Sunday, March 5, 2006

Cisco Introduces New Unified Communications system, Adds SIP Support

Cisco Systems introduced a new suite of voice, data and video products and applications based on its existing Cisco CallManager, Cisco Unity, Cisco MeetingPlace and Cisco IP Contact Center, as well as the Cisco Service-Oriented Network Architecture (SONA), which the company announced in December 2005. New components include:

  • Cisco Unified Personal Communicator, which simplifies the way workers share information by bridging the gap between the stand-alone applications on the desktop, telephone and network. Using dynamic presence information, employees can search existing directories to locate contacts and simply "click to call" using voice and video, allowing them to exchange ideas face-to-face.

  • Cisco Unified Presence Server, which aggregates presence information from the network as well as Cisco Unified CallManager and third-party devices using SIP and SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE) and then publishes that information to Cisco Unified IP Phones, Cisco Unified Personal Communicator and third-party services and applications such as IBM Lotus Sametime and Microsoft Live Communications Server (LCS) 2005.

  • Customer Interaction Analyzer, which uses information from customer interactions, including self service and agent assisted interactions, to determine things like customer distress, agent distress, silence and word patterns. The data helps to give the conversations business context and can help a business to coach and train agents, make changes to processes and self service scripts based upon findings - ultimately creating better customer relationships and growth for the business.

In addition, Cisco Unified CallManager 5.0 and Cisco Unified CallManager Express 3.4 and Survivable Remote Site Telephony (SRST) 3.4 now natively support SIP.

A new program, SIP Verified, provides third-party verification for voice, data and video SIP endpoints. An initial set of vendors who have completed this testing is also announced.

Cisco Unified CallManager 5.0 is now available in a choice of operating models based on customer and channel partner preference. A new appliance model version based on Linux is available now and a version based on the existing open operating system model is scheduled to be available within 12 months.

NetDevices Expands Services Gateway Family

NetDevices, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, has expanded its product line with the SG-4 Services Gateway, which extends the benefits of services gateways to small and medium-sized enterprise branch offices. The SG-4 unifies all services required at the branch--including perimeter and content security, robust data networking, and voice over IP (VoIP) support--into a modular, remotely manageable, and always-available platform.

The SG-4 Services Gateway has a modular four-slot chassis that is one rack-unit (RU) in height. It supports a range of services, including a 2Gbps stateful firewall; high volume IPSec VPN; intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS); a SIP application-layer gateway with QoS for VoIP; high performance routing with 900 Kpps forwarding; and a layer 2 Ethernet switch. Cards include a double-wide services engine with two GE ports, a four-port T1/E1 card, a four-port serial card, and an eight-port 10/100/1000 Ethernet switch. Because it truly unifies services at the architectural level, NetDevices SG-4 USG offers the same high level of performance even when multiple services are running.

NetDevices is using a "OnePass" architecture for packet classification and inspection from which multiple advanced services -- such as firewalls, intrusion detection, VoIP gateway and VPN gateway -- would be based. The company argues that real-time services will be best supported if all these functions are connected together by a system-wide approach to processing and management. OnePass classification and management is more efficient than running multiple boxes and latency is reduced.

NetDevice's platform features a modular operation system and separate traffic, control and management planes to ensure "always available" system access. The system has a hardened forwarding path into which multiple services are inserted and integrated. Specific services can be performed at the correct point in the packet flow.
  • In August 2005, NetDevices closed $25 million in Series B financing for its services gateway products for enterprise branch networks.

  • NetDevices was founded in 2003 by Seenu Banda (CEO), Rob Haraga (VP of Engineering), and Jeff Kidd (VP of Hardware Engineering). Prior to founding NetD, Banda was senior director of marketing for mid-range routers, including the 7200 and 7500, at Cisco Systems. Haraga spent 10 years at Cisco, where he led the development and engineering of three generations of router product lines in the 7000 series. Kidd also served at Cisco in senior engineering roles for the Cisco 7000, 7200, 7300, 7500 and 7600 routers, and the Cisco Catalyst 5000 and 6000 multi-layer switching platforms.

Calix Expands with IP Service Edge Node

Calix has expanded its access network portfolio with the introduction of its E-Series IP service edge node, a new platform designed to support a smooth transition to FTTP builds.

The Calix E-series offers up to 16 Gigabit Ethernet uplinks, multiple voice termination options, multiple powering options, compact enclosures, battery backup, integrated cross-connect panels, and advanced cable management features.

The Calix E5 supports multiple voice termination scenarios. In a "DSL overlay" architecture, common to early FTTN initiatives, integrated POTS splitters separate voice traffic for delivery back to the central office (CO) or remote terminal over existing copper pairs. Gigabit Ethernet uplinks transport data and IPTV to either a Calix C7 or any commercial Ethernet switch or router in the CO.

Alternatively, the Calix E5 can terminate POTS at the service area interface (SAI). In this "DSL+POTS combo" model, service providers can simplify physical connectivity at the cross-connect and optionally retire the upstream "feeder" portion of the copper plant. In this configuration, the Calix E5 converts POTS to VOIP using SIP or H.248 signaling for transport over Gigabit Ethernet along with data and IPTV services. At the CO, the voice services can be converted back into a GR-303 TDM voice format or handed off to the network as VOIP.

Existing Calix C7 outside-plant cabinets range in size from 240 to 2,880 physical copper or fiber network terminations. The new Calix E5 outside plant cabinet is optimized for deployment adjacent to SAI cross-connects, and provides cost-optimized support for 24 to 384 DSL or POTS+DSL combo subscribers.

Key features include:

  • 1. Up to 16 SFP-pluggable Gigabit Ethernet uplinks for a smooth evolution to future unicast-intensive IPTV service models;

  • 2. VDSL2 with integrated overlay POTS splitters for 24 to 192 subscribers;

  • 3. VDSL2+POTS combo cards that can packetize voice for 24 to 384 subscribers, working with upstream Class 5 TDM switches or VOIP softswitches;

  • 4. VDSL2 technology that automatically falls back to ADSL2+ and ADSL, allowing one line card to service both IPTV and existing high-speed data (HSD) subscribers;

  • 5. Flexible options for local or managed remote powering;

  • 6. Optional integrated cross-connects for up to 1,200 copper pairs;

  • 7. Optional mounting kits supporting pad or pole-mount configurations; and,

  • 8. Compact 2' by 2' by 4' footprint in a GR-487 compliant outdoor cabinet for deployment within existing service provider right-of-ways.

ICTV Names Ex-Microsoft TV Exec as CTO

ICTV, which offers a network-based solution for the delivery of Web-driven content to cable and IPTV subscribers, named Don Gordon as its new CTO and VP of Engineering.

Gordon most recently served as director of software architectures for Microsoft TV, where he led the company's involvement in cable's Next Generation Network Architecture initiative and was instrumental in the negotiations that led to the selection of Microsoft TV as the software platform for Verizon's FIOS TV service. Previously, Gordon was the first employee of DIVA Systems, where he served in various technical and marketing capacities before being named general manager and vice president, broadcast products division. During his 1995-2001 stint with DIVA, Gordon was responsible for developing the company's intellectual property portfolio of more than 70 pending and issued patents. He is named on 26 patents dealing with MPEG video and network-based interactive services.

NeoPhotonics Unveils Portfolio of GPON Transceivers

NeoPhotonics introduced a full line of GPON transceivers compliant with the ITU-T G.984.2 Class B+ standard to augment its portfolio of widely-deployed FTTx Biplexer and Triplexer modules. The new line includes both a biplexer and a triplexer module, in SFF and 2x2 form factor, for FTTP customer premises equipment (CPE) and a biplexer module in SFF form factor for the FTTP central office, or optical line terminal (OLT).

Former MCI President Rick Roscitt Joins Force10 Board

Rick Roscitt has been appointed to Force10 Networks' board of directors. As president and chief operating officer of MCI from 2003 to 2004, Mr. Roscitt helped lead the company out of bankruptcy and reestablished it as a telecommunications leader with positive cash flow. Prior to MCI, Mr. Roscitt was chairman and CEO of ADC Broadband, where he implemented an aggressive cost reduction effort along with a complete product portfolio overhaul that returned the business to profitability. Earlier, he was the president of AT&T Business Services

Samsung Unveils 8GB Hard Disk Phone

Samsung Electronics unveiled an 8 GB Hard Disk embedded smartphone featuring the latest version of Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphones.

It also offers a USB 2.0 and Plug & Play feature which allows the phone to be utilized as a removable hard disk. Other features include a 2 megapixel camera with flash, microSD slot, document viewer and TV output. Users can record video with the 2 megapixel camera in high quality resolution. It also supports enhanced music function with Bluetooth stereo (A2DP), digital power amp and dual speakers.http:/

Agilent Develops First 100 Gbps BERT for Next Gen Optical Transceivers

Agilent Technologies introduced the E4898A Bit Error Ratio Tester (BERT) front-end, enabling a complete 100 Gbps BERT that operates at speeds up to 100 Gbps.

As standards evolve, 100 Gbps links are expected to be deployed in metro communications and in high-speed server interconnects starting in late 2008. Pattern and data generators, as well as BERTs, will then be needed to evaluate and verify the different approaches to the various technical challenges in getting the transceiver technology to work at the 100 Gbps transmission rates.

Agilent said its 100 Gbps BERT will enable researchers and technologists in universities and research centers to validate their transceiver designs operating at these ultra-high speeds.

The Agilent E4898A 100 Gb/s BERT front-end is priced at $250,000 and is available now. The price for the complete Agilent 81250 ParBERT and E4898A 100 Gb/s BERT system is $835,000.

HomePlug Powerline Alliance Sets Baseline for Command and Control Spec

The HomePlug Powerline Alliance announced today that the baseline technology for its HomePlug Command and Control specification was awarded to Yitran Communications. Nine companies had responded to the Alliance's open call for technology proponents. The criteria for comparing the technologies were based on a Market Requirements Document (MRD) developed by the member companies.

According to the Alliance's standard process, the next steps include the formation of a Specification Working Group to build and refine the HomePlug Command & Control MAC/PHY technology. The working group will write the specification to ensure that silicon companies worldwide can create HomePlug-compliant implementations.

Separately, The HomePlug Powerline Alliance announced the first HomePlug AV products, from Aztech Systems Ltd and devolo AG. HomePlug AV (200Mbps) is a method of distributing audio, video (including multiple streams of HDTV) and data in the home without new wires. Multiple silicon vendors, including Arkados Inc., Conexant Systems, Inc., Intellon Corporation and SPiDCOM Technologies are expected to ship HomePlug AV chips.

Sun Microsystems Unveils "Sun SPOT" Objects for Sensor Networks

Sun Microsystems announced Project Sun Small Programmable Object Technology (Sun SPOT), a battery operated platform for development of wireless sensor networks, robotics and personal consumer electronics.

Powered by a small Java 2 Platform, Micro Edition (Java ME) virtual machine written almost entirely in Java, Project Sun SPOT provides a way to build Java-based sensor applications that run directly on the central processing unit (CPU) without any underlying operating system.

Sun said its Project Sun SPOT will dramatically extend the reach of the Java programmer. Near term applications already under development include medical monitoring, package tracking, and interactive home automation. Applications include explorations of swarm intelligence, experimentation with and deployment of mesh networks, custom robotics and the development of new types of gestural interfaces.

A Sun Labs Project Sun SPOT technology evaluation kit will include three Sun SPOTs: two stand-alone devices and one base station. All three Sun SPOTs include a processor board with 32-bit ARM9 CPU, 512 KB RAM and 4MB Flash memory, 2.4 GHz radio and USB interface. Each stand-alone Sun SPOT also includes a 3D accelerometer, temperature and light sensors, 8 tri-color light emitting diodes (LEDs), six analog inputs and 8 general purpose I/O ports for controlling relays, stepper motors and servos. The kit also includes a Java ME virtual machine, NetBeans 5.0 and a USB cable.

Texas Instruments Launches Digital Media Software for OEMs

Texas Instruments (TI) launched a portfolio of in-house developed digital media software, including encoders, decoders and other algorithms, that can be rapidly integrated into its digital signal processor (DSP) and systems-on- chip (SoC) platforms.

TI's new productized digital media software offering is comprised of audio, video and voice components including up to MPEG-4 720p HD encode/decode, H.264 BP encode/decode, and Windows Media Audio encode/decode. Current digital media software offerings support TI's DaVinci processors, as well as TI's TMS320C6000 and TMS320C5000 DSP platforms, and will be extended to new TI platforms as they are introduced to the market.

TI said the "Slingbox" uses the Windows Media 9 encoder, which TI's software team initially developed and tuned for the DSP-based digital media processor used in the product.http:/

BT Finalizes 21CN Contracts

BT has concluded negotiations and signed contracts with the remaining four preferred suppliers for its 21st Century Network (21CN). Contracts have been signed with Alcatel, Cisco, Ericsson and Fujitsu. This follows the announcement on 23rd December 2005 that contracts have been signed with Ciena, Huawei, Lucent and Siemens.

Alcatel will provide its 7750 Service Router and 5620 Service Aware Manager. The Metro node is the point at which traffic is intelligently managed, directed and delivered over the MPLS core. "Service and subscriber aware" switching is provided by these Alcatel solutions whereby traffic is assigned Quality of Service priorities based on the service to which it relates. The Alcatel 7510 Media Gateway and the 1300 Convergent Network Management Centre will also be used to provide the essential connectivity needed as traffic is migrated from the PSTN to the new IP network.

Cisco Carrier Ethernet technologies will provide Ethernet aggregation at the BT 21CN metro nodes. Cisco MGX media gateways at the BT 21CN metro nodes will support PSTN traffic. The Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System will be deployed in the high-capacity backbone network. Cisco also announced plans to open a $10 million IP NGN test facility in the United Kingdom to provide a carrier-scale environment for architecture verification and validation, and assistance in developing and testing 21CN solutions.

Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe will be a key preferred supplier in the access domain, providing Multi Service Access Node (MSAN) solutions to link BT's existing access network to the 21CN core IP-based network. Fujitsu's MSAN solution is based around its GeoStream Access Gateway, which provides a common platform for the support of fiber and copper terminations across a wide range of existing and next-generation services to end-users. A key element of GeoStream Access Gateway involves the ability to deliver H.248 voice interoperability as a platform to provide broadband alongside voice services on a common platform. The multi-service capability includes support for ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+, SDSL, VDSL, Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, PON, GPON, WiMAX, SDH and PDH -- all from the same platform.

Avaya Expands Consulting and Systems Integration Services

Avaya is expanding its professional services offerings to help companies design, implement, support and optimize advanced communications solutions. A new Software and Custom Application Practice addresses the market movement toward Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), a software architecture that can make it easier to disaggregate and rearrange pieces of software for more flexible access to applications in a Web Services model.

Avaya Global Services has also established practices for Contact Center and Enterprise Communications that apply consistent consulting practices and methodologies and take advantage of collective Avaya knowledge bases and competencies for customer care, IP telephony and enterprise mobility solutions.

Sipera Thwarts VoIP DoS/DDoS Attacks, Stealth, Spoofing and Spam

Sipera Systems debuted its Sipera IPCS 310 system designed to intelligently and transparently monitor VoIP traffic, detect anomalies in traffic and call patterns, and identify threats, to protect end-user devices and network infrastructures against attacks, misuse and service abuse. Sipera said its products can be deployed in any existing VoIP infrastructure due to its close development and integration work with leading VoIP infrastructure manufacturers. The Sipera IPCS 310 product is not a point-of-failure in the network and is not subject to attack, as it is deployed without an IP address. Key features include:

  • Real-time performance, including secure key management and wire speed encryption/decryption. The ability to decrypt TLS/SRTP in real-time.

  • Behavior learning algorithms for traffic and subscriber call patterns. This automatic system detects anomalies, verifies the source using methods such as sender intention verification and VoIP Turing tests, and protects against multiple threats while dramatically reducing false positive and negatives;

  • Network level intelligence which correlates events in real-time from different parts of the network for protection of elements against distributed attacks; and

  • Automatic and user controlled handling of VoIP SPAM.

Microsoft Builds Momentum for Office Live Communications Server with SIP Partners

Microsoft is working with Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco, Mitel, NEC, Nortel and Siemens to enable Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based interoperability between voice communications solutions and Microsoft Office Communicator 2005 and Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile, the PC and mobile phone unified communications clients for Live Communications Server. The solutions will enable business customers to launch and answer private branch exchange (PBX) and IP-PBX phone calls and view phone presence state from within Office Communicator. They also allow customers to seamlessly switch between instant messaging and voice sessions.

Microsoft's interoperability with Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco, NEC, Mitel, Nortel and Siemens is based on SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE). The companies are using the SIP and SIMPLE protocols to enable the federation of telephony, presence information and instant messaging (IM) that can be encrypted and authenticated.

Vocalscape Acquires Azatel Communications

Vocalscape Networks agreed to acquire Azatel Communications, a developer of hardware for Media Terminal Adapters, Soft Switches, Session Controllers, H.323 to SIP Interworking, OSP and IPTV/Video on Demand solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Japanese Cable Operator to Launch VOD over IP

VIC TOKAI CORPORATION will be the first cable operator in Japan to commercially launch residential VoD services utilizing an IP CATV network with assured bandwidth to guarantee high quality pictures. Various interactive TV applications such as on-line games, karaoke on demand and learning on demand will be the next focus for future service expansions.

Streaming21, a leader in broadcast-quality media streaming solutions, is working with NEO Index, Japan's largest VoD content provider, on the project.

Streaming21's broadcast and media-on-demand software solutions uses open standard hardware.

Corinex and TI Team on 200 Mbps Powerline Residential Gateway

Corinex Communications is integrating Texas Instrument's AR7 ADSL2+ and Wireless G++ technology into a residential gateway optimized for Triple Play services. The gateway is designed to deliver up to nine simultaneous streams of video and data throughout the home using existing electrical wires at rates up 200 Mbps.

The Corinex ADSL2+ AV200 Powerline Gateway G is based on TI's advanced signal processing and DSL technology. Key features include QoS and TOS support, firewall, NAT, four Ethernet port and web management capabilities. The platform is currently available for testing.

Corinex's AV200 technology uses a master/slave architecture to provide connectivity to every electrical outlet in a home equipped with an adapter. The network provides QoS and VLAN support, 168-bit 3DES encryption, multicasting and IGMP snooping report. Corinex said its AV200 technology is already being used by Telefonicahttp://www.ti.com

ZTE Selects Cavium's OCTEON MIPS64 Multi-core Processor

ZTE Corporation has selected Cavium Networks' OCTEON MIPS64 based multi-core processors for its next generation mobile/wireless communication system. ZTE's next gen platforms are being designed to provide 3G Service Providers high performance and scalability with content-aware features at optimal cost and power points.

The companies said ZTE already has an installed base of over 150 million lines of wireless infrastructure equipment deployed in over 25 countries.
  • In January 2006, Cavium Networks unveiled ten new highly integrated single and dual core MIPS64 processors starting at under $20 price points and designed for next generation networking, wireless, control and storage applications. Cavium's OCTEON family of MIPS64 processors now scales from single core to sixteen cores. The OCTEON processor family is being designed into a wide array of networking equipment, including routers, switches, unified threat management (UTM) appliances, application- aware gateways, triple-play gateways, WLAN and 3G access and aggregation devices and storage networking equipment.

    The new SoC (system on chip) processors integrate a custom MIPS64 processor core with advanced multi-layer application acceleration and security processing hardware, along with a wide range of networking I/O options. The new OCTEON CN31XX and CN30XX are fully software compatible with Caviums' OCTEON CN38XX family of multi-core processors.

Ruckus Announces First European IPTV Customer for Smart Wi-Fi

Dublin-based Magnet Networks has selected Ruckus Wireless' "smart Wi-Fi" system to provide the in-home networking solution for its digital TV service. Magnet is using over an ADSL 2+ and FTTH infrastructure to deliver digital voice, IPTV and Internet access. The company currently offers 66 channels of IPTV and is rolling out video on demand (VoD) services this month.

IPTV channels are compressed using MPEG-2 and streamed over the Magnet Network at bit rates ranging from three to five megabits per second. Magnet plans to utilize new MPEG-4 data compression that will allow it to effectively double the number of channels consumers can access over its networks as well as support HDTV. Additionally, Magnet offers VoIP and various additional services.

Prior to providing the Ruckus system, Magnet would typically rewire homes with Category 5 Ethernet cables.

The Ruckus system uniquely identifies and prioritizes different types of traffic coming into the system. It then finds and uses the best Wi-Fi signal path for transmission. If any interference is detected, the Ruckus system, on-the-fly, automatically steers the Wi-Fi beam around the interference to ensure the highest reliability of each transmission. The Ruckus smart Wi-Fi system continually keeps track of the Wi-Fi environment and ranks the best path at any given time to each end station.
  • Magnet Networks is a fully owned subsidiary of US-based private equity investment company Columbia Ventures Corporation, holder of extensive telecoms interests worldwide, and a sister company of Hibernia Atlantic , owner/operator of Ireland's only direct fibre-optic submarine cable link with North America and the UK.

Agilent Develops First 100 Gbps BERT for Next Gen Optical Transceivers

Agilent Technologies introduced the E4898A Bit Error Ratio Tester (BERT) front-end, enabling a complete 100 Gbps BERT that operates at speeds up to 100 Gbps.

As standards evolve, 100 Gbps links are expected to be deployed in metro communications and in high-speed server interconnects starting in late 2008. Pattern and data generators, as well as BERTs, will then be needed to evaluate and verify the different approaches to the various technical challenges in getting the transceiver technology to work at the 100 Gbps transmission rates.

Agilent said its 100 Gbps BERT will enable researchers and technologists in universities and research centers to validate their transceiver designs operating at these ultra-high speeds.

The Agilent E4898A 100 Gb/s BERT front-end is priced at $250,000 and is available now. The price for the complete Agilent 81250 ParBERT and E4898A 100 Gb/s BERT system is $835,000.