Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Acme Packet Introduces Net-SAFE for Session Border Controllers

Acme Packet introduced a security requirements framework that identifies the requirements that a session border controller (SBC) must satisfy to protect the SBC itself; to protect the service infrastructure (e.g. SIP servers, softswitches, application servers, media servers or media gateways; and to protect subscriber, enterprise and service provider security including confidentiality and privacy. Acme Packet's "Net-SAFE" (Session Aware Filtering and Enforcement) spans seven functional areas, each of which is a collection of more specific requirements, including:

  • Session border controller DoS protection: Autonomic, SBC self-protection against malicious and non-malicious DoS attacks and overloads at layer 3/4 (e.g. TCP, SYN, ICMP, fragments, etc.) and L5 (e.g. SIP signaling floods, malformed messages, etc.). Mandates hardware-enforced fairness, control and throttling for signaling and media.

  • Access control: Session-aware access control for signaling and media using static and dynamic permit/deny ACLs at layer 3 and 5.

  • Topology hiding and privacy: Complete infrastructure topology hiding at all protocol layers for confidentiality and attack prevention security, as well as modification, removal or insertion of call signaling application headers and fields. Privacy support using industry-standard encryption methods such as TLS and IPSec.

  • VPN separation: Support for Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) with full inter-VPN topology hiding and separation, ability to create separate signaling and media-only VPNs, and with optional intra-VPN media hair-pinning to monitor calls within a VPN.

  • Service infrastructure DoS prevention: Per-device signaling and media overload control, with deep packet inspection and call rate control to prevent DoS attacks from reaching service infrastructure such as SIP servers, softswitches, application servers, media servers or media gateways.

  • Fraud prevention: Session-based authentication, authorization, and contract enforcement for signaling and media; and service theft protection.

  • Monitoring and reporting: Audit trails, event logs, access violation logs and traps, management access command recording, Call Detail Records (CDRs) with media performance monitoring, raw packet capture ability and lawful intercept capability.

In addition, Acme Packet announced three new enhanced security features - enhanced SBC DoS self-protection against signaling attacks, a hardware acceleration module for TLS and IPSec, and SIP privacy support - to the existing set of Net-SAFE features in Acme Packet's Net-Net products.

  • The new DoS attack protection feature defends the signaling processor in the Net-Net product family by dynamically performing classification, policing, shaping and discarding based on session events, using them to build trust or detect attackers.

  • The new hardware encryption module enables the session border controller to perform hardware-accelerated encryption and authentication for each signaling session on the public network, while translating the signaling to use a lower-overhead, more efficient transport protocol such as UDP (User Datagram Protocol) on the service provider's private network. Consequently, the session border controller can offload the per-session encryption and authentication processing burden from the service provider's internal signaling equipment.

  • The SIP privacy enhancement, supporting RFCs 3323 and 3325, provides anonymity to the caller identity information in SIP signaling messages on a per-user or per-call basis as instructed by the service provider's SIP infrastructure. This enables service providers to provide a caller privacy service for their subscribers concerned about identity theft, spyware monitoring, and eavesdropping by unknown entities.

Telution Names VP of Product Management Team

Telution, a supplier of order management software applications for the delivery of complex IP-based services, named Andy Fruhling as Vice President of Product Management. Fruhling most recently served at CoManage Corporation, where he built a product management foundation based on repeatable release processes that promoted effectiveness and accountability across the company. Prior to leading product management efforts for CoManage, Fruhling was instrumental in building MetaSolv Software's initial product management organization and the MetaSolv Order Management product line.

Acterna Adds Handheld FTTx/PON, Optical Loss Testers

Acterna announced two new SMART optical handhelds: the OLP-57 SMART FTTX/PON selective power meter and the OLT-55 SMART optical loss test set.

The OLP-57 SMART FTTX/PON selective power meter is a high-performance power meter for testing, installing and maintaining FTTx/PON systems. It provides simultaneous measurement at all three wavelengths on the fiber (1490 nm and 1550 downstream and 1310 nm upstream). The 1310 nm channel provides correct power measurements of burst-type upstream PON signals. The OLP-57 also allows user-adjusted thresholds for easy pass/fail analysis.

The OLT-55 SMART optical loss test set is a universal instrument with a two or three wavelength laser source in combination with a power meter that can be used for singlemode fibers and systems in the lab, manufacturing (USB interface), installation, maintenance and troubleshooting. It offers a built-in auto-zeroing function, providing accuracy even for very low power levels or high loss measurements . In addition, the OLT-55 can be used as a power meter or laser source with all features of the corresponding OLS-55 and OLP-55 handheld testers.

Acterna said there are more than 70,000 previous-generation units from its optical handhelds portfolio currently in the field.

Ixia's IxChariot Adds Enhanced Wireless & Security Testing

Ixia released a new version of its IxChariot test platform featuring a new way to measure the scalability and functional compliance of thousands of traffic policies deployed in a typical network. The IxChariot 6.0 release also provides a unique way to correlate the quality and roaming performance of a wireless link with network application performance and VoIP Mean Opinion Score (MOS) test results.

With this release, IxChariot users are now able to freely associate TCP, UDP and RTP payloads with any test script using IxChariot's new "script-embedded payloads" feature. Ixia said use of the new script-embedded payloads provides far greater flexibility and realism in testing the ability of content-aware network devices to enforce policies that rely on deep packet inspection. These correlations are especially important because "intelligent" networking devices, such as firewalls or traffic shapers, make traffic forwarding decisions based on deep packet (payload) inspection, and these devices are becoming standard network components.

The IxChariot 6.0 release, in support of its large WLAN testing user community, now includes integrated metrics for key 802.11 parameters, such as the Received Signal Strength Index (RSSI) indicator and the ability to correlate the Basic Service Set Identifier (BSSID) used in wireless LAN networks with the wide range of enterprise, Internet, and VoIP traffic types. The new 802.11 measurements in IxChariot 6.0 make it possible for users to determine the critical roaming performance of a WLAN switch or Access Point infrastructure while the test station running a standard Windows or WinCE Performance Endpoint is emulating latency and packet-loss sensitive applications, such as VoIP, multicast, and streaming video, with or without Quality of Service policies applied.

Other key new features in this release of IxChariot are:

  • Extended peer-to-peer (P2P) script library, including popular eDonkey and Bittorrent client applications

  • New payload script library, including revised HTTP, PoP3, SMTP, and FTP scripts that maintain Layer 7 payloads and default destination port numbers

  • MAC 10.3 Performance Endpoint for 32-Bit systems (G4)

NetCologne Chooses Marconi's Access Hub

NetCologne, one of the most successful German city-carriers, selected Marconi's Access Hub, a Multi Service Access Node (MSAN), to collapse layers in its access network. This will allow NetCologne to make a seamless transition to an IP-based network. The Marconi Access Hub will serve both residential and business customers. Initially, the company will offer telephone and broadband services for residential customers and the latest G.SHDSL (Single-pair High Speed Digital Subscriber Line) services for business customers.

Planned services will also include VDSL and optical Ethernet. As customers bandwidth requirements increase further, fiber-based solutions such as Fibre to the Curb and Fibre to the Home can also be offered by integrating PON technology into the Access Hub.

Germany's EWE TEL selects Alcatel Softswitches

EWE TEL GmbH, a regional telecommunications provider in Germany has selected Alcatel's softswitches and media gateways. EWE TEL will start the migration of the existing infrastructure to an IP-based next-generation network (NGN) in the German states of Lower Saxony, Bremen, and Brandenburg, setting a course for growth.

The main components of the solution Alcatel is providing to EWE TEL are the Alcatel 5020 Softswitch and Alcatel 7510 Media Gateways, which provide the link between voice and data. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Arcor Replaces IN with Alcatel OSP

Arcor, the second largest fixed-line telecommunications provider in Germany, will replace its existing IN (Intelligent Network) platform with Alcatel's next generation service delivery platform. The contract covers the deployment of the Alcatel 8690 Open Services Platform (OSP) with the 8690 External Statistic Server to support current IN services and future service introductions. The platform is part of Alcatel's Open Path to Enhanced Networking (OPEN) portfolio.

The new IN platform will enable Arcor to launch a set of new and attractive service packages for both the consumer and SME markets including products such as multimedia or pre-paid services. Arcor provides residential customers with voice services and Internet access via DSL. Arcor offers its business customers a broad range of voice and data services such as teleconferencing, flexible bandwidth for Internet access, e-mail services and VPNs. In addition, Arcor has plans to provide residential customers with triple-play services and SME's with a full range of managed communications services in the future.

T-Mobile to Offer Hotspots on German Trains

T-Mobile has signed an agreement with German railway company Deutsche Bahn to develop and provide WLAN Internet access on high-speed trains. The project will go into a pilot phase on select ICE trains on the busy Cologne-Dortmund track in western Germany this fall and is expected to be gradually expanded to other routes in 2006.

The project faces numerous technical challenges due to Germany's often rugged and mountainous terrain and the many tunnels along some of the country's busiest railroad routes. T-Mobile, working with T-Systems, Intel and Cisco, will use Wi-Fi on the trains themselves, UMTS for access and repeaters in tunnels.

As part of the agreement with Deutsche Bahn, T-Mobile will also turn 20 of Germany's biggest train stations into Hotspots by this summer.

Nokia Demonstrates IMS over CDMA 2000 Network

Nokia has demonstrated live IP multimedia applications based on its 3GPP2/3GPP-compliant IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) over a commercial CDMA 2000 network. Nokia has previously demonstrated IMS capabilities over GSM.

IMS is the element of a wireless carrier's core network infrastructure that enables mobile and fixed devices to interact using IP sessions.

Using the commercially available Nokia IP Multimedia Subsystem, Nokia demonstrated peer-to-peer gaming with simultaneous instant messaging, and file sharing. The demonstration included interoperability between GSM/GPRS terminals and CDMA terminals, as well as with CDMA 1xEV-DO Release 0-capable laptop computers.

Sprint Offers Wireless Data SLA

Sprint is launching nationwide wireless data Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for its mobile business customers. The SLAs provide performance metrics based on dropped data sessions, blocked data sessions and data network availability.

Sprint said the new SLAs -- in conjunction with previously announced wireless voice SLAs -- are a key component of its strategy "to erase the artificial barriers between wireless and wireline solutions and encourage greater wireless data usage among business customers."

Vodafone and Toshiba Announce 3G Partnership

Vodafone and Toshiba announced a strategic partnership to market a range of exclusive 3G handsets in Europe, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. Key features of the Vodafone TS 921 include:

  • 1.92 Megapixel camera, with auto focus

  • 2.4 inch display

  • Triband 900, 1800, 1900

  • Video output

  • High-quality Mpeg4 format

  • SDTM expandable memory card

  • 360 hrs standby

  • 320 min talktime

Samsung Offers 3GB HDD Smartphone

Samsung Electronics introduced a 3GB HDD embedded music smartphone based on Microsoft Windows Mobile OS. The unit is capable of storing up to 1,000 music files (with MP3 / WMA / AAC / AAC+ / OGG Player) and features scroll-wheel navigation. It also offers a 1.3 megapixel camera, Video Recording (MPEG4) & Messaging, an email client and external memory (TransFlash).

Nantero Raises $15 Million for Carbon Nanotube Memory

Nantero, a start-up based in Woburn, Massachusetts. Raised $15.5 million for its work in developing carbon nanotubes for next-generation semiconductor devices. Nantero's main focus is the development of "NRAM" -- a high-density nonvolatile random access storage device. Nantero believes the technology will replace all existing forms of storage, such as DRAM, SRAM and flash memory, with a high-density nonvolatile RAM -- 'universal memory.' NRAM could enable instant-on computers and might replace the memory in devices such as cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, and PDAs, as well as applications in the networking arena.

This past year Nantero has teamed with LSI Logic to develop semiconductor process technology which will expedite the effective utilization of carbon nanotubes in CMOS fabrication, and has also joined with BAE Systems to evaluate the potential to develop carbon nanotube-based electronic devices for use in advanced defense and aerospace systems. Brewer Science also entered into an agreement with Nantero to commercialize CMOS-grade carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to be used in semiconductor fabs by Brewer Science customers.

The new funding round was led by Globespan Capital Partners and joined by returning existing institutional investors including Charles River Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Stata Venture Partners, and Harris & Harris Group.

China's ZTE to Supply ADSL to France Telecom

ZTE Corporation is to become a global supplier of ADSL equipment to France Telecom. The announcement follows a strategic partnership agreement between France Telecom and China Telecom, under which the two companies have launched a joint call for purchasing ADSL products. ZTE has signed contracts with both operators.

Swisscom Tops 800,000 DSL Customers

Swisscom reported strong growth in ADSL. Year-on-year, the number of ADSL access lines increased by 64.7% to 802,000, of which 490,000 are those of Bluewin retail customers and 312,000 are those of customers of other providers. Access fees cover fees for analog and digital access lines as well as broadband access lines (ADSL) for retail and wholesale customers, and Internet subscription fees.

Financially, Swisscom increased its revenue by 0.3% to CHF 10.06 billion in 2004, with net income rising by 1.6% to CHF 1.6 billion. Operating income before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was down 2.2% to CHF 4.4 billion. Equity free cash flow, which remains stable at CHF 2.9 billion, will be distributed to shareholders in the form of an increase of CHF 1 to CHF 14 per share in dividend payments and a share buyback of CHF 2 billion.

Paradyne and Cirpack Announce Joint Voice Over IP Solution

Paradyne and Cirpack completed interoperability testing between Cirpack's softswitch and Paradyne's POTS-enabled 8000 series BLC for providing joint VoIP solutions.

The Paradyne/Cirpack solution allows service providers to deliver traditional analog telephony and add high-speed DSL service while utilizing a single IP infrastructure. Service providers can upgrade the network technology while maintaining the same quality of service.

The companies have also agreed to work together on sales and marketing initiatives, with both companies providing referrals through their existing partner and system integration networks.

Qwest to Provide Connectivity for Dept. of Energy

Qwest Communications was awarded a new contract to significantly expand network connectivity for several U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sites in support of the Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) run by the DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The five-year, multimillion-dollar contract continues Qwest's relationship with ESnet, which began in 1999.

Under the contract, Qwest will create a cost-effective, fully managed metropolitan area network that will be large enough to support the vast amount of data generated by DOE researchers. The network will be 20 Gbps initially with the capability to expand to over 100 Gbps.

ESnet, supported by Qwest, connects research facilities located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The sites include the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center at Stanford University in Menlo Park; the Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek; the Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore; the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley; the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center in Oakland; and two hubs in Sunnyvale.

Qwest already provides access and backbone services for the DOE ESnet, also managed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. ESnet operates a multi-gigabit backbone network connecting more than 40 DOE research sites around the country.

Cisco Advances in Defense Dept. VoIP Tests

Cisco Systems has passed additional U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) VoIP tests, confirming that the Cisco IP Communications system conforms to the interoperability, reliability, and resiliency requirements of DoD's multi-vendor voice network. Cisco's new Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) PBX1 certification allows DoD organizations to deploy the Cisco IP Communications system in mission-critical environments such as Command and Control Voice-Grade Local Area Networks (C2VGLAN).

Cisco said the certification makes it the first vendor to achieve PBX1 certification with an IP-centric softswitch. Cisco had already achieved JITC PBX2 certification.

JITC PBX1 certification is based on network requirements set by the Defense Information Systems Agency. Testing covers military features such as Multi-Level Precedence and Preemption (MLPP), which allows more important users to override routine traffic and ensures service during an emergency.

Certified elements include:

  • Cisco CallManager 4.1 call processing software, extending enterprise telephony features and capabilities to packet telephony network devices such as Cisco IP phones, media processing devices, voice over IP gateways and multimedia applications;

  • Stack-able, multi-layer Cisco Catalyst 3550 and 3560 switches, delivering high-performance IP routing, advanced quality of service (QoS) and enhanced data security across the network, while maintaining the simplicity of traditional LAN switching;

  • Cisco Catalyst 4500 and 6500 switches, supporting converged services from the wiring closet to the core to the wide area network (WAN) edge;

  • Cisco 2600 and 3700 gateways, providing on-board LAN/WAN connectivity and new high-density service modules in a compact form factor, and

  • Cisco 7940G, 7960G and 7970G IP phones, featuring large pixel-based displays to bring productivity-enhancing applications to the phone, as well as customization options that can be modified as needs change and provide inline power support over Ethernet.

Covad Advances its Antitrust Suits against Verizon and BellSouth

Covad Communications prevailed in two recent court decisions that allow antitrust suits against Verizon and BellSouth to proceed.

In both suits, Covad alleged that these RBOCs had engaged in concerted campaigns to foreclose competition in the broadband and voice markets in violation of the federal antitrust laws, as well as the Federal Telecommunications Act.

However, Verizon prevailed in a Supreme Court decision last (the Trinko case) and many believed that federal antitrust claims could no longer be brought against incumbent local telephone companies.

Covad said that the Courts of Appeals in both of its lawsuits have now ruled to the contrary and have established that incumbent phone companies can still be held accountable under the antitrust laws. In addition, Covad said its claims for damages for violations of the Telecommunications Act were not in any way affected by the Trinko and can go forward.

Freescale Lauds FCC's Ultra-Wideband Waiver Decision

Freescale Semiconductor applauded the FCC's decision on ultra-wideband (UWB), saying the historic decision would protect incumbent spectrum stakeholders and benefit all consumers. While the waiver request was originally made to modify the measurement procedure for multiband orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (MB-OFDM) technology, the FCC delivered a technology-neutral waiver. Freescale said that under these rules, design choices of direct sequence UWB (DS-UWB) technology result in a 4x advantage for DS-UWB over MB-OFDM technology.

Freescale plans to expand its UWB product roadmap and hopes to introduce multi-gigabit products over the coming quarters.

Relative to the original rules, under this waiver, DS-UWB can now enjoy 4x greater data rate across a network, or deliver a stream using 4x lower power from the battery, or deliver the same data rate across the network but at double the distance and with greater robustness. The capability to burst at 4x data rate over the same range, and "sleep" more, generates significant additional battery savings for the already very low power DS-UWB solution, an ideal benefit for future DS-UWB applications such as cell phones, digital camcorders and portable hard drives. As important, with a simple firmware update, Freescale's current UWB chipset, the XS110, can now be re-certified to take advantage of the benefits of the new waiver and deliver multiple HD video streams at double the distance -- up to 20 meters.

FCC Extends Truth-in-Billing Rules to Wireless Phones

The FCC expanded the federal consumer protection rules that apply to consumers' wireless phone bills. Specifically, the Commission:

  • Removed the existing exemption for Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) carriers from the rules requiring that billing descriptions be brief, clear, non-misleading and in plain language;

  • Held that it is misleading to represent discretionary line item charges in any manner that suggests such line items are taxes or government mandated charges;

  • Clarified that the burden rests upon the carrier to demonstrate that any line item that purports to recover a specific governmental or regulatory program fee conforms to the amount authorized by the government to be collected;

  • Clarified that state regulations requiring or prohibiting the use of line items for CMRS constitute rate regulation and are preempted.

  • Sought comment on the distinction between government "mandated" and other charges;

  • Tentatively concluded that, where carriers choose to list charges in separate line items on their customers' bills, government mandated charges must be placed in a section of the bill separate from all other charges;

  • Sought comment on whether it is unreasonable to combine federal regulatory charges into a single line item;

  • Tentatively concluded that carriers must disclose the full rate, including any non-mandated line items and a reasonable estimate of government mandated surcharges, to the consumer at the point of sale; and

  • Tentatively concluded that the Commission should preempt inconsistent state regulation of telecommunications carrier-specific truth-in-billing rules. The Commission emphasized, however, that no such action would limit states' ability to enforce their own generally applicable consumer protection laws.

Microsoft to Acquire Groove Networks for Collaboration Tools

Microsoft will acquire Groove Networks, a supplier of collaboration software for geographically distributed workgroups. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Groove's Virtual Offices enables teams to work together securely over the Internet. Microsoft said the addition of Groove products would build on the capabilities of its current collaboration products.

The acquisition also brings to Microsoft the development talent and technology leadership of top Groove executives, including founder Ray Ozzie, a creator of IBM Corp.'s Lotus Notes. Ozzie will assume the role of chief technical officer, reporting to Bill Gates, Microsoft founder, chairman and chief software architect, with responsibility for influencing corporate wide communication and collaboration offerings and associated platform infrastructure. Ozzie also will continue his work with the Groove team, which will be part of Microsoft's Information Worker Group.
  • Groove Networks was founded by Ray Ozzie in October 1997. Ozzie is best known as the creator of Lotus Notes, a groupware product that gained more than 100 million users worldwide.

  • Since its founding in 1997, the company has obtained more than $155 million in financing from Accel Partners, Microsoft, Intel Capital, and private investors.

TiVo's Base Tops 3 Million

TiVo added approximately 698,000 net subscription additions in the fourth quarter, giving it over 3 million total subscribers -- more than double what it was a year ago. Service revenue for the quarter increased 73% to $33.0 million, compared with $19.1 million for the three months ended January 31, 2004.

TiVo's net loss in Q4 was ($33.7) million, or ($0.42) per share, compared to a net loss of ($12.4) million, or ($0.18) per share, for the three months ended January 31, 2004. The increase in net loss for the quarter reflects the impact of TiVo's increase in rebate expense during in the quarter.

TiVo said it is investing to further differentiate the TiVo service from generic cable and satellite DVRs, offering new entertainment and information applications to enrich its subscription offering and offer consumers greater choice and convenience in their home entertainment.

The newly released TiVoToGo service enhancement, which allows subscribers to transfer their shows to a PC, portable media player or DVD burner.

Marvell Offers WLAN Chip for Small Digital Devices

Marvell introduced a silicon solution that embeds WLAN into digital cordless phones, VoIP phones, video phones and other consumer electronic devices. The Marvell device provides complete 802.11a/g/b WLAN processing for these consumer platforms by offering embedded CPU and on-chip memory. The chip can be manufactured in a module as small as 9mm x 9mm.

Global Crossing Boosts UK Core with Lucent LambdaUnite

Global Crossing announced an upgrade to its 10,000-km UK backbone that paves the way for an eight-fold increase in core network capacity. Lucent Technologies implemented a DWDM core upgrade based on its LambdaUnite Multi-Service Switch (MSS) and the Navis Optical Management System (OMS). This will raise the potential capacity of each of the seven core nodes to 320 Gbps, with the capability of supporting 40 10-Gbps channels on any route. The new UK core will interconnect with Global Crossing's international optical transmission network. The network upgrade is scheduled for completion during the second quarter of 2005.

Global Crossing said its 10,000 route-kilometer network extends to within two km of 64% of the UK's business population via 156 points of presence, and uses approximately 50 Partial Private Circuit interconnects with BT to reach those customers that are not directly on-net. Global Crossing's multiple voice interconnects with BT mean that 95% of voice traffic is handed off at the lowest single tandem rates.

AudioCodes Announces New Analog Media Gateways

AudioCodes announced new analog VoIP media gateways as additions to its existing MediaPack product line. The MediaPack 112, MediaPack 114 and MediaPack 118 are the latest members of AudioCodes analog media gateway product line addressing the requirements of service providers and enterprises. The MediaPacks enable a range of applications including converged access, IP Centrex, fixed-mobile convergence, and next generation PBXs. Simultaneous mixed interfaces of FXS and FXO, survivability, guaranteed QoS, security and standard billing interfaces are examples of additional features in the new hardware and software of the MediaPack product line.

The MediaPack 112, 114 and 118 provide support for 2, 4 and 8 ports of FXS and FXO connectivity.

BT Signs $3 Billion Contract with Reuters

BT will become Reuters supplier of network services in a contract under which Reuters is expected to spend in the region of $3 billion over eight and a half years. Under the deal, BT will provide and manage secure data networks for Reuters products and services worldwide.

BT will also acquire Radianz, a leading financial services extranet provider, from Reuters for $175 million for the business plus any cash remaining on the balance sheet, net of working capital adjustments, at the date of completion. BT said the acquisition of Radianz is an important step in its ongoing transformation into a global provider of networked IT services.

Following the acquisition, Radianz will continue to provide high quality extranet services for Reuters and the global financial services market.
  • In February 2005, BT completed its acquisition of Infonet, one of the world's leading providers of global managed voice and data network services for corporate customers. Infonet, which will be renamed BT Infonet, becomes part of BT Global Services.

FCC Issues Waiver for UWB Emission Testing

The FCC issued a waiver permitting radiated emissions from ultra-wideband (UWB) transmitters to be measured while the transmitter is in its normal operating mode. This waiver responds to the petition filed by the Multi-band OFDM Alliance Special Interest Group. The waiver provides greater flexibility and innovation in designing UWB devices.

The FCC previously established regulations permitting the marketing and operation of products incorporating UWB technology. Because UWB devices operate on the same frequency bands used by licensed stations, the Commission established a conservative procedure to measure the levels of radio frequency emissions generated by these devices. UWB transmitters that employ frequency hopping techniques must be measured with the hop stopped and the transmitter operating in a continuous mode; UWB transmitters that gate the emissions on and off must be measured with the emissions gated on. These procedures can result in measured emission levels that are greater than the UWB signal levels under actual operation.
  • In December 2004, The FCC adopted new rules to permit unlicensed wideband devices in the 6 GHz, 17 GHz and 24 GHz bands. Specifically, the FCC amended its rules for general Part 15 unlicensed operations that use wide bandwidths but are not classified as UWB devices under its rules. It increased the peak power limits and reduced the unwanted emission levels for 3 frequency bands that were already available for unlicensed operation: 5925-7250 MHz, 16.2-17.2 GHz, and 23.12-29 GHz, and indicated that higher peak power limits in these bands would facilitate wideband operations such as short range communications, collision avoidance, inventory control and tracking systems. The Commission also amended its measurement procedures to permit frequency hopped, swept frequency, and gated systems operating within these bands to be measured in their normal operating mode.

  • In February 2002, the FCC decided to permit the use of ultra-wideband (“UWB�?) technology in certain types of new products, such as short-range, high-speed wireless data transmissions or ground penetrating radar. UWB operates by employing very narrow or short duration pulses that result in very large or wideband transmission bandwidths.

  • Ultra-wideband operates without using an RF Carrier for its signal. Instead, data is transmitted using time and amplitude modulated pulses of less than one nanosecond in duration. The U.S. military has long used the technology for highly secure communications and other applications.

FCC Adopts Rule Changes for Smart Radios

The FCC adopted rule changes for cognitive, or "smart," radio systems. The Commission modified and clarified certain authorization requirements for software defined and cognitive radios to facilitate the development of these technologies. It required that radios that incorporate software designed to be, or expected to be, modified by a party other than the manufacturer provide reasonable security measures to prevent unauthorized software modifications that would either affect the RF operating parameters directly or otherwise indirectly affect the circumstances under which the transmitter operates in accordance with FCC rules. The Commission substituted, at the time of certification, the requirement that the manufacturer of a software defined radio supply software "source code" with the requirement that a manufacturer supply a high level operational description of the software that controls the radio's RF characteristics, and a description of the software security measures employed to prevent unauthorized modifications. It also clarified the rules to permit manufacturers to market radios that have the hardware-based capability to transmit outside authorized United States frequency bands, but required software controls to limit operation to authorized frequency bands when used in the U.S.

Smart radios have the technical capability to adapt their use of spectrum in response to information external to the radio. For instance, a system could use geographic positioning system (GPS) data to determine its exact location, then determine whether certain transmissions are permissible based on that location. Alternatively, such radios could sense their operating or radiofrequency (RF) environment and use this information to determine both the optimal frequency range and transmit power to use, yet avoid harmful interference. Many smart radios can also interpret and transmit signals in different formats or modulation schemes in an effort to transmit without harming others in the vicinity.

Active efforts are currently underway both in industry forums and standards bodies to adopt internationally accepted standards for software defined and cognitive radios.

FCC Opens the 3650 MHz Band for Wireless Broadband

The FCC adopted rules to open access to new spectrum for wireless broadband in the 3650-3700 MHz band (3650 MHz), implementing a hybrid approach that draws from both the Commission's unlicensed and licensed regulatory models and providing for nationwide, non-exclusive licensing of terrestrial operations in the band using contention-based protocols.

The FCC believes a streamlined licensing mechanism with minimal regulatory entry requirements will encourage multiple new entrants and stimulate the rapid expansion of wireless broadband services -- especially in rural America -- by Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) and other entities with limited resources. The Commission also provided an opportunity for the introduction at 3650 MHz of a variety of new wireless broadband technologies, such as Wi-Max, into the band.

There is no limit on the number of licenses that can be granted, and each licensee will be authorized to operate on a shared basis with other licensees on all 50 megahertz of the band, subject to restrictions in geographic areas occupied by grandfathered Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) and Federal Government stations. Licensees will also be required to register all system base stations electronically with the Commission. Base station registration will enable licensees to locate each other's operations and will facilitate protection of grandfathered stations from interference. This type of licensing and registration will enable the Commission to monitor the use of this spectrum as new technologies and services develop.

The Commission found that the public record developed in this proceeding supports multiple users sharing this spectrum through the use of "contention-based" protocols to minimize interference among fixed and mobile operations. New fixed and mobile stations will therefore be required to use contention-based protocols, which will reduce the possibility of interference from co-frequency operation by managing each station's access to spectrum. The Commission concluded that this approach is a reasonable, cost-effective method for ensuring that multiple users can access the spectrum.

The FCC gave all licensees the mutual obligation to cooperate and avoid harmful interference to one another. Mobile stations also will be required to positively receive and decode an enabling signal transmitted by a base station. The Commission determined that this approach will ensure that mobile stations operate within range of registered base stations, thereby avoiding interference to grandfathered FSS and Federal Government stations. Fixed stations will be allowed to operate with a peak power limit of 25 Watts per 25 megahertz bandwidth, and mobile stations with a peak power limit of 1 Watt per 25 megahertz bandwidth.

The Commission kept the existing allocations for the band, grandfathering previously licensed primary incumbent FSS earth station operations and three Federal Government radiolocation stations, entitling them to interference protection from new wireless licensees. To protect these incumbent operations, the Commission established circular protection zones around them -- 150 km for FSS earth stations and 80 km for Federal Government stations - and prohibited new terrestrial licensees from operating within these zones unless they negotiate agreements with the incumbents. The Commission determined that new FSS stations should be allowed on a secondary basis and denied several petitions for reconsideration of an earlier decision in this proceeding that established the existing FSS, FS and MS allocations.