Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Finisar Acquires Big Bear for 40 Gbps Transponders

Finisar Corporation acquired all of the optical transponder assets of Big Bear Networks for $1.9 million in cash. The assets purchased include equipment, inventory and intellectual property associated with Big Bear's 10Gigabit Ethernet Xenpak and X2 transponders and their industry leading 40Gigabit transponder that has already been qualified by a number of telecom equipment companies.

Big Bear Networks realized approximately $4.0 million in revenues for transponder sales during calendar 2005 through October 31, most of which was for 40 Gbps products. Finisar will move all acquired assets into its facilities in Northern California and believes that the transaction will be neutral to its bottom line during the first year of operations.
  • In November 2003, Big Bear Networks, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California raised $18 million in a third round of private venture funding for its next-generation 10 and 40 Gbps optical system products. Big Bear said its electronic dispersion compensation technology automatically corrects for the fiber impairments (e.g., modal dispersion, chromatic dispersion, polarization mode dispersion) that become more severe as systems move toward greater speeds and transmission distances. This round of funding was led by Menlo Ventures. Other participants include previous investors Accel Partners, Austin Ventures, Oak Investment Partners, and Sequoia Capital.

  • In January 2002, Big Bear raised $40 million in its second round of private funding. Lead investors for the Series B funding were Austin Ventures, Austin, Tex., and Menlo Ventures, Menlo Park, Calif. Other participants in the current round include Oak Investment Partners, Menlo Park; as well as original investors Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital, which together invested $20 million in Big Bear in June 2000.

Level 3 Sells IT Outsourcing Unit to Infocrossing

Level 3 Communications completed the sale of its IT infrastructure management outsourcing subsidiary, (i)Structure, to Infocrossing for approximately $84.8 million.

(I) Structure, headquartered in Broomfield, CO, provides computing operations and managed infrastructure services to enterprise clients from data centers located in the central and western United States.

Verizon Wireless to Offer MediaFLO's Mobile Real-time TV Services

Verizon Wireless will be the first U.S. wireless service provider to offer MediaFLO realtime TV services when the network is commercially available. Verizon is with QUALCOMM and its subsidiary MediaFLO USA Inc. to launch mobile TV services over the MediaFLO network in approximately half of the markets already covered by Verizon Wireless' CDMA2000 1xEV-DO-based broadband network.

FLO technology is a new air interface originally developed by Qualcomm with multicasting capabilities designed to increase capacity and reduce content delivery costs to mobile handsets. The technology is independent of the cellular network but complements CDMA2000 1X, 1xEV-DO and WCDMA cellular network data and voice services.

MediaFLO USA Inc. is building a nationwide network based on QUALCOMM's FLO technology to deliver multimedia content to mobile devices in the 700 MHz spectrum. QUALCOMM holds a nationwide footprint of spectrum licenses in this band. MediaFLO USA Inc. expects to begin commercial operation of the new network in 2006.

Following the initial launch, QUALCOMM and MediaFLO USA Inc. will continue to expand the MediaFLO network throughout other markets that cover the Verizon Wireless' V CAST and BroadbandAccess service areas. Verizon Wireless plans to offer mobile TV service to its subscribers through MediaFLO-enabled EV-DO handsets and use the MediaFLO network to deliver mobile TV services when the network begins commercial operation.

"MediaFLO USA's network will allow us to provide compelling real-time multimedia services to wireless customers, complementing our industry-leading wireless voice and data services -- including our successful V CAST broadband multimedia service," said John Stratton, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless.

India's BSNL Selects UTStarcom's IP DSLAM

India's Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) selected UTStarcom to deploy 90,000 lines of its AN-2000 IP-based DSLAM in the operator's growing nationwide broadband network. BSNL is the incumbent and largest telecommunications services provider in India, with a presence in the fixed-line, cellular mobile, long distance and data markets.

This contract represents an expansion on a previously announced deployment of its AN-2000 IP DSLAM and related equipment for the second phase of BSNL's National Internet Backbone project. Financial terms were not disclosed.

BellSouth Reorganizes into Retail and Business Units

BellSouth announced a new operational structure aligned around two customer units: Retail Markets and Business Markets.

  • Retail Markets, which will focus on BellSouth's residential and small business customers, will be headed by David Scobey. Reporting to Scobey will be William Pate, Chief Marketing Officer-Retail Markets, and Paulino Barros, Chief Product Officer-Retail Markets.

  • Business Markets will provide support for enterprise and wholesale customers and will be led by Dick Anderson, vice chairman and president, Business Markets. Reporting to Anderson will be Donna Lee, Chief Marketing Officer-Business Markets.

Within each operating unit sales, product development, marketing, and customer service functions will work together to deliver innovative products with superior customer service.

Other appointments include:

Keith Cowan was named Chief Field Operations Officer of the Network Services organization, reporting to Rod Odom, President, Network Services.

Rex Adams was named Web Development Officer, and will now report to Fran Dramis, CIO, E-Commerce and Security Officer. In his new role, Adams will lead BellSouth's on-line strategy.

"As competitive pressures intensify, speed to market is critical to success in the communications marketplace. This new alignment is designed to simplify our organization, provide focus on these two markets, and streamline the process for delivering customer solutions. This will better enable us to get the right products to the right customers more quickly," said Mark Feidler, BellSouth President and Chief Operating Officer.

ViaSat Acquires Efficient Channel Coding

ViaSat acquired privately- held Efficient Channel Coding Inc. (ECC), a producer of broadband communication integrated circuits and satellite communication systems. Terms of the deal include initial consideration of approximately $16.5 million and the assumption of certain stock options as well as $9.0 million of additional consideration to be paid in cash and/or stock based on ECC meeting certain financial performance targets over the next two years.

ViaSat said the deal enhances its position in the new S2 version of the DVB-RCS satellite broadband standard. The company also becomes the supplier of modem chips for the Asian IPSTAR spot-beam satellite system.

Efficient Channel Coding is based in Cleveland, Ohio and has 55 employees.
  • ViaSat's full line of satellite communication products includes VSAT systems for network access and infrastructure, and Ka-band satellite systems, from user terminals to large gateways.

NTT America Consolidates Global IP and Enterprise Services

NTT America, a wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of NTT Communications Corporation, announced the launch of its Global IP Network business and Enterprise Hosting business in addition to the private network services already offered under the Arcstar brand.

Both the Global IP Network and Enterprise Hosting businesses were previously operated at Verio, another NTT Communications subsidiary, which was acquired in September 2000.

By combining the offerings under one roof, NTT America will be in a position to provide integrated data networking, IP, and hosting solutions through a single resource to its growing global customer base.

Following the transfer of these businesses to NTT America, Verio will focus on the delivery of hosting and managed services to small and mid-market businesses and partners worldwide.

"The integration of the Global IP Network and Enterprise Hosting services under NTT America will reemphasize NTT Communications' leadership position as a comprehensive enterprise solutions provider," said Tatsuo Kawasaki, President & CEO of NTT America.

AT&T Resumes Trading Under "T" Symbol

The new AT&T resumed trading under its legendary "T" symbol on the New York Stock Exchange. The company said its decision to adopt the "T" ticker symbol reflects both the rich heritage of the combined enterprise as well as its commitment to lead the next major shift in communications technology -- the transformation to integrated solutions based on Internet Protocol.

The "T" symbol was used by AT&T Corp. before its acquisition by SBC Communications Inc. AT&T Corp. was a member of the Dow 30 until April 2004. The "T" ticker symbol was first used by American Bell, the predecessor of American Telephone and Telegraph Company, in 1888 on the Boston Stock Exchange. In 1901, American Telephone and Telegraph, which later became AT&T, started trading under the symbol "ATT" on the New York Stock Exchange, and it adopted the "T" symbol in 1930. The "SBC" stock ticker symbol dates back to 1984, following the creation of Southwestern Bell Corporation after divestiture by the original AT&T.

Pactolus Appoints VPs of Engineering and Advanced Technology

Pactolus Communications Software, a developer of Class 4/5 SIP-based IP voice services, named Steve Weeks as Vice President of Engineering and Jeff Gibson as Vice President of Advanced Technology Development.

Weeks was most recently VP of Engineering for Brontes Technology and also served as Vice President of Research and Development for NBX Corporation, which developed a packet-switched PBX.

Paragon Wireless Raises $7 Million for VoWLAN

Paragon Wireless, a start-up based in Dallas, Texas and Beijing, China, raised $7 million in Series B funding for its VoWLAN solution.

Paragon designs and develops standards-compliant VoWLAN equipment including handsets and access points. ParaPhone is a smart phone with IEEE 802.11 and SIP-based VoIP engine. It provides end customers real multimedia experience, such as VoIP, E-mail, web surfing, MP3, high-quality photo, and video streaming in home, office, and hot spot/zone. ParaPhone Twins combines VoWLAN and GSM/GPRS into a single handset. It enables end customers to use it as a cell phone anywhere anytime and enjoy broadband applications and economical voice service many-time many-where. ParaAP, the AP product, integrates DSL (ADSL2+), WLAN AP (802.11g), router, VoIP (SIP), and IP-PBX together into one box. The product is already on the market.

The latest funding round was co-led by Austin Ventures and CID Group. The funds will be used to further research and product development, and expand international sales and marketing activities.

Paragon Wireless currently has 40 employees based in Beijing, China, and has recently established their international headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

Cox Boosts Cable Modem Speeds to 9 Mbps downstream, 1 Mbps upstream

Cox Communications has increased the speed of its fastest Cox High Speed Internet package at no additional charge for customers in Cleveland, OH, Kansas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK, as well as Orange County and San Diego, California. Cox High Speed Internet customers that subscribe to the Premier package in these markets now get speeds up to 9 Mbps downstream and up to 1 Mbps upstream, a download speed up to 80% faster than before the upgrade.

Earlier this year, Cox also increased data speeds in its Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Virginia markets.

Agilent's Semiconductor Group Begins Operations as Avago

Agilent Technologies completed the divestiture of its Semiconductor Products business to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and Silver Lake Partners for $2.66 billion.

The new company will operate under the name Avago Technologies.

Avago Technologies has a portfolio of more than 5,500 products, which are sold into a broad set of applications and end markets, including wireless and wired communications, industrial, automotive, consumer electronics and storage and computing. The company maintains "top three" market leadership positions in optocouplers, infrared transceivers, optical communications, printer ASICs, optical mouse sensors, and motion control encoders.

Avago Technologies is co-headquartered in San Jose, Calif., and Singapore, and begins operations with 6,500 employees of which 1,000 are analog design engineers.

The company said it will differentiate its business through effective supply chain management, strong worldwide distribution channels and a highly variable, low-cost operating model.

"Our strategy is to leverage our substantial intellectual property, design expertise and system-level knowledge to win in our markets," said Dick Chang, president and CEO of Avago Technologies. "We'll continue to provide the innovative products that enable our customers and that have established our market leadership positions. We'll also continue to drive profitability through a highly variable, low-cost operating model, and we'll capitalize on our new independence by developing an efficient, stand-alone cost structure."http://www.avagotech.comAgilent Technologies announced its plan to divest its Semiconductor business in August 2005.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

CNN Launches Paid Broadband Video Service

CNN launched a paid, broadband Internet news service offering live and on-demand content without commercials. A free video news service with commercials remains available on the company's website.

CNN Pipeline offers up to four simultaneous news streams. Ad ownloadable player uses Windows Media 9 encoding and requires approximately 750 kbps of bandwidth. A Web-based player needs about 450 kbps.

The service costs $0.99 per day, $2.95 per month or $24.95 per year.

Norwegian Broadcasting Offers Interactive Mobile TV App

Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation launched a trial, interactive mobile TV service that allows users to vote, chat and communicate with a television presenter while watching their favorite show. Ericsson and NRK launched a downloadable client for the existing interactive TV format, Svisj.

Korean Broadcasters Launch Terrestrial DMB

Major Korean broadcasters, including KBS, MBC, SBS and YTN, launched free terrestrial digital media broadcasting (DMB) to specially-equipped mobile phones. The mobile TV offerings, which are initially is available in the Seoul area, are generating a luke warm response from service providers, according to the Korea Herald, because of an uncertain business model for the network operators. A growing number of DMB-enabled mobile handsets could change the outlook by next year.
  • In May 2005, 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.

NTT DoCoMo Invests in ACCESS CO. for Mobile Browsers

NTT DoCoMo is increasing its equity stake in ACCESS CO., a Tokyo-based developer of software for mobile phones, from 7.12% to 11.66%. DoCoMo and ACCESS have been strengthening their partnership to develop mobile phone browsers and ACCESS's browser is widely used in DoCoMo's 3G FOMA handsets.

NTT DoCoMo Invests in Aplix for Mobile Middleware

NTT DoCoMo has acquired 15,000 newly allocated shares, or 14.98%, of software company Aplix Corporation, a Tokyo-based developer of embedded software, for mobile phones and PCs. DoCoMo and Aplix already enjoy a close working relationship in the development of DoJa/Java platforms, which have enabled an increasing number of Java products to be adapted to 3G FOMA handsets.

Investors Bid $12 Billion for TDC

A group of international investors managed by APAX Partners, The Blackstone Group and Kravis Kohlberg Roberts made a $12 billion cash offer to acquire TDC, the incumbent carrier in Denmark. TDC's Board of Directors has recommended shareholders to accept the offer.

TDC, which was fully privatized in 1998, has 13 million fixed line and mobile customers in Denmark and elsewhere in Europe. TDC is the largest alternative provider of Internet, data and telephone services in Switzerland and operates under the trademark sunrise. In Germany, TDC owns the company Talkline, which is the third largest provider of mobile services in Germany.

HP to Acquire Trustgenix for Federated Identity Mgt

HP agreed to acquire Trustgenix, a provider of federated identity management solutions, for an undisclosed sum.

Trustgenix, which is based in Santa Clara, California is HP's original equipment manufacturing partner for HP OpenView Select Federation, which uses industry-standard federation protocols to link multiple accounts with different providers on the Internet so that secure user authentication occurs only once. When a user navigates to different sites belonging to the same federation, Select Federation recognizes the user and is able to provide a secure, personalized experience based on the user's preferences and identity.

HP said the acquired technology extends the federation capabilities of HP OpenView, enabling enterprise customers to help their business partners secure access to information residing on different systems.

The deal builds on HP's recent acquisitions of companies like AppIQ and the recently announced agreement to acquire Peregrine Systems that round out the management capabilities of HP's enterprise portfolio.

HP Unveils OpenCall Media Platform for IMS

HP unveiled a new version of its OpenCall Media Platform to help telecom carriers deliver blended voice, data and multimedia services across wireless, wireline and broadband networks.

The new OpenCall Media Platform Media Resource Function (MRF) provides a foundation for advanced multimedia and interactive services in emerging Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) networks.

Current and planned capabilities include audio and voice services (interactive voice response, voicemail, conferencing) as well as a wide range of multimedia, collaborative and interactive services such as video mail, video conferencing, participation TV and music sharing.

A key feature of the HP OpenCall Media Platform MRF is that it can support the real-time, simultaneous blending of voice, data and multimedia services on IMS networks. For example, in an IMS network, wireless users can create an audio or video conference, share photos and messages and provide location-specific information -- all in one integrated session that is seamless and easy for the callers.

HP also announced with Movial and Ubiquity Software a new service called Mobile MusicSharing. The service enables mobile users to join in a conference call, listen to their favorite music and talk about it at the same time -- all in a secure session that protects digital copyrights. The integrated solution includes HP OpenCall Media Platform, Movial's Connect application for IMS and Ubiquity Software's SIP Application Server.

SunCom Selects Ericsson for IMS, UMA, Softswitch

SunCom Wireless, a mobile carrier serving the southeastern U.S., has selected Ericsson's Mobile Softswitch solution for its next generation core network. Additionally, the two companies will conduct IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) trials to prepare the operator's network for next generation capabilities.

SunCom has begun to deploy Ericsson's Mobile Softswitch solution to carry voice and data traffic in 3GPP Release 4- compliant network architecture. After just two months of installation, the softswitch started full commercial operation in September; full deployment is scheduled for completion in 2006. Ericsson is also providing network design services, training and on-site support.

China Telecom Selects Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System

China Telecom will adopt the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System to integrate the supercore network nodes of ChinaNet, the largest IP service network in China. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Traffic processed by the Cisco CRS-1 will then transit the previous multi-router structure of ChinaNet's core network nodes in eight cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Xi'an, Chengdu, Wuhan and Nanjin. After integration, ChinaNet will significantly enhance the network capacity and improve management efficiency, enabling China Telecom to strengthen broadband business as well as laying foundation for the development of next-generation Internet applications.

ChinaNet currently has more than 21 million broadband subscribers, with a total capacity of 4,000 gigabits per second (Gbps), accounting for more than half of China's bandwidth for Internet services. In order to satisfy the needs of the rapidly escalating number of broadband subscribers and advanced multimedia applications, ChinaNet has required a continuous upgrade of its backbone bandwidth. The latest enhancement will anticipate this future demand with higher network availability and scalability.

Cisco Systems China Vice President Hanh Tu said, "Adhering to its goal of becoming a modern integrated information service provider, China Telecom has taken remarkable initiatives to deliver innovative new services."

Cisco noted that more than 22 customers around the globe have adopted over 100 units of the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System since the platform was introduced a year ago.

Juniper Routers Selected for China Next Generation Internet (CNGI)

Juniper Networks' M- and T-series routing platforms have been selected for the core of the China Next Generation Internet (CNGI) project. The CNGI project was launched in 2003 by China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and its charter is to create a next-generation national IPv6 backbone covering 20 cities and 39 massive network points of presence (GigaPOPs) to provide pervasive advanced IP services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"As one of the world's most ambitious IPv6 projects, all of China's major service providers and communications networks are participating in the CNGI project," said Eric Yu, Juniper Networks' vice president, Greater China.

Alcatel Claims #2 Position in IP Edge Aggregation Routing

Alcatel has overtaken to Juniper to claim the #2 position in market share for IP edge aggregation routing in Q3, according to a new report from Synergy Research Group that was released by the company. According to Synergy, Alcatel secured 23.6% of the IP edge aggregation routing market in Q3 2005, compared to Cisco at 45.9% and Juniper at 19.7%. In Q2, Synergy Research Group found that Cisco held 60.4% and Juniper 20.7% of this same IP edge aggregation market worldwide.

Alcatel noted that more than 90 wireline and wireless service providers in 40 countries have selected its portfolio of edge routers. Recently, Alcatel announced deployments with such progressive service providers as the UK's BT, for its new Ethernet VLAN service for enterprises in London; ntl, the UK's largest cable company, to extend the reach of its business Ethernet services across the UK to more than 260 points of presence; KPN, in the Netherlands, for triple play service delivery nation-wide; Finland's Elisa for the convergence of fixed and mobile services; Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom for support of national triple play service delivery; and Turk Telecom, who selected Alcatel as the integrator for a turnkey multi- service IP/MPLS backbone network.

Also in Q3, Alcatel announced availability of the latest feature releases for its IP portfolio, with unique high availability features including non- stop IP/MPLS service delivery, as well as a new addition to the portfolio -- the Alcatel 7250 Service Access Switch.

RIM's BlackBerry Service Faces Possible Shut-Down in Patent Dispute

In a long-running patent dispute, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that a settlement agreement between Research In Motion Limited (RIM) and NTP was not an enforceable agreement. The ruling raises the possibility that RIM's popular Blackberry mobile e-mail service could be shut down in the U.S.

RIM said it will file a request that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear its appeal in the patent case. While further review by the Supreme Court is generally uncommon, RIM continues to believe this case raises significant national and international issues warranting further appellate review.

As a contingency, RIM also said it is preparing software workaround designs which it intends to implement if necessary to maintain the operation of BlackBerry services in the United States. Further details will be made available if such implementation becomes necessary.

Separately, Telefónica Móviles and Research In Motion announced plans to launch BlackBerry in 13 Latin American countries beginning in early 2006. Telefónica Móviles operates GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay and CDMA 1XRTT and CDMA EV-DO networks in Brazil and Venezuela.

Verizon Begins FiOS Deployment in Washington State

Verizon announced plans to rollout FTTP to its local telephone customers in Washington state, including the cities of Bellevue, Bothell, Everett, Kenmore, Kirkland, Redmond, and adjacent areas in the two counties. Washington becomes the 16th state in which Verizon will deploy its all-fiber network. Verizon expects to install more than 2.7 million feet of fiber-optic cabling throughout the region in 2006, passing about 60,000 homes and small businesses with fiber.

TiVo Builds DVR Application for Intel Viiv

TiVo confirmed that it is building an application that will enable it to work with Intel Viiv technology. The new application will further extend TiVo's "TiVoToGo" features, allowing existing TiVo subscribers to securely transfer their favorite television programs from their TiVo Series2 DVR to an Intel Viiv technology based PC using only the remote control. The application will also allow any content downloaded from a TiVo DVR to an Intel Viiv technology enabled device to be securely played back on certain compliant media adapters, which will be supported in a future planned release of the application. This application will be available in the first half of next year.

Intel Announces Content Partners for "Viiv" Digital Home Systems

Intel is aiming to accelerate the trend towards on-demand, Internet-based entertainment by working closely with video content distributors, the music industry and gaming companies on a worldwide basis. Specifically, Intel is working with more than 40 content providers for its forthcoming "Viiv" PC platform for digital home entertainment.

Intel plans to verify that these content services and applications run on the new Viiv platform, which will encompass consumer devices and networked media devices, portable media players, digital media adapters, digital TVs, DVD players and routers. Intel is providing the engineering support, specifications and verification tools to content owners, content distributors, portals, software application developers and device vendors to help deliver these Internet--based content services and software applications that are tested and verified to work with an Intel Viiv technology-based PC. The verified content services and applications will be capable of being accessed in full screen format with simple access using a remote control.

Intel's Viiv strategy includes:

  • Movies, Video, TV: Enable consumers to rent and download hundreds to thousands of major motion picture and independent movies via subscription-based, pay-per-view or free video-on-demand services. Intel is working with such companies as Afendis AG, arvato mobile, Bellrock Media Japan Inc., British Sky Broadcasting, Broadband Tower, Inc., Canal + Group, Glowria, Gretech Corp.,, MEDION AG, Movielink, NEC,, Telecom Italia, Tiantian Online Inc., TiscaliS.p.A., TiVo, T-Online International, Usen Corp., webs-tv Digital International Co.

  • Music: Enable consumers to purchase the latest hits or subscribe to services to download and enjoy thousands of music tracks in your home or on a portable media device. Intel is working with companies worldwide, including Afendis AG, arvato mobile, Avex Network Inc., Gretech Corp., Loudeye, MEDION AG, Napster, Oricon Inc., SK Telecom, Skysoft Co. Ltd., Telecom Italia, Tiantian Online Inc., and VirginMega.

  • Games: Enable consumers to play a purchased premier title game, including several number one titles in a variety of local markets, online with other players or play a Web-based game alone. Intel is working with such companies as arvato mobile, CAPCOM, CCR Inc., DISCover's My Games, Exent Technologies, Metaboli, NHN, Ourgame, Square Enix Co., Telecom Italia, The 9 Limited, TWP Corp., and Ubisoft.

  • Photos: Enable consumers to use photo editing software to organize, edit and share personal photos in a slideshow format on the TV screen in the living room. Intel is working with such companies as Adobe, arvato mobile, CyberLink Corp., muvee Technologies, Pinnacle, Ulead Systems, and Sonic Solutions to bring these types of applications and services to Intel Viiv technology-based PCs.

"The immediacy, global reach and on-demand nature of the Internet, together with the 10s of millions of broadband-ready PCs that already exist today worldwide, support a new trend in how people get their entertainment," said Kevin Corbett, vice president and general manager, Content Services Group, Intel Digital Home Group.

In the second half of 2006, personal and premium content services, applications and devices will also work with software from Intel that enables content to be shared across a home network to Intel Viiv technology verified devices.
  • In August 2005, Intel announced its "Viiv" (rhymes with "five") consumer brand for future digital home entertainment systems. PCs based on Intel Viiv technology will be powered by a suite of Intel technologies, including a dual-core processor, chipset, platform software and wired networking capabilities. Some of the specific characteristics of Intel Viiv PCs will also include:

    * a remote control, the Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition operating system and media software that lets consumers interact with their PC in the same way they operate a TV.

    * Intel Quick Resume Technology that enables the PC to be quickly turned on and off (after initial boot-up) with the touch of a button.

    * 5.1 surround sound (with optional support for up to 7.1 surround sound) for home theater-quality sound.

    * DVR capabilities when equipped with an optional TV tuner card

    * ability to access on-demand content

    * a network configuration wizard that can be navigated with the system's remote control will be included to make it easy for consumers to connect many devices including portable media players, DVD players, TV sets and stereos.

    * an integrated media server "engine" that can reformat various digital content files so they can be viewed on a selection of devices verified by Intel to work with Intel Viiv technology-based systems.

  • Additionally, Intel worked with the PC, CE and content industries to set interoperability specifications so that consumers can easily move a variety of online media from room to room and between various devices in the home network.

  • Intel Viiv technology-based entertainment PCs are expected to be available from a number of system manufacturers worldwide in the first quarter of 2006 and will come in various shapes and sizes to fit different styles and sizes of homes.

  • Intel is also developing platforms to power consumer electronics devices such as plasma TVs and personal media players. Specifically, Intel plans to introduce "Oplus" MN301, a "system-on-a-chip" multimedia display processor for flat panel displays. Production-ready reference designs for dual-channel HDTV are now available. The Oplus MN301 display processor and the Oplus Image Perfecting Engine were developed by Oplus Technologies, Ltd., the Israeli subsidiary of Oplus Technologies, Inc., and a company Intel acquired in April 2005.

Nokia Tests Fixed-Mobile Convergence in Philippines

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and Nokia have set up a Next Generation Network Laboratory to develop and test end-to-end Fixed- Mobile Convergence services prior to their commercial launch. The Next Generation Network Laboratory can leverage PLDT's current fixed and mobile networks to create converged services for PLDT Group customers. Nokia has been the main GSM network supplier to PLDT's Smart Communications division since 1998.

Nokia's solution includes a Unified Core and converged access networks as well as Nokia multimedia and VoIP enabled terminals. The Nokia Unified Core includes the Nokia IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), the Nokia VoIP Server, the Nokia MSC Server System (MSS), Nokia Media Gateway (MGW), Nokia Intelligent Service Node (ISN), Nokia Intelligent Content Delivery (ICD) for multi-access control and data services charging and Nokia D500 IP DSLAM.

As an example of the new services development, PLDT and Nokia organized a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) contest for Filipino application developers called the "SIP Challenge". Forum Nokia provides the developers training and assistance, and they can test their IP-based applications at the Next Generation Network Laboratory.

Farmers Telephone Extreme's Ethernet to Link Central Offices

Farmers Telephone Cooperative (FTC), which serves over 60,000 customers in rural South Carolina, selected Extreme Networks' Metro Ethernet network infrastructure for linking 17 FTC central offices. FTC chose Extreme Networks BlackDiamond modular switching platform. The new network has to be capable of supporting emerging IPTV services using wire speed Layer 2 Ethernet with non-stop forwarding, traffic prioritization and device redundancy. The new equipment will aggregate thousands of ADSL connections to the customer premises.

Monday, November 28, 2005

OnFiber Deploys World Wide Packets for Ethernet

OnFiber, which builds and operates metro networks in major U.S. markets, has selected World Wide Packets' LightningEdge Carrier Ethernet Product Family to enable Ethernet services for business customers. World Wide Packets said its solution was selected because of its ability to provide automated provisioning, which simplifies integration and maintenance while ensuring predictable, flexible and scalable results. OnFiber's Ethernet services range from 10 Mbps to 1000 Mbps. With the World Wide Packets rate limiting feature, increasing from 10Mbps, at the low end of the offering service, may be done remotely.

T-Com Venture Fund invests in Nominum

The T-Com Venture Fund has made an equity investment in Nominum, a developer of IP address infrastructure solutions. Nominum's Foundation product family includes scalable, reliable and secure DNS and DHCP servers and IP address management (IPAM) systems for service providers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

TI's OMAP2 Processor Accelerates H.264 and VC-1

Texas Instruments (TI) began sampling its new OMAP2-based processor for 3G mobile phones, boosting video performance by up to 4X and imaging performance by up to 1.5X. TI said the device will enable secure downloadable media streaming and playback, digital video recording, still image capture, video teleconferencing and 3D gaming on 3G phones.

The latest OMAP2430 application processor offers even higher performance than first-generation OMAP 2 processors while at a lower cost. The OMAP2430 includes TI's latest generation imaging, video and audio accelerator, the IVATM 2, a power-optimized version of the signal processing technology used in TI's recently announced "DaVinci" technology. IVA 2 is a programmable engine that enables quick integration of new codec standards, codec enhancements, and stabilization algorithms for flexibility and differentiation. The IVA 2 engine is software compatible with TI's DaVinci technology, allowing third parties to attack a broader market space.

The OMAP2430 processor supports DVD resolution decode up to 30 frames per second (fps) for MPEG4 and Windows Media Video 9 (Microsoft's implementation of VC-1, the proposed SMPTE standard) formats, and up to 30-fps VGA resolution decode for H.264 and RealVideo 10.
The OMAP2430 is based on TI's high-performance, low leakage 90-nanometer CMOS technology and integrates an ARM1136 RISC processor core and dedicated 2D/3D graphics hardware acceleration, in addition to the IVA 2 engine. System hardware support includes a high-speed USB 2.0 On-the-Go (OTG) interface for significantly faster file transfers on and off the handset, an increasingly important feature as the mobile phone becomes a primary media capture, storage and playback device.

Additionally, TI is announcing the all-in-one audio/power management companion device to the OMAP2430 processor, the TWL4030, which enables lower power and smaller phone designs.
  • In September 2005, Texas Instruments unveiled its DSP-based DaVinci silicon technology aimed at next generations of digital video products.

    The DaVinci product portfolio, which will include processors, software, tools and partnership solutions, addresses digital video requirements across a range of applications, including video security, IP set-top boxes, video conferencing, automobile infotainment, portable media players and digital cameras.

    DaVinci processors, some of which are already on the market, consist of combinations of DSP and ARM cores, memory configurations, video accelerators, and peripheral interfaces for specific applications. DaVinci silicon is based on the new TMS320C64x+ core and it is code compatible with TI's TMS320C64x DSPs. TI will support a full range of audio, video and imaging codecs.

    A key feature of the DaVinci portfolio will be common Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to accelerate the development of new consumer products. APIs will make it easier for OEMs to develop interoperable code that will work with other DaVinci-based applications. TI is also developing an en-to-end video ecosystem through a range of partners. Over the coming year, TI and its third parties plan to introduce a large number of products, including multiple development platforms, reference designs, software and silicon based on DaVinci technology.

Lucent and Infoblox to offer IP Address management for Enterprises

Infoblox and Lucent Technologies have teamed to offer a scalable, secure, and easy-to-deploy IP address management (IPAM) solution for mid-to-large enterprise customers. The new IP address management solution, which includes support for the domain name system (DNS) and the dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP), combines Infoblox's network appliance and distributed grid management technologies with Lucent's VitalQIP IP Address Management software.

Pricing for the Infoblox-1000 appliance with the Infoblox Integration Module for Lucent VitalQIP Software and the Infoblox Keystone Module starts at $13,495 in the U.S.

MFA Forum Notes Progress, Elects New Board Members

�Following its fourth-quarter meeting in Boston earlier this month, the MFA Forum (MFAF) announced that several technical specifications are ready for final vote.

Going to final ballot are specifications addressing ATM and Frame Relay to MPLS Control Plane Interworking: Client-Server and Use of Virtual Trunks for ATM/MPLS Control Plane Interworking, and High Speed Connections for ATM.

  • The two Control Plane Interworking specifications define the control plane and protocol interworking procedures for ATM and Frame Relay connections across an IP/MPLS PSN using pseudo wires.

  • The ATM Control Signaling group has approved for final ballot
    the High Speed Connections specification. This specification alleviates the current maximum signaled bandwidth of 7 Gbps per connection for ATM. This enables storage applications with ATM core networks to make full use of current 10 Gbps core ATM networks, scaling to terabit connections in the future.

The MFAF also welcomed new member companies Adtran, Analog Devices, Calix Networks and Telcordia Technologies.

The MFAF also attracted major companies to its board, with newly
elected directors Michael Buttery of Sprint and Lily Lu of Cisco Systems. Bernard da Costa of Bell Canada, Doug O'Leary of Verizon, and Tom Walsh of Lucent Technologies were re-elected to the board of directors. O'Leary remains in his position as treasurer, and Walsh continues as vice-chairman.

neuf Cegetel Reaches 350,000 VoIP Users with Nortel Softswitch

neuf Cegetel, the largest alternative operator in France with an installed based of one million residential broadband subscribers, has deployed VoIP services to more than 350,000 of these subscribers using Nortel solutions.

Nortel's VoIP solution for neuf Cegetel includes the Communication Server (CS) 2000 superclass softswitch for both consumer and business VoIP services. neuf Cegetel has also deployed the Nortel Media Gateway (MG) 15000, which serves as a high density IP trunk gateway to interconnect with other carrier networks.

Earlier this year, neuf Cegetel also selected Nortel solutions to launch neuf Office service, a carrier-grade VoIP services offering for business customers.

Orca Hires New CTO

Orca Interactive, a supplier of middleware and applications for IPTV, named Dr. Ofer Weintraub as its new CEO. Most recently, Weintraub was a telecom and cellular consultant with The Standard Insider, a consulting firm based in Herzelyia, Israel, and focused on mobile data services and IP infrastructure (IMS). He previously served as chief technology officer and research group manager at Emblaze Systems where he was responsible for the overall technology roadmap, standardization work and patent applications, and was personally involved in contributing to the 3GPP, the OMA and other standardization bodies. Before joining Emblaze Systems, he was the co-founder and CTO of Crosseller Technologies, a startup that developed remote data mining solutions for eCommerce.

Tropian Secures Funding for Multimode Radio Silicon

Tropian, a start-up based in Cupertino, California, announced the completion of an additional financing round led by Crosspoint Ventures for its patented "Polar Impact" approach to Radio systems.

Tropian provides multi-mode radio solutions for the cellular handset market. The company's Polar Impact polar modulation approach to RF design supports multiple standards. Its products offer a combination of multimode capability, with a single radio and power amplifier for all modes, and greater power efficiency and integration.

Ericsson HSDPA Deployments Underway in 15 Countries

Ericsson's HSDPA solution is now in operation in 15 countries, providing data speeds up to 3.6Mbps in the downlink.

"We have received positive reactions from our customers to the opportunity to explore the mobile broadband possibilities of HSDPA at an early stage. There are now 15 live HSDPA systems, with ongoing evaluations of applications. This strengthens my belief that we will see many successful HSDPA launches during 2006, based on our solution," said Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO of Ericsson.

Cingular and Orange Offer Consolidated Services for Multinationals

Cingular Wireless and Orange SA will offer consolidated mobile services to multinational companies in the U.S. and Europe under Cingular's WorldView program.

Cingular and Orange customers with operations in the U.S., Great Britain, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland now can access and manage their combined Cingular and Orange wireless usage and expenditures through a secure online portal, called WorldView Wireless Information Navigator, which is available exclusively to WorldView customers.

In addition to this combined domestic/international management capability, Cingular customers who are signed up under Cingular's flagship business offer, Cingular Corporate Digital Advantage (CCDA), can now also apply their wireless usage with Orange to their minimum usage commitment under CCDA to qualify for volume discounts with the WorldView Global Discount Program.

Cisco to Acquire Cybertrust's Intellishield Alert Manager

Cisco Systems agreed to acquire select intellectual property and assets of Cybertrust, including its security intelligence information service, known as Intellishield Alert Manager. Cisco will pay $14 million in cash in exchange for the technology, customer contracts and other components of Cybertrust's Intellishield Alert Manager.

Intellishield Alert Manager is a web-based security intelligence service, providing daily information to customers about information security threats and IT product vulnerabilities that affect the entire corporate information technology domain. The service is delivered through a continually updated web portal, XML feeds and email subscriptions.

Intellishield Alert Manager will become part of the Cisco MySDN security intelligence Web site. This acquisition further demonstrates Cisco's commitment to address Internet security issues and will join Cisco's portfolio of Security Lifecycle Services that assist customers in making their networks secure.

Cisco said the ability to research, understand and advise customers on all types of threats and vulnerabilities is core to its Self-Defending Network strategy.
  • Cybertrust is based in Herndon, Virginia.

Cisco's 2005 Acquisitions

Intellishield Alert Manager
security intelligence service, providing daily updates
Telephony Provisioning 
boxes and video transmission systems
memory technology to enhance performance of core switching platforms 
virtualization technology
Technology A/S
entertainment devices
NetSift  deep
packet processing
I. Secure Corporation
and VPN solutions
optimization appliances
Sipura VoIP
customer premise equipment
networking equipment designed for grid and utility computing
Airespace WLAN
controllers, Access Points, WLAN Management and Location Software, and
Security capabilities

Bluetooth Shipments Take Off

More than 9.5 million Bluetooth-enabled products are shipping per week, according to IMS Research and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). In May, the shipment figures were 4.75 million per week and in September -- only four months later -- this figure had doubled.

"By doubling the Bluetooth shipments in just four months, Bluetooth technology has once again proved itself as the wireless technology for the personal area network," said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.

Mexico's Cablemas Selects ARRIS' CMTS

Mexican Multiple System Cable Operator (MSO) Cablemas has selected the ARRIS Cadant C4 CMTS to provide VoIP and high-speed data service to its customers. Several fully-loaded C4 CMTS chassis have been installed and activated in Tijuana in anticipation of widespread VoIP and high speed data deployments throughout the Cablemas service area of more than 1.5 million homes passed. Financial terms were not disclosed.

FCC Chairman Urges A-la-Carte Video Programming or New Decency Requirements

In testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin called on the cable industry and direct satellite broadcasters to offer better tools and packages to filter between adult-oriented content and family-friendly programming or face new rules. Specifically, Martin called upon multichannel video providers to offer a-la-carte programming choices so that viewers do not have to purchase objectionable content as part of a "basic" or "expanded basic" package.

Some highlight of his testimony:

  • "I have urged the industry to voluntarily offer one of several solutions. First, cable and satellite operators could offer an exclusively family-friendly programming package as an alternative to the "expanded basic" tier on cable or the initial tier on DBS. This alternative would enable parents to enjoy the increased options and high-quality programming available through cable and satellite without having to purchase programming unsuitable for children. Parents could get Nickelodeon and Discovery without having to buy other adult-oriented fare.

    "A choice of a family friendly package would provide valuable tools to parents wanting to watch television with their families, and would help them protect their children from violent and indecent programming. Other subscribers, meanwhile, could continue to have the same options they have today. Indeed, some cable and DBS operators are already providing tiers such as digital sports tiers and Spanish-language tiers.

    "Alternatively, the programming that cable and DBS operators offer in the expanded basic package could be subject to the same indecency regulations that currently apply only to broadcast. This standard would apply only to channels that consumers are required to purchase as part of the expanded basic package, not premium channels."

TiVo Adds 434,000 Subscribers in Latest Quarter

As of October 31, 2005, TiVo had 4,008,000 subscribers, which represents 74% growth in the subscription base during the past year. Total net new subscription additions in the most recent quarter were 434,000, an increase over the 419,000 total net new subscriptions added in the same quarter of last year.

TiVo-Owned gross subscription additions were 92,000 for the quarter, compared to 119,000 in the third quarter of last year. TiVo-Owned net subscription additions were 55,000 compared to 103,000 in the third quarter of last year. DIRECTV net subscription additions were 379,000 for the quarter, compared to 316,000 in the third quarter of last year.

Service and technology revenues for the quarter increased 52% to $43.2 million, compared with $28.4 million for the same period last year. TiVo reported a net loss of ($14.2) million and net loss per share of ($0.17), a significant improvement compared to a net loss of ($26.4) million, or ($0.33) per share, for the third quarter of last year.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Freescale Develops 24-Mbit Nanocrystal Memory in CMOS

In what it termed a major step toward replacing conventional floating gate-based flash memories, Freescale Semiconductor announced the first production of 24-megabit (Mbit) memory array based on silicon nanocrystals. Silicon nanocrystal memories are part of an advanced class of memory technologies called thin-film storage. Freescale said they are more scaleable than conventional floating gate-based flash technology, as their tunnel oxide thickness can be reduced without impacting data retention. The charge is stored on isolated nanocrystals and is lost only from those few nanocrystals that align with defects in the tunnel oxide -- while the same defects would result in significant charge loss from a conventional floating gate. A thinner tunnel oxide permits lower-voltage operation, substantially reducing the memory module area needed to generate the bit-cell programming voltages, and allowing for significant wafer processing simplifications and manufacturing cost reductions. The combination of higher bit density and reduced cost translates to lower cost per bit to embed silicon nanocrystal memories. Freescale expects significant reductions in cost per bit of silicon nanocrystal thin-film storage memories.

The 24-Mbit memory array technology was manufactured at Freescale's Austin Technology & Manufacturing Center using 90-nanometer (nm) CMOS bulk technology.

"The industry anticipates that conventional embedded flash memory technology will reach its scaling limit within the next four years due to high-operating voltage, fabrication process complexity and cost," said Freescale Chief Technology Officer Dr. Claudine Simson. "A viable alternative is crucial for key suppliers to automotive, wireless and consumer markets to continue to scale their products and add new functionality. Silicon nanocrystal technology offers lower operating voltages, reduced memory module size, simpler process flow and lower manufacturing costs. Additionally, it requires no new materials or wafer fabrication equipment, allowing for immediate compatibility with existing production wafer fabs."

More than 120 Million Wi-Fi Chipsets Shipped in 2005

Approximately 120 million chipsets will ship in 2005, according to In-Stat and the Wi-Fi Alliance.

"Wi-Fi has truly come of age," said Frank Hanzlik, Managing Director of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "Today more than 90% of notebook computers are Wi-Fi enabled, and as we look ahead, there are seemingly limitless opportunities, due to the insatiable consumer and enterprise demand for the technology. We expect the next milestones will come even faster as Wi-Fi becomes integrated into consumer electronics and mobile handsets and more people around the world experience the benefits of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products."

FLO Air Interface Enables Multicast to Mobiles

The new FLO (Forward Link-Only) Air Interface Specification (AIS) has been ratified by the FLO Forum, an association of wireless industry leaders. The technical requirements captured in the AIS form a foundation for compatibility standardization for FLO based terrestrial mobile multimedia multicast systems.

FLO technology is a new air interface originally developed by Qualcomm with multicasting capabilities designed to increase capacity and reduce content delivery costs to mobile handsets.

The AIS includes a complete description of the Physical layer, which uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) and advanced forward error-correction techniques, and a complete description of the Stream/Control and MAC layers, which multiplex a multiplicity of simultaneous multimedia services into logical units distinguishable at the radio interface (physical) layer. The specification enables the delivery of multiple, multimedia streams over the standard TV channel allocation bandwidths while ensuring fast service acquisition, robust performance in mobile fading links, and low receiver power consumption. The AIS, the first technical specification produced by the FLO Forum, will be forwarded to Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) for inclusion in new standards that address the delivery of terrestrial mobile multimedia multicast services to mobile devices.
  • FLO Technology is independent of the cellular network but complements CDMA2000 1X, 1xEV-DO and WCDMA cellular network data and voice services.

  • In September 2005, QUALCOMM announced the first live, over-the-air demonstration of "FLO" (Forward Link Only) Technology delivered to a wireless handset. The demonstration will feature over-the-air delivery and viewing of multiple channels of wireless multimedia content, both streaming video and multicast packet data on a form factor accurate (FFA) handset.

  • In July 2005, QUALCOMM and other key members of the wireless industry announced the establishment of The FLO Forum, a new non-profit industry association that promotes the development of products and services related to the delivery of advanced multimedia services to wireless devices around the world using "FLO" (Forward Link Only) technology.

TiVo Announces First Advertising Search Product for Television

TiVo plans to launch a television-based advertising search solution in Spring 2006. Advertisers will have the ability to deliver television advertising, on demand and targeted to consumers, without the limitations of traditional television media placement. Advertisers will be able to reach viewers in the market for a certain product or service. Ads will be delivered to subscribers who can conduct a search for a product by category or associated with keywords.

Leading media and advertising agencies including Interpublic Media, OMD, Starcom Mediavest Group and The Richards Group, as well as Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, have worked with TiVo to develop the capability.

Alcatel Introduces High-Density 10GigE Enterprise Switches

Alcatel introduced a family of high-performance 10-Gigabit Ethernet core switches. The new OmniSwitch 9000 family, which is the first chassis on the market to use Broadcom's Strata XGS III family of Ethernet switch chips, offers 570 Mbps of aggregate switching capacity, enabling high densities of 10GigE or Gigabit Ethernet connections. It deliver wire-rate processing for IPv6 and support multicast applications.

The OmniSwitch 9000s are part of Alcatel's end-to-end enterprise switch family that includes stackable and modular edge switches, which use the AOS for simplified manageability, high availability, security, and reduced total cost of ownership. High availability is ensured through component redundancy and security features are provided through the unique Alcatel OmniVista Quarantine Manager, which identifies and isolates viruses and unauthorized users.

the Alcatel OmniSwitch 9700 model is available in a 10-slot chassis with a dedicated high-performance management and switching-fabric module. Initial choice of modules will include a two-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet (XFP) module, a 24-port Gigabit Ethernet copper (10/100/1000 RJ45) module and a 24-port Gigabit Ethernet fiber-optic (SFP) module.

The larger Alcatel OmniSwitch 9800 chassis as well as additional modules including a six-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet (XFP) module, a 24-port Gigabit Ethernet copper (10/100/1000 RJ45) with power-over-Ethernet support modules and a dedicated high-performance management and switching-fabric module, will be available shortly.

The Alcatel OmniSwitch 9000 family features a completely redundant configuration starting at $23,995.

Cisco and Northrop Grumman Supply IP Video for U.S. Military

Cisco Systems will provide IP-based video and voice conferencing capabilities to the Department of Defense through the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) as part of the Northrop Grumman Corporation team.

The DISA Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization awarded the Defense Information Systems Network Video Services II (DVS II) task order under Encore I, which is a seven-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract awarded by DISA in 2002.

Under the $51 million, one-year DVS II task order, Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector is upgrading DISA's integrated services digital network system with IP-based capabilities. The new fully compatible, integrated and secure net-centric system will provide real-time video and audio-conferencing services to DISA and users of the global information grid-bandwidth expansion network.

The solution provides fully integrated rich-media communications including video, web and audio with rich collaboration and meeting control capabilities, as well as security, Layer 2 and Layer 3, call center and network management products. The foundation of DVS II architecture is based on the Cisco Internet Protocol Video Conferencing (IPVC) 3540 Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) for video conferencing and Cisco MeetingPlace for integrated video, voice and web conferencing.

Cisco said the DVS II award represents the largest single acquisition of IP video and voice conferencing services in the federal government.

Additional suppliers on the Northrop Grumman team include AT&T, FC Business Systems, CritiCom, NETCONN Solutions, Parsons and Radvision.

PMC-Sierra Adds Processors for Network Storage and Media Servers

PMC-Sierra announced the addition of network storage devices to its portfolio of Multi-Service Processor (MSP) solutions. The new MSP devices -- MSP2200, MSP2202, MSP2204 and MSP2206 -- are storage-optimized processors integrating key features such as hard disk drive (HDD) controllers, while providing superior performance and significantly lower costs compared to general-purpose processors.

PMC-Sierra said the new family of network storage processors represents a natural extension to its VoIP solutions for the digital home and office.

"The expansion of triple play-bundled services from carriers, along with the rapid growth of content-intensive applications such as digital music, photos, recorded TV shows and home movies, is driving the demand for easy-to-use storage solutions that must seamlessly integrate into home networks," said Dino Bekis, vice president of marketing and applications for PMC-Sierra's Communications Products Division.

Alvarion's WiMAX Solution Deployed in Mali

Ikatel, an affiliate of France Telecom offering broadband data services in the West African country of Mali, will install Alvarion's BreezeMAX 3500 system, including hundreds of CPEs based on the Intel WiMAX chip to deploy a WiMAX network in the capital city of Bamako. Ikatel, a leading GSM and Internet operator in Mali, expects to deploy the network by year-end.

DCL and MetaSwitch Report Record 30% Revenue Growth

Data Connection (DCL) reported a 30% rise in revenues to $68 million for its financial year ended 31-Aug-2005. The year also represented the 24th consecutive year of increasing profitability, with record earnings of $16M. Data Connection saw increased revenues from all its business units contributing to this record year for the entire company.

  • MetaSwitch, the next generation softswitch division, more than doubled its gross revenue from the previous year, increasing its share of total revenue to 40%. The division now has over 170 deployments - up from 60 this time last year - with incumbent and competitive telephone operators, primarily in North America. Notable events during the year included the introduction of the UC9000 Unified Communications System, adding a powerful range of IMS applications services to the division's established strength in Class 4/5 softswitching, and the successful introduction of a distributed softswitch architecture with the CA9020 Call Agent, already deployed in more than 30 carrier networks.

  • Data Connection's Network Protocols Group continued its leadership position in the areas of IP routing, MPLS, VoIP and ATM, and expanded into a major new product area with a portable, software-based Session Border Controller for OEMs, known as DC-SBC. In IMS networks, DC-SBC implements a range of security, address translation and quality of service functions within network elements such as edge routers, switches and media gateways. Strategic relationships announced during the year include Entrisphere, Fujitsu, Hammerhead Systems, Infinera, NEC, Photonic Bridges and QNX.

  • The company's Internet Applications Group, which provides unified messaging, web conferencing and directory solutions, made particularly strong growth in the tier 1 service provider and government markets, by leveraging Data Connection's industry-leading expertise in next-generation, VoIP-based application services for the telecommunications market. Major recent R&D investment in key areas such as legacy voicemail replacement and service creation environment (SCE) functions, will sustain growth in the coming year.

  • The Enterprise Connectivity Group continues to operate successfully through its long-term strategic relationships with IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, HP and other major OEMs, in addition to its direct sales to large enterprises.

Redback Teams with HP for MPLS VPNs

Redback Networks an HP will offer an integrated solution for managing MPLS virtual private networking services. The solution combines the edge routing, Ethernet aggregation and subscriber management capabilities of the Redback SmartEdge Service Gateway with the management capabilities of the HP OpenView Service Activator, simplifying operations support system (OSS) integration and reducing time-to-market for new IP services.

The SmartEdge platform supports both Layer 2 and Layer 3 MPLS VPN services in conjunction with virtual routers to create a flexible and powerful service offering. Combined with HP's OpenView Service Activator, Redback's SmartEdge platform enable carriers to rapidly deploy and manage VPN services in any environment. MPLS VPN services can be delivered over ATM, Frame Relay, or Ethernet.

Conexant Selected by LG for DVB-S2 Set-Top Box

LG Electronics has incorporated Conexant's satellite set-top box (STB) DVB-S2 demodulator and CX24118 advanced modulation 8PSK tuner in their new high-definition television (HDTV) receiver. LG's model H20 is the world's first set-top box based on DVB-S2, the industry's newest digital video broadcast standard. DVB-S2 leverages key developments in channel coding and modulation to provide up to a 35% capacity increase over the previous DVB-S standard. The H20 STB is currently being deployed by DIRECTV in the United States.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Siemens Supplies ADSL2+ and Mobile Technology to Greenland

Siemens Communications is supplying ADSL2+ for the 57,000 inhabitants of Greenland. By the end of the year, all settlements on the island will be connected to the IP-DSLAMs of the ADSL2+ network, enabling Internet access at 12 to 24 Mbps. Currently, satellite or microwave links are used to link settlements across Greenland because it is not feasible to bury fiber in the ice. Siemens is also deploying IP-based nanoBTS GSM base stations in conjunction with the new local switching technology. This technology enables intra-village mobile phone conversations to be connected directly, eliminating the need for them to be routed via satellite. For the population of Greenland, this is an enormous advantage. In many villages, the number of mobile phone users is rapidly rising, and now totals more than 70%throughout Greenland -- some 37,000 subscribers.

BNS Showcases MPEG-4 IPTV Middleware for Flexible Pricing Models

Broadband Network Systems Ltd (BNS) is showcasing MPEG-4 standard-based middleware at this week's IPTV Forum Asia in Hong Kong.

The BNS solution features a real-time pricing engine that enables service providers to create complex IPTV business models with highly flexible pricing.

The BNS booth will also feature key showcases by BNS's partners Entone (VOD content management), Envivio (MPEG-4 H.264 broadcast series encoders and middleware) and Widevine (conditional access and digital rights management solution).
  • Hong Kong-based Broadband Network Systems (BNS) is a strategic consultant, technology integrator and content aggregator for broadband service providers deploying IPTV. Its customers include Chunghwa Telecom, Hanaro Telecom, Telekom Malaysia and others.

is Asia leading the Global IPTV Revolution?
is leading the IPTV revolution. The region boasts the highest broadband
penetration rates and is already the fastest growing market for IPTV.
Forecasts predict IPTV subscribers set to double in the next 12 months for
major markets in Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. There are a number of
contributing factors for IPTV that are shared across other markets in
Asia. However, IPTV business models and technologies are still evolving.
The next 12-18 months will be an exciting time.

China Reaches 380 million mobile subscribers, Further Growth Forecast

China currently has 380 million mobile subscribers. Nokia said it holds about 30% market share amongst handset makers in China. The company is forecasting an additional 250 million mobile subscribers in China by 2010.

Marconi Posts Quarterly Profit

Marconi reported quarterly revenue of £312 million, up 9% sequentially and up 2% on the prior year. The adjusted gross margin was 30.8%, compared with 33.4% a year earlier. There was a profit of £7 million for the quarter, compared to a loss of £6 million in the prior quarter and a profit of GBP 2 million a year earlier.

Marconi said optical and access network solutions continue to be its main drivers of growth.
  • In October 2005, Ericsson agreed to acquire most of Marconi for approximately £1.2 billion (US$2 billion). The deal, which continues the trend of consolidation in the industry, gives Ericsson access to a more comprehensive portfolio of solutions, an expanded R&D capability, and strategically important customer accounts worldwide.

Swiss Federal Council to Block Swisscom-Eircom Acquisition

Switzerland's Federal Council has instructed its representative on the Board of Directors of SwissCom to vote against the company's proposed acquisition of Eircom, the incumbent telco in Ireland, and other possible acquisitions that Swisscom might make abroad. Market observers believed that Swisscom might have been contemplating a bid for Tele Danmark (TDC). Instead, the Swiss government is encouraging SwissCom to distribute available capital to its shareholders.

The Swiss state holds approximately 66% equity stake in SwissCom. In a statement on Thursday, representatives of the government's finance and communications ministries also said the state would sell additional shares in Swisscom, encouraging the move toward privatization.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Canada's Rogers Cable Hits Milestone of 100,000 HD Subscribers

Since January 2005, Rogers Cable Communication has more than doubled its HDTV customer base, which now exceeds 100,000. The cable company now offers up to 28 HDTV channels.

Rogers Digital Cable also noted that 1 in 3 new HDTV customers adding an HDPVR to their service. Rogers offers the Scientific-Atlanta Explorer 8300HD PVR digital terminal, which features a dual tuner and the ability to record up to 20 hours of HDTV programming or 90 hours of regular television programming.
  • Rogers Cable passes 3.4 million homes in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, with 67% basic penetration of its homes passed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sagem and ST Debut First Single-Chip MPEG4 Set-top Box

Sagem introduced the first MPEG4 set-top boxes based on a single-chip decoder. The new advanced range of STBs from Sagem employs ST's next-generation MPEG4 decoder chip for HDTV, the STB7100.

Sagem's first two STBs available in the new family are standard-definition (SDTV) models, the SAGEM ITD80 for Pay and Free-to-air DTT (digital terrestrial TV) broadcast reception, selected by CANAL+, and the SAGEM ITAD80 for both IPTV and Free-to-air DTT, already selected by several operators. Before the end of this year, Sagem will expand its new MPEG4 range of STBs, all based on ST's STB7100 decoder family, to include new HDTV-capable models for all transmission media (satellite, cable, terrestrial, and IP).

ST's single-chip MPEG4 decoder, which is implemented in 90nm process technology, embeds all the major functions of a STB in a single device, including a high-performance CPU, video-decoding circuitry, and a wide range of peripheral devices.

Sagem said it expects to ship at least 100,000 MPEG4 STBs by the end of 2005. Announced customers include France Telecom and Telecom Italia for the SAGEM ITAD80 for IPTV and free-to-air DTT (Digital Terrestrial TV), and Canal Plus for the SAGEM ITD80 for free-to-air and pay DTT.
  • In June 2004, STMicroelectronics and Microsoft announced a partnership to develop a series of new integrated circuit components for extending the reach of high-quality, secure Windows Media 9 Series content, in both standard and high definition, to a wide range of popular devices such as set-top boxes and DVD players. ST will supply these new components to consumer electronics manufacturer for use in set-top boxes, DVD players, digital video recorders (DVRs), Portable Media Centers, home-networking devices, etc. In addition to standard formats, the devices will includes the following audio and video technologies: Windows Media Audio 9, Windows Media Audio 9 Professional (which delivers 5.1 or even 7.1 channels of discrete digital surround sound at bit rates as low as 128 kbps, and supports 24-bit resolution and 96 kHz sample rates to deliver better-than-CD quality sound), and Windows Media Video 9 (including VC-9).

  • ST launched the world's first integrated MPEG2 decoder STB chips in the mid 1990s.

Trilithic to Provide Emergency Alerts for Nortel's IPTV

Trilithic's Emergency Alert Systems will be offered as a part of Nortel's IPTV Ecosystem. As Trilithic's E.A.S. provides FCC mandated National Level Alerts for notifying the TV-watching public, as well as interruptions for National Weather Service weather warnings and the Amber Alert.

Trilithic's Emergency Alert System for IPTV provides a digital solution capable of various configurations for local and centralized channel insertion, and the flexibility of no channel insertion. Through a user-defined configuration, the E.A.S. alert message text and digitized audio is delivered on the IP network via Ethernet to a middleware server, or to a companion Encoder/Decoder in the Super Headend or Video Hub Office for distribution to an entire region or market with minimal hardware requirements.

Trilithic supplies E.A.S. solutions for broadband cable, low-power FM, broadcast TV and IPTV.

Hong Kong's PCCW Tops Half Million IPTV Subscribers

PCCW, the incumbent telecom operator in Hong Kong, has topped the half million mark for its now Broadband TV service. The milestone was reached one month ahead of the projected target date of December 31, 2006.

PCCW Ltd also announced the addition of major new channels on now TV, in line with its aim of providing a comprehensive range of top quality viewing options for subscribers. New content includes CNN International, HBO Family and HBO Hits, and new VOD titles from Star Chinese Movies.

PCCW Rolls Out MPEG-4 AVC HD IPTV with Tandberg

Hong Kong's PCCW's now Broadband TV service is using TANDBERG Television's advanced compression solutions for its rollout of HD IPTV over DSL. The deal expands on the two companies' existing relationship and will make now TV Asia's first advanced encoding HD operator, as it deploys the TANDBERG HD encoding solution for MPEG-4 AVC.

The now Pay-TV service launched in 2003 and has been using TANDBERG Television MPEG-2 encoding for its premium channels. With the TANDBERG EN5990 MPEG-4 AVC encoder now TV will be able to deliver an HD service with sport, entertainment and news content in half the bandwidth that would have been required for the same picture quality with MPEG-2.

TANDBERG Television's MPEG-4 AVC HD systems are already deployed by other broadcasters and operators, including DIRECTV, BSkyB, JSAT and Premiere basing their HD services and trials on the encoding engine.

Ericsson Acquires Australian Systems Integration Company TUSC

Ericsson announced the acquisition of TUSC, an Australian company that specializes in systems integration for telecommunications, utilities and enterprises. TUSC, which has around 80 employees, is a subsidiary company of Allied Technologies Group, listed on the Australian stock exchange. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ericsson said this acquisition illustrates its ambition to further strengthen and develop its position within telecommunications services and the focus areas of systems integration, telecom management and operational support systems (OSS). The TUSC acquisition also allows Ericsson to diversify its customer base into a closely related sector -- utilities.
  • In October 2005, Ericsson agreed to acquire most of Marconi for approximately £1.2 billion (US$2 billion). The deal, which continues the trend of consolidation in the industry, gives Ericsson access to a more comprehensive portfolio of solutions, an expanded R&D capability, and strategically important customer accounts worldwide.

Shaw Family Purchases One Million More Shares

The Shaw Family, and entities owned or controlled by them, completed the purchase of an additional 1,000,000 Class B Non-Voting Shares of Shaw Communications.

The Canadian communications company provides cable television, High-Speed Internet, Digital Phone, telecommunications services (through Big Pipe Inc.) and satellite direct-to-home services (through Star Choice Communications Inc.) to approximately 3.0 million customers.
  • Shaw Communications Inc. was incorporated in 1966 under the name Capital Cable Television Co. Ltd. It subsequently changed its name to Shaw Cablesystems Ltd. in 1984, and then to Shaw Communications Inc. in 1993. The company is the largest television supplier in Western Canada.

Raptor Networks Raises $7.7 Million for Distributed Switching

Raptor Networks Technology, a supplier of modular switching technologies for video, VOIP, high speed storage and other latency sensitive network applications, announced $7.728 million in equity financing led by Brookstreet Securities Corporation. The terms of the transaction include warrants that give the investors the right to purchase additional common stock which, if exercised, would increase the total value of the funding to over $20 million.

Raptor Networks' has developed a "Distributed Network Switching Technology" blurs the distinction between core switching and edge switching. The company is based in Santa Ana, California.

Scientific-Atlanta Comments on Shareholder Suits

In response to two purported class action lawsuits related to its announced acquisition by Cisco Systems, Scientific-Atlanta said it believes the complaints are without merit and intends to defend the actions vigorously.

Scientific-Atlanta said its board engaged in a thorough and deliberative process to obtain the best transaction at the highest price available for its shareholders, culminating in the definitive merger agreement with Cisco, which was announced on November 18. As previously announced, Cisco is acquiring Scientific-Atlanta for $43 per share in cash in exchange for each share of Scientific-Atlanta, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $6.9 billion.

LG Electronics Launches First DVR with Microsoft Program Guide

LG Electronics launched the first DVR for North America featuring the new Microsoft Program Guide service.

The LG LRM-519 Digital Media Recorder (MSRP $599) is a combination digital video recorder (DVR) and DVD recorder powered by Windows Media Center Technologies with a 160-gigabyte hard drive.

The Microsoft Program Guide service is available through three subscription options: a one-month subscription for $9.99, a one-year subscription for $99.99 or a one-time subscription for $249. The service allows users to search up to 14 days of programs by title, keyword or category. The Microsoft Program Guide also provides the engine for the "parental controls" features that allow parents to monitor the programs their families can access.

The LG Digital Media Recorder can be added to the home network via wired Ethernet or an 802.11a/b/g wireless connection.

Nokia Lands US$141 Million GSM Contract with India's BSNL

Nokia was selected for a comprehensive GSM/EDGE and GPRS network expansion project in North India by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The expansion, valued at US$141 million, will include core and radio network equipment, and an extensive range of services.

The expansion will enable BSNL to significantly increase its network coverage and capacity in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh (both east and west circles), Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The new contract is an extension of a US$284 million GSM/EDGE and GPRS contract signed by Nokia and BSNL in 2004.

TeliaSonera Denmark Tests Motorola's UMA Solution

Following an initial six-month trial of Motorola's Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) solution, TeliaSonera Denmark is moving to phase two of the trial project -- making calls with Motorola A910 handset over the first 3GPP compliant UMA system in an operational network environment.

The market trial is an important step forward in delivering Motorola's vision of Seamless Mobility incorporating products and services from across the organization. The complete, fully tested UMA solution from Motorola includes network infrastructure, A910 handsets, and integration and deployment services. In addition, Motorola is developing UMA-based connected home solutions to enable seamless access around the home.

UMA offer TeliaSonera customers lower-cost mobile calls with better coverage in the home as well as a seamless mobile experience using a single device, single number, contacts book, voicemail and bill.

T-Systems Teams with PROGNOSIS for VoIP

Integrated Research will supply its PROGNOSIS performance monitoring solutions to Deutsche Telekom's T-Systems division for a VoIP deployment in Germany. PROGNOSIS for IP Telephony is a suite of lifecycle management solutions spanning VoIP network-readiness assessment, pre-deployment assurance testing and ongoing performance management for Cisco IP Communications environments. The company also announced the opening of a new office in the center of Frankfurt

Monday, November 21, 2005

NEC Selects Ikanos for New VDSL Equipment

NEC Magnus Communications has selected Ikanos' Fx 100100 and Fx100100S-4 chipsets to deliver up to 100 Mbps symmetrical data services in new versions of its broadband access products.

NEC Magnus has used Ikanos' VDSL chipsets in its access platforms and customer premises equipment for three years, most recently in systems that deliver up to 100 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream performance in MTU/MDU applications. With the latest Fx and FxS series chipsets, NEC Magnus can now offer systems providing up to 100 Mbps symmetrical data rates. Moreover, the Fx and FxS chipsets are designed to be backwards-compatible with previously deployed Ikanos Fx and FxS chipsets, in order to accelerate and reduce the cost of equipment upgrades by carriers.

Japanese carriers have been deploying in-building, fiber-fed access platforms in combination with VDSL over existing building wiring to deliver high-speed broadband services in multi-tenant and multi-dwelling buildings.

Disability Groups Call for Telecom Legislation for Access to Broadband Services

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the American Foundation for the Blind other disability groups is calling upon Congress to enact legislation mandating disability access to Internet-based communication services.

The groups are urging that any updates to the Telecom Act include disabled access provisions for all services.

Kelby Brick, NAD Director of Law and Advocacy, said: "People with disabilities use communications technologies every day that were not even in existence at the time our nation's communications laws were last amended. The 1996 Telecommunications Act did not contemplate instant messaging, email, video relay, peer-to-peer video or such handheld devices as the Firefly and the Tictalk.

"Although the 1996 Act contained disability provisions for access to telecommunications products and services, it was mainly limited to those used with the public switched telephone network, not the Internet. As a result, people with disabilities will only gain equal access to today's communications infrastructure and services if Congress acts to extend these protections to Internet-enabled products and services."

Nintendo Reports Strong Initial Uptake for WiFi Gaming

Nintendo reported that 45% of people who bought its new "Mario Kart" DS racing game for its Nintendo DS system already have test driven its free Wi-Fi capabilities.

On November 14, Mario Kart DS became the first game to use Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Through the end of Sunday, more than 112,000 people in the United States had purchased the game. In the same time frame, nearly 52,000 unique users had logged onto Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to play against people from all over the country.

Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection lets users connect to the service at no additional charge using both home wireless networks and select Wi-Fi hotspots, without any complicated setup procedures.

Three new titles that use Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection will be launched in the coming months.

Loral Emerges From Chapter 11

Loral Space & Communications completed its financial reorganization and emerged from the Chapter 11 process. Loral exits chapter 11 with approximately $180 million in cash. During the chapter 11 reorganization, Loral did not require any debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing, and, as of its emergence from chapter 11, has only $126 million of debt in the form of the notes issued by Loral Skynet. Loral Skynet has also issued $200 million of preferred stock to certain creditors of Loral Orion.

Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) is a leading manufacturer of commercial satellites.

Loral Skynet's fleet is positioned to serve areas with high growth potential such as Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the trans-Atlantic market. Skynet has also expanded its services beyond traditional FSS leases with the introduction of new IP-based data services.

Loral's new XTAR joint venture has been awarded contracts for service to the U.S. State Department and the Spanish Ministry of Defense.

QUALCOMM Announces Foundry Partnership with Samsung

QUALCOMM announced a new manufacturing partnership with Samsung Electronics focused on advanced CMOS-based foundry processes for CDMA. QUALCOMM and Samsung's new foundry partnership expands on the two companies' existing relationship, and builds upon QUALCOMM's fabless business model of outsourcing foundry operations to partners such as Samsung. The companies will collaborate on current and future technology needs, with plans including the usage of Samsung's 90 nanometer (nm) and sub-90 nm nodes to enable manufacturing of leading-edge system-on-a-chip (SOC) products.

CopperGate Secures $14.5 Million for Home Networking Silicon (HPNA)

CopperGate Communications, a start-up based in Tel Aviv, raised approximately $14.5 million in a third round funding for its chipset solutions for multimedia home networking.

The financing led by new investor Carmel Ventures, with the participation of existing investors Tamir Fishman Ventures and the Challenge Fund.

CopperGate has been a prime contributor to the HPNA V3 specification for high performance multimedia home phoneline networking. HPNA V3 standard chipsets utilize existing coax cables and telephony wiring in the home for connecting devices such as residential gateways, TV set-top boxes, personal video recorders (PVRs) and PC peripherals.

Cisco Partners with ZTE in China, Asia-Pac

Cisco Systems will partner with ZTE Corporation to pursue business opportunities in the telecommunications service provider market in China and the Asia Pacific region, excluding Japan. The agreement was signed at a ceremony at ZTE's headquarters in Shenzhen, China earlier this month.