Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Initiative Charts Future Wireless Course

A new Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) initiative has been established by China Mobile, KPN, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and Vodafone to develop a common vision for mobile networks and technology that will take the industry beyond the HSPA & EVDO roadmaps.

The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) initiative has created a set of requirements for a future wide area mobile broadband network that is designed to offer enhanced customer benefits by delivering competitive broadband performance alongside high levels of interoperability.

The guiding principles include but are not limited to:

  • High levels of data throughput alongside low levels of latency

  • Low operation and maintenance costs

  • Compatibility with legacy networks

  • Support of high levels of authentication and security, and differentiated quality of service

  • Improved terminal certification schemes

The NGNM initiative plans to work alongside existing standards bodies, seeking to shape the development and standardization of the next generation of mobile technologies. The group has specified that the evolutionary path should focus on existing infrastructure and spectrum allocation.

"As major players within the industry and heavy consumers of mobile broadband infrastructure, we believe that the future of mobile networks should be determined by a mix of technical and performance standards," stated Thomas Geitner, the current Chairman of NGMN Ltd.

In order to further the objectives of NGMN within a recognized and accepted legal framework, the mobile operators have created a limited UK company called "NGMN Limited".

Occam Supplies Broadband Loop Carrier to Michigan IOC

Westphalia Telephone Company, which provides local telephone and voice mail services throughout Michigan, has selected Occam Networks' Broadband Loop Carrier (BLC) 6000 to replace an existing broadband access solution installed in its network.

Westphalia offers triple play services via ADSL2+ and realized it needed to replace its existing broadband access switch to ensure service quality.

Occam is also providing active fiber to Westphalia's CLEC operations.

The full deployment includes Occam's BLC 6312 for active ADSL2+ subscribers, the BLC 6314 for GigE transport rings and Occam's 2343 ONT (Optical Network Terminal) to terminate the fiber at subscribers' homes."

Intel and Siemens Enter VoIP Alliance

Intel and Siemens Communications announced an agreement to work collaboratively to create open unified communications solutions.

The companies will conduct research focused on secure wireless networks and real-time open unified communications in the short term as well as work together longer term to create comprehensive vertical industry collaboration solutions.

Additional components of the agreement call for the two companies to establish joint market development efforts focused on the enterprise and service provider sectors.

The joint effort will focus on real time communications solutions for business process optimization using Intel architecture such as Intel dual-core technology and carrier class Rack Mounted Servers (RMS) from Intel and the HiPath 8000 and OpenScape from Siemens.

The first step is to demonstrate the OpenScape platform running applications such as Personal Portal, Unified Communications, Video and Voice Conferencing and Mobile Clients. Intel and Siemens expect to present findings and display the first wave of technology solutions developed at the Intel lab to selected customers by the fourth quarter of 2006.

BigBand Supplies Digital Simulcasting for RCN

RCN, a leading MSO, has selected BigBand Networks' BMR (Broadband Multimedia-Service Router) to implement digital simulcasting in its markets. Digital simulcasting introduces digital services by replicating digital versions of analog programs.

RCN's digital simulcast implementation utilizes the BigBand BMR to manage program line-ups, control video quality and bandwidth efficiency, insert local advertising, and transport video content between facilities. RCN has launched digital simulcast in Chicago and New York, and is collaborating with BigBand Networks on implementation plans for the remainder of the operator's markets.

In digital simulcasting, basic and enhanced basic programming is encoded to digital form at video headends.

BigBand said its BMR enables capabilities such as local advertising insertion and Gigabit Ethernet transport. Ads can be digitally inserted within programs and transport can enable delivery of content to network edge locations where analog versions can be recreated and digital versions can be modulated.

SFR Deploys Nokia MSC Server Mobile Softswitch in France

SFR, the second largest mobile telecommunications operator in France, plans to deploy the Nokia MSC Server (MSS) mobile softswitch to enhance its network coverage and capacity. The network modernization deal upgrades SFR's current circuit switched core with a packet solution that fully enables fixed mobile convergence and the rapid growth of 3G-traffic.

The Nokia MSC Server System, including the Nokia Multimedia Gateway, will enable SFR to manage the demands of its growing traffic while reducing its operational expenditure (OPEX). The turnkey nature of the deal with SFR means that Nokia will manage all activities related to network roll-out from adaptation works on site to integration, re-hosting the radio equipment and operating the network. Also included is the multitechnology Nokia NetAct network and service management solution. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nokia noted that its MSS to over 100 mobile operators worldwide.

Tundra Semiconductor Signs Distribution Deal with Nu Horizons

Tundra Semiconductor announced a distribution agreement with its new partner Nu Horizons Electronics Asia Pte Ltd., a leading global distributor of advanced technology active components and systems. Nu Horizons Asia will promote and distribute Tundra's full range of System Interconnect products throughout the region, with the exception of Japan.

S5 Wireless Secures $11.5 Million for Wireless Location

S5 Wireless, a start-up based in Draper, Utah raised $11.5 million for its next-generation wireless location technologies.

The Series B funding was led by Eagle River Holdings, Craig McCaw's investment company, and included existing investors vSpring Capital and Wasatch Venture Fund.

S5 is building solutions for tracking and monitoring across a variety of industries, including E-911 location for VoIP services, companion animals/pets, homeland security, medical devices, shipping containers, telecommunications, tools, and others.

S5 offers an extremely low-cost and low power consumption embeddable semiconductor that enables location accuracy similar to GPS indoors/outdoors without using GPS.

Microsoft Zune Features Built-in WiFi

Microsoft unveiled its first "Zune" product -- a 30GB digital media player, featuring Wi-Fi and a built-in FM tuner.

"The digital music entertainment revolution is just beginning. With Zune, we are not simply delivering a portable device, we are introducing a new platform that helps bring artists closer to their audiences and helps people find new music and develop new social connections," said J Allard, vice president, design and development, at Microsoft.

Unilever Selects BT for Global Managed Firewall Service

Unilever has awarded BT a contract for the provision of a managed firewall service. BT is taking over full management responsibilities for Unilever's existing estate of 256 firewalls spread across 68 countries. BT will transform Unilever's regionally managed firewall model into a single, consolidated global management structure in line with the rest of its networked IT services. BT will remotely manage the consolidated system, enhancing security against virus and other network-based attacks by applying a standard set of processes and reporting procedures to each of the firewalls.

The 10.5m pounds ($19.7 million) global agreement will run over a six and a half year period and follows the recent extension to its original seven-year service contract with Unilever.

NETGEAR Hires HP Exec as Chief Marketing Officer

NETGEAR announced the appointment of Deborah Williams as chief marketing officer. Ms. Williams comes to NETGEAR after a 21-year career with Hewlett-Packard where she held various executive-level marketing positions. Most recently, Ms. Williams served as vice president of marketing of HP's Business Imaging and Printing Global Business Unit.

SoftBank BB Takes 10% Stake in asknet AG

Japan's SoftBank BB acquired a ten percent share in asknet AG, a supplier of outsourcing solutions for global software distribution via the Internet. SoftBank BB is Japan's largest distributor of software and IT-related products.

In mid-August, asknet had announced the establishment of a joint venture with SoftBank BB in electronic software distribution to cover the world's second biggest software market, Japan.

James Morgan to Step Down from Cisco's Board

James C. Morgan has decided to retire from Cisco Systems' board of directors and will not stand for re-election. Morgan, 68, will continue to serve as a Director until the company's Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held November 15, 2006.

James C. Morgan, who also serves as chairman of Applied Materials, has been a member of the Cisco board of directors since January 1998.

BT to Launch Enterprise Fixed-Mobile Service

BT is preparing to launch a premise-based fixed-mobile convergence service for large organizations.

BT Corporate Fusion is a fixed-mobile convergence service that leverages enterprise IP telephony and WiFi coverage to potentially deliver greater productivity, the possibility of reduced GSM call costs and to result in improved quality of service..

The first customer to trial the service in the UK is Leeds City Council (LCC), the second largest local authority in the UK. The Council, which has the largest in-house ICT provision of any local authority, is piloting BT Corporate Fusion across two of its premises, in order to assess its capability to improve productivity and improve communications..

LCC employees involved in the trial will use a dual-mode mobile phone that incorporates both regular GSM and additional WiFi connectivity. Within LCC's premises, calls made from these mobile phones are connected via WiFi access points and are routed over existing fixed-line infrastructure. Deploying WiFi access points across LCC's premises ensures optimal in-building coverage. .

BT estimates that over 50% of employees' mobile phone calls are made within offices (despite the fact that cheaper fixed-line phones are readily available). The use of BT Corporate Fusion will allow LCC employees to continue using a mobile device, while at the same time allowing the Council to migrate these calls onto WiFi and potentially bring the cost down..

Outside the office the device works like a regular GSM phone..

BT will announce details of mobile handset strategic suppliers in the coming weeks. The service will initially be launched in the UK and Italy in early 2007, followed by a phased international roll out in Germany, Benelux, Spain and France, with confirmation of these and other countries following..

BT Corporate Fusion is the brand name for BT's suite of Enterprise FMC services).
  • In May 2006, BT announced a relationship with Alcatel to develop a hosted variant of the BT Corporate Fusion service.

BT Outlines Global Plans

BT outlined its global ambitions -- predicting that it will more than double its revenues in the US, Japan, India and China over the next three years. BT Global Services, which provides enterprise services over the BT backbone, employs 27,500 staff in 53 countries and supplies services in more than 170 countries. The division currently generates most of its revenues from the UK and Western Europe. The company expects both its German and Italian operations to generate revenues of 1 billion EURs by 2008/9 and for there to be double- digit growth in Spain and the Benelux countries.

BT also announced it will deliver 400 million pounds ($751 million) of annualized cost savings from its Global Services division by 2008/9.

BT is currently adding a new city to its MPLS network every week and connecting more than 3,000 customer sites a month.

"BT Global Services is thriving. We have transformed the division into a leading supplier of networked IT services based on the most extensive and resilient network in the world. We have very ambitious plans and BT's brand is fast becoming as familiar to businessmen in New York, Tokyo, Mumbai and Shanghai as it is in Europe," said Andy Green, BT Global Services, Chief Executive.

Verizon and DIRECTV Target MDU Market

Verizon reached an agreement to market DIRECTV satellite service in multidwelling-unit buildings where it does not offer its own entertainment services. The multi-year agreement will enable Verizon to serve as the single point of contact for a bundle of offerings that includes Verizon's broadband and telephony services in addition to DIRECTV's content and services.

To further provide DIRECTV and Verizon services in a bundle throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, Verizon and MDU Communications International (MDUC), a long-time partner and provider of DIRECTV services to multidwelling units, have entered into a sales-teaming agreement. Verizon and MDUC will work together to jointly propose, provide, install, market, operate and maintain specially designed multidwelling-unit technology systems for the reception and distribution of DIRECTV's digital satellite television, and Verizon's FiOS broadband Internet, telephone calling and other telecommunications services.