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.