Sunday, February 1, 2009

TelcoBridges Introduces Entry Level Media Gateway

TelcoBridges introduced its Tmedia TMG800 media gateway with carrier-grade features and designed for lower-density requirements, like supporting remote locations, or delivering hosted services.

The TelcoBridges Tmedia TMG800 provides capacity from 1 to a maximum of 8 T1/E1/J1 interfaces (up to 256 universal VoIP channels). As service uptake increases, the capabilities of the 1U form factor TMG800 can be extended with expansion cards for VOIP and software license upgrades for each additional T1/E1/J1 port.

With IVR, signaling and media support for SIP, SS7, and ISDN networks, the Tmedia TMG800 routes and bridges PSTN and SIP-based calls seamlessly, providing any-to-any switching.

Verizon Wireless Adds 230 New Cell Sites in California in 2008

Verizon Wireless added more than 230 new cell sites in California in 2008. The company invested $684 million in its California network last year, updating and adding capacity to many cell sites and further improving backup power capabilities.

The company's ongoing network investment now totals more than $5.2 billion in California since 2000 when the company was formed. In each of the last four years, Verizon Wireless invested $6.5 billion or more nationally to expand and advance its network.

Verizon Transfers Some New England Networks to FairPoint

Verizon Communications has completed the process of transferring to FairPoint Communications Inc. all responsibility for the systems supporting the operations of FairPoint in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

FairPoint Communications provided a Notice of Readiness to Verizon in November, indicating that FairPoint would conclude its Transition Services Agreement with Verizon at the end of January 2009. FairPoint will complete the transition of its customers in the three-state region to its own new suite of state-of-the-art fully integrated systems over the next few days.
  • In March 2008, FairPoint acquired the former landline operations of Verizon in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Packet Design Offers Management Tool for Outsourced MPLS VPNs

Packet Design introduced a network management product that lets enterprises monitor their outsourced MPLS VPNs to determine whether service providers have set them up correctly and if information is moving as intended between corporate sites. The MPLS WAN Explorer cam identify changes in network "reachability" (the ability of IP traffic to move between any two sites at a given time) and verify that the service provider has deployed the MPLS VPN routing architecture according to enterprise policy (e.g., hub-and-spoke, full mesh, etc.). Enterprise IT managers, who previously had no visibility into the routing of traffic over the service provider's network, gain crucial information on issues that can significantly impact service delivery.

MPLS WAN Explorer is an enhanced version of Packet Design's original Route Explorer which provides organizations with end-to-end visibility into their layer 3 (routing) topology. Like Route Explorer, MPLS WAN Explorer listens passively to routing protocol (BGP, OSPF, EIGRP, IS-IS) exchanges, creating an accurate, real-time, network-wide routing map that reveals clearly how each site is connected to the VPN(s) and whether any given site can talk to any other. Real-time inter-site reachability is compared against an established baseline, helping identify possible problems.

Packet Design said that its MPLS WAN Explorer helps network managers quickly find problems such as 1) loss of reachability to critical servers even though all sites are connected, 2) a service provider's failure to adhere to the customer's requested topology, 3) loss of redundancy because a primary VPN has gone down and traffic is being routed over a secondary VPN, and 4) route "leakage" among service provider customers, with the resulting compromised privacy. These issues, while they may not display immediate symptoms, can negatively affect network behavior and service delivery -- and are typically undetectable by conventional management tools.

"VPN topologies are highly complex," said Jeff Raice, Packet Design's executive vice president of marketing and business development. "A large enterprise may use several service providers, each providing multiple VPNs. Corporate policy may dictate that certain sites talk only to certain providers or VPNs, and some VPNs may be implemented across multiple providers. Until now, the enterprise's view of its WAN stopped where the provider's network started. The IT manager had no way of knowing if one site was reachable from another, or of determining whether a WAN service problem originated with the provider or the enterprise itself. Guesswork delayed effective troubleshooting, while operating costs shot up and users suffered.

AT&T and DIRECTV Launch Co-Branded Service

AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets and DIRECTV launched a co-branded satellite service across the 22 states where AT&T operating companies offer wired residential broadband and voice services.

Consumers can get AT&T | DIRECTV programming packages as part of an AT&T service bundle, including quadruple-play bundles with TV, broadband, home phone and wireless services. In the future, the companies plan to extend their combined services to bring more integrated and interactive features to consumers.

AT&T U-verse Voice Launches in Los Angeles

AT&T began offering its U-verse Voice service in parts of the Greater Los Angeles area. All U-verse Voice customers will have 911 service, and customers can choose from two calling plans: AT&T U-verse Voice Unlimited for $30 a month and AT&T U-verse Voice 1000 for $25 a month.

Nortel Completes Core VoIP Network for U.S. Social Security Administration

Nortel Government Solutions completed the core network for the massive new U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) VoIP system within 180 days of initial purchase orders, an aggressive requirement of the 10-year, US $300 million Telephone Systems Replacement Project (TSRP) award.

This implementation included: redundant, geographically-dispersed service delivery points for high survivability; a state-of-the-art demonstration facility in Columbia, Maryland; and a Network Operations Center, Help Desk, and Agency Test Facility in Woodlawn, Maryland. Nortel Government Solutions has also implemented a very intensive VoIP applications suite that includes a data mart and management information system for custom reporting and hundreds of advanced telephony features to improve overall call-handling efficiency. All components were tested and accepted before rollout to SSA field offices began.

The new system, expected to become one of the largest enterprise VoIP deployments in the world, is already supporting more than 125 offices and more than 33,500 calls daily. To date, the new system has handled over 1.6 million calls. With 12-16 offices added each week, approximately 500 offices will be added per year until all 1,526 offices are online. Nortel Government Solutions has engineered the system to support over 100,000 phones. Installation and maintenance teams are positioned across the country for rapid deployment, training, and support.

The new SSA VoIP network features Nortel's Communication Server 1000 switching, Contact Center Management Server , Media Processing Server 500 IVR , unified messaging solution with Unified Messaging 2000 core platform and CallPilot *, and IP Phone 1100 Series handsets .

The Nortel Government Solutions team includes General Dynamics, Black Box Network Services, Shared Technologies, York Telecom, High Wire Networks, NetIQ, NETCOM Technologies, Attivasoft, and Pal-Tech.

Nortel noted that its Government Solutions group is also involved in a number of major VoIP transitions for U.S. Government customers worldwide, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Senate, the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Air Force and other elements of the Department of Defense.

Motorola Launches LTE trial network in UK

Motorola launched an LTE trial network and testing lab in Swindon, UK. The occasion was marked with a live, over the air, standards compliant LTE call during which high-speed data services were streamed using Motorola's LTE infrastructure operating in the 2.6GHz spectrum and a prototype LTE device.

Motorola's research lab in Swindon is working on LTE radio frequency and self organizing network (SON) development. In addition, the site in Swindon remains a center of excellence for Motorola base station transceiver (BTS) development for GSM and now LTE. Development of Motorola's LTE solutions is also conducted in Arlington Heights, Illinois; Fort Worth, Texas; Beijing, China and Bangalore, India.

Motorola said the lab facilities offers operators the ability to engage in LTE technology field trials and detailed real-world equipment testing. Additionally, Motorola can host the core elements of the LTE network for operators that require a hosted LTE trial in EMEA.

ADC Cuts Financial Outlook, Plans Layoffs

ADC cut its first quarter fiscal 2009 guidance and announced plans to lower its cost structure. The new guidance calls for:

  • Net sales of $240-255 million

  • Gross margins of around 29%

  • GAAP diluted loss per share of $(0.17) - $(0.23), which includes non-cash amortization expense of $(0.09) per share

ADC's previous guidance provided on Dec. 9, 2008 estimated net sales of $255-290 million and GAAP diluted loss per share of $(0.05) - $(0.17), including non-cash amortization expense of $(0.09) per share. The updated estimate does not include the potential impairment charge discussed later in this announcement.

ADC said its is further reducing discretionary spending and capital expenditures and introducing new general and administrative process improvements. In addition, the company is implementing a general hiring freeze and planning additional workforce reductions. Details on the job cuts were not disclosed.

Also, as of January 30, 2009, ADC has terminated its $200 million bank line of credit. This facility had no outstanding balances and, as a result of the current economic environment, had become increasingly costly to maintain.
"In response to the ongoing difficult macroeconomic conditions and slower market demand, we are taking further cost reduction actions both to solidify our competitive position as a leading provider of high-quality equipment to fiber-based and wireless communications networks worldwide and improve our overall financial performance," said Robert E. Switz, chairman, president and CEO of ADC.

Telefónica and China Unicom sign 3G Pact

Following the restructuring of the Chinese telecom industry and the granting of 3G licenses, Telefónica and China Unicom have agreed to develop integrated and mobile and 3G services.
In addition, the agreement covers a wide number of areas of collaboration such as developing innovative services, international business, joint procurement of network equipment, devices and handsets , platforms for innovative and advanced services, and services to corporate customers, among others.

China Unicom is the result of the merger between China Netcom (CNC) and China Unicom. In the wake of sector restructuring in China, Telefónica has become a key partner and the largest private investor (with a 5.38% stake) in the new China Unicom, an integrated operator with approximately 260 million fixed telephony, wireless and broadband subscribers. César Alierta, Chairman of Telefónica, is a non-executive member of the Board of Directors of the new China Unicom.
  • In September 2008, Telefónica announced an agreement with AllianceBernstein to acquire an additional stake of up to approximately 5.74% of the share capital of the China Netcom. The acquisition will be structured in two tranches, (i) the first tranche will be in respect of shares representing approximately 2.71% of the issued share capital of CNC as of the date hereof, and (ii) the second tranche will be in respect of a number of shares in CHINA UNICOM LIMITED ("CU") issued after its merger with CNC in exchange of shares representing up to a 3.03% stake in CNC.

Juniper Enhances its T-1600 for Virtualized Super-Nodes

Juniper Networks introduced a number of enhancements for its T1600 core router, including the ability to integrate up to 16 routers into a 25 Tbps multi-chassis single node while adding physical virtualization capabilities.

The TX Matrix Plus, which is slated for arrival in Q3 2009, is a multi-chassis core routing system that works with the Juniper Control System (JCS) 1200 to allow the virtualization of routing systems, networks and services. The architecture enables service providers to create "super-nodes" of up to 25 Tbps. This enables up to 256 40GbE ports or 1,024 GbE ports in a single routing node.

This multi-chassis router can be managed as a single, unified router, or combined with the JCS 1200 to enable the secure virtualization of core routers -- which creates efficiencies by consolidating networks, services and functionality. Juniper core routers can be partitioned -- on a per slot basis -- into multiple virtual routers, each of which might represent services or network element types, and which can share resources such as interconnecting links and uplinks. For instance, a carrier with separate wireless, broadband and business networks could converge its networks onto a single routing platform where the services are physically separated by slot. The "super-node" network architecture could also consolidate multiple central offices or POPs into a single facility.

Juniper noted that virtualization has seen rapid adoption in the data center and elsewhere because of its ability to increase efficiency and reduce costs by sharing and consolidating resources. With the TX Matrix Plus and JCS 1200, Juniper is addressing these challenges by enabling the hardware virtualization of highly scalable, adaptable core routers.

Juniper also announced several other capabilities for the T1600. The platform will offer 100 Gigabits of capacity per slot, enabling the T1600 to support ultra-high capacity links necessitated by virtualized core routers. Additionally, Juniper is continuing to expand on its optical integration capabilities with new integrated G.709 optical transport network (OTN) interfaces and GMPLS features. These enhanced integrated optical capabilities further eliminate the need for standalone optical transponders, leading to a significant reduction in space and power. The OTN interfaces will be available in the current quarter.

"Virtualization is the de facto operational model for data centers, because the cost and operational advantages it provides are indisputable," said Opher Kahane, senior vice president and general manager, High-End Systems Business Unit, Juniper Networks. "The TX Matrix Plus brings these same advantages of virtualization to core networks in the industry's most flexible multi-chassis routing system.: