Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Nortel Outlines End-to-End IPTV Solution

Nortel launched an end-to-end IPTV solution using its own equipment as well as products from ecosystem partners. Nortel's strategy will leverage its packet voice expertise and IMS portfolio to enable broadband network operators to enhance their IPTV service with rich, multimedia capabilities. IPTV subscribers will be able to use their TVs to communicate and interact with their friends and family through a variety of media, such as voice, instant messaging, video, and picture sharing. In addition, Nortel's solution works with wireless devices such as PDAs and cell phones.

Nortel has established a strategic ecosystem of IPTV providers and products to form a complete end-to-end solution. Extensive testing in Nortel's IPTV lab in Ottawa helps ensure that the solution will meet the demanding functionality, reliability and security requirements of service providers. Nortel will provide full installation, integration and support for both the North American (ANSI) and European (ETSI) market.

Nortel's current end-to-end IPTV solution ecosystem includes: IPTV middleware from Minerva Networks and Orca Interactive; video-on-demand (VoD) from Kasenna and BitBand; content security solutions from Irdeto; encoders from Harmonic and Optibase; a Web browser interface from Espial; digital program insertion (DPI) from Terayon; an emergency alert system (EAS) from Trilithic; xDSL modems from Westell; and set-top boxes from Amino.

Meets IMS

IMS enables the separation of applications from the underlying network.
While originally defined for 3G mobile phone systems, the IMS model
has now been adopted as a baseline technology for network and service
convergence by wireless, wireline and cable providers. Here is how it
could be integrated with IPTV to enable personalized services across any
broadband connection, wireless or wireline.

Intel Has WiMAX Project Underway with 24 Carriers Worldwide

Thirteen carriers worldwide are now deploying fixed WiMAX networks based on Intel's WiMAX technologies. Deployments include : Altitude Telecom (France), AXTEL (Mexico), BEC Telecom (Dominican Republic), Dedicado (Uruguay), Globe/Innove (Philippines), Iberbanda (Spain), Irish Broadband (Ireland), SferaNET (Poland), Mikkelin Puhelin Oyj and Savonlinnan Puhelin Oy (Finland), Telgua (Guatemala), Ukrainian High Technologies (Ukraine), and WiMAX Telecom (Austria and Slovakia).

Eleven more carriers are preparing to deploy additional Intel-based WiMAX networks by year's end. These include: Americatel (Peru), Call Plus (New Zealand), Chunghwa Telecom (Taiwan), DBD Deutsched Breitband Dienste (Germany), Digicel(Caribbean), Entel (Chile), Ertach (Argentina), Integrated Telecom Company (Saudi Arabia), Next Mobile (Philippines), and Taiwan Fixed Networks (Taiwan) and VeloCom (Argentina).

The WiMAX networks use Intel-based customer premises equipment from Airspan, Alcatel, Alvarion and Redline Communications(1).

Calix to Acquire Optical Solutions

Calix will acquire Optical Solutions, a supplier of FTTP equipment, for an undisclosed sum. The company has been a leader in gigabit passive optical network (GPON) deployments.

Calix said the acquisition of Optical Solutions will enable it to deliver a number of key benefits to service providers. First, it provides a field-proven solution addressing rapidly growing GPON FTTP deployments today. The acquisition also yields a full line of standards-compliant optical network terminals (ONTs) that address residential, business, and multi-tenant applications. It accelerates GPON availability on the widely deployed Calix C7 multiservice access platform (MSAP). Finally, it delivers a wide range of expertise dealing with commercial FTTP deployments.

Together, the companies claim over 70 production IPTV deployments and more than 175 revenue-generating FTTP customers among a joint installed base of 300 service providers. To date, Calix has shipped over 1.2 million ports on more than 6,500 C7 platforms into 190 service providers throughout North America.

Minneapolis-based Optical Solutions, with over 140 customers serving close to 100,000 FTTP subscribers, has more production GPON deployments than all other suppliers combined.

Cisco Posts Quarterly Revenue of $6.5 billion, up 9.7% YoY

Cisco Systems reported revenue of $6.5 billion for its first quarter of fiscal 2006, up 9.7% year over year. Net income was $1.3 billion or $0.20 per share which includes stock-based compensation expense of $228 million, net of tax, or $0.04 per share, due to the implementation of SFAS 123(R).

"Q1 was a solid quarter for Cisco, with balanced execution across most of our geographies, market segments and product categories," said John Chambers, president and CEO, Cisco Systems, Inc. "We are especially pleased with the improving business momentum in the U.S. and Asia Pacific, the strength of our product families and the accelerated growth of the commercial marketplace, which has become our fastest growing customer segment."http://www.cisco.com/go/investors

Hong Kong Broadband Network Selects Nortel for VoIP

Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited (HKBN) selected Nortel for a major upgrade of its VoIP network. To launch its 2b Broadband phone service, HKBN deployed a combination of solutions including Nortel's Multimedia Communication Server (MCS) 5200 and the Nortel Communication Server (CS) 2000-Compact, making it possible for voice, video and multimedia services to be delivered on a single packetized network. HKBN now operates one of the largest Nortel multimedia communications platforms in the world. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • In April, Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) officially launched its 1 Gbps symmetric service for the residential market. Approximately 800,000 households, out of a total of 2.2 million households in Hong Kong, are wired to receive the service. The 1 Gbps symmetric service is priced at US$215 per month. HKBN noted that its 1 Gbps service is up to 166x faster downstream and 1,950x faster upstream than the advertised bandwidth of the incumbent's ADSL service. HKBN Premium bb1000 service is being offered on the same metro Ethernet infrastructure that delivers the company's Mass Market bb100 (symmetric 100 Mbps for US$34/month) and Entry Point bb10 (symmetric 10 Mbps for US$16/month) services.

  • HKBN is installing more than 10,000 Cisco Catalyst LAN switches and more than 800 Cisco routers in buildings throughout Hong Kong. Category 5e copper cables are wired from the LAN switch cabinet to the apartments of each target customer. Fiber-to-the-building (FTTB) was deployed between the buildings using the Cisco ONS 15454 Multiservice Transport Platform (MSTP) and Cisco Catalyst 4507R Switches.

Terayon Unveils IPTV Ad Insertion Solution

Terayon Communication Systems announced a "telco-optimized" IPTV ad insertion platform. The new DM 6400-IPTV Network CherryPicker enables telecommunication carriers to seamlessly insert local advertisements into MPEG-4/AVC encoded digital video.

In addition to advertising, telco carriers can also use the DM 6400-IPTV for other important digital video applications. These include the aggregation of programming content from multiple sources, grooming customized channel line-ups by 'cherry picking' programs from multiple programming sources, supporting payload-aware program redundancy and emergency alert system (EAS) messaging.

Terayon intends to continue developing the telco-optimized DM 6400-IPTV with additional features, such as forward error correction, scrambling and new 'Localization on Demand' features to allow delivery of more personalized content.

Terayon said it is working closely with all of its ad insertion partners -- Adtec, C-COR and SeaChange International -- to ensure product interoperability. Terayon is also working with several of the largest vendors to the telecommunication industry -- including Nortel -- to integrate the DM 6400-IPTV as part of larger, complete digital video solutions for telecom carriers.

Terayon noted that U.S. cable operators alone earned more than $4.3 billion in local advertising revenues in 2004, according to Kagan Associates.

Caspian and Verilink Targets Multimedia Service Assurance Architecture

Caspian and Verilink are developing a joint Multimedia Service Assurance Architecture (MSAA) to help service providers manage service level agreements (SLAs), create new revenue opportunities for tiered services, and improve quality-of-experience (QoE) for service subscribers. Key elements of the MSAA will include new multimedia access gateways from Verilink, which are deployed at customer sites, and Caspian flow-based media controllers deployed at network peering or aggregation points.

The companies said their joint architecture will enable service providers to establish and enforce policies for fair use of their network resources. With the ability to control peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic and effectively allocate bandwidth for premium multimedia IP services, service providers will be able to guarantee true end-to-end QoS and high QoE for broadband subscribers of gaming, VoIP, VoD, and future IP services.

"The Multimedia Service Assurance Architecture represents the industry's first traffic management solution that gives service providers control over individual traffic flows. With policy-based bandwidth, service providers will be able to easily prioritize premium traffic over basic services and prevent peer-to-peer download traffic from negatively affecting service quality," said Junaid Islam, vice president for technology strategy and marketing for Caspian.

"Converging IP services over a network brings QoS and bandwidth issues to the forefront of service providers' decision-making processes," said Sab Gosal, vice president of marketing at Verilink. "Of prime concern is how to ensure QoS through a multitude of connections, where bandwidth is necessarily limited. The Verilink and Caspian alliance provides an end-to-end technology solution that dramatically improves users' quality of experience and accelerates service providers' abilities to guarantee profitable, fair use of network resources."http://www.caspian.com

Cavalier Launches Broadband TV in Richmond, Virginia

Cavalier Telephone is preparing to launch broadband video services o residential customers beginning in Richmond, Virginia next month. The service offering, called Cavalier Broadband TV, will allow users to receive 150 digital video and music channels, a full featured interactive program guide, on-screen caller ID, and digital set top boxes. The Broadband TV service offering will be bundled with existing its existing telephone and broadband Internet service.

Cavalier is using MPEG4 video over fiber optic or ADSL2+.

Cavalier's "Triple Play" will offer local and long distance phone service, high speed DSL internet and 150 channels, for $95 a month.

In greater Richmond, Cavalier will leverage its existing broadband network, which delivers downloads speeds of up to 15 mbps and passes an estimated 150,000 homes.

Cavalier also announced plans to rollout video services in its other markets, including; Norfolk, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Delaware and Northern Virginia in the coming months.
  • Cavalier Telephone is using Amino's MPEG 4 set-top box, Tut Systems' Astria content processor video headend and edge-processing solutions, and SecureMedia's Encryptonite System CA/DRM software to secure the delivery of IPTV services.

Microsoft and Cisco Support Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE) for VoIP

Microsoft and Cisco Systems announced their support for the emerging Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE) methodology, which is a means to establish secure media connections across network address translators (NATs). The ICE methodology promises to make it easier to secure VoIP and media-rich communications between enterprises.

"Finding a way for VoIP to work better across NATs and firewalls is a problem that is faced across the industry," said Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president for the Office Real-Time Collaboration Group at Microsoft. "Microsoft and Cisco are encouraging our industry partners to utilize the ICE methodology to ensure more consistent, reliable experiences for our customers, and to improve Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based VoIP interoperability across networks."

"With service providers increasingly deploying converged voice-and-data services based on SIP, Microsoft's and Cisco's endorsement of ICE standards bodes well for our mutual customers," said Don Proctor, senior vice president of the Voice Technology Group at Cisco.

EC Rules Against Subsidy for Digital Terrestrial TV (DVB-T)

The European Commission ruled that subsidies worth some EUR 4 million granted to commercial broadcasters for the use of the digital terrestrial television (DVB-T) network in the German's Berlin-Brandenburg region violate EC Treaty state aid rules because they are liable to distort competition.

Without notifying the Commission, the media authority of Berlin-Brandenburg gave the subsidy to commercial broadcasters (including RTL and ProSiebenSat.1), to meet part of their transmission costs via the DVB-T network launched in November 2002. In return, the broadcasters undertook to use the DVB-T network licensed to the company T-Systems for at least five years. Following complaints by cable operators, the Commission opened a formal inquiry in July 2004.

In its latest DVB-T decision, the EC outlined acceptable forms of public support for the digital switchover. These include:

  • funding for the roll-out of a transmission network in areas where otherwise there would be insufficient TV coverage

  • financial compensation to public service broadcasters for the cost of broadcasting via all transmission platforms in order to reach the entire population, provided this forms part of the public service mandate

  • subsidies to consumers for the purchase of digital decoders as long as they are technologically neutral, especially if they encourage the use of open standards for interactivity

  • financial compensation to broadcasters which are required to discontinue analogue transmission before the expiry of their licences, provided this takes account of granted digital transmission capacity.

MCI Selects Alcatel to Migrate SS7 Signaling to IP

MCI is deploying Alcatel's next-generation signaling server to migrate the carrier's domestic and international SS7 signaling traffic to a packet-based solution. The deployment is described as an important step in MCI's network convergence strategy. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Alcatel 5070 Signaling Server Global (SSG) supports both signaling transfer points (STP) and VoIP, along with advanced routing capability. Along with traditional SS7 features, the compact platform also supports large-capacity services databases. http://www.alcatel.com

Tellabs Extends FTTP ONT for Use in Apartment Buildings

Tellabs announced Multiple Dwelling Unit (MDU) support for its Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) portfolio. Two new versions of the Tellabs 1600 Series Optical Network Terminal (ONT) will be released in Q1 2006. The new Tellabs ONTs are SIP ready, enabling migration to VoIP when the service provider is ready to implement the transition. Video services can be delivered via radio frequency (RF) video overlay or IPTV. Tellabs also provides optional element management systems that remotely manage operational, administrative, maintenance and provisioning functions to further reduce expenses.

Samsung Unveils Wireless Softswitch, Media Gateway; Core Network Solution

Samsung Telecommunications America unveiled a new CDMA core network solution that the company expects to offer commercially to U.S. wireless network operators by the end of Q1 2006. The solution includes a Wireless Softswitch (WSS) for the U.S. and a Media Gateway (MGW).

Samsung said its core network solution is a next-generation mobile switching center (MSC) that gives wireless operators a highly flexible, scaleable architecture that supports an open architecture operating system and shares a common server platform for WCDMA (MSC server), CDMA (WSS), Wireline (SS) and IMS Server Applications. It continues to support legacy wireless services such as voicemail, SMS, push-to-talk, and music ring-back tones.

Specifically, Samsung's WSS supports next-generation network protocols SIP, VoiceXML, and Megaco, making it a future-ready solution that allows subscribers to migrate to new, advanced packet-based IMS services via a simple software upgrade. Samsung's IMS provides wireless services including VoIP, multimedia conferencing, networked gaming, location-based services, instant messaging, and IP-TV.

Samsung's wireless and broadband network systems portfolio includes various Base Stations (In- building, Pico, Micro, Macro) that support CDMA 2000, WCMDA, and Mobile WiMax.

Samsung's Softswitch (SS) solution has been incorporated into its common platform in South Korea and the Netherlands. The company is the leading supplier of mobile switching centers in South Korea.

Verizon FiOS TV to Carry Washington National Baseball

Verizon's FiOS TV service will carry Washington Nationals Major League Baseball in 2006. Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), the television home of the Washington Nationals, signed Verizon as its fourth distributor to broadcast the team's games in 2006.

Verizon will soon announce the first availability of FiOS TV in the Mid- Atlantic region, where it will offer MASN as part of its popular Expanded Basic lineup. Verizon has franchises to offer its fiber-optic powered FiOS TV in Herndon, Fairfax County and Fairfax City, and is negotiating with additional municipalities in Virginia and Maryland for the authority to offer TV there.

BellSouth Targets Triple Play MDU Market with Partner

BellSouth signed a non-exclusive, three-year Sales Teaming Agreement with MDU Communications to jointly market and deploy services to the residential multi-dwelling unit ("MDU") market in the BellSouth territory. Joint BellSouth and MDU Communications proposals and coordinated deployment of services will provide multi-family property owners and condominium boards with a full menu of premium residential technology services. Video services will include DIRECTV programming packages.