Monday, May 8, 2006

Warner Bros. Leverages BitTorent P2P for Film/TV Downloads

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group announced a deal with BitTorrent to leverage the company's peer-assisted delivery system for Web-based downloads of motion picture and television content in the U.S. Content published with BitTorrent will be available on the website and feature downloadable programming.

BitTorrent's "file-swarming" technology enables the transfer of massive files from a website to a PC with peer-assisted bandwidth efficiency. This new method of delivery is the first peer-assisted network in the U.S. that combines guaranteed availability, high-quality video and rapid download rates.

Warner Bros. is the first major studio to provide legal video content via the BitTorrent publishing platform.

BitTorrent will provide both a video-on-demand (VOD) and electronic sell through (EST) basis, day-and-date with the DVD release.

The service is intended to launch in summer of 2006 and will initially feature more than 200 Warner Bros. new releases, catalog favorites and television series.

The announcement follows BitTorrent's agreement with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to prevent film piracy and promote innovation in online digital distribution of content.

"Warner Bros. is in the business of making its movies and TV shows available to as wide an audience as possible. The launch of a legal BitTorrent online video service allows us to extend our reach to places our content would not ordinarily be found legally and opens up new opportunities. Entering into agreements such as this to distribute our content is not only a better way to reach existing and new customers but a reflection of the critical role distribution technologies play in the future of the entertainment industry," said Darcy Antonellis, Executive Vice President, Distribution Technology and Operations, Warner Bros. Technical Operations.
  • BitToirrent is headed by Bram Cohen (CEO and co-founder), who created the BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) file distribution protocol in 2001. Bram is also the co-founder of CodeCon and the co-author of Codeville.

  • BitTorrent is based in San Francisco.

neuf cegetel Selects Ciena's FlexSelect Architecture

neuf cegetel has selected Ciena's CN 4200 FlexSelect Advanced Services Platform for deployment across its metro and regional broadband network in France. The rollout will commence immediately. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ciena's 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 or video--at any speed on any available port using the industry's first universal line card with individual user-programmable ports. A service-aware platform with protocol-specific performance management capabilities, Ciena's CN 4200 offers the unique ability to combine different service types onto a single wavelength and add or drop them anywhere on the network for greater efficiency.

Huawei Unveils New Corporate Logo

Huawei Technologies unveiled a new corporate logo. The company said its new design embodies "youthfulness and an enterprising spirit," and reflects its principles of "customer-focus, innovation, steady and sustainable growth, and harmony."

"During such a crucial period for global telecom transformation, there will be greater trust and higher expectations from customers of Huawei. Changing our logo demonstrates our readiness and capability to take on future opportunities and challenges together with our customers," said Dr. ZhiJun Xu, Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei.

Alcatel and Lucent File SEC Registration Statement

Alcatel and Lucent Technologies filed a Registration Statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding their proposed merger. The statement includes the preliminary prospectus of Alcatel in connection with the offering of Alcatel American Depositary Shares and underlying Alcatel ordinary shares in the proposed merger transaction, and a preliminary proxy statement of Lucent Technologies in connection with the special meeting of Lucent Technologies stockholders to vote on such combination.

Zarlink Expands Ethernet Switch Chip with QoS Features for IP-DSLAMs, PON

Zarlink Semiconductor expanded its ClassSwitch Ethernet switch family with two new devices designed for network access equipment that aggregates, inspects and modifies real-time traffic in triple play and carrier-grade Ethernet VLAN applications. Targeted platforms include IP-DSLAMs, MTU/MDU (multi-tenant/multi-dwelling unit) switch systems, PON units, and micro-MSPPs (multi-service provisioning platforms) carrying Ethernet services over SONET/SDH networks.

Zarlink's new ZL33032 and ZL33050 chips are Ethernet switches integrating embedded memory with protection switching and enhanced per-flow QoS features -- key elements in the delivery of advanced services including IPTV and end-to-end private VLAN. The ZL33032 embedded memory switch is a fully featured device with 24 FE (Fast Ethernet) + 4 GE (Gigabit Ethernet) ports. The ZL33050 delivers the same features and port configurations, with the option to add external memory to support applications requiring additional traffic burstiness, more complex congestion control and advanced traffic shaping.

The devices also offer rapid failure detection and protection switching features to identify network errors and minimize frame loss. Zarlink said that unlike common "link" based failure detection mechanisms, the ClassSwitch devices feature integrated "protocol" based protection, enabling the user to detect failures at the far-end of the network. The devices incorporate an algorithm capable of periodically sending programmable packet beacons (for example, ping packets) across the network using specialized built-in hardware, without requiring CPU intervention. If a failure occurs in the far-end system all packets belonging to the session can be rapidly diverted to a backup path.

Programmable rate control can be applied to every 10/100 port independently for incoming and outgoing traffic to ensure customers receive only their subscribed bandwidth. The average traffic rate is reduced to below full wire-speed, and port rate can be flexibly configured in 64 Kbps increments. On the input side, flow control will be applied on the traffic's source port until the arriving traffic conforms to the configured rate. On the output side, data will continue to be buffered inside the ClassSwitch device until it can be transmitted to the destination at the requested rate.

Integrated flow-based QoS features allow service providers to maintain secure connections for their customers and control access by detecting unique traffic streams and limiting data rates for specific applications. Packets entering the device are classified to a flow based on user-defined rules, using information such as frame source and destination addresses or applications using the Layer 2 to Layer 7 fields of incoming packets. Up to 1,024 distinct flows can be created per device. The architecture supports per-flow two rate, three-color metering and policing. Scheduling algorithms, such as SP (strict priority) and WFQ (weighted fair queuing), manage packets and prioritize traffic.

Flow metering also enhances network security by detecting and discarding illegal or harmful traffic. To further protect against viruses and malicious attacks, ClassSwitch devices integrate a hardware-based DoS (denial of service) attack-flow engine.

Both new devices are available now, priced at US$74.00 and US$80.91 respectively at 10 K volumes. Other port configuration such as 16 FE+4 GE and 8 FE+4 GE will be available soon.

Verizon Executive Comments on Net Neutrality

Speaking at an industry event, Tom Tauke, Verizon executive vice president of public affairs, policy and communications, warned that Net Neutrality legislation could stall or delay broadband rollouts.

Tauke said Verizon is committed to ensuring full access to the Internet at speeds and prices that meet consumers' needs. But he said that sound policies and a better policy debate are needed.

"The plain truth is that today's access and backbone networks simply do not have the capacity to deliver all that customers expect," Tauke said. "Next-generation Web services will require a next-generation architecture...

"Building out America's Internet and broadband infrastructure will require billions more in private capital investment," he said. "There are also looming policy issues that could advance or hinder broadband's future...

"There is a legitimate discussion to be had about broadband networks and their reliability and accessibility. But that isn't what we are having right now. Instead, we have heated rhetoric, fueled by unfounded fear that overlooks the success of the market and forgets the consumer."

QUALCOMM Announces MEDIAFLO Trial with BSkyB

British Sky Broadcasting Limited (BSkyB) will conduct technical trials of QUALCOMM's MediaFLO technology in the U.K. beginning this summer. The technical trial will feature 10 channels of BSkyB content on a small number of non-commercial devices provided by QUALCOMM.

The companies said their technical trial is intended to allow BSkyB to closely evaluate the performance capabilities of FLO technology, an open, cellular network-agnostic wireless multicasting technology, as it continues to explore the growing number of opportunities to deliver video services to mobile devices.

The BSkyB technical trial is expected to be the first such trial of FLO technology in Europe.

In addition to this technical trial, QUALCOMM and KDDI have formed a joint venture to explore the deployment of MediaFLO services in Japan. Also, MediaFLO USA, a subsidiary of QUALCOMM, is working with Verizon Wireless to deploy wireless multimedia services based on FLO technology in the United States.
  • Verizon is working with QUALCOMM and its subsidiary MediaFLO USA Inc. to launch mobile TV services over the MediaFLO network in approximately half of the markets already covered by Verizon Wireless' CDMA2000 1xEV-DO-based broadband network.

  • FLO technology is a new air interface originally developed by Qualcomm with multicasting capabilities designed to increase capacity and reduce content delivery costs to mobile handsets. The technology is independent of the cellular network but complements CDMA2000 1X, 1xEV-DO and WCDMA cellular network data and voice services.

  • MediaFLO USA Inc. is building a nationwide network based on QUALCOMM's FLO technology to deliver multimedia content to mobile devices in the 700 MHz spectrum. QUALCOMM holds a nationwide footprint of spectrum licenses in this band. MediaFLO USA Inc. expects to begin commercial operation of the new network in 2006.

JDSU Adds 2.5/2.7G Jitter/Wander Test Solution

JDSU introduced a test solution for measuring 2.5/2.7G SONET/SDH jitter. Combining existing 2.5/2.7G optical and electrical interfaces with the new 2.5/2.7G jitter/wander feature, JDSU's ONT-506 and ONT-512 testers now provide physical layer jitter/wander testing from 155 Mbps up to 43 Gbps.

The 2.5/2.7G jitter/wander module for the ONT-506 and ONT-512 supports the research and development, service verification testing and production needs of network equipment manufacturers, as well as the equipment verification, installation and maintenance requirements of service providers.

JDSU said it significantly enhanced the ONT product line's intrinsic jitter performance in response to market demand for the accurate validation of very low-level jitter generation based on peak-to-peak and root mean square (RMS) jitter requirements. The enhancements reduce the need to retest marginal cases, resulting in lower costs and faster time-to-market.

Jitter and wander are disturbances in a high-speed network that affect reliability and service performance.

Packeteer to Acquire Tacit Networks for Branch Office Box

Packeteer, a supplier of WAN Application Optimization solutions, agreed to acquire privately-held Tacit Networks for for approximately $78 million in cash, plus the assumption of vested and unvested Tacit stock options.

Tacit, which is based in South Plainfield, New Jersey, provides branch
office infrastructure solutions for organizations pursuing server, storage and resource consolidation. Tacit's solution delivers Common Internet File System (CIFS), Wide Area File Services (WAFS), and acceleration technologies plus a complete branch office server replacement solution that includes DNS, DHCP, file and print services, in partnership with Microsoft. This enables the extension of the data center to the branch in one managed appliance.

In connection with this announced acquisition, Brocade Communications and Packeteer are also announcing a strategic relationship that includes Brocade as Packeteer's exclusive OEM distributor for WAFS products. Brocade Communications is an investor and OEM partner of Tacit Networks.

Microsoft Releases Windows Live Messenger Beta

Microsoft released "Windows Live Messenger" -- the next generation of MSN Messenger -- into public beta. MSN Messenger currently has 230 million registered users.

Some features include:

  • Windows Live Call with Verizon Web Calling service -- enabling users to place PSTN outbound calls through the Verizon Web Calling service. Service is already offered to Messenger customers in five countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain. As of next week, this calling service will be available in localized languages and currencies for six new markets -- Austria, Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands

  • Cordless phones designed exclusively for Windows Live Messenger. The first models are available from Uniden Corp. and in the coming weeks from Philips.

  • Windows Live Contacts -- an online address book that supports automatic updates. across Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Mail and MSN Spaces.

  • Unified contacts. Customers now have the ability to see and search all their contacts with the unified contact list accessible through Windows Live Messenger. Users can have up to 600 contacts.

  • Shared Folders -- enabling users to drag and drop their files and personal photos of any size to their Windows Live Messenger window for sharing with family, friends and colleagues.

  • Offline instant message (IM) - users can now send an IM to their offline contacts, who will receive the IM the next time they log in.

  • Video conversation - a free synchronized audio and video service powered by Logitech International

Microsoft to Extend Xbox Live to Windows Vista

Microsoft's Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates unveiled plans to extend the company's Xbox Live games and entertainment network to the forthcoming Windows Vista operating system.

"By opening the Xbox Live entertainment network to the entire universe of Windows and mobile gamers, we're creating unparalleled gameplay opportunities that will drive incredible growth of the online community," said Gates.

The first product in this vision will arrive on Windows Vista this winter with the release of "Shadowrun," a game that will be shipped simultaneously on Windows Vista and Xbox 360, enabling cross-platform gameplay and continuing to bridge the gap between consoles and computers.

The new online network will provide Windows Vista and Xbox 360 gamers with a consistent experience, with one gamertag, one set of achievements, one friends list and voice communications between all Xbox Live members. Bringing the Live Anywhere vision to Windows means that millions of gamers worldwide can access all the best elements of Xbox Live whether they're playing on an Xbox 360 system, a Windows-based PC or their mobile phone.

By this time next year, Microsoft expects more than 6 million gamers to be connected to the Xbox Live network. In addition, more than 25 million casual gamers are currently playing games on MSN Messenger and MSN Games.

Also at the E3 show in Los Angeles, Microsoft previewed the graphic capabilities of its latest games-programming technology: DirectX 10.

Microsoft said DirectX 10 heralds "an astonishing leap in graphic fidelity over today's hardware, enabling the most realistic and immersive games yet."

DirecX 10, which will debut exclusively on Windows Vista, offers up to six times the performance of earlier versions of DirectX and support for massively more complex and intense environments. In addition to broad publisher support, DirectX 10 is backed by leading graphics hardware companies including ATI Technologies Inc. and NVIDIA Corp.

Microsoft's Xbox Live Network Surpasses 3 Million Members

Microsoft's Xbox Live service, which launched in November 2002, has surpassed 3 million connected members. Nearly 60 percent of Xbox 360 owners have joined the Xbox Live community. In addition, over 90 percent of connected members are downloading content from Xbox Live Marketplace, driving more than 18 million downloads in the first six months.

Nokia Unveils First Range of Next Gen Mobile Games

Nokia unveiled the first six games for its new N-Gage mobile gaming platform. The titles have been designed specifically for multiplayer, mobile interaction. The new games line-up includes: Creatures of the Deep, ONE - Who's Next?, Pocket Aces: Texas Hold'em, Pro Series Golf, Space Impact, and System Rush: Evolution.

Cisco Posts Revenue of $7.2 Billion, Sees Continued Growth

Cisco Systems reported revenue for its third fiscal quarter of $7.3 billion, compared with $6.2 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2005 and compared with $6.6 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2006. Recently acquired Scientific-Atlanta contributed $407 million in net sales. Net income (GAAP) basis was $1.4 billion or $0.22 per share, which includes stock-based compensation expense related to employee stock options and employee stock purchases of $188 million, net of tax, or $0.03 per share.

"Cisco's third quarter was marked by record revenues and strong results in orders and earnings per share," said John Chambers, president and CEO, Cisco Systems, Inc. "We saw a number of highlights this quarter, notably the growth of our U.S. and emerging markets, the continued strength of the commercial market segment and advanced technologies, and the balanced performance across most of our key product categories."

Additional highlights include:

  • Cash flows from operations were $2.3 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2006, compared with $1.9 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2005, and compared with $1.9 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2006.

  • Sales in the U.S. and Canada represented 52% of business, Europe represented 3%, Asia/Pac was 11%, Japan was 4% and Emerging Markets were 10%

  • Sales to U.S. enterprises grew approximately 20% y/y.

  • Sales to U.S. service providers were up in the high 20s in percentage growth.

  • Total non-GAAP gross margin was 65.7%, down approximately 2% due to Scientific-Atlanta

  • Cisco has approximately $18.2 billion in cash and investments

  • Switching/routing orders grew in the mid-teens y/y

  • High-end routing orders grew in the mid-20s with over 50 CRS-1 customers

  • Enterprise IP communications orders grew 40%

  • Storage orders grew in the low 20s%

  • Wireless revenue grew in the low to mid 30s%

  • Security revenue grew in the high single digits

  • Home networking grew in the high single digits, excluding Scientic-Atlanta

  • Optical revenue declined approximately 20%, excluding Scientific-Atlanta

  • For its Q4, Cisco anticipates revenue growth in the range of 10-15% y/y.