Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Alcatel-Lucent Collaborates with Germany's DIEHL on Smart Metering

Alcatel-Lucent has signed a collaboration agreement with DIEHL Energy Solutions, a division of DIEHL Metering. Alcatel-Lucent, which currently offers a smart metering solution, will work with DIEHL Energy Solutions to develop and market a comprehensive solution that will enable energy supply and combination utilities to provide timely, detailed consumption information to their customers thus enabling consumption-related price and more accurate billing. The goal of the cooperation agreement is the joint development and marketing of compatible products for automatic logging of energy consumption as well as the development of associated service portfolios. The companies will develop and market compatible product lines for automatic measurement data recording in the field of energy and consumption measurement.


Telecom Italia Moves Ahead with 28 Mbps HSPA by Ericsson

Telecom Italia will initiate deployment of Ericsson's HSPA technology in early 2009 supporting top downlink speeds of up to 28 Mbps and upload speed of 5.8 Mbps.

Tests in Telecom Italia's mobile network will start early 2009 and initial deployment is planned in the city of Milan in June 2009. National coverage will follow in the second half of 2009.

The deployment will include Multiple Input and Multiple Output (MIMO), a technology that uses two or more antenna branches to transmit data to a consumer. Actual customer download speeds can be less and will vary due to congestion, distance from the cell, local conditions, hardware, software and other factors.

Ericsson Deploys Solar Base Stations for Orange Guinea

Orange Guinea Conakry is deploying more than 100 base stations fully powered by solar energy.

Ericsson's hybrid diesel-battery energy solution replaces one of a site's diesel generators with a bank of specially designed batteries that can handle a large amount of charging and discharging. This self-contained power solution can be set to meet the batteries' optimal charging and discharging levels, extending the lifetime of the battery and the generator, and reducing energy-related costs by about 50 percent.

The Ericsson BTS 2111 radio base station is a main-remote solution without any active moving parts such as cooling fans. It reduces energy consumption up to 50 percent, allowing the site to be fully powered by solar energy, supported by a battery bank for 24/7 operation.

Alassane Diene, CEO of Orange-Guinea Conakry, says: "We are reducing our energy bill. These base stations are also easier to install and require less maintenance than the traditional site. They also offer greater reliability and therefore considerably improved quality of service."

Ericsson noted that it first deployed solar in 2000. Orange Group intends to have more than 1000 wholly solar-powered base stations in its African operations by the end of 2009.

Calix Partners with Xangati for Application Management

Calix announced a reseller relationship with Xangati to offer an application management solution for service providers. This formalized relationship reflects the positive service provider response to initial integration efforts between the Calix Management System (CMS) and the Xangati Application Management 2.0 solution announced in June 2008.

Calix supplies a broadband access platform. The integration of Xangati with the Calix CMS provides a 360-degree perspective into every network subscriber's application usage and overall traffic. A single two-rack unit appliance, the Xangati solution plugs into any available data management network port and is treated as just another operations support system in the back office. The solution has zero-footprint in the network, with no hardware probes or software agents. Service providers can use the combination of Xangati and CMS to dramatically lower OPEX by remotely identifying, diagnosing, and resolving many network problems without dispatching a field technician to the subscriber premises.

"Subscriber application visibility is a must-have for service providers today," says Phil Fine, Calix director of market development for multiservice management. "The confluence of a variety of bandwidth-intensive applications, malware, and viruses that affect network performance and user experience, and the need for effective yet efficient customer service, create a unique and growing challenge for service providers. Calix and Xangati address this challenge head-on with an integrated solution that provides unprecedented visibility throughout the network down to every application and every subscriber."

Xangati's rapid problem identification solution does not rely on agents or probes. It collects packet data traversing the network and correlates this with application performance over time. By tracking changes in expected network performance, the Xangati solution is able to identify problems before end-users become aware of them. Unlike deep packet inspection (DPI) solutions, Xangati does not open the individual packets but instead analyzes the applications flows across the network.

Xangati's Application Management 2.0 utilizes concepts such as streaming, collaboration, and user-generated content to form a comprehensive system for managing networked application service levels. The browser-based user interface enables network administrators to get a real-time, visual view of application traffic originating with particular end-users in the network. A DVR-like capability captures data of application behavior in specific time slots, thus facilitating network trouble ticket resolution.

Zhone Partners with Alloptic for RF-over-Glass (RFoG)

Zhone Technologies will expand its Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) portfolio through a strategic agreement to resell Alloptic's Radio Frequency over Glass (RFoG) solutions. Integrating RFoG with Zhone's standards-based GPON system boosts available spectrum and enables carriers to deliver advanced digital video services without replacing existing analog video headend equipment.

"Enabling 2-way RF services is vital to network operators," said Shane Eleniak, Alloptic VP of marketing and business development. "With RFoG, interactive video and differentiated services are delivered while lowering operational costs and continuing to use existing RF assets. Alloptic is pleased to join Zhone in providing these key competitive features in an integrated GPON - RFoG solution."http://www.alloptic.com
  • Earlier this month, Motorola announced plans to resell Alloptic's Radio Frequency over Glass (RFoG) solutions as part of its cable passive optical network (PON) portfolio. The agreement between Motorola and Alloptic provides Motorola with exclusive rights to offer Alloptic's RFoG solutions to leading cable operators worldwide. The RFoG product line gives cable operators the ability to launch existing video, voice and data services over an all-fiber network supporting residential and commercial service applications where legacy voice and new IP-based services are needed.

Verizon Business Offers Single-Source Procurement Internationally

Verizon Business has begun offering a single-source procurement service to provide multinational enterprises with a simpler way to build, support and manage their global networks. The new single-source model covers the procurement of customer premises equipment (CPE) and other support services in 122 countries and territories. Verizon Business said this new model bolsters and simplifies the services it provides to support CPE - from billing and contracting to logistics and financing. In addition, the company has reached an array of global agreements with seven leading equipment manufacturers, distributors and resellers, thus enabling enterprise customers to take full advantage of volume discounts and other advantageous terms.

The new model represents an expansion of the company's approach to managed services delivery for Cisco-based solutions.

Verizon Business said it has reached agreements with Avaya, Cisco, Fluke Networks, Juniper Networks, NCR, TANDBERG and Tech Data/Azlan. These communications solutions include:

  • Avaya - Contact center, IP telephony, mobility, unified communications.

  • Cisco - Networking, conferencing, unified communications and collaboration, security, wireless LAN.

  • Fluke Networks - Networked application performance, monitoring and analysis.

  • Juniper Networks - Networking, security, unified access, WAN acceleration.

  • NCR - Professional consulting and support services.

  • TANDBERG - Telepresence and video conferencing.

  • Tech Data/Azlan - Advanced logistics distribution services for equipment from multiple manufacturers.

Further expansion of the program is planned for 2009, with the addition of other vendors as well as expanded reach in more countries.

NeuStar and GSMA Certify Sonus for Carrier ENUM

Sonus Networks' solutions for wireless carriers have been certified as part of PathFinder, the GSMA-managed service operated by NeuStar. The PathFinder initiative is dedicated to the simple delivery of IP-based services to fixed and mobile networks, reducing the cost and complexity of providing innovative new services.

PathFinder is based on Carrier ENUM technology, facilitating an interoperable, industry-wide solution which enables the routing of global IP service interconnect traffic. The service acts as a central directory where operators share IP and fixed-line addresses to allow swift and cost-effective routing of packet voice, instant messaging (IM), multimedia services, email and video. By assisting the linking of an IP address to a phone number for mobile devices, fixed-line phones and IP devices, the delivery of IP-based services is made easier.

Verizon Wireless Selects Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent for LTE

Verizon Wireless confirmed plans to move ahead with its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) migration and named Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent as primary network vendors for its initial LTE network deployments in the United States. Verizon Wireless has selected Starent Networks as a key supplier for the packet core. Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent have been selected as key suppliers for the IP Multi-Media Subsystem (IMS) network, which will enable rich multimedia applications regardless of access technology. The company said that by leveraging its 700 MHz spectrum, it will be able to quickly deploy an LTE network with excellent coverage and in-building penetration, and all at a cost structure significantly below current levels.

IMS will be a cornerstone technology in the evolution of Verizon's services infrastructure. Verizon plans to offer IMS-based IP converged applications and services on its wireless and landline broadband networks. LTE will be one of the key wireless access networks linked to the IMS technology.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Dick Lynch, Verizon executive vice president and chief technology officer, said "Verizon Wireless' LTE network deployment will be driven by our vision of providing ubiquitous global wireless broadband connectivity and mobility. LTE enables us to continue to meet business customer demands for a higher bandwidth, low latency service that works broadly in the United States and globally, while helping us to meet consumer demand for mobilizing the many applications they frequently use when tethered to high bandwidth wired networks."

Lynch said building and offering commercial services over Verizon Wireless' LTE network, while also expanding its FiOS fiber network, is a consistent and complimentary strategy focused on a committed future in broadband. As has been previously reported, Verizon's total capital expenditures totaled roughly $17 billion in 2008. Lynch noted that LTE network costs would be within the company's overall program as spending shifts from older technologies to new strategic initiatives, such as LTE. The company expects to maintain commercial service on its 3G service well into the next decade.

"Verizon Wireless' deployment of LTE sets a unified direction in enabling true, global wireless broadband and Ericsson is proud to be a part of this historic occasion," said Carl-Henric Svanberg, president and chief executive officer, Ericsson.

"Verizon Wireless' ground-breaking move toward LTE underscores its commitment to accelerating and stimulating an environment that will offer its customers greater capacity and new services in more areas than ever before," said Ben Verwaayen, chief executive officer of Alcatel-Lucent. "With LTE's bandwidth and its ability to co-exist with the current 3G platform, we look forward to partnering with Verizon Wireless to build the next-generation foundation that will economically enable new forms of communications using both fixed and wireless, as well as mobile broadband."

The company has also established a Verizon LTE Innovation Center, which will be based in the suburban Boston community of Waltham, Mass. With support from founding partners Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, Lynch said the mission of the Innovation Center is to be the catalyst for early development of non-traditional products for use on LTE networks. A number of companies have already expressed interest in the Center, which will be solely focused on helping Verizon Wireless technology partners quickly develop and bring to market new and innovative LTE-based solutions within the consumer electronics, machine-to-machine, and business products segments.

Verizon Wireless also noted success results of LTE field testing using existing spectrum in Minneapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Northern New Jersey. Vodafone has conducted similar LTE trials in Budapest, Dusseldorf, and Madrid with a variety of network infrastructure providers. These field trials have demonstrated download rates of 50 to 60 Mbps peak speeds, though actual average download results will not be determined until the commercial launch of the new Verizon Wireless LTE network. Utilizing its recently acquired 700 MHz spectrum, Verizon Wireless will expand trials this summer, and Lynch said the company will commercially launch its LTE network in 2010. Once the initial rollout is complete, plans are in place for aggressive deployment throughout Verizon Wireless' entire network, including areas not currently covered by the existing Verizon Wireless footprint.

America Movil to Offer Nokia Maps in Latin America

America Movil has agreed to offer Nokia Maps Navigation to its mobile consumers in Latin America with Nokia GPS-enabled phones. Nokia Maps, with GPS functionality and featuring location-based services, will empower users to expertly navigate, whether searching for an unfamiliar address in their home city or exploring a vacation destination.

Nokia and America Movil announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding related to broader services collaboration. By combining America Movil's marketing, customer and service expertise and Nokia's strength in device development and integration, the two companies are looking to jointly lead innovation in 3G data services in Latin America.

Verizon Business Enhances Managed Services Portfolio

Verizon Business is rolling out a new portfolio of converged solutions that address the security and performance challenges faced by large corporations. The new solutions span the entire IT "stack," which is the computing structure that includes the network, data, application and user layers.

Verizon Business believes this integrated approach will enable companies to more efficiently build a secure, high-performance communications and IT infrastructure while addressing a critical issue that enterprise IT organizations often struggle with: how to seamlessly work between the IT groups responsible for different layers of the stack in order to avoid data breaches and poor application performance affecting the daily operations of an organization.

Verizon Business' new solutions portfolio, which initially consists of five converged offerings, features Virtual Discovery and Classification (VDC). The VDC service combines professional services, security log analysis and advanced tools to analyze an organization's Internet traffic to discover unusual malicious or unexpected traffic patterns and connections that can potentially cause harm to a customer's network.

The VDC service analyzes an organization's Internet traffic data using advanced processes and tools and a variety of analysis techniques to map and characterize this traffic. This analysis aims to discover so-called "unknown connections," which have been linked to 27 percent of successful attacks according to Verizon Business' "2008 Data Breach Investigation Report." The new service also helps detect the actual source of attack activity and has successfully been used by Verizon in helping to find the origin of a customer's data breach.

The service also detects suspicious connections involving network usage by an enterprise's current and former business partners, a category that the Verizon data breach report found responsible for 39 percent of the worst computer-crime cases, and is the fastest-growing category of risk to enterprises.

Other areas the service analyzes are: telecommuters' connections to an enterprise's virtual private network (VPN), which can be compromised even though it is set up to protect against security breaches; violations of the customer's corporate IT and security policies, which many times point to unapproved usage of services; configuration issues resulting from improperly configured devices or other anomalies; and a history of previous attacks that provide insight into the origin of the threat.

The VDC offering is available immediately to U.S.-based enterprises. Verizon Business plans to launch the four other converged solutions during the first half of this year. They are:

  • Application Performance and Vulnerability Assessment, which offers an expert assessment of critical business applications resulting in recommendations to improve both performance and security.

  • PCI-ready E-commerce Solution, which combines hosting and application management offerings with security services to help an organization become PCI compliant with regard to safeguarding credit card transactions.

  • CoLo Vulnerability Management Service, which integrates vulnerability management services into a data center colocation environment, using a self-service model to deliver end-to-end security.

  • Secure Virtualization Design Services, which help enterprises redesign an existing IT infrastructure to achieve the benefits of virtualization while maintaining a secure environment.

All findings are communicated directly to the client by a dedicated expert who helps guide the interpretation, analysis, remediation and other recommendations.

BroadSoft Integrates with IBM SPDE 3.0

BroadSoft has teamed with IBM to offer standards-based application infrastructure to support the rapid creation of rich new Web 2.0-oriented communications services.

The combined BroadSoft and IBM technology provides an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-ready application infrastructure, which allows for simplified integration of rich voice applications with Web 2.0, social networking and business process applications. The platform offers interfaces that enable providers to extend new services to fixed and mobile end points across both legacy and next-generation networks. The solution integrates BroadSoft's VoIP application platform, BroadWorks, and its Xtended Web Services with IBM WebSphere and IBM Rational using IBM's Service Provider Delivery Framework (SPDE) 3.0. The solution is currently operating within the BroadSoft Xtended sandbox and enables Web developers to create new communication applications that easily integrate voice and presence into Web 2.0 user experiences.

BT Upgrades its Web Conferencing

BT released an advanced version of its web-based scheduling and automation tool. New features in Engage Meeting Manager 2.0 are designed to make reservations faster and easier through an intuitive conference wizard, meeting templates, custom directories, B2B scheduling, iCal integration and user interface improvements.

Engage Meeting Manager 2.0 is available to all BT Conferencing video customers, whether the customer utilizes BT multi-tenant bridges or their own managed bridging infrastructure. Multi-tenant customers can use Engage Meeting Manager without incurring additional fees and are able to utilize BT Conferencing's multi-tenant bridging at rates that start as low as $0.25 per minute per site for calls scheduled and auto-launched with the tool. Managed Services customers pay a low annual fee for Engage Meeting Manager and are able to schedule unlimited automated call launches.

Over the last three years, the percentage of BT Conferencing video calls scheduled via Engage Meeting Manager has increased from around 10 percent to approximately 25 percent of all calls.

Comcast's 2009 Plan Calls for All-Digital, More DOCSIS 3.0

For Q4 2008, Comcast's net revenue increased 9% to $8.8 billion, operating cash flow increased 9% to $3.4 billion, and operating income increased 20% to $1.8 billion, all compared to the same time period in 2007. However, Comcast's total video, data and voice customer net additions in Q4 slowed to 290,000, compared to 714,000 net additions in Q3. The company said that in these more challenging times it will focus on free cash flow generation, increase its dividend and pursue four key initiatives for 2009: improve the customer experience, extend the DOCSIS 3.0 rollout to 65% of its markets, begin to deploy All-Digital to markets representing 50% of its customer base, and manage the digital transition.

Some highlights for Q4:

  • Earnings per share for the quarter ended December 31, 2008 was $0.14 compared to $0.20 in the same time period in 2007; Adjusted Earnings per share increased 35% to $0.27 in the fourth quarter.

  • Revenue from the Cable segment increased 8% to $32.4 billion for 2008 as compared to $30.1 billion in 2007, reflecting the adoption of digital and advanced video services, rate increases, continued growth in high-speed Internet (HSI) and Comcast Digital Voice (CDV) penetration and strong growth in Business Services, partially offset by video customer losses and lower advertising revenue.

  • The monthly average total revenue per video customer increased 9% from $101 to $110, reflecting an increasing number of customers taking multiple products. As of December 31, 2008, 23% of customers were three-product customers as compared to 16% at the end of 2007.

  • As of December 31, 2008, Comcast's video, high-speed Internet and voice customers totaled 45.6 million, reflecting 2.6 million net additions during 2008. This includes 14.9 million HSI customers, 6.5 million Digital Voice customers, and 24.1 million video customers.

  • During Q4, Comcast added or upgraded 433K customers to Advanced Digital services.

  • Programming expenses were up 7% in Q4 and up 8% for FY08

  • Marketing expenses were up 9% in Q4 and up 14% for FY08.

  • CAPEX declined 17% in 2008 to $5.7 billion compared to $6.3 billion in 2007. The company anticipates that 2009 capital investment will
    be less than 2008 both in dollars and as a percentage of revenue.

  • Digital penetration is current at 70%

  • 45% of Digital customers take Advanced Services, generating average monthly revenue of $80-$85

  • Comcast's On Demand library has 10,000 choices today and the company is working on "Project Infinity"

  • Revenue for Business Services Increased 41% for 2008 and is at a current run rate of $650 million per year.

ZTE Develops Low Cost Solar Handset for Digicel

ZTE unveiled a low-cost solar-powered mobile phone using proprietary technology from Dutch-based innovator Intivation. Digicel will begin offering the new Coral-200-Solar in June. Pricing and technical details were not disclosed.

Since early 2008, Digicel has been providing its customers with low-cost or free portable solar chargers in many markets.

The companies noted that there are an estimated two billion people who have limited or no access to electricity. The population of many emerging markets in which Digicel provides cellular services will benefit greatly by access to a mobile handset that can be powered by the sun, or by electric power when it is available.

Since our launch in 2001, Digicel has become the largest mobile telecommunications operator in the Caribbean and a recent new entrant to the Central American mobile market. It also serves markets in the South Pacific.