Sunday, April 9, 2006

CopperCom Acquires Switchmaxx for Web Port App

CopperCom, a supplier of softswitches, has acquired Switchmaxx, a division of Phonetics LC, for an undisclosed sum. Switchmaxx offers a Unified Self-Care Web portal that incorporates applications such as Web-enabled voice mail, unified messaging, single-number service, parental controls, etc. Significantly, Switchmaxx software provides telcos with a single interface for managing services on both their legacy TDM and next-generation switches, such as the CopperCom CSX.

"This strategic investment furthers CopperCom's commitment to enable our customers to advance their business models with cash-generating capabilities and solid customer retention," said Mike Myers, CEO, CopperCom. "The Switchmaxx solution maps well to the CopperCom CSX in that it is able to very successfully bridge legacy switch platforms with next-generation switch platforms and new IP-based solutions."http://www.coppercom.com

Shenick Enhances IPTV Test Software

Shenick Network Systems, added significant IPTV and triple play enhancements to its "diversifEye" Version 3.0 software, which provides granularity required to test overall performance and quality of service (QoS), coupled with the ability to drill down to individual IPTV, VoIP and Internet users.

Shenick said its diversifEye handles the complete cycle of broadband customer access scenarios from obtaining an IP address via DHCP to establishing PPP tunnels through emulation of real user application traffic flows of multiple IPTV, VoIP, VoD and data applications such as Web, P2P and email. Shenick will also support real-time (or passive) IPTV video quality analysis on a per IPTV channel basis coupled with active video analysis against a known reference video stream. This enables IPTV service providers to assess video quality on an aggregate or per viewer basis by employing industry standard perceptual quality scoring based on the ITU J.144 standard with IP based video extensions such as V-Factor and PEVQ (perceptual evaluation of video quality).

Shenick has also SIP-based call generation and a security attack module that provides testing for DDoS (Denial of Service), Virus, Worm and Spam attacks.

Caspian Counters Net Neutrality with Fair Use Framework

Caspian, a supplier of multimedia traffic management solutions for service provider, large enterprise, and government networks, entered the Net Neutrality debate by outlining a Fair Use Policy Framework aimed at bridging the interests of consumers, application providers, and network operators.

To date, the Net Neutrality debate has pitted major telcos against the larger Internet community of content providers and users, who have viewed any attempt to set-up IP traffic tiers as unfair toll-booths that threaten the essence of the open Internet.

The Caspian Fair Use Policy Framework proposes three increasingly granular techniques for managing traffic in IP networks. The Framework hierarchy includes:

  • Proportioning bandwidth equally among all active users without regard to applications or service levels;

  • Prioritizing bandwidth non-intrusively to ensure regulatory compliance, including emergency calls or requests under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA); and

  • Provisioning bandwidth in a dynamic, nondiscriminatory fashion to enable tiered service level offerings by network operators, and other content and service providers.

The Framework, which is currently implemented in Caspian's Media Controller product line, does not employ intrusive techniques that examine the packet's payload, thereby ensuring nondiscriminatory access to all Internet sites, services and content. Beyond a basic tier, tt does offer different levels of QoS to Internet-based content and service providers to accommodate various multimedia applications. For network operators, it provides a means to manage bandwidth without traffic filtering or port blocking. It also enables the network operator to charge for premium services. For regulators, the Framework provides a means to prioritize emergency traffic.

Caspian also noted that this concept is already being deployed as part of the eGov Korea project, managing traffic between KT, Dacom, SK Telecom and hanaro telecom.

A copy of the Caspian proposal, titled Fair Use Policy Framework: A Nondiscriminatory and Noninvasive Approach to Managing Internet Traffic in Full Compliance with U.S. Law and Federal Communications Commission Policy, is available online.

Use Networking: Leveraging Quality To Create Profitability
is “fair use�? of a service provider's network? Ideally, service
providers should be able to allocate capacity and be paid according to
what they carry over the network. While Internet access providers are
able to raise prices for customers who require more bandwidth, long-haul
backbone service providers pay the freight for growing volumes of
traffic from which they generate no revenue, and worse, rob capacity at
the expense of premium services

Today there seem to be two approaches to the problem of balancing
network traffic and revenue considerations. The first approach is to
simply let any customer transport any kind of traffic—and as much as
they want—over the long-haul backbone network. The second approach
available to service providers for managing bandwidth is to filter out
certain types of traffic or lock out traffic from certain content

Motorola Signs Set-top Deal with NCTC

The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) has placed an order for all-digital, high-definition (HD) and digital video recording (DVR)-capable Motorola set-tops, in the consortium's first-ever volume set-top purchase. Financial terms were not disclosed.

NCTC is a programming and hardware buying cooperative that represents more than 1,000 independent cable operators and their 6,500 individual systems. The NCTC members serve 8 million cable subscribers.

The deal includes the Motorola DCT2500E home media network-ready core interactive set-top, the DCT6412 and DCT3412 high-definition digital video recorders, and a newly-announced Motorola DCT3080 standard-definition digital video recorder.

The Motorola DCT3080 is a standard-definition, dual-tuner digital video recorder (DVR) that can act as a hub for a whole-home media network -- moving content such as recorded shows, photos, or music to other devices in the home.

Motorola also unveiled the DCC100, a slim, small-footprint set-top with built-in Follow Me TV media networking capabilities.

Aperto Raises $26 Million for its WiMAX Systems

Aperto Networks, a start-up based in Milpitas, California, raised $26 million in venture funding for its WiMAX base stations and subscriber units.

Aperto is a founding board member of the WiMAX Forum as well as a founder and lead contributor to IEEE 802.16 and the ETSI-BRAN standards. The company currently claims more than 200 customers in 65 countries.

The new Series E follow-on financing round bring the company's total capitalization to $120 million. The financing round was led by GunnAllen Venture Partners with significant participation from existing investors including JK&B Capital, Canaan Partners, Alliance Ventures, Innovacom, JAFCO, and Labrador Ventures.

Motorola, Camiant and Sandvine Supply PacketCable MultiMedia to Singapore's StarHub

Singapore's StarHub has deployed a PacketCable MultiMedia (PCMM) solution supplied by Motorola, Camiant and Sandvine.

The deployment includes Sandvine's PCMM application manager, Camiant's PCMM policy server, as well as Incognito's and Interactive Enterprise's provisioning software.

Motorola, which is overseeing and managing the end-to-end integration of the technology, is also supplying its Broadband Services Router 64000 (BSR 64000) -- the first Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) to receive PCMM Qualification within DOCSIS 2.0 from CableLabs.

Sandvine's application manager improves network control by giving operators the ability to identify, analyze, mark and prioritize broadband traffic.


Former FCC Commissioner Joins Citizen Comm. Board

Former FCC Commissioner Kathleen Quinn Abernathy will serve on the Board of Directors for Citizen Communications. Abernathy, who resigned her post in November 2005, currently is a partner in the communications and information technology practice in the Washington, DC office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where she advises clients on a wide variety of policy and regulatory issues related to the telecommunications and media fields

AT&T Offers in-Home Tech Support for New DSL Customers

AT&T will begin providing new customers who order AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet Express or Pro services with an AT&T Wireless Gateway through an AT&T call center with home networking setup services from a CompUSA "Techknowledgist" or from other participating retailers' technical support crews. Customers who order AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet Pro will receive a $99 mail-in rebate to cover home network setup fees; Express customers will receive a $50 mail-in rebate to use toward the $99 setup fees (taxes and other charges may apply).

Cisco Releases Application Control Engine for Catalyst 6500

Cisco Systems released an Application Control Engine (ACE), providing up to 16 Gbps of throughput, rich multi-layer security, and unique virtual partitioning capabilities, for its Catalyst 6500 Series Switch. The module enables many new capabilities, including hundreds of virtual partitions, per-partition resource allocation, role-based access control, and an XML management API. The ACE also consolidates functionality such as server load balancing and off-load, application acceleration, and application-layer security.

Cisco also announced today a new application security software module for the Application Velocity System (AVS), its application acceleration and security appliance. The new security software module works seamlessly with Cisco ACE and adds bi-directional application inspection and protection while eliminating vastly more application vulnerabilities.

Several versions of the Cisco Application Control Engine module are available, including configurations that support up to 4, 8 and 16 Gbps throughput-levels for $39,995, $59,995, and $99,995 respectively. The scalable architecture of the Cisco ACE family allows customers to upgrade performance and scalability of the ACE through purchase of software licenses. The AVS application security software module is available in early May and is priced at $10,000.

Calix Implements Wintegra Access Processors for FTTN

Calix has selected Wintegra's WinPath Access Processor as the primary processor for its E-Series IP Service Edge Node. Wintegra's WinPath facilitates a wide range of services for the E5, including connectivity via ADSL2+ and VDSL2.

Clearwire Launches VoIP over its WiMAX Network

Clearwire, the broadband wireless provider founded by Craig McCaw, began offering a residential VoIP service over its network. The service was jointly developed with Bell Canada.

Clearwire said it will only sell service to those who qualify for Enhanced 911 (E911) service. Features include a local phone number within Clearwire's market, unlimited local and long-distance calling within the U.S. and Canada, competitive international calling rates, call forwarding, enhanced call forwarding, caller ID, voice mail, voice mail to e-mail, three-way calling, caller blocking and international call blocking. The first market launch is in Stockton, California.

Clearwire is using a WiMAX class access solution developed by its wholly-owned subsidiary, NextNet Wireless. The service operates at FCC-licensed 2.5 GHz frequencies in all of its U.S. markets. Clearwire sends its signal wirelessly from a transmitter on top of a cell tower to a specially developed receiver modem.
  • Clearwire is currently providing wireless Internet service in 27 metro markets, covering more than 200 cities and towns in Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin in the United States, as well as Ireland, Belgium, Denmark (under the Clearwire name with Danske Telecom) and Mexico (via MVSNet).

Disney-ABC Tests Online Distribution with Flash-8

The Disney-ABC Television Group will offer ad-supported, full-length episodes of four ABC primetime series via its website, bypassing cable operators and other content aggregators.

Current episodes of "Lost," "Desperate Housewives," and "Commander In Chief," as well as the entire present season of "Alias," will be available for streaming during May and June for free. A number of advertisers have already signed-up, including AT&T, Cingular, Ford, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Unilever's Suave, Universal Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures.

The content will be encoded and streamed in Flash 8. The standard viewing size is 500x282 pixels (streamed at 400kbs), and the larger viewing size is 700x394 pixels (streamed 700 kbps).

Consumers will be able to pause and move back and forth between "chapters" within each episode, but will not have the ability to fast-forward through advertisements. Episodes will be streamed in 16x9 formatting which offers a cinema-like feel.

"Our mission with this trial is to gather key learning about the technology and the consumers who utilize it in order for to become the leading broadband digital entertainment experience, packed with innovative, immersive content for our viewers," said Albert Cheng, executive vice president, Digital Media, Disney-ABC Television Group. "In the months ahead, will not only deliver a high quality, on-demand viewing experience to users, but will also gain valuable knowledge and research to help us better understand and serve our consumers in the rapidly evolving digital world."http://www.disney.com

BT Signs TV Music Deals

BT plans to offer more than 500 concerts and performances by some of the world's biggest music artists as part of its upcoming TV service. BT has signed deals with i-concerts and Eagle Rock - two of the most respected providers of long-form music video content.

i-concerts' potential line-up includes big names such as Franz Ferdinand, Keane, Bon Jovi, Andrea Bocelli, Billy Joel, Pavarotti, Roxy Music and Sheryl Crow.

Eagle Rock programming includes classic and contemporary concerts and documentary profiles from its Eagle Vision portfolio including Alice Cooper, Brutally Live, Atomic Kitten, Right Here Right Now; Beach Boys, Fatboy Slim, Big Beach Boutique; Miles Davis: Miles Electric,, Usher: Live 2002; and The Who: Live at the Isle of Wight.

BT has previously announced content deals with BBC Worldwide, Paramount, Warner Music Group, National Geographic Channel, HIT Entertainment, Nelvana and Turner Broadcasting. Its upcoming BT Vision service, which will not require a subscription, will combine access to digital-terrestrial channels through the aerial with broadband-powered video on demand.

Aruba Chairman and CEO Switch Roles

Aruba Networks announced that its chairman will switch roles with its CEO. Don LeBeau, Aruba's president and CEO, will become the company's new chairman of the board. The current chairman of the board, Dominic Orr, will assume the role of Aruba's new president and CEO. Both moves are effective immediately.

Nominum and Acme Packet Partner on VoIP Peering

Nominum and Acme Packet announced plans to deliver scalable ENUM directory services based on Acme's Net-Net session border controller family and Nominum's Navitas ENUM-based IP-application routing directory.

Acme Packet's session border controllers allow voice, video and multimedia sessions across IP network borders. Nominum's Navitas ENUM-based IP-application routing directory server enables the connection of advanced IP-based communications services between separate networks. http://www.nominum.com

Global Crossing Expands European Network and VoIP Services

Global Crossing activated additional IP gateways in Austria, Belgium, Germany and Spain, and new points of presence (PoPs) in Rome, Italy and Moscow, Russia. The addition of Rome complements Global Crossing's existing point of presence in Milan and Turin. Global Crossing further expanded its IP services on the existing footprint with the opening of IP PoPs in Brussels, Madrid, Munich and Vienna. Initially, IP Transit and dedicated Internet access services will be available, with the addition of IP VPN expected later in the year. The Madrid and Vienna PoPs are both located in the main data centers in the cities, run by InterXion.

Global Crossing also introduced Enterprise VoIP Outbound and VoIP Local Services to countries across Europe, complementing its existing Enterprise VoIP service availability in North America.

The VoIP Outbound Service transports IP voice traffic across Global Crossing's private VoIP platform for off net TDM completion via the local PSTN. This service is now available for both national and international calling from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, UK, and the USA, and for international calling from Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. National calling will be introduced to these countries in phases as part of the continuing VoIP development program.

The VoIP Local Service offers the ability to originate traffic on the public switched telephone network in different countries using geographic and non-geographic numbers. The traffic is then converted to VoIP on Global Crossing's network for delivery to the customer's IP network via an IP interconnect. This service eliminates TDM, private line and foreign exchange service fees by providing a single IP connection alternative. Direct Inward Dial numbers can be provided from Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, UK and the USA.

Global Crossing has also entered into a channel partner agreement with Britannic Technologies to provide them with enterprise VoIP and IP VPN services in Europe. Britannic Technologies is a UK-based systems integration company specializing in providing customers with IP communications and applications development.

Nokia and Linksys Partner on Digital Home Bundles

Nokia and Linksys (a division of Cisco) announced a product bundle entitled, "Go wireless at home", which includes the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet bundled with either a Linksys high-speed wireless router or gateway.

The Nokia 770 Internet Tablet provides mobile broadband access to the Internet via Wi-Fi or by Bluetooth connection with compatible mobile devices. It includes web browser, email client, news reader and media players for listening to music and watching videos. It runs on Linux based Nokia Internet Tablet software.

Scientific Atlanta Unveils OCAP Set-tops

Scientific Atlanta, which is now part of Cisco Systems, unveiled a line of set-tops supporting the introduction of CableLabs OpenCable Applications Platform (OCAP) and the FCC mandate for separate security.

Key features of Scientific Atlanta's Next Generation Network Architectures (NGNA) set-top line include:

  • Designed for OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP) - offering faster processing power, increased memory, and Linux. Complementing the set-top line is Scientific Atlanta's OCAP platform, which includes the company's OCAP Digital Network Control System Release 4.0 series and the OCAP Axiom middleware product, now testing in multiple customer labs.

  • Separable Security - the new line of set-tops require the use of a Multi-Stream CableCARD to provide the conditional access portion of the cable operator's system security. The Multi-Stream CableCARD provides the needed separable security in order to comply with the FCC's July 1, 2007, separable security mandate. In addition, Scientific Atlanta is using this new line of set-tops as a development platform for the upcoming alternative separable security solution known as DCAS (Downloadable Conditional Access System).

  • Advanced DOCSIS Set-Top Gateway (ADSG) - The new line of set-tops will support CableLabs ADSG specification for transporting set-top box command and control information over DOCSIS. The built-in DOCSIS 2.0 modem, in addition to ADSG support, will also provide a path for IP video services to be delivered to subscribers.

  • Support for H.264

Additionally, Scientific Atlanta is also introducing its Explorer 940 Compact Digital Only Interactive Set-Top, which is a compact, cost- efficient digital only set-top designed for "enhanced basic" service or support an introductory digital video service tier to drive conversion of basic or expanded basic subscribers. The Explorer 940 Set-Top can also help operators expand the number of additional cable outlets in the home, as well as increase pay-per-view and on-demand transactions.

Cox Certifies Ciena's CN 4200 for Triple Play Aggregation

Cox Communications has certified Ciena's CN 4200 FlexSelect Advanced Services Platform for deployment in its metro and regional networks to support the aggregation and transport of residential voice, video and data services, as well as business services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The CN 4200 is a multiservice transport and aggregation platform capable of on-demand support for any transport protocol--including SONET/SDH, Ethernet/GbE/10GbE, storage (Fibre Channel, FICON, ESCON) video--at any speed on any available port using a universal line card with individual user-programmable ports.

The CN 4200 has already been deployed in several Cox regions to provide initial support for high-speed data and commercial services.

Ciena's CN 4200 is the flagship product of Ciena's FlexSelect Architecture, a standards-based, service-oriented approach to building next-generation network infrastructures.

"Part of our on-going strategy is to shift away from service-specific equipment and evolve to a converged, multiservice network that can adapt to the changing demands from residential and business customers over time," said Darryl Ladd, director of network architecture for Cox Communications.

BigBand and Concurrent Partner on Network DVR Solution

BigBand Networks and Concurrent announced an interoperable solution for network-based time shifting, which offers subscribers DVR-like control over live programming. The companies said their solution for time-shifting has recently been deployed by a major North American cable operator.

The BigBand BMR (Broadband Multimedia-Service Router) acquires and processes live VBR (variable bit rate) feeds, replicating and clamping them, sending CBR (constant bit rate) versions, necessary for on-demand networking, to the Concurrent Real-Time Catcher. Simultaneously, the BMR transports the live VBR video streams to subscriber set-box boxes via the BigBand BME (Broadband Multimedia Service Edge). The Concurrent Real-Time Catcher transfers content to the MediaMatrix complexes which then streams time-shifted programs, also through the BigBand BME, when demanded by subscriber devices.


Charter Supplies 10 Gbps Links for BMW's R&D Lab

Charter Communications is providing BMW with private, redundant connectivity for replicated data storage transport, as well as converging corporate data communications over redundant 10 Gigabit connections using Nortel's optical technology. The network is carrying multiple FibreChannel (FC-200) circuits and multiple gigabit Ethernet circuits between BMW's existing factory in Greer, South Carolina, and its new research facility at the nearby International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) in Greenville, South Carolina.

Nortel's Optical Metro 5200 with new 10 Gbps multiservice cards is being used to converge up to 10 independent service connections over a single optical wavelength.


Shanghai Media Group Deploys Envivio MPEG-4 Encoders

Shanghai Media Group (SMG) is using Envivio MPEG-4 IPTV video headends to encode digital video programming for approximately 80,000 subscribers in the Northern Province of Hei Long Jiang and the City of Shanghai. The IPTV services are delivered via China Netcom Company Limited and Shanghai Telecom Co., Ltd., respectively. To increase video quality and customer satisfaction, SMG has deployed 90 encoders from the Envivio Broadcast Series. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • In March 2006, TANDBERG Television and Siemens announced that they are supplying Shanghai Telecom with MPEG-4 AVC video compression equipment.

Comcast Signs Retailing Deal with Wal-Mart

Comcast will begin offering its broadband, digital video, and voice services in approximately 500 Wal-Mart locations across Comcast's national footprint. This announcement marks the latest in a series of Comcast agreements with premium retailers. Comcast launched its retail program in 1999.