Wednesday, April 1, 2009

TerreStar and EB Ready Satellite-Terrestrial Smartphone for Upcoming Launch

TerreStar Networks and EB (Elektrobit) demonstrated an integrated satellite-terrestrial smartphone reference design for the upcoming Terrestar mobile satellite service.

TerreStar's forthcoming service will enable users across North America to be connected to TerreStar's network through a "virtual handshake" between the next-generation mobile satellite and a next generation terrestrial network. Launch of TerreStar's satellite is expected later this quarter. Highlights of the satellite-terrestrial reference device include:

  • Compact form factor with an internal antenna

  • The world's first quad-band GSM and tri-band WCDMA/HSPA smartphone with integrated all-IP satellite-terrestrial voice and data capabilities;

  • The only fully IP-based satellite phone using high-speed packet data;

  • The first satellite-terrestrial smartphone with a touch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard;

  • The first satellite-terrestrial smartphone with planned service offerings, including: SMS, MMS, IM, Email, Push to Talk and Location Based Services (LBS).

Verizon Wireless Collaborates with Itron on Smart Grid

Verizon Wireless and Itron announced a joint marketing agreement for development of secure, two-way communications that support utilities' access to energy usage data and advance their smart grid projects.

The Itron "OpenWay" Cell Relay will operate on the Verizon Wireless network to more collect, measure and manage energy data on behalf of utility companies.

A primary component of Itron's advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution, OpenWay by Itron, the OpenWay Cell Relay is the router for the Itron radio frequency local-area network (RFLAN). The relay, which has passed the Verizon Wireless open development compliance process, solidifies integration between the OpenWay RFLAN and the wide-area network (WAN) provided by Verizon Wireless' CDMA (1x EV-DO and 1xRTT) wireless data network. The Verizon Wireless network is now available as a WAN backhaul connection option in the OpenWay architecture. Ultimately, this provides a secure approach to data collection and communications with the meter or other smart grid devices.

Itron said the communications architecture of its OpenWay complies with the American National Standards Institute C12.22 protocol for transport of device data over a network and remains independent of any particular communications technology.

D2S Secures $9 Million for E-Beam Silicon Design

D2S, a design and software company based in San Jose, closed $9 million in Series B financing to further enhance and expand the market development for D2S' design-for-e-beam (DFEB) technology, which allows semiconductor manufacturers to eliminate the barrier of rising mask costs and speed time to market.

As the industry moves to smaller geometries, mask costs become an even bigger challenge for IC manufacturers, making low-volume production of custom ICs economically infeasible. The company said its DFEB technology tackles this dilemma head on and enables leading-edge semiconductor systems-on-chips (SoCs) to be manufactured without the upfront mask cost.

XO Introduces 3 and 5 Mbps Mid-Band Ethernet Options

XO Communications announced the nationwide availability of an expanded range of new Ethernet access speeds for businesses, enterprises and wholesale customers. Now available in more than 75 metropolitan markets where XO offers services, customers can now obtain new Ethernet transport speeds of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 200, 300, 400, or 500 Mbps at XO on-net fiber locations, and speeds of 3, 5, 15 or 20 Mbps at locations served by last mile copper where XO has deployed Ethernet over copper technology. This also marks the first time the 3 and 5 Mbps mid-band Ethernet access options will be available to XO Communications' customers for Dedicated Internet access service.

"As companies look to their wide-area networks and Internet connections to support mission critical business applications, XO Communications offers an extensive nationwide footprint and a wide range of bandwidth options that enable businesses to cost-effectively boost network performance through Ethernet," said Randy Nicklas, chief technology officer at XO Communications. "XO's extensive local metro network assets combined with our nationwide inter-city network give us the unique ability to offer businesses flexible, scalable, and high-performance Ethernet solutions regardless if they are served by fiber or last mile copper."

Last year, XO Communications deployed an enhanced Ethernet switching platform in major metropolitan locations across its nationwide network. This platform provided a highly-reliable, service rich next generation infrastructure enabling XO Communications to offer a broader range of Ethernet bandwidth options and services at speeds of 3 Mbps to 10 Gbps. In addition, this platform provided a pathway for XO Communications to offer true any-to-any, multi-site Ethernet solutions, along with multiple classes of service on an on-demand basis.

XO Communications noted a number of other milestones it has passed in expanding the availability of Ethernet services:

  • Extensive Nationwide Inter-City and Metro Fiber Networks: XO Communications offers Ethernet services at speeds from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps to businesses and service providers in 75 major metropolitan markets through its 19,000 route mile inter-city fiber optic network and nearly one million fiber miles of metro networks.

  • Nationwide Deployment of Ethernet over Copper Technology: With deployments today in 75 major metropolitan markets, Ethernet over copper technology enables XO Communications to extend its Ethernet services footprint beyond its fiber network and enable businesses at copper-fed locations to take advantage of Ethernet services for the first time at speeds of 3 Mbps to 80 Mbps.

  • Fixed Broadband Wireless Capabilities: XO Communications currently has the capability to utilize fixed broadband wireless technology in 36 major metropolitan markets to further expand its network footprint and deliver Ethernet services directly to businesses at speeds ranging from 10Mbps to 800 Mbps.

Sprint Offers Enhanced Calling Features for its Wholesale Cable Customers

Sprint announced the availability of an integrated, enhanced services portfolio to cable companies. These enhanced services include Caller ID to the TV, Caller ID to the PC, and new voicemail features such as a home voicemail alert sent to a customer's mobile phone, and voicemail to email.

Sprint currently provides wholesale cable VoIP services to 14 leading cable companies and supports more than 4.5 million cable VoIP/digital phone subscribers -- covering more than 31 million cable households-passed.

"Linking SMS capabilities to our VoIP voicemail is just the first step in our ongoing integration of VoIP and wireless services," said Jim Patterson, president-Wholesale for Sprint. "Our goal with Sprint's VoIP services, in particular with our enhanced voice services offering, is to continue to make it easier for our cable partners to offer solutions that increase their market share and increase the value they bring to their customers."

Infineon, SkyTerra and TerreStar Target Satellite-Cellular Mobile Platforms

Infineon Technologies, SkyTerra, and TerreStar Networks are collaborating on the a multi-standard mobile platform based on Infineon's software-defined-radio (SDR) technology. The SDR-enabled satellite-terrestrial handsets will operate with multiple cellular and satellite-based communications technologies including GSM, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA, HSDPA, HSUPA and GMR1-2G/3G.

SkyTerra and TerreStar are both developing next-generation integrated satellite-terrestrial communications networks.

To enable satellite connectivity in the SDR platform, Infineon will integrate GMR1-3G technology furnished by Hughes Network Systems.

Alcatel-Lucent to Develop Satellite Base Station Sub-Systems for SkyTerra and TerreStar

SkyTerra and TerreStar Networks jointly announced an agreement for the development of mobile network technology that integrates Qualcomm's EV-DO-based satellite communications technology into an Alcatel-Lucent base station.

The satellite-adapted EV-DO base stations -- developed by Alcatel-Lucent -- will form key components of SkyTerra's and TerreStar's integrated satellite-terrestrial networks designed to offer uninterrupted voice and data service coverage throughout North America.

Under the agreement, Alcatel-Lucent will work with SkyTerra and TerreStar to develop satellite base station sub-systems, or S-BSS, based on Qualcomm's Satellite DO technology, a satellite-adapted implementation of CDMA/EV-DO. These base stations will support seamless connectivity between satellite and terrestrial networks for users of next-generation, satellite-capable devices.

TerreStar and SkyTerra previously announced an agreement with Qualcomm under which Qualcomm is integrating this satellite and cellular communication technology in select multi-mode mobile chipsets.

CTIA: U.S. Wireless Data Spending Rose 39% in 2009

Wireless data service revenues in the U.S. for the year 2008 rose to more than $32 billion, according to a semi-annual industry survey published by the CTIA Wireless Association.. This represents a 39% increase over 2007, when data revenues totaled $23.2 billion. Wireless data revenues for 2008 amounted to nearly 22% of all wireless service revenues, and represent what consumers spend on non-voice services.

According to the survey, more than one trillion text messages were carried on carriers' networks in the U.S. in 2008 -- breaking down to more than 3.5 billion messages per day. That's almost triple the number from 2007, when 363 billion text messages were transmitted. Wireless subscribers are also sending more pictures and other multi-media messages with their mobile devices, with 15 billion MMS messages reported for 2008, up from 6 billion the year before.

As of December 2008, the industry survey recorded more than 270 million wireless users in the U.S. This represents a year-over-year increase of nearly 15 million subscribers. The industry's 12-month record for subscriber growth was reached in 2005, when 25.7 million new users came online.

Other highlights of the survey include: wireless customers using more than 2.2 trillion minutes in 2008, an increase of 100 billion minutes from 2007, and record-breaking six-month wireless service revenues of more than $75 billion with annual service revenues reaching $148 billion by year-end 2008.

"The new survey results clearly prove that mobile broadband services are enabling more Americans to grow their world like never before. Wireless technology is an integral part of everyday life for more than 87% of the U.S. population; changing and improving the way we connect and interact with the world around us," said Steve Largent, President and CEO of CTIA -The Wireless Association. "The wireless industry consistently evolves, innovates, competes and grows every year at a rapid pace, and 2008 has carried on this remarkable trend."

The CTIA Semi-Annual Wireless Industry Survey results were released at International CTIA WIRELESS 2009 in Las Vegas.

Turin Completes Merger with Force10 Networks

Turin Networks completed its merger with Force10 Networks. The combined company will be known as Force10 Networks and be based in San Jose, California. The company offers solutions that address data center consolidation, virtualization and cloud computing as well as enabling carriers around the world to transition to IP/Ethernet optimized networks and services. The combined company's customers include enterprise data centers, global wireless and wireline service providers, top supercomputing environments and iconic Internet brands. More than 60,000 cell sites are using Force10 wireless backhaul solutions worldwide, while more than 1,400 customers have deployed its Ethernet switching/routing, metro edge and converged access solutions.

Firetide Launches Wireless Video Surveillance

Firetide introduced an integrated wireless video surveillance solution for public safety and commercial security applications that will reduce the costs and complexities of large-scale video surveillance deployments. The solution incorporates a Firetide HotPort wireless mesh node, IP camera or analog video camera with IP encoder, and optional storage.

Firetide's edge-of-network storage capability combined with an option for on-demand transmission, reduces the load on the network, enabling support for more cameras with the same infrastructure. It also provides distributed access to recorded video from mobile incident command centers and enables retrieval of video should a major incident disable a large portion of the network.

Huawei Showcases M2M 3G Embedded Module

Huawei Technologies (Huawei) showcased a machine-to-machine (M2M) UMTS embedded module designed to endure extreme conditions, including temperatures ranging from -30°C to +75°C, extreme humidity (5%-95%), shock, air pollution and congested wireless network traffic.

The EM700 module also features a broad range of performance enhancements, including Firmware Over-the-Air (a technology that fixes device software remotely), multiple interfaces that allow flexible usage and connections to other devices, voice and SMS services, and support for mainstream operating systems such as Window2000, XP, VISTA and LINUX.

Clearwire to Launch WiMAX Innovation Network in Silicon Valley

Clearwire plans to launch a "WiMAX Innovation Network" covering approximately 20 square miles in Silicon Valley. This will bring Clearwire's 4G wireless service to the campuses of Google and Intel. Cisco Systems will provide core Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) infrastructure equipment in support of the network. Service is expected to be available to developers by late summer of this year giving them a head start on commercial service launching in the Bay Area in 2010.

Service will be provided free to a limited number of qualified developers for one year. Clearwire will provide WiMAX USB Modems for $49.99. To qualify, developers must register for Clearwire's developer program and describe the products or business ideas they wish to pursue.

Telefónica Tests Shows LTE Downlink at 140 Mbps

Telefónica announced the result of its first tests on an LTE platform installed at its Demonstrations Centre in Madrid. These initial real demonstrations or tests consisted of a VoIP call, and a videocall using an LTE mini-network installed by Ericsson; a video conference, and data and images downloads at speeds in excess of 140 Mbps, around 10 times those possible with current 3G networks using HSPA technology.

With LTE and in recent experiences from manufacturers with which Telefónica works on a regular basis, laboratory tests have been conducted showing download speeds in excess of 326 Mbps, while uploads have been possible at up to 86 Mbps.

Telefónica noted that it continues to improve the capacity of the current 3rd Generation network, which now gives both voice and data coverage to around 90 per cent of the Spanish population. This summer Telefónica will start rolling out is HSPA + network, which expected to deliver download speeds of up to 21 Mbps and 5 Mbps for upstream. The HSPA+ is expected to continue evolving and reach speeds of up to 84 Mbps until the arrival of LTE. Telefónica currently covers more than 81 percent of the Spanish population with HSDPA -- for downloading information, which it expects will surpass 85 percent by the end of the year. With HSUPA - for sending information - this cover will reach 50 percent by the end of 2009.

Level 3 Announces New Wavelength Services in North America and Europe

Level 3 Communications announced new optical wavelength service capabilities including network protection, additional bandwidth options and performance guarantees. The portfolio expansion includes metro and intercity services and will be offered on Level 3's network across both North America and Europe.
The new service offerings include:

  • Protected Wavelengths -- Level 3 now provides automatic protection-switching to a dedicated diversely routed wavelength in the event of a network failure. The protection switch, fully automated and managed by Level 3, happens at switching speeds approaching SONET restoration times. The single interface to the customer requires no additional capital cost for customer optical ports, and the diverse restoration path is fixed and fully known to the customer. The company said these features allow customers to achieve fast restoration with predictable performance in their network without adding significant cost and routing complexity.

  • Gigabit Ethernet Increments: Level 3 now provides unprotected wavelength services in one Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. This lower-speed wavelength alternative allows customers to use more affordable, smaller increments of Ethernet bandwidth to build network connectivity in metro and intercity networks where a full 2.5 Gbps or 10 Gbps link is not warranted.

  • 40 Gigabit Waves: Level 3 also offers expanded service capability with 40 Gbps waves. The service allows customers needing very high bandwidth between two locations to establish that connectivity with a single link instead of purchasing and managing multiple 10 Gbps links and the additional supporting optical ports.

  • Maximum Latency Guarantees: Level 3 now offers maximum latency guarantees on wavelength services for those customers that have very tight tolerances on delay-sensitive applications. The guarantee is provided before the customer commits to an order so that the risk of turning up a circuit only to find that the latency is too high is minimized. Level 3 also maintains the latency guarantee throughout the term of the circuit.

Cablevision Cites Rapid Growth of WiFi Access by its Cable Customers

Cablevision Systems announced that its Optimum Online cable modem customers had already accessed the Web more than one million times over its new Optimum WiFi service. Cablevision's WiFi network is now available in commercial and high-traffic locations across Cablevision's Long Island, Connecticut and Westchester/Dutchess service areas, in Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey, and at hundreds of commuter rail stations across the New York metropolitan area.

"Unlike wireless data plans, which can cost $100 per month or more and require long-term contracts and the purchase of additional equipment, Optimum WiFi is free to our high-speed Internet customers and faster than cellular data services over 3G networks," said Tom Rutledge, Cablevision's chief operating officer.

AT&T Launches "Apps Beta' Program

AT&T kicked off a new initiative that gives developers the chance to test applications with AT&T customers and receive direct consumer feedback before making their applications broadly available.

AT&T Apps Beta allow developers to incubate their ideas with AT&T customers and get direct access to feedback such as apps ratings, feature suggestions and bugs. An interactive community forum aggregates user-generated content, and offers tag clouds to indicate the most active discussions around various applications. A typical trial period will last roughly four to six weeks. Additionally, developers can use AT&T Apps Beta to get targeted user input for applications they may have already launched broadly. AT&T plans to use consumer feedback from Apps Beta to help improve its applications portfolio as well as inform its go-to-market activities for applications.

AT&T is now accepting applications from developers.

One Minute Video: Evolved Packet Core (EPC)