Sunday, November 13, 2005

Strix Secures $12 Million for Wireless Mesh

Strix Systems, a start-up based in Calabasas, California, secured $12 million in an oversubscribed round of preferred stock financing for its wireless mesh networking solutions.

Strix's Access/One solutions employ a unique modular, multi-radio, multi-channel, and multi-RF wireless mesh architecture that enables the high throughput and low latency needed to support wireless voice, video, and data applications. The design supports up to six radios per node, enabling some dedicated radios to be used for backhaul ingress, backhaul egress, and client connectivity. The design can use any combination of 802.11a, b, or g radios. The multi-radio mesh architecture segments the network and supports QoS for voice and other applications. Strix has also outlined a WiMAX and mobile WiMAX strategy that will add further capabilities to architecture.

New investor Crosslink Capital led the funding round. All of Strix's existing investors, including El Dorado Ventures, Palomar Ventures, UV Partners, and Windward Ventures, participated in the latest round. This financing brings Strix's total venture capital funding to $54 million.

Mesh Architecture is Best for Delivering VoIP?

Cyrus Irani
wireless data networks, voice is a "killer app." This article
will first look at the four key mesh network performance requirements for
real time applications; the three mesh architectural options when
deploying wireless voice over IP (wVoIP) over a WiFi mesh network; how a
multi-radio, multi-RF architecture positively impacts the capital cost to
deploy; and the operating expenses involved to properly operate such

Siemens Secures IPTV Content with Verimatrix

Siemens will integrate Verimatrix's Content Authority System (VCAS) into its SURPASS Home Entertainment portfolio, providing broadband operators with additional controls to guard against IPTV video and content piracy. The SURPASS Home Entertainment solution also includes integrated security and management solutions provided by middleware from Myrio, a Siemens company.

Verimatrix's VCAS, already part of the Siemens Home Entertainment solution deployed by KPN Royal Dutch Telecom, allows devices and systems within media delivery networks to be encrypted and authenticated through a public key infrastructure (PKI) that identifies security breaches and unauthorized network users.

By embedding user-specific digital watermarks within video content, the Verimatrix solution captures complete histories of file usage and detects the individual's set-top box where piracy is occurring.

VCAS can embed three types of watermarks to track usage: within the primary data center, at each edge site (or point of presence) and a third user-specific watermark on each client device.

Additionally, Verimatrix's Legal Action Management System tracks pirated content, identifies hackers and helps provide operators with the ability to deter hackers, resulting in a reduced likelihood of future piracy infringements.
  • Verimatrix protects content and video streams, as well as detects digital piracy at its point of origin, with carrier-class solutions designed specifically for today's bi-directional IPTV networks. Verimatrix developed VCAS as a software-based content security solution built on the principles of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) and X509 digital certificates combined with digital watermarks. VCAS inserts three different types of watermarks so that the complete history of a media file can be determined: within the primary data center, at each edge site (or point-of-presence), and a third watermark, called a user-specific watermark, on each client device.

  • The user-specific digital watermark is a machine readable electronic fingerprint, which is embedded in the video stream. The watermark is invisible to the eye, but survives the transition from digital to analog and also commonly-used transcoding methods. The absence of one or more watermarks means that acts of piracy are being conducted before the media file arrives at the individual's set-top box.

  • Verimatrix is based in San Diego.

China Netcom and Telefonica Sign Strategic Alliance

China Netcom and the Telefónica Group formally entered into a strategic alliance. The deal will become effective after the completion of the acquisition of the additional shares by Telefónica, representing the difference between the existing stake of 5% of the outstanding issued shares held by Telefónica and 9.9% of the entire issued share capital of the company outstanding from time to time.

Tropos Adds Former Qualcomm Exec as VP of Marketing

Tropos Networks announced the addition of Ellen Kirk as vice president of marketing. Previously, Kirk served as Vice President, Business Development, in the CDMA Technologies Division of Qualcomm, where she was responsible for creating W-CDMA handset strategies, defining initiatives for accelerating migration to 3G, and driving adoption of location-based services worldwide. In this role, Ms. Kirk was instrumental in creating global awareness of Qualcomm's gpsOne technology as the dominant method for locating wireless handsets. Kirk joined Qualcomm's leadership team through its acquisition of wireless-assisted GPS pioneer SnapTrac.

Tropos Announces New Tools and Partners for MetroMesh Networks

Tropos Networks announced significant enhancements to its MetroMesh architecture with its new family of MetroMesh operation and optimization tools, as well as new partners to help with rapid deployment wireless mesh services.

The MetroMesh optimization and operation tools aimed at speeding the deployment of MetroMesh networks include:

  • Tropos Insight -- a remote MetroMesh analyzer and optimizer that evaluates backhaul, mesh and client performance across the network. The tool retrieves metrics and local statistical data from each router and then identifies opportunities to improve throughput and capacity in MetroMesh networks.

  • Tropos Drive -- a purpose-built drive-test appliance that emulates clients on the street. It models different client transmit power levels, receive sensitivities and antenna gains. The application loads data to a GIS mapping tool for a graphical view of coverage and throughput

  • SignalMX by EDX Wireless -- a MetroMesh coverage planning and mapping tool that helps visualize signal coverage

  • Tropos MetroMesh APIs, which enable tight integration of equipment and software from third-party developers

Tropos also announced:

MetroMesh Partner Program, including alliances with Badger Meter (radio-frequency automatic meter reading); EDX Wireless (MetroMesh coverage planning tools); Nomadix (subscriber access Wi-Fi gateways); and Ruckus Wireless (high-performance, in-home Wi-Fi access devices).

MetroMesh Solution Partners, including Aptilo Networks (service and access management solutions for wired and wireless broadband networks); Ecutel Systems (secure enterprise mobility software); Ellacoya Networks (service control systems for broadband networks); Motorola (Canopy wireless broadband for providing backhaul solutions for mesh networks); and SmartSynch (wireless smart meters throughout North America).

MetroMesh Solution Partners for video surveillance, including
Data911 (mobile computers with sunlight-visible touchscreen displays, mobile digital video systems and mobile-centric public safety software); On-Net Surveillance Systems (IP-based video surveillance); Panasonic (rugged mobile laptop computers and digital video and mobile video solutions); and Sony Electronics (MPEG and JPEG compression-based IP security video cameras).

Existing MetroMesh Solution Partners include Airpath Wireless (OSS and clearinghouse platform to provision, authenticate and bill end-users as well as to settle roaming transactions); Boingo Wireless (Wi-Fi hot spot aggregator); Netmotion Wireless (mobile VPN providing security, management, cross-network roaming and reliable application access); Padcom (providing mobile workers and devices with seamless and secure connectivity across different wireless networks; and Pronto Networks (operations support systems (OSS) for managing large-scale, broadband wireless networks).
  • Tropos has more than 250 customer deployments, including recent major city-wide wins in Philadelphia, Anaheim and Milwaukee.

  • Tropos is working with Google on a plan to bring city-wide wireless access to Mountain View, California -- where Google is based.

Patriot Media Deploys Nortel Cable VoIP

Patriot Media, a cable operator serving 115,000 homes in central New Jersey, is using Nortel's cable VoIP solution for its newly launched Digital Phone service. The installation uses Nortel's PacketCable-qualified Communication Server (CS) 2000-Compact softswitches. Nortel Global Services also provided integration and testing of IP Unity's Mereon 6000 Media Server and Mereon Unified Messaging application.

Juniper to Acquire Funk Software for Network Access Security

Juniper Networks agreed to acquire Funk Software, a provider of standards-based network access security solutions, for approximately $122 million in cash.

Funk Software, which is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, develops products and technologies that protect the integrity of the network by ensuring both the user and the device meet an organization's security policies before they are granted access. These solutions include market leading products such as its RADIUS/AAA server, Steel-Belted Radius, Odyssey Client, an 802.1X client for wireless and wired networks and its recently introduced Endpoint Assurance Product suite for network-based enforcement of endpoint integrity.

Juniper said the acquisition will bring key technology to enhance its recently announced unified access control solution and further its strategy to secure and assure the delivery and performance of applications over an IP network.
  • Funk Software is headed by Paul Funk. Prior to founding the company in 1982, he worked for vendors including Data General and Radix Systems, and worked as a consultant in modulation coding and error-correction coding for hard disk drives. Funk is the co-author of the EAP-TTLS WLAN security protocol which has been widely implemented by major wireless LAN equipment and security vendors.

Capgemini Selects France Telecom in EUR 200 Million Project

Capgemini selected France Telecom and its subsidiaries Orange and Equant for a ten year network outsourcing project for Schneider Electric Industries. The deal, which was valued at EUR 200 million, covers telecommunications systems and services at approximately 500 sites across Europe.

Fermilab Deploys Ciena ONLINE Metro DWDM

The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) is deploying Ciena's ONLINE Metro Multiservice DWDM Platform.

ONLINE Metro is enabling 10G wavelengths for Fermilab to connect with one of the most advanced international optical networking facilities in the world - the StarLight (Science Technology and Research Light-Illuminated Gigabit High-Performance Transit) facility on the Chicago campus of Northwestern University.

At this week's SCinet event at the SC|05 conference in Seattle, Fermilab will demonstrate disk-to-disk replication between its facility and the show floor, utilizing Ciena's CN 4200 FlexSelect Advanced Services platform, a next-generation multiservice transport and aggregation solution, integrated with Fermilab's ONLINE Metro deployment for connectivity to StarLight and the UltraScience Net.

In addition, Ciena will be demonstrating the following at the event:

  • Delivery of 15 10G wavelengths to exhibit floor via CoreStream optical transmissions systems.

  • 10G AES, 256-bit key encryption with transceiver-based encryption embedded on two CoreStream line modules

  • 40G connectivity on the CoreStream line system, enabled for SCinet by Mintera Corporation, proving the system's upgradeability to meet both 10G and 40G lightpaths on the same line system.

  • Dynamic provisioning of GbE and 10GbE bandwidth via CoreDirector between Oak Ridge National Laboratory's facility in Tennessee and its exhibit in Seattle.

  • Integrated network management via ON-Center for full management capability and performance monitoring of the Ciena-based portion of the SCinet network.

Cingular Offers MobiTV's 40-Channel Radio Service

Cingular Wireless began offering MobiTV's 40-channel digital radio service to its mobile customers.

MobiRadio on Cingular is a rich consumer application which displays album art, song and artist information during playback. In the coming months, Cingular and MobiTV expect to expand the services offered through MobiRadio by integrating the ability to instantly purchase related ringtones and other associated content as the music plays directly from the customer's Cingular phone.

MobiRadio on Cingular is currently available on the Nokia 6620, Sony Ericsson S710 and Z500a, but will be available on additional handsets soon. The cost is $6.99 a month plus kilobyte usage.

Cingular already offers the MobiTV service to its mobile customers.

China Unicom Deploys Cisco Mobile Exchange

China Unicom will deploy the Cisco CMX (Cisco Mobile Exchange) solution in Beijing, Guangdong, Shandong and Heilongjiang to support on-demand services, service-based authorization and tariff schemes.

The move to a wireless data access platform also facilitates China Unicom's development in the 2.5G and 3G mobile data business. The CMX enables China Unicom to manage real-time services and pre-paid applications. In addition, the Cisco CMX supports pre-paid and post-paid systems and allows operators to switch from air-time-based or per-byte tariff schemes to those based on services or applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Level 3 Signs Multiyear VoIP Deal with NJ's Patriot Media

Level 3 is providing its (3)VoIP Enhanced Local service to Patriot Media, a New Jersey based cable operator serving 115,000 households. Included in (3)VoIP Enhanced Local service is a fixed-line solution for E-911 that includes network connections to public safety answering points (PSAPs) that serve approximately 68 percent of households across the United States.

The principal components offered by Level 3's (3)VoIP Enhanced Local service include network trunking, local telephone numbers, local number portability, the safety of E-911, operator assistance, caller ID, directory listings, and directory assistance.

Nokia Powers Optus/Vodafone Shared 3G Network in Australia

Nokia supplied network infrastructure and turnkey services for Optus' 3G services launch in Australia, as well as assisting Optus to develop 3G consumer applications.

In August 2004, Optus and Vodafone Australia agreed to share 3G network sites and radio infrastructure across Australia. Under the agreement, Optus and Vodafone will work together to build and operate a joint national 3G radio network infrastructure.

The shared network is the first in the world to feature Nokia's Multi-Operator Radio Access Network (MO-RAN) technology, which allows for the sharing of radio services. Where MO-RANs are deployed they allow for two operators to share the same base station and to share the radio network controller which directs the voice and data traffic back to the operator's own core network.

In addition, Optus and Nokia have worked with Australian developer, Bullant, to bring to market a 3G content personalization application called 'MyZooNow' which will run as the active handset user interface on a range of mobile phones including the Nokia N70 and Nokia 6680.

Ruckus Wireless Debuts Wireless Access Gateway for Metro WiFi

Ruckus Wireless, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, introduced the first in a family of broadband wireless home gateways - the Ruckus MetroFlex - designed for MetroMesh Wi-Fi networks.

Problems with metro-scale Wi-Fi networks include inadequate range, performance fluctuations, unstable wireless connectivity and broadband performance degradation due to interference.

The new Ruckus MetroFlex 2201, available in January 2006, integrates the company's patent-pending "BeamFlex" smart antenna technology, which features a six-element dynamic antenna array capable of transmitting RF signals in 63 unique antenna patterns and orientations.

A MetroMesh subscriber using the Ruckus MetroFlex 2201 can connect to the optimum MetroMesh Wi-Fi node based on signal quality, network performance and other service provider-specific parameters. The MetroFlex 2201 continuously monitors the signal quality as well as performance of the broadband wireless connection. Upon signal degradation caused by motion in the signal path such as a moving car or interference from nearby RF devices, the MetroFlex 2201 automatically adjusts the antenna configuration to receive signals and steer transmissions over an alternative optimum path. Automatic interference avoidance technology in the MetroFlex 2201 attenuates signals from interfering devices while increasing receive sensitivity toward the service provider infrastructure, making it the ideal MetroMesh customer premises equipment (CPE) for dense urban environments.

Ruckus Wireless has a joint marketing and development partnership with Tropos Networks to offer service providers a scalable and manageable broadband wireless infrastructure solution. The companies will guarantee interoperability and optimum connectivity between their products.

Moxi Media Center Deployed by 7th MSO, Installations reach 225,000

Eagle Communications, which owns six cable television systems in Kansas, will deploy the Moxi Media Center to its cable customers.

Eagle Communications is the seventh U.S. cable operator to deploy the Moxi Media Center, which has now been installed in more than 225,000 homes in roughly 80 markets across North America. The other Moxi customers include Charter, Adelphia, BendBroadband, NewWave Communications, Sunflower Broadband and Service Electric Cablevision.

The Moxi Media Center is a television media center that includes a dual-tuner HDTV digital video recorder (DVR), enabling the user to watch one channel while recording another, as well as pause and replay live TV. Viewers can quickly search for and select On Demand video content, watch DVDs and access instant weather, sports and news via an interactive information ticker. The Moxi Media Center also enables cable operators to offer subscribers other services including a wide selection of games, telephony applications, and management of digital photos and music. It recently won a second Emmy for its multi-room and advanced media center capabilities.
  • In October 2005, Charter Communications deployed its 100,000 Moxi Media Center.

SaskTel Selects JDSU's VoIP Test

Saskatchewan Telecommunications (SaskTel) selected JDSU's VoIP test and performance management service assurance solution.

SaskTel has chosen JDSU's NetComplete to improve service quality management processes by obtaining visibility of the end-customer voice experience throughout the entire lifecycle of a call. SaskTel will also be able to perform service-assurance functions, such as service monitoring, rapid fault isolation, and tier-two troubleshooting to effectively address the unique challenges of delivering carrier grade VoIP. NetComplete will help identify, isolate and overcome common QoS issues, such as poor call quality, dropped calls and slow dial-tone response.

Infonetics Predicts 54 Million IPTV Subscribers in 2009

Worldwide IPTV service revenue will skyrocket to over $44 billion in 2009, according to a new report from Infonetics Research. The market research firm is also predicting that:

  • IPTV services infrastructure capex will grow 1,377%, from $304 million to close to $4.5 billion

  • The number of IPTV subscribers worldwide will grow to 53.7 million in 2009

AOL Employs Konitiki's P2P for Internet VOD Service

AOL will begin offering a free, Internet-based VOD service that will feature multiple channels in high-resolution video of vintage TV episodes from Warner Bros. The network- called In2TV - will allow consumers to stream full-length TV episodes and will be available for free on the portal in early 2006. The service will be supported by commercials. GM is the first sponsor during the trial period.

AOL will use the Kontiki Plug-in and Relay Network delivery mechanism to deliver the VOD service. AOL is promising DVD-like quality in full screen playback mode.

The Kontiki Relay Network links the machines of all participants who install the AOL Hi-Q Video plug-in into a P2P speed delivery system that can deliver files faster by enabling the network to use the resources of participants' hard drives.

The Relay Network and the Kontiki software analyze the hard drives and connections of potential participants that have already received the file being requested to determine from where the file can be accessed and delivered more quickly.

The AOL Hi-Q Video plug-in is able to deliver videos from any of the other users in the Relay Network, which should be faster than accessing a remote server.

The Relay Network's "Grid Delivery" mechanism also delivers videos in pieces from many users simultaneously.

The AOL Hi-Q Video plug-in continuously monitors the responsiveness of every user it's getting a delivery from and requests data at the speed that user's machine can support.

AOL is using Windows Media DRM to protect media files from tampering and illegal distribution. AOL's Hi-Q Video will allow playback for videos for specific periods of time only, after which the media file will no longer play.

"With In2TV, we are enabling Web users to experience and interact with television programming in an entirely new way, and creating a new distribution platform for TV content," said Kevin Conroy, Executive Vice President, AOL Media Networks."

"Our goal is to be a leader in offering consumers unique and innovative entertainment options so that they can have as many choices as possible when it comes to choosing content. This deal with AOL is a great example of moving in that right direction," said Kevin Tsujihara, President, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.
  • In October 2005, Kontiki announced the fifth generation of its flagship software for delivering DVD-quality video across the Internet or enterprise. Called Kontiki 5.0, the new, enhanced platform enables content providers and enterprises to securely publish, protect, deliver and track rich media content at a fraction of the cost of traditional distribution systems, while giving users on-demand access to rich media content. Specific capabilities include:

    Content Security – Allows only authorized users to receive and view content and employs MS DRM (Digital Rights Management) to prevent unauthorized or illegal copying or sharing of content with another individual or device.

    Content Audit and Tracking Features -- Consumer media companies can measure the effectiveness and popularity of specific content. Enterprises can measure content consumption by employee or by region.

    Controlled Publishing – Only authorized users or groups can publish content for distribution.

    Efficient P2P Delivery – Maximizes the delivery and download speed of media content and manages bandwidth usage to reduce service provider costs. The peer-to-peer download process is transparent to the end user and does not impact the performance of the device.

    Customization and Integration – Kontiki 5.0 features a set of APIs enabling the enterprise and consumer media company to create fully customized and branded user interfaces.

    DVD-HDV Quality – Video quality is preserved, with full-screen, DVD or HDV quality.

  • The BCC is using Kontiki for its planned online content launch. Announced in August 2005, the "MyBBCPlayer" will let viewers legally download up to seven days of the BBC's most recent TV programs. For UK viewers, a simulcast of BBC One or BBC Two will be available online at the same time as the television broadcast. The Internet based service is expected to launch in 2006.

Venturi Wireless Optimizes Mobile Media Sessions

Venturi Wireless, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, introduced its optimization suite for consumer applications and wireless devices ranging from feature phones to smartphones and PDAs.

Venturi Wireless aims to significantly improve the performance of multimedia services on wireless devices, by providing an optimized media server and client application capable of accelerating downloads up to three times. Video/audio streams would start two to three times faster. The architecture scales to enable mobile operators to meet the demands of the broad consumer market, supporting up to millions of optimized user connections without any degradation in service quality.

The VClient acts as a transparent "media inter-mediator" to the media server, using bit-rate estimation of network transmission speeds for smoother playback of multimedia applications. Client- and server-side audio/video buffers keep the data stream from freezing during playback.

Venturi's "Adaptive Airlink Optimization" technology transparently replaces Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), including the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) for video, with a patented Venturi Transport Protocol (VTP) that overcomes the high latency and high packet loss issues that plague even next-generation wireless networks. VTP uses rate estimation to transmit data at full network speed, thus eliminating TCP's inefficiencies. VTP avoids TCP's congestion control reactions, which cause high latency and back-offs, leading to faster speeds and fewer dropped sessions, interruptions, and connection time-outs. Venturi said VTP also improves multimedia speed and reliability even in poor radio frequency (RF) conditions.

The VClient Handset Edition can be ported onto the most popular feature phones and smartphones based on Symbian, Linux, Windows Mobile, and BREW.

The new product suite complements Venturi's existing product line for wireless laptops. Venturi's handset optimization suite includes the Venturi V5000 optimization server, the VClient Handset Edition, and the VCentral management system. Venturi solutions optimize the performance of applications over any wireless data network, including 1xRTT, EV-DO, GPRS/EDGE, WCDMA and WiMAX/Wi-Bro networks.

The Venturi V5000 and VCentral will be available the first quarter of 2006. The VClient Handset Edition is available today for Windows Mobile Smartphones and Pocket PCs and will be available for feature phones starting January 2006.
  • In January 2005, Venturi Wireless secured $10 million in series C funding for its wireless network optimization solutions. Venturi Wireless's customers include Cingular Wireless, China Mobile, DDI Pocket, O2, and Verizon Wireless. InterWest Partners led the round with participation from new investor the Intel Communications Fund and existing investors Novus Ventures, Horizon Ventures and Storm Ventures. Total funding in Venturi Wireless stands at $23 million