTone said its approach is to provide the integration of transport (MPLS) and application-specific QoS (session intelligence). For instance, the IP Multimedia System (IMS) architecture enables transport and application resources, such as media servers, to be shared across multiple services and multiple access types. NexTone said it can provide the enforcement point for centralized QoS/SLA management, traffic engineering, and location services to IMS networks.

NexTone's new SIP-based Real-time Session Manager (RSM) sits in the core network and serves as a centralized policy manager and enforcement point across the signaling plane. The RSM uses dynamic session information to manage network resources (such as feature servers, media gateways, and edge devices). It selects optimum call destination and load balances high-value resources. The RSM is a modular system that can scale to support up to 200,000 simultaneous sessions in its 8U expandable chassis. The system includes three independent modules: the Location Services Module (LSM), the Traffic Engineering Module (TEM), and the Route Engine Module (REM). The LSM serves as a SIP registrar and repository for route policy and endpoint information. The TEM provides centralized SLA policy enforcement and acts as an application service broker. Using dynamic session information, the TEM manages the traffic flow between feature servers, media gateways, and other application devices and can allocate resources in advance per application. The TEM also acts as an aggregation point for Call Detail Record (CDR) data for billing purposes. The REM is an optional module that functions as a stateful SIP proxy to provide routing services. Future modules are planned to incorporate the capabilities of the NexTone NPX and SBC for maximum flexibility in session control and management.

The RSM works in conjunction with NexTone's Multiprotocol Session Controller (MSC), which enforces separate call-admission policies on an entire network, subnet, trunk group, device group, single device, or individual port within a device and/or per subscriber. The MSC controls the rate of bandwidth usage, call rate, and call capacity at network ingress and egress points. Its incremental microflow management capability adds service awareness to network by mapping individual real-time sessions to granular network flows (LSPs). For maximum service reach and availability, the MSC also manages media and signaling interconnects and interworking. Using microflow management capability, the MSC can map individual real-time sessions to MPLS label-switched paths (LSPs). The MSC can enforce separate call admission policies per subscriber and/or port, device, device group, trunk group, subnet, or across the entire network. NexTone said its carrier-class MSC can scale from 500 to more than 30,000 sessions for both media and signaling.

NexTone said it is working to promote a Media Services Control Protocol (MSCP) within the IETF.
Such a protocol would serve to separate signaling and media. Within this architecture, the session controller acts as the signaling controller and the IP/MPLS router becomes a controlled entity. Real-time signaling, such as H.323 or SIP VoIP signaling, flows through the session controller, whereas the bearer RTP packets flow through the MPLS router. The MPLS router, being a bi-directional Network Address Translator (NAT), provides the topology hiding necessary at the media plane and also maps sessions to MPLS flows based on information provided by the session controller. The MPLS router also provides packet rate and packet size controls to prevent service abuse at the media layer. NexTone is also working with the Infranet Initiative to define how MPLS technology can be used in this manner.

NexTone expects its first customer shipment in March 2005. The U.S. list price for the NexTone RSM begins at $125,000.
  • In July 2004, NexTone Communications closed $10 million in Series C funding for its end-to-end session management products. NexTone's session controllers allow carriers to route, manage, and control real-time IP traffic. Since going live with its first customer twenty-four months ago, NexTone session management products have been deployed in more than 140 carrier networks worldwide and currently manage a capacity of more than 3 billion minutes of VoIP traffic per month.

  • The up round was led by BCE Capital, the venture arm of Bell Canada Enterprises, and included participation from all existing investors.

  • NexTone is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

See also