Sunday, December 5, 2004

Ikanos Unveils its VDSL2 Chipsets

Ikanos Communications unveiled two highly programmable chipsets supporting VDSL2, VDSL, VLR, ADSL2+, and ADSL, while providing interoperability with existing DSL equipment.

Ikanos' new suite of chipsets, which build on the company's existing 100 Mbps broadband solutions for MxUs and Fiber Extension on carrier networks in Asia, are aimed at triple play deployments requiring multiple channels of HDTV, fast Internet and VoIP. The new products include the SmartLeap 9400 for Central Office (CO) and Remote Terminal (RT) equipment and the CleverConnect 600 for Customer Premise Equipment (CPE). Both support the proposed VDSL2 standard by ITU-T, which is based on the Discrete Multi-Tone (DMT) line-coding method and aims to bring convergence between ADSL, ADSL2+, and VDSL. Both chipsets also support dual-mode programmability that enables carriers to select ATM or IP on a per-port basis.

The Ikanos SmartLeap 9400 VDSL2 Chipset for CO/RT has three main elements:

  • 8-port Burst-Mode Engine (BME) that integrates an embedded 150 MIPS processor, ATM and IP (PTM, EFM 64/65) interfaces and DSP function.

  • 4-port Analog Front End (AFE) with analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters (ADC/DAC).

  • 1-port Integrated Front End (IFE) that integrates line drivers, capacitors, filters and other discrete components. The IFE integrates the function of more than 120 discrete elements.

The CleverConnect 600 VDSL2 Chipset for CPE consists of two chips:

  • 1-port BME that integrates ATM, IP, DSP functions along with ADC/DAC.

  • 1-port IFE.

Early samples of Ikanos' VDSL2 products will be available in the first quarter of 2005 for $20 to $25 per port, based on volume.

Verilink Appoints CFO, Moves HQ to Denver

Verilink announced the appointment of Timothy R. Anderson as Vice President and CFO. He previously served as CFO for Carrier Access Corporation.

Verilink also announced plans to move its corporate headquarters to Centennial, Colorado (in the metro Denver area) from its previous location in Madison, Alabama.

Broadcom Announces H.264 (MPEG-4) Compression Chip

Broadcom announced an advanced video decoder/audio processor chip that supports H.264 advanced video compression technology, also known as MPEG-4 Part 10/Advanced Video Coding (AVC). The new Broadcom BCM7411 video processor chip, which is the company's third- generation silicon implementation to support the H.264 video compression specification, could be used to significantly reduce the bandwidth required to deliver high definition (HD) and digital video content services or to store HD media on conventional DVDs and system hard disks. Applications could include high definition DVD players, next-generation satellite and cable set-top boxes, personal video recording (PVR) products and IP set-top boxes.

The device's video decoder can operate as a single-channel HD decoder or a dual-channel SD decoder, and supports H.264, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video decoding. The device is the first to support the H.264 High Profile specification, which incorporates advanced compression tools such as 8 x 8 transforms and dynamic quantization matrices. The programmable audio processor in the BCM7411 incorporates a multi-standard audio decoder core, supporting MPEG-4 high-efficiency AAC (AAC+), MPEG-4 AAC (ACC-LC), Dolby) Digital Plus (Enhanced AC3), Dolby Digital (AC3), MPEG-1 Layer I, II, III (MP3) and pulse code modulation (PCM). The audio decoder also supports compressed audio pass-thru to a Sony/Philips digital interface out and PCM audio mixing. The BCM7411 incorporates a video post processor as well.

Strix Announces Outdoor Wi-Fi Cellular Mesh Networking System

Strix Systems, a start-up based in Calabasas, California, introduced a Wi-Fi cellular system designed for outdoor deployments in public safety, rural and metropolitan area networks. The Access/One Network OWS (Outdoor Wireless System), which builds on Strix's indoor mesh system, utilizes multiple radios, multiple channels and multiple radio frequency (RF) technologies to build high performance mesh backbones and connectivity for clients.

Strix said its mesh algorithm has been field tested for over a year with the Access/One Network in indoor and outdoor environments. Unlike single radio or single channel mesh networks,, the Access/One Network OWS managed mesh uses multiple radios per node and multiple channels within the mesh, allowing it to deliver high performance over multiple hops. The company said that by using a modular design, the network is not only scaleable, but makes it easy to add system capacity or incorporate future technologies such as WiMAX.

The Access/One Network OWS supports link rates up to 108 Mbps between nodes, building mesh backbones in 802.11 a, b or g. The network is self-configuring, self-tuning, and self healing.

The system supports AES encrypted links and it supports 802.11i, 802.1x, and all flavors of encryption to the client devices.
  • Strix Systems is a venture-backed company in Calabasas, California, founded in 2000 and backed by El Dorado Ventures, Palomar Ventures, Windward Ventures, CMEA Ventures and UV Partners.

  • Strix Systems is headed by Bruce Brown, who previously was CEO of Efficient Networks, which was acquired by Siemens AG in early 2001.

UTOPIA Project to Deploy Riverstone's New 15008 Ethernet Edge Router

The Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) has decided to deploy the Riverstone 15008 Ethernet Edge Router in the network's core. Riverstone began shipping its RS routers to UTOPIA in August 2004. The entire UTOPIA project is expected to take three years to build at an estimated cost of $300 million. Upon completion, the UTOPIA network will provide a wholesale active Ethernet network to approximately 140,000 residential and business subscribers in 14 Utah cities. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • In July 2004, Riverstone began shipping Ethernet equipment to the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) for its FTTP municipal networks across the state. The network design uses an open, active Ethernet architecture recommended by DynamicCity. The UTOPIA project uses Riverstone's RS 38000 core routers and RS 8600 metro aggregation routers. It also employs MPLS-based Ethernet to support Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) that carries a combination of voice, video and data traffic to end-users .

  • The UTOPIA project is expected to take three years to build at an estimated cost of $300 million. Upon completion, the UTOPIA network will provide a wholesale active Ethernet network to approximately 140,000 residential and business subscribers.

  • In June 2004, Riverstone Networks introduced an "Ethernet Edge Router" that combines the standard elements of a multiservice edge router - an IP/MPLS control plane, multiple interface types, and the ability to converge traffic over MPLS. The new ASIC-driven Riverstone 15008 Ethernet Edge Router employs a distributed and modular operating system architecture that allows the router to detect and restart errant protocols without affecting the rest of the system. Riverstone said router software outages and reboots currently account for nearly half of all network failures. The Riverstone 15008 hardware also provides redundant control modules and switch fabrics. It also supports resilient network designs with technologies like MPLS Fast Reroute and Service loop detection and prevention.

SunRocket Selects Telco Systems' VoIP Residential Gateway

SunRocket, a new VoIP service provider led by former executives from MCI, has selected Telco Systems' Access211 VoIP broadband Internet Gateway for its residential CPE.

Telco Systems' Access211 features and capabilities include distinctive ringing; Internet faxing; two telephone ports that concurrently support advanced compression technology for two different phone numbers; integrated routing, which eliminates the need for an external router; and QoS features such as traffic shaping.

SunRocket's residential VoIP service is priced at $24.95 per month or $199 for a full year, with no additional charges for service activation, equipment, taxes or shipping. http://www.telco.com

Spirent Introduces Power over Ethernet Test System

Spirent Communications introduced a Power Sync Analyzer platform dedicated to testing Power over Ethernet (PoE) IEEE 802.3af compliant devices. Developed by Sifos Technologies. in partnership with Spirent Communications, the Power Sync Analyzer is used to verify product conformance to the IEEE 802.3af PoE standard. The product provides high resolution, parameter-by-parameter variables testing that produce discrete measurements of the device's PoE signal performance and conformance. All 21 of the PoE functions specified by the IEEE 802.3af standard can be measured and automatically compared to nominals and tolerance bandwidths. All 21 of the PoE functions specified by the IEEE 802.3af standard can be measured and automatically compared to nominals and tolerance bandwidths.

Taiwan's APTG selects Alcatel NGN solution

Asia Pacific Telecom Group (APTG), a facilities based competitive operator in Taiwan, has selected Alcatel's next generation network (NGN) solution to deliver VoIP services. Specifically, APTG will deploy the Alcatel 5020 Softswitch to deliver IP-based telephony services to enterprise customers using a range of IP-based communications devices including PC-based soft-phones, PDAs, and standards compliant IP phones. Financial terms were not disclosed. http://www.alcatel.com

BellSouth Reaches 2 Million DSL Customer Milestone

BellSouth passed the two million DSL customer milestone in November. BellSouth originally launched its Internet services group in August 1996 before debuting FastAccess DSL two years later in August 1998. Its network reaches nearly 1,600 central offices and approximately 18,000 remote terminals. BellSouth also serves one million dial-up Internet subscribers.

RNKVoIP Promises Lifetime Phone Service for $999

Massachusetts-based RNK Telecom announced a new VoIP service that promises a lifetime of unlimited phone service for a one-time fee of $999. At this suggested retail price, residential users would receive a VoIP line, telephone, phone number, full feature set and unlimited outbound and inbound calling. RNK provides 911 and 411 services, and can port existing numbers to its VoIP service.

RNKVoIP is also offering a $99 "Phone for Life" measured service that is suitable for residences, but primarily targeted toward business use. With this plan, end-users have one VoIP line, telephone and features, and can receive unlimited inbound calls. Outbound calls can be made to domestic U.S. locations, Canada and 20 other countries, plus 21 additional foreign cities, at the low suggested retail rate of .019 cents per minute.

SaskTel Deploys Pace Micro's Set-top Boxes for TV/DSL

SaskTel has added Pace Micro Technology's newest IP set-top box (DB220S) to its existing inventory of Pace boxes (DSL4000) used to enable its TV over DSL service.

SaskTel's TV over ADSL service provides customers unlimited high-speed Internet on a television and a computer, five e-mail addresses, more than 135 digital television stations, Max Front Row video on demand, 45 Galaxie digital commercial-free music channels, 32 Saskatchewan AM and FM radio stations, an Interactive TV Guide, TV web browsing, TV parental controls, and access to an interactive portal providing local, national, and international news, weather and sports services, all powered by Pace's IP set-top boxes.

Pace's IP DB220S set-top is designed for delivery of MPEG-2 digital video over broadband IP networks. It is capable of supporting a range of leading middleware, video servers, and content protection solutions including Alcatel, Kasenna, and Widevine. Two-dimensional graphics, alpha blending, full video scaling, and arbitrary on-screen positioning enable graphics to enhance the customer experience. The output video signal can be protected using Macrovision V7.x and software Digital Rights Management and Conditional Access. The enhanced decoder offers MPEG 1/2 MP@ ML with 500+ aggregate MIPS processing power on a single chip-solution.
  • SaskTel uses Alcatel's middleware and Open Media Broadcast Television applications, Harmonic's encoders, and Kasenna's video servers.

Conexant Acquires Paxonet to Expand R&D in India

Conexant Systems has acquired Paxonet Communications, a privately held company headquartered in Fremont, California with an engineering workforce primarily based in India. Paxonet, which was founded in 1996 as CoreEl Microsystems, Inc., provides complete semiconductor design services, from concept to validated silicon, to a wide variety of worldwide customers, including Conexant. The company has approximately 105 employees, with more than 100 located in Pune and Bangalore, India. Prior to the Paxonet acquisition, Conexant had approximately 200 employees in its design centers in Hyderabad and Noida, India.

Dwight W. Decker, Conexant chairman and CEO, said "We plan to leverage Paxonet's expertise across each of our business units as we work to accelerate new product introductions. This acquisition expands Conexant's research and development assets in India by 50%, in line with our previously communicated strategy of reducing operating expenses by shifting product development resources to lower-cost regions."
  • In November 2004, Conexant Systems announced a series of management changes, including the naming of Dwight W. Decker as its new CEO, replacing Armando Geday, who resigned for personal reasons.

SkyTerra to Acquire 50% of Hughes Network Systems

SkyTerra Communications will acquire 50% of a new entity that will contain the assets of Hughes Network Systems (HNS) in a transaction that values HNS at approximately $360 million. HNS, which is based in Germantown, Md., is a wholly owned subsidiary of The DIRECTV Group. After two separate divestitures completed earlier this year, HNS is primarily focused on providing broadband satellite networks and services to enterprises via its core enterprise Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) business. HNS' other businesses include Consumer DIRECWAY, Mobile Satellite and Carrier Networks, as well as the portion of the Spaceway satellite platform that is under development and that will not be used in DIRECTV's direct-to-home satellite video broadcasting business.

Substantially all of HNS' assets and liabilities will be contributed to a new limited liability company and, upon closing, 50 percent of the ownership of the new company will be purchased by SkyTerra. The DIRECTV Group will receive approximately $251 million in cash at closing, subject to certain adjustments, and 300,000 shares of SkyTerra common stock, and will retain a 50 percent interest in the new company.

The transaction does not include rights to the first two satellites designed for the Spaceway program, Spaceway 1 and 2, which have been redeployed to support DIRECTV's direct-to-home satellite broadcasting business and are scheduled for launch next year. However, the transaction does include rights related to the third Spaceway satellite which is currently under construction, as well as rights to a contemplated fourth Spaceway satellite and certain ground equipment and related intellectual property.

The companies said the deal is expected to close in the first half of 2005, subject to certain regulatory approvals, receipt of financing and other closing conditions.
  • SkyTerra Communications is an affiliate of Apollo Management, L.P., a New York-based private equity firm.

Hanaro Telecom Selects Redback SmartEdge Router System

Hanaro Telecom, Korea's second largest DSL provider, has selected Redback's SmartEdge Router systems for critical edge routing in its Hybrid Fiber Coaxial (HFC) network. The systems will integrate cable television and fiber optic cable traffic to Hanaro Telecom's backbone and provide IP services. Hanaro Telecom currently utilizes Redback SMS systems for managing its broadband network and offering per-subscriber services. With this announcement, Hanaro Telecom has begun using Redback SmartEdge 400 systems for advanced integration and management of next-generation IP network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Maven and Akamai Team on Broadband Video Marketing

Maven Networks and Akamai Technologies announced a strategic partnership to deliver full screen, DVD- and HD-quality interactive video marketing applications on a worldwide scale. Maven Networks is a software provider that focuses on video marketing for the Web. Akamai will serve as the exclusive content and applications delivery platform for Maven.

Chevrolet's "Chevy Live" application, launched in early November, is the first customer channel to be deployed using the joint Maven and Akamai delivery solution. http://www.maven.net

Cisco Cites Customer Gains for Carrier Routing System

Cisco Systems announced that several global carriers and research networks are now deploying and trialing the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System, which was introduced in May 2004.

Cisco CRS-1 customers include SOFTBANK BB Corp. (providers of "Yahoo! BB"), the National Institute of Informatics' SuperSINET research network in Japan, as well as the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. Cisco said these customers, along with trials at Telecom Italia, are in addition to 14 other major global service providers that are in various stages of trials with the Cisco CRS-1.

Cisco also announced the Cisco CRS-1 8-Slot Single-Shelf System, a new core routing system that is half the capacity of the previously-announced Cisco CRS-1 16-slot system. It provides 640 Gbps of total switching capacity. The chassis dimensions make it possible to accommodate two CRS-1 8-slot single-shelves on a standard 19-inch, 7-foot rack.

The new 8-slot system uses the Cisco IOS XR Software, a self-healing operating system designed for the multi-terabit Cisco CRS-1 that leverages fully distributed and fully modular processes to provide fault containment, automatic fault recovery, and in-service upgrades The Cisco CRS-1 8-slot also uses fully-programmable 40 Gbps ASICs along with Cisco IOS XR to separate traffic and network operations on a per service or per customer basis within the system.

The CRS-1 8-Slot Single-Shelf System is available in December, 2004. The starting system list price is $225,000 USD.

Veraz Networks Appoints New CEO

Veraz Networks has appointed Douglas A. Sabella as its President and CEO, succeeding Dr. Tal Simchony, who will assume a strategic role at the company. Sabella formerly served at Lucent as the Vice President responsible for the OSS and Intelligent Networking businesses. Later, he was named President of the Octel Messaging Division. After 15 years with Lucent, Doug was named President of Tumbleweed Communications and subsequently was COO at Terayon Communications.
  • Veraz Networks, which is privately funded by ECI Telecom, Argonaut Private Equity, Battery Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers,
    Levensohn Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners, supplies softswitch-based, toll-quality packet telephony solutions for traditional
    and next-generation communications networks.

Hammerhead Appoints Peter P. Savage CEO

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's platform, which is designed for migrating Frame Relay / ATM services onto MPLS backbones, 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 also developed a Bandwidth Pooling Architecture that allows switch processing cards to be shared by physical interface cards. The company's first product is delivers scalable edge capacity of 30 Gbps - 120 Gbps full duplex in a 1/4 rack. It offers a mid-plane design and service-agile interfaces ranging from T1 to Oc-192c/10GbE and FR/ATM/PPP/POS/Ethernet.

  • Hammerhead Systems is based in Mountain View, California.

EMC to Resell Ciena Storage Extension Platforms

EMC Corporation will resell Ciena's CN 2000 Storage Extension Platform and ONLINE Metro Multiservice DWDM Platform through the EMC Select Program. The EMC Select Program facilitates enterprise customers' acquisition and deployment of commonly used storage networking components of information lifecycle management (ILM) solutions. The Ciena products address the extension of storage area networks, remote disk mirroring, remote back-up or the extension of other applications over distances from tens to thousands of miles to meet business continuance and disaster recovery goals. http://www.emc.com

Fujitsu and Cisco Form Strategic Alliance

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.

Fujitsu and Cisco Systems also plan future cooperation in routing and switching and have agreed to collaborate on continuous quality improvement, enhanced support and service.

SupportSoft Launches Independent Lab for Testing DSL CPE

SupportSoft announced the launch of its Digital 360º Interoperability Lab focused on compliance testing of customer premises equipment (CPE) with DSL Forum Technical Reports TR-064 and TR-069.

The testing will verify adherence to the TR-064 and TR-069 specifications announced by the DSL Forum earlier this year. TR-064 is a LAN-side DSL CPE configuration specification that helps ensure that DSL modems can be easily configured and activated from the service provider's network. As a result, it helps simplify and speed the installation of a home or small business broadband connection. TR-069 provides CPE WAN management protocol that incorporates CPE management functions into a common framework, to enable easier network management of broadband services.

SupportSoft said its Digital 360º Interoperability Lab will provide testing in two ways:

  • LAN environment (PC to CPE) CPE auto-configuration testing (TR-064) in SupportSoft's lab, which is equipped with multiple PC and Mac operating systems

  • WAN environment (network-based server to CPE) CPE auto-configuration testing (TR-069) in SupportSoft's lab, which is equipped with a complete DSLAM network environment.

SupportSoft provides service automation software to digital service providers including "SmartAccess" for installation automation of a broadband connection, and "netConfiguration" for automated configuration of CPE equipment.

See also