Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Alcatel-Lucent Adds 3G W-CDMA/HSPA Distributed Base Station

Alcatel-Lucent expanded its Wideband-CDMA/High Speed Packet Access (W-CDMA/HSPA) portfolio with a distributed base station product aimed at increasing deployment flexibility for operators. Remote radio heads are part of a distributed base station (known as a "Node B" in W-CDMA networks) in which all radio-related functions are contained in a small single unit that can be deployed in a location remote from the main unit.

Alcatel-Lucent said its new, the fanless 60-watt remote radio head (RRH) node B platform enables a 50 percent increase in available output power over the previous generation of equipment while complying with strict environmental standards. The fanless design makes it silent, and combined with power efficiency, bring a significant reduction in terms of energy consumption, in spite of their high power output.

Swisscom Reaches 70,000 Bluewin IPTV Customers

During 2007, Swisscom's revenue rose by 14.9% to CHF 11.1 billion, while operating income before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was 18.9 per cent higher at CHF 4.5 billion. This increase is primarily attributable to the acquisition of Fastweb in May 2007. The comparable net revenue increased by 0.3% over the previous year.

Some highlights from the company's 2007 financial report:

  • Declining revenues in the traditional fixed-line business were offset by growth in project and outsourcing business with corporate customers and in new business segments, as well as further gains in broadband customers.

  • Fixnet posted a year-on-year decline of 3.6% in revenue from external customers to CHF 3861 million in 2007. The drop in the number of fixed lines and traffic revenues as a result of price reductions, substitution by mobile phones as well as competition with cable network and alternative providers was only partially compensated by further strong growth in broadband connections and TV offerings.

  • The number of fixed lines, including broadband access lines, increased by 3.4% to 5.29 million. Broadband communications experienced strong growth year-on-year, with the number of broadband customers rising by 17.1% to 1.6 million. By the end of 2007, around 70,000 customers had signed up for Bluewin TV.

  • Mobile recorded an increase of 2.7% in revenue from external customers to CHF 3757 million. The main reasons behind this increase are a continued rise in customer numbers, growth in new data services, and a lower number of acquisitions in the previous year. Revenue from new data services (excluding SMS) rose by CHF 73 million to CHF 288 million.

  • The number of Mobile customers increased by a net 375,000 (+8.1%) to over 5 million. By the end of 2007, around 2.2 million customers had signed up for the Liberty product family and 360,000 for the M-Budget Mobile prepaid product.

  • Fastweb continues to grow vigorously and, within the space of one year, grew its customer base by 24% to close 2007 with a total of 1.31 million customers.

  • Fastweb's revenue increased to EUR 1433 million in 2007, 13.7% higher than the previous year. EBITDA jumped 59.5% to EUR 480 million and included exceptional items amounting to EUR 70 million. Excluding these exceptional items, EBITDA grew by 29%. Fastweb reported its first ever pre-tax profit .At EUR 541 million, capital expenditure remained practically unchanged over the prior year.

Fujitsu and Heinrich Hertz Institut Develop Ultra High-Speed Optical Switch

Fujitsu Laboratories and Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institut(HHI) have developed an ultra high-speed optical switch that uses nonlinear optical fiber to reduce optical amplitude noise, which degrades the quality of optical signals when they are transmitted.

The researchers said conventional approaches to the problem of optical amplitude noise have been to convert optical signals into electrical signals, electrically eliminate the noise impact, and then reconvert the signal back to an optical signal. However, for long-distance data transmission, this method requires much power for optical signal amplification and conversion to electrical signals. The new technology developed by Fujitsu and HHI employs an ultra high-speed optical switch they developed that is capable of processing optical signals in less than a picosecond. By controlling the power gain of the optical parametric amplification effect from the optical signals, raising it when signals are weak and lowering it when signals are strong, the switch reduces optical noise without the need to convert optical signals into electrical signals.

Employing this technology, suppression of optical amplitude noise using a 107 Gbps phase modulated ultra high-speed signal was successfully verified. In addition, in a data transmission test across 320 km, it was verified that data quality after transmission could be received with roughly the equivalent of its quality prior to transmission.

The researchers anticipate that this new technology can be applied to optical regeneration, which is a key technology for next-generation ultra high-speed photonic networks.

HP Labs Refocuses on Five Key Areas

HP has sharpened the focus of its advanced research group, HP Labs, to address five key areas:

  • Information explosion: Acquiring, analyzing and delivering the right information to individuals and businesses so they can act on it.

  • Dynamic cloud services: Developing web platforms and cloud services that are dynamically personalized based on an individual's location, preferences, calendar and communities.

  • Content transformation: Enabling the fluid transformation of content from analog to digital, from device to device, and from digital content to physical products.

  • Intelligent infrastructure: Designing smarter, more secure devices, networks and scalable architectures that work together to connect individuals and businesses to rich, dynamic content and services.

  • Sustainability: Creating technologies, IT infrastructure and new business models for the lower carbon economy that save money and leave a lighter footprint on the environment.

HP said the changes are intended to address a major shift taking place in the IT industry, which it calls "Everything as a Service." This view asserts that the IT industry is moving toward a model in which a new category of dynamic cloud services are personalized and aware of the user's context, including location, preferences, calendar and communities. HP is making investments across its businesses to help lead this industry shift.

HP Labs currently consists of 23 distinct labs across seven worldwide locations.

Ixia Names Atul Bhatnagar as President and CEO

Ixia has promoted Atul Bhatnagar to president and CEO

, succeeding Errol Ginsberg who will continue to serve as chairman of the board and assume a new role at the company as chief innovation officer. Bhatnagar was named president and chief operating officer of Ixia in September 2007, where he was responsible for the company's day-to-day operations and long-term strategy. Previously, Bhatnagar led product development at DiVitas Networks, focusing on WiFi and cellular seamless convergence. Prior to that, Bhatnagar served as vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Data Networks Division of Nortel.

As chief innovation officer, Ginsberg will lead the newly formed Ixia Labs, which will be responsible for advanced engineering to help drive organic growth in new product areas.

Thomson Shows Cordless DECT VoIP Phone + Internet radio

Thomson unveiled its "Symbio" DECT VoIP phone
that integrates an Internet radio allowing direct access to Internet radio stations worldwide and features personalized music services, and the Thomson Portable InfoCenter for the delivery of IPTV and VoD services.

Thomson is positioning the device as a key platform for sharing personal and media content in the home network. The DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) -compliant InfoCenter device enables broadband operators to deliver enriched wireless video throughout the digital home, as well as services such as weather and traffic alerts, video on demand, interactive gaming, visual voice mail, and Internet access.

Capabilities include HiFi ring tones, HD Sound (G722 speech coding), multi-line handling capability, SMS text messaging, Phonebook synchronisation, "MyInfokiosk" RSS data management, stereo speakers (2 x 3 Watts), portable radio. (over 6 hours' listening time from rechargeable Li-lon battery), etc.

Vodafone Australia Selects Ericsson for HSPA

Vodafone Australia has appointed Ericsson as the primary hardware and software vendor to support its national mobile broadband rollout, based on High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology, which is being fast-tracked for completion in December 2008. Vodafone is upgrading its 900MHz and 2100MHz mobile network in regional and rural Australia with Ericsson's latest hardware and software, which is rated to the 14.4Mbps maximum theoretical downlink speed. In addition to upgrading all Vodafone 2G sites to 3.5G (HSPA), a significant proportion of high-demand sites in metropolitan areas covered by the Vodafone and Optus joint venture HSPA network sharing agreement will be upgraded to provide higher specification mobile data transmission. Users will be able to access the network using Vodafone Mobile Connect data cards and USB modems. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Germany's E-Plus Expands 3G Network with NSN

E-Plus Group, the third largest mobile operator in Germany with 15 million users, extended its frame cooperation agreement with Nokia Siemens Networks to cover an expansion and upgrade of the E-Plus 3G radio network until 2010. The upgrade will allow the operator to increase network capacity and to offer new, high-quality services to its customers. Specifically, Nokia Siemens Networks will expand E-Plus' radio access network by means of its Flexi Base Stations, according to the recently approved letter of intent. Nokia Siemens Networks also will provide the E-Plus Group with its microwave transmission equipment for the transport network.

Juniper Announces Stock Repurchase Plan of up to $1 Billion

Juniper Networks' board of directors approved a new stock repurchase program which enables the company to purchase up to $1 billion of the company's common stock. In conjunction with this new authorization, the company will initiate an on-going, share maintenance plan designed to offset dilution from the issuance of shares related to its employee stock plans.

Juniper noted that this new program is in addition to the $2 billion stock repurchase program approved in 2006 and 2007. To date, the company has repurchased approximately $1.7 billion of its stock under the $2 billion authorized in 2006 and 2007.

Apple Unveils iPhone 2.0 Software, KPCB Offer $100 million Venture Fund

Apple previewed its iPhone 2.0 software, scheduled for release this June, and announced the immediate availability of a beta release of its iPhone software development kit. Apple also announced its plans to operate an exclusive iPhone "AppStore" for third party applications for iPhone or iPod touch users. The App Store enables developers to reach every iPhone and iPod touch user. Developers set the price for their applications--including free applications. Developers will get 70 percent of all sales revenues and Apple will keep 30 percent. Third party iPhone and iPod touch applications must be approved by Apple and will be available exclusively through the App Store.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) announced the launch of the iFund with $100 million in venture capital to invest in companies developing applications and services for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch.

The new iPhone software will feature support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync to provide secure, over-the-air push email, contacts and calendars as well as remote wipe, and the addition of Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to private corporate networks. Apple has licensed Exchange ActiveSync from Microsoft and is building it right into the iPhone, so that iPhone will connect out-of-the-box to Microsoft Exchange Servers 2003 and 2007. IT administrators can control many iPhones, including password policies, VPN setting, installing certificates, email server settings, etc.