Monday, June 20, 2005

Digital Fountain's FEC Standardized by 3GPP

Digital Fountain's forward error correction (FEC) technology has been standardized by 3GPP, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, as a mandatory component of the Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service (MBMS) for 3rd generation (3G) cellular networks. Digital Fountain's "DF Raptor" technology will be used as part of the MBMS standard for both streaming and file download services.

Digital Fountain's DF Raptor is an advanced and highly flexible FEC technology that ensures the efficient and error-free delivery of both multimedia streams and data files even in the presence of a wide range of network impairments. MBMS employs multicast and broadcast transmission for bandwidth-hungry multimedia services so that many mobile devices can efficiently share common radio and network resources.

Digital Fountain said that by protecting MBMS signals from packet loss, its technology enhances the overall user experience and assures the service provider that multimedia content will be delivered in its entirety without degradation. It noted that its FEC implementation was selected over competitors because it makes optimal use of transmission bandwidth and imposes a minimal processing burden on the receiving devices in order to protect against a wide range of packet loss.

KPN Selects Siemens for IPTV

Dutch operator KPN has selected Siemens as its partner for IPTV integration. KPN plans to introduce digital television over its DSL network during the course of this year. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Late last year, KPN also selected Siemens as the strategic IP partner for its entire fixed network and mobile phone business. KPN is already supplying TV services in the Netherlands using its
Digitenne wireless network.
  • In May 2005, Siemens entered the FTTP market with a new family of standards-based broadband passive optical network (BPON) products, including optical network terminals (ONTs) and optical network units (ONUs).

  • In April 2005, Siemens acquired Myrio, a supplier of IPTV middleware, for an undisclosed sum. Siemens Venture Capital made a strategic investment in the Seattle-based start-up in late 2003. Myrio specializes in middleware and applications for home entertainment solutions, which includes components to create a compelling consumer experience and provide network operators with the management systems for pricing, packaging and applications development.

  • In June 2004, Siemens announced that Belgacom was the first carrier to begin testing its SURPASS Home Entertainment solution. The network trial used Myrio for the middleware, nCube for the Video on Demand server, Verimatrix for content protection system, and Tandberg Television for the video broadcast equipment.

Redback Hires Sales Exec from Extreme Networks

Redback Networks named John Spiliotis to the position of vice president of sales and operations for the Americas. He joins Redback most recently from Extreme Networks, where he was the vice president for North America. Prior to Extreme, from 1997 to 2001, he was at Cisco Systems where he held various management positions including that of vice president of Service Provider Channels and vice president of ILEC sales.

RF Code Secures $20 Million for RFID Software

RF Code, a start-up based in Mesa, Arizona raised $20 million in new funding for its RFID software solutions. RF Code's "hybrid RFID" enables device-independent data collection from a wide variety of devices including active RFID readers, passive RFID readers, remote sensors, mesh RF networks, barcode scanners, Wi-Fi access points and GPS receivers. Its solutions are being used in sectors as diverse as manufacturing, defense, transportation, homeland security, information technology, healthcare and entertainment.

The investment marks the first institutional round of funding in the company's eight-year history. The new financing was led by QuestMark Partners of Baltimore, MD and includes Intel Capital of Santa Clara, CA. Previous investors also participated in the round.

Enterasys Files Patent Lawsuit Against Foundry, Extreme

Enterasys Networks filed a patent infringement complaint against Extreme Networks and Foundry Networks alleging that both companies have been and are infringing six Enterasys patents. The patents at issue in the case relate to virtual local area networking, multiprotocol routing, and several other networking technologies.

Ryan Hankin Kent's Becomes 10th Street Advisors

The telecom consulting and M&A practice of Ryan Hankin Kent has been re-launched under the name 10th Street Advisors. The company said it will focus on strategy, market metrics and business planning intelligence to help executives intelligently face the challenges of the 21st century telecom markets including next generation networks, triple play, mobile, VoIP, convergence, Telecom Wholesale business, Broadband content strategies, and M&A advisory and due diligence support.

"Over the years, our international team has built strong relationships with key executives across our industry," said Dr. John Ryan, 10th Street co-founder. "We are excited as ever to be providing the high-level strategic perspective and analysis that Telcos need to run their business in today's complex environment."
  • 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.

Empirix Launches IP Services Test Environment for VoIP

Empirix introduced its Hammer Suite Studio, an automated environment for stress and feature testing of enhanced IP services applications. The environment is focused initially on CLASS (Custom Local Area Signaling Service) feature testing scenarios for SIP-enabled devices and switching systems and runs on the Hammer FX-IP platform. Class 5-specific tests include call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, call screening, attended and unattended transfer and others. Hammer Suite Studio tests each step in CLASS feature implementations, enabling users to pinpoint specific causes of failures, while verifying the user experience.

MCI Adds Broadband Gateway Service

MCI unveiled two new additions to its Secure Interworking Gateway (SIG) Services suite to help business and government customers extend their enterprise networks by securely combining the power of private and public IP networking.

Broadband VPN Interworking enables MCI's Frame Relay and Private IP customers to connect smaller remote offices with low-cost secure broadband connectivity using DSL and cable access. MCI's Broadband VPN Interworking also provides built-in redundancy with dual SIG ports for continuous network operation, as well as a low-cost failover solution for Private IP customers to improve business continuity.

Secure Internet Access enables MCI's business customers to securely connect their Frame, ATM and Private IP networks to the Internet for Web access and email through an MCI network-based firewall.

The new services are available immediately to U.S-based customers with plans to roll-out Broadband VPN Interworking and Secure Internet Access in Europe and Asia Pacific later this year.

Lucent Selected for Navy's SeaPort Purchasing Program

Lucent Technologies was awarded a prime contract under the Naval Virtual Systems Command's (SYSCOM) SeaPort Enhanced program, which provides a Navy-wide electronic procurement process that leverages buying power and reduces purchasing time.

The contract has a four-year base period with one five-year award term and one additional one-year award term potential option period.

HelloSoft Raises $16 Million for Software-defined Radio

HelloSoft, a start-up based in San Jose, California with developers in Hyderabad, India raised $16 million in series B financing for its signal processing technology and software-defined radio (SDR) solutions for VOIP, Wi-Fi, cellular, and converged markets. HelloSoft is targeting its CelluLAN technology for the mobile multi-mode handset market.

This round is led by Boston-based TD Capital Ventures with the participation from new investors Mitsui & Company Venture Partners, Entrepia Ventures, and current investors, including Venrock Associates, Sofinnova Ventures and Jump Startup.

Cisco Unveils Application Aware Networking

Cisco Systems unveiled its vision for Application-Oriented Networking (AON) -- a new initiative and set of technologies designed to move beyond the packet level to read application-to-application messages flowing within the network.

"Intelligence throughout the network changes IT forever," said John Chambers, speaking in a keynote address at Cisco's "Networkers 2005" conference in Las Vegas, likening such service to "application-dial tone."

"Layers 1 to 7 of the network are completely blurring together," said Chambers. "You are not going to be able to tell the difference between transport, switching, routing, content and applications. There will be intelligence throughout the network down from the device level to the datacenter, across your network, across service provider networks, across wired and wireless networks, in ways we are just beginning to imagine."

Cisco is advocating that its customer take an architectural approach to designing their entire IT infrastructure. Functions that do not add value to a corporate application would be relegated to an application-aware network.

The Cisco AON family complements current Cisco packet and content-aware products by providing true application message-level awareness of business applications.

An AON-enabled router would not only examine the data packets that flow through it but would also look inside some of those packets to see what the messages say. For example, a company might write a business rule that tells the router to send an email to a customer service representative every time an order over $1,000 goes to the warehouse.

Cisco AON is currently available in two products that integrate into Cisco switches and routers:

  • Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series AON module, which is primarily deployed in enterprise core or data centers

  • Cisco 2600/2800/3700/3800 series AON module, which is primarily deployed at branch offices.

The AON technology works as follows. The supervisor or route processor in a Cisco switch or router would transparently redirect application traffic to the Cisco AON module without requiring any changes to the applications themselves. Cisco AON policies would then be applied to these messages, and they could be forwarded to a destination application. Additionally, Cisco AON could also be explicitly addressed if required.

Cisco AON understands commonly used protocols, including HTTP, HTTPS, TIBCO EMS, Websphere MQ, and Websphere JMS. The Cisco AON node could also act as protocol gateway between multiple applications, such as between HTTP(S) and a TIBCO message queue.

Cisco AON supports both XML and non-XML transformation. Cisco AON achieves Extensible Style Language Transformation (XSLT) with the built-in XSLT-based transformation engine using XSLT style sheets written or procured by the customer, allowing any combination of transformations from XML to other XML or non-XML formats, and vice versa.

Cisco AON can also be integrated with security frameworks authenticate the identity of the sender of an inbound message based on username and password, WS-Security profile, digital certificate, etc.

Cisco and its technology partners aim to provide a "lifecycle portfolio of professional services that align customers' business and technical requirements through all six phases of the deployment lifecycle: prepare, plan, design, implement, operate and optimize, specifically designed for this new solution." Partners include:

  • Cisco is working with IBM to help customers to support WebSphere with AON.

  • Cisco is working with SAP to integrate ESA with Application-Oriented Networking to deliver end-to-end solutions for enterprise data centers, branch offices, and small and midsize businesses.

  • In addition, Cisco is collaborating with EDS, SAIC, TIBCO Software, and Verisign, as well as other services and software firms, including: Actional, ConnecTerra, Contivo, CXO Systems, Infogain, ManTech, Trace Financial, and TransAct Tools to provide a broad range of Cisco AON solutions.

PAETEC and NTT America Launch Financial IP Services

PAETEC Communications will begin international IP-based trader voice services to financial markets via NTT America's global MPLS IP network. PAETEC currently provides services to medium-sized and large businesses, colleges and universities, hospitals, hotels, governmental organizations, financial markets, and affinity groups within its 28-market service area. The company is headquartered in Fairport, New York.

Voltaire Supports Double Date Rate Infiniband for Up to 60 Gbps Bandwidth

Voltaire announced support for double data rate (DDR) InfiniBand technology that delivers up to 60 Gbps bandwidth without compromising the low latency and CPU utilization of standard InfiniBand.

DDR InfiniBand-based solutions offer twice the bandwidth of current InfiniBand solutions for both switch-to-switch applications as well as connectivity to computing resources. DDR uses the same number of cables. DDR InfiniBand solutions are backward-compatible and fully interoperate with existing 10 Gbps InfiniBand fabrics. The technology is especially aimed at compute- and I/O-intensive applications in cluster or grid-based networks.

Voltaire's family of grid interconnect solutions consists of DDR-ready switch hardware and software based on InfiniBand technology. Voltaire multi-service switches offer integrated InfiniBand, GbE and Fibre Channel connectivity for legacy connectivity requirements. Voltaire expects to ship DDR capabilities in its ISR 9096 and ISR 9288 modular switches in early Q4 2005.

"The prospect of combining high port count switches with DDR InfiniBand is a necessity for organizations building large clusters and grids," said Stephen Poole, Advanced Architectures Team, Los Alamos National Laboratories. "The arrival of DDR solutions marks a new standard of performance and manageability for building and scaling out large clusters of thousands of nodes."

Jack Kilby, Inventor of the Integrated Circuit, Dies at 81

Jack St. Clair Kilby, who invented the first monolithic integrated circuit in 1958 and laid the foundation for the field of modern microelectronics, has died at the age of 81.

Following military service in WWII, Kilby completed a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Illinois in 1947. Upon graduation, he took a position with Centralab in Milwaukee, where he first worked with transistors, the building blocks for integrated circuits. While at Centralab, he pursued graduate studies in electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin and received a master's degree in 1950. He joined Texas Instruments in 1958. His first design for an integrated circuit was successfully tested on September 12, 1958. In 1960, Texas Instruments announced the first chips for customer evaluation. Two years later, TI won its first major integrated circuit contract to design and build a family of 22 special circuits for the Minuteman missile.

Kilby officially retired from TI in 1983, but he continued to do consulting work with the company. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2000. In addition to his TI career, Mr. Kilby held the rank of Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University from 1978 to 1984.

"In my opinion, there are only a handful of people whose works have truly transformed the world and the way we live in it -- Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers and Jack Kilby," said TI Chairman Tom Engibous. "If there was ever a seminal invention that transformed not only our industry but our world, it was Jack's invention of the first integrated circuit."

Highlights of his life and work are posted on the TI website.

Telecom New Zealand Suffers Dual Fiber Cuts

New Zealand suffered a major telecom outage that was blamed on two fiber cuts in Telecom New Zealand's network. Internet, mobile and landline calls were affected. Bank ATMs were also affected and trading was halted on the New Zealand stock exchange. The outage also affected calls to Telecom New Zealand's own call centers, causing overloading. In the first incident, there was physical damage to a fiber on a bridge that was apparently caused by a rat chewing through a cable. Services through that fiber were able to be routed through different parts of the network until the second incident occurred when a post-hole digger cut through another fiber. It reportedly took five hours to restore services.

Supreme Court Declines Case of Telecom Right-of-Ways Along Railroads

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case concerning whether the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals properly overturned a $140 million class-action settlement between a group of telecom carrier and landowners along railroads.

The main issue in the long-running case involved the rights of landowners along pre-existing railroad, pipeline and utility rights-of-way to receive compensation for new fiber construction. In many cases, courts have found that adjacent landowners own the land under the railroads and other utilities, and that only they can grant rights to fiber optic cable companies.

In the case of Sprint vs. Smith, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's approval of the $140 million class-action settlement. Other telecom carriers involved in the case included MCI WorldCom, Qwest, Level 3 and Williams.