Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cisco Outlines "Smart Grid" Strategy

Cisco outlined its plan to deliver an end-to-end, highly secure network infrastructure solution for the "Smart Grid". The goal is to establish an intelligent, two-way IP communications network extending from electrical generation into businesses and homes. This is expected to result in greater energy conservation, lower greenhouse gas emissions and innovative end-user services.

Cisco's Smart Grid solutions will address critical points within the energy infrastructure: from data centers and substations, through neighborhood-area networks, to businesses and homes. In addition, Cisco will provide solutions for IP-based backhaul communications for smart meters that will integrate proprietary solutions into the overall smart grid platform. Cisco also plans to deliver Home Energy Management and Business Energy Management solutions to help optimize energy demand, use and cost by providing greater access to data and analysis tools.

Cisco is already working with utility providers and their customers to monitor electricity utilization, optimize energy delivery, reduce energy usage and cost, improve system security, and lessen their impact on the environment.

Cisco estimates the growing Smart Grid communications infrastructure market will reach $20 billion annually over five years.

Some other facts cited by Cisco:

  • Electricity outages cost U.S. industry about $50 billion per year, according to EPRI (Electrical Power Research Institute).

  • A Smart Grid will significantly reduce the impact of these outages in the future and will also reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 60 to 211 million metric tons of CO2 annually in 2030, according to EPRI estimates.

  • Various pilots including one sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest Laboratory have shown a 10-15 percent reduction in household energy consumption when Smart Grid technologies are used.

  • The GridWise Alliance, of which Cisco is a member, estimates that Smart Grid incentives and investments as encouraged by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will generate approximately 280,000 direct jobs across various categories.

"Networking technology will serve as the platform of a smart, more secure energy grid for the 21st century. Cisco is uniquely positioned to provide a converged Smart Grid communications fabric and to assist our utility customers with the kind of business transformation that will enable the efficient, effective transmission of energy and deliver entirely new, environmentally-friendly services to consumers," John Chambers, chairman and CEO, Cisco.

BT and Nortel Sign New Four Year Deal

BT and Nortel announced a new four-year global trading agreement for Nortel's enterprise equipment and services including its convergence portfolio. This new trading agreement builds on the success of a 15-year relationship that has provided the UK market with leading voice applications.

South Dakota's SDN Selects ECI Telecom for Carrier Ethernet

SDN Communications, a regional service provider based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is deploying ECI Telecom's CESR SR9700 Carrier Ethernet Switch Router to support its fiber optic network -- the largest in the upper midwest -- and expand its Carrier Ethernet-based services.

ECI's CESR SR9700 is optimized for Carrier Ethernet transport.

OIF Advances Control Plane Interoperability

The OIF announced progress in its Worldwide Interoperability Demonstration 2009 - Enabling Broadband On-Demand Services, which is currently underway in the following Carrier labs since March 2009: China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Orange Labs -France Telecom Group, KDDI R&D Labs, NTT, Telecom Italia and Verizon. Leading optical networking equipment vendors are making control plane technology and Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL) services a top priority during the testing.

In particular, the companies are testing the interoperability of EVPL services in the control and data planes over diverse transport technologies. Carriers are testing, in varying configurations, EVPL over the following transport types:

  • Next generation TDM and wavelength transport using OTN

  • Legacy TDM transport using SONET/SDH

  • Packet transport technologies using PBB-TE and MPLS-based transport (Testing is based on ITU-T T-MPLS Recommendations that are being updated to align with the Joint IETF/ITU-T work on MPLS-TP)

The OIF's UNI 2.0 supports Ethernet (EPL and EVPL) services, so the client can signal for EVPL service without regard to the technology layer used in the carrier network. Participants are also demonstrating multi-domain end-to-end service restoration utilizing E-NNI between vendor domains. The E-NNI is a key enabler, not only for interconnecting vendor control planes and technologies, but for value-added features such as Ethernet service delivery and end-end restoration.

The participating vendors are coming together from across the globe including Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena Corporation, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, Marben Products, NEC Corporation of America, Nokia-Siemens Networks, Sycamore Networks, Tellabs and ZTE.

Interoperability testing of heterogeneous network equipment includes multi-service optical network platforms, optical transport switches, ROADMs, NG SONET/SDH ADMs, digital and optical cross connects, carrier Ethernet multi-service switches, and carrier packet transport products.

The OIF's 2009 Worldwide Interoperability Demonstration - Enabling Broadband On-Demand Services begins with intra-lab testing among each of the seven participating Carrier sites. The test sites are linked via virtual or real E-NNI connections, forming a global test network topology. The event enables testing with more vendor implementations, allowing carriers to access additional network resources beyond the boundaries of their existing networks on a global scale.

Korea Telecom Freetel Install CloudShield for Real Time Billing

Korea Telecom Freetel (KTF) has implemented a new billing system that leverages CloudShield Technologies' CS-2000 platform for packet-by-packet real-time accuracy. Cloudshield specializes in deep packet inspection (DPI) technology. NGEN served as network integrator for the project. Financial terms were not disclosed.

KTF is now able to efficiently collect subscriber data and analyze protocols in order to properly manage its session-based billing and provide the best customer experience possible. With the solution in place, KTF has improved the functionality of its Account Charging System (ACS) Call Flow, One Day Pass for Pre-Paid Subscribers and Free Visitor Portal.

"In order to provide new services to its rapidly growing subscriber base, KTF needed to upgrade its billing solution," said Peder Jungck, founder and CTO of CloudShield. "The CS-2000 has the ability to look at granular traffic levels, which allows providers to improve a wide range of services, including billing. Utilizing this technology, NGEN wrote the new application to give KTF a scalable model that will be able to accurately manage session-based billing."

Sycamore Enhances it Optical Switching/Transport with OTN

Sycamore Networks has added Optical Transport Network (OTN) capabilities to its suite of integrated switching and transport offerings on the SN 16000 Intelligent Optical Switching Platform.

The new industry-standard (ITU-T G.709) interface module supports -- on a single card -- a wide range of client service rates and high-speed transport options, including Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, SONET, SDH, and in-service pluggable optics. Enhanced with the OTN G.709 Line Interface Module (LIM), the full-featured USC further simplifies the design, configuration, and deployment of different traffic types and converged services over dynamic optical transport networks. Leveraging common networking (BroadLeaf) and management (SILVX) intelligence shared by all Sycamore optical switches, the Sycamore OTN solution brings a new level of flexibility and efficiency to end-to-end, multi-service transport.

The OTN G.709 USC solution supports both the standard Forward Error Correction (FEC) and enhanced FEC optimized for long distance transmission. The standards-based OTN interface module also supports software configurable full C-band tunable optics, which dramatically simplifies wavelength activation and allows network operators to reduce the number of collocated DWDM equipment (e.g., transponders, regenerators) in integrated switching and transport applications.

Sycamore said the solution is already deployed in a Tier 1 carrier network.

Arima Leverages Telegent's Chip for Free-to-Air Mobile TV Handset

Arima Communications, a leading Taiwanese original design manufacturer (ODM), has integrated Telegent Systems' silicon into a mobile handset that enables consumers to send and receive SMS messages while watching live, free broadcast TV. The SMS-TV feature, which will be commercially available in selected handset designs this summer, is targeted towards consumers who want to chat with one another while watching their favorite programs as well as those who like to interact with participation TV programs through voting or polling.

When activated, Arima's SMS-TV feature automatically scales the TV to accommodate a data window beneath it to allow sending and receiving of SMS messages. The feature supports different input methods such as T9 as well as multiple languages.
Telegent notes that this new handset capability could enable network operators to generate revenue from free-to-air mobile TV programming. A 2008 Parks Associates survey revealed that 25% of consumers ages 18-24 were interested in the ability to chat while watching TV.

"Free-to-air TV handsets are extremely popular with consumers in our core markets," said Stephen Hung, senior vice president of Arima. "In Latin America , operators are already adding TV handsets to their mobile phone portfolios in order to address this demand. If a consumer is watching soccer and can send an SMS to a friend about the game, this interactive action can drive revenue for the operator and raises the value of the free-to-air TV feature."

TI Releases High-Efficiency Power-over-Ethernet controller

Texas Instruments (TI) introduced a high-efficiency, high-power Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) controller for 13-watt or 26-watt powered device (PD) applications, such as IP phones, wireless access points or security cameras. TI said its new device supports DC/DC converter topologies that can achieve higher than 90 percent power conversion efficiency, which reduces heat and increases reliability of the system.

Marvell Introduces Prestera 40 GbE Switching Chip

Marvell introduced a Prestera packet processor designed for datacenter switching and featuring multiple 40 GbE and 10 GbE ports. The chip boasts a line rate switching capability of 720 Million packets per second (Mpps) and support for Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). Dynamic power management capabilities in the device provide an infrastructure for on-demand power draw reduction.

It also features advanced congestion management capabilities, including Per-priority Flow Control and Enhanced Transmission Selection, to allow finer grained responses to network congestion and assist in improving service delivery with deterministic network behavior.

"Using Ixia's Converged Enhanced Ethernet, layer 2-7 testing solution, we were able to validate, for the first time, data center bridging exchange (DCBX), along with other FCoE features, including FIP control protocol snooping and FCoE packets classification with Marvell's Prestera CX," said Victor Alston, Senior Vice President of Ixia.

Motorola Adapts GPON into Passive Optical LAN Solution

Motorola has adapted its last-mile GPON technology into a new Passive Optical LAN (POL) solution aimed at simplifying traditional in-building and campus local area networks and yielding significant capital and operational savings.

Motorola's POL is an all-fiber enterprise LAN solution connecting any stationary Ethernet-based device or system across the enterprise into the wide area network. The architecture reduces the need for campus distribution or workgroup switches in every riser closet. Eliminating these switches leads to cost savings in power, cooling, energy, and space.

In addition, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has agreed to resell Motorola's POL solutions into the global enterprise market.

Motorola is positioning POL as a complementary wireline solution for its WLAN product lines. Specifically, the customer access terminals (equivalent to ONT in a GPON architecture) could be used to deliver power-over-Ethernet connections to wireless access points distributed through-out the building.

Bivio Acquires FlowInspect, Extending its DPI Reach

Bivio Networks, which specializes in deep packet inspection (DPI)-enabled networking platforms, has acquired FlowInspect, a Milan-based developer of protocol ID and classification technologies.

Founded in 2003, FlowInspect offers a DPI-enabled multi-application service gateway. The company's products combine protocol identification and classification technologies with a range of DPI applications including content filtering, data retention, service protection, interception, and traffic and subscriber management services. FlowInspect's customers include service providers, national network operators and government agencies throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Bivio said the acquisition deepens its reach into DPI-enabled application while adding significantly sales opportunities in Europe and the Middle East.

"DPI is increasingly recognized as the key unifying technology for policy-centric network applications and services," said Dr. Elan Amir, CEO of Bivio Networks. "FlowInspect's innovative DPI classification technologies, applications and service creation platform furthers Bivio's strategy to be the leading provider of deep packet processing solutions critical for current and future networks."

"FlowInspect has been a Bivio partner since 2006, and we have already fully integrated our technology into the Bivio Networks 2000 and the Bivio Networks 7000 platforms," said Marco Grillo, CEO of FlowInspect. "We are excited to be joining the Bivio team and view this acquisition as an exciting next step in our long-standing relationship."

Ovum Predicts 9.1% Drop in Mobile phone shipments in 2009

The economic downturn will have a significant impact on mobile phone shipments in 2009; Ovum predicts the volumes will be down globally by 9.1%. The downturn has artificially extended replacement rates for handsets during 2009.The consultancy expects that all regions, even those in emerging markets, will be hit to some extent by the downturn. Shipments will start to recover from 2010 onwards, although it will take until 2012 before global volumes are back to the level seen in 2008.

Ovum further predicts that 2009 will witness the collapse of the market for mid-tier handsets.

"This has had a polarizing effect on the handset market with vendors and mobile operators focusing on two types of handset: those targeting the low-end and high-end segments", says Adam Leach, devices principal analyst at Ovum and co-author of these forecasts. "This in turn has quickened the replacement of 2G in favour of 3G handsets, with high-end 2G handset shipments suffering the most from the shift".

BigBand Supplies Media Service Platform for Taiwan's CHT

Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), the incumbent operator in Taiwan, has selected BigBand Networks' MSP2000 (Media Services Platform) to deliver advanced advertising video solutions on High Definition (HD) and Standard Definition (SD) content, in both MPEG-2 and H.264 for its flagship Multimedia-On-Demand (MOD) IPTV service.

The deployment with Chunghwa Telecom is aimed at boosting its IPTV revenues by providing a highly reliable, scalable carrier-class platform to rapidly turn-up and augment MOD services to meet the growing demand for personalized video applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Chunghwa Telecom had over 700,000 MOD subscribers at year-end 2008. The BigBand MSP2000 will enable Chunghwa Telecom MOD to deliver targeted advertising based on geographic and demographic information into linear television without requiring complex client operations in the STB. As a result, advertisers can benefit from more effective ad campaigns with more targeted messaging and greater relevance. Chunghwa Telecom will use the BigBand MSP2000 to monitor and track fulfillment information for feedback and campaign effectiveness. This capability will contribute to MOD's revenue model and help transform TV advertising distribution from traditional broadcast models towards more personalized delivery to further boost Average Revenue per User (ARPU).

BigBand said its MSP2000 has demonstrated the ability to integrate into the Chunghwa Telecom MOD network environment, which includes interworking with SD and HD content, the MOD STB, and encoders.

IP/MPLS Forum Merges with Broadband Forum

The IP/MPLS Forum has merged with the Broadband Forum (formerly DSL Forum) to create a single worldwide organization covering the core, aggregation, access and home network.

United under the Broadband Forum name, the new organization has a membership of 220 service providers, equipment manufacturers, chip vendors and industry bodies. Its mission is to help define interoperable network equipment for local broadband access, advancing mobile backhaul solutions as well as empowering the next wave of business services, IPTV, gaming and other applications as they arise.

The union follows an industry analysis undertaken by the IP/MPLS Forum Board last year, which concluded that convergence was the key to the future success of standards specifications work. It then focused on how its work aligned with other organizations and when, in June 2008, the former DSL Forum became the Broadband Forum -- with a focus on convergence and technology agnostic solutions -- it appeared that many gaps towards empowering a stronger end-to-end multiservice architecture could be filled by bringing the two organizations together.

"I am tremendously proud of what the IP/MPLS Forum has achieved in its 18-year history and also proud of the fact that we recognised and addressed the need to follow technology convergence by uniting with the Broadband Forum for the overall benefit of the industry itself," said IP/MPLS Forum Chairman and President Andrew G. Malis.

The newly combined Broadband Forum is meeting this week in Valencia, Spain. There will be three main changes to the organization. These are:

  • In the Technical Committee area, a new IP/MPLS and Core working group will be established to continue the MPLS protocol work and to address all new Core related work brought into the Forum

  • In the Marketing Committee area, a new IP/MPLS focused Vice Chair will be added and new IP/MPLS Ambassadors will be available to represent the organization via the speakers' bureau

  • A combined Board of Directors will be established to oversee the transition. George Dobrowski will continue on as President and Andrew G. Malis has been named Vice President.

AT&T Announces Cloud-Based "Storage as a Service"

AT&T is launching a cloud-based, storage-on-demand service for enterprise customers. from any location, anytime, using any Web-enabled device. AT&T has selected EMC Corporation as its technology provider for the underlying AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service platform. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly develop and market the service.

AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service provides a business-class storage service that lets customers use the AT&T network cloud to store, distribute and retrieve data as needed to meet their business or legal requirements. The service is self-configurable through a Web-based customer portal. The service automatically scales storage capacity up or down as needed, and users pay only for the amount they use. Using EMC Atmos technology, a policy-based information management platform, the AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service gives users the flexibility to store, distribute and retrieve data through the Internet or directly from the AT&T network cloud via a virtual private network or other transport service, enabling customers to create a "virtual private storage cloud" protected by AT&T's network-based security services.

A controlled rollout is happening this month. The service is deployed in AT&T Internet data centers (IDCs) in the U.S. and will be accessible by customers connecting to the Web anywhere. In time, AT&T plans to add the service to select global IDCs to meet customer demand internationally.

"The demand for data storage continues to grow at a staggering rate, driven by companies' need for 24x7 access to business critical data," said Roman Pacewicz, senior vice president of strategy and application services, AT&T Business Solutions. "AT&T Synaptic Storage helps enterprises get a handle on these increasingly complex storage environments, while controlling costs and improving service levels."