Tuesday, January 18, 2005

SBC Adds Real-Time WAN Monitoring Options, Cuts Prices

SBC Communications rolled out new real-time WAN monitoring tools for its enterprise customers, while cutting prices for many service options. The new SBC PremierSERV Network Management Wide-Area Network (WAN) View monitoring options enable businesses to track network and application performance in multiple locations, regardless of the carrier network being used, allowing quick isolation of applications responsible for poor response times; optimization of bandwidth for key applications; understanding and tracing virus traffic within a network; and validation of service-level agreements and class-of-service delivery for IP applications.

SBC is also cutting prices for many of its SBC PremierSERV Network Management services. Standard monthly fees for certain services have been reduced by up to 28%, depending on the package selected.

The new WAN View monitoring capability utilizes Visual Networks' UpTime Select solution. Specific capabilities include:

  • carrier-agnostic validation of WAN service level agreements,

  • detailed monitoring for primary network elements, including the local loop, port, and end-to-end circuit.

  • detailed bandwidth planning capabilities.

  • visibility and diagnostics to improve network and application availability.

  • 24X7X365 proactive monitoring and notification, fault isolation and resolution.

Separately, SBC began offering sophisticated performance monitoring and alarm features for selected SBC Dedicated SONET and Multi-Service Optical Networking (MON) Ring services. This new customer network management tool allows a customer to verify the continuity of their SONET and MON Ring service, and gather information valuable in maintaining optimal network operations centers. The monitoring tool can be set up to provide a direct data feed (raw data) or a Web-based graphical user interface option.

Westell Reports Strong Demand for Wireless Gateway

Westell Technologies reported quarterly revenue of $74.5 million up 24% from $60.0 million in the same quarter of last year and up 21% from $61.4 million in the quarter ended September 30, 2004. Net income for the December quarter of $3.7 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, which includes tax expense of $2.6 million, or $0.04 per diluted share.

"Our Customer Networking Equipment revenue performance in the December quarter was well beyond our expectations. The early success of our new wireless gateway product, VersaLink, far exceeded even our most optimistic forecast," said Van Cullens, Westell President and CEO.

Belkin Offers Xten's Softphone for its VoIP Service

Belkin has licensed a private-label version of Xten's X-PRO SIP softphone SDK for integration and deployment with Belkin's recently announced callEverywhere Broadband Phone service. Belkin offers free calls to callEverywhere customers along with free email and voice mail. For an additional charge, users can upgrade to a service plan that allows phone calls to and from the PSTN. Belkin's service currently is available in 34 U.S. markets. The SoftPhone is currently available as a free software download.

Lenovo Selects Atheros for its Wi-Fi Notebooks

Lenovo Group Limited (formerly Legend Computer), the largest PC vendor in China, has integrated Atheros' single-chip 802.11g solution into new wireless-enabled laptops that will be sold in China and other markets. The companies said 802.11g wireless networking is in high demand by China's mobile computing usershttp://www.atheros.com

UTStarcom Signs $120 Million in Contracts with China Telecom

UTStarcom announced contracts valued at approximately $120 million with China Telecom Corporation (CTC) to expand the operator's existing IP-based PAS (Personal Access System) networks in the Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Sichuan provinces in China. UTStarcom said China Telecom officials have publicly reiterated that they will continue to invest in PAS even when 3G licenses are issued, as it is viewed as a complementary service to 3G that will target a different demographic.

UTStarcom noted that there are now more than 65 million PAS subscribers in China. PAS networks have been deployed in almost all major cities in China's 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities by the two major fixed-line operators in China, China Telecom and China Netcom.

France's SCT Telecom Deploys net.com's VoIP

SCT Telecom, a national provider of wholesale telecommunications services in France, has deployed net.com's ShoutIP VoIP platform to provide low cost delivery alternatives for mobile calls. net.com's voice over IP platform, provides enhanced call routing and IP-to-TDM conversion to allow fixed and mobile calls to be dynamically routed to the least-cost delivery method. Additionally, ShoutIP's BEST Signaling Protocol (BSP) delivers advanced call compression and IP packet management, enabling the platform to use less bandwidth and provide higher call quality than competing solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Extreme Networks Reports 20% Revenue Growth

Extreme Networks reported quarterly revenue of $100.3 million, up 20% from $83.4 million in the year-ago second quarter, and up 5% from $95.1 million in the first fiscal quarter of 2005. The company recorded net income of $9.95 million or $0.08 per diluted share in the second fiscal quarter of 2005, up from the net loss of ($5.6) million or ($0.05) per diluted share in the second fiscal quarter of 2004.

Revenues in the U.S. were $43.4 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2005, or 43.3% of total consolidated revenue. U.S. revenues were up 54% from the $28.2 million in the year-ago quarter. International revenues were $56.9 million or 56.7% of total consolidated revenue, up from the $55.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenues in the company's European region, including the Middle East and Africa, were up 21% in the second quarter of 2005 compared with the second quarter of fiscal 2004.

UK's Gamma Telecom Deploys Marconi Softswitch

Gamma Telecom, an alternative carrier in the UK, is replacing its existing Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) infrastructure with Marconi's SoftSwitch platform. The full migration will take place over the course of this year. The Marconi SoftSwitch infrastructure will allow Gamma Telecom to continue to support existing Carrier Pre-Select and Indirect Access customers without the need to invest in additional legacy technology, while supporting new services. In particular, it will allow the operator to offer resellers the ability to provide new services to the SME market, such as instant messaging and new voice services, as well as hosted IP Private Branch Exchange services, such as IP Centrex. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Lucent Reports Wireless Growth, Wireline Challenges

Lucent Technologies reported first quarter revenues of $2.34 billion in the quarter, a decrease of 3% sequentially and an increase of 3% from the year-ago quarter. Net income was $174 million or 4 cents per diluted share. These results compare with net income of $1.21 billion, or 23 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004 and net income of $349 million, or 7 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

"The dynamic nature of today's telecom market continues to present distinct opportunities and challenges to network equipment and service providers," said Lucent Technologies Chairman and CEO Patricia Russo. She cited strong results in Lucent's mobility business, including recent contracts with Sprint and Cingular, but said the wireline market "remains a challenge in the near term."

  • Lucent is forecasting its annual revenues for fiscal 2005 to increase on a percentage basis in the mid-single digits -- at or above the market growth rate.

  • Gross margin for the first quarter of fiscal 2005 was 42% of revenues as compared with 41% in both the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004 and the year-ago quarter.

  • Operating expenses for the first quarter of fiscal 2005 were $665 million as compared with $691 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004 and $648 million for the year-ago quarter.

  • As of Dec. 31, 2004, Lucent had about $4.6 billion in cash and marketable securities, which represents a decrease of approximately $300 million from the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2004. The decrease was primarily driven by the payment of the company's fiscal 2004 employee incentive awards.

  • On a sequential basis, revenues in the U.S. were essentially flat at $1.45 billion, and revenues outside the U.S. decreased 8% to $885 million.

  • Mobility revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2005 were $1.15 billion, essentially flat sequentially and an increase of 19% compared with the year-ago quarter.

  • INS revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2005 were $645 million, a decrease of 7% sequentially and a decrease of 18% compared with the year-ago quarter.

  • Lucent Worldwide Services (LWS) revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2005 were $520 million, an increase of 1% sequentially and an increase of 12% compared with the year-ago quarter.

Cisco Appoints Wells Fargo Exec to its Board

Richard M. Kovacevich, chairman and CEO, Wells Fargo & Company, has been appointed to Cisco Systems' board of directors. With the election of Kovacevich, Cisco's board now consists of 13 members.

Level 3 Announces Expansion Into Eastern Europe

Level 3 Communications began offering its (3)CrossRoads wholesale Internet access service to ISPs, cable providers, and international carriers selling communications services in Prague, the Czech republic. Among Level 3's initial IP transit customers in Prague is Nextra, a subsidiary of Telenor, the Norwegian incumbent carrier. Telenor, Norway's largest telecommunications group, maintains substantial international mobile operations and, through Nextra, aims to establish itself as a leading IP operator for the business market in the Czech Republic and nine other European countries.

Level 3's fiber optic network spans 23,000 miles and now serves 22 of the largest markets in Europe, as well as 77 markets across North America. In addition, the company operates metropolitan networks in 36 cities, including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt. Level 3 also maintains substantial network capacity on high-speed transatlantic cable systems.

Meru Networks Names New CEO

Meru Networks named Ihab Abu-Hakima as its new President and CEO. Previously, Abu-Hakima served as a Senior Vice President at Proxim Corporation. Prior to Proxim, Abu-Hakima held several executive positions at Silicon Graphics Computer Systems, Inc. (SGI), most recently as vice president and general manager.

RCN Increases Cable Modem Speed to 10 Mbps

RCN will upgrade its 7 Mbps cable modem service to 10 Mbps across all its U.S. markets by February 28, 2005. Customers with 5 Mbps service will be upgraded to 7 Mbps service. This is the third time in the past 18 months RCN has upgraded its modem speeds at no additional cost to customers. RCN said the faster speeds would benefit its music download business.

RCN provides service in the Boston, New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan markets.

UTStarcom Signs $40 Million in Contracts with China Netcom

UTStarcom announced contracts valued at approximately $40 million with China Netcom Group (CNC) to expand the operator's existing IP-based PAS (Personal Access System) networks in the Shandong and Henan provinces, as well as in metropolitan Beijing.

Over the last two years, nearly 60% of new fixed-line subscribers at China Netcom are PAS users. The carrier is expecting positive growth rates for PAS subscribers through 2008. In addition, the operator believes that they will be able to leverage existing PAS network infrastructure to deploy 3G services when licenses are issued.

UTStarcom noted that there have been several changes in the structure of the telecom industry in China over the last several months, including restructuring of the management teams at the major operators and centralization of procurement procedures. These changes were implemented late in the fourth quarter of 2004 and have lengthened the time it takes to achieve final acceptance and revenue recognition.

In Beijing, PAS subscribers topped 1.5 million by the end of 2004, 18 months after the service was launched in mid-2003. In the Shandong Province in eastern China, more than five million people currently subscribe for PAS service. More than 2.5 million people currently subscribe for PAS service in the Henan Province in central China, where PAS networks have been expanded four times since the service launched in 2000. Approximately 23 million of the total 65 million PAS users in China have subscribed for the service through China Netcom, which represents an 81% year-over-year subscriber growth rate with the operator from 2003 to 2004. UTStarcom builds more than 60% of China Netcom's PAS networks and provides over 55% of the operator's PAS handsets.

Westell and Spirent Partner on IP/Ethernet Diagnostics

Westell Technologies and Spirent Communications announced a partnership aimed at providing an end-to-end automated solution that would enable service providers to perform IP/Ethernet diagnostics to determine the quality of service that is delivered to the end customer network.
The companies will market a joint solution consisting of the Spirent SmartSight family of products and the Westell Inteleport Ethernet Network Interface Unit (NIU). Together, these products form an end-to-end automated diagnostic solution with interfaces to performance and fault management, trouble ticketing and inventory systems.

Westell's new Inteleport Ethernet NIU is a remotely manageable, intelligent NIU device that provides a standard 10/100baseT interface for Ethernet service. The in-line device supports remote provisioning and maintenance. Spirent's SmartSight portfolio is an integrated solution that combines hardware and software diagnostic tools to improve visibility into IP and Ethernet services from the customer premise level to the network and operational levels. The portfolio consists of the SmartSight VoIP Diagnostic Assistant, SmartSight Operational Support System, SmartSight Quality of Service Scope, and the SmartSight Broadband Remote Test Unit.

Fujitsu Implements Data Connection's Megaco/H.248 Stack

Fujitsu has licensed Data Connection's DC-Megaco (H.248) software for use in its GeoStream Access Gateway product line. Fujitsu began implementing the protocol stack in September of 2004 and was able to demonstrate H.248 functionality the following month, participating in the Global Multiservice Switching Forum (MSF) Interoperability (GMI) 2004 event hosted by major carriers across the world. Testing at the GMI verified for the first time that H.248 is suitable for PSTN legacy network migration in the U.K., when implemented according to the MSF UK Access Gateway Implementation Agreement.