Sunday, December 11, 2005

TI Unveils Blueprint for Next-Gen Residential Gateways

Texas Instruments unveiled its UR8 architecture -- its eighth generation of DSL silicon and the foundation for a full family of next residential gateway designed for Triple Play. Key features include an open platform, integrated voice capabilities and advanced multimedia processing over all DSL standards.

The UR8 architecture comprises an advanced multimedia processor, a programmable DSL PHY, a high-performance DSP-based voice sub-system and a rich set of standard interfaces. Delivering on TI's Uni-DSL vision, the common platform could be used for ADSL2+ or VDSL2 gateways.

The high-performance DSP supports up to four channels of wireline or wireless voice. In addition, the programmable voice subsystem allows manufacturers to leverage TI's extensive voice codec library and Telogy Software for VoIP, including wideband codecs, wireline and wireless codecs, and advanced features such as fax and modem relay, packet-loss minimization and noise-reducing algorithms.

The advanced multimedia processor handles queing for multiple streams of HDTV and other advanced video services.

Comcast Selects Cisco CRS-1 and Nortel DWDM

Comcast has selected the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System for the core of its nationwide backbone. The selection follows an intensive and successful trial of the platform's advanced features and functions, with a particular emphasis on continuous systems operation, IP service flexibility, overall scalability, multicast support for digital broadcast video and optical integration. The CRS-1 will serve in a backbone network where the highest levels of availability are required for advanced routing, multicast, IPv6, policy and quality of service (QoS). Cisco will also be providing operational readiness and training programs.

Comcast also selected a next-generation optical solution from Nortel for its converged national IP backbone. Specifically, Nortel will be supplying a DWDM solution that includes the Nortel Common Photonic Layer (CPL) and Optical Multiservice Edge (OME) 6500 platforms, as well as a full suite of implementation, integration, and support services. Comcast's optical deployment utilizes enhanced ROADM (reconfigurable optical add drop multiplexing) capabilities in Nortel's CPL platform to dynamically reallocate optical bandwidth as needed across the network, enabling a significant reduction in time-to-market for the introduction of new high-bandwidth services.

Thomson and Thales Partnership Targets Video Content Management

Thomson and Thales announced a strategic partnership as well as the potential acquisition by Thomson of Thales Broadcast & Multimedia (TBM), which provides platforms for IPTV services, video-on-demand, Mobile TV, and Digital TV and radio broadcasting systems and equipment. The companies said they will target high-value video content management and distribution solutions for in-flight entertainment, security, and defense applications, leveraging their respective skills and expertise in these domains. The financial terms of the acquisition are still being finalized.


Renesys Provides Real-time Monitoring/Analysis of Global Internet Traffic

Renesys Corporation introduced a Web-based service that gives service providers and government agencies a new level of operational and competitive intelligence as it relates to the Global Internet. The Renesys service enables customers to uniquely view Internet routes in real-time from multiple vantage points, including real time data on which Internet routes have been activated or deactivated by competitors. Renesys generates its data by monitoring routing tables across the Internet and tracking changes as they occur in real-time. The company also provides a historical view of routing table changes.

Renesys' Internet intelligence services are a set of three services already in deployment with leading service providers and government agencies: "Routing Intelligence", "Market Intelligence", and "XML Connection".

Routing Intelligence: Provides the detailed, immediate information service providers and government agencies need to detect and correct slowdowns or interruptions to mission-critical Internet connections. Routing Intelligence provides detailed forensics and analytic capabilities that include the ability to correlate routing information across different time periods and from multiple sources, and the ability to display information in an easy-to-read tabular and graph-based format. The comprehensive "History" option allows customers to view and analyze historic information dating back to 2000. Routing Intelligence is also available with an Alarms option, which provides real-time alerts when mission-critical networks become unreachable, IP addresses are hijacked, Global routes are unstable, or policies are violated. It is also the first and only product that can instantly detect and report such problems when they occur outside the service provider's infrastructure. Customers can use this information to provide higher throughput and greater reliability than their competitors, and lower their support costs (and improve customer satisfaction) by finding and fixing problems before they impact subscribers.

Market Intelligence: Provides the first set of reference analysis tools to enable sales, marketing, business development and peering professionals to monitor and evaluate the Internet's competitive landscape. This is essentially a real-time map of 180,000 networks and 30,000 organizations worldwide that make up the Internet. This data contains competitive information--on the Global, national, and regional rankings of all service providers based on the actual measured number and quality of customer networks they help connect to the Global Internet. Market Intelligence also provides annotated lists of service providers' current customers, including their geographic distribution and an analysis of the services they currently receive from competing providers, as well as daily changelists for the service provider sales force that visibly track global customer wins and/or those service providers who have been chosen as the primary provider, or bumped to secondary provider, plus longer-term trends of market performance from competing providers. Additionally, the solution offers side-by-side comparisons of the vital statistics of multiple service providers, including relative analyses of their Internet Index placements, measurements of their customer bases and their regional strengths and weaknesses.

XML Connection: A set of APIs that allow users to integrate real-time XML inter-network monitoring data into enterprise operations and security monitoring systems. This lowers the cost and increases the effectiveness of the service provider's network monitoring functions.

China Telecom Deploys Alcatel 7750 in Anhui Province

Anhui Telecom, a provincial subsidiary of China Telecom, will deploy the Alcatel 7750 Service Router to support Triple Play services in seven major cities of the province including Bengbu, Anqing, Suzhou, Fuyang, Huangshan, Huaibei and Tongling. The installation will be completed in early 2006. The contract, which marks the 23rd province in China to utilize the Alcatel IP solution, was won through Alcatel Shanghai Bell.

iPass to Acquire GoRemote for $76.5 Million

iPass agreed to acquire GoRemote in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $76.5 million.

iPass primarily serves roaming business users by providing aggregated Wi-Fi access venues. GoRemote is a leader in the major market segments of remote workers that iPass does not already serve directly -- teleworkers and employees in home offices, branch offices and retail locations to which GoRemote primarily provides managed broadband services.

The management teams are developing an integration plan that will be designed to take advantage of the companies' many similarities, including similar virtual network models, compatible technology platforms and information systems.

AT&T Reaches New Labor Contracts with CWA, IBEW

AT&T reached new labor contracts with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) on a new three year, four month agreements covering 11,000 pre-merger AT&T employees. The contracts remain in effect through April 4, 2009.

Following are highlights of the tentative agreements:

  • Wages: The agreements provide for four annual base wage increases at 11.2 percent, compounded, over the life of the contracts.

  • Pension: Pension benefits were increased by six percent in 2006 and by an additional five percent in 2008.

  • Healthcare: The agreements help the company control healthcare costs, but do not require monthly contributions. Employee co-pays and maximum out of pocket limits were increased for medical and prescription drug benefits for employee and retiree coverage. The retiree healthcare cap on company contributions, which was increased to $9,000 per retiree, provides that no retiree will contribute toward the point of service or traditional indemnity options during the term of the agreements.

  • Employment Security: An agreement was reached that prior to employees being laid off, AT&T Inc. will offer employees a position within the company.

MCI Carries Native 40 Gbps Wavelengths in Metro Network

MCI conducted a technology trial in October and November in which it carried 74 channels of 10 Gbps traffic and 2 channels of 40 Gbps traffic over 38 individual 80 km spans of standard single mode fiber around the Dallas metro area. The trial used the Xtera all-Raman DWDM system, Mintera advanced modulation format long reach OC768 transponders, and Juniper Networks T640 IP routers with OC768 short reach interfaces.

http://www.mci.comIn May 2004, MCI first demonstrated high-capacity Internet technology by successfully transmitting the world's first 40 Gbps IP traffic using MCI optical network fiber between San Francisco, California, and San Jose, California. That was followed weeks later with MCI extending the reach of 40 Gbps wavelengths to 1,200 km, using the company's ULH backbone network between Sacramento, Calif., and Salt Lake City, Utah.

SpectraLink to Acquire Denmark's KIRK Telecom

SpectraLink, which supplies enterprise wireless telephony solutions, agreed to acquire KIRK telecom (KIRK), a leading global provider of on-site, wireless communications products, based in Denmark. SpectraLink will pay a total of DKr 388 million (approximately $61.3 million) in cash to purchase all the stock of KIRK from its stockholders.

SpectraLink said the deal provides its with solutions for DECT, a widely adopted technology in both Europe and Asia-Pacific. Last year in Europe alone, more than one million DECT handsets were sold into the enterprise. There is now significant opportunity for growth in North America as a result of regulatory changes made by the FCC earlier this year facilitating the sale of DECT products in the U.S. market. The deal also provides additional reach overseas for SpectraLink's Wi-Fi products.

Actel Ships World's First Mixed-Signal FPGA

Actel began shipping the world's first mixed-signal FPGA (field programmable gate array). The company said that by integrating mixed-signal analog, flash memory and FPGA fabric in a single programmable device, it will be able to accelerate the time to bring a completed system design to market.

iPass Roaming Exceeds 35,000 Live Wi-Fi Venues

The iPass Global Broadband Roaming network has exceeded 35,000 live Wi-Fi venues, surpassing the company's own commitment for 2005 by more than 5,000 venues. The iPass virtual network delivers Wi-Fi access in 57 countries, focusing on access for business travellers.

To grow the iPass Global Broadband Roaming Wi-Fi footprint beyond 35,000 venues, iPass has integrated more than 70 disparate Wi-Fi hotspot providers -- including recognized leaders such as T-Mobile Hotspot in the United States, BT OpenZone in the UK and China Telecom -- into a single virtual network.

During the second half of 2005, iPass added a substantial number of hotspots from new network integrations. In November, iPass added approximately 9,600 KT hotspots in South Korea, including Inchon International Airport (ICN), and more than 2,500 hotspots from Japan Telecom.

Aruba Networks Advances its VoWLAN Strategy

Aruba Networks, a supplier of enterprise WLAN infrastructure, announced three key industry alliances. Specifically, Aruba is announcing certification with SpectraLink, a supplier of Wi-Fi telephony solutions; interoperability validation with Vocera Communications, also a supplier in enterprise wireless voice solutions; and Innovator membership in the Avaya DeveloperConnection program.

"VoWLAN is the logical next step for enterprise communications," stated Peter Thornycroft, product manager for Aruba's VoWLAN solutions. "The flexibility and cost savings inherent in delivering voice over the wireless infrastructure already in place promises to give enterprises the ability to enhance mobility while continuing to streamlining their network."

Aruba features a Voice Flow Classification capability that enables a collection of advanced Voice over Wireless LAN (VoWLAN) functions.
The new capabilities are:

  • Advanced Call Admission Control (CAC): Enables call-state monitoring and sophisticated load-balancing of voice-capable devices to assure network availability and performance for both voice and non-voice clients

  • Quality of Service (QoS) Policing: Raises and lowers the priority of individual flows based on both the user role and the actual traffic type

  • Voice-Aware Scanning: Inhibits an Access Point (AP) from scanning other channels during an active voice call to avoid noticeable speech interruptions

  • Voice Client Security: Leverages Aruba's integrated firewall to allow access for less secure voice devices without compromising WLAN security

  • Early Media and Ringing Tone Generation (RFC 3960): Delivers a ringing tone to the caller to prevent speech clipping before the call is accepted and connected

Ruckus Wireless Offers Wi-Fi interoperability Program

Ruckus Wireless, a supplier of broadband wireless home gateways, launched a Wi-Fi interoperability and open testing program aimed at networking popular home media appliances for multimedia content distribution in the digital home.

The Ruckus Interoperability and Open Testing (RIOT) program was developed to ensure the flawless operation of IP-enabled media appliances, such as set- top boxes (STBs), personal video recorders (PVRs), mobile video players, home entertainment systems and conditional access systems over its standards-based, multimedia-purposed Wi-Fi technology.

Advanced Digital Broadcast, Amino, i3 micro technology (i3), Entone Technologies, Telsey Telecommunications and Sling Media are among the inaugural members to join the Ruckus RIOT program.
  • Ruckus Wireless has developed a smart-Wi-Fi system that assures a quality signal path over the air for delay- and loss-sensitive traffic. Patent-pending Ruckus BeamFlex and SmartCast technologies are used to find the best path for Wi-Fi transmission and to prioritize bandwidth among different types of traffic.

  • Ruckus Wireless, which was formed in June 2004 and is based in Mountain View, California, has raised approximately $14 million in two rounds of venture financing from top investors including Sequoia Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures, WK Technology Fund and Investor AB.

Mobilic Debuts Multimedia Processor for Mobile Video

Mobilic Technology Corporation, a start-up based in Taipei, Taiwan and San Jose, California, introduced its new SoC multimedia processor for the mobile video market. Mobilic processors feature the 200 MHz ARM926 CPU, which offers a software upgrade path for users. The new processors also integrate a video codec supporting MPEG4 and H.263 standards, an MP3 decoder, a 2D graphics acceleration engine, and interfaces for high-resolution LCD, TV, Ethernet and USB. In addition, the multimedia processors support high-performance video recording/playback with numerous peripheral interfaces. The USB host feature allows direct connection between two cell phones allowing users to share images, video and data immediately. The processor also has a built-in PC camera feature and permits immediate viewing of images or video on TV by using an AV interface.

Mobilic initially is offering two devices -- one for low-power mobile devices such as cell phones, and another for applications where higher performance and network connectivity are required (personal media players, digital camcorders, PDAs, GPSs and handheld entertainment devices, etc.). Future products will include an H.264 codec, a digital TV decoder supporting DVB-T and DVB-H, integrated wireless communications functionality, and a Global Positioning System (GPS) solution.

Comcast Launches VoIP in Maryland and Northern Virginia

Comcast launched its IP-based Digital Voice throughout Maryland and Northern Virginia. The service was also recently launched in Richmond, VA. Comcast's new IP- enabled voice service offers customers digital-quality phone service with unlimited direct-dial local and domestic long-distance calling, Web access to voicemail, E911 service, and 12 calling features.

Comcast is now offering voice service in more than 20 markets, and has 1.2 million circuit-switched phone customers.

JDSU Supplies Handheld Testers for U.S. ADSL2/2+ and IPTV Rollout

JDSU has shipped more than 500 HST-3000 handheld service testers as part of a multi-million dollar follow-on order from one of the largest U.S. telecommunications service providers, making it the carrier's preferred solution for ADSL2/2+ and IP video testing. The JDSU HST-3000 IP video test suite, coupled with the ADSL2/2+ and copper test features, is already used by the customer for its rollout.

The modular, handheld HST-3000 supports physical layer analysis through packet metrics, signaling analysis and voice quality determination and also allows packet capture of live VoIP calls, including VoIP call storage and an integrated FTP capability to send captured VoIP calls for analysis by JDSU's PVA-1000 software.

Comcast, Cisco and Nortel Form Open Transport Initiative

Comcast will form an Open Transport Initiative (OTI) to improve the interoperability between Optical and IP network layers and compatibility among multiple vendors' equipment within its network. Comcast plans to work with Nortel and Cisco Systems as the first vendors in this initiative.

Comcast said the initial phase of the Open Transport Initiative will focus on providing greater network and bandwidth agility. The OTI plans to first identify and define a set of common interfaces, which will be used to integrate and manage Nortel DWDM and Cisco IP equipment. Such open interfaces will help improve the vendors' ability to interoperate seamlessly within the same transport infrastructure, making it simpler to combine Optical and IP technologies on the same network.

Comcast, Nortel and Cisco agreed to explore a number of objectives, including:

  • Next-generation photonic line interfaces that define power levels, wavelengths, modulation schemes, Optical signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and wavelength identification.

  • Align with standards compliant encapsulation mechanisms for forward error correction (FEC) and operations, administration, maintenance and provisioning (OAM&P) to allow alien International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) wavelengths to be transported across the transmission layer. (i.e., ITU-T wavelengths on service platforms directly connected to transmission layer).

  • Link status interface based on industry standards (with extensions for dense wavelength division multiplexing [DWDM] transport), designed to determine the operational state and configuration on the edge of the network between an edge device and the photonic domain.

  • Ethernet-based optical supervisory interface for inter-photonic domain communications.

  • Distributed Optical control plane, which enables functions such as discovery, photonic routing, performance management, monitoring and adding/deleting of channels.

  • Extending the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) generalized multi-protocol label switching (GMPLS) signaling and routing standard with extensions for the photonic domain - to address service activation, restoration, path viability, wavelength selection and other photonic aspects.

Comcast, Nortel and Cisco plan to promote the adoption of these defined common interfaces as open industry standards through standards bodies as appropriate and to promote broader interoperability between multiple vendor platforms within the global optical and IP industry.

Sprint Uses Mspot for Mobile Streaming Movie Service

Sprint Nextel is partnering with MSpot, a pioneer in mobile multimedia entertainment, to offer a mobile entertainment service that streams full-length feature films to mobile phones. MSpot Movies gives subscribers on-demand access to seven movie genres, including a wide range of titles that MSpot makes available in "chapters," short segments optimized for a mobile audience. In addition, MSpot Movies includes TV shows, music concerts and stand-up comedy specials.

MSpot, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, aggregates premium entertainment from major media companies to produce mobile-friendly programming, and then optimizes this content for delivery over existing wireless networks.

Cable Operators to Offer Family-Friending Content Bundling

Major U.S. cable operators, including Comcast and Time Warner, agreed to offer family-friendly content bundles rather than face possible regulatory action from the FCC or Congress.

In testimony before the U.S. Senate's Commerce Committee, National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Kyle McSlarrow said the new content bundling should be available next year.
  • In November, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin called on the cable industry and direct satellite broadcasters to offer better tools and packages to filter between adult-oriented content and family-friendly programming or face new rules. Specifically, Martin called upon multichannel video providers to offer a-la-carte programming choices so that viewers do not have to purchase objectionable content as part of a "basic" or "expanded basic" package.

Verizon Expands FiOS TV in Dallas Suburbs

Verizon launched its FiOS TV in six more North Texas communities, which join Keller as Dallas/Fort Worth suburbs with the fiber-based service. Verizon's local telephone customers in portions of northern Carrollton, eastern Coppell, central Flower Mound, northern Fort Worth nearest Keller, northern Irving and central Lewisville are now able to get the service. In addition, Verizon plans to introduce FiOS TV in 2006 to its local telephone customers in Allen, Colleyville, Denton, Double Oak, Garland, Grapevine, Hebron, Highland Village, Lucas, Murphy, Parker, Plano, Rowlett, Sachse, Southlake, St. Paul, Westlake and Wylie.

By the end of 2006, FiOS TV will be available to nearly 400,000 North Texas households, or 33 percent of Verizon's landline customers in Texas, with over 1 million potential viewers.

Quintum Signs European Distributor

The Westcon Group will distribute Quintum products throughout its European territory. Quintum is a provider of VoIP switching and gateway solutions worldwide to both enterprise and service provider customers.

In addition to the Quintum Tenor MultiPath Switch product line, Westcon will carry the Tenor Call Relay Session Border Controllers, the new GateKeeper+ and Call Routing Servers. With Quintum's certification as a Nortel Developer Partner, Westcon's business partners will be able to sell Nortel IP PBX solutions utilizing Quintum's products to provide branch office solutions.

ECI Adds R&D Center in India

ECI Telecom announced the opening of a new Research and Development center in India. The new site joins ECI's existing R&D facilities in the U.S., Israel, and China.

The R&D site will focus on ECI's broadband access solutions to develop its next generation product line and management solutions, and to expedite the penetration of new products to the region. Additionally, the center will focus on ECI's optical networking solutions, for complex testing and integration of the XDM.