Sunday, August 17, 2008

Palo Alto Networks Raises $27 Million for its Enterprise Firewalls

Palo Alto Networks, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, has secured $27 million in Series C financing for its next-gen firewalls for enterprises.

Palo Alto Networks leverages its "App-ID" application classification technology to enable visibility and policy control of applications running on enterprise networks. The company's firewalls accurately identify applications -- regardless of port, protocol, evasive tactic or even SSL encryption -- at 10Gbps with no performance degradation.

Lehman Brothers Venture Partners led the oversubscribed round, with participation from existing investors Globespan Capital Partners, Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital. The new funds will be used to support the company's rapid growth by further expanding sales, marketing and customer service initiatives.
  • Palo Alto Networks was founded by Nir Zuk (CTO), Rajiv Batra (VP of Engineering) and Yuming Mao (Chief Architect). Zuk was previously CTO at NetScreen Technologies, which was acquired by Juniper Networks in 2004. Prior to NetScreen, Nir was co-founder and CTO at OneSecure, a pioneer in intrusion prevention and detection appliances. Nir was also a principal engineer at Check Point Software Technologies and was one of the developers of stateful inspection technology.

    Batra previously was the Vice President of Engineering at Peribit, which was acquired by Juniper Networks in 2005. He also co-founded VitalSigns Software and served as Vice President of Engineering at Bay Networks.

    Mao previously was Chief Architect and a Distinguished Engineer at Juniper Networks, which he joined through the NetScreen Technologies acquisition. At NetScreen, he was one of the initial engineering architects

  • In July, Palo Alto Networks named Lane Bess as its new CEO. Bess previously served as Executive Vice President for Global Sales at Trend Micro. Earlier in his career, Bess held global sales and marketing leadership positions at NCR Corporation and AT&T Corporation. At AT&T, he was responsible for the launch of the AT&T's business and consumer internet services.

XO Extends its Ethernet Reach

XO Communications announced the deployment of a new and enhanced Ethernet switching platform in major metropolitan locations across its U.S. network. This new will enable XO to offer a broader range of Ethernet bandwidth options and services. In addition, this new platform will provide the pathway for XO to provide true any-to-any, multi-site Ethernet solutions along with multiple classes of service on an on-demand basis.

XO said it is currently capable of delivering Ethernet services to nearly four million commercial buildings in 75 major metropolitan markets across the United States utilizing its nationwide fiber network assets, expanded deployment of Ethernet over copper technology, and fixed broadband wireless capabilities.

XO Communications now offers a wider range of incremental bandwidth options. Customers can now obtain new speeds of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 200, 300, 400, or 500 Mbps at on-net fiber locations, and speeds of 15 or 20 Mbps at locations served by last mile copper where XO has deployed Ethernet over copper technology. These speeds are currently available in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, San Jose, Seattle, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. XO expects to roll out the speed options to all of its markets across the country early next year.

XO's Ethernet over Copper has now been deployed in 75 metropolitan markets. XO has also increased the distance over which it can deliver Ethernet services via last mile copper. XO can now reach business locations that are up to 11,000 feet from central offices in which it has deployed Ethernet over copper technology. This expansion has increased XO's Ethernet over copper services footprint by 18 percent.

XO also said this upgrades set the stage for new Ethernet service offerings in the near future. These upgrades will provide XO Communications with the ability to offer Classes of Service (CoS) with Ethernet and Ethernet Virtual Private LAN Service (E-VPLS), which it expects to be able to offer customers in 2009. As a layer 2 networking service, E-VPLS will allow businesses to move multipoint to multipoint traffic to support both IP and non-IP network traffic while maintaining the flexibility to control the routing and increased network performance.

Qwest Reaches Tentative Agreement with Unions

Qwest Communications announced three-year tentative agreements with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The proposed contract will apply to nearly 20,000 CWA members and nearly 200 IBEW members in Montana.

Commenting on the agreement, the CWA noted that general wage increases totaled more than 9 percent compounded over the contract term. Sales employees receiving commissions received an increase in their base salary as well. The settlement also provides a 3 percent increase in pension bands. Workers providing directory assistance services were brought under the main CWA agreement and will receive a wage increase in the third year of the contract. http://www.qwest.com

Vodafone Acquires 70% Share in Ghana Telecom


has acquired a 70% equity stake in Ghana Telecom from the Government of Ghana for approximately US$1.8billion, including a cash injection of US$500million. The Government of Ghana still retains a 30% stake in the company.http://www.vodafone.com

Fluke Acquires Intellectual Property of Viola Networks

Fluke Networks has acquired the intellectual property of Viola Networks for an undisclosed sum.

Viola, a start-up which was based in Yoqneam, Israel & King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, specialized in VoIP performance management software. Viola's NetAlly RealTime software was developed for service providers for pre-service network readiness assessment, post deployment voice quality and VoIP capacity management, as well as on-demand network troubleshooting, as required by real-time VoIP applications. The companies investors included Evergreen Partners, M/C Venture Partners and Concord Ventures.

Fluke said the purchase of Viola's technologies and source code will enable it to extend significantly its product lines further into VoIP analysis. Fluke Networks intends to rebrand and integrate elements of NetAlly into new products containing these capabilities as well as create extensions to existing Fluke Networks' lines.

Cox Deploys Crossbeam's Next Gen Security Platform

Cox Communications has deployed Crossbeam' Systems X-Series Next Generation Security Platform to protect its network infrastructure. Cox is the third-largest cable television company in the United States and serves 6.2 million total residential and commercial customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Crossbeam's X-Series line of security service switches feature up to 40 Gbps of unified threat management (UTM) security processing throughput in a single chassis. The highly scalable hardware platform facilitates the consolidation, virtualization and simplification of security services delivery. Among its innovations, Crossbeam features "secure flow processing", which offers the ability to logically sequence flows from one virtualized instance of a security application to another. Secure flow processing enables security policy sequences to occur on a virtual plane, as if, for example, switches, load balancers, and patch cables were all physically installed between an intrusion prevention service and a firewall. This process is accomplished at wire speed, with active management of data flows and load balancing with "state" maintained for firewalls and content gateways.

Colubris Supplies WLAN for Kuala Lumpur Muni Network

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's federal capital, has begun a phased deployment of WLAN equipment from Colubris Networks to enable wireless computing across the city's commercial, residential and public areas.

Wireless@KL is one of the pioneer projects initiated by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (SKMM), together with Packet One Networks, a leading WiMAX operator, and it is to be rolled out under the "Klang Valley Broadband Push." Colubris wireless LAN equipment has been selected to provide Wi-Fi connectivity to Packet One's WiMAX infrastructure, enabling any Wi-Fi device, including laptops, PDAs, dual-mode phones, and other handheld devices, to access the Internet.

The installation of Colubris equipment is being handled by D-Synergy, one of Southeast Asia's leading infrastructure enablement companies.
The first phase of the Wireless@KL program is underway and will include the deployment of 1,500 access points throughout the city in commercial areas, offices, residential areas, community centres and other key public areas. It will offer wireless broadband with 80% coverage across the federal capital.

Colubris said Wireless@KL joins similar municipal projects in Paris, Singapore and Luzern that have recently deployed public Wi-Fi networks based on Colubris gear.http://www.colubris.com

Broadcom Introduces Energy Star Compliant STB Chip

Broadcom introduced a more energy efficient digital-to-analog (DTA) system-on-a-chip (SoC) for cable set-top box (STB) OEMs. The new Broadcom DTA chip, which uses 65 nanometer technology, is based upon the earlier generation BCM3543 SoC that is used in many terrestrial broadcast designs and is ENERGY STAR-compliant.

Ozmo Devices' Low Power Wi-Fi Pan Attracts Avago and Wolfson

Ozmo Devices, a start-up developing low-power Wi-Fi Personal Area Network (Wi-Fi PAN) solutions, announced design wins with Avago Technologies and Wolfson Microelectronics.

Ozmo and Avago announced a complete optical mouse design kit leveraging Ozmo's Wi-Fi PAN solution. Ozmo Devices' Wi-Fi PAN solution enables connectivity between peripherals such as mice and headsets and Wi-Fi-enabled platforms. The reference design kit, OZMO-AV35-RD, utilizes Ozmo Devices' OZMO1000 IC, and Avago's ADNB-3532 optical mouse sensor.

Ozmo Devices and Wolfson Microelectronics are collaborating to deliver an audio reference design to manufacturers of audio peripherals leveraging Ozmo's Wi-Fi PAN technology. Ozmo Devices' Wi-Fi PAN solution enables connectivity between peripherals such as mice and headsets and Wi-Fi-enabled platforms. The OZMO1000 Audio Reference Design utilizes the Ozmo Devices' OZMO1000 IC and Wolfson Microelectronics' WM8987L low-power CODEC.
  • In June 2008, Ozmo Devices, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, unveiled its low-power silicon + software solution for Wi-Fi Personal Area Networks (Wi-Fi PANs). The technology extends the existing Wi-Fi ecosystem while providing an alternative to Bluetooth or other short range wireless technologies.

  • The company aims to bring native low-power peripheral connectivity to Wi-Fi platforms. With an estimated 100 million Wi-Fi-enabled notebooks expected to ship in 2008, Ozmo's low-power Wi-Fi chip could enable connected mice, headsets and other personal electronics. Ozmo Devices' approach does not require an additional radio inside the platform or a dongle to communicate with the peripheral. The technology achieves a data rate of up to 9 Mbps and a latency significantly below standard Wi-Fi. Ozmo achieves this using a TDMA-like overlay protocol, however it uses standard 802.11-based packets for native coexistence with Wi-Fi networks. The implementation also supports 802.11-compliant security .

  • Ozmo Devices is headed by Dave Timm, who previously spent 15 years at Maxim Integrated Products, where he was Managing Director of the Notebook Power Business Unit. The company was co-founded by Dr. Katelijn Vleugels (CTO), who previously was with Atheros and who served as a Consulting Assistant Professor at Stanford, and Roel Peeters (Vice President of Marketing), who previously was a senior member of the solutions marketing group at Actuate, a business intelligence software company.

Verizon Wireless Adds Usage Controls

Verizon Wireless introduced a set of Usage Controls that provide customers the ability to better manage and control how they use their wireless phones, as well as how their children or others on a "family share" or multiple-line account use their phones. The new service expands and enhances features first introduced last year with Parental Controls, including content filters. Capabilities of the new tools include:

  • Set thresholds for voice minutes;

  • Set specific limits for text, picture, instant and video messaging as part of pay-as-you-go or message bundle plans;

  • Set time of day restrictions for data use and messaging;

  • Create lists of "trusted" and "blocked" numbers (calls to 911 will always be allowed to connect); and

  • Employ content filters.

Usage Controls are available for a $4.99 monthly subscription for each line. Customers must have a Nationwide Calling Plan -- either Family Share or single line -- to take advantage of Usage Controls.

Verizon Wireless is also introducing Chaperone 2.0 for $9.99 per line per month. Chaperone 2.0 capabilities include:

  • The ability to locate multiple Chaperone Child devices at the same time;

  • Family SMS Messaging that allows a text message to be sent to one or more Chaperone Child phones from the Chaperone Parent application or Chaperone Web site;

  • Changes to the Child Zone settings, allowing parents to add time and date settings or multiple children per Child Zone;

  • Integration with VZ Navigator, allowing parents with VZ Navigator subscriptions to receive turn-by-turn directions to their child's location.

U.S. Network Operators Deny DPI-based Advertising Tracking

Leading U.S. network operators have mostly denied using deep packet inspection (DPI) technologies for the purpose of behavioral advertising tracking of individual U.S. consumers. The U.S. House of Representative's Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, led by Reps. John D. Dingell (D-MI) and Joe Barton (R-TX), launched the inquiry earlier this month to address privacy concerns raised by the data collection practices of Internet network operators who tailor Internet advertising based on a consumer's Web surfing activity.

Written responses were received from AOL, AT&T, Bresnan Communications, Bright House Networks, Cable One, Cablevision Systems Corporation, cBeyond, CenturyTel, Charter Communications, Comcast Cable, Covad Communications, Cox Communications, Earthlink, Frontier Communications, Google, Insight Communications, Knology, Level 3 Communications, Mediacom Communications, PAETEC, Qwest Communications, RCN Communications, Suddenlink Communications, TDS Telecom, Time Warner Cable, TW Telecom, Inc., United Online, Verizon, Windstream, WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone, XO Communications and Yahoo . The written testimony is posted online.

Here are some highlights:

  • AOL stated that it does not employ "deep packet inspection" advertising technology. However, it does provide targeted advertising across its Internet sites. This advertising is matched to users who personally sign-in to AOL's web services. The company said it offers its users a variety of privacy choices and marketing preferences.

  • AT&T stated categorically that it does not engage in behavioral advertising tracking, either as a trial or for its commercial operations.

  • CenturyTel confirmed that it conducted a one-time trial of NebuAd's customer preference marketing (also known as contextual or behavioral advertising). NebuAd's CPM equipment was installed at an aggregated POP in Montana. The trial ran from November 2007 to June 2008. Traffic from about 20,000 users was included.

  • Comcast stated that it does not collect customer data for targeted advertising, nor does it correlate data regarding its High-speed Internet customer use across services or applications.

  • Google stated that it does not deliver advertising based on deep-packet inspection. Google also said it supports the adoption of a comprehensive federal privacy law that would accomplish several goals such as building consumer trust and protections; creating a uniform framework for privacy, which would create consistent levels of privacy from one jurisdiction to another; and putting penalties in place to punish and dissuade bad actors.

  • >Verizon stated that it does not tailor online advertising based on information gather from its users' Internet searches or general Internet searching. Instead, Verizon uses cookies and/or ad deliver servers to provide advertisements for users of Verizon's own web sites. The company also offers a web-ad supported "DNS-Assist" service to help users find the web sites they are looking for when they enter an invalid URL.