Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bridgewater Expands to LTE Subscriber Enablement

At last week's 4G World show in Chicago, Bridgewater Systems unveiled its Long Term Evolution (LTE) product suite. New products generally available include the Bridgewater Home Subscriber Server and Policy Controller which are both anchored by Bridgewater's Subscriber Data Broker and are compliant with 3GPP Release 8 Standards. Several global trials with major service providers are in the planning and implementation stages.

Bridgewater's new products for the LTE Evolved Packet Core (EPC) build on its subscriber, service, and policy control solutions. The LTE product set encompasses:

  • The Bridgewater Home Subscriber Server (HSS), a master repository that contains subscriber and device profile and state information, and manages subscriber identities, service profiles, authentication, authorization, and quality of service in real time. The HSS federates data from existing Home Location Registers and other databases for service parity and network migrations. It is undergoing extensive interoperability testing with leading Mobility Management Entity (MME) solution providers.

  • The Bridgewater Policy Controller (PCRF) provides smart network, application, and subscriber policies that allow service providers to manage mobile data growth and deliver personalized services. Extensive interoperability testing with leading Servicing and Packet Data Network Gateway solution providers is underway.

  • Inter-working with non-3GPP networks such as WiFi, EVDO and WiMAX is supported by an optional Authorization, Authentication and Accounting (3GPP AAA) module. It ensures seamless mobility and service portability across different networks.

  • Bridgewater's Subscriber Data Broker provides a common subscriber data management platform that brings together rich, dynamic subscriber data with the sophisticated tools to broker that data to multiple systems and applications to personalize services.

In addition, Bridgewater is continuing to expand its partner and interoperability ecosystem, which now includes the following leading networking solution providers, technology providers, and channel partners: Starent Networks, Alvarion, Motorola, NEC, Hitachi, Samsung, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, WiChorus, and Verint.

Bridgewater has been selected by four U.S-based WiMAX service providers to accelerate the launch of 4G broadband services to over 500 un-served and underserved communities across rural America. The company has received the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development acceptance for the Bridgewater® Service Controller including the Prepaid Integrator Module, the Bridgewater ® Policy Controller, and Bridgewater's Subscriber Data Broker.

Verizon: Rethinking the Wireline Business with Internet Video in Mind

The FiOS architecture and Internet video competition have led to a fundamental rethinking of the wireline business, said Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon Communications' Chairman & CEO, speaking at Goldman Sachs Communacopia XVIII Conference. The new business model calls for high penetration of fiber, with video being the anchor product in Verizon's wireline bundle. As FiOS gains scale, this allows Verizon to begin eliminating central offices, eliminate call centers, garages and fundamentally restructure the company. More importantly, the goal is to enable the TV as an interactive communications/entertainment device. Then, the next step is to bundle it with wireless using a common software interface on all screens.

Seidenberg said his own thinking about the wirelline business "has sort of matured a little bit." He no longer sees the core video product of the wireline network running over a switched digital video architecture. Nor will it resemble anything else from a traditional telecom company. Instead, he sees Verizon delivering video with the same over-the-top model of Google and other Internet players. So, he believes Verizon must focus on driving fixed costs out of its wireline business as quickly as possible while driving up FiOS penetration.

Regarding the LTE rollout, Seidenberg confirmed that Verizon will launch its service by middle of next year with plus 30 markets, with 100 million POPs to be covered by the end of next year.

Archived webcast material is on Verizon's Investor webpage.

Harris Corporation Taps Level 3 to Support 2010 Census

Harris Corporation selected Level 3 Communications to provide voice and Internet network services for the 2010 Census local census offices. Under the two-year agreement, Level 3 will provide voice services to 494 Local Census Offices in the United States and Puerto Rico, supporting more than 500,000 census field workers. In addition, Level 3 will deliver high-speed Internet services to connect these offices and transmit information to census field data collection centers.

Video Interview: BLADE Network Technologies' Vikram Mehta

Cisco Launches Smart Grid Ecosystem

Cisco launched a Smart Grid Ecosystem to facilitate the adoption of Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications standards for smart grids. Initial members include system integrators, technology vendors, power and utility integrators, service providers, and services and sales vendors who represent various elements of the Smart Grid infrastructure.

Members of the Cisco Smart Grid Ecosystem will collaborate on interoperability testing. The effort also aims to reduce the cost and complexity of deploying multivendor smart grid communications infrastructure solutions for both utility companies and ecosystem members.

The initial list of companies who are part of this open ecosystem includes: Accenture, AeroScout, Arcadian Networks, AREVA T&D, Cable&Wireless Worldwide, Capgemini, Coleman Technologies, EMC, Echelon, EnergyHub, GE, GridPoint, Infosys Technologies, Itron, Landis + Gyr, OATI, Oracle, OSIsoft, Pulse Energy, Proximetry, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), SecureLogix, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Skyline-ATS, Telvent, Verizon, Watteco, Wipro, and World Wide Technology, Inc.

In addition, Cisco has joined the ZigBee Alliance and will support and participate in the development of ZigBee Smart Energy public application profile technology and products.

EU Adopts Guidelines for Public funding for Broadband Networks

The European Commission adopted a set of guidelines for public funding of broadband and Next Generation Access (NGA) networks in the European Union. The EC said it expects to see up to EUR 300 billion of investment in both high and very high speed European broadband networks in the coming decade.

In general, the policy position is that investment should be made mostly by private companies. However, the EC believes there is an important role for public investment in achieving the widest possible access to broadband in underserved and non-profitable areas. Public investments should significantly contribute to shrinking the digital divide -- both within and between EU Member States.

The Guidelines make distinctions between different types of areas, including:

  • competitive areas ("black" areas), where state aid is not needed, such as densely populated cities

  • areas where one broadband infrastructure already exists, but broadband services are not adequate -- these are "grey areas",

  • areas where no infrastructure exists ("white areas"), such as rural areas.

The guidelines include a number of safeguards to avoid undue distortions of competition and avoid the 'crowding out' of private investment. These safeguards include:

  • detailed mapping to identify the unserved or unprofitable areas

  • operation of open and transparent tenders to grant the aid

  • open access obligations to foster competition at the retail level

  • technological neutrality to let the market pick the best technological solution and

  • claw-back mechanisms to avoid disproportionate advantages to the beneficiary undertakings and a waste of taxpayers' money.

The European Commission is also working on a draft NGA Recommendation, on which it held a public consultation during the summer. Once adopted, the NGA Recommendation will set out the regulatory environment to encourage private investments in fibre while at the same time maintaining effective broadband competition.

Kineto Announces VoLGA SDK for LTE Device Developers

Kineto Wireless released a software developers kit (SDK) for mobile device vendors looking to support voice and SMS over LTE based on the recently released VoLGA specifications.

In data-only LTE deployments, operators rely on embedded SMS to deliver critical management, provisioning and customer care messages. Kineto's VoLGA SDK is designed for USB dongle and netbook manufacturers to support the embedded SMS capability over LTE. It enables device vendors to quickly integrate VoLGA technology into their connection manager application and support embedded SMS over LTE. The Kineto SDK supports a range of operating systems including Windows, Apple and Linux, and it will accelerate LTE devices to market.

"Operators are lining up to launch LTE data services, with USB data cards and netbooks first to market. Manufacturers need to support the operator's existing SMS-based provisioning systems at service launch," said Mark Powell, vice president and general manager of Kineto's Client Business Unit and co-founder. "An alternative approach for delivering SMS over LTE, known as CS Fallback, is a dead end that will stall the market for years. Kineto is bringing out a VoLGA SDK to help drive the market forward and support early data-only LTE deployments."

VoLGA Forum Publishes Voice over LTE Specifications

The Voice over LTE via Generic Access (VoLGA) Forum has published a set of specifications for delivering mobile voice and SMS messaging services over LTE access networks. The VoLGA documents are available for download at Key aims of VoLGA include:

  • Bring voice and SMS services over LTE radio access networks and femtocells

  • Support new revenue-generating applications over LTE, such as IMS combinational services and the Rich Communications Suite (RCS)

  • Provide an improved overall user experience capitalizing on the performance advantages of LTE

  • Navigate a smooth transition to IMS telephony

  • Launch data-only LTE devices (USB dongles, netbooks, etc.) leveraging the existing SMS-based customer care applications such as remote device management, configuration updates and SMS-based service announcements

"The VoLGA Forum member companies have worked hard to rapidly complete the specifications, accomplishing the work in less than nine months," said Uwe Janssen, senior vice president, T-Mobile core networks at Deutsche Telekom. "We are pleased with the broad industry support for the VoLGA effort, and look forward to upcoming product releases from the vendor community."

The VoLGA Forum has 21 member companies including Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom, Ditech Networks, GENBAND, HTC, Huawei, Kineto Wireless, LG Electronics, Mavenir, Motorola, Nortel, Samsung, Sonus, Starent Networks, Tecore Networks, Ulticom, WiChorus and ZTE.

Motorola Rolls Out NBBS for Remote Mgt of WiMAX Devices

Motorola announced the rollout of its NBBS WiMAX solution, enabling carriers to accelerate the introduction of new revenue generating applications and solutions, while reducing operational and support costs.

NBBS is part of Motorola's overall Service Assurance solutions suite - enhancing Quality of Service (QoS) at the edge of the network. Through automated service provisioning and comprehensive device management, NBBS enables operators to remotely activate, access, configure, and troubleshoot a full portfolio of fixed and/or mobile WiMAX devices; including CPE, PC Cards and handsets.

Motorola said its platform is architected, so that operators of any size will be able to use a single NBBS system for scalable remote management. The solution is standards-based and compliant with Broadband Forum's TR-069 and Open Mobile Alliance (OMA-DM) management protocols, ensuring interoperability with WiMAX devices from a variety of vendors.

WiChorus Adapts its Packet Core for HSPA & LTE

Currently in trials, the Smart GGSN solution turbo-charges HSPA/HSPA+ networks and prepares them for transition to LTE EPC without hardware replacement.

WiChorus has extended its SmartCore packet core platform to enable mobile operators to build their 3G HSPA packet core networks while providing a software upgrade path to LTE Evolved Packet Core (EPC). Specifically, WiChorus is enabling support for GGSN, LTE PDN Gateway and Serving Gateway network functions. The WiChorus 3GPP solutions are fully compliant with 3GPP specifications, and are available on the SC 1400, SC 600 and SC 100 SmartCore platforms.

WiChorus' platform, which has been selected by Clearwire for deployment in its WiMAX network, provides subscriber management on a per application, per subscriber, per flow basis at line rate. WiChorus also provides advanced charging features, enables operators to adopt new business models that leverage Internet-based services. These include content-based charging, mobile advertising and revenue-sharing partnerships. In addition, the advanced stateful Layer 7 capabilities are coupled with SmartCore's knowledge of the wireless topology to allow operators to ensure fairness in network bandwidth consumption, and optimize scarce spectral and backhaul resources.

The WiChorus HSPA GGSN is currently in trials with mobile operators.

"The smart phones with social multimedia capabilities, connected notebooks and variety of other connected devices have caused a dramatic rise of Internet traffic on today's 3G networks," said Rehan Jalil, President & CEO of WiChorus. "The high CAPEX and OPEX involved in serving this Internet traffic in return for a low flat-rate fee is a significant business model challenge. With only a very small fraction of the devices worldwide with HSPA capability, it's just the tip of the iceberg. WiChorus SmartCore offers a fresh & innovative solution, addresses this business model challenge and enables to grow 3G networks with a future-proof 4G platform."

Verizon Business Cites Effectiveness of Global, Undersea Cable Mesh Network

Verizon Business' global mesh network automatically rerouted restorable customer traffic when 10 submarine cable systems in the Asia-Pacific region were damaged in more than 20 locations as the result of Typhoon Morakot and earthquakes off the coast of Taiwan. Automatic rerouting occurred within milliseconds of the multiple cable breaks in August.

From 2006 to 2008, Verizon Business invested $3 billion in its global network serving enterprise and government customers, and plans to invest at a similar level this year. The global mesh infrastructure is part of that ongoing investment.

"Our network investment and deployment of our global mesh network during the last three years in this region has paid off tremendously for our enterprise customers," said Ihab Tarazi, Verizon vice president of global network planning. "In every location where we had a mesh node, we restored 100 percent of our customers' restorable traffic -- without a human touch.

Verizon Business has more than 38 global mesh nodes, including 21 in the Asia-Pacific region.

NSN Demos LTE Call on Commercial Software

Nokia Siemens Networks completed the first LTE call using commercial base station and fully standard compliant software. The successful call was made via base stations with fully compliant software to the 3GPP Rel.8 (March 2009 baseline) LTE standard, bringing LTE trials closer to the behavior of future commercial deployments.

Nokia Siemens Networks said standard compliant LTE network products and terminals are a precondition for commercial network rollouts and for end users to benefit from a large terminal variety from different vendors.

"This call is a significant landmark in building and strengthening our entire LTE ecosystem and shows our commitment to the technology ", says Marc Rouanne, head of Nokia Siemens Networks' Radio Access business unit. "We see customers adopting LTE along differing timelines and we stand ready to meet the needs of early adopters of LTE as well as operators with extended migration paths from 3G/HSPA+ to LTE," he added.

The LTE data call was conducted in Nokia Siemens Networks' R&D Centre in Ulm, Germany, with NSN Flexi Multiradio Base Station.

The first deployments for LTE services are foreseen for the end of 2009 with volume rollouts of commercial networks in early 2010.