Sunday, August 14, 2005

Cedar Point Adds Three MSOs in Colombia

Cedar Point Communications announced agreements with three Colombian cable system operators for the deployment of its SAFARI C(Cubed) Media Switching System for the delivery of cable telephony services.

The agreements, which were negotiated jointly among Cedar Point and the three systems, provide for the utilization of SAFARI C(Cubed) units with TV Cable in Bogotá, with Promision in Bucaramanga and with Costavision in Cartagena. The systems are leaders in deploying bi-direction services in Colombia, and collectively pass more than one million homes. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Force10 Reports Growing Sales

Force10 Networks, a privately-held company, reported record quarterly sales for the period ended July 31. The company said sales growth reflected the diversification and expansion of its worldwide customer base as well as a surge in demand for its high-density, 90-port Gigabit Ethernet card, which increases the density of the TeraScale E-Series to an industry-leading 1,260 ports.

"We saw record sales during the quarter as our customer base expanded and the average deployment size increased," said Marc Randall, president and CEO of Force10 Networks.

Zarlink Targets Voice Processing with Echo Cancellers

Zarlink Semiconductor introduced the first in a family of voice processing chips aimed at improving voice quality and reducing noise in hands-free communication devices. Hands-free technology is a key requirement in a wide range of communication systems, such as security networks, desktop phones, conference phones and PDAs.

Hands-free communication systems are often hindered by acoustic echo that is created when the voice from the loudspeaker in a car kit or conference phone, for example, is picked up by the microphone and retransmitted. Mobile network delays also make acoustic echo more noticeable. To compensate, hands-free systems previously used lower performance voice processing technologies that supported only half-duplex operation.

Zarlink's new chip uses an advanced adaptive algorithm that constantly tracks and reduces background noise while preserving high voice quality. Voice signals are transmitted in both directions. The chip utilizes an advanced non-linear process design supporting full-duplex speech with no switched loss of the signal path. Zarlink's algorithm design operates during double-talk situations when both callers are speaking at the same time.

Zarlink said a leading manufacturer has already designed the new acoustic echo canceller technology into a hands-free car phone system.

Agilent Refocuses on Test & Measurement Market

Agilent Technologies confirmed plans to sell is Semiconductor Products division to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and Silver Lake Partners for $2.66 billion.

In addition, Agilent will sell its stake in Lumileds to Royal Philips Electronics for $950 million plus repayment of $50 million of debt. Lumileds manufacturers high-power LEDs for everyday purposes including automotive lighting, computer displays, LCD televisions, signage and signaling and general lighting.

Agilent also plans to spin off its SOC and Memory Test businesses as soon as practical in 2006.

Proceeds from the divestitures will be returned to the company's owners through a $4 billion share repurchase program to commence immediately.

Agilent said the restructuring would re-position it as a "pure play" measurement company.

sentitO Enhances its ONX VoIP Switching Architecture

sentitO Networks has enhanced its ONX VoIP switching and service delivery architecture with a new set of carrier-grade SIP service, security, and routing capabilities. The platform's standards-based approach uses the emerging IMS architecture to transparently synchronize the transport, signaling, and open application layers.

Key enhancements for ONX System 3 include:

SECURITY: The ONX System 3 SIP implementation provides carriers full "citizenship" by protecting the integrity of their VoIP subscribers and network interconnections. Integrated into the IVG are new ACL (Access Control List) and rate limiting capabilities for secure network transport and call handling, and the prevention of Denial of Service (DoS) and Spam over Internet Telephony (SPIT) attacks. The solution forms a control plane that enables service delivery from multiple sources while providing pinhole and firewall protection to help maintain the integrity of bearer, signaling and billing subsystems. The IVG ensures IP and PSTN network and subscriber integrity by automatically shutting down selected ingress ports from off-network rogue media gateways.

SIP SERVICE INTERWORKING: Extending the SIP-SS7 inter-working of sentitO's Proxy7 Signaling Gateway and IVG, ONX System 3 delivers SIP service interworking capabilities to fulfill service provider requirements and to deliver on the IMS directive to facilitate the access to multiple application servers, including emerging open-source platforms, simultaneously within their network. ONX System 3 allows service providers to create an open "Services Core" of SIP-based application servers and then deliver those services across a distributed network of IVG's and Proxy7's at the network edge. This feature gives service providers control and flexibility in their choice of application server and allows different platforms to specialize in the cost-effective delivery of residential, business, and other VoIP features. In addition, ONX System 3 integrates SIP and XML into a standard inter-working interface to third-party application, billing and session border controller (SBC) platforms to dramatically simplify interoperability testing and reduce time to market.

ADVANCED IP ROUTING: Enhancing the ONX's purpose-built architecture and wire-speed routing capabilities of the IVG, ONX System 3 delivers a foundation for emerging MPLS-based architectures by providing application-aware routing, QoS on flows, as well as weighted fair queuing, content pattern matching, filtering, and label swapping in the IVG hardware to accelerate routing and QoS decisions. These features help to deliver the lowest latency and highest voice quality in the industry today. In addition, ONX System 3 adds stateful transactional routing for trunk groups on the Proxy7 to ensure the simplified inter-working of SIP and AIN subscriber and network services across both PSTN trunks and individual subscriber ports.

Separately, sentitO announced the adoption of ONX System 3 and the ONX suite by Optima Telecom, an emerging multi-national carrier based in Honduras.

sentitO is currently deployed in 10 carrier networks. The company currently has 65 employees.

Convergin Unveils Wireless Convergence Server (WCS)

Convergin, formerly PhoneDo Networks, unveiled its new Accolade platform that serves as a core network Wireless Convergence Server (WCS) solution for Fixed Mobile Convergence.

Convergin said its Accolade platform unifies mobile, legacy and next-gen network elements, enabling service providers to accelerate their core network evolution towards SIP Mobile Convergence. It expands the reach of core switching and service platforms beyond their original domains towards IMS. The platform leverages a distributed architecture to scale up to millions of Busy Hour Call Attempts (BHCA). It supports a wide range of network elements, protocols and signaling technologies including SIP, SS7, TDM, IP, IMS, CDMA, GSM/UMTS and others. The Accolade is offered on NEBS-complaint Sun Netra hardware.

Marconi Licenses BorderWare's SIP Firewall for Virtual Presence System

Marconi's Data Networks division will license BorderWare's SIPassure SIP Firewall, which has been optimized for the Marconi ViPr Virtual Presence system. The ViPr SIP Firewall "Powered by BorderWare," will be available as a separate system for existing ViPr customers, as well as new customers who want to benefit from campus-to-campus high-resolution video conferencing and multimedia collaboration across private or public networks.

The companies said that although perimeter firewalls provide basic pinholing, allowing SIP traffic to pass through, they do not provide comprehensive SIP security, and offer no protection at the application layer. Similarly, existing session border controllers (SBCs) provide NAT traversal and port translation capabilities, but do not feature in depth application-layer security. BorderWare's SIPassure SIP Firewall addresses these issues.

Nuvio Files Appeal of FCC VoIP - E911 Order

Nuvio Corporation filed an appeal of the recent FCC order requiring VoIP providers to make E911 available to their customers nationwide by the end of the year. Because of the looming November 28, 2005 deadline, Nuvio has requested the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to expedite the schedule in the hopes of reaching a decision prior the FCC Order taking effect.

"While we share the Commission's passion about deploying 911 service, and we have worked diligently to provide our users with 911 access, the 120-day requirement imposed by the FCC is arbitrary and capricious and without support in the record," commented Jason Talley, president and CEO of Nuvio. "In fact, the record clearly shows that wireless companies have been given decades to implement this type of 911 service and are still far from completion."

"With the filing of our motion for an expedited briefing schedule, we have advised the court that it is imperative that we have a decision by November 7, 2005. Absent that, and with the lack of direction currently given by the FCC, we will have no choice but to start suspending some users. Our users are primarily small to medium-sized businesses, and we have to be able to notify them in advance of any service interruption," Talley stated.
  • In February, Nuvio launched Enhanced 911 (E911) services for its NuvioCentrex hosted IP Voice solution, which is offered to broadband providers, cable operators, CLECs and VARs through a private-label partner program. Nuvio's E911 calls are routed as emergency traffic and provide computer-based caller information to emergency personnel at local Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). Through its service, 911 calls are automatically transferred to the PSAP and the operators are presented with the person's telephone number and location.

Platinum Equity to Acquire US Robotics

Platinum Equity will acquire US Robotics in an all-cash transaction. Financial terms were not disclosed.

In addition to dial-up modems, US Robotics offers several lines of wired and wireless consumer networking products, including 802.11 adapters, access points and antennas; and broadband routers switches and adapters.

Joseph J. Hartnett, president and chief executive officer of US Robotics, saod the transaction will allow the company to maintain its independence and entrepreneurial spirit while benefiting from the financial resources and M&A capabilities of Platinum Equity.

"US Robotics has been at the forefront of modem technology for more than three decades, connecting millions of users around the world to the Internet. As new broadband, wireless and security applications evolve, the company is well-positioned to grow. We believe we can accelerate growth by identifying complementary strategic acquisitions," said Jim Levitas, senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions at Platinum Equity

  • In June 2004, U.S. Robotics' management team has acquired a majority stake in the company from Solectron Inc. Terms of the transaction will not be disclosed. 3Com and Accton maintained a minority interest.

  • In June 2000, 3Com spun out U.S. Robotics into a separate company backed by Accton and NatSteel Electronics.

  • In 1997, 3Com acquired U.S. Robotics in a $6.6 billion stock swap -- at the time, the largest networking merger valuation to date.

  • U.S.Robotics was founded in 1976 by three University of Chicago students working out of a Skokie, Illinois garage. The company was named after the "greatest company in the known galaxy" - U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men - from the science fiction novel I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. US Robotics quickly emerged as the world's No. 1 selling modem brand.

Intel Invests in Three Chinese Firms

Intel Capital announced equity investments in three Chinese firms:

  • Chipsbrand Microelectronics (H.K.), a fabless semiconductor design company targeting the mobile storage and multimedia consumer electronics market segments.

  • Onewave Technologies (Shanghai), a broadband entertainment technology solutions provider that enables broadband content delivery to TV set-top boxes and streaming media and video on demand to PCs.

  • Verisilicon Holdings Co. Ltd., an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) design foundry with operation centers in Shanghai, Taipei, Silicon Valley, and Tokyo.

The investments are part of the new US$200 million Intel Capital China Technology Fund. Intel Capital has invested in China for more than seven years and provided capital to approximately 50 companies in mainland China and Hong Kong.

Ubicom Develops Broadband Uplink Accelerator

Ubicom announced technology for building low-cost retail device designed to significantly improve broadband uplinks, thereby enhancing online gaming, VoIP and file sharing. The Ubicom technology initially will be available in retail devices from D-Link and Hawking Technology.

The Ubicom Network Accelerator improves performance and quality through the following capabilities:

  • Analyzes and automatically identifies delay-sensitive traffic

  • Dynamically prioritizes delay-sensitive traffic ahead of normal traffic

  • Limits uplink delay by controlling packet sizes

  • Shapes uplink traffic speed to match WAN link

Ubicom said its Network Accelerator helps resolve issues that are caused in most part by applications competing for the small amount of uplink bandwidth provided by cable or xDSL modems. In testing, Ubicom has demonstrated that this phenomenon can reduce voice quality by a factor of four and destroy the effectiveness of an online game player by up to three times.

Specifically, Ubicom's StreamEngine technology uses an "Intelligent Stream Handling" algorithm that automatically manages the flow of traffic going to the Internet, without the need for user configuration. In addition, Intelligent Stream Handling minimizes the impact of large-packet, lower-priority traffic on latency-sensitive traffic, and eliminates delays caused by DSL or cable modem connections.

PanAmSat's Galaxy 14 Roars into Orbit

PanAmSat's new Galaxy 14 satellite was successfully launched by a Soyuz-Fregat rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Galaxy 14, the 24th satellite in PanAmSat's fleet, is to be co-located with Galaxy 12 at 125 degrees west longitude, enable PanAmSat to have two in-orbit spares for its U.S. fleet. Although designated a back-up satellite, the all C-band spacecraft is designed to deliver digital video programming, high-definition television (HDTV), VOD and IPTV service throughout the continental U.S.

Galaxy 14 will also be an additional satellite supporting PanAmSat's "Power of Five" antenna program, which provides qualified cable operators with simultaneous access to five Galaxy neighborhood satellites.

The satellite was built and custom-designed for PanAmSat by Orbital Sciences Corporation. Galaxy 14 is a 1790-kilogram Star 2 Bus model satellite with 24, 36-MHz C-band transponders. It is the second in a series of three C-band satellites being constructed by Orbital Sciences for PanAmSat. The satellite will put out more than double the power of its predecessors.

BigBand Shows Modular CMTS for Channel Bonding and Installed Cable Modems

BigBand Networks announced the first live operation of its modular CMTS functionality. The company is demonstrating its Cuda CMTS and BME (Broadband Multimedia-Service Edge) platforms jointly delivering broadband services to DOCSIS cable modems.

The demonstration shows the Cuda and BME jointly achieving well over 100 Mbps per single MAC (media access control) domain. Sixteen unique high definition video streams of approximately 10 Mbps each are delivered to sixteen laptop computers connected to that MAC domain. The BigBand Networks M-CMTS design quadruples DOCSIS MAC processing to 3 Gbps per Cuda platform. Gigabit Ethernet is used to interface Cuda to BMEs, which perform high-density QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation).

Modular CMTS is designed for evolution from legacy integrated CMTS approaches, by disaggregating functionality to be performed on best-of-breed platforms connected by standard interfaces. The company said the demonstration at the CableLabs Summer Conference of its M-CMTS architecture is the first to be compatible with field-deployed cable modems, in addition to enabling higher bandwidth access by newly emerging cable modems capable of channel bonding practices. This would enable operators to scale deployments at a fraction of integrated CMTS cost, resource and space utilization. The Cuda and BME platforms used in the demonstration are already deployed for broadband IP and video edge QAM, respectively, and can be upgraded by operators for M-CMTS.

BigBand Networks said it plans for additional flexibility from its M-CMTS architecture beyond provisioning multiple access speeds and servicing multiple cable modem generations. The disaggregation of upstream termination on Cuda from downstream termination on BME can economically allow for a range of upstream-to-downstream bandwidth ratios. The BME is designed to evolve from QAM modulation of particular digital video or DOCSIS channels, towards being able to dynamically allocate capacity within the same channel towards any kind of digital traffic on the cable plant.

Broadcom Announces AVC/VC-1 Video Coding Chips

Broadcom announced a family of AVC/VC-1 high definition (HD) system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions for cable, satellite and IP set-top boxes and gateway/client architectures. Broadcom has implemented advanced video coding (AVC) (the ITU and ISO joint standard) and VC-1 (the Society for Motion Picture and Television Engineers or SMPTE standard), which employ the latest generation in video compression technology, in the new family of single-chip solutions.

Broadcom's new BCM740x family of single-chip solutions is built upon the company's previous two-chip HD AVC/VC-1 solution featuring the BCM7038 dual-channel HDTV and digital video recorder (DVR) chip and the BCM7411 AVC video decoder/audio processor chip. This BCM7038/BCM7411 two-chip solution is currently shipping in volume production to leading set-top box manufacturers including EchoStar, LG Electronics, Pace, Thomson and Samsung.

France Telecom recently used Broadcom's two-chip solution to deploy a live high definition TV broadcast with MPEG-4 AVC over an ADSL2+ network from the French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros stadium.

The first single-chip AVC/VC-1 HD SoC products available include the BCM7401 and BCM7402. The BCM7401 is targeted at embedded hard disk drive DVR and home gateway applications while the BCM7402 addresses non-DVR or networked DVR client applications. Both chips support the widely adopted H.264 video compression standard (also known as MPEG-4 part 10/AVC) and are also the world's first AVC/VC-1 HD chips to employ integrated secure video processor (SVP) technology. SVP technology provides an open platform for content protection, which enables secure, digital content related interconnectivity between consumer electronic devices over a home network.

Sampling is underway.

TiVo Begins Video Downloads with Independent Film Channel

TiVo has launched a video download trial in conjunction with Independent Film Channel (IFC), enabling select TiVo subscribers to download IFC programming over broadband to their TiVo Series2 DVR. The availability of the IFC programming will be promoted to trial participants through a TiVo Showcase. Once a TiVo subscriber chooses to receive the IFC programming, the shows are downloaded via a broadband connection.

Limelight Networks is providing content delivery network services for the trial.

TiVo said its planning to add a series of broadband features for TiVo Series2 users beginning this fall.

TelCove Launches VoIP Service

TelCove, a CLEC that operates in 70 markets throughout the eastern half of the U.S., launched enterprise VoIP services.

TelCove's Network VoIP Service is based in the company's owned and managed equipment and facilities. The company a variety of IP telephony customer premises equipment or CPE handsets and access devices. The new VoIP service is facilitated over TelCove's private IP backbone, thus ensuring levels of service delivery quality.

GigaBeam Licenses Vitesse's Indium Phosphide (InP) for 10 Gbps WiFiber

GigaBeam, a supplier of "WiFiber" equipment that operates in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz radio spectrum bands, has obtained certain exclusive rights to Vitesse's Indium Phosphide (InP) semiconductor technologies for use in GigaBeam's proprietary high performance RF modules.

GigaBeam WiFiber operates in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz radio spectrum bands, which the FCC has authorized for wireless point-to-point commercial use. GigaBeam's technology, utilizing these large blocks of authorized contiguous spectrum, enables multi Gigabit-per-second wireless communications through use of Gigabit Ethernet protocols. The current speed achieved by GigaBeam's WiFiber 2 and anticipated WiFiber G Series product lines is one Gbps.

GigaBeam is currently developing its next generation WiFiber, which will include the company's 10 Gbps products operating at 10Gig E and OC-192 protocols.
  • In July 2005, GigaBeam Corporation closed $8.6 million in financing through an offering of the company's 10% Series A redeemable preferred stock and common stock purchase warrants and a placement of its common stock and common stock purchase warrants.