Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Integra5 Service Delivery Platform Interoperates with Metaswitch

Integra5 Communications announced that its i5 Service Delivery Platform (SDP) has been certified as interoperable with MetaSwitch's multimedia-enhanced telephony solutions following joint interoperability testing. Both vendors' solutions support a migration towards the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture across cable and telecom environments.

The combined solution provides a standards-based, scalable infrastructure equipped to deliver converged consumer applications such as TV & PC Caller ID, Personalized Content Alerts, and Voicemail Message Waiting which seamlessly combine voice, video, data and mobile content.

AOL and Warner Bros. Launch In2TV Network

AOL and Warner Bros. officially launched their In2TV Broadband Television Network featuring thousands of classic TV shows available on-demand over the Web and for free. The service is supported through advertising.

"In2TV breaks new ground as the first true broadband television network. With the largest collection of full length television programming anywhere on the Web, plus interactive features and viral videos all free and on-demand, In2TV will appeal to existing fans as well as introduce these shows to a whole new generation," said Kevin Conroy, Executive Vice President, AOL Media Networks.

  • AOL is using the Kontiki Plug-in and Relay Network delivery mechanism to deliver the VOD service. It supports various bit-rate delivery, including a High-Quality option that uses Windows Media 10 and downloads the content in advance.

    The Kontiki Relay Network links the machines of all participants who install the AOL Hi-Q Video plug-in into a P2P speed delivery system that can deliver files faster by enabling the network to use the resources of participants' hard drives.

    The Relay Network and the Kontiki software analyze the hard drives and connections of potential participants that have already received the file being requested to determine from where the file can be accessed and delivered more quickly.

    The AOL Hi-Q Video plug-in is able to deliver videos from any of the other users in the Relay Network, which should be faster than accessing a remote server.

    The Relay Network's "Grid Delivery" mechanism also delivers videos in pieces from many users simultaneously.

    The AOL Hi-Q Video plug-in continuously monitors the responsiveness of every user it's getting a delivery from and requests data at the speed that user's machine can support.

    AOL is using Windows Media DRM to protect media files from tampering and illegal distribution. AOL's Hi-Q Video will allow playback for videos for specific periods of time only, after which the media file will no longer play.

VON Spring: The Eve of Disruption

As interesting as the VoIP saga has been over the last ten years, even more opportunities are emerging now to leverage IP to effect large-scale disruptive change, said Jeff Pulver, speaking at the opening of VON Spring in San Jose, California. These opportunities arise from the intersection of the computing and communications industries, which are driven by the effects of Moore's Law and Metcalf's Law. There are more opportunities for creative disruption if you look at the world in terms of applications rather than services, said Pulver.

The first area to be disrupted by these trends was Telecom. Pulver believes the next major disruption will be Broadcasting.

"A lot of folks are doing IPTV... but what if you flip the acronym and focus on TV over IP," said Pulver, describing new ways in which the Internet is already delivering video content. He cited the AOL's online coverage of the Live 8 event last summer as a was a watershed event because it became clear that with enough bandwidth the Net is
good enough to substitute or replace traditional broadcasting. Pulver cited TiVO time-shifting and slingbox place-shifting, where a set-top device pulls content from a cable TV box and streams it over a broadband connection, as other examples of how technology is already impacting the TV experience.

The next phase will be when major TV productions or films chose direct distribution to users via the Net. For example, Pulver said the producers of American Idol at some time may have a falling out with Fox. Because their brand is so strong, they could then debut the show on the Net and keep the advertising revenue to themselves.

But Pulver also warned that if network operators get greedy all bets are off. Pulvermedia, in association with the VON Coalition, is circulating an open letter urging U.S. lawmakers to affirm their support for 'Net Neutrality to guarantee in law that the Internet remain open and interconnected, free from gatekeepers over new content and services.


TELUS Deploys Convedia Media Servers

TELUS, a leading national telecommunications company in Canada, has deployed Convedia media servers in its IP-One Innovation service for enterprise IP telephony. The Convedia media servers provide IP media processing for a complete range of IP telephony services, including IP Centrex and VoIP teleconferencing.


Cantata Makes its Debut -- Excel + Brooktrout

Cantata Technology, a company formed through the merger of Excel Switching and Brooktrout Technology in October 2005, made its official debut.

Cantata Technology, which is headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts, supplies media servers, media gateways and voice and fax platforms for the enterprise and service provider markets.

"Our new name, Cantata, is a word derived from a rich musical composition in which talents converge to create something truly unique. A cantata is a work far more innovative, integrated and engaging than the sum of its parts. This same synergy is embodied in Cantata Technology," said Marc Zionts, CEO of Cantata Technology.

The company also introduced a new version of its Cantata SnowShore IP Media Server optimized for 3G wireless and IMS applications. The platform provides the Media Resource Function (MRF), a key building block for advanced multimedia and interactive services within the emerging IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) network architecture.

The SnowShore IP Media Server is a software based SIP controlled media processing platform featuring advanced speech and multimedia processing capabilities to support new blended IMS voice and video applications.


London Internet Providers Exchange Deploys Force10

The London Internet Providers Exchange (Lipex) has deployed Force10 Networks' S-Series to build a high performance 10 Gigabit Ethernet peering network between five of its Internet exchange points. The Force10 S50 data center switch anchors the Lipex network.


RADCOM and Viola Networks Sign OEM Agreement

RADCOM and Viola Networks announced an OEM deal to incorporate Viola's VoIP monitoring software into RADCOM's Omni-Q, a fully distributed, probe-based network and service quality management system. It gives service providers, ILECs and MSOs complete visibility into the VoIP service running over the network, enabling early-stage fault detection, pre-emptive maintenance and optimization, and drill-down troubleshooting that leads to quick and easy fault resolution.

Sipera Raises $13.2 Million for VoIP Security

Sipera Systems, a start-up based in Richardson, Texas, secured $13.2M in series B round funding for its security solutions for VoIP, mobile and multimedia communications.

The round was led by Sequoia Capital, and includes prior investors Austin Ventures and STAR Ventures. This latest funding brings Sipera's total to $19.5Mhttp://www.sipera.comIntroduced earlier this month, the 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. 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.

Broadcom Unveils Two New VoIP Chips for CPE

Broadcom introduced a terminal adapter (TA) router chip and a low cost IP phone chip, expanding its existing IP phone product portfolio which also includes Wi-Fi phone and Wi-Fi video phone platforms, voice-enabled cable and DSL modems, and Ethernet IP phones.

The new VoIP processor for TA routers has two integrated voice codecs. It leverages Broadcom's VoIP xChange software platform, a VoIP software package that is unique because it includes networking and router components.

Broadcom's new low cost consumer IP phone chip is a highly integrated, high performance VoIP processor that is targeted at residential and small office/home office (SOHO) Ethernet IP handsets. The device provides enterprise class IP phone features at consumer price points, such as high fidelity audio support and full duplex speakerphone.

Both devices feature a single MIPS processor core with specialized VoIP instructions that eliminate the need for a separate digital signal processor for voice applications. http://www.broadcom.com

XO Launches Wholesale Voice Origination Service

XO Communications is expanding its wholesale VoIP portfolio with a new IP voice origination service that offers service providers a scalable and cost-effective means for originating voice calls nationwide.

The new service, XO VoIP Origination, provides broadband telephony providers, cable companies and other service providers with interconnection, transport and origination of local calls nationwide through a single IP connection on the XO IP network. It provides the ability to assign local telephone numbers from any XO market nationwide and accept local calls through a single IP connection point. Key features include:

  • In-bound/local origination service nationwide

  • Reliable intercity transport

  • SIP or TDM interconnection to XO IP network

  • Local Number Portability

  • Directory Listing

  • Caller ID with name

  • 24x7 network management and proactive network monitoring

  • Interconnection and usage reporting

  • An easy-to-use web portal for service changes and orders


Verizon Enhances Wholesale SIP Gateway Service

Verizon Business has enhanced its wholesale SIP Gateway service by allowing wholesale customers to take advantage of metered outbound local calling, and directory assistance or operator services, or both. The SIP Gateway Service is available in three configurations: Inbound Complete, Two-Way Local and Two-Way Complete. With all configurations, Verizon Business provides the media gateway to the PSTN, local number portability, E-911 (for outbound configurations), directory listing and Web-based order submission. Carrier IP Termination, using either the time division multiplex or SIP interfaces, provides wholesale customers with the ability to hand off traffic using the transport method that best suits their needs.

Verizon said the new metered outbound local calling provides customers with more pricing flexibility. This metered capability is available in an initial billing time of six seconds followed by subsequent six-second billing increments, and the feature can be used to recognize and manage subscriber usage patterns more efficiently.

Further, wholesale customers can advance and customize their own product suites with the directory assistance and operator service features now available with the wholesale SIP Gateway product. Wholesale customers will be provided local, long-distance and international operator and directory assistance service round-the-clock from geographically dispersed and fully redundant call centers.

Directory assistance and operator services are offered by both automated and live operators, with 23 languages offered on the automated platform.


Verizon Offers SLAs for Managed IP PBX Service

Verizon Business began offering service-level commitments for its Managed IP PBX Services. The new SLAs provide a commitment that Managed IP PBX issues will be resolved in three and a half hours or less.

Verizon Business is also measuring the quality of its Managed IP PBX services using a new set of measurements specifically designed for voice services, including Mean Opinion Scores (MOS) that look at the end-user's voice-quality experience. The Verizon Business SLA guarantees an average MOS score up to 4.0, a highly desirable score for IP telephony networks. Users can compare this to other IP Telephony providers that typically do not offer voice quality service-level commitments based on MOS scores.

With Managed IP PBX, customers also can view near real-time performance of their managed networks through the Verizon Business customer portal, where they have access to a wealth of analytical data. As a result, Verizon Business can help customers better identify and remedy performance problems, enabling them to avoid expensive productivity and customer losses caused by poor performance.

Additionally, the company is extending a number of other robust service-level commitments to its Managed IP PBX customers, including up to 100 percent platform availability and proactive notification of an issue within 15 minutes or less. The SLAs also consist of a credit payout of up to 100 percent of the monthly recurring charge for missed metrics averaged over a month. http://www.verizon.net

Cable Industry Refuses to Run Verizon TV Commercial

Comcast, Time Warner and Cablevision have refused to run a 30-second paid commercial from Verizon that asks consumers to support video choice. In a statement, Verizon accused the cable companies of using their operations to present only one side of the issue.

The commercial can be seen on Verizon's Web site.


Verizon Names Ruesterholz to Head Telecom Unit

Virginia Ruesterholz was named president of Verizon Telecom, reporting to Lawrence T. Babbio, vice chairman and president of Verizon. In her new role, Ruesterholz will be responsible for all sales, service and operations activities for the $37.6 billion Verizon Telecom unit.

Ruesterholz, most recently president of the company's wholesale business, will now oversee sales and marketing for the consumer, small business and wholesale market segments. In addition, she will be responsible for Verizon's Information Technology team as well as its Network Services group.


Hurricane Electric Expands Colo in Silicon Valley

Hurricane Electric inaugurated new colocation facility in Silicon Valley. The new 208,000 square foot facility complements three other colocation facilities Hurricane Electric operates in San Jose, CA, Fremont, CA and New York, NY.


Cisco on Net Neutrality: Regulate Only if Problems Occur, Not Before

Cisco Systems issued a statement to clarify its position on Net Neutrality, noting that it helped produce the High Tech Broadband Coalition's "Connectivity Principles" in 2003, which were embodied in the FCC's Policy Statement of 2005. The Connectivity Principles and FCC Policy protect consumers with information and the ability to use the Internet in an open fashion. Cisco continues to support these principles:

  • 1. Broadband Internet access consumers should have access to their choice of legal Internet content within the bandwidth limits and quality of service of their service plan.

  • 2. Broadband Internet access consumers should be able to run applications of their choice, within the bandwidth limits and quality of service of their service plans, as long as they do not harm the provider's network.

  • 3. Consumers should be permitted to attach any devices they choose to their broadband Internet access connection at the consumer's premises, so long as they operate within the bandwidth limits and quality of service of their service plans and do not harm the provider's network or enable theft of services.

  • 4. Consumers should receive meaningful information regarding their broadband Internet access service plans.

Cisco also believes that innovation inside the network is just as important as innovation in services and devices connected to the Internet. The company said that it is necessary for broadband Internet access providers to use innovative technology to manage their networks to provide quality of service and new features and services to meet evolving consumer needs. Cisco supports the use of network management tools by Internet access providers to improve the Internet experience as long as there is no anticompetitive effect. Specifically, Cisco supports:

  • Broadband Internet access service providers should remain free to engage in pro-competitive network management techniques to alleviate congestion, ameliorate capacity constraints, and enable new services.

  • Broadband Internet access service providers should remain free to offer additional services to supplement broadband Internet access, including bandwidth tiers, quality of service, security, anti-virus and anti-spam services, network management services, as well as to enter into commercially negotiated agreements with unaffiliated parties for the provision of such additional services.

Regarding the issue of regulation, Cisco believes the FCC should take action only if and when it is faced with a specific complaint with respect to the Connectivity Principles or related anticompetitive behavior. At present, Cisco sees no indication of any significant violations of the Connectivity Principles by broadband Internet access providers.


VON Spring: Qwest Promises No Traffic Degradation, Sees Preferred Bandwidth Deals with Content Providers

Qwest's job as a telecom service provider is "to see the world through the eyes of customers," said Richard Notebaert, Chairman and CEO of Qwest Communications, speaking at Spring VON in San Jose. On this point, he believes the Internet industry, the VoIP segment, online content providers and other network operators can all agree. We should see the world from the customer perspective.

Beside its role of mass market last mile provider, Qwest also provides business services and wholesale services, which are defined by specific network performance contracts. Its these commercial relationships that Notebaert sees as a good model for the industry.

On the contentious debate of Net Neutrality, Notebaert promised that Qwest will never block traffic and will never degrade service. He said such policies are fundamentally against the DNA of the company as a service provider. He vowed that Qwest would never deliver less capability than the customer has paid for.

However, Notebaert said arguments about content delivery, network neutrality and the need for regulatory action are bogus. Rather than government mandates, Notebaert argues that these issues can best be addressed through commercial agreements.

As he sees it, nothing should prevent a content provider from negotiating a better delivery method for their service. And he believes that content providers will be eager to pay for enhanced bandwidth, as it will give them a competitive advantage. As an industry, he noted that telecom has always sold bigger pipes and enhanced services in order to give customers a competitive advantage. If they want to buy, the telecom providers should be willing to sell.

Notebaert gave two examples. Consider 800 numbers. Yes, the customers have already paid for the ability to make telephone calls. However, 800 numbers provide an easier way to reach customer service. Businesses are willing to subsidize the 800 calls in order to better serve them.

A second example is the retail industry. If L.L.Bean wants to offer free overnight shipping to its customers and makes a deal with FedEX, should the government prevent them from doing so because it would be unfair to retailers? Notebaert argued that the government ought to stay out of this issue and let the market reach its own agreements.


AT&T, BellSouth, Verizon Agree on IP-Enabled Video CPE Principles

AT&T, BellSouth, Verizon and the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced a series of principles designed to ensure the commercial availability of devices that attach to IP-enabled video networks.

The companies said they agree that consumers will benefit if they have the flexibility to attach a variety of CE devices to video service networks and consumer home networks. To support this position, the following framework of principles was released:

Principles for the Attachment of Devices to IP-enabled Video Service Provider Networks

  • 1. Nationwide compatibility. We will strive to achieve nationwide compatibility enabling CE manufacturers to develop devices that will operate nationwide on IP-enabled video service networks. We acknowledge that technical and economic realities may preclude nationwide uniformity among all networks. Nonetheless, we believe it is possible for video service networks to include enough nationwide commonality for CE manufacturers to design products in a cost-effective manner that will operate nationwide and across IP-enabled service provider platforms. There are two non-exclusive options to meet the goal of nationwide compatibility. The first option, more readily achievable in the short term, is attachment in a home networking architecture on the consumer side of a service provider device. Home networking attachment requires all IP-enabled service providers to support a common and mutually agreed upon set of home networking standards in leased equipment. Except to protect against electronic or physical harm to the network or unauthorized receipt of services, no technical specification, license, subscriber agreement, or other requirement should prevent consumers from accessing services across personal home networks. The second option is plug and play attachment directly to the IP-enabled network, which requires common protocols and standards for IP-enabled services as delivered to the consumer's home.(1)

  • 2. Open standards. The use of open standards is critical so that CE manufacturers can play a role in the development of technologies necessary to build compatible devices. In this context an open standard is a standard developed in a forum that: (1) allows meaningful participation by all interested parties, (2) requires consensus (though not necessarily unanimous) decision making, (3) affords due process rights to all participants, and (4) openly discloses licensing terms which are at least reasonable and non-discriminatory. Standards created by ANSI-accredited bodies meet these criteria. An open standard does not necessarily mean a single national standard for attachments to IP-enabled video networks and may consist of a solution set of multiple standards that encompass a complete solution in a cost effective manner.

  • 3. Reasonable licensing terms. To the extent that there are proprietary aspects to IP-enabled video service networks, reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing terms should be available so that both CE manufacturers and video service providers are not unreasonably constrained from including necessary technologies within their respective products in order to ensure that CE devices can be connected to IP-enabled video networks, consistent with the other principles outlined herein.

    Further, licenses for these technologies should not impose unrelated
    or unnecessary burdens on licensees, such as the inclusion or
    exclusion of additional features in products that are separate from
    the features related to accessing the services provided by the service

  • 4. Reasonable testing and certification procedures. Reasonable testing and certification procedures should be established so CE manufacturers and IP-enabled video service providers can obtain necessary approvals for products and can bring products to market in a timely manner.

    Product testing and certification should be transparent and focused on
    ensuring that devices conform to the applicable specifications, do not
    cause electronic or physical harm to the video service networks, and
    do not enable unauthorized receipt of service.

  • 5. Reasonable terms of service for consumers. Service terms and conditions should reasonably allow consumers to choose among various CE products to access their video services as long as such products do not cause electronic or physical harm to the network and do not enable unauthorized receipt of service. Subscriber agreements should allow the attachment of devices that meet the technical, licensing, and
    testing/approval criteria described herein.

(1) IP-enabled video service provider networks include but are not
limited to end-to-end IP networks and/or hybrid QAM/IP networks.