Sunday, June 19, 2005

Level 5 Unveils EtherFabric Interconnects, Challenging InfiniBand and iWarp

Level 5 Networks, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California with R&D in Cambridge, U.K., unveiled its EtherFabric, a high-performance I/O architecture aimed at improving server CPU efficiency while remaining completely Ethernet-compatible. Level 5's accelerated interface technology is positioned as an alternative to iWarp and InfiniBand, which the company describes as too disruptive for enterprises because incompatibilities with the existing network require that applications be rewritten for high-performance clusters. Level 5's EtherFabric places the TCP/IP implementation with each application via a linked library. This approach yields over 2x more CPU processing power for applications.

By improving the I/O interface, Level 5 estimates its technology could reduce the number of servers required in datacenters by up to 50%. EtherFabric also provides sub-10 usec (micro-second) latencies between application instances on different servers, improving application-to-application inter-server communication by 3-5x over conventional Ethernet. Unlike the competing technologies, EtherFabric adapters do not need to be at both ends of the connection.

Level 5's product set consists of network interface card (NIC) and its EtherFabric software, which supports Windows, Linux and Unix. Level 5 is also introducing a unique transport-layer channel bonding capability to enable multiple low-cost Ethernet ports to support a single application flow. The company's first NIC provides 2 ports of 1 Gbps EtherFabric. The company said its technology will scale for bonding 4 Gbps Ethernet channels, and later to 10 Gbps rates.

Separately, Level Networks announced $30 million in series B funding for its high-speed server interconnect solutions. Investors include Oak Investment Partners, Accel Partners, Amadeus Capital Partners and IDG Ventures.
  • Level 5 Networks is headed by Dan Karr, who previously held senior management positions at GlobespanVirata (formerly Virata). Prior to that, Dan was VP of Worldwide Sales for S3, where he secured design wins for the company's graphics semiconductors with all the leading vendors of PCs (IBM, Dell, HP, Compaq) and add-in graphics cards.

  • Level 5 Networks was co-founded by Steve Pope (currently CTO and VP Software Architecture) and Derek Roberts (currently Chief Scientist & VP Hardware Architecture) in 2002. Pope previously was a post-doctorate researcher of high-speed network solutions at Olivetti Research Labs, which later became AT&T Laboratories Cambridge. Roberts previously was the hardware architect for the CLAN high-performance networking project at AT&T Laboratories Cambridge.

Ovum Acquires RHK Research

Ovum, a global analyst and consulting company, has acquired RHK Research from Ryan Hankin Kent. Financial terms were not disclosed. Ovum-RHK will continue to provide research and advisory services covering the telecommunications industry. Its clients include the world's leading vendors and service providers.

Ovum said its focus on the telecom services market would be complemented by RHK's expertise in telecom equipment and components.

Belgacom Selects Marconi's MSPP

Belgacom has placed its first orders for Marconi's OMS1664 next--generation multiservice provisioning platform (MSPP). Belgacom, which already operates some 6,000 Marconi SDH platforms in its network, plans to use the OMS1664 to deliver new services. The platform's dual SDH and data bus architecture allows customers to evolve from TDM-based traffic to Ethernet and IP traffic. Marconi will deliver the solution in conjunction with its Belgian partner, Tein Telecom. The two companies have been working together with Belgacom for nearly five years. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nokia Smartphone Offer Wayfinder GPS Navigation

Nokia is partnering with Wayfinder Systems AB on a compact smartphone-based package that enables people to find their way and explore locations via their mobile. The navigation pack consists of a Nokia 6630 smartphone, a Nokia Wireless GPS Module and the Wayfinder Navigator application.

Wayfinder's maps currently cover Western Europe, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Greece. The application also guides users with turn-by-turn voice instructions, and allows searching for street addresses, restaurants and other points of interest. Furthermore, locations or points of interest can be shared by forwarding maps via MMS or email.

The Wayfinder Navigator application on the Nokia 6630 smartphone's Reduced Size MultiMediaCard (MMC) offers a 6-month period of navigation including automatic map updates. After the free period, users can extend the service directly from the Nokia 6630 smartphone or via In order to access the Internet and download routes, maps and information from the Wayfinder server, users need a GPRS subscription.

In some markets, the navigation pack will also be available with the Nokia 6670 smartphone. The Nokia 6630 and 6670 Navigation Packs are available in Western Europe, with more areas to follow later on this year.

Skyhook Offers Wi-Fi Location Tracking

Skyhook Solutions, a start-up based in Boston, introduced a system to provide a precise latitude and longitude reading throughout major metro areas across the U.S. using Wi-Fi signals. Skyhook has assembled a database of over 1.5 million public and private access points in the top 25 U.S. cities. A client application uses this database to determine its location to within 20-40 meters in under a second based on signal fingerprints. The database is continually self-updated and optimized by users.

CyberAngel Security Solutions and Skyhook are introducing are using this system for tracking stolen notebooks and PDAs. A stealth applications said out a location-based notice to a security service if the unit is reported missing or if the user fails start-up the unit correctly.

In addition to cyber-tracking of stolen notebooks and PDAs, Skyhook envisions future location-based services, including mobile commerce, tracking, public safety, etc.

Skyhook maps of New York City and Santa Monica, California show the high density of identified Wi-Fi access points in these cities.

Wi-Fi APs in NYC --

Wi-Fi APs in Santa Monica, California --

Nokia to Integrate Ubiquity SIP Application Server in IMS Solution

Nokia plans to integrate Ubiquity's SIP Application Server as part of the Nokia IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) solution. Ubiquity will also provide associated maintenance, training and professional services.

Through a separate commercial arrangement, Nokia and Ubiquity have also jointly created an end-to-end SIP-enabled multimedia application, Media Push, which allows mobile users to subscribe to news and other types of media or information channels, and get selected content pushed to their terminal. The Media Push application has already been included in ongoing customer trials.

Nokia's said that it has concluded commercial IMS contracts with eight mobile operators to date.

Amdocs to Acquire Longshine, a Customer Care and Billing Provider in China

Amdocs plans to acquire Longshine Information Technology Company Ltd., a privately-held supplier of customer care and billing software in China, for approximately US $30 million in cash, with the possibility of additional cash consideration to be paid later based on the achievement of certain performance metrics. This acquisition expands Amdocs' global presence and marks its entry into mainland China.

Beijing-based Longshine has been providing billing, customer care, business intelligence and settlement systems, as well as associated integration and implementation services, since 1996. The company claims three out of China's four largest communications service providers among its customers. The company has close to 800 employees.

Separately, Amdocs and HP China announced a joint project to provide integrated billing for Beijing Mobile, a wireless operator in China. HP China will prime the project and work in conjunction with Amdocs to integrate Amdocs Billing 6 in order to support pre-and post-paid customers for voice, data, and advanced services. In addition, Amdocs Billing 6 will be fully integrated into BMCC's CRM systems.

Vonage Upgrades Contact Center with Avaya

Vonage has selected Avaya's SIP-based telephony and contact center solution to expand its call center capacity. Building from the company's existing call center, Vonage and Avaya Global Services collaborated on a design that would expand capacity and enable it to serve as the core platform for its worldwide customer service operations. Essential elements included a SIP-based platform that could tightly integrate with Vonage's own SIP-based, IP phone service and existing network.

The solution is based on Avaya Customer Interaction Suite and powered by Avaya Communication Manager IP Telephony software. Additionally, new SIP-based capabilities in Avaya's Customer Interaction Suite can enable Vonage agents to establish buddy lists of fellow agents or experts located anywhere in the business who could be quickly tapped through presence and instant messaging while a customer is on the line.

Dolan Family Bids $7.1 Billion to Privatize Cablevision

New York's Dolan Family Group launched a $7.9 billion bid to acquire the cable and telecommunications businesses of Cablevision Systems Corporation. Under the proposal, Rainbow Media Holdings would also be spun off to all Cablevision shareholders on a pro rata basis. The spin-off will include the national cable networks (AMC, IFC, WE), fuse, regional sports networks, Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers, Radio City Music Hall, News 12 and Clearview Cinemas.

The Dolan family currently owns approximately 20% of the common stock (representing approximately 71% of the voting power) of Cablevision Systems Corporation. After the completion of the transactions, the Dolan Family Group would own 100% of the Cablevision telecom and cable businesses and approximately 20% of Rainbow. Charles Dolan would continue to serve as the Chairman of Cablevision. His son, James Dolan, would be the CEO and Chairman of Rainbow and a director of Cablevision, and Tom Rutledge would be the CEO of Cablevision.

In a statement, Charles and James Dolan said "With new technologies and aggressive competitors redefining content delivery, the cable and telecommunications businesses have truly entered a new and challenging era. We strongly believe that a long-term, entrepreneurial management perspective - not constrained by the public markets' tendency to focus on short-term results - will better enable the cable company to meet its competitive challenges. We are prepared to shoulder the risks of full ownership and are confident the company will achieve success.
  • Earlier this year, Cablevision Systems said it was adding more than 1,000 new cable VoIP users per day in its New York metropolitan market. Cablevision's Optimum Voice digital voice- over-cable (VoIP) service surpassed the 250,000-customer milestone at yearend 2004.

  • Earlier this month, the New York Public Service Commission rejected a petition from Cablevision and the Cable Telecommunications Association of New York that sought to stop Verizon's FTTP rollout until it obtained local franchise agreements for offering cable-TV services.

Syndera Secures $10M for Operational Intelligence Software

Syndera, a start-up based in Redwood City, California, raised $10 million in Series B financing for its Operational Intelligence software. Syndera provides real-time visibility and control of automated processes. The software has applications in the telecom, financial services, manufacturing and retail sectors.

The new funding was led by private investor Andy Ludwick, who was the co-founder of SynOptics Communications and the former CEO of Bay Networks. Ludwick has been a member of the Syndera Board of Directors since May 2003. Existing investors Clearstone Venture Partners and ONSET Ventures also participated pro-rata in this round of financing.

Sun Expands Identity Management portfolio

Sun Microsystems expanded its identity management portfolio with two new products, Sun Java System Federation Manager and Sun Java System Identity Manager Service Provider Edition. Both are aimed at helping enterprises extend identity management to multiple partners, users, devices and applications.

Federation Manager helps companies quickly build interoperable, federated identity and authentication services between two or more partners. Using Federation Manager, these partners can exchange standards-based authentication information, automatically link identities across multiple sites, and enrich end user interactions by integrating with underlying web services to provide personalized user information. Federation Manager adheres to accepted industry-standard federated identity protocols, such as Security Assertions Markup Language (SAML), Liberty Identity Federation Framework (ID-FF), and Liberty Identity Web Services Framework (ID-WSF).

Identity Manager Service Provider Edition , which is based on open standards, such as the Service Provisioning Markup Language (SPML), provides reusable identity administration capabilities. In addition, Identity Manager Service Provider Edition can automate the initial setup and ongoing management of federated accounts to help expedite the rollout and expansion of federated identity management projects.

Ericsson to Acquire AXXESSIT for MSPPs

Ericsson will acquire AXXESSIT ASA, a Norwegian supplier of metro optical transport equipment for NOK 28.50 in cash per AXXESSIT share,
corresponding to a premium of 43.9% per share. The value of the offer
totals NOK 330 million (US$51 million).

AXXESSIT offers Integrated Access Devices and Multi-Service Provisioning Platforms for next generation access and metro networks. The equipment is ideally suited for establishing traditional and new services, based on PDH, SDH, NG-SDH and Ethernet - for greenfield applications or as a complement to existing networks.

The AXXESSIT product portfolio includes its AXXCONNECT, a low-cost, Next Generation SDH ADM-1/ADM-4 that can either be used for grooming Ethernet services only, or in combination with traditional TDM services. The device supports Ethernet/Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet together with our own core technology for encapsulation and control mechanisms based on the new GFP, VCAT and LCAS standards.

AXXESIT is headquartered in Norway and has offices in London, Frankfurt, Warsaw, Brussels, Madrid and Moscow. It has about 180 employees.

Alcatel Supplies FTTU in Estonia

Alcatel was selected to supply its Fiber-to-the-user (FTTU) solution to Elion Enterprises Ltd., the major provider of telecommunication services in Estonia. Elion plans to install the FTTU solution in Merirahu and Alasniidu, two greenfield sites near Tallinn, offering a range of services such as TV, Voice and high speed Internet access. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Founder and CFO of Adelphia Given Jail Sentences

John Rigas, the founder of Adelphia Communications, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for fraud. Timothy Rigas, his son, who served as Adeplhia's CFO, was sentenced to 20 years. The father is 80, while the son is 49.

Adelphia, which ranks as the fifth largest MSO in the U.S., serves approximately 5.2 million basic subscribers in 31 states, including in the Los Angeles area, where it is the largest cable operator.
  • In April 2005, Time Warner and Comcast finalized a deal to acquire Adelphia Communications for $12.7 billion in cash and 16 percent of the common stock of Time Warner's cable subsidiary, Time Warner Cable Inc. The transaction is subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

  • In May 2002, following allegations of financial wrong-doing, founder and CEO John Rigas and CFO Timothy Rigas resigned from the company and its Board of Directors. They were subsequently indicted. Adelphia filed for bankruptcy protection the following month.

EchoStar Names New President, Vice Chairman

EchoStar Communications appointed Michael A. Neuman as president and chief operating officer, overseeing day-to-day operations. Neuman most recently was the president of Bell Mobility, a subsidiary of Bell Canada Enterprises. He led Canada's leading wireless carrier to its most profitable growth in its 19-year history. He was with Bell Mobility for three years and previously served as president of Bell ExpressVu Satellite Television, WorldLinx Telecommunications and Cerberus Canada.

EchoStar also appointed board member Carl Vogel as vice chairman, where he will focus on financial and strategic initiatives. Vogel joined EchoStar's board of directors in May. Most recently, he was president and CEO of Charter Communications.

Paradyne Supplies ADSL2+ BLCs in Iceland

Og Vodafone is deploying Paradyne's multi-service 8000 broadband loop carriers (BLCs) in Iceland. As part of the deal, Paradyne will provide its ADSL2+ cards for the 8000 series BLCs. Og Vodafone will offer Triple play services to more than 5,000 homes in the local area by the end of 2005.

Stealth Deploys Force10 in Big Apple Peering Exchange

Stealth Communications, has deployed the Force10 Networks' E-Series in its new Big Apple Peering Exchange (Big APE), an IPv4 peering fabric that is carrying traffic from eircom, Net2Phone, PPL Telecom, Progress Telecom and WV Fiber. The switch delivers high-densities of Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

Stealth's Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet peering exchange is located in telx New York's core facility, which interconnects more than 200 service providers. The company said more than 80% of the service providers interconnecting at telx New York's facility are carrying VoIP.

SingTel and WilTel Partner on IP VPNs

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) and WilTel Communications announced a partnership centered on MPLS-based IP VPNs. Under the deal, SingTel can offer its business customers seamless network connectivity and IP services in the United States via WilTel's nationwide network and IP VPN solutions. WilTel customers will gain access to a broadened reach in Asia Pacific via SingTel's ConnectPlus IP VPN services and coverage.