Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Macedonia Deploys Country-Wide Wireless Mesh with Strix

The Republic of Macedonia will deploy a country-wide wireless mesh network using Strix Systems' Access/One Outdoor Wireless System (OWS). The 1,000+ square-mile deployment is funded and deployed by Macedonian service provider On.Net and will be used to provide high speed data, voice, and video capabilities to the entire population of over two million people.

On.Net has already deployed Strix's high-performance, multi-radio wireless mesh throughout Macedonia's capital city of Skopje, which provides wireless broadband capabilities to the nearly one million inhabitants.

Strix said its equipment was selected after a multi-month trial. Due to the mountainous terrain of Macedonia and the inherent throughput limitations of single- and dual-radio solutions, all other systems failed to provide acceptable levels of performance for even basic data services, not to mention real-time services like wireless VoIP (wVoIP).

Strix's multi-radio wireless mesh networking system dedicates radios for each separate function of the mesh (client access, backhaul ingress, and backhaul egress). Moving forward, On.Net will also be a standardizing on Strix's Access/One products and has created a model for deploying broadband wireless in other developing countries based on the capabilities of Strix's technology.

Infineon Enhances IMS Client for Mobile Phones

Infineon Technologies' Comneon subsidiary began shipping the second release of its IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) Client for mobile phones. The implementation supports the standardized Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) push-to-talk application (version 1.0) and other IMS services, such as presence and group management.

Infineon offers a fully portable IMS client embedded in mobile phones. It is also integrated in the APOXITM (Application Programming Object-Oriented Extendable Interface) framework and an option of Infineon's multimedia reference design platforms, such as the MP-EU. The client supports all SIP-based applications, including real-time video sharing, content sharing, instant messaging, interactive gaming and presence to allow handset manufacturers to seamlessly deploy such advanced services on any IMS-compliant handset or mobile terminal.

Infineon recently successfully completed interoperability tests of its IMS client with all major infrastructure vendors in order to verify the client functionality of major IMS features over an IP network, including establishing sessions for OMA Push-to-talk 1.0.

"Our first version of the IMS device framework has proven its reliability in several million mobile phones sold since spring 2005. The second release marks a significant milestone on our way to become the world's first to provide fully 3GPP Release 5 compliant IMS client frameworks in 2006," stated Dr. Christian Mucke, vice president of Infineon's Mobile Software business unit and managing director of Comneon GmbH & Co.

MetaSolv Lands Large Tier 1 Contract for Inventory and Order Management

MetaSolv was awarded a new multi-million dollar agreement with a major Tier 1, U.S.-based wireless and wireline service provider who has selected its M6 next-generation order and inventory management solution. The MetaSolv platform will be used to manage wholesale circuit and packet-based voice services. The unnamed carrier anticipates growth of its wholesale cable partner initiative. The operator will leverage MetaSolv's M6 to manage key inventory functions including telephone number management and provide comprehensive ordering capabilities to automate service orders, including regulated Local Service Requests (LSRs) with incumbent local exchange carriers.

BT Cuts Local Loop Unbundling Prices 40% to Stimulate Competition

BT announced a 40% price cut in Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) tariffs aimed at further stimulating competition in the UK broadband market.

The move follows BT's commitment to industry in June that it would bring the price of LLU New Provide charges in line with those for Wholesale Line Rental (WLR). BT said it is commited to making LLU a success.

From 15-Dec-2005, the price for new provides on the fully unbundled product will be reduced from £168.38 (ex. VAT) to £99.95 (ex. VAT).

BT will also be withdrawing the minimum term rental charges for both its shared and fully unbundled products giving LLU operators the opportunity to pass this benefit on to end-customers.

This reduction follows the 70% reduction in total charges for shared LLU introduced by BT Wholesale in September 2004. With the introduction of these price reductions, the UK is now ranked third in Europe on price comparison for LLU.
  • In September 2005, BT unveiled openreach, a separate operating company, that will ensure that all service providers have transparent and equal access to the local BT network. openreach, which will be operational from January 2006, will be responsible for operating and maintaining the "first mile" infrastructure that connects homes and business to BT exchanges across the UK.

  • In June 2005, BT reached an agreement with Ofcom, the telecom regulatory authority in the UK, to avoid the break-up of the company and provide a long-term framework for the UK's fixed line telecommunications market. Under the agreement, BT will set-up a new - and operationally separate – business unit with a distinct new brand and identity. The new business unit will be staffed by around 30,000 employees presently responsible for the operation and development of BT's local access networks. It will have separate physical locations for management teams and separate bonus schemes with long-term incentive plans that reflect the objectives of the new business unit, not those of the BT Group plc. The new business unit will be required, through a set of formal rules on governance and separation, to support all providers' retail activities (including those of BT Retail) on a precisely equivalent basis. The new business unit will offer a universally available product and service set, including Local Loop Unbundling (LLU), shared loops (where BT Retail continues to provide voice services and another provider is responsible for broadband), Wholesale Line Rental (WLR), and Backhaul service. Equivalence of Input will also apply to IPStream - BT's wholesale internet products used by many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide broadband connections for their customers.

Taiwan's Chunghwa Mobile Selects Azaire for Fixed-Mobile Convergence

Taiwan's Chunghwa Mobile Business Group will deploy Azaire Networks' IP Converged Network Platform (IP-CNP) to provide its subscribers seamless services across 2.5G, 3G and WLAN networks. Chunghwa Mobile subscribers will be able to use a notebook PC with a 3G data card, a PDA or a dual-mode handset to access unified services across different wireless networks. Subscriber will be able to roam between macrocellular 3G networks and WLAN zones, always receiving the best connected service that has an identical look and feel.

Azaire Networks, a start-up based in Santa Clara, offers a 3GPP- and IETF-compliant platform that supports both legacy voice and data services, as well as future IMS services.

"Taiwan's Dual Network Initiative is a government-sponsored program to integrate 3G and WiFi networks throughout the island," said Bill Howe, Azaire's CEO.

China Mobile Selects ZTE for DWDM Network

China Mobile selected ZTE for a new optical backbone that will span 521 network nodes covering 18 provinces in Western and Southern China. The 25,000-km network is based on ZTE's ZXWM M900 DWDM platform, which incorporates ultra long-haul transmission technologies like ERZ (Enhanced Return to Zero code) modulation, AFEC (Advanced Forward Error Correction), HOBA (High-power Optical Booster Amplifier) and compensation technologies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

FCC Commissioner Abernathy Steps Down

FCC Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy, a Republican, submitted her resignation letter to President Bush. She has served four and a half years in the post.

Abernathy's resignation now leaves three of the five FCC Commissioner seats vacant. Earlier this month, President Bush nominated Michael J. Copps, of Virginia, for a new five year term as FCC Commissioner from July 1, 2005. It would be Copp's second term in the post. Copps is a Democrat. Bush nominated Deborah Taylor Tate, of Tennessee, to serve as FCC Commissioner for the remainder of the term held by former FCC Chair Michael Powell, who resigned earlier this year. This term expires June 30, 2007. Tate, who is a Republican, currently serves on the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and FCC's Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Telecommunications Services.

Senate Commerce Chairman Stevens has indicated that confirmation hearings for the first two seats could be held in December.

BellSouth Test Markets Residential IT Services

BellSouth launched a "Managed Home Service" technical support service in metro Atlanta on a trial basis. BellSouth trained technicians will work with customers over the phone or at their homes to complete a range of PC services, including software installation, MP3 player and digital camera set-up, as well as system repair and virus removal. Charges will vary according to the services performed.

Sunrise Telecom Adds VDSL Test Module

Sunrise Telecom introduced a Modular Test Toolkit (MTT) VDSL test module for its recently announced SunSet MTT ACM+ test chassis. The solution allows construction technicians to turn up and certify outside plant VDSL electronics and condition copper loops to support triple play FTTn deployments.

It can be used to verify service quality and successful provisioning at the customer's home. Technicians can also use the MTT-ACM+ to do all the copper qualification and troubleshooting tests they need to ensure that they are getting the maximum attainable performance out of the copper pair that serves the customer's house.

The SunSet MTT family includes a variety of chassis configurations. More than 35 test modules are now available.

Greenfield Names Cisco Exec as CEO

Greenfield Networks, a start-up offering merchant Ethernet switching silicon solutions, named Bill Rossi as its President and CEO. Rossi previously served as vice president and general manager of the Wireless Networking Business Unit at Cisco Systems. Rossi joined Cisco as part of the Grand Junction Networks acquisition in 1995. He also led marketing for Cisco's Desktop Switching Business Unit.
  • In October 2005, Greenfield Networks announced its "Packetry" II Architectural Platform, targeting the rapidly growing Metro Ethernet market driven by Triple Play services and IP Convergence. The Packetry II architectural platform features a combination of cost-effective Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, integrated traffic management capabilities, and advanced metro capabilities, such as scalable tables and buffering, IPv4, IPv6, MPLS, VPLS, QinQ, MAC-in-MAC and hierarchical QoS, traffic policing and shaping.

Skystream Supplies Media Routers for China Education TV

China Education Television (CETV) will use SkyStream's media delivery platforms to expand video content distribution, rural Internet service and distance-learning programs to remote areas.

CETV will extend broadband distance learning across the nation using the SkyStream Source Media Router (SMR-26) IP encapsulation solution for broadcasting the educational content at the uplink and Edge Media Receiver and Router (EMR) to receive and distribute the content to its end destination. CETV will also offer video-on-demand and other video services to 25 remote areas via satellite, where broadband services are not currently available.

CETV is extending its rural educational service starting in the Gobi Desert as part of its new "village-to-village" program. In the next few years, CETV plans to roll out Internet and video services to more than 5,000 rural villages.

BroadLight Raises $10 Million for GPON Silicon

BroadLight, a start-up offering components for FTTP solutions, closed $10 million in a series D financing round led by Motorola Ventures.

Motorola Ventures was joined in the funding round by BroadLight's existing investors, including Azure Capital Partners, Broadcom, Delta Ventures, Israel Seed Partners, Siemens Venture Capital, Star Ventures and Tellabs.
  • In May 2005, BroadLight unveiled its end-to-end solution for gigabit-capacity, passive optical networks (GPONs). The end-to-end GPON (E2E GPON) features Broadlight's BL2000 GPON System-on-Chip (SoC) for cost-focused ONT applications and also includes PONmaker software, OLT MAC, OLT and ONT transceivers. Key features will include 2.5 Gbps PON performance, 1:64 split ratio, and native transport of both Ethernet and TDM, which is delivered at up to 155 Mbps using GPON Encapsulated Mode (GEM).

Thomson Supplies Digital Cable Set-Top Box to Kabel Deutschland

Kabel Deutschland, Germany's leading cable operator, has certified Thomson's DCI1500G cable set-top box for deployment in its network.

The DCI1500 features Nagravision's CAK6.0G digital security platform and conditional access to protect against hacking and piracy. The STB provides a multitude of features for digital TV subscribers, including access to free and Pay-TV programmes, home cinema-quality audio and a seven day electronic program guide. It comes with three language options - German, English and Turkish - and offers family-oriented functions such as parental control channel blocking with a pin-code system.
  • With over 19 million homes connected to cable TV services, Germany has Europe's largest cable subscriber base. The German government has mandated a migration to digital cable by 2010.

Indonesia's Biznet Deploys Nortel's Metro Ethernet

Biznet, an Indonesian ISP and data center provider, has deployed optical Ethernet technology in Jakarta. The new Biznet services include MetroNET, a bundled local loop and Internet access service at speeds up to 2 Mbps, and MetroWAN, a local loop service for interconnecting multiple locations across Jakarta's main business district. The services use Nortel's Ethernet Routing Switch 8600 to provide guaranteed bandwidth service levels, secure services with customer demarcation on a shared uplink, and QoS for triple-play applications.

Nortel's Ethernet Routing Switch 8600 delivers high-density, high-performance Layer 2-7 switching, routing and traffic classification.

Nortel said more than 35,000 units and 187,000 service cards have been shipped to service provider and enterprise customers around the world.

Nortel Supplies IP Telephony to Israeli Parliament

The Knesset, Israel's governing parliament, has selected Nortel to provide a converged IP telephony network.

The current deployment calls for the implementation of the Nortel Communication Server 1000E, making the Knesset and its members the first such deployment in the country.

In the first phase of the project, to be completed by the end of 2005, 400 of the total 1,600 lines in the IP telephony system will be deployed in the Knesset's new wing by Taldor, Nortel's channel partner in the project. The remaining lines will be upgraded in the second stage of the project during 2006.

The Knesset's new network also includes the Nortel Switched Firewall for enhanced security, protecting the network against external threats such as worms and viruses while providing full backup and redundancy. Nortel will also provide its CallPilot unified messaging solution, combining voicemail, e-mail and fax messages into a single mailbox, accessible by phone, any desktop PC, or mobile e-mail enabled devices (PDAs).

In addition, the Israeli parliament will deploy the Nortel Contact Center for skill-based routing, flexible call treatments, real-time displays, and comprehensive management and reporting functionality enhancing the overall customer service experience.

QUALCOMM Achieves 3.6 Mbps Data Rates With HSDPA

QUALCOMM has achieved HSDPA data rates of 3.6 Mbps with major infrastructure vendors using test terminals based on its Mobile Station Modem (MSM) chipset.

"We have gone from sampling the MSM6280 chipset to achieving 3.6 Mbps calls in interoperability testing with infrastructure vendors in less than two months, and anticipate reaching data rates of 7.2 Mbps in the near future," said Luis Pineda, senior vice president of marketing and product management for QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies.

QUALCOMM's first generation MSM6275 solution supports data rates of up to 1.8 Mbps.

Its second-generation MSM6280 single-chip baseband supports WCDMA (UMTS)/HSDPA and is backward compatible with GSM/GPRS/EDGE (EGPRS) standards. Designed to support data rates of up to 7.2 Mbps on the downlink, the solution also integrates a wide range of multimedia features, including advanced video, audio, imaging and 3D graphics capabilities.

Vitesse Passes 15 Million GigE PHY Port Shipments

Vitesse Semiconductor has shipped in excess of 15 million Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) PHY ports to the worldwide market. The company said its single, quad, and octal SimpliPHY transceiver products have gained significant market share in the Gigabit LAN-on-Motherboard (GLOM), Gigabit Ethernet Passive Optical Network (GEPON), and Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) Switch port market segments.

Cingular Enhances its Wireless Internet Interface

Cingular Wireless today announced a significant upgrade to its MEdia Net wireless Internet service that simplifies the interface to online content and adds personalization features.

The new interface provides access to news and entertainment headlines, sports scores, financial quotes, local weather, and other content from a personal "phone page" with just one or two clicks on the phone's keypad.

Cingular's more than 30 million customers with data-capable handsets will be automatically migrated to the new MEdia Net over the next several weeks.

InfoSpace, a long-time Cingular partner and leading provider of mobile content and search on mobile devices and the Web, is powering the new MEdia Net.

Cingular is also introducing a MEdia Net Live Ticker that delivers pre-selected content, such as breaking news, weather and sports information, directly to consumers' phone displays without the need to touch a button or incur any charge for accessing the initial information. MEdia Net Live Ticker provides zero-click access to specific personalized headlines and content. Information rolling across the "ticker" at the bottom of the phone display is updated automatically several times daily to keep consumers current with their favorite news, weather, sports and entertainment content.

MEdia Net services can be purchased on a pay-as-you-go basis ($0.01 per KB), or included in a MEdia Net or MEdia Bundle package. These packages range in price from $4.99 for 1MB of data usage to $19.99 for unlimited data usage.

SBC to Invest $800 million in Texas Network

SBC Communications announced plans to invest $800 million in video and high-speed Internet access technology in Texas. The move follows the passage of a bill that streamlines the process of getting cable franchises for telecommunications carriers.

SBC company officials were joined by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, numerous state and local officials, and executives from Alcatel at their Plano, Texas, IPTV Demonstration Center, in announcing one of the largest single private-sector technology deployments in the state's history.

Texas Gov. Perry took part in a tour of Project Lightspeed technology at the Alcatel facility. SBC has a five-year agreement with Alcatel to provide equipment and video system integration services for Project Lightspeed.

In addition to the investment for ongoing deployment of Project Lightspeed in Texas, SBC unveiled an extensive broadband expansion effort:

  • DSL broadband service will be added to the remaining 72 suburban and rural SBC Texas central offices that do not have the capability today, meaning that all of the company's 535 central offices in Texas will be wired to provide the service to eligible customers.

  • In addition, through the installation of fiber-equipped neighborhood DSL gateways, SBC Texas is bringing DSL service to another 228 neighborhoods in dozens of communities throughout the state by the end of the year. SBC said these moves will put advanced broadband service within reach of the vast majority of cities and towns served by SBC Texas.

Latest Atheros WiFi Chip Integrates Processor, MAC, Baseband, and Radio functions

Atheros Communications introduced its most integrated single-chip wireless LAN for access point and router products to date. The Atheros AR5007AP-G features a complete 802.11b/g wireless access point system on a chip, combining the wireless network processor, media access controller (MAC), baseband, and all radio functions up to the antenna. The level of integration significantly reduces the cost of implementing 802.11g Wi-Fi in access point products for homes and small businesses.

Atheros said the AR5007AP-G offers a total component reduction of 40 percent versus the Atheros' AR5006AP-G access point solution. Some of the key WLAN components that have been integrated onto Atheros' newest single-chip include an on-chip power amplifier, low noise amplifiers (LNA), antenna switch and transmit/receive filtering. Additionally, the Atheros AR5007AP-G chip requires 100-150 fewer external components than competing solutions. The high level of integration enables the use of a lower cost 2-layer printed circuit board (PCB) and eliminates the need for any external RF shielding -- further reducing the AP bill of materials.

The Atheros AR5007AP-G offers support for IEEE 802.11i security and 802.11e QoS specifications. Additionally, the solution supports Atheros XR (eXtended Range) and JumpStart for Wireless technologies.

Atheros is currently in volume production with the AR5007AP-G with a list price of $12.50 in 10,000-unit quantities.

802.11g devices represent 80 percent of the current WLAN market based on IDC's latest unit forecast, and are expected to account for over two-thirds of the market next year.

Yankee Group Acquired by Alta Communications

The Yankee Group, a leading analyst firm focused on communications and networking technologies, has been acquired by Alta Communications, a private equity firm, and Emily Nagle Green from previous owner Decision Matrix Group, LLC. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Emily Nagle Green is a research industry executive who served most recently as CEO of Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
In a related move, longtime Yankee Group President and CEO Brian Adamik is stepping down after a transition period to pursue other opportunities.