Monday, August 8, 2005

UK's PlusNet Deploys Ellacoya's IP Switches

PlusNet, a leading ISP based in the UK, has deployed Ellacoya Networks' e30 IP switches and centralized Service Logic Software (SLS) system-wide to dynamically manage bandwidth, enabling a range of speed and application-based service plans. The equipment, which was deployed in the PlusNet network by Imtech Telecom, Ellacoya's integration and support partner in Europe, integrates into PlusNet's access network architecture upstream from Broadband Remote Access Systems (BRAS).

Ellacoya's e30 identifies all subscriber and application usage, and provides PlusNet with granular Web-based reports and control. PlusNet offers several Internet plans ranging from a lower priced offering for light users primarily using Web and e-mail applications, to a higher-priced offering for subscribers using higher bandwidth applications and requiring more speed.

During peak hours, the more vigorous high bandwidth applications such as P2P may be speed limited, while mainstream e-mail and Web traffic are prioritized; traffic during non-peak hours runs at optimal speed. Each offer is defined centrally in the Service Logic Software, Ellacoya's management platform, as a group of policies that track, measure and manage the various traffic types based on time-of-day. Once a subscriber logs on, his profile is downloaded to the e30 IP switch, policies are enforced and traffic is treated accordingly, based on the subscriber's service plan.

Charter Names Former AOL Access Business President as CEO

Charter Communications named Neil Smit as its new president and CEO. Smit most recently served as the President of Time Warner's America Online Access Business, overseeing Internet access services including AOL, CompuServe, and Netscape ISP.
  • In January 2005, Carl Vogel resigned as president, CEO and a director of Charter Communications. Vogel's employment contract with Charter was due to expire at the end of 2005.

Cox and Verizon Join Multimedia over Coax Alliance

Cox and Verizon are the latest companies to join Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA), an industry group formed to provide the solution for home networking digital entertainment. MoCA's membership now includes Tier 1 members from each of the key digital entertainment service providers -- cable, satellite, and telecom, as well as leading networking equipment and consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers.

MoCA was founded in 2004 by Comcast, EchoStar, Entropic Communications, Linksys (a division of Cisco), , Motorola, Panasonic, Radio Shack, and Toshiba.
  • In April 2005, the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) completed a large-scale field trial of the core technology for providing networking of digital home entertainment throughout a home using existing coax cabling. The large-scale trial, conducted by MoCA's founders in multiple locations, validated the capabilities of the MoCA technology to deliver 100 Mbps of usable throughput under real world conditions throughout the home -- enough for transporting multiple streams of HDTV. MoCA founding members performed multiple tests in over 200 homes and multi-unit dwellings to validate the MoCA technology will meet the requirements set in the Market Requirements Document approved by the MoCA Board of Directors. Entropic Communications' c.LINK technology, the core technology behind the emerging MoCA standard, was used in the field trials.

MetaSwitch Complies with FCC VoIP Rulings on CALEA, E911

MetaSwitch confirmed that customers of its Class 4/5 Softswitch are able to fully comply with all regulatory requirements in the recent FCC VoIP rulings. Specifically, more than 135 MetaSwitch systems deployed in the field already support CALEA and E911 emergency call routing features for both traditional wireline and VoIP subscribers, with no requirement for additional adjunct equipment.

The FCC's new rules requires any service provider offering VoIP connectivity to the PSTN to meet the requirements of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). Carriers are also required to provide 911 emergency calling capabilities to all subscribers.

MetaSwitch's softswitch system delivers a full range of Class 4/5 features including the following capabilities:

  • E911 call routing to multiple Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) over dedicated MF and/or SS7 trunks. MetaSwitch also has close partnerships with leading national providers to enable carriers to meet requirements for mobile VoIP location registration. A recently-published detailed Application Note is available to MetaSwitch users describing the implementation requirements.

  • CALEA wiretap functions (to appropriately authorized users), fully conformant with the Telecommunications Industry Association's J-STD-025A specification. The MetaSwitch system provides the access point for both call content and call information, and supports concurrent intercept connectivity to multiple law enforcement agencies. MetaSwitch's implementation has been reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), ensuring that it meets the requirement for "safe harbor" under the CALEA regulations.

  • Access-agnostic services and signaling. MetaSwitch's standards-based universal network architecture supports just about every legacy and packet-based access protocol, including TDM (GR-303, PRI, T1/T3), VoATM (BLES), and VoIP (MGCP, PacketCable NCS, H.248 and SIP). Crucially, all switch services (including E911 and CALEA) are available to all subscribers, whatever the access technology used.

Cisco Posts Quarterly Revenue of $6.6 Billion, up 11% YoY

Cisco Systems posted quarterly sales of $6.6 billion, an 11.1% increase year over year and up 6.4% over the preceding quarter. Net income for the quarter was $1.5 billion (GAAP) and EPS was $0.24.

Net sales for fiscal 2005, which ended 30-July-2005, were $24.8 billion, compared with $22.0 billion for fiscal 2004, an increase of 12.5%.

"The close of Cisco's fourth quarter and 2005 fiscal year marks not only a period of strong operating performance for the company, including record net income and earnings per share, but also further demonstrates that our architectural strategy is working," said John Chambers, Cisco's president and CEO.

Some highlights:

  • Product gross margins were 67.6%

  • Product sales for the quarter were: routers, $1.48 billion, up 3% YoY; switches, $2.66 billion, up 8%; advanced technologies, $1.16 billion, up 27%; services, $1.06 billion, up 15%; and other, $229 million, up 11%.

  • Cash flows from operations were $2.4 billion, compared with $1.9 billion for the preceding quarter. Cash and cash equivalents and total investments were $16.1 billion at the end of fiscal 2005, compared with $19.3 billion at the end of fiscal 2004.

  • During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005, Cisco repurchased 130 million shares of common stock at an average price of $19.14 per share for an aggregate purchase price of $2.5 billion.

  • Regarding guidance for FY 2006 and Q1 FY 2006, Cisco urged analysts not to let expectations get ahead of its ability to deliver results. Cisco expects long-term growth over the next few years to be 10-15% annually, with total gross margins remaining at 66-67%.

MCI Returns to Profitability in Q2

MCI returned to profitability in Q2 2005, generating net income of $64 million or $0.20 and $0.19 per basic and diluted share, respectively, compared to a net loss of $2 million or $.01 per basic and diluted share in the first quarter. Q2 revenues were $4.7 billion, down 2% sequentially and 10% year-over-year.

"In the second quarter, we continued to launch next generation products and services, improve customer service and realize results from our cost reduction initiatives," said Michael D. Capellas, MCI president and chief executive officer. "In the second half of the year, we will remain focused on executing in the marketplace and moving toward a timely completion of our merger with Verizon."

LeapFrog and Enfora Integrate Kids' Phone with Games

LeapFrog Enterprises, which offers technology-based educational games and learning products, has partnered with Enfora, a provider of wireless solutions, to develop a new "TicTalk" parent-controlled educational cell phone for children.

The parent-controlled TicTalk cell phone, which is aimed at kids ages six and older, can operate on any GSM/GPRS network. To program the phone, parents log onto an easy-to-use Web site and pre-set exactly who the child can call and receive calls from, along with how often, and what hours and days of the week the phone can be used to call certain numbers. It also features speakerphone, voice recorder capabilities, a calendar, to-do list and other tools.

The license agreement and product collaboration between the two companies includes the integration of five popular LeapFrog learning games into the TicTalk cell phone. LeapFrog said the learning games cover more than 400 school skills in first through sixth grade core subject areas -- spelling, math, science and social studies. Kids could be given the ability to earn reward cell phone minutes by playing the LeapFrog learning games, and to share those scores with friends via text messaging.

TicTalk will be priced at $99 with pre-paid phone cards starting at $25 for 100 minutes (expiring 90 days from purchase). There is no activation fee.

"It's no secret that kids are embracing new technologies at earlier and earlier ages, but their product needs are typically very different than older teens or adults," said LeapFrog president Jerry Perez.

Delphi and XM Satellite Show Thinnest Satellite Radio

Delphi and XM Satellite Radio today unveiled the RoadyXT radio
, the smallest, thinnest satellite radio ever. The 2.8-ounce RoadyXT receiver measures 3.7 inches wide, 2.2 inches high and .61 inches deep. SM Satellite Radio subscribers can listen to XM's 150-plus channels of commercial-free music and premier sports, talk, news, and entertainment programming on the RoadyXT, which can be self-installed quickly and easily in the car or home. MSRP is $99.

XM Satellite currently has more than 4.4 million subscribers/

Vodafone Italy Tests HSDPA with Nokia

Vodafone Italy and Nokia completed their first data connection with HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) using fully commercial WCDMA 3G network equipment. The call sustained user data speeds of 1.5 Mbps.

Motorola and Phiar Target Terahertz (THz) ICs

Motorola is working with Phiar Corporation, a start-up spun out of the University of Colorado, on a project focusing on the creation of next generation electronic circuits which can be incorporated with tiny antennas to deliver high-speed millimeter wave receive arrays.

These receive arrays are expected to be low cost with the ability to be incorporated into multiple high-speed applications, such as Device-to-Device wireless communications and Personal Consumer Near Field Communications (NFC) as well as medical imaging, automotive radar, homeland security scanning, and defense applications.

Whereas today's mass market semiconductor technology enables devices which run in the megahertz (MHz) frequency range and are pushing to enter the low end gigahertz (GHz) frequency range of operation, the companies said they will demonstrate circuits based on this new low cost technology that are capable of running in the hundreds of GHz and potentially into the THz range.

The joint development effort will utilize Phiar's new Metal-Insulator technology and Motorola's millimeter wave circuits and systems technology, modeling and simulation, device and circuit characterization and advanced prototyping capabilities.

The companies said Metal-Insulator technology can be broadly incorporated with circuits which use standard CMOS manufacturing as well as other semiconductor and printed circuit technologies.

Motorola Teams with Intellon on Canopy BPL Solution

Motorola is utilizing Intellon's HomePlug 1.0 INT5200 chipset as a key component of Powerline LV (low-voltage), an end-to-end Broadband over Powerline (BPL) solution for the utility market. Motorola Ventures has also made an equity investment in Intellon, which is based in Ocala, Florida.

Powerline LV combines Intellon's HomePlug technology with Motorola's Canopy Broadband Internet Platform, using wireless to bring the broadband signal to a utility pole near the customer's home, and low-voltage powerline communications to bring the signal into the home. Only three pieces of equipment are needed to connect a customer to the broadband network: the Powerline LV access point cluster, an integrated antenna and bridge router, and an Intellon-enabled modem. The solution provides notch filtering of the Amateur Radio bands, helping to ensure compliance to recent FCC rulings.

The companies said the wireless-to-low voltage powerline solution is ready for widespread commercial use by utilities, especially for customers in rural markets where broadband access may be limited due o the long distances and low population densities.

"By combining the best attributes of wireless and powerline communications, Powerline LV offers a very attractive way for utility companies to enter the BPL market," said Tony Pirih, corporate vice president - Canopy Wireless Broadband Group, Motorola.
  • In July 2005, The HomePlug Powerline Alliance announced a co-existence solution that allows all powerline communications technologies, including HomePlug 1.0, HomePlug AV, and HomePlug BPL, to efficiently share the powerline network in both to-the-home and in-the-home applications. The solution would allow multiple powerline communications technologies to share the same wire while maintaining transmission speeds and effective QoS.

  • In October 2004, the FCC adopted rules to encourage the development of Access Broadband over Power Line (Access BPL) while safeguarding existing licensed radio services against harmful interference. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the FCC have concluded that the interference concerns of licensed radio. The FCC and FERC believe that BPL provides an opportunity to increase the competitive broadband choices that are available to customers. They also expect Access BPL to facilitate the ability of electric utilities to dynamically manage the power grid itself, increasing network reliability by remote diagnosis of electrical system failures.

Global Crossing Reports Progress on Core Revenue Growth

Global Crossing reported revenue for the second quarter of 2005 of $499 million, representing growth in the company's "invest and grow" category and expected declines in the "manage for margin" and "harvest and exit" business areas. Revenue declined approximately 5 percent compared with Q1 2005, when revenue was reported at $526 million, and 21% compared with Q2 2004, when revenue was reported at $628 million. For Q2, there was a loss of $27 million, compared with a loss of $28 million in the first quarter of 2005 and a loss of $38 million in the second quarter of 2004.

"We are very pleased with our progress, as we continue to concentrate on 'invest and grow' revenue and as the associated gross margins grow," said John Legere, Global Crossing's CEO. "Our core business is growing as we de-emphasize the lower margin services."

Revenue in the company's "invest and grow" category -- including its core businesses serving global enterprises, collaboration and carrier data customers through direct and indirect channels -- was $274 million in the second quarter of 2005, roughly flat compared to $273 million in the first quarter of 2005 and up from $263 million in the second quarter of 2004.

Overall gross margin as a percentage of revenue was 38%. Within the "invest and grow" category, gross margins were $148 million or 54 percent of "invest and grow" revenue in the second quarter of 2005.

Global Crossing reduced its cost of access charges by 3 percent sequentially to $311 million in the second quarter of 2005, from $320 million in the first quarter of 2005. Cost of access declined 31 percent year over year, from $450 million in the second quarter of 2004.

See also