Sunday, September 17, 2006

Researchers Announce First Hybrid Silicon Laser

Researchers from Intel and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) unveiled the first electrically powered Hybrid Silicon Laser using standard silicon manufacturing processes.

The researchers were able to combine the light-emitting properties of Indium Phosphide with the light-routing capabilities of silicon into a single hybrid chip.

When voltage is applied, light generated in the Indium Phosphide enters the silicon waveguide to create a continuous laser beam that can be used to drive other silicon photonic devices.

Intel said its hybrid silicon laser involves a novel design employing Indium Phosphide-based material for light generation and amplification while using the silicon waveguide to contain and control the laser. The key to manufacturing the device is the use of a low-temperature, oxygen plasma -- an electrically charged oxygen gas -- to create a thin oxide layer (roughly 25 atoms thick) on the surfaces of both materials.

When heated and pressed together the oxide layer functions as a "glass-glue" fusing the two materials into a single chip. When voltage is applied, light generated in the Indium Phosphide-based material passes through the oxide "glass-glue" layer and into the silicon chip's waveguide, where it is contained and controlled, creating a hybrid silicon laser. The design of the waveguide is critical to determining the performance and specific wavelength of the hybrid silicon laser.

"This could bring low-cost, terabit-level optical ‘data pipes' inside future computers and help make possible a new era of high-performance computing applications," said Mario Paniccia, director of Intel's Photonics Technology Lab. "While still far from becoming a commercial product, we believe dozens, maybe even hundreds of hybrid silicon lasers could be integrated with other silicon photonic components onto a single silicon chip."
  • In February 2004, researchers from Intel announced success in using silicon manufacturing processes to create a novel "transistor-like" device that can encode data onto a light beam. Performance of the silicon-based optical modulator exceeded 1 GHz and the Intel researchers said they believed they can the scale the technology up to 10 GHz or faster in the future. To achieve the result, a beam of light was split into two beams as it passed through the silicon. Then, a novel transistor-like device was used to hit one beam with an electric charge, inducing a "phase shift." When the two beams of light were re-combined the phase shift induced between the two arms made the light exiting the chip go on and off at over 1 GHz. The on and off pattern of light can be translated into the 1's and 0's needed to transmit data.

Citizens to Acquire Commonwealth, Creating 7th Largest US Telco

Citizens Communications agreed to acquire Commonwealth Telephone Enterprises Inc. for $41.72 per share, in a cash-and-stock taxable transaction, for a total consideration of $1.16 billion, based on the closing price of Citizens' common stock on September 15, 2006.

The combined company will be the 7th largest local telephone exchange company in the U.S., with pro forma annual revenues of approximately $2.4 billion and operations across 23 states. Upon completion of the acquisition, Citizens, which operates under the brand name of Frontier, will have approximately 2.6 million access lines, 388,000 High-Speed Internet subscribers and 6,600 employees. The company will serve 439,000 lines in Pennsylvania, about 19% of this market.


Tellabs Increases Capacity of Digital Cross-Connect

Tellabs introduced an enhanced version of its flagship Tellabs 5500 digital cross-connect system, featuring a consolidated core switch design that increases switch capacity by 50% while reducing floor space requirements by 78%. The Tellabs 5500 system carries voice and data traffic over communications networks and is the leading digital cross-connect system in the U.S.

The new Tellabs 5500 offers an OC-48 interface, reducing the need to purchase additional add/drop multiplexers (ADMs). The Tellabs 5500 system also connects directly to routers and ATM switches. Enhanced Ethernet transport capabilities include standards-based Ethernet over SONET.

Amino Shows Multi-Codec IPTV Set-top Box

Amino, a leading supplier of IPTV set-top boxes, announced the AmiNET125 STB, is a new fully featured multi-codec device supporting standard definition (SD) video streams. The unit has been built on a new hardware platform, which draws on the existing AmiNET110 MPEG-2 and AmiNET124 MPEG-4 devices to offer multiple software configurations and support for both traditional and advanced codecs without the need for equipment upgrades. The platform features a programmable DSP to support low bit rate codecs and remote software upgrades without the need for hardware truck rolls. The integrated host processor enables highly responsive support for multiple middleware and enhanced user interface services.

Amino said its new STB, which supports home networking, is expected to prove particularly attractive to the Asian markets which have embraced SD IPTV and the increased market reach offered by the latest video compression standards. The addition of a USB 2.0 connector also adds an extra level of future proofing.

Gizmo Project Offers Free Business Calling for Asterisk PBX Users

SIPphone, the San Diego-based developer of the free Gizmo Project Internet calling and IM software, introduced an "All Calls Free" calling plan for businesses worldwide, providing significant savings for small to mid-sized companies who want to enjoy free calling between co-workers and/or remote offices.

Using Gizmo Project as an office softphone, workers can place free PC-to-PC calls, as well as free calls to landlines and mobile phones of co-workers in 60 countries under the All Calls Free plan. The friends or co-workers must also sign up for the Gizmo plan. The United States, Brazil, and most European and Asian countries are included.

A variety of Asterisk PBXs, premium PBXs developed by such companies as Trixbox, SwitchVox, Epigy, webFones, and other SIP-based PBXs are supported by Gizmo Project. Workers can be called via their PBX or directly through the Gizmo network.

Analog Devices Acquires Audio IC Specialist, AudioAsics

Analog Devices (ADI) has acquired privately held AudioAsics A/S, a Danish company consisting of a team of experienced developers of high-performance, low-power microphone and audio signal conditioning technology. ADI paid approximately $19 million in cash at the closing in exchange for all of the outstanding shares of AudioAsics. In addition, upon the achievement of certain milestones following the closing, ADI would be obligated to pay up to an additional $8 million.

AudioAsics designs low-voltage, low-power audio ASICs, including analog-to-analog and analog-to-digital pre-amplifiers for use in miniature microphones and receivers as well as high-performance analog-to-digital converters and speaker drivers. AudioAsics is currently shipping products that support both ECM (electret microphone) and MEMS-based microphone solutions.

ADI said the acquisition enables it to offer a complete portfolio of low-power audio products extending across the signal chain, including ADI's SigmaDSP and Blackfin processors and Class D amplifiers.

AudioAsics was founded in 2003 in Roskilde, Denmark, with funding from Danish investors Vaekstfonden, SEED Capital Denmark, and Hvista.

Psytechnics Offer QoE Across VoIP and Circuit Telephony

Psytechnics unveiled a new Unified Communications Experience Manager that address both IP and non-IP voice quality issues for enterprises and service providers.

The Experience Manager integrates the latest versions of PSI, PVI and PSM, which are now shipping to Psytechnics customers. By combining both IP and voice quality measures, the Experience Manager identifies critical issues that affect voice quality, such as noise, echo and distortion as well as IP QoS, bridging the gap between legacy solutions and IP networks.

PSI has been updated to meet the strict requirements of the new ITU P.564 standard for VoIP quality assessment, which features Psytechnics technology.

PVI has been enhanced with application level intelligence to predict end-user QoE for video with even greater accuracy.

The Experience Manager also supports integration into market leading management solutions to support service level agreement monitoring, augment fault management and enable click-to-view diagnostics. The Experience Manager is shipping now and is targeted at the enterprise and managed service provider community.

The Unified Communications Experience Manager works with all of Psytechnics' existing solutions and platforms to enable end-to-end QoE management.

Service Providers Ignore Customer Experience Metrics at Their Own Risk
end-user Quality of Experience (QoE) could be the downfall of IP service
providers if they continue heightened attention on service price cuts and
neglect advancements in test and measurement technology. To ensure
end-user satisfaction, IP service providers will find that objective
testing methods best suit their testing needs, since older methods,
including subjective measurements, consume time and resources without
producing the needed results.

Wave7 Supplies FTTP for the Cayman Islands

Wave7 Optics is supplying its Trident7 Optical Access System to Infinity Communications for construction of an FTTP network in the Cayman Islands. The deployment is expected to be available to more than 24,000 households on Grand Cayman by the end of 2008.

Infinity will deliver fiber-optic services to both residential and commercial customers, specifically corporate and banking firms. Infinity's digital cable television services will include video-on-demand, high definition TV, pay-per-view and advertising programming. Internet data services will include ultra high-speed data internet access with available speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

Aztek Networks Raises $6.6 Million for Emergency IP Gateways

Aztek Networks (formerly Aztek Engineering), a start-up based in Boulder, Colorado raised $6.6 million in Series A funding for its Emergency Stand Alone (ESA) switching and IP gateway products.

Aztek Networks' Remote Switch Gateway is an IP media gateway and True Emergency Stand Alone ("True ESA") switch.

True ESA is a patent-pending method for constantly maintaining subscriber dial-tone and calling access to emergency 911 services in a purpose built, high availability hardware system that is deployable in a field cabinet.

Aztek Networks said it is the only provider of IP media gateway products using True ESA. The Remote Switch Gateway family of products will roll out in early spring. Aztek can link access systems from multiple vendors, via a GR-303 interface, into a True ESA community at the field cabinet level.

The financing was co-led by Sequel Venture Partners and Grotech Capital Group. The Telecommunications Development Fund also participated in the round.

Pace and BigBand Demo DOCSIS 3.0 Channel Bonding

BigBand Networks and Pace Micro Technology have collaborated on channel bonding interoperability based on DOCSIS 3.0 specifications. During IBC2006 in Amsterdam last week, the companies demonstrated the BigBand Cuda CMTS (cable modem termination system) and a prototype Pace channel bonded DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem.


Gigamon Enhances Out-of-Band Data-Access Switch for 10 Gbps

Gigamon Systems, a start-up based in San Jose, California, has enhanced its GigaVUE-MP Data Access Switch for out-of-band network monitoring with new 10 Gigabit Ethernet capability that adds to its existing support for 10/100/1000 Ethernet.

GigaVUE-MP Version 3.0 also adds large scale stacking, and a map-based smart connection that distributes packets to various destination monitoring tools based on the address, session, subnet, VLAN, or application associated with each packet. The out-of-band switch enables monitoring of traffic from 10 Gbps network sources, sending copies of the packets to monitoring tools of any type or speed, including those with 10 Gigabit ports. The switch handles 10G network traffic from core switch span ports or taps, distributing it to multiple gigabit tool ports.

Gigamon can filter the "firehose" flow of traffic from 10 Gigabit sources, break it down, and divide it across multiple tools to enable deployment of existing 1 Gig tools to monitor 10 Gig core networks, thus saving users the expense of buying a 10 Gigabit tool.

In addition to GigaVUE-MP's previous filtering capability, GigaVUE 3.0 also adds a new 'protocol' filter to support UDP/TCP/ICMP traffic filtering, therefore enabling filtering at the physical layer through the application layer including VLANs. Furthermore, the GigaVUE-MP 3.0 can now scale from small 8 port configurations to high density 200 ports, which enables simultaneous monitoring of hundreds of links and switches. Up to 10 GigaVUE-MP systems can be stacked together to create any configuration that precisely fits the user's network, yet grows gracefully as the network grows.

CopperGate Provides Entone with HomePNA 3 Capability

Entone Technologies has selected CopperGate's CG3010 chipset for use in its HD MPEG-4 set-top boxes, enabling multi-room video and content sharing over HomePNA 3 without the need for additional cabling.

Coppergate's CopperStream chipsets, used in a variety of products such as set-top boxes, broadband residential gateways and ONTs from leading manufacturers, comply with the ITU G.9954 (HomePNA 3) home networking standard. CopperStream enables IP data over both coaxial cable and phone wires with guaranteed QoS.
  • The HomePNA 3.0 spec, which was standardized by the ITU in May 2005, reaches a data rate of 128 Mbps with optional extensions reaching up to 240 Mbps. It also features a deterministic QoS mechanism so that it can be used as a high speed backbone for distributing multiple, feature-rich digital audio and video applications throughout a home. The QoS technology permits users to assign specific time slots for each stream of data guaranteeing that the real-time data will be delivered when it is required with predetermined latency and without interruption, allowing HomePNA V3 to transport data with inherent QoS requirements such as IEEE1394.

  • AT&T has selected HomePNA 3 technology for in-home distribution of its U-verse services, including its forthcoming IPTV offering, high-speed Internet, and VoIP.

  • HomePNA 3 technology will be integrated into IP set-top boxes supplied by Motorola and Scientific Atlanta and Residential Gateways supplied by 2Wire as key components of AT&T's U-verse deployment.

SES AMERICOM's IP-Prime Expands Programming Line-up to 120-Channels

More than 30 leading television programmers and networks representing 120 channels have signed IPTV transport agreements with SES AMERICOM and its IP-PRIME IPTV Television Broadcast Center. Starz!/Encore, A&E Television Networks, Hallmark Channels, and Lifetime Networks headline a growing lineup, which is expected to surpass the 200 channel mark by the time IP-PRIME makes its commercial debut later this year.

The IPTV solution originates from SES AMERICOM's IPTV distribution center based in Vernon Valley, New Jersey, where high-end video programming and content is received, processed, and then transported nationwide by satellite to authorized video hubs and consumer set top boxes.

BellSouth and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) are in advanced stages of trials of the IP-PRIME IPTV programming distribution platform, which is capable of delivering content to the telephone company's video hubs or all the way to the IPTV set-top box in the customer's home.

Iowa ILECS Select Occam for Active Fiber Architecture

Occam Networks announced deployments of its BLC 6000 System by seven local telecommunications carriers in Iowa: Farmers Mutual Telephone Cooperative/USACommunications, Alpine Communications, Northeast Iowa Telephone (NEIT), Baldwin/Nashville Telephone Company, Schaller Telephone Company and Andrew Telephone. Occam said nearly 20 Iowa incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) are now customers.

NCTC Names ARRIS a Preferred E-MTA Vendor

The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), which is a cooperative for more than 1,100 cable operators throughout the U.S., has named ARRIS as a Preferred Vendor of Embedded Multimedia Terminal Adapter (E-MTA) customer premises equipment.

FTTH Council Lobbies For Telecom Reform Bill -- HR. 5252

The Fiber-to-the-Home Council has thrown its support to The Advanced Telecommunications and Opportunities Reform Act, (HR. 5252), which would establish a system of national video franchising. The bill would also support the development of municipal broadband networks.

Telecom Entrepreneur is First Female Space Tourist, Also Launches Digital Home Company

Anousheh Ansari captured headlines worldwide as the first female space tourist. Ansari paid a reported $20 million to be a member of the crew of the Soyuz TMA-9, which launched on Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The mission is headed to the International Space Station.

In the networking industry, Anousheh Ansari gained prominence as co-founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board for Telecom Technologies, Inc. Founded in 1993, the company experienced rapid growth and profitability before being acquired by Sonus Networks in November 2000 for a minimum of 10.8 million shares of stock (worth $441 million at the time) plus other incentives.

Telecom Technologies was an early developer of softswitching technology and focused on multivendor softswitch services and media gateway interoperability. The company had about 200 employees at the time and was based in Richardson, Texas.

Ansari and her family also provided the title sponsorship for the Ansari X-Prize, a $10 million cash prize which was won in 2004.

The launch date of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft also marks the official launch of Ansari's newest company -- Prodea Systems, which will focus on enhancing the digital home experience.

Prodea Systems' offering combines hardware, software and subscription services to create a seamless home network. Prodea has its headquarters in Plano, Texas, and locations in Chennai and Beijing.

Matisse Networks Introduces "EtherBurst" Optical Switching

Matisse Networks, a start-up based in Mountain View, California introduced its "EtherBurst" optical switching technology, which employs optical burst transponders that switch packet traffic in bursts at different wavelengths. Unlike current Ethernet-over-DWDM metro architectures, which rely on pre-provisioned point-to-point optical circuits, Matisse Networks is introducing a system that applies the principles of packet switching to the optical layer. Instead of dedicated optical circuits, the goal is a more highly efficient, layer 2 packet-switched photonic layer.

Matisse Networks is introducing a series of platforms for scaling metropolitan aggregation networks from 10 to 640 Gbps. The systems leverage very fast optical burst transponder that can communicate on any wavelength with every other transponder in a metro ring topology. This gives the "EtherBurst" system any-to-any Ethernet connectivity in the ring, eliminating the packet-circuit discontinuity encountered with DWDM and ROADM systems.

Etherburst relies on Matisse's patented 10 Gbps "Tango" optical burst transponder, which is capable of tuning and locking to any wavelength in the ITU C-band in nanoseconds. Matisse is using off-the-shelf, commercially available tunable lasers along with its own silicon and intellectual property. Burst scheduling, collision avoidance and quality of service (802.1 p and DiffServ) enforcement are provided by Matisse Network's patented "MeshWave" packet processor.

The switching architecture uses an optical supervisory channel that maintains constant communication among all nodes.

Matisse's product set includes two systems--the SX-1000 Ethernet Service Node and the PX-1000 Photonic Node.

The SX-1000 Ethernet Service Nodes support up to 48 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) or four 10 Gbps Ethernet (10 GbE) interfaces, along with one or two OBS interface modules (known as TAPs) containing the Tango and MeshWave technologies.

The PX-1000 Photonic Nodes provide the fully-automated, all-optical photonic layer. Up to 32 SX-1000's, each with two 10 Gbps TAP interface modules, can be attached to the dual ring photonic layer, yielding a total network capacity of 640 Gbps.

The system is currently available for evaluation and pilot projects, and will be generally available in the fourth quarter of 2006. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has tested the system.

http://www.matissenetworks.comMatisse Networks is headed by Sam Mathan (chairman and CEO), who previously was President and CEO of Amber Networks, which was acquired by Nokia for $421 million in July 2001. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of Telco Marketing & Sales at Ascend Communications.

Matisse was founded by Claude Hamou, who previously was Executive VP and General Manager of Terayon Communications' Data Cable Division.

The company was founded