Sunday, February 5, 2006

Brix Unveils IPTV Service Assurance Portfolio

Brix Networks unveiled its new "BrixVision" IPTV service assurance portfolio for giving service providers visibility into the quality of video content, the underlying delivery infrastructure, and the overall customer experience.

Brix said its solution enables service providers to perform root-cause analysis to identify IP transmission versus video quality impairments, monitor end-to-end video quality, and proactively monitor and manage their subscribers' experience throughout the lifecycle of their services.

Brix also introduced an IPTV Infrastructure Verification Package, the initial offering within the BrixVision portfolio that allows providers to perform continuous, proactive testing of their multicast infrastructure quality. The Infrastructure Verification Package simulates user-initiated channel changes, which gives providers valuable insight into their customers' quality of experience (QoE) by monitoring channel change response times.

Additionally, the IPTV Infrastructure Verification Package measures the key performance indicators (KPIs) of a network, such as jitter, latency, and frame loss, and correlates these metrics with the overall user experience, which is critical when troubleshooting quality problems. The Infrastructure Verification Package also includes an IPTV dashboard that provides network operators with configuration, scheduling, monitoring, and reporting capabilities to enable proactive means of assuring customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, with the Brix IPTV Infrastructure Verification Package service providers can now identify whether infrastructure impairments occur in their national, regional, or local content aggregation and distribution locations.

Juniper Networks Marks Tenth Anniversary

Juniper Networks is now ten years old. The company now has 8,000 customers in 75 countries, a team of over 4,000 people and annual revenue in excess of $2 billion.

West Selects Sonus for Interactive Voice Response Network

West Interactive Corporation, a provider of outsourced communications services, selected the Sonus IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS)-ready architecture as a component of its next generation voice network. West Interactive, which specializes in interactive voice response (IVR) services, is deploying a new VoIP network. The deployment includes the Sonus GSX9000 Open Services Switch, PSX Call Routing Server, and the Sonus Insight Management System. http://www.sonusnet.com

Metro Ethernet Forum Extends Certification Program

The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) launched the next phase of its certification program, following the recent ratification of its Abstract Test Suite for Traffic Management Phase 1 (MEF 14) - Hard QoS.

This latest document specifies test criteria for Traffic Management focusing on the critical performance and bandwidth allocation attributes which form the basis of Service Level Specifications for Ethernet Services.

MEF Certification to MEF 14 ensures Carrier Ethernet equipment conforms to the MEF Hard QoS attributes, which in turn enables the service quality of the Ethernet services they deliver to support both real-time and data intensive business applications.

MEF 14, the second MEF test specification following MEF 9 (Abstract Test Suite for Ethernet Services at the UNI), is focusing on performance and bandwidth attributes defined in MEF 10. These attributes form the basis for Carrier Ethernet Service Level Specifications that provide the assurance of reliable delivery of data, voice and video over Carrier Ethernet.

MFA Forum and EANTC Showcase MPLS

Some 15 vendors featuring more than 30 devices will demonstrate interoperability, resiliency, multicast and QoS assured MPLS network
services to support emerging triple-play and business applications at this week's MPLS World Congress in Paris, France.

The test event was organized by the European Advanced Networking Test Center in Berlin, Germany (EANTC) with support from the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL) and endorsed by the MFA Forum.

The showcase will highlight network services such as BGP-based VPNs, Ethernet, ATM, TDM, and multi-segment pseudowires and VPLS (multipoint-to-multipoint Ethernet service).

Participants, of which four are taking part for the first time, include Agilent Technologies, Alcatel, BATM Advanced Communications, Ciena Corporation, Cisco Systems, Huawei Technologies, Ixia,
Lucent Technologies, MRV Communications, Nortel, RAD Data Communications, Riverstone Networks, Spirent Communications, Tellabs and Tpack.

A white paper is available online from the MFA Forum.


FON Raises $22 Million for Open Wi-Fi Access Sharing

FON, a start-up based in Madrid, Spain, secured EUR 18 million (US$21.7 million for its software that enables users to share their Wi-Fi access points while gaining access to a global community of Wi-Fi hotspots.

FON users, or "foneros," are able to connect to the Internet via FON WiFi hotspots provided by other foneros.

FON will drive its revenue from a multi-tiered subscription model. Members sign up in one of three foneros categories: Linus, Bill or Alien.

  • Linus members share their home WiFi hotspot with the FON network and can use any FON hotspot for free.

  • Bill members share their WiFi hotspots with Alien members for a fee.

  • Bills cannot roam the FON network for free.

  • Alien members pay to use the FON network on an as-needed basis. Fifty-percent of revenue generated from Aliens will be shared with Bills. Alien memberships are currently available on a free-trial basis.

Investors include Index Ventures, Google, Sequoia Capital and Skype. Index Ventures led the round. The company also announced that Danny Rimer (Index Ventures), Mike Volpi (Cisco) Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis (Skype) joined the board. Existing board members include Martin Varsavsky, FON CEO, and Antonio Fuentes, FON CFO.

Charter Extends Contract for Level 3's VoIP Local Service

Charter Communications signed a new, multi-year agreement under which Level 3 will support Charter's expansion of consumer and small business telephone services.

The agreement extends the portfolio of services Level 3 delivers to Charter, which currently includes (3)Voice Termination service, (3)CrossRoads IP services, (3)Link Dark Fiber service and (3)Link Intercity Private Line service.

Level 3's (3)VoIP Enhanced Local service provides local phone numbers, local number portability, fixed location E-911 and local trunking. Level 3 is able to offer these services in 4,300 rate centers in part as a result of its competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) status in all 50 states.

Vodafone Spain Launches Ringback Tone Service

Vodafone Spain, which serves 8.7 million users, is introducing ringback tone service, enabling mobile phone subscribers to replace the usual "ring" sound their callers hear with the latest music hits, sound clips and other media chosen by the subscriber.

Vodafone Spain's ringback tone service is based on MyCaller, the personalised mobile entertainment platform from NMS Communications. As with previous Vodafone operator company deployments, LogicaCMG is responsible for the implementation, integration and maintenance of the solution.

Ringback services first gained popularity in Asia, where they are now ubiquitous. Ringback has quickly gained momentum across Europe and the United States as more callers experience this new service through the music or other sounds their friends have chosen. According to Ovum, the worldwide market for ringback services is expected to grow to about $3 billion by 2008.


China Telecom Selects Alcatel for DSL Upgrade in 26 Provinces

China Telecom, the nation's largest fixed telecommunication service provider, selected Alcatel Shanghai Bell, to upgrade its existing broadband access network across 26 provinces in China to prepare for triple play service delivery. China Telecom will deploy the Alcatel 7302 Intelligent Services Access Manager (ISAM). Financial terms were not disclosed.

China Telecom will deploy the Alcatel solution in South China's 18 provinces and North China's eight provinces including Guangdong, Shanghai, Sichuan, Zhejiang, Fuzhou, Hei Longjiang and Inner Mongolia.

EarthLink Offers DSL and Home Phone Service

EarthLink launched a "DSL and Home Phone Service" that combines a full-featured phone service with high-speed Internet access. The service initially launches in Dallas, TX, San Francisco and San Jose, CA, and Seattle, WA. Pricing plans for EarthLink's DSL and Home Phone Service start at $49.95 per month.

Nortel's DMS-10 Softswitch Tests SIP Interoperability

Nortel's SIP-enabled DMS-10 softswitch has completed interoperability testing with Allied Telesyn's iMG600 intelligent Multiservice Gateway portfolio and Pannaway's Personal Branch Gateway (PBG) and Broadband Access Switch (BAS).

SkyLine Membership Corporation, which serves northwestern North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, is using a SIP FTTH solution consisting of Allied Telesyn's iMAP integrated Multiservice Access Platform and iMG intelligent Multiservice Gateway interoperating with Nortel's DMS-10 as part of its recently announced FTTH network deployment.

Empire Telephone will use a converged IP access solution consisting of Pannaway's Service Convergence Network (SCN) platform interoperating with Nortel's DMS-10 to offer IP video services, high-speed data and Primary Line VoIP with advanced calling features and guaranteed E 911 support to their customer base in 2006. Empire Telephone supports 8,400 access lines and covers over 320 square miles of service territory in western New York.

Kasenna Raises $11 Million for VOD Server

Kasenna, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, raised $11 million in venture funding for its VOD programming and next-generation platforms for video content and service delivery.

Kasenna's video content and service delivery platform is open standards-based with an intelligent management infrastructure that allows service providers to build commercial-grade IP video networks to support new IPTV services. Kasenna was originally a division of SGI (Silicon Graphics, Inc.).

The company cited major customer wins on the telco and cable side including Cavalier Telephone, Charter Communications, Fastweb, and SaskTel, along with numerous independent telecommunications service providers.

The new funding round was led by Intel Capital with participation by all existing major investors.

Networks that Pay As You Grow
(VOD) service is one of the best ways for broadband service providers to
add new revenue and improve customer retention, but so far, the presumed
dash to implement it has been more of a stroll. While there are growing
signs of VOD service adoption, worldwide VOD deployment in general has
been slower than expected. There's a pretty simple business reason for
this: money.

FCC Seeks Budget of $302 Million

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking an FY 2007 budget of $302,542,000. This is approximately $1.5 million less than what was requested for FY 2006.

The FCC said the request would provide sufficient funds to cover mandatory increases in salaries and benefits and inflationary increases for office space rental, supplies, printing, postage, and contractual services. The requested funding level would also provide for funding to conduct an outreach campaign to educate consumers about the impact and benefits of the transition to Digital Television (DTV). In addition, the requested funding level would allow the Commission to replace Mobile Digital Direction Finding (MDDF) vehicles that are used to support public safety entities (e.g., emergency responders, police, fire departments) in the resolution of harmful interference to their communications systems and to expand its oversight of the Universal Service Fund (USF).

Senate Net Neutrality Hearings Scheduled for Feb. 7

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to hold an open hearing on the issue of Internet Neutrality. The list of witnesses includes:

Panel 1

Vinton Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google

Walter McCormick, President and CEO, United States Telecom Association

Jeffrey Citron, Chairman and CEO, Vonage

Kyle McSlarrow, President and CEO, National Cable & Telecommunications Association

Earl Comstock, President and CEO, CompTel

Panel 2

Kyle Dixon, Senior Fellow and Director of the federal Institute for Regulatory Law & Economics, The Progress & Freedom Foundation

J. Gregory Sidak, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, Stanford Law School

Gary Bachula, Vice President for External Affairs, Internet2

A webcast of the event should be available.

Motorola Names Dr. Hamid Ahmadi as Chief Architect

Motorola appointed Dr. Hamid Ahmadi as the company's first Chief Architect. As corporate vice president, Technology, Ahmadi will develop a unified architectural framework to support Motorola's Seamless Mobility vision and lead strategic hardware and software architecture planning across all Motorola businesses and R&D. Ahmadi reports to Padmasree Warrior, executive vice president and chief technology officer.

Dr. Ahmadi most recently served as Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Global Communications Sector at IBM. While at IBM, he also served as Director of Security and Networking Research at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, where he was responsible for the research and development efforts that led to two IBM Wireless LAN products. He also co-invented IBM's Prizma Switch. Prior to his position with IBM, Dr. Ahmadi held various leadership roles at AT&T Labs, including Vice President of the Global Network and IP Services Planning and Development organizations and Vice President and Chief Technology Architect for Internet and Networking Systems.

Equinix Links Silicon Valley Internet Exchange with Meriton Optical Transport

Equinix has deployed Meriton Networks' 6400 OTP (Optical Transport Platform) to link its network-neutral data centers and Internet Business Exchanges facilities in the San Francisco Bay area. The deployment is being expanded to Equinix facilities in the Los Angeles area.

Equinix currently connects more than 200 networks serving
over 90% of the world's Internet networks. Key customers include IBM, Google, Sony Online, General Electric, Electronic Arts, Primedia/, Hotwire, Yahoo!, and Microsoft, among others.

In early 2005, Equinix deployed several 6400 OTP systems to add capacity to its existing SONET rings, and to support the high growth in Gigabit Ethernet traffic. The Meriton platform enables Equinix to aggregate multiple Gigabit Ethernet wavelengths onto a 10 Gbps wavelength, an option that is significantly more efficient than lighting multiple wavelenghts. Meriton also uses pluggable optics and multi-service/multi-rate line cards, providing Equinix with per-port service flexibility with minimal line card investment. The platform also provides automated remote provisioning of wavelengths, enabling the ability to add capacity, wavelengths and even additional nodes to the network without having to re-engineer the entire optical ring.

Specifically, Equinix uses the 10G ADM on a Wavelength Transponder Card to aggregate multiple OC3/12/48 onto 10G wavelengths, the 10G GFP ADM Transponder Card to aggregate GigE, Fibre Channel, FICON, ESCON and DVB-ASI signals onto a 10G wavelength, and the 10G Multi-Service Transponder Card to support OC192, 10 GigE-LAN-WAN.

Separately, Meriton Networks has appointed Bert Whyte as Managing Director of its EMEA operations. Whyte previously served as CEO of Network Equipment Technologies.

  • In June 2005, Meriton Networks, a start-up based in Ottawa, secured US$54 million in Series C funding for its optical metro optical solutions. The company cited growing traction with carrier customers worldwide, including its role in supporting strategic partner, Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe, in addressing BT's 21Cn network build. Meriton said it would continue to work with strategic partners in reaching top-tier service providers, as well build-out its own channels of distribution.