Saturday, April 30, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Deploys IP Telephony from Avaya/Extreme

The new Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Country Club in Las Vegas deployed an integrated voice and data network using equipment from Avaya and Extreme Networks. The network delivers a host of communications capabilities, from centralized guest service functions to in-room communications, throughout the hotel and its 2,698 guest rooms.

In addition to providing high-speed Internet access in guest rooms, the hotel will use 4,000 color Avaya IP screen phones throughout the hotel, guest rooms and its customer service facilities to deliver a variety of services. The new IP phones will be rich with information about the hotel's services and will enable the guests to seamlessly access the hotel staff.

Wynn is also using phone applications from Citrix Systems to enable guests to use their Avaya IP screen phones as information kiosks.

The Wynn Las Vegas professional staff will also use Avaya Extension-to-Cellular, enabling the user's cellular phone to ring simultaneously when their office extension is dialed, for fewer missed calls and prompt guest service.

Wynn operators will use specialized software from System Development Company of New Hampshire. Functioning as the main answering console and database for Wynn Las Vegas, IntelliDESK will house guest information, such as do-not-disturb preferences and other special reach instructions, in order to expedite call and message delivery, in addition to wake-up call administration, voice messaging and other guest services.

NICE Systems is supplying solution for high-quality recording, monitoring and archiving of telephone conversations between guests and guest service representatives from 20 different departments, including room reservations, concierge, bell desk and limo services.

Juniper Networks and Avaya Expand Partnership

Juniper Networks and Avaya signed a global strategic partnership memorandum of understanding (MOU) to deliver secure converged communication solutions to enterprise customers worldwide.

The alliance will include joint development of converged solutions combining Avaya's enterprise communications and Juniper's security and routing strengths. The expanded relationship would also include agreements to allow the companies to resell each other's products and services, as well as a global services component to deliver services capabilities, including program management, remote network management and managed services.

Korea's SK Telecom Launches Satellite DMB Video for Mobiles

SK Telecom launched a satellite DMB service that delivers high-quality video broadcasts to a mobile phone or car-based video entertainment system. SK Telecom is initially delivering 11 video channels, 25 audio channels, and 3 data channels. Consumers in South Korea are able to receive the broadcasts either on mobile phones or in-car displays. The video uses MPEG-4 H.264 system and the music channels are furnished through a MPEG-2 AAC+ system.

In areas where the satellite view may be obstructed, such as alongside tall buildings, SK Telecom will boost its service using a signal "gap filler" from its mobile base stations and existing towers. The Ku-Band (13.824~13.883GHz) is used between the Signal Transmission Center and the satellite (which is positioned at 144 degrees east longitude), and the S-Band (2.630~2.655 GHz, 25MHz) is utilized between satellite and the mobile terminals. The Ku-Band (12.214~12.239GHz) is used between satellite and base stations providing supplemental signals.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Samsung's New SATA II Hard Disks Offer 3 Gbps I/O

Samsung Electronics began shipping the first Serial ATA II hard drives offering native 3.0 Gbps I/O transaction capabilities in addition to Serial ATA Native Command Queuing. The 3.0 Gbps speed doubles the 1.5 Gbps data transfer rate of current Serial ATA hard drives. Serial ATA also allows for the "daisy chaining" of drives via sleek and slim cables, so that systems can be expanded by simply adding additional drives.

Samsung's family of Serial ATA II hard drives include an 80 GB model ($93 estimated street price), 120 GB model ($120) and a 160 GB model($150). All feature a 7,200 rpm spindle speed, an 8.9 millisecond average seek time and a 8MB cache buffer.

Tandberg Delivers IPTV System for India's Atlas netTV

TANDBERG Television has delivered IPTV video head-end to Atlas Interactive for a large scale multimedia broadband deployment over the Indian telephone network. The Atlas netTV project will launch services to an initial 50,000 subscribers in the National Capital Region of Delhi in 2005. Financial terms were not disclosed.

TANDBERG Television is supplying a range of equipment for the project, including its TT1260 professional receivers that feed the video streams to the TANDBERG IP Streamer. Each IP Streamer in the system includes TANDBERG Television encoders to allow for bit-rate reduction of the streams to meet the low bandwidth capacity of the ADSL network. All parts of the system have full redundancy and are controlled by the nCompass management system, with monitoring based on the TANDBERG TT1260 with integrated IP input and the TANDBERG TT4010 transport stream analyser. The video head-end is being installed and integrated by TANDBERG Television's long-standing Indian business partner, Horizon Broadcast Electronics Pvt. Ltd.

Siemens Selected for Mobile Nets in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine

Siemens was awarded contracts valued at US$265 million to expand mobile networks for Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine. MTS is the largest mobile phone operator in Russia and the CIS. Together with its subsidiaries, MTS services about 39 million subscribers. The regions of Russia, as well as Belarus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, in which MTS and its subsidiaries are licensed to provide GSM services, have a total population of approximately 226 million.

EC Approves Alcatel Alenia Space and Telespazio

The European Commission gave its approval for the creation of the two companies, Alcatel Alenia Space and Telespazio. The two new companies result from the mergers of the space activities of Alcatel and Finmeccanica.

The first company, Alcatel Alenia Space, of which Alcatel will hold 67% and Finmeccanica 33%, will combine Alcatel Space and Alenia Spazio's activities. It will concentrate on the design, development, and manufacturing of space systems, satellites, payloads, instruments and associated ground systems for civilian and military applications. The headquarters of Alcatel Alenia Space will be located in France, with plants in France, Italy, Belgium and Spain. With estimated 2004 sales of EUR 1.8 billion and around 7,200 people, it will create the European leader in satellite systems and services.

The second company, Telespazio, of which Finmeccanica will hold 67% and Alcatel 33%, will combine Telespazio with Alcatel Space Services and Operations activities. It will concentrate on operations and services for satellite solutions, which includes control and exploitation of space systems as well as value-added services for networking, multimedia and earth observation. Its headquarters will be located in Italy with plants in Italy, France and Germany. With estimated 2004 sales of EUR 350 million and around 1,400 people, it will be a key player in the space services market.

Packeteer Offers New Data Compression for WANs

Packeteer introduced a new compression algorithm enabling enterprise WAN performance gains of up to 80%. The algorithm targets typical enterprise applications particularly e-mail, including SMTP, POP3, and Notes. Packeteer's dynamic compression appliances are needed at both ends of the WAN connection.

Packeteer also introduced its new "Mentat SkyX Server 155" appliance, offering enterprise-class acceleration to mitigate latency and speed application delivery for remote and mobile users using a VPN over high capacity links up to 155 Mbps. The SkyX Server 155 is installed next to the VPN concentrator and functions as a TCP protocol accelerator, optimizing protocol transmissions to manage and reduce the effects of high latency and high packet loss across the Internet. Pricing starts at $25,000.

Fabrinet to Acquire JDS Uniphase Operations in Fuzhou

Fabrinet, an engineering and electromechanical manufacturing services company, agreed to acquire JDS Uniphase's manufacturing facilities located in Fuzhou, China. The deal includes all assets and operations related to the Fuzhou plant including R&D and the manufacture of products such as crystals and precision optics. The Fuzhou plant employs over 500 engineers, technicians, and skilled operators, all of whom are expected to transfer to Fabrinet and continue their employment at the site. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Germany Trims Local Loop Rental to EUR 10.65

Germany's Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Posts (RegTP) trimmed the monthly price for a competitor to rent a local loop from the incumbent by another 9.75%. The monthly price had been EUR 11.80 and is now EUR 10.65. Deutsche Telekom had applied for a price of EUR 17.40. RegTP said it based the new price on a cost model and an international tariff comparison. The move is expected to bolster local competition for broadband services.

"With our new decision we are well amongst the average level of countries using the same cost measures, also within the framework of European comparison. The new local loop price - as an appropriate and cost-based price - is a guarantee for long-term and stable competition on the German telecoms market," said RegTP's Matthias Kurth.

DISH Adds 10 Original VOOM HD Channels

EchoStar's DISH Network satellite TV service will expand its high-definition television (HDTV) package by adding 10 original VOOM HD networks.
  • In April 2005, Cablevision Systems confirmed plans to shut down its VOOM HD satellite TV at the end of April.

  • In January 2005, EchoStar Communications agreed to acquire Cablevision's direct broadcast satellite and certain other related assets for $200 million. The deal includes the Rainbow 1 satellite, located at the 61.5 degree W.L. orbital position, as well as FCC licenses to construct, launch and operate DBS services over 11 frequency channels at the 61.5 degree W.L. orbital location. In addition, EchoStar will acquire the contents of Rainbow DBS's ground facility in Black Hawk, S.D. and related assets.

FCC Chairman Announces Staff Appointments

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced several new appointments:

  • Dan Gonzalez -- Chief of Staff

  • Tom Navin - Wireline Bureau Chief

  • Michelle Carey - Wireline Competition Advisor to Chairman Martin

  • Kris Monteith - Enforcement Bureau Chief

  • Monica Desai - Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Chief

Union Raises Questions on BT's Exclusion of Marconi

Amicus, the UK's largest private sector union, raised questions about the decision by BT to award preferred supplier status for its network upgrade to eight foreign owned companies.

In a public statement, the union said it would seek answers on the following questions:

  • If any of the US or other European companies selected have received any direct or indirect public subsidies which enabled them to undercut Marconi by offering lower prices

  • If any of the US or other European companies selected have received
    protection or preferred supplier status from national governments or
    national telecoms companies

  • Why Ericsson was chosen as sole supplier in one of the contract domains, when the stated policy of BT was to seek more than one supplier. (Ericsson was chosen as sole supplier for the I-node domain, essentially the intelligence that controls the services, despite the fact that Marconi's highly regarded Softswitch network software was the only one included in BT's preliminary trials)

Peter Skyte, Amicus National Officer, said "Companies in other countries are able to use their national champion and protected status in their home market to bid for contracts such as the BT 21st Century Network at low or loss leader prices. The strategic decision to exclude Marconi from this project marks the beginning of the end for the UK telephone and telecoms equipment industry, following the same path of other core infrastructure industries such as railway production."

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Cisco and IBM Team on Speech-Enabled Contact Centers

IBM and Cisco will jointly deliver speech-enabled self-service solutions for contact centers. The solution combines IBM's WebSphere Voice Server product and Cisco's Customer Voice Portal. The companies said they would leverage open standards, including Voice XML and J2EE. These solutions enable contact centers to provide low-cost speech-enabled self-service transactions to their customers, such as transferring money from a checking account, submitting insurance claims, changing cellular phone plans, making hotel and car reservations or finding the nearest store location using speech automation -- functions that frequently required a live agent in a contact center.

Telefónica Deploys Acme Packet's SBCs

Telefónica de España has selected Acme Packet's Net-Net session border controllers for its hosted business and residential VoIP offering throughout Spain. Financial terms are not disclosed.

The Acme Packet session border controllers are interoperating with Telefonica's existing infrastructure, Ericsson's Engine Multimedia, a complete, all-IP and SIP solution with an open architecture based on IMS, the 3GPP standard. The Acme Packet session border controllers are providing access control and complete network topology hiding at all protocol layers for confidentiality and attack prevention. The denial of service (DoS) protection includes session agent DoS protection for protecting the service provider's infrastructure (e.g. SIP servers, softswitches, application servers, media servers or media gateways) and session border control DoS protection, an autonomic self-protection against malicious and non-malicious DoS attacks and overloads.

To extend its service reach, Telefónica is utilizing features including overlapping address support using VLANs, SIP-H.323 interworking, and hosted NAT traversal. They are now able to connect with previously incompatible networks, such as those using different versions and configurations of H.323, as well as traverse existing data firewalls at the customer premise, both immense challenges to offering secure, high-quality interactive IP communications.

Live trials of both the residential and the business services have been underway for several months and production deployment is planned for later in the second quarter of this year.

Comcast Reaches 7.4 million Cable Modem Subscribers

Comcast added 414,000 cable modem customers in Q1 giving it a total of 7.4 million subscribers, representing a penetration rate of 18.3% of available homes. Average monthly revenue per subscriber was $42.81 in the first quarter of 2005, a slight increase from the first quarter of 2004 and a 1.8% increase from the $42.06 reported in the fourth quarter of 2004. Comcast High-Speed Internet service revenue increased 32.5% to $925 million. Some additional highlights from Comcast's Q1 report:

Comcast Cable reported revenue of $5.1 billion for Q1, representing a $453 million or 9.7% increase from the $4.7 billion in the first quarter of 2004.

Video revenue increased $178 million or 5.6% to $3.4 billion in Q1.

Comcast Cable added 200,000 new digital customers, giving it a total of 8.8 million subscribers.

Digital cable penetration reached 41.1% of basic subscribers. Basic cable subscribers declined 29,000 during the first quarter of 2005.

Pay-per-view revenue increased more than 18% driven by movie and event purchases through the Comcast ON DEMAND service. Pay-per-view revenues have increased each of the last six quarters reflecting the strong consumer appeal of the ON DEMAND service.

Comcast has deployed a combined 1.6 million set-top boxes with DVR and/or HDTV programming capability, an increase of more than 1 million in the past year. More than 428,000 or 25% of these advanced set-top boxes were deployed in Q1, generating an incremental $5 to $10 of monthly revenue per box.

Cable phone revenue declined 3.1% from Q1 2004 to $173 million in the first quarter of 2005. The decrease in revenue reflects a decline in cable phone customers during 2004. Comcast Cable reported 4,000 net new cable phone customers in the first quarter of 2005 including the addition of more than 7,000 Comcast Digital Voice customers (Comcast's phone service using IP technology), offset by a decline in the number of Comcast's circuit-switched telephone customers as we transition to focus on marketing Comcast Digital Voice.

CAPEX increased 8.5% to $883 million from the same period last year.

Taiwan's Chunghwa Reaches 3.2 Million ADSL Subscribers

As of 31-March-2005, Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom was serving 3.2 million ADSL subscribers, up by 132,000 for the quarter. Total Internet subscriptions numbered 3.87 million. The number of fixed-line subscribers was 13.26 million. The company also serves 8.17 million mobile subscribers.

NETGEAR Sees 23% Year-over-year Growth

NETGEAR reported Q1 revenue of $109.0 million, a 3.7% increase as compared to $105.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2004, and a 23.3% increase as compared to $88.4 million for Q1 2004.

Net revenue in the first quarter of 2005 derived from North America was $51.1 million, the Europe, Middle East and Africa, or EMEA, region was $47.0 million, and the Asia Pacific region was $10.9 million.

Non-GAAP gross margin in the first quarter of 2005 was 33.0%, as compared to 32.9% in the prior quarter and 31.1% in the year ago comparable quarter.

OIF Delivers Two Common Electrical I/O Agreements

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) completed two Implementation Agreements (IAs) relating to Common Electrical I/O technology.

The first, CEI 11G-LR, addresses 11 to 13 Gbps applications over backplanes. This IA responds to the industry's move toward higher speed electrical signaling, driven by system vendors' desire to quadruple the bandwidth of existing systems without increasing the number of backplane traces.

The second IA, CEI Protocol (CEI-P) is a new protocol designed for use with the fast electrical interfaces developed by the CEI project team. A key feature of this new protocol is the Forward Error Correction (FEC) capability, which is tolerant of burst errors and substantially improves the error rate performance of a link. The FEC has the capability to improve the channel's bit error ratio by as much as 12 orders of magnitude.

The two new agreements build upon the existing CEI IA published last quarter that addressed 6 Gbps short and long reach and 11 Gbps short reach applications.

France Activates 890,000 ADSL Access Points in Q1

In Q1 2005, 890,000 ADSL access points were added across France. This includes lines served by France Telecom and the unbundled lines served by other carriers. The total number of ADSL access points in France (including unbundled lines) has now topped 7.2 million, up from 4.1 million a year earlier. As of 31-March-2005, France Telecom had 5,150,000 ADSL lines in its home market, of which 3,364,000 were serviced by its own Internet service and 1,787,000 were using third party ISPs.

Some highlights from the carrier's quartely report:

The number of residential telephone lines served by France Telecom in its home market was 27,419,000, roughly flat from a year earlier. Its market share of local calls was 70.9% compared with 75.2% a year earlier, and its market share of long-distance calls was 58.1% compared to 59.4% a year earlier.

Consumer Service revenues were down -3.0% on a comparable basis, linked to the 12.6% fall in revenues on residential telephone calls, with an 8.9% reduction in telephone traffic volume (switched voice), reflecting the losses in market share and the downturn of the overall fixed telephony market (measured at interconnection).

France Telecom now has 245,000 home VoIP users.

Elsewhere in Europe (Spain, Netherlands and UK), France Telecom has 1,682,000 broadband users, up from 745,000 a year earlier.

In Q1 2005, CAPEX increased significantly (+29.4% compared with the same period in 2004) and represented 10.0% of revenues. France Telecom Group attributed the rise to the rapid deployment of broadband, both fixed and mobile, notably with the launch of EDGE (to open at mid-year, with objective to cover 85% of the French population). In most of the other European countries in which Orange is present, UMTS and/or EDGE openings are planned for mid-2005 at the latest.

In broadband, France Telecom Group is upgrading its access network (RE-ADSL, ADSL 2+) and rolling out TV-over-DSL and VoIP services. In Spain, the UK and the Netherlands, France Telecom is rolling out unbundled packages. In Poland, the Group continues to rapid development of its ADSL offering.

France Telecom reported Q1 consolidated revenues of EUR 11.62 billion, compared with EUR 11.23 billion a year earlier, representing an increase of 3.5% on an actual basis and 1.0% on a comparable basis.

AMCC Reports Rise in Revenue

Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (AMCC) reported quarterly revenue of $64.2 million up 5% sequentially and up 36% year over year. The net loss on a GAAP basis was $5.3 million or $(0.02) per share.

"We were pleased with our progress in the March quarter. Revenue increased sequentially and the company realized the benefits of our improved cost structure," said Tom Tullie, AMCC's Chief Operating Officer.

Alcatel reports Q1 Revenues of EUR 2.6 Billion

Alcatel reported Q1 revenues of EUR 2.607 billion, up from EUR 2.515 for Q1 2004 but down from EUR 3.806 billion for Q4 2004. Operating profit amounted to EUR 107 million, representing a 4.1% operating margin and a 27% increase over the same period last year.

Serge Tchuruk, Alcatel's Chairman and CEO, said "In the fixed line business, we confirm our expectations of a rebound in the second half, following a second quarter which will continue to be weak. This rebound should materialize as triple play generated revenues more than offset the decline in traditional products, leading to stable revenues for the full year."

Some highlights:

Fixed communications

First quarter revenues decreased by 9.1% to EUR 987 million from EUR 1,086 million in the same period last year. The decline in revenues is primarily due to an expected and temporary slight loss in market share in access due to a product shift, and a higher than usual seasonality impact in traditional voice switching. This decrease is not yet offset by growing revenues in IP, optics and applications, and, to a lesser extent, maintenance services and NGN replacement business. The optics business turned in a particularly strong performance, driven by some rebound in the submarine activity, and next generation metro core optics, which has now registered 20 customers. The IP activity continued to grow at a rapid pace, driven by strong demand in all geographical regions. Volumes in DSL lines reached 3.9 million during the first quarter. Alcatel now has 15 large customers for its new IP DSLAM, launched in Q3 2004.

Mobile communications

First quarter revenue increased by 27.9% to EUR 789 million from EUR 617 million in the same period last year. Radio infrastructure continued to show strong growth in emerging markets, in particular China, Russia, India and Brazil. The market for 3G indoor coverage is developing in Western Europe and Telefonica Spain has selected Alcatel to deploy its 3G Indoor Solutions. In mobile core, a very strong activity in the traditional MSC technology has been registered to support the capacity expansion of the installed base and the upgrade of traditional networks to 3G. In NGN-IMS, in addition to the strong success in the U.S. for 2G and 3G with T-Mobile, Cingular, and Dobson, very significant commercial activity was registered outside the U.S. with twelve field trials and many positive prospects. Applications also grew significantly, driven by worldwide video/music services deployment in 2.5G and 3G, as well as sustained growth in convergent payment solutions.

Private communications

First quarter revenues were stable at EUR 848 million compared with EUR 849 million in the same period last year. In the enterprise market, revenues were impacted by a slow uptake in voice services. Despite this slow start, market share was maintained in IP voice which represented one third of enterprise voice shipments. Genesys turned in a solid performance maintaining its leadership position in all markets. Satellite revenues were weak due to a low backlog in the commercial telecom activity. Revenues in vertical market applications continued to grow. In particular, rail signalling networks showed strong growth, largely driven by main lines activities, in Western and Eastern Europe, leveraging the ETCS (European Transport Control System) technology. Integration services grew, driven by a strong backlog in safety and security systems both in the transport, energy markets and in the public sector.

Marconi Not Selected for BT's 21CN

Shares in Marconi fell 40% on Thursday following news that the company had not been selected for BT's 21st Century Network. Marconi, which had been a traditional supplier to BT, currently generates about a quarter of its business from the carrier. Marconi will continue to supply equipment and services to BT under the various, multi-year frame contracts it has in place.

"This is a disappointing outcome from a very competitive tender process. Our products performed extremely well technically, but we have been unable to meet BT's commercial requirements," said Mike Parton, Marconi's CEO.

The decision is likely to impact employment levels at the firm..

BT Selects Vendors 21st Century Network (21CN)

BT announced eight preferred vendors for its 21st Century Network, an ambitious undertaking in which it plans to invest up to £10 billion over the next five years to migrate to a fully-converged, packet network.

Access -- Fujitsu and Huawei have been chosen in the access domain which will link BT's existing access network with the new 21CN.

Metro -- Alcatel, Cisco and Siemens have been selected as preferred suppliers for metro nodes which provide routing and signalling for 21CN's voice, data and video services.

Core -- Cisco and Lucent will be 21CN's preferred suppliers for core nodes providing high capacity and cost efficient connections between metro nodes.

Softswitching -- Ericsson has been selected in the i-node domain -- in essence the intelligence that controls the services.

Optical Transmission -- Ciena and Huawei have been chosen in the transmission domain. BT plans to deploy Ciena's optical switching and transmission and Ethernet transport platforms.

BT said the selection of these eight suppliers will allow dozens of smaller and innovative subcontractors to become involved in the delivery of the 21st Century Network, attracting significant new investment and employment to the UK.

BT expects to conclude contractual agreements with named preferred suppliers for 21CN over the summer.
  • In June 2004, BT outlined a five-year timetable for migrating its circuit-based voice services to IP. The mass migration of customers from PSTN to IP will begin in 2006 and, by 2008, BT expects a majority of the transformation will be completed. BT's 21CN initiative aims to migrate the company's existing multiple, service specific networks to a single converged multi-service IP based network. It includes work towards increasing the bandwidth of services provided over the copper access network as well as the trials of FTTP.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

D-Link CPE Supports Longhorn's Link Layer Topology Discovery

D-link is demonstrating two client devices, including a Wi-Fi security camera and a network storage adapter, supporting the upcoming Microsoft "Longhorn" Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) protocol. To ease the installation and configuration of home networks, "Longhorn" will use LLTD to detect devices on the network, determine how they are interconnected and represent the network in a graphic form. D-Link said this ability to visualize home networks will help users identify connectivity issues needing corrective action. The company is continuing to develop support for LLTD in a wide rage of existing and upcoming consumer networking devices, including wireless routers, wireless media adapters, wireless security cameras, etc.

Swisscom Selects Alcatel VDSL for IPTV

Swisscom selected Alcatel's Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) product family to deliver enhanced Triple Play services to its customers in Switzerland. Swisscom plans to deliver IPTV services by the second half of 2005.

With this contract, Alcatel remains the sole supplier of Swisscom's broadband access network. Under the terms of the contract, Alcatel will supply Swisscom with a VDSL-enabled broadband access network consisting of the Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM) product family. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • As of year-end 2004, Swisscom reported 802,000 DSL subscribers, of which 490,000 are Bluewin retail customers and 312,000 customers of other ISPs.

  • Microsoft has previously announced Swisscom/Bluewin as a customer of its IPTV platform.

Telstra Completes NGN Trial with Lucent

Telstra has recently completed a Next Generation Voice engineering trial with residential customers in Victoria, Australia using equipment from Lucent. The test included the Lucent Network Controller, Lucent Network Gateway and third party products from BroadSoft, Acme Packet and Sun Microsystems. Lucent Worldwide Services (LWS) provided integration.

Lucent said the trial paves the way for Telstra to migrate the Next Generation Voice platform to feature rich applications.

Tropos Integrates Atheros Chips into Metro Wi-Fi Mesh

Tropos Networks, a supplier of metro scale Wi-Fi mesh equipment, has selected the Atheros 802.11g chipset to support its next generation line of MetroMesh routers. Tropos Networks has incorporated Atheros' technology for the first time into its 5210 Outdoor MetroMesh Router, 3210 Indoor MetroMesh Router and 4210 Mobile MetroMesh Router.

Verizon Adds 1.6 Million Wireless, 385,000 DSL in Q1

Verizon Communications added 385,000 net new broadband connections (DSL and FiOS data customers) in Q1, giving it a total of 3.9 million customers. Verizon Wireless added 1.64 million net new customers, the largest first-quarter customer increase in the history of the company. Wireless has added more than 6.5 million net new customers over the past year and now has a total of 45.5 million customers nationwide. Some highlights from Q1:

Consolidated revenues of $18.2 billion increased 6.6 percent, or $1.1 billion, compared with the first quarter 2004.

Verizon Wireless contributed $7.4 billion, or 40.8%, of first-quarter 2005 consolidated revenues. This compares with wireless revenues of $6.2 billion, or 36.1 percent of consolidated revenues, in the first quarter 2004.

Earnings were $1.8 billion, or 63 cents per diluted share.

Revenues from wireline broadband services contributed to total wireline data revenues of $2.1 billion in the first quarter 2005, an 11.6 percent increase compared with $1.9 billion in the first quarter 2004.

Revenues from wireline long-distance services, including regional toll services, were $1.1 billion in the first quarter 2005, an 8.3 percent increase compared with $1.0 billion in the first quarter 2004. The number of Verizon long-distance lines in service rose to more than 18 million, an 11.6 percent increase compared with the first quarter 2004.

Verizon residential wireline ARPU rose to $49.95 in the first quarter 2005, a 4.6 percent increase compared with the first quarter 2004, as more customers continue to choose high-value communications services. Approximately 58 percent of Verizon residential customers have purchased local services in combination with either Verizon long-distance or a Verizon broadband connection, or both. This compares with 51 percent in the first quarter 2004.

By the end of the first quarter, the company was constructing fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband networks in half the states where it offers landline communications service. FTTP-based FiOS broadband services are being offered in more than 250 communities, with marketing efforts having just begun in many communities. The company plans to introduce FTTP-based FiOS TV services in the second half of the year.

Revenues of $3.8 billion in the consumer market were down $41 million compared with last year's first quarter, while business revenues of $2.8 billion and wholesale revenues of $2.1 billion were essentially flat. The segment's $114 million year-over-year revenue decline is significantly impacted by lower revenues from non-core initiatives that have been discontinued or divested since last year.

Wholesale voice connections -- which includes resale, Unbundled Network Element-Platform (UNE-P) and end-to-end wholesale voice services provided under commercial agreements -- totaled 6.4 million at the end of the first quarter 2005, up 2.3 percent from the end of the first quarter 2004 and down from 6.6 million at year-end 2004. UNE-P lines decreased by 186,000 from year-end 2004 to the end of the first quarter 2005. The company had 52.2 million switched wireline access lines in service as of the end of the first quarter, down 5.1 percent from a year ago.

BT to Stream FIFA World Cup Qualifiers over the Net

BT Rich Media reached an agreement with PORTFIVE, Europe's leading sports marketing group, to make the international qualifying matches from the FIFA World Cup 2006 that won't be televised - available over the Internet. Live games will cost €9.95 for a 250k or 500k stream and users can also download the game and retain it on their PC for a reduced cost of €6.95.

Philipp Wessel, Head of New Media at SPORTFIVE said: "This is a big development for sports over the internet... For the first time a significant programme of games are being made available on a live or delayed basis over the internet"

BT Offers 6 Classes of DiffServ

BT announced the launch of a new Six Class of Service Differentiated Services Code Point (6 CoS DSCP) service that guarantees the performance of applications by prioritizing packets into six distinct classes of service. DSCP is tailored specifically for modern networks and enhances QoS solutions by enabling customers to choose the performance level needed on a per packet basis by marking the DSCP field within the packet IP header to a specific value. This is an enhancement of BT's previous 3CoS offering. BT's new 6CoS DSCP model runs throughout the core and the edge of its network. The company said its 6CoS DSCP model offers greater flexibility and scalability for converged applications.

Taiwan's Chunghwa Tests Mintera's 40 Gbps

Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), the incumbent carrier in Taiwan, is testing Mintera's 40 Gbps transport technology. Mintera said its MI-40000 systems would position the company to provide 10 Gbps and/or 40 Gbps wavelength services as an "overlay" solution to their existing 2.5 or 10 Gbps optical line infrastructure. The transport system can also perform as a stand-alone 40 Gbps network.

Chunghwa's Request for Proposal, issued last June, specified equipment to transmit 40 Gbps DWDM channels over 500 km of G.655 fiber.

SBC Adds Wi-Fi and Cingular EDGE access to VPN Service

SBC Communications added wireless remote access options to its VPN portfolio. The new "VPN RoadWarrior" service ties SBC FreedomLink Wi-Fi and Cingular Wireless EDGE nationwide, high-speed wireless data services into SBC PremierSERV VPN services.

FastWeb Offers Pay-per-Use Bandwidth

Italy's Fastweb is using Cisco's routing and switching technology to deliver flexible pay-per-use (PPU) high-bandwidth Internet services to its fiber and DSL customers. A recent network upgrade was implemented to optimize bandwidth for both flat-rate and pay-per-use network traffic and to add data packet tracking functionality for residential customers in all Fastweb's PoPs. This helps Fastweb to more accurately monitor network usage, differentiate between on-net (or peer-to-peer) and regular Internet-bound traffic, and strengthen its network security by improving user identification and traffic control, and distributing security resources throughout the network to reduce the impact of denial of service attacks.

In the new network, Cisco Catalyst 6509 switches in each main PoP aggregate traffic and connect the core to the access network. Cisco content switching modules provide load balancing, while the Cisco Firewall Services Module translates the network IP addresses. The access infrastructure uses Cisco 7609 routers which provide Service Selection Gateway (SSG) functionality and are controlled by Cisco Service Exchange framework to provide session control and service personalization. Cisco Catalyst fixed configuration switches provide final connectivity to the client.

Fastweb worked with Cisco Systems and Italtel to complete the network upgrade within three months.

Fastweb is the only service provider in Italy offering different time-base rates for different internet services, as well as free access to email and portal services, including the ability to view bills online, to update anti-virus software, and to post digital photos for development. These value-added services differentiate Fastweb from other ISPs who bill the connection with a time-based or volume model.

PMC-Sierra Shows "Pizza-Box" MSPP

PMC-Sierra released an evaluation platform for a compact micro Multi-Service Provisioning Platform (micro MSPP) based on its ADM 622 device. PMC-Sierra's ADM 622 Evaluation Platform:

  • Collapses a multi shelf system to a single card in a "pizza box" form factor

  • Supports both legacy PDH and Ethernet services at OC-12/STM-4 capacity

  • Supports enhanced Ethernet multiplexing with 802.3ah Ethernet OAM

  • Features a user-friendly interface, Web-based configuration tool and a comprehensive user manual to simplify software development to accelerate time-to-market

The ADM 622 device integrates SONET/SDH framers and pointer processors, PDH mappers, expansion interfaces, and a cross-connect. It also supports an EoS interface with integrated Ethernet multiplexing functions eliminating the need for external switching elements.

Nokia Launches Latest Mobiles

Nokia unveiled its "Nseries" of next generation multimedia devices featuring 3G, Carl Zeiss Optics, megapixel cameras, multi-gigabyte memory, VHS resolution video and WLAN capabilities.

"This next step in digital convergence brings together mobile devices, Internet content, still and video cameras, music, email and much more. Nokia Nseries devices share similar design traits as mobile phones, but they are actually powerful pocketable computers with a comprehensive set of multimedia features," said Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President, Multimedia, Nokia

Nokia introduced its N91 multimedia smartphone featuring a 4GB hard disk drive for storing up to 3,000 songs. The stainless steel body has dedicated music keys on its face, which slide down to reveal the phone keypad. The Nokia N91 supports a wide range of digital music formats including MP3, M4A, AAC and WMA. Nokia includes software for synchronizing with a PC-based personal music collection. Worldwide availability is expected later this year.

China Backs TD-SCDMA as 3G Standard

The Chinese government is throwing its support to TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) as a national 3G standard, according to Xinhua news agency. The report came from the 2005 TD-SCDMA International Summit being held this week in Beijing.

China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII) is currently conducting a test of 3G technologies that is expected to end in June. China is expected to award 3G licenses later this year.

Tekelec Supplies SS7 in Indiana

Indiana Fiber Network, a consortium of 18 independent telephone companies and one independently owned CLEC, will deploy Tekelec's EAGLE 5 Signaling Applications System (SAS) platform to deliver signaling system 7 (SS7) functionality to its operator customers statewide. Tekelec said its EAGLE 5 SAS platform provides a path to support advanced services such as local number portability (LNP), toll-free, calling card, calling name delivery and mobility management. In addition, gateway screening will ensure security by limiting the inbound and outbound network access to authorized users

Monday, April 25, 2005

IPTV Keynote: Microsoft's Benchmarks for IPTV

Hopes for Telco TV go back some time, observed Phil Corman, Director of Microsoft TV, and as the US West trial in 1994 demonstrated, the results have been disappointing. So why now? For telcos, it is becoming a matter of simple survival, said Corman, and compared to earlier efforts, this time the technology is ready.

An important starting point, said Corman, is to consider what IPTV is not. "IPTV is not video streaming over the Internet, watching TV on your PC or merely a best-efforts video service. It has to be based on a proven business model." Corman believes a key to the new paradigm will be the Electronic Program Guide that allows users to navigate the service. IPTV holds an advantage in this regard because its picture-in-picture capability is software-based and does not require separate tuners in the TV set. Picture-in-picture is important because an IPTV EPG might present the view with a menu of perhaps six PIP windows of shows now underway. The viewer has a more powerful to search and browse video content. This type of integrated navigation could also be used to access content from PVR, a network PVR, or a VOD library.

One of the benchmarks for enabling IPTV is the establishment of a viable ecosystem of technology suppliers and content providers. Microsoft's recently announced strategic partnership with Alcatel is aimed at achieving this goal, explained Corman.

Microsoft's other IPTV partners include Tandberg and Harmonic for video headend. At the client side, Microsoft is looking for mass-market IP set-boxes at price points below $100. Here partners include Thomson, Samsung, Sigma Designs, ST and Intel.

Corman said Microsoft currently has about a dozen customers for its IPTV service, including the recent high-profile wins at BellSouth, SBC and Verizon.

Nortel to Acquire PEC to Accelerate U.S. Federal Business

Nortel Networks agreed to acquire PEC Solutions, a leading government IT services firm, for approximately US$448 million (net of cash acquired) through a cash tender offer for all outstanding shares of the company.

PEC, founded in 1985 and based in Fairfax, Virginia, works with homeland security, law enforcement, intelligence, defense and civilian agencies across the entire scope of the U.S. federal government. The company has 1,700 employees and 30 program offices in nine states.

"This acquisition will aggressively position Nortel in the U.S. federal government IT market. This market is characterized by consistent and steady growth and presents a significant opportunity for Nortel, based on expected demand for our specific technology and services capabilities in this market," said Bill Owens, Nortel's vice chairman and CEO.

Juniper to Acquire Redline for AFE Technology

Juniper Networks agreed to acquire Redline Networks, a start-up offering Application Front End (AFE) technology, for approximately $132 million in cash and assumed stock options.

Redline Networks, which was founded in 2000, develops "Application Front Ends" that are deployed within the boundaries of corporate data centers. These enable users to control and customize any web-based environment while reducing infrastructure cost and complexity. Redline's high-throughput, low-latency HTTP proxy can support up to 500,000 simultaneous users while simultaneously performing a range of critical Web tier functionality, including load balancing, I/O offload, compression, SSL, security, logging, etc. at up to wire speed. The platform includes a self-tuning Compression Policy Engine that reduces the size of HTML, SHTML, DHTML, JHTML, PHTML, XML, Javascript, J2EE, JSP, etc.; TCP Connection Management that terminates and persistently maintains segregated client and server connections; a Transaction Brokering capability that buffers response data; and the ability to keep client TCP connection persistently open, even if the server closes connection. This eliminates unnecessary TCP slow-starts for faster delivery.

Redline Networks has over 350 enterprise customers. The company is based in in Campbell, California.
  • Redline Networks is headed by Roy Johnson, who previously held the post of vice president of marketing and business development at 2Wire. Its technical team is led by company founder Israel L'Heureux, who previously held a number of management positions in Internet systems, engineering and product development at technology-driven corporations such as Dell, DaimlerBenz and BMW.

Juniper to Acquire Peribit for WAN Optimization

Juniper Networks agreed to acquire Peribit Networks, a developer of WAN optimization technology, for approximately $337 million in cash, stock and assumed stock options.

Peribit WAN optimization architecture uses compression, sequence caching, latency reduction, bandwidth management, path optimization, and visibility tools to improve congested enterprise WAN links.

Peribit, which was founded in 2000, developed a Molecular Sequence Reduction (MSR) technology that applies DNA pattern matching algorithms recognize repetitive bits of data traversing a point-to-point WAN link.

The sequence caching technology records patterns across packets, sessions, and flows and store them on hard disk so that, if repeated later, they can be identified and removed from data streams even when they are separated by hundreds of gigabytes of data sent days or weeks apart, and even when the transmitted files have been modified. Peribit also developed a Packet Flow Acceleration (PFA) technology that addresses poor application performance caused WAN latency. WAN latency tends to delay the acknowledgements between send and receive endpoints and this impedes an application's ability to send additional data while it's in a "wait state." Peribit's PFA technology accelerates short flows by optimizing the TCP session initialization. For large bulk data transfers, PFA minimizes the TCP idle time during which the server is unable to transfer more data due to WAN latency. This results in an optimized data flow from sender to receiver and a significant reduction in the total time to completion for the data transfer.

Peribit's products have been installed in over 900 enterprises worldwide.
  • Earlier this month, Peribit Networks introduced an Application Flow Acceleration (AppFlow) that transparently speeds performance of Microsoft Exchange, file services, and web-based applications over point-to-point links. Peribit's AppFlow technology accelerates the performance of applications based on three specific protocols: the Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) used by Exchange; Microsoft CIFS; and HTTP. The AppFlow technology improves response times for remote Outlook/Exchange users by requesting portions of the message in advance of the client's request, pipelining what had been a serial and inefficient bulk transfer. As a result, the entire e-mail and any attachments are local to the client by the time the client requests the message.

  • Peribit Networks was founded in May 2000 by Dr. Amit P. Singh, a researcher at Stanford University, and Balraj Singh, who previously was part of the original design team for Intel's Pentium.

Cisco to Acquire Sipura for VoIP CPE Technology

Cisco Systems agreed to acquire Sipura, a start-up offering VoIP customer premise equipment technology, for approximately $68 million in cash and options. This represents Cisco's first acquisition for its Linksys division. Sipura is a key technology provider for Linksys' current line of VoIP networking devices.

Sipura's technology is incorporated in VoIP adapters (including those integrated into home routers and gateways) and a multi-line IP phone for the consumer and SOHO market. The company is based in San Jose, California.

Dr. Sin leads the development of communication protocols and DSP algorithms for all of Sipura's product lines. He came to Sipura Technology from Cisco Systems where he was a senior engineering manager. Before that, he was an engineering manager at Komodo Technology, which was later acquired by Cisco.

"VoIP is a strategic segment for innovation and growth for Cisco and Linksys. The acquisition of Sipura will augment Linksys' leading position in the rapidly growing VoIP market and is an example of Linksys' strategy to increase internal R&D capabilities in specific product categories," said Charles Giancarlo, Cisco CTO and Cisco-Linksys president.
  • Sipura is headed by Jan Fandrianto, who was the founder and CEO of Komodo Technology, a developer of VoIP devices that was acquired by Cisco Systems in July 2000 for $175 million. Sipura's engineering team is led by Dr. Sam Sin, who previously was a senior engineering manager at Cisco Systems. Before that, he was an engineering manager at Komodo Technology.

Successful Launch for the First of DirecTV's Next Gen HDTV Satellites

Sea Launch successfully delivered DIRECTV's Spaceway F1 satellite to orbit, completing the launch of the heaviest commercial satellite to date. Spaceway F1 is capable of delivering hundreds of HD signals to DIRECTV customers and the first of four next-generation satellites. Spaceway F1 is the first of two Ka-band satellites in this series. Spaceway F2 is slated to launch in June. The four satellites will provide the capacity to deliver more than 1,500 local HD and more than 150 national HD channels and other advanced programming services to consumers.

Initially, DIRECTV will begin offering digital and HD local channels in 12 markets this fall. The first group of markets to receive local HD channels via Spaceway F1 includes New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston and Tampa. These markets represent nearly 36 million homes or 32.8 percent of all U.S. TV households.

Spaceway 1 is a Boeing 702 model spacecraft with a design life of 12 years. It features a fully steerable downlink antenna that can be reconfigured on orbit to seamlessly address market conditions. The satellite will be positioned in a geosynchronous orbit at 102.8 degree West longitude and a high-point of 34,128 km (21,200 miles) above the equator.
  • DIRECTV is 34% owned by News Corporation.

Foundry Cuts 10 GigE Prices to $1,250 per Port

Foundry Networks announced new pricing for many of its 10 Gigabit Ethernet products and accessories. The 10-gigabit Ethernet ports on Foundry products support pluggable XENPAK or XFP transceivers providing flexibility in connecting to a range of media types including CX4 copper, multimode fiber and single mode fiber. Foundry has reduced the pricing of its short reach XFP optics (up to 300 meters over multimode fiber) by 60% to $1,245 (US list) and of its short reach XENPAK optics by 40% to $2,495 (US list).

Foundry's 10-GE product families include the EdgeIron family of stackable layer 2 switches, FastIron Workgroup X-series layer 2 fixed configuration switches, FastIron Edge X-series layer 2/3 fixed configuration switches, the recently introduced FastIron SuperX compact modular layer 2/3 switch, the BigIron MG8 layer 2/3 backbone switch and the NetIron family of multiservice routers for service providers. 10-GE port prices start at $1,250 (US list) for the 8-port EdgeIron 8x10G.

Time Warner Cable Implements Support Software for Digital TV

Time Warner Cable Cincinnati is using a Service Automation Suite for Video (SAS-V) software developed by Scientific-Atlanta and SupportSoft to enhance digital TV reliability. The solution was field tested by Time Warner Cable and demonstrated an ability to help automate the diagnosis and resolution of common problems associated with the installation and ongoing service of digital TV transmission.

SAS-V works to pinpoint potential issues with a digital video connection within a customer's home or the last mile of the service provider's network. Customer service representatives or field technicians can use the solution to ease remote problem diagnosis.

Level 3 Increases Communications Revenue

Level 3 Communications reported revenue of $1.01 billion for the first quarter 2005 compared to $1.05 billion for the fourth quarter 2004. Communications revenue was $510 million in the first quarter versus $482 million for the previous quarter, and information services revenue was $483 million compared to $547 million for the seasonally high previous quarter. The net loss for the first quarter 2005 was $77 million, or $0.11 per share, consistent with the previous quarter.

"We experienced another quarter of strong IP traffic growth on our network, with average traffic per day increasing approximately 25 percent over the prior quarter," said James Q. Crowe, CEO of Level 3.

Level 3 is now carrying an average of 2.7 petabytes of traffic per day on its IP network.

During the quarter, Level 3 announced new customer contracts to provide VoIP services to AOL and Adelphia and saw strong contract activity from a number of its target customers, particularly from cable operators, wireless companies and PTTs.

"The competitive environment continues to remain challenging; however, we continue to see positive signs for the industry including consolidation that should prove beneficial to us in the long term," said Crowe.

Verizon Opens its E911 System to VoIP Providers

Verizon will allow VoIP service providers and their vendors to use its Enhanced 911 emergency calling system to connect VoIP customer 911 calls to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). Verizon expects that by this summer, VoIP providers and their vendors will be able to provide their customers in New York City with E 911 service. If the New York City model is successful, it will be replicated in other locations.

The E 911 system directs a 911 caller to the appropriate local government emergency response center, known as a Public Safety Answering Point. The call travels over a dedicated network and automatically provides the PSAP operator with the name and address associated with the caller's telephone number.

"With the recent and rapid growth of VoIP service, we needed to find a way to integrate VoIP providers into the E 911 system in a manner that would reliably serve VoIP end-users and that at the same time would not compromise the safety and reliability of the E 911 system for other users. After discussions with VoIP providers and the emergency services community, we believe that we have identified an arrangement that meets the needs of both groups and enables VoIP providers to offer their customers significantly better 911 services than they receive today," said Michael O'Connor, executive director of federal regulatory affairs for Verizon.

Riverstone Offers 24-port Ethernet Access Router

Riverstone unveiled a low-cost, 24-port, carrier Ethernet access router, the Edge Solution (ES) 2010, that is compatible with its MPLS-based RS and 15000 carrier Ethernet product lines.

The ES 2010 is designed for Metro Ethernet carrier services, offering support for meeting pre-defined SLAs and more flexible network troubleshooting. The ES 2010 supports both Ethernet and IP, allowing service providers to cost-effectively deploy VoIP and data services, including VLANs, to small and medium-sized businesses. The new Ethernet router is equipped with two one-gigabit uplinks, either Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) or copper.

Verizon Signs Showtime for Premium Movies

Verizon signed a long-term affiliation agreement with Showtime Networks for its premium movie services over the forthcoming FiOs IPTV service. Under the deal, Verizon will carry 11 Showtime Networks channels. Showtime subscribers will also receive Showtime On Demand and The Movie Channel On Demand, together televising 150 hours of Hollywood movies and Showtime original programming a month, up to 25% of which will change weekly. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Verizon Announces FTTP Deployments in Southern California

Verizon announced the expansion of its FTTP network and FiOS Internet service in California. The company is now deploying fiber in Ventura county, as well as in the cities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Bermuda Dunes, Camarillo, Chino, Desert Hot Springs, Hermosa Beach, Indio, La Quinta, Chino Hills, Ontario, Palm Springs, Perris, Lake Elsinore, Temecula, Redondo Beach and Victorville. Some customers in these cities can already order FiOS. Additional cities will be added next year, and Verizon will announce FiOS Internet Service in these areas as it becomes available.

To date, Verizon has deployed 8 million feet, or 1,500 miles, of fiber- optic cable in Southern California as part of the FTTP project. The company will deploy millions more feet of fiber in 2005.

Verizon also estimates it will retain more than 1,000 contractors in California to work on various aspects of the local FTTP project such as underground boring, trenching and fiber splicing.

IPTV Keynote: Challenge & Opportunities

An open network architecture for IPTV has its integration challenges, but prevents vendor lock-in, said Bill DeMuth, CTO of Surewest Communications, in a keynote address at the IPTV 20005 conference earlier this week in San Jose. Surewest, which serves the Sacramento, California region, has been delivering Triple Play services since July 2002 and IP video since January 2004. The company's fiber network passes about 70,000 homes and has over 16,000 FTTP subscribers. The active fiber network delivers 100 Mbps Ethernet to each home. Surewest also operates a copper network and has just started to deploy ADSL2+.

The IPTV service provides the choice of 260 channels of content, over 75 premium channels, 25 international channels, Pay-per-View and VOD services.

"At this point, the market drivers for deploying IPTV are clear," said DeMuth. These include the desire to retain current customers and reduce churn, acquire new customers,
create new revenue streams, and increase the take-rate for all services. Customer demand really exists. For telcos, there is a window of opportunity that is open right now. Surewest competes against SBC and Comcast.

DeMuth highlighted several ongoing challenges for IPTV rollouts. For the copper plant, ADSL bandwidth limitations affects the number of set-top boxes deployed per home and HDTV also presents bandwidth challenges.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

BayPackets Raises $14 Million

BayPackets, a start-up based in Fremont, California with a subsidiary in India, raised $14 million in fourth round funding for its enhanced voice and data solutions for wireless, wireline and cable operators.

BayPackets' Agility Networks Services Platform (NSP) and SIP Application Server are IMS-compliant service delivery platforms that enable operators to deliver differentiated services and service bundles. With BayPackets, the creation, deployment, and management of applications and their service logic are decoupled from the underlying transport network. This allows the company's service delivery platforms to operate on circuit-switched, packet-based or converged networks. In addition to applications such as Prepaid, Unified Messaging, Voice VPN, Advanced Toll Free, BayPackets provides a Software Development Kit (SDK) with tools and resources to quickly build new services.

BayPackets said its customer lists includes the largest VoIP network provider in North America and the largest broadband provider in Japan, among others.

The latest funding round was co-led by Investcorp and Telesoft Partners. Telesoft Partners Managing Director George Schmitt also joins BayPackets' board of directors as chairman of the Board.

Atheros Debuts 802.11a/g + PCI Express Solution

Atheros Communications introduced a single-chip IEEE 802.11a/g (Atheros AR5006EX) and 802.11g (Atheros AR5006EG) WLAN solution with support for PCI Express. The chips integrate an entire WLAN solution-media access controller (MAC), baseband processor, and a high-performance 2.4/5-GHz radio or 2.4-GHz radio-in a low-cost digital CMOS design.

Atheros said the solution enables the entire WLAN solution to fit on a single-sided mini card or ExpressCard design. This represents Atheros' sixth-generation wireless LAN solution.

Additionally, both chips support robust security standard with IEEE 802.11i. An AES encryption engine is built into the hardware of all Atheros 802.11a/g and 802.11g chipsets, allowing real-time encryption with no performance degradation in computing, consumer electronics and wireless broadband applications. Atheros' chipsets also support wireless multimedia and draft 802.11e QoS specifications.

Atheros is currently sampling the AR5006EX and AR5006EG to lead customers. Volume production is expected in Q3 2005.

Broadcom Integrates Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 in GigE Controllers

Broadcom has integrated Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 functionality into its latest NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) controllers. TPM, a security standard created by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG) for a hardware-based secure computing environment, provides a more secure environment based on a trusted root protected in hardware. Integrating TPM security into NetXtreme GbE controller chips enables PC OEMs to offer this security as a standard feature on all enterprise client personal computers. Two versions of the GbE controller are currently in production.

Broadcom said platforms with TPM 1.2 hardware will be ready for enhanced security functionality in Microsoft forthcoming "Longhorn" OS due in late 2006.

Sprint Supports Orb Networks' Home Media Streaming

Orb Networks and Sprint announced the immediate availability of a free, new service that enables Sprint local wireline telephone customers subscribing to Sprint's DSL to remotely access their digital home media through high-speed broadband. This new service, Sprint Personal Media Link, powered by Orb, gives these consumers the ability to access digital content on a home personal computer with Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition XP from virtually anywhere in the world via a laptop computer or wireless device.

Sprint intends to initially roll out the Sprint Personal Media Link service through its consumer Web site and the service will also become part of the Sprint high-speed Internet customer enrollment.

2Wire Offers ADSL2/2+ Gateway with VoIP Ports

2Wire introduced a new residential gateway featuring an ADSL2/2+ modem, integrated VoIP ports, integrated router, 802.11g with high power 400mW transmitter, firewall and a USB 2.0 port for network-attached storage, print-servers, etc. The new HomePortal 2000 series also supports the DSL Forum's TR-069 industry standard, ensuring compatibility with any standardized back-end component management system, and introduces TR-059 and pre WT-098 support for carrier-grade Quality of Service and policy provisioning.

Audiocodes Reports Rise in Revenues

Audiocodes reported quarterly revenue $26.9 million compared to $25.2 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2004 and $15.3 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2004. First quarter revenues grew 7% sequentially and increased 76% compared to the first quarter of 2004. Net income for the first quarter of 2005 was $3.0 million, or $0.07 per basic and diluted share, compared to a net loss of $43,000, or $(0.00) per basic and diluted share, for the corresponding period last year. The period marked Audiocodes' fourteenth consecutive quarter of revenue growth.

Communications Workers of America Support SBC+AT&T Merger

The Communications Workers of America filed comments with the FCC supporting SBC's proposed acquisition of AT&T. "The merger is clearly in the public interest," CWA said, noting that it will create a "premier U.S. communications company, one with the ability to expand the delivery of advanced technologies, services and features to all classes of customers."

VeriSign to Acquire Lightbridge for IN

VeriSign agreed to acquire to Lightbridge's Intelligent Network Solutions (INS) technology platform and customer base for $17.45 million in cash plus the assumption of certain contractual liabilities. The Lightbridge PrepayIN platform is an Intelligent Network solution that provides real-time rating for voice, data, and IN-based services, empowering mobile operators to deliver prepaid, hybrid, and postpaid charging capabilities to their subscribers.

VeriSign said the acquired PrepayIN platform will augment its Service Portfolio for North American-based Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) who are expected to target largely untapped prepaid segments to drive subscriber volume.

SBC Adds 504,000 DSL Subscribers in Q1

SBC Communications announced its best quarter for DSL to date, adding 504,000 net DSL lines in Q1 and giving it a total base of 5.6 million lines in service. Over the past four quarters, SBC has added more than 1.6 million DSL lines. The company also added 1.1 million long distance lines to reach 22 million. Some highlights for Q1:

Revenues - SBC's first-quarter 2005 revenues increased 2.4% to $10.2 billion, with wireline revenues up 2.8% and consumer wireline revenues up 3.9% , marking SBC's fourth consecutive quarter of positive revenue growth. Earnings were $885 million, or $0.27 per diluted share on a reported basis, and $1.1 billion, or $0.34 per diluted share before merger-related expenses at Cingular Wireless, which is 60% owned by SBC.

Bundles - SBC's penetration of retail consumer lines with at least one key service - long distance, DSL, joint-billed Cingular Wireless or SBC | DISH Network video - increased to 64 percent at the end of the first quarter, up from 50 percent a year earlier. Driven by success with bundled services, SBC's average revenue per retail consumer access line increased 8.4 percent versus the year-ago first quarter.

Data Revenues - Wireline data revenues grew 6.7 percent to $2.8 billion, driven by robust DSL/Internet growth, along with solid results in transport and integration services. SBC ranks No. 1 among its immediate peers in total data revenues.

Access Lines - SBC posted significant improvement in retail access line trends in the first quarter. Total retail consumer primary lines increased by 16,000, SBC's first quarterly gain in this category in five years and a substantial upturn from declines of 73,000 in the preceding quarter and 156,000 in the first quarter a year ago. Consumer additional lines declined by 104,000 in the first quarter, versus declines of 119,000 in the preceding quarter and 149,000 in the first quarter of 2004. This was SBC's smallest decline in additional lines in four years. SBC's retail business line base declined by 45,000, compared with declines of 74,000 in the preceding quarter and 242,000 in the first quarter a year ago. SBC's switched wholesale lines declined by 343,000 due to a 364,000 decline in UNE-P lines. In the preceding quarter, switched wholesale lines declined by 302,000, and in the first quarter of 2004 they increased by 135,000. SBC ended the first quarter of 2005 with 51.9 million total switched access lines.

Data Connection Announces Session Border Controller Software

Data Connection Limited (DCL) began offering Session Border Controller (DC-SBC) software solution for developers of softswitches, routers, gateways, firewalls, and IP PBXs, as well as standalone session border controllers. SBCs are a set of functions that control session-based traffic at the signaling and packet layers, allowing increased security and enhanced features to be deployed in a VoIP network.

The new DC-SBC source code enables OEMs to offer service providers Session Border Controller (SBC) functionality as a software upgrade to platforms already installed in their networks. System vendors benefit by providing platforms with increased service and security capabilities but at reduced development costs and time-to-market.

"SBC features and services are absolutely essential in VoIP networking but are not addressed by the incumbent platforms that provide the foundation of these networks. This fact, combined with the explosion of VoIP services, has created huge demand for SBC functionality which is best served by legacy softswitches and routers," said Phil McConnell, CEO of Data Connection.

Intoto Offers SSL-VPN Source Code for CPE

Intoto introduced new multi-service security software for manufacturers of Small-to-Medium Enterprise (SME) gateway applications. Intoto has expanded its iGateway RGS and iGateway EX software platforms and iGateway software modules with SSL-VPN, anti-virus (AV) and anti-spam (AS) functionality, to enhance its existing firewall, intrusion prevention and Web filtering solutions.

iGateway SSL-VPN complements Intoto's current VPN solutions by enabling access to applications to remote users such as telecommuters, mobile employees, customers, and partners.

BelAir Supplies Wi-Fi Mesh in Bristol, UK

BelAir Networks is supplying its wide-area wireless networking equipment for what is described as the U.K.'s largest wireless hot zone, which is being built in Bristol. The Bristol network, which covers approximately 3 square kilometers, uses four-radio wireless switch routers. Each unite includes a 2.4 GHz access radio module to support Wi-Fi client access and up to three separate 5 GHz backhaul radio modules. The network is used to provide Internet access and to enable city workers to access private networks (VPNs) while working on city streets. The network also provides wireless connectivity for CCTV, allowing cameras to be deployed around street events and for general security surveillance. The Bristol network was conceived by Bristol City Council in partnership with Cityspace, the UK's leading provider of outdoor urban digital networks.

Qwest Opposes SBC+AT&T Merger

Qwest Communications is urging the FCC to block SBC's proposed acquisition of AT&T on the grounds that it would be bad for the industry. If the FCC does not block the merger outright, Qwest is urging regulators to impose significant conditions on the deal, such as divestitures of facilities and other related overlapping operations in SBC's 13-state operating territory. In addition, Qwest argues that because the proposed merged company will benefit from the elimination of AT&T as a competitor -- and benefit from the elimination of other competitors' access to AT&T's wholesale services and access facilities -- other significant conditions must be imposed in order to attempt to level the playing field.

"The combination of SBC and AT&T as proposed would set our industry back years," said Steve Davis, Qwest senior vice president of public policy. "SBC proposes to acquire its largest competitor and greatest strategic threat. It is inconceivable that this transaction could be in the public interest without the imposition of significant conditions and required divestitures."

Qwest has also filed a protest with the Public Utilities Commission of California opposing SBC's merger with AT&T.

Qwest did not mention its own bid to acquire MCI. Unveils VoIP Migration Platform introduced a VoIP migration appliance designed to preserve the life of existing PBX's and all associated feature sets while providing any-to-any connectivity between TDM and IP protocols and media.

The new SHOUT2500 Voice Migration Appliance combines a voice router with built in call control, a session border controller for firewall and NAT traversal, a media gateway for connectivity to legacy PBX's and the PSTN, a protocol translator and converter for multi- vendor PBX interconnectivity, SIP and H.323 interworking, and an open programming interface. It routes calls to IP VPNs, the Internet, ITSPs, partners and the PSTN. For the enterprise, this means reduced costs from toll calls, international bandwidth, PBX tie lines, PBX blades, tandem PBX's, and remote worker call charges. The SHOUT2500 enables heterogeneous PBX's to inter work over the IP WAN with full feature transparency. A flexible scripting language also enables complex routing tables to be built that leverage multiple transport networks. also leverages its own BESTflow (BSP) protocol, which designed to improve the efficiency of transporting multiple calls across an IP link, while ensuring firewall and NAT traversal.

Significantly, is providing tie-ins to Microsoft Live Communications Server and the Genesys call center with SIP to PBX CTI gateway functionality. For instance, a global enterprise would be able to integrate a legacy PBX network with a new SIP-based PBX network using Microsoft's Live Communication Server 2005 and Office Communicator. The company is demonstrating the new product at the Microsoft Partner Solutions Center.

Force10 Packs 1,260 GigE Ports into a Chassis

Force10 Networks introduced the industry's first 90-port Gigabit Ethernet line card, increasing the density of its 14-slot TeraScale E-Series family of switch/routers to more than 1,260 Gigabit Ethernet ports per chassis. This sets a new industry benchmark for Gigabit Ethernet density and represents nearly three times the density of competitive solutions, according to the company.

Force10 Networks said this high-level of GigE port density could lead to more efficient designs of corporate data centers. Rather than deploying several tiers of Ethernet switches, large numbers of enterprise servers could be more easily managed if connected to single, central switch router. The company cited the market momentum for high-density blade servers with multi-core CPUs, as well as the larger trend toward grid computing, leading to denser, more-powerful and more efficient data centers.
  • In March 2005, Force10 Networks introduce fixed configuration its S50 Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet data center switch. The one rack unit S50 supports 48 line-rate 10/100/1000 ports and two optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks. The S50 features 192 Gbps of switching capacity. Network operators can stack up to eight Force10 S50s to create a single virtual switch, simplifying network management.

Alcatel Tunes its Core and Edge Routers for Triple Play

Alcatel announced new features on its 7450 Ethernet Service Switch and 7750 Service Router aimed at triple play and business VPN services.

Enhancements to the Alcatel 7450 include scalable, highly efficient multicasting for IPTV distribution and automated per-subscriber security policies. In a telco triple play architecture, the Alcatel 7450 would sit at the edge of a metro network accepting a large number of video feeds from a core IP/MPLS network and then multicasting the most watched channels via Gigabit Ethernet links to DSLAMs or ONTs further out in the field. The Alcatel 7450 has also gained the ability to provide DHCP for triple play services. This DHCP capability automatically allocates IP addresses to multimedia appliances or hosts in network (set-top boxes / VOIP Phones). With this process, Alcatel is also providing automatically configured security filters to protect the network against Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and prevent unauthorized user access in the network.

With triple play services, customers will soon demand high-levels of network availability for their premium TV choices. To meet this challenge, Alcatel offers its non-stop routing technology. Non-stop routing provides a statefull hot-back-up. Should routing problems arise, the system recovers the control plane without routing neighbors ever knowing there was a problem. Using this approach, Alcatel said it is able to ensure that entertainment and VoIP services are for "Always On" and that E911 services are unaffected by network outages.

BT Exact, the research, technology and IT operations business of BT, has tested the high availability features of the 7750 SR. Details of this report are now available from Alcatel.

Other new features on the Alcatel 7750 Service Router enable it to deliver scalable Layer 2 and Layer 3 services, including Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS), IP VPNs, high-speed Internet, ATM, and Frame Relay. The latest release also delivers new Ethernet, TDM and ATM interfaces.
  • In October 2004, SBC announced the selection of Alcatel for the delivery of triple play services to 18 million homes in the U.S., as part of its Project Lightspeed.

Strix Offers Multi-Radio, Multi-Channel, Multi-RF Outdoor Mesh

Strix Systems, a start-up based in Calabasas, California released an outdoor version of its high-capacity multi-radio, multi-channel, and multi-RF mesh networking solution.

Strix's Access/One Network OWS supports up to six radios per node, enabling some dedicated radios to be used backhaul ingress, backhaul egress, and client connectivity. The design can use any combination of 802.11a, b, or g radios. This multi-radio mesh architecture segments the network, ensuring high throughput and low latency over multiple hops. The company said its multi-radio, multi-channel approach enables it to maintain support for real-time applications with only one termination point per 50 nodes on the mesh, whereas other mesh architectures require a termination point for every 5 to 10 nodes. Also, by separating client access from the mesh backbone using different spectrum, the Strix system can dynamically optimize data paths, circumnavigate network congestion and interference, and adjust in real-time to avoid network failure.

The city of Tempe, Arizona is among the municipalities deployed an outdoor mesh network based on Strix Systems. The wireless network will cover the entire city limits of Tempe and will offer services to residents and visitors on an annual, monthly, daily and hourly basis. The network will allow access to multiple Internet service providers (ISP), and is robust enough to provide telephone service via VoIP.

The new Access/One Network OWS 2400 and 3600 model products are available in two NEMA 4X-rated environmentally-hardened enclosures. Strix has previously offered only indoor versions of the system, selling through partners to vertical segments. The company uses Atheros silicon in its systems.

Huawei-3Com selects Greenfield for High-End Switches

Huawei-3Com selected Greenfield Networks' switching chipset for a new line of high-feature Ethernet switch products. Greenfield's Packetry silicon delivers Layer 2/3/4 packet processing capabilities, including IPv6 routing in hardware and extensive QoS. The Packetry classification and traffic management functions enable VoIP and other converged applications that require flow-based priority and bandwidth distribution across the network. The chipset also supports MPLS switching, stacked VLANs, Layer 2 VPN (martini and VPLS), Layer 3 VPN (RFC 2547bis) and IP tunneling.
  • In September 2004, Greenfield Networks, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, raised $21.5 million in third round venture funding for its next gen Ethernet switching silicon. The latest funding round was led by new investor JPMorgan Partners and included existing venture partners Sequoia Capital, Global Catalyst Partners and Walden International. The $21.5 million investment brought total funding in Greenfield to $48 million.

  • Greenfield Networks is headed by Gary Smerdon, who previously served as VP of Marketing at Marvell. He joined Marvell through its acquisition of Galileo Technology, another supplier of Ethernet silicon solutions.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Verizon Considers its Options with MCI

In response to MCI's finding that Qwest had a superior offer, Verizon said it was now reviewing its options. Under the terms of the Verizon-MCI definitive merger agreement, these include requiring MCI to continue to finalize its proxy statement and to organize a meeting of MCI's shareholders to consider the agreed transaction with Verizon. Alternatively, Verizon may elect to terminate the agreement with MCI. Upon such a termination, Verizon would be entitled to be paid by MCI a $240 million break-up fee plus an expense reimbursement of up to $10 million, and the same amounts would be payable following an MCI shareholders meeting if the Verizon-MCI transaction were not approved and an agreement was signed with Qwest.

Friday, April 22, 2005

MCI Agrees that Qwest Offer is Superior

MCI's Board of Directors issued a statement concluding that Qwest Communications' latest acquisition offer is superior to the terms of the current MCI/Verizon merger agreement. Under the terms of the MCI/Verizon merger agreement, Verizon has five business days (through Friday, April 29, 2005) to respond with a revised proposal.

Under Qwest's irrevocable offer MCI's Board of Directors has until May 3, 2005, to change its current recommendation in favor of the MCI/Verizon merger agreement.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

AT&T Partners with NEC on VoIP Project in Japan

AT&T and NEC have jointly implemented a VoIP project for OMRON Corp. in Japan. The migration to VoIP began in November 2004, and after voice-switching testing and other preparations, over 10,000 telephones nationwide were switched in just two days.

In this project, AT&T was responsible for project management, network design, equipment/line selection, test and operational support. NEC installed VoIP equipment, including UNIVERGE SV7000 servers and VoIP gateways at all locations. The companies estimate that Omron will save $500,000 per year.

AT&T also supplies Omron with a global IP VPN linking 53 business locations in 19 European countries and 15 business locations in 9 countries in the Asia Pacific region. The VPN solution also has been extended to the U.S.

Sierra Monolithics Announces Shipments of Dual-Band WiMAX Transceivers

Sierra Monolithics began shipping a dual-band transceiver that supports WiMax-compliant CPE. The device includes full receive and transmit paths with on-chip synthesizers and VCOs. The transceiver tunes over 2.3 to 2.7 GHz and 3.3 to 3.8 GHz. Sierra Monolithics also has evaluation kits available. The kits provide a complete RF section at 3.5 GHz suitable for half duplex frequency division duplex (FDD) or time division duplex (TDD) operation.

"Standards-based, cost-effective WiMAX modems and gateways are key to the success of the wireless broadband market," said Scott Richardson, general manager of Intel's Broadband Wireless Division. "SMI's dual-band single chip transceiver, the SMI7035, and the Intel PRO/Wireless 5116 broadband interface enable more cost effective WiMAX modems, which will help bring them to a broader audience."

Motorola Invests in Asylum Telecom for Messaging Apps

Motorola Ventures has made an equity investment in Asylum Telecom, a start-up offering "turnkey" Internet-based communication solutions. Asylum's product portfolio includes anytime-anywhere access, voice VPN services, converged GSM/IP mobile, and instant messaging. The solution includes full OSS/BSS (Operation and Business Support Systems). Asylum sells through a global network of channel partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Asylum Telecom was founded in February 2003 and is headquartered in New York with R&D and operational support offices in Budapest, Hungary and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Verizon Signs A&E for its IPTV Service

Verizon signed a long-term programming- distribution agreement with A&E Television Networks. The agreement includes rights to distribute all of A&E's networks on FiOS TV, which launches later this year. They include A&E, The History Channel, The Biography Channel, History International, Military History Channel, The History Channel en español, and Crime & Investigation Network. Also included is video-on-demand content from all of A&E Television Network services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • Last week, Verizon SIGNED a long-term agreement with NBC Universal Cable for distribution of its cable and broadcast networks on Verizon FiOS TV. Two of the networks, Telemundo and mun2, will be part of the extensive lineup of Spanish- language programming available to FiOS TV subscribers.

    The agreement includes rights to distribute Bravo, CNBC, CNBC World, MSNBC, SCI FI Channel, Trio, USA, ShopNBC, Telemundo, including Telemundo's locally owned broadcast stations, and mun2, a channel aimed at young U.S. Latinos. Also included are retransmission consent rights to NBC Universal's owned and operated broadcast stations and Universal HD, a service that features high-definition films, TV shows, performing arts, sports and special events.

  • Verizon has also signed long-term affiliation agreements with Starz Entertainment Group and TVN Entertainment for its upcoming FiOS TV service.

Ericsson Predicts 2 Billion Mobile Subscriber Worldwide by Year End

Ericsson estimated that net mobile subscriber additions worldwide were close to 100 million in the first quarter of 2005. At the end of the quarter worldwide mobile subscription penetration is 28% with a total of more than 1.8 billion subscriptions, of which almost 1.4 billion are GSM. The strong subscriber growth continues and the global number of subscriptions could pass 2 billion already by year-end.

Ericsson reported Q1 2005 net sales of SEK 31.5, up 12% over Q1 2004, but down 20% from Q4 2004 due to seasonality. The company described the year-over-year improvement as encouraging but the comparison is also somewhat favorable due to a somewhat slower start last year. Currency exchange effects negatively impacted sales in the quarter by 5%, compared to currency exchange rates one year ago. In constant currencies sales for the quarter grew by 17%.

Gross margin was 48.5% compared to 44.7% last year, a reflection of a favorable product mix as well as continuous focus on cost reductions.

Western Europe sales grew 26% year-over-year. Italy and Spain continued to show strong development and the region as a whole is benefiting from ongoing 3G deployments and GSM capacity enhancements.

Central Europe, Middle East and Africa sales for Ericsson grew 20% year-over-year with particularly good development in Africa and Eastern European markets such as Turkey and Ukraine. The growing demand for EDGE and WCDMA continues to stimulate the positive development in the region.

Asia Pacific sales for Ericsson were up by 4% year-over-year. Strong development in important markets such as India, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan contributed to the sales growth. The development in China has been somewhat slower in the first quarter but should pick up going forward. Operators are evaluating different 3G technologies and performing large-scale trials with WCDMA as the natural choice for the dominating GSM technology. A Chinese telecom reform is expected mid year 2005 and should trigger the issuing of 3G licenses.

North America sales for Ericsson continue to be affected by the temporary slow down in capital expenditure due to operator consolidation and sales declined by 24% year-over-year. Sales should start to pick up as the 3G roll out starts later this year. During the quarter Ericsson also announced a contract to provide WCDMA equipment and telecom services to the U.S. Navy MUOS program.

Latin America continues to show a positive development and Eriksson's sales grew by 24% year-over-year through strong GSM sales. Brazil and Mexico in particular contributed to the year over year growth.

During the quarter, five new WCDMA networks were commercially launched, bringing the total to 61. Ericsson is a supplier to 36 of these networks. WCDMA subscriptions grew from approximately 16 million to more than 21 million during the quarter. The number of CDMA2000 1xEV-DO subscriptions has now reached 12 million.

Broadwing to Sell its Corvis Optical Switch Division

Broadwing is considering strategic alternatives for its Optical Convergence Switch (OCS) digital cross-connect product, including a potential sale of the product, in order to focus on its telecommunications services business.

The OCS digital cross-connect switch provides standard point-to-point, ring and mesh networking functionality that enables delivery of SONET/SDH services and is sold by the Broadwing's communications equipment division. Broadwing previously reported that its equipment sales, primarily to the U.S. government, contributed approximately 2% to consolidated company revenue in 2004.

Broadwing also announced that Jim Bannantine, who served as President of its equipment business, has resigned in order to pursue other interests. In addition, the company named Scott Widham, currently President-Carrier Accounts, to the new position of President of Sales, which merges oversight of the previously separate Carrier Accounts and Enterprise Accounts sales operations.
  • In September 2004, Corvis changed its name to Broadwing Corporation. Last year, Corvis also acquired Chicago-based competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) Focal Communications for $210 million.

  • In June 2003, Corvis and Cequel III, a St. Louis-based telecommunications and cable management firm, completed their acquisition of Broadwing Communications from Cincinnati Bell. The sale includes Broadwing's 18,700 mile national fiber network, its all-optical switching platform, a state-of-the-art network operations center and all the other network elements necessary to provide its integrated and managed broadband telecommunications services.

Nokia Sees Overall Mobile Device Market at 740 Million Units for 05

Nokia now expects the overall mobile device market for 2005 to reach about 740 million units, compared with its previous estimate of approximately 10% annual growth, from an estimated 643 million units in 2004. The overall market is also expected to grow in value, but to a lesser extent. Volume growth is expected to continue to be driven by replacement and upgrade sales in more developed markets, with the availability of new features, services and cameras, and by new subscriber growth in developing mobile markets. In infrastructure, Nokia continues to expect the overall market in 2005 to be slightly up compared with 2004 in EUR terms.

According to Nokia estimates, year-on-year volume growth for the mobile device market in the first quarter came in ahead of expectations at 20%, with Nokia growing at about the same pace as the market. Despite some weakness in 3G devices at the industry level, this marked a strong start for the year.

Nokia's first-quarter 2005 net sales increased 17% to EUR 7.4 billion, compared with EUR 6.3 billion in the first quarter of 2004. At constant currency, group net sales would have increased 19%. All business groups contributed to the year-on-year sales growth.

Nokia's first-quarter operating profit grew 10% year on year to EUR 1.1 billion, compared with the first quarter 2004 (EUR 1.0 billion) with an operating margin of 15.1% (16.1%).

Operating cash flow for the quarter ended March 31, 2005 was EUR 1.3 billion, compared with EUR 0.9 billion in Q1 2004, and total combined cash and other liquid assets were EUR 12.6 billion, compared with EUR 11.5 billion at 31 December 31, 2004. As of March 31, 2005, net debt-to-equity ratio (gearing) was -94%, compared with -79% at December 31, 2004.

For the first-quarter 2005, the total mobile device sales volume achieved by the Mobile Phones, Multimedia and Enterprise Solutions business groups reached 53.8 million units, representing a year-on-year rise of 20% and a sequential decline, mainly due to normal seasonality, of 19%. Overall market volumes for the same period reached an estimated 170 million units, representing 20% annual growth and a 13% sequential decline. In smartphones, the total industry volume for the first quarter reached an estimated 10 million units, while Nokia's own smartphone volumes grew to 5.4 million units, compared with 1.8 million units in the first quarter 2004.

Global mobile subscription growth also continued, as total global subscriptions rose to an estimated 1.8 billion by the end of the quarter, backed by the ongoing strong momentum in new growth markets such as India, Russia, China and Brazil.

Nokia's year-on-year volume growth in China was positively affected by stronger seasonal market growth in the first quarter, and our expanding distribution system, competitive product portfolio, brand strength and quality products. In Europe/Middle East/Africa, market growth in the first quarter 2005, particularly in new growth markets, combined with an improved product portfolio, drove Nokia volumes, compared with the first quarter 2004.

However, in North America, and now in Latin America, Nokia's year-on-year volume decline primarily reflected operator migration from TDMA, which was a strong market for us in the first quarter 2004, to GSM and CDMA, where the company's relative position is not as strong.

Nokia's estimated market share for the first quarter was 32%, flat year on year and down compared with 34% in the fourth quarter 2004. Strong sequential market share gains in China, followed by Europe/Middle East/Africa, were more than offset by substantial market share losses in North America and Latin America. The seasonal strength of the Korean and Japanese markets in the first quarter 2005 also adversely impacted our market share, as Nokia does not have a material presence in those markets.

The average selling price for Nokia's mobile device business was EUR 110. This was supported by proportionally higher sales of high-end products from our multimedia and enterprise businesses in the first quarter 2005.

Hong Kong Broadband Launches 1 Gbps Home Service for US$215/month

Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) officially launched its 1 Gbps symmetric service for the residential market. Approximately 800,000 households, out of a total of 2.2 million households in Hong Kong, are wired to receive the service. The 1 Gbps symmetric service is priced at US$215 per month.

HKBN noted that its 1 Gbps service is up to 166x faster downstream and 1,950x faster upstream than the advertised bandwidth of the incumbent's ADSL service.

HKBN Premium bb1000 service is being offered on the same metro Ethernet infrastructure that delivers the company's Mass Market bb100 (symmetric 100 Mbps for US$34/month) and Entry Point bb10 (symmetric 10 Mbps for US$16/month) services.
  • HKBN is installing more than 10,000 Cisco Catalyst LAN switches and more than 800 Cisco routers in buildings throughout Hong Kong. Category 5e copper cables are wired from the LAN switch cabinet to the apartments of each target customer. Fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) was deployed between the buildings using the Cisco ONS 15454 Multiservice Transport Platform (MSTP) and Cisco Catalyst 4507R Switches.

  • HKBN is also using a Cisco Optical Core network. The deployment includes the Cisco ONS 15454 SONET/SDH Multiservice Provisioning Platform (MSPP); Cisco Catalyst 6500, Catalyst 4500, Catalyst 3350, and Catalyst 2950 series switches; and Cisco 2600XM Series routers. Cisco's ONS 15454 MSPP enables the carrier to converge its legacy voice and data services and a new pay-TV service into a single platform, and at the same time offer Layer 2 and 3 IP services using Resilient Packet Ring (RPR)-ready ML Series line cards. The network enables HKBN to deliver up to 200 digital pay-TV channels via MPEG-2 at 4.5 Mbps to 10 Mbps with DVD visual quality. Its service also features interactive pay-TV elements and enables PC or TV connection with the aid of a set-top box.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Thomson Acquires Cirpack for its Softswitches

Thomson has acquired Cirpack, a privately-held developer of class-5 softswitching solutions based near Paris. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cirpack claims 45 telco and ISP customers in 15 countries. The customer list includes Free, a subsidiary of the Iliad Group and the second largest French ISP, which is using a joint solution from IBM and Cirpack to deliver a consumer VoIP service over unbundled DSL lines. The residential VoIP is provided as an add-on to the company's ADSL service in the areas where Free has deployed its own DSL infrastructure.

Cirpack's softswitch platform can host a range of high-density network interfaces (IP, ATM, TDM) and supports multiple local signaling protocol variants simultaneously (ISDN, SS7, VoIP, VoATM). It can be configured to manage voice transit services (Class-4) as well as subscriber services (Class- 5). The company partners with IBM Global Services.

Cirpack was established in 1998 and funded by Siparex Ventures, Iris Capital and Endeavour L.P. It has approximately 60 employees.

Thomson said the acquisition would complement its existing offerings in IP telephony, remote management and access products and gateways for triple play services. Just last month, Thomson acquired Inventel, a European supplier of home gateways for fixed broadband operators and wireless operators. Cirpack will be part of Thomson's Access Platforms & Gateways Business Unit within the Systems & Equipment Division.

Among its broadband activities, Thomson is a leading supplier of DSL customer premise equipment (CPE) and set-top boxes.
  • In February 2005, CIRPACK released software enhancements for its Class-5 telephony platform enabling wireline telecom operators to deploy TISPAN-compliant architectures. This allows migration of legacy PSTN to global VoIP networks capable of delivering new voice services such as fixed-mobile convergence according to 3GPP's IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). The TISPAN committee is the ETSI core competence centre for migration of fixed networks from circuit-switched to packet-based networks with an architecture that can serve in both. In a TISPAN architecture, Cirpack switches control IMAP (Integrated Multiservice Access Platforms) using H.248/Megaco to deliver POTS and ISDN telephony from the same access platforms as DSL services.

  • In November 2004, Thomson acquired EADS DCS' Video Over IP integration business. Based in Lyon, France, the EADS DCS team has expertise in the design, systems integration and management of IT infrastructure above the IP layer (system administration, messaging, portals and web services), with an emphasis on TV and Video On Demand (VOD) over xDSL solutions.