Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wi-Fi Alliance Begins Certifying Devices for Voice Over Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi Alliance is launching a new certification program for voice-capable Wi-Fi devices in home and small office environments. The first wave of devices has passed certification. The Wi-Fi Alliance estimates that shipments of Wi-Fi/cellular converged phones will number between 250 and 350 million units in 2011.

The new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal program extends beyond interoperability testing to test the performance of products and help ensure that they deliver good voice quality over the Wi-Fi link.

Voice over Wi-Fi is typically used within mixed voice and data environments, in which multiple data streams compete for the available network resources. Products that successfully achieve Voice-Personal certification prioritize voice communication over data, audio, or video traffic, and also have met strict performance levels for key metrics that ensure a quality experience in voice applications: packet loss, latency and jitter.

Products Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal have also passed tests for core interoperability (802.11a/b/g or 802.11n draft 2.0) and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) for the strong security protections, as well as Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) for quality of service and WMM Power Save (access points only). Users should look for both access points and client devices that are Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal to ensure optimal voice quality when making calls over a Wi-Fi network.

The following are among some of the first devices to become Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal:

  • Broadcom BCM94704AGR High Performance Dual-Band (2.4/5 GHz) Router Reference Design

  • Cisco Systems Aironet 1250 Series Access Point (AIR-AP1252AG )

  • Cisco Systems Aironet 1200 Series Access Point (AIR-AP1231G with AIR- RM21A)

  • DSP Group Expeditor Reference Design (with XpandR 1.01 software)

  • Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN

  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection

  • Meru Networks AP200

  • Redpine Signals Lite-Fi TGn SDIO

A list of all products Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal, as well as a free white paper which describes the program in detail, is available online.

RadiSys Adds Speech Capabilities to Convedia Media Server

RadiSys' Convedia media server family now supports automatic speech recognition (ASR), or converting human speech to computer data, and text-to-speech (TTS) capabilities in multiple languages for IP contact center application developers and service providers. The solution integrates standards-based Media Resource Control Protocol (MRCP) .

With the introduction of ASR and TTS support, RadiSys said its media servers can now be used in conjunction with speech servers to deliver a more cost-effective and scalable deployment model. Previously, Convedia media servers could process Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) commands and VoiceXML scripts to apply media processing against Real Time Protocol (RTP) media streams in a VoIP or IMS architecture. With the new capabilities, an ASR or TTS request written in the VoiceXML script is forwarded using a standards-based Media Resource Control Protocol (MRCP) interface to an adjunct speech server. The net result is that speech servers now can focus exclusively on ASR and TTS processing, while all other media processing is done within the Convedia media server.

BridgeWave Raises $10 Million for Mobile Backhaul Solutions

BridgeWave Communications, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, raised $10 million in Series 4 funding for its gigabit wireless solutions. The funding round was co-led by Intel Capital and a new investor, Core Capital, with participation from prior round venture capital firms Cipio Partners, SDL Ventures, and Merifin Capital.

BridgeWave's Gigabit Ethernet wireless technology is aimed at future backhaul transport capacity. BridgeWave utilizes the upper millimeter-wave radio spectrum in the recently-allocated 60-90 GHz range, enabling the multi-gigabit per second wireless connectivity. The company also features proprietary "AdaptRate" technology and Forward Error Correction capabilities optimized for longer distances.

As a result of the financing, Pascal Luck, managing director at Core Capital will be joining the BridgeWave board of directors.
  • BridgeWave Communications is headed by Amir Makleff, who co-founded the company in 1999. Previously Amir served as COO and Senior VP of Engineering at Netro for three years. Previously to Netro, he was General Manager of Engineering and Marketing at Telco Systems and Nortel.

NEC to acquire NetCracker for OSS

NEC agreed to acquire NetCracker Technology Corp., a US based software and solutions specializing in Operations Support Systems (OSS). Financial terms were not disclosed.

NetCracker's portfolio includes industry solutions focused on specific verticals (such as Triple Play) and pre-integrated product modules. The core modules include Service Inventory, Resource Inventory, Service Provisioning & Activation, Discovery & Reconciliation, Design & Planning, Customer Impact Analysis, Outside Plant, Order Management, Asset Management, and Telecom Cost Management. The company, which was founded in 1993, is headquartered outside Boston in Waltham, MA.

NEC said the acquisition adds a key element of software and services to its portfolio of mobile and fixed infrastructure products. The company anticipates that Operations Support Systems will represent a key element to new international growth that is expected to generate approximately 200 billion yen over the next 5 years.

"NEC and NetCracker share a vision of operations and business support systems being critical to communications service providers, enabling them to build a sustainable competitive advantage," said Andrew Feinberg, CEO of NetCracker. "NEC's scale and solution offering will help us extend our core application and services footprint and continue to broaden the solutions we offer to our global customers."http://www.NetCracker.com
  • NetCracker Technology is headed by Andrew Feinberg, President and CEO. Prior to leading NetCracker, Andrew worked at Bain & Company Private Equity Group where he oversaw transactions in the telecommunications, software, and hardware industries.

Virgin Mobile USA to Acquire Helio for Approximately $39 Million in Equity

Virgin Mobile USA agreed to acquire Helio, the joint venture MVNO between SK Telecom and EarthLink, for limited partnership units equivalent to 13 million shares of Virgin Mobile USA class A common stock, with a value of about $39 million. Both carrier's purchase wholesale capacity on Sprint's PCS network.

The deal will give Virgin approximately 170,000 Helio customers with approximately $80 ARPU. Virgin Mobile USA will also gain an established and highly advanced postpaid billing and customer care platform, marking its entrance into this segment of the market. Virgin also noted that the Helio also gives it a set of unique and differentiated data applications, greatly enhancing its offer across its customer base.http://virginmobileusa.mediaroom.com
  • In January 2008, Helio, the U.S. joint venture between SK Telecom and EarthLink, activated its 200,000 mobile subscriber. Average revenue per user (ARPU) is over $85, well above the industry average.

  • In September 2007, SK Telecom confirmed plans to invest up to an additional $270 million in Helio, the U.S.. EarthLink was renegotiating its stake in the venture.

OKI Develops Audience Rating Information System for IPTV

Oki Electric Industry introduced an "Audience Rating Information System" for IPTV aimed at the Japanese market. The system collects viewership data to enable broadcasting companies to improve their services. The system is designed to enable service providers, with the authorization of users, to obtain information about when and which channel and programs the users watched. The system will collect the viewership data in the form of an "audience rating library" on the user's device, which will then be encrypted, sent to and registered in the database server at the IPTV distribution center. This information will then be printed out as viewership reports which service providers can offer to program producers.

OKI said it is proposing the technology to ASTAP, Asia's communication standard organization and FG-IPTV in the ITU.

AT&T Relocates its Corporate Headquarters to Dallas

AT&T will move its corporate headquarters from San Antonio to Dallas. Atlanta will continue to be the headquarters for AT&T's Mobility group. New Jersey will continue to be the headquarters for the company's Global Business Services group and AT&T Labs. St. Louis will continue as home to the company's Directory operations. The company's Telecom Operations group, which serves residential and regional business customers in 22 U.S. states, will remain in San Antonio.

AT&T said it is relocating its headquarters to Dallas in order to gain better access to its customers and operations throughout the world, and to the key technology partners, suppliers, innovation and human resources needed as it continues to grow, domestically and internationally. Network equipment companies that have major operations in Dallas, such as Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Nokia, Nortel, RIM and Samsung.

The move will begin in the coming weeks and is expected to be complete around year end. It is expected to involve about 700 of the company's nearly 6,000 San Antonio-based employees.

"We're a growing global company with customers and operations around the world," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. "Being headquartered in Dallas will benefit our long-term growth prospects and human resources needs, and our ability to operate more efficiently, better serve customers and expand the business in the future.

Huawei Show its 4th-Gen WiMAX Distributed BTS in Europe

At the WiMAX Forum Global Congress 2008 held earlier this month in Amsterdam, Huawei Technologies unveiled its fourth generation WiMAX distributed BTS base station.

"Since starting research on the IEEE802.16 standard in 2000 we now have over 1,200 engineers engaged in WiMAX R&D in China, India, Russia, Sweden, and USA. Under our new WiMAX development concept, Huawei is committed to providing innovative and customized products, services and solutions to create long-term value and potential growth for its customers," stated Mr. Zhao Ming, Vice President of Huawei Wireless Product line.

J:COM Deploys DOCSIS 3.0 with Cisco

Japan's Jupiter Telecommunications (J:COM) has begun deployment of the Cisco DPC3000 DOCSIS 3.0 Channel Bonded Cable Modem for use in its J:COM NET Ultra 160M Course broadband service, which offers download speeds of up to 160 Mbps.

The Cisco DPC3000, which has received CableLabs DOCSIS 3.0 certification, uses four bonded channels for both the downstream and upstream data, enabling downstream data rates in excess of 160 Mbps and upstream data rates up to 120 Mbps. It is designed to be backward-compatible for use as a single-channel cable modem with DOCSIS 2.0, 1.1 or 1.0 networks.

In addition to DOCSIS 3.0-compliant cable modems, the Cisco downstream channel-bonding solution features the Cisco uBR10012 cable modem termination systems (CMTS) and Cisco xDQA-24 edge quadrature amplitude modulators (QAMs).
  • In April 2008, Motorola announced that Jupiter Telecommunications (J:COM), Japan's largest multiple system operator (MSO), had selected Motorola's channel bonding technology to deploy the company's first DOCSIS 3.0-based Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) and cable modems. Specifically, Motorola said the deployment uses its DOCSIS 3.0-based BSR 64000 CMTS/Edge Router and SURFboard SB6120 cable modems. Financial terms were not disclosed. Motorola said its solution is capable of delivering up to 160Mbps throughput to residential and commercial customers.

Court of Appeals Upholds FCC Video Franchise Rules.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled unanimously to support the FCC's local franchising authority rules for new entrants in video services.

"Over the last ten years, cable rates have more than doubled. Consumers need greater choice and more competition to help address the soaring price of cable television. This ruling helps ensure that new competitors to cable are not subjected to unreasonable delays, build-out requirements and fees when trying to compete with the incumbent cable operators," stated FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.
  • In December 2006, The FCC voted 3-to-2 to approve new rules that prohibit local franchising authorities from unreasonably refusing to award competitive franchises for the provision of cable services. The vote was seen as a victory for A&T, Verizon and other telephone providers seeking to enter the market for video services.

    The majority of FCC commissioners concluded that the current franchising process required by local municipalities constitutes an unreasonable barrier to entry that impedes the achievement of the interrelated federal goals of enhanced cable competition and accelerated broadband deployment.

    The new rules prohibit towns or cities from engaging new market entrants in drawn-out local negotiations with no time limits; unreasonable build-out requirements; unreasonable requests for "in-kind" payments that attempt to subvert the five percent cap on franchise fees; and unreasonable demands with respect to public, educational and government access.