Sunday, January 9, 2005

Redline Debuts its 802.16-2004 Compliant Broadband Wireless

Redline Communications announced an 802.16-2004-compliant version of its broadband wireless platform. Redline's AN-100U universal platform functions as a base station and subscriber station.

Redline is a principal member of the WiMAX Forum and has played an active role in the technical development of IEEE 802.16 standards. The company is now actively participating in the development of the 802.16e standard for mobile applications.

PointOne Expands Reach of VoIP Network in Canada

PointOne has expanded the reach of its VoIP network to now reach 80% of both the Canadian and United States populations. PointOne noted that it is now processing more than half a billion calls monthly for traditional service providers over its IP network.

Performance Technologies and MetaSwitch Partner on Softswitch Development

Performance Technologies and Metaswitch announced a collaborative development partnership for packet-based softswitch technology. By leveraging engineering expertise from both companies, MetaSwitch has already brought its third generation of carrier class softswitch product. The companies have established a joint design team, comprising engineers from both organizations, tasked with delivering the industry's leading platform for next generation voice switching.

Ciena Unveils Ethernet Services Provisioning Switch

Ciena introduced a carrier-grade, ten-slot Ethernet chassis specifically designed for telco and cable service providers to deliver triple play services to residential and commercial customers over a converged packet network, including high-value Ethernet private line and LAN services.

Ciena's CN 4350 combines full mesh 160 Gbps fabric, "VirtualWire" VLAN switching, GbE and WDM transport interfaces. The CN 4350 delivers absolute QoS by assigning each service its own "virtual wire" with guaranteed end-to-end bandwidth and performance. VirtualWire VLANs enable port trunking, cross-connecting, and switching with TDM-like GbE transport performance. Among its eight Class of Service queues are two Strict Priority queues for VoIP and video traffic. Ciena said the CN 4350 also supports 100% line utilization without packet loss.

The ten-slot chassis fully redundant power, fans, switch fabric and controller modules, has separate data and control planes, and is NEBS Level 3 certified. Ciena is providing a ten port by 1 Gbps Ethernet switching interface module that features Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) optics, carrier-grade SONET-like performance monitoring, an embedded signaling and control channel, sophisticated packet processing, jumbo packet support, 64MB of packet buffer memory, and RMON support. With eight of these modules plugged in, the fully loaded system delivers 80 full duplex Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports.

ARMSTRONG Cable, a large U.S. cable operator with subscribers across five states, has already deployed the platform.

IP Unity Hires Former Qwest Exec

IP Unity has hired Augie Cruciotti as its Chief Operating Officer. Augie Cruciotti formerly served as Executive Vice President of Network Services at Qwest Communications.

Sonus Networks Appoints CFO

Sonus Networks named Ellen Richstone as its new CFO. Most recently, she was the president and chief executive officer of Entrepreneurial Resources Group, a global professional services firm that provides operational and financial solutions to companies worldwide. Prior to Entrepreneurial Resources Group, Richstone served as the CFO of Brooks Automation.

Global IP Sound Upgrades its Voice Processing Code

Global IP Sound (GIPS) released version 3.0 of its NetEQ, an advanced jitter buffer and packet loss concealment module that improves sound quality and minimizes latency in IP telephony systems. Version 3.0 of NetEQ reduces the complexity of the module by 25 to 50%, depending on the development platform and codecs that are used. In addition, GIPS has re-architected its code so that dividing the NetEQ into a CPU/MCU based architecture is simpler.

According to the company, NetEQ reduces jitter buffer delay by 30 to more than 100 ms over the most effective alternative solutions and automatically solves the clock drift problem inherent in difficult PC environments. NetEQ is codec independent and can be used in either narrowband or wideband implementations.

Italian Research Net Deploys Juniper's M320

A new Italian R&E (Research and Education) network has selected Juniper Networks' M320 routing platform for the core of its 10Gbps infrastructure. The Juniper Networks deployment will enhance the inter-connection of all Italian universities and research institutions, and will also provide more powerful communication with the pan-European GEANT R&E network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ahead Communications Announces MPLS Pseudowires Packet Switch

Ahead Communications Systems introduced a multiservice WAN platform featuring MPLS Pseudowires capability. The Ahead Packet Cell Switch can be used to deliver Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) compliant E-LAN and Ethernet Private Line (E-Line) services with support for Gigabit Ethernet and OCx trunking. It offers 5 Gbps aggregate switching capacity and provides ATM or MPLS transport in support of layer 2 and layer 3 application solutions. It features a dual-control plane supporting PNNI and OSPF-TE.
  • In August 2001, Ahead Communications Systems acquired General DataComm's APEX ATM division.

  • Ahead Communications is based in Middlebury, Conn.

Trellia Networks Raises $3 Million for Wireless Roaming

Trellia Networks, a start-up based in Montreal, raised US$3.3 million in Series A financing for its development of intelligent wireless roaming capabilities in cellular data and Wi-Fi networks. Trellia's Nomad Mobility Platform supports secure universal wireless connectivity, seamless roaming for mobile devices (laptops, PDAs, Smartphones) that use Wi-Fi/WLAN, GPRS/EDGE, CDMA1x/EVDO, UMTS, and next generation IP Multimedia wireless applications. The platform supports both universal wireline/wireless connectivity management and Mobile IP standards for carrier based session persistence "always-on/always-connected" applications.

The funding was led by Skypoint Capital.

Cisco to OEM EMC's Network Attached Storage

Cisco Systems and EMC announced that they will provide customers with an end-to-end storage consolidation solution for remote-office data. The solution combines Cisco wide area file services (WAFS) technology and EMC network attached storage (NAS). The companies have agreed to develop an OEM agreement, which will enable Cisco to sell and support the EMC NS Series/Integrated NAS solutions. Cisco plans to offer these NAS solutions together with the recently introduced Cisco File Engine to provide a solution ideally suited for enterprise storage consolidation over wide-area networks. The integrated solution will be sold and supported by Cisco directly and through its worldwide partner channel.

ALLTEL to Purchase Western Wireless in $6 Billion Deal

ALLTEL agree to purchase Western Wireless Corporation in a stock-and-cash transaction valued at approximately $6 billion. ALLTEL will gain about 1.4 million domestic wireless customers in 19 western and midwestern states that are contiguous to existing properties, giving the company 10 million domestic wireless customers in 33 states. It also adds 1.6 million international customers in six countries.

"This transaction strengthens ALLTEL's position as the nation's top regional communications company and makes sense financially and strategically," said Scott Ford, ALLTEL president and CEO.

Western Wireless, based in Bellevue, Washington, is a rural communications provider with wireless operations in 107 markets in 19 states and international operations that are licensed to service more than 50 million people in six countries, primarily Austria and Ireland. The domestic retail stores operate under the Western Wireless and Cellular One brand names.

eircom teams with Cisco and NetCentrex for VoIP

eircom has chosen Cisco Systems and NetCentrex to deploy voice services in Ireland. The contracts were valued at EUR 10 million over a three-year period. Cisco will supply equipment to integrated voice calls into the existing PSTN, leveraging eircom's MPLS network. NetCentrex will supply the applications software and hardware, which together will provide the core intelligence for eircom's VoIP Platform.

Motorola Introduces Canopy Wireless Broadband for Europe

Motorola introduced three new Canopy Advantage wireless broadband radio products for European markets. The new radios operate in the 2.4, 5.4 and 5.7 GigaHertz bands. Motorola also provides an evolution to support future license exempt WiMAX products.

The Canopy system offers point-to-point and point-to-multipoint system configurations.

Microsoft Introduces Hosted Messaging and Collaboration Solution

Microsoft introduced a hosted service that addresses the requirements of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration 3.0 builds on Microsoft Solution for Hosted Exchange 2003 by adding support for hosted versions of Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 and Windows SharePoint Services. This enable service providers to deliver hosted enterprise-class e-mail, shared calendaring, contacts, document collaboration and instant messaging capabilities.

Adelphia Deploys Ciena for Optical Ethernet

Adelphia, the fifth largest MSO in the U.S., has deployed Ciena optical Ethernet platforms in multiple cable systems across the country to deliver video on demand (VOD), high-speed data and commercial service. The installations include a variety of equipment from Ciena, including its new CN 4350 Ethernet Services Provisioning Switch; the CN 2100 Passive Optical Multiplexer; and the CN 2200 Managed Optical Ethernet Multiplexer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Adelphia first deployed Ciena equipment in its Los Angeles network in November 2003 with the initial roll-out of VOD in that market.

Comcast Sees VoIP as Engine for Growth

VoIP will be Comcast's "next engine of growth," said Brian Roberts, Comcast's Chairman and CEO, speaking at the Smith Barney Media & Telecommunications Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. With its network rebuild now complete, Comcast's goal is to build on the portfolio of video and data services it provides.

Comcast already has experience in residential telephony and services about 1.2 million circuit-switched customers in several markets. It has over 1,000 employees dedicated to telephony operations. Comcast launched its first three VoIP markets last year. Roberts confirmed that during 2005 Comcast will scale the operation to 20 markets nationwide, reaching a potential market of 15 million homes. Residential VoIP should be available across the full Comcast network by year end 2006. Comcast will cap its circuit-switched network.

Comcast is targeting an initial price point of $40 per month for unlimited nationwide local/LD calling. Over time, Comcast will add unified messaging, customized ringtones, softphones, and CallerID on TV capabilities. Comcast will offer a full set of features, including a voice portal, E911, CALEA and battery back-up. The company believes it can achieve a 20% subscriber penetration rate by its fifth year of availability.

Some additional highlights of the presentation include:

  • Roberts said HDTV has now reached an inflection point with U.S. consumers.

  • Comcast VOD services are currently available to 80% of the customer base. Over 3,000 titles are offered and Roberts predicts there will be over 10,000 on-demand offerings by year-end.

  • Comcast registered 62 million On Demand orders during the month of November.

  • In Philadelphia, there were 23 orders per customer during the month. There was 65% customer usage of VOD during the month, and nearly 80% of customers accessed the service over a 3 month period. Based on these figures, Comcast estimates it will deliver 1 billion VOD orders for all of 2005.

  • Comcast is continuing to add content to is VOD library through recent deals with MGM/Sony, NFL, NBA, etc.

  • Comcast will begin upgrading its analog customers with a digital box that delivers the same channels but with better picture quality. It will also enable VOD to these basic customers.

  • Comcast reported progress with its high speed Internet service (cable modem), noting that the download speeds have been increased. The company is introducing Video Instant Messaging and will add higher level of portal customization.

  • Comcast's cable modem penetration is about 18% of its customer base, giving it nearly 7 million customers at year end 2004. ARPU is about $40.
  • In October 2004, Comcast reported that its cable phone revenue declined 8.6% for its third fiscal quarter compared to the same period in 2003, to $173 million, the result of a 7.5% decrease in subscribers to 1.2 million. There was stable average monthly revenue per subscriber of $47.18. At the time, Comcast said it is continuing to focus on profitability, not unit growth, while it begins the transition from circuit-switched to VoIP.

  • In October 2004, Cedar Point Communications announced that it had been selected by Comcast as its primary vendor of VoIP services equipment. Under the multi-year agreement, Comcast will expand its deployment of Cedar Point's integrated SAFARI C(Cubed) Media Switching System to multiple new phone markets. Financial terms were not disclosed.

TANDBERG TV to Acquire N2 Broadband for VOD Software

TANDBERG Television agreed to acquire N2 Broadband, a provider of scalable, open-platform solutions for on-demand entertainment, in a cash and stock deal valued at between $110 million to $130 million. N2 Broadband's open platform is currently deployed in the North American cable market. The company is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

TANDBERG Television said the N2 Broadband's standards-based, open solutions are a natural extension of its own core technology and have already been integrated with TANDBERG Television's video compression systems. N2 Broadband's President and CEO, Reggie Bradford, will take up the role of President of TANDBERG Television Americas.

"The acquisition of N2 Broadband will enable us to dramatically expand our North American market presence and augment our total solution offering to include the world's most advanced and open VOD software solution. Both of these factors are important cornerstones for our future success. In particular, the North American market represents the largest growth opportunity for TANDBERG Television's products and services over the next several years and N2 Broadband will immediately strengthen the route to market for our video compression systems into the US cable market," said Eric Cooney, President and CEO of TANDBERG Television.

VeriSign to Acquire LightSurf for Multimedia Messaging

VeriSign agreed to acquire LightSurf, a provider of multimedia messaging and interoperability solutions for the wireless market, for $270 million in VeriSign stock.

LightSurf, which is based in Santa Cruz, California, supplies open standards MMS, picture and video messaging software that is currently with partners including Bell Canada, Eastman Kodak, Iusacell, LG International Corp., mmO2 plc, Motorola, Rogers Wireless, Samsung Electronics, Sanyo, Sprint, Telecom New Zealand and Toshiba.

VeriSign said that by adding LightSurf's capabilities into its existing communication services platforms, it will be able to offer carriers a comprehensive wireless data utility that covers all aspects of the mobile content value chain. Functionality will include picture messaging, multimedia messaging services, and Inter-carrier messaging and interoperability.
  • LightSurf was founded in 1998 by Philippe Kahn, who founded Borland in 1982 and was CEO of the company for 12 years. In 1994 Philippe co-founded Starfish Software, which was acquired by Motorola in 1998.

Hammerhead Systems Selects Data Connection for IP Routing, MPLS, and ATM

Hammerhead Systems is using Data Connection's DC-OSPF, DC-MPLS, and DC-ATM protocol stacks in its HSX 6000 Layer 2.5 Aggregation Switch. Hammerhead's platform is designed for extending IP services over any infrastructure using PseudoWire and Dry Martini technologies.

Data Connection's DC-OSPF is a fully portable source code solution that implements full mandatory OSPF protocol support, including RFC 2328. DC-OSPF fits into the same architectural framework as Data Connection's other IP Routing protocol products (including DC-ISIS and DC-BGP) and can be integrated with DC-MPLS to provide a complete control plane solution, as it is with the HSX 6000 from Hammerhead.
  • In December, Hammerhead Systems extended its switching solution to include unique "Layer 2.5" capabilities aimed at accelerating the delivery of metro Ethernet services using new "PseudoWire" and "Dry Martini" technologies. The company said service providers are experiencing a need for high-density Layer 2.5 traffic aggregation because existing access services (wireline, broadband, broadband fixed wireless and 3G) are typically based on Layer 2 connection-oriented technologies, while new services are based on Layer 3. Hammerhead is extending its HSX 6000 platform, which already supports the migration of Frame Relay / ATM services onto MPLS backbones, so that it can be used as an aggregation platform in an Ethernet service architecture, offering native Gigabit Ethernet as well as Ethernet-over-SONET (both GFP and x.86) trunking capabilities. On the subscriber side, the HSX 6000 switch offers high-density fan-in across a range of new and legacy service interfaces, media and speeds, including Ethernet. The switch is optimized for efficient grooming and SLA assurance.