Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Iowa IOC Replaces Nortel DMS-10 Switches with Metaswitch

Butler-Bremer Communications, an independent telecommunications services provider serving customers throughout northeast Iowa, is deploying four softswitches from MetaSwitch to replace its legacy Nortel DMS-10 TDM switches and migrate its network to a pure IP packet-switched environment.

In operation for more than 100 years, Butler-Bremer Communications provides local telephone, cellular, voice mail, cable television, and Internet services to customers over 175 square miles of northeast Iowa. The company decided to migrate its network to packet-based switching in order to reduce the cost of network operations, and provide a means to easily and quickly deploy new services for customers. Butler-Bremer is currently deploying the MetaSwitch switches and expects to complete its total network replacement by the end of Q2 2006.

AT&T Introduces DWDM Service

AT&T announced a DWDM service aimed at small to midsize businesses seeking to interconnect sites in metropolitan and wide area networks.

AT&T Ultravailable Service Option 2 is both protocol and bit-rate independent and, therefore, can transmit data in IP, ATM, and SONET and handle bit rates between 100 Mbps and 10 Gbps.

AT&T said the service gives customers flexible bandwidth utilization possibilities at prices that meet the needs of the small to midsize enterprise marketplace. For existing AT&T ACCU-Ring Network Access Service customers who require additional storage services or bandwidth, Ultravailable Service Option 2 will provide them with a cost-effective, lower-end solution.

AT&T Ultravailable Service Option 2 is intended to meet the needs of clients requiring traditional ACCU-Ring-like TDM services and who may also require DWDM-based native protocols to support storage and/or other applications. It offers the same SONET and DWDM technology and connection types as Ultravailable Network Service (UNS). http://www.att.com

CeBIT: Deutsche Telekom Highlights New Services

At the opening of this year's CeBIT in Germany, Deutsche Telekom launched a nationwide contest intented to spur a new level of "networked thinking" across the country. The "T-City" initiative is meant to be a contest between German cities over the next few weeks to see which applications based on widespread fixed-line and mobile telecommunications can drive overall economic growth and improve quality of life. As part of the project, Deutsche Telekom's three strategic business areas - Mobile Communications, Broadband/Fixed-Network and Business Customers - will support the "telecommunicative" ideas of one city's citizens with their expertise.

"We want to launch a competition in which cities with 50,000 to 100,000 residents will take part. Together with the city that has the best ideas, we hope to bring home how innovative applications based on widespread fixed-line and mobile telecommunications can drive overall economic growth in Germany," said company CEO Kai-Uwe Ricke in a press conference.

At CeBIT, Deutsche Telekom is showcasing the following new services:

T-Mobile launches HSDPA -- The company deployed 3,300 new radio base stations in Germany last year: 2,100 for UMTS and 1,200 for GSM, as well as 6,300 WLAN HotSpots together with T-Com. The new HSDPA will support rates of almost 2 Mbps in Germany. In later stages, this will expand to 7 Mbps and upwards. Meanwhile, T-Mobile's EDGE technology offer bandwidth of over 200 kbps. In 2006, network coverage will be improved by stepping up expansion with 2,400 new UMTS locations and 1,200 new GSM locations.

T-Mobile and the World Cup over 20 World Cup matches will be carried live on cell phones this summer. The company holds exclusive rights for this.

T-Systems and the Automobile cockpit of the future -- T-Systems and the VW Group are showing IT and communications services for cars. The car cockpit of the future allows drivers to hear e-mails read aloud to them by the in-car computer, or dictate an e-mail and send it via voice command.

T-Com introduces "T-One" Dual-Phone -- the "T-One" Dual-Phone handset is no bigger than any other handset available on the market but combines the advantages of fixed network and mobile communications. It support both VoIP/WLAN and GSM connections.

T-Com and 16 Mbps DSL -- T-Com will invest another EUR 200 million this year in expanding its DSL coverage areas. A new T-DSL 16000 service tier supports maximum speeds of 16 Mbps downstream and 1024 kbps upstream and costs EUR 29.99 a month.

T-Com and Broadband Satellite there is now a flat rate for regions that T-Com cannot supply with fixed line DSL. For €79.95 a month, unlimited Internet surfing is possible at up to 1024 Kbps. In addition there are also two hourly packages: EUR 29.95 offers 30 hours a month, and 90 hours will be offered for EUR 49.95 a month.

T-Com and WiMAXIn the future, T-Com will be using WiMAX and has already applied to the German Federal Network Agency for the necessary frequencies.


CeBIT: Siemens Partners with Yahoo!, Unveils Consumer Gear

At CeBIT, Siemens and Yahoo! announced a partnership to enable consumers to enjoy voice-enhanced services. The companies agreed to offer and promote the Siemens Gigaset M34 USB adapter, which IP-enables Gigaset telephones with Yahoo! Messenger with Voice's VoIP calling capabilities by the third quarter of 2006. The Gigaset adapter, which works together with Gigaset cordless phones (on devices introduced after the fall of 2004 and that belong to the C-Class and above), allows users to make and receive calls through Yahoo! Messenger with Voice's free PC-to-PC calling feature, and make cost--effective calls to fixed line phones through the Phone In and Phone Out features.

Siemens also unveiled a series of consumer entertainment and communications products, many of which are IP-enabled. These include:

SIP cordless phones -- the first in a series of DECT cordless phones with integrated VoIP functionality at CeBIT. Once the Gigaset has been connected to a home router via the LAN connection, users simply select their Internet provider from the menu of the Gigaset handset and the right settings are automatically loaded. Providers that use the common SIP (s ession initiation protocol) are supported. The base station can be used with up to six handsets.

IP Set-top Boxes -- the Gigaset HD360 IP and 860 IP are based on a single chip and an open platform. They support different middleware (Siemens Myrio, Microsoft IPTV, Imagenio, Alcatel OMC) and operating systems (Linux, Windows CE), as well as various forms of digital rights management (Verimatrix, Windows DRM, NDS). The Gigaset 860 IP features a hard disk with a capacity of up to 250 GB, a smart card reader or two DVB tuners. This creates a hybrid box that can receive IPTV as well as television via satellite, cable or terrestrially. The hard disk provides PVR functionality. Both new set-top boxes have interfaces such as SCART, S-video, S-PDIF and HDMI for HDTV, as well as Ethernet for connection to the Internet. Devices can be connected via USB -- digital photo cameras, for example.

WLAN/DSL Residential Gateway -- the new Gigaset SX763 WLAN dsl combines a wireless Internet router (integrated ADSL 2+ modem) with a USB port, two analogue interfaces as well as four Ethernet ports for networking PCs and is home entertainment ready. It supports VoIP and PSTN, while remaining compatible with all of the latest Siemens cordless telephones and TV set top boxes, as well as supporting all the familiar functionality of wireline telephones. Up to six extensions (analog, LAN, WLAN) can be used with the Gigaset SX763 WLAN dsl. It uses Atheros Wi-Fi chips.

WiMAX modem -- the new Gigaset SE461 WiMAX modem with router functionality supports data transfer rates of up to 20 Mbps with QoS and bandwidth management. To permit worldwide use, the modem handles the frequency ranges 2.3 to 2.5 GHz, 3.4 to 3.6 GHz and 3.6 to 3.8 GHz. The device offers remote management capabilities so that carriers can update the software. An Ethernet interface and support of MS Windows, MacOS and Linux permit networking with other devices. Two different antennas will be offered. An output power of up to 27 dBM ensures efficient use of the network, supports connection of a large number of users and bridges large distances to the WiMAX base station.

DVB-T and DVB-S Set-top Boxes -- two new set-top boxes feature twin tuners so that viewers can watch one program while recording another on their VHS or DVD recorder. The Gigaset M365 T is a set-top box for digital terrestrial television (DVB-T) and the Gigaset M365 S is for digital satellite TV (DVB-S). Users can record their favorite program simply by connecting their VHS or DVD recorder to the Gigaset M365 S/T with a SCART cable.

Siemens also announced that it is working with German television network ZDF to develop set-top boxes for a free internet video portal. The service would run over any broadband connection and download video content to the STB.


Bell Canada and Aliant Combine Resources in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada

BCE, Canada's largest communications company, and Aliant agreed to combine Bell Canada's wireline operations in its regional territories in Ontario and Quebec with Aliant's wireline operations and Bell's 63.4% interest in the Bell Nordiq Income Fund. The new trust, which will have 3.4 million local access lines and over 400,000 high- speed Internet subscribers in six provinces, will be headquartered in Atlantic Canada and controlled by BCE.

Bell will also acquire Aliant Mobility and Aliant's DownEast Communications retail outlets as part of the transaction, strengthening Bell's national wireless strategy and bringing consumers in Atlantic Canada the most advanced networks and faster access to the latest in products and services.


Global Crossing IP VPN Traffic Grew by 300% in 2005

Global Crossing reported that the number of customers utilizing two or more converged IP services on its global fiber-optic network more than tripled in 2005. Meanwhile, IP VPN traffic carried by the company grew 300% in 2005.

Global Crossing's VoIP traffic grew to more than 100 million IP interconnected minutes per month by year-end 2005, representing an increase of more than 350%.

Global Crossing currently runs more than two billion minutes per month on its private VoIP global platform, which represents more than 70% of all its voice traffic.

CeBIT: Lucent Announces $300 Million in Contracts

Lucent announced seven multi-year contracts at CeBIT with a combined value of $300 million. These include:

  • an pgrade of T-Systems' global IP/MPLS network, featuring deployment and maintenance services from Lucent and routers from Juniper Networks

  • deployment for Kazakhstan Telecom of a new IP-based next-generation network in the capital city of Astana, to support advanced voice and data services for business and residential subscribers. The network will be managed from a Network Operations Center supplied by Lucent Worldwide Services.

  • expansion of frame agreements with Telecomunikacja Polska for the supply of Stinger DSL and AnyMedia Access Systems from Lucent's Accelerate Next-Generation Communications Solutions portfolio, enabling broadband Internet access as well as providing a base for the future introduction of new IP services such as VoIP and IPTV.

  • extension of major agreements between Lucent and T-Com for the operator's optical transport network.

  • award of a prime contract by the U.S. Army for the European Dense Wave Division Multiplexing-Optical Transport Network (DWDM-OTN) project, covering network integration services and optical equipment and software to create a multi-country European high-speed optical network.

  • agreement with Sky Link, a telecommunications holding company established to develop a nationwide CDMA450 network in Russia, selected Lucent to expand and upgrade Sky Link's CDMA2000; EV-DO network in 10 new regions in Russia.

  • Lucent Worldwide Services will integrate a billing solution for Russia�s MegaFon by Lucent Worldwide Services.

Lucent Selected for DoD's European Optical Project

Lucent Technologies was awarded a prime contract by the U.S. Army to implement its European Dense Wave Division Multiplex Optical Transport Network (DWDM-OTN) project. Under the firm fixed-price indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, valued at up to $94 million, the Lucent team will provide network integration services and optical equipment and software to create a multi-country U.S. Army high-speed optical transport network. The contract has a two-year base period with three additional one-year option periods.

Lucent said the DWDM-OTN project includes the planning and deployment of multiple protected DWDM rings in Germany along with additional DWDM rings for a number of other sites in Europe including the BENELUX (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) region and Italy. The deployments will use Lucent's Metropolis Wavelength Services Manager (WSM), which supports up to 40 protected wavelengths. The U.S. Army will also be deploying the Metropolis WSM ROADM.


T-Systems Upgrades Global IP Net with Juniper/Lucent

T-Systems has upgraded its global IP/MPLS network using Juniper routers supplied by Lucent Technologies. In the first phase of the project, recently completed, Lucent Worldwide Services deployed Juniper Networks M320 multiservice edge routing platforms in nine countries, and is providing ongoing maintenance services.

Verizon to Bring FiOS Services to Apartments, Condos

Verizon outlined plans to bring its FiOS Internet and FiOS TV services to a larger number of apartments, condos and other multi-dwelling units. Specifically, Verizon Enhanced Communities is launching a major marketing campaign, sending business development executives and engineers to meet with multi- dwelling-unit (MDU) owners and condominium/co-op associations to negotiate marketing and access agreements and technology upgrades.

The Enhanced Communities group also has worked with developers to connect new homes to Verizon's fiber network. The group has agreements with builders and developers covering roughly 152,000 homes.

Verizon is using various deployment scenarios, including pulling fiber-optic service right to each unit or deploying an ONT in the building and using existing wiring. http://www.verizon.com

Bell Labs Develops Multiplexed 107 Gbps Ethernet/Optical

Bell Labs reported optical transport of electronically multiplexed 107 Gbps data. The researchers said that until now there has been no reported case of a high-speed electronically multiplexed optical signal transmitted at speeds greater than 85.4 Gb/s. Furthermore, no fiber transmission of signals faster than 42.7 Gbps in a spectrally compact non-RZ format have ever been reported.

Bell Labs researchers were able to transmit 10 channels of 107- Gbps traffic, optically modulated using electrical multiplexing, over a distance of 400 kilometers. Key to this breakthrough was the use of an integrated optical equalizer, built as a single-chip photonic integrated circuit.

To achieve the high spectral efficiency of 0.7 bits/s/Hz and total capacity of 1 terabit per second (Tbps) the researchers used nonzero dispersion fiber and a non-return-to-zero (NRZ) format, enabling the researchers to closely space the wavelength channels thus enhancing the efficiency and total capacity.

To address the need to carefully manage signal dispersion at high bit rates, Bell Labs used a dispersion compensating fiber (DCF) that was slope matched to the transmission fiber, reducing the average residual dispersion per span to +21 ps at 1550 nm. The Bell Labs scientists used hybrid EDFA/Raman amplification with counter-propagating Raman pumps to maintain signal quality.

Results were presented in a paper delivered at OFC this week in Anaheim, California.


Vendors Seek Standard for Storage Controller Slots

An industry group, including LSI Logic, Dell, Intel and others, has formed to define a common standard for entry-level external data storage systems.

The Storage Bridge Bay (SBB) working group will focus on developing and distributing specifications for standardizing external disk subsystem technologies. The specifications will define a mechanical/electrical interface between a passive backplane drive array and the electronics packages that give the array its personality. It is expected that the first release of the specification will be completed by mid-2006. The companies expect products in compliance with the specification to be in the market thereafter.


NTT America Offers Scalable Ethernet Service in U.S. Markets

NTT America announced a direct point-to-point, virtual circuit Ethernet service available in nine U.S. domestic markets. The new "VLink" service, which is provided through the NTT Communications Global IP Network in the United States, is an Ethernet solution that directly addresses the needs of high bandwidth point-to-point data transfers. It provides the flexibility and scalability of Layer 3 (IP) technology while incorporating the dedicated traffic paths and management capabilities associated with Layer 2 technologies.

VLink complements NTT Communications' Global Super Link product, which was released July 1, 2005, by targeting global high-speed point-to-point bandwidth needs, including those in the United States and Japan. Using similar technology VLink targets a ultra high bandwidth solution (100Mbps to 1Gbps) for U.S. domestic needs.http://us.net.net

TiVo Reaches 4.4 million Users, Offers New Pricing

TiVo's total subscription base stands at approximately 4.4 million, which represents 45% growth over last year. TiVo-owned subscription gross additions were 221,000 for the quarter ended 31-January-2006 and net adds were 183,000. TiVo added 173,000 DIRECTV subscriptions in the quarter, compared to 379,000 in the third quarter of fiscal 2006.

Service and technology revenues for the year increased 48% to $170.9 million, compared to $115.5 million last year. Service and technology revenues for the quarter increased 37% to $47.0 million, compared to $34.2 million for the same period last year.

The company also announced new pricing -- an 80-hour Series2 box and TiVo service will cost $19.95 a month or $224 prepaid for a one-year commitment, $18.95 a month or $369 prepaid for a two-year commitment, and $16.95 a month or $469 prepaid for a three-year commitment.

Tom Rogers, CEO of TiVo, said, "This was a steady quarter for TiVo as our subscription base continued to grow, even in this more competitive environment. During the last six months, we have implemented a number of marketing programs designed to support our long-term goal of driving increased scale in our subscription base.