Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ixia Tests 100 Gbps Ethernet

Ixia's higher speed Ethernet (HSE) IEEE 802.3ba-compliant test equipment was used to successfully transmit and receive Ethernet traffic at 100 Gbps through a CFP Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) compatible optical module. The HSE load module, known as K2 by industry insiders, is capable of transmitting and receiving full line-rate 100 Gbps Ethernet traffic.

The CFP MSA is the first industry standard to support next generation Ethernet optical transceiver interfaces for both 100 Gbps Ethernet (100GbE) and 40Gb/s (40GbE). The CFP MSA defines the form factor of a hot-swappable optical transceiver supporting 40/100 GE and uses transceiver electrical interface consisting of multiple 10 Gbps lanes.

"Industry wide adoption of 100 GE is also dependent on the viability of optical transceivers that are defined by industry standard MSAs," said Errol Ginsberg, Chief Innovation Officer of Ixia. "This successful demonstration is another big step towards that goal, highlighting Ixia's ability and commitment to work with industry leaders to move Ethernet technology forward."

Ixia Introduces Low-Cost Appliance for Verifying IP/MPLS Networks

Ixia introduced its XR1000 integrated hardware appliance for end-to-end active monitoring and analysis of multiplay networks.

The new device, which is part of the company's IxRave service verification solution, is a Gigabit Ethernet probe that extends IxRave's ability to deliver multi-service testing, quality of experience (QoE) performance monitoring and fault isolation across different technology domains -- from subscriber multiplay to higher bandwidth IP/MPLS networks. With IxRave, service providers can actively test their customers' individual paths from the network core to the customer premise in a centralized solution. Large enterprises can also deploy the IxRave solution to help monitor and verify the network services being delivered by any number of service providers to their central or remote sites across the globe.

The XR1000 can be placed at the data center, access, edge and core demarcation points to isolate throughput and application quality problems to the network segment. It may be used in conjunction with the 10/100 Mbps XR100 or with downloadable software endpoints across an entire network to manage and monitor every customer path across a carrier network. The XR1000 can execute periodic active monitoring tests, trigger QoS-based measurements of industry standard network threshold values, generate alarms and traps, or issue on-demand live QoE network trend analysis. IxRave and the XR1000 measure data throughput, jitter, packet loss, latency delay, IPTV MDI and VoIP MOS metrics throughout the service provider network.

Sprint Nextel Loses Subscribers in Q1 but Sees Progress in Goals

Sprint lost approximately 182,000 wireless customers in Q1, giving it a total subscriber base of 49.1 million customers at the end of the quarter, compared to 49.3 million at the end of 2008. The company reported consolidated net operating revenues of $8.2 billion and a diluted loss per share of 21 cents. Consolidated net operating revenues were 12% lower than in the first quarter of 2008 and 3% lower than the fourth quarter of 2008. Both the year-over-year and sequential decline are primarily due to a lower contribution from Wireless and lower Wireline voice revenue. The company recorded $327 million of severance and exit costs, primarily related to the reduction in work force announced in January 2009.

"In the first quarter, we again made progress in our major areas of focus: financial stability, improving the customer experience and reinvigorating the brand," said Dan Hesse, Sprint Nextel CEO. "We achieved the largest sequential improvement in overall gross adds and net adds in Sprint Nextel history, reduced churn versus the prior year, and we generated more than enough cash in this quarter alone to pay all of our 2009 debt maturities.

"In customer care, our consecutive monthly improvement in first call resolution and customer satisfaction metrics has now extended to 15 months. This occurred even as we reduced cost by discontinuing the use of another six vendor call centers in the first quarter, bringing the reduction in call centers to 17 over the past 12 months. We performed well in the J.D. Power 2009 Wireless Call Quality Performance Study, including a tie for first place in the Western region, and achieved other third-party confirmations of our solid network performance," Hesse said.

Some highlights for the quarter:

  • Sprint will be the exclusive carrier partner for the new Palm Pre

  • Capital expenditures were $291 million in the quarter, compared to $548 million in the fourth quarter of 2008 and $1.4 billion in the first quarter of 2008. The decrease reflects lower spending in both the Wireless and Wireline segments. Included in first and fourth quarter 2008 capital expenditures is $236 million and $90 million respectively in non-recurring capital expenditures related to the deployment of WiMAX prior to the closing of the Clearwire transaction.

  • Net debt decreased by approximately $800 million from the end of the fourth quarter, to $17.1 billion.

  • Of the 49.1 million customers, 35.4 million are post-paid subscribers (25.3 million on CDMA, 8.9 million on iDEN, and 1.2 million Power Source users who utilize both networks), 4.3 million prepaid subscribers (3.5 million on iDEN and 800,000 on CDMA) and 9.4 million wholesale and affiliate subscribers, all of whom utilize the CDMA network.

  • The wireless customers losses include 1.25 million post-paid customers -- comprising 531,000 CDMA and 719,000 iDEN customers (including a net 94,000 customers who transferred from the iDEN network to the CDMA network). The company also lost 90,000 prepaid CDMA customers. The company gained a net 764,000 prepaid iDEN customers and 394,000 wholesale and affiliate subscribers. The company achieved total subscriber growth on the iDEN network.

  • About 8.6% of post-paid customers upgraded their handsets during the first quarter, resulting in increased contract renewals.

  • Post-paid churn was 2.25% compared to 2.16% in the fourth quarter and 2.45% in the year-ago period. The sequential increase in churn is primarily driven by deactivations on business lines, made worse by current economic conditions, and the year-over-year decrease is due to the improvement in the credit quality of our customer base and was achieved in spite of a reduction in customer credits.

  • Boost churn in the first quarter was 6.86%, compared to 8.20% in the fourth quarter of 2008 and 9.93% in the year-ago period. The year-over-year improvement in churn is due to fewer deactivations, and the sequential improvement is due to fewer deactivations and a slightly larger subscriber base as a result of the national Boost Monthly Unlimited offer.

  • Wireless post-paid ARPU in the quarter was stable sequentially and year-over-year at $56, primarily due to growth in fixed-rate bundled plans such as Simply Everything, offset by seasonal declines in usage.

  • Data revenues contributed greater than $15 to overall post-paid ARPU in the first quarter, led by growth in CDMA data ARPU. CDMA data ARPU increased about 5% from the fourth quarter, to greater than $18, an industry-best that now represents more than 31% of total CDMA ARPU.

  • Prepaid ARPU in the quarter was approximately $31 compared to $29 in the year-ago period and $30 in the fourth quarter of 2008. The year-over-year and sequential increases reflect a growing contribution from prepaid subscribers on unlimited plans.

  • Wireline revenues of $1.5 billion for the quarter were almost 4% lower sequentially and 10% lower year-over-year as legacy voice and data declines offset Internet revenue growth.

  • Wireline Internet revenues for the quarter increased 16% from the year-ago period and 2% sequentially. The year-over-year increase reflects strong enterprise demand for Global MPLS services and the increasing base of cable subscribers who utilize VoIP services. Internet revenues as a percent of Wireline revenue have increased from 30% in the first quarter of 2008 to 39% in the first quarter of 2009. At the end of the first quarter, the company supported approximately 4.6 million users of cable partner VoIP services. These services are currently available to almost 31 million MSO households.

  • Wireline capital expenditures were $77 million in the first quarter, compared to $110 million in the fourth quarter of 2008 and $148 million in the first quarter of 2008. The company made significant capital investments in prior years to build out its IP network, and less capital was required year-over-year and sequentially as the pace of its IP growth rate has slowed.

  • Sprint Nextel anticipates that an increasing number of wireless customers could choose prepaid services instead of post-paid services in this economic environment. Nevertheless, the company continues to expect that not only prepaid, but also post-paid and total subscriber full-year losses should improve in 2009 as compared to 2008. In addition, the company still expects that full-year capital expenditures in 2009 will be consistent with 2008 levels, excluding WiMAX.

Telco Systems Intros Ethernet Demarcation Box

Telco Systems introduced a low-cost Carrier Ethernet demarcation device designed to address provisioning and management capabilities of an Ethernet service in the first mile.

The T-Marc 280 is the newest member of the company's T-Marc family of intelligent, remotely-managed demarcation devices which are purpose-built to integrate networking, testing and assurance capabilities. Like other members of the T-Marc family, T-Marc 280 supports advanced Layer 2 networking using Telco Systems' AccessEthernet technology to allow total flexibility in deployment, provisioning, and delivery for Metro Ethernet services.

Voltaire Leverages InfiniBand to Reinvent Ethernet

Voltaire, which supplies high-performance InfiniBand fabrics for supercomputers, unveiled a 10 Gigabit Ethernet Layer 2 core switching strategy based on Converged Enhanced Ethernet (CEE) technology.

Voltaire's CEE leverages many of the characteristics inherent in InfiniBand to create a more scalable, lower latency, and virtualized 10 Gigabit Ethernet fabric, with lower costs, power consumption and simplified management.

Voltaire said its new 10 Gigabit Ethernet architecture will be a natural extension to its family of 20 and 40 Gb/s InfiniBand switching platforms and software.

At the center of Voltaire's scale-out Ethernet architecture are new high-density Layer 2 core switches based on CEE standards that deliver a high-performance, low-latency, low power and virtualized data center fabric. Instead of using many hierarchical switching tiers, the Voltaire approach uses fewer switches and allows greater scalability while guaranteeing higher performance, simplified management and lower costs. For a customer building a 1000 node data center, this approach delivers 10X lower latency and 4X faster core performance for half the price, using 3X less power than alternative solutions.

"The current multi-tiered approach to data center Ethernet networking is expensive and outdated, lacks innovation and encourages vendor lock-in," said Ronnie Kenneth, chairman and chief executive officer, Voltaire. "With Voltaire's unique scale-out approach to Ethernet, we're simplifying and flattening the network to improve data center networking economics by orders of magnitude. Together with our server OEM partners, we're bringing new value to the customer that can translate into millions of dollars in savings for a new data center build-out."

Key characteristics of Voltaire's scale-out Ethernet fabric include:

  • Linearly Scalable -- The Voltaire scale-out Ethernet fabric maintains its high performance, low costs and ease of management even when deployed in very large setups consisting of thousands of nodes.

  • Efficient -- The Voltaire scale-out Ethernet fabric's optimized design uses high-density, low latency, energy-efficient and low cost Layer 2 non-blocking switches.

  • Converged -- One fabric can run LAN, IPC, and storage (including FCoE) traffic simultaneously with guaranteed service attributes and dynamic congestion management.

  • Virtualized and Service Oriented -- Voltaire's virtualization-aware scale-out Ethernet fabric provides application- and service-driven fabric monitoring and SLA enforcement.

  • Open and Standard -- The Voltaire scale-out Ethernet fabric supports industry-standard servers, third party switches, management and virtualization solutions.

The detailed architecture is outlined in a new whitepaper available today, titled, "Scaling-Out Ethernet for the Data Center.".

IBM Resells Mellanox 40 Gbps InfiniBand Adapters

IBM is reselling Mellanox Technologies' single-port and dual-port ConnectX 40 Gbps (QDR) InfiniBand Host Channel Adapters (HCAs) as part of the IBM System Cluster 1350 and iDataPlex systems. The companies said a broad range of application environments will benefit from Mellanox 40Gb/s InfiniBand-connected IBM System Cluster solutions, including applications optimized for industrial design and manufacturing, financial services, life sciences, government and education. They are also an excellent choice for applications that require horizontal scaling capabilities, such as Web serving and collaboration.

Apparent Networks Introduces NGN Mgt Tool

Apparent Networks introduced its new PathView tool for assuring application delivery over distributed, multi-party network environments. The software provides troubleshooting, monitoring, assessing and reporting on network performance, covering network segments owned or managed by third parties.Uses of PathView include the following:

  • Pre-assess network readiness for new application deployments such as VoIP, video and other latency-sensitive applications

  • Troubleshoot performance problems -- quickly and accurately determine the location and cause of carrier performance issues, distributed WAN / MPLS problems and issues with cloud-based services

  • Monitor the performance of critical application service paths continuously and in real time

  • Report on actual application path performance to internal constituents with simple language and clear, easy-to-understand graphics.

Global Crossing Reports Q1 Revenue of $609 Million

Global Crossing generated consolidated revenue of $609 million for the first quarter of 2009, representing a year-over-year decrease of 4 percent as reported and an increase of 6 percent in constant currency terms. Revenue from the company's "invest and grow" category -- that part of the business focused on serving global enterprises and carrier customers, excluding wholesale voice -- was $510 million, representing a year-over-year decrease of 2 percent as reported and an increase of 10 percent in constant currency terms.

Harmonic Posts Q1 Revenues of $68 Million, Down 22%

Harmonic reported Q1 net sales of $67.8 million, down 22% compared to $87.3 million in the first quarter of 2008. The lower than anticipated net sales were the result of continuing weakness in the customer order rate across many different markets throughout most of the first quarter. There was a GAAP net loss for the first quarter of 2009 of $18.8 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, compared to net income of $13.4 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, for the same period of 2008.

Harmonic said bookings for the first quarter were approximately $57 million, compared to $70 million and $73 million in the first and fourth quarters of 2008, respectively. Moving into the second quarter, however, the company said it has seen some signs of improvement in orders from customers.

"We continued to see weakness in global customer spending through most of the first quarter. Given this environment, we are pleased with our gross margins and operating expense control," said Patrick Harshman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Heading into the second quarter, we are seeing some signs of improving customer spending as well as positive customer response to our newest products. The recent acquisition of Scopus is further expanding our range of new products, capabilities and customers, and its integration is proceeding as planned.

Harmonic anticipates that net sales for the second quarter of 2009 will be in a range of $72.0 to $78.0 million. GAAP gross margins and operating expenses are expected to be in a range of 42% to 44% and $38.0 to $39.0 million, respectively.

Juniper Expands Enterprise Portfolio

Juniper Networks introduced new additions to its line of SRX Series Services Gateways and a new line of EX Series Ethernet switches.

The four new additions to the SRX Series family are based on the industry's first Dynamic Services Architecture, an extensible approach that simultaneously scales integrated services and network capacity to reduce the escalating demands and risks placed on the network. These new products can support a complete suite of unified threat management and intrusion prevention capabilities to protect the network from the latest content borne threats. Select SRX models feature hardware based Content Security Acceleration for high-performance inline anti-virus and intrusion prevention services (IPS) as well as Power over Ethernet (PoE) and standards-based SIP voice gateway capability.

Four models are available: the SRX100 with a variety of fixed form-factor options; the SRX210 with single-slot modularity; the SRX240 with 16 on board Gbps Ethernet ports and four expansion slots; and the SRX650 with eight expansion slots for WAN/LAN interfaces, available redundant power supplies and available redundant Services and Routing Engines. All models have integrated security, routing and switching. Firewall/IPS performance ranges from 600/50 to 7000/900 Mbps and list prices start at US $699.

The new EX2200 line of fixed-configuration Ethernet switches are aimed at access-layer deployments in branch offices and campus networks. The switches consume less than two Watts per port and offer JUNOS Software-based Layer 2 and Layer 3 switching capabilities.

Four models are available: the EX2200-24T-4G and EX2200-48T-4G offer 24 and 48 10/100/1000BASE-T ports respectively, while the EX2200-24P-4G and EX2200-48P-4G offer similar configurations with full IEEE 802.3af PoE to support converged network devices such as telephones, video cameras and wireless LAN (WLAN) access points.

Dune Networks Raises New Funding for Switching Silicon

Dune Networks, a developer of switching fabrics for Metro Ethernet, enterprise and data center networks, raised an additional $8.3 million in series B funding.

Dune Network, which is based in Sunnyvale, California with R&D in Yakum, Israel, said it now has over 100 different product adoptions and recently reached profitability. Dune provides a switching solution that scales in capacity, port rate, and service scheme.

The new funding was led by Evergreen Venture Partners. Evergreen joins existing series B investors USVP, Pitango, Aurum, JVP and Alta Berkeley. This additional funding brings the total amount of funding raised to date to $53 million.

JDSU Introduces High Power Pump Laser for Undersea Networks

JDSU announced availability of its 450mW 5100 Series pump laser, the highest 980nm power available to the undersea optical networking industry so far.

The 5100 Series will power undersea optical amplifiers that are needed to transmit fiber optic signals along cables that span thousands of kilometers along the ocean floor, acting as critical trans-continental links for broadband communications. The new pump helps network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) and service providers design higher bandwidth undersea networks that can support more wavelengths or higher data rates.

The 5100 Series extends JDSU's historical leadership in the 980nm pump laser space by leveraging its existing
terrestrial pump laser for undersea deployment.

Emulex Rejects Unsolicited Acquisition Proposal from Broadcom

The Board of Directors of Emulex Corporation rejected the unsolicited acquisition proposal received on April 21, 2009 from Broadcom for $9.25 per share in cash. Emulex said the bid significantly undervalues the company.

In a letter to Broadcom, the Emulex Board of Directors stated that Broadcom's unsolicited proposal is not in the best interests of Emulex stockholders because it:

  • Significantly undervalues Emulex's long-term prospects, particularly with respect to our opportunities in network convergence, which are more than doubling Emulex's addressable market;

  • Is opportunistic given Broadcom is aware of significant new unannounced design wins that Emulex has secured with tier-one OEMs, at the expense of Broadcom and other competitors, and their potential long-term value creation for Emulex and its stockholders;

  • Is clearly timed to take advantage of Emulex's depressed stock price during the current unprecedented macroeconomic conditions. Emulex's stock price has traded well above the proposal price within the last twelve months.

Nortel Enhances its MG 3600 VoIP Gateway

Nortel released an upgrade to its MG 3600 carrier-grade, medium density VoIP trunk gateway with enhancements that can reduce security threats for service providers and help ensure their communications systems perform uninterrupted. The MG 3600 monitors voice performance and identifies problems in the voice path to ensure high quality voice communication. Nortel said its MG 3600 also allows for capacity to be added in smaller increments than a gateway made to serve a large, densely populated region so it scales at the right ratio and cost for smaller markets.

The latest release of Nortel's MG 3600 also introduces a small AC-powered version of the existing DC-powered shelf that provides capacity up to 80 T1 or E1 spans. The larger DC-powered shelf offers capacity for up to 128 T1 or E1 spans. Nortel's MG 3600 provides this level of capacity in a small footprint and uses less energy than larger density gateways.

As part of Nortel's Transit and Multimedia interconnect solutions, the enhanced MG 3600 complements Nortel's existing Trunk Media Gateway portfolio which includes the high density MG 15000 and low density MG 3200 products. Nortel's Media Gateway portfolio maximizes service offerings while bridging TDM networks to next-generation packet networks in line with IMS and IP standards.

Ericsson Meets 2008 Energy Efficiency Targets

Ericsson exceeded its targets for cutting energy use in 2008, according to a newly published Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report from the company. In 2008, Ericsson set its first Group-level carbon footprint target, aiming for a 40 percent reduction over five years, and starting with a 10 percent reduction in 2009. Initiatives include reducing its own energy-consumption, improving the energy efficiency of both GSM and WCDMA radio base stations as well as other products, and encouraging the use of communications to accelerate the shift from physical to virtual infrastructure and services, contributing to the creation of a low-carbon economy.

Carl-Henric Svanberg says: "During 2008, our technology has been used around the globe to reduce energy consumption and the corresponding CO2 emissions, demonstrating our firm belief that telecommunications is both an essential part of the equation in solving global climate change and critical to the development of more carbon-lean societies.

"At the same time, we have shown that our technology has the power to change lives. We have played a crucial role in bringing telecommunications to the poorest of the poor in sub-Saharan Africa, by harnessing the power of telecommunications as a tool for accessing basic services and information and improving people's lives."

The 44-page report also includes details on the performance of Ericsson's risk-based approach to monitoring compliance with its Supplier Code of Conduct. The Code ensures that suppliers understand and meet Ericsson's requirements for environmental and social standards, and reflects the company's commitment to being an agent of change.

IEEE to Launch of Smart Grid Project P2030

The IEEE is launching a smart grid initiative with the aim of establishing interoperability between the electric power system and end-user applications and loads.

A new project, called the IEEE 2030 Guide for Smart Grid Interoperability of Energy Technology and Information Technology Operation with the Electric Power System (EPS) and End-Use Applications and Loads (P2030), has been approved within the IEEE and Intel has agreed to host the first P2030 meeting at its headquarters in Santa Clara, California on June 3-5, 2009.

"This landmark initiative, which spans multiple diverse industries, will tap into the numerous ubiquitously deployed IEEE standards developed by a variety of expert groups," said Chuck Adams, president, IEEE Standards Association. "IEEE P2030 will define key elements of the modernized grid, and it will accelerate progress in making the smart grid a reality."

IEEE P2030 is sponsored by the IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 21 (SCC21) and chaired by Dick DeBlasio, who is program manager at the National Renewable Energy Lab facility of the U.S. Department of Energy, and serves as the IEEE smart grid liaison to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). DeBlasio points out that "this P2030 standards project will support NIST's role to coordinate the development of smart grid interoperability standards."

Ciena Builds 100G Network for NYSE Euronext

NYSE Euronext has selected Ciena to supply its 100Gbps technology for its state-of-the-art data centers in the greater New York and London metropolitan areas. These facilities are expected to be operational in 2010 and are designed to serve as the company's operational hubs for more than one billion daily transactions comprising petabytes of information. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Specifically, NYSE Euronext's communications backbone -- the Secure Financial Transaction Infrastructure (SFTI) network -- will use Ciena's CN 4200 RS FlexSelect Advanced Services platform, which is capable of delivering a true 100G data stream over a single wavelength.

HP and RIM Announce Strategic Alliance for BlackBerry

HP and Research In Motion (RIM) announced a strategic alliance to deliver a portfolio of solutions for business mobility on the BlackBerry platform. The companies are demonstrating two new solutions:

  • HP CloudPrint for BlackBerry Smartphones -- a web services based solution that allows users to print emails, documents, photos and web pages using a BlackBerry smartphone, wherever they are -- in the office, at home or on the road. The CloudPrint service enables mobile users to print to the nearest printer. The service is printer-agnostic and driverless and requires simple Internet access. HP and RIM plan to make CloudPrint available to BlackBerry Internet Service subscribers as well as BlackBerry Enterprise Server customers.

  • HP Operations Manager for BlackBerry Enterprise Server -- software to centrally monitor and manage the extended BlackBerry solution ecosystem, whether it is virtual or physical. This ecosystem includes the BlackBerry Enterprise Server software, mail servers, databases, Microsoft Active Directory and server operating systems such as Windows Server. Plans also include extending the capabilities of the monitoring solution to provide an end-to-end view of enterprise applications running on the BlackBerry platform.

In addition, HP delivers services and products to optimize mobility infrastructures:

Managed BlackBerry Services -- part of EDS Mobile Workplace Services, allow organizations to outsource the management of their BlackBerry smartphone deployments so they can focus on their core businesses. The services are designed to integrate the mobility ecosystems for large enterprises, whether they are hosted in EDS' data centers or in a client's own environment. Currently, EDS manages close to 500,000 BlackBerry smartphones for clients.

HP ProLiant servers -- enterprise customers can use HP ProLiant servers to run BlackBerry Enterprise Server software.