Sunday, December 6, 2009

D-Link to Build Boxee Box

Boxee will begin offering a set-top box build by D-Link for storing and playing Internet-delivered video content on a TV. The D-Link Boxee box will offer HDMI-support, an SD card slot, two USB 2.0 ports, WiFi, and Ethernet. Other product details were not disclosed.

In addition, Boxee unveiled beta version of its media software. Boxee has re-designed the home screen to make it easier to navigate content. Recommendations are tied into feeds from friends on boxee, Facebook or Twitter. Internet TV apps are available for Boxee from digg, flickr, Netflix, Pandora, YouTube and others.

ITU-T Work Group Agrees on a Smart Grid Technology

The ITU-T workgroup has agreed upon a number of key specifications that together form the baseline requirements for Smart Grid products. The study group also agreed on the addition of an Appendix to the standard that provides insight to the use of products in Smart Grid applications. These agreements, reached at the latest ITU-T workgroup meeting in Valencia, Spain last month,, build on's highly flexible, parameterized architecture which was approved earlier this year.

Smart Grid products that will benefit from include Smart Meters, In-home displays (IHD) and smart thermostats, Plug-in Electrical Vehicles (PEV) and Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), Smart household appliances such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, and Energy System Interface (ESI) devices.

"We are happy to see the workgroup working together to address the needs of the Smart Grid industry with this level of speed and collaboration," said Dr. Vladimir Oksman, technical marketing director at Lantiq, and Chairperson of HomeGrid Forum's Smart Grid Workgroup. " continues to fulfill its promise of complete home networking from the Smart Meter to the HDTV."

Some highlights of the announcement:

  • At the Valencia meeting, the workgroup completed its definition of a "low complexity" profile targeted at Smart grid applications.

  • The profile specifies minimum requirements for features including: signal bandwidth, data modulation methods, transmitter linearity requirements, and Forward Error Correction (FEC), while maintaining interoperability with fully-featured products.

  • As a complement to the ITU-T's work, HomeGrid Forum will provide Smart Grid-related certification testing for products and this work is underway in HomeGrid's Compliance and Interoperability Workgroup.

  • The work group also agreed on an Appendix to the standard that provides guidelines for using in Smart Grid applications and for how they work with other consumer devices in the home. The Appendix reflects recommendations and requirements from NIST, the Open Smart Grid Users Group, and other organizations that are focused on implementing the proliferation of the Smart Grid.

AppliedMicro Cites 40% Efficiency Gain in Processors

AppliedMicro (formerly AMCC) announced energy efficient versions of its 405 and 460 series microprocessors, featuring 40 percent less power usage for a variety of embedded applications. For example, the Power Architecture 405EXr, which finds application in wireless LAN access points as well as NAS storage systems and media gateways, now offers a maximum worst case active power consumption of just over 2 watts, a reduction of almost 1.5 watts, or 40 percent.

All current AppliedMicro customers using 405EX/EXr and 460EX/EXr/GT products will be migrated to the new low-power variants. Moving forward, all new customers for these products will use the low-power version.

AppliedMicro's Power Architecture 405EX and 405EXr processors are designed into 802.11 wireless access points, WiMAX base stations and general networking and embedded systems. The Power Architecture 460EX/EXr/GT processors are designed for enterprise and carrier-class switching and routing equipment, multi-function printers and industrial applications. The 460-based devices offer speeds up to 1.2 GHz, a 256KB L2 cache, and an integrated floating-point unit. The 460EX/GT offers up to four gigabit Ethernet interfaces, two PCI-Express interfaces, legacy PCI support, two USB 2.0 interfaces, a SATA controller, hardware-RAID acceleration and Kasumi encryption/decryption.

TIA Urges Transition of Universal Service Fund to Broadband

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) is urging the FCC to gradually transition current universal service funds to a broadband fund as part the National Broadband Plan. The industry organization argues that broadband support should extend beyond initial deployment in unserved areas, covering deployment in areas with little or no broadband service and the continued operation of existing broadband service. The support would ensure that high-cost, rural locales receive service that reasonably compares with services provided in urban areas at similar rates.

Furthermore, TIA argues that the transition should be technologically and competitively neutral. TIA also recommends that such a transition should occur within five years, if an immediate transition is not possible.

Ruckus Wireless Awarded Patent for IP Multicast-to-Unicast Conversion

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) have each awarded Ruckus Wireless a patent on conversion of multicast to unicast transmissions.

For 802.11 networks where multicast information delivery is not guaranteed, multicast-to-unicast conversion is essential to providing more reliable transmissions and more predictable performance for loss- and delay-sensitive multimedia applications.

Ruckus said its multicast-to-unicast patent is particularly significant to the wireless networking industry as the growing demand for wireless multimedia communications coincides with the rise in Wi-Fi usage everywhere. The multicast-to-unicast conversion, part of the Ruckus SmartCast quality of service engine, is integrated within Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi products. SmartCast comprises a variety of traffic handling and quality of service technologies specifically developed to improve the transmission of delay-sensitive traffic over 802.11 networks dramatically.

Originally filed in November 2004, the multicast conversion patent is one of nearly two dozen patents granted to Ruckus with dozens more pending approval.

Allot Completes Interoperability Testing with Huawei

Allot Communications has completed integration and interoperability testing between its Service Gateway (PCEF) and Huawei's PCRF product.

Allot said its, based on 3GPP standards for mobile networks, combines Allot's precise, application identification and Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (PCEF) capabilities with Huawei's Policy and Charging Rule Function (PCRF) System. This integrated offering is designed to enable operators to better manage network resources usage, optimize application performance and implement new service plans.

"The collaboration between Allot and Huawei, which was driven by one of our Tier 1 mobile operator customer requirements, is further evidence of Allot's commitment to this market," stated said Andrei Elefant, Allot's Vice President for Marketing and Product Management. "Our joint solution is intended to provide operators with the means to stand out from the crowd and provide their subscribers with premium, enhanced services."

Savvis to integrate Cisco Unified Computing System for Next-Gen Private Clouds Service

Savvis will develop a new enterprise-class Virtual Private Data Center (VPDC) featuring multi-tiered security and quality of service based on the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).

Savvis Symphony, previously dubbed Project Spirit, is essentially a next-generation private clouds platform. Savvis is using the Cisco Unified Service Delivery solution for service delivery which combines the Cisco UCS architecture with the Cisco Nexus solutions, ACE and MPLS next-generation network.

Cisco UCS unites computational, network, storage access, and virtualization into a scalable, modular architecture that is managed as a single system.

The Cisco Unified Service Delivery solution optimally utilizes pools of resources within any given data center and applies them to any service offering as well as interconnects data center islands to further combine resources, which can significantly reduce capital and operational costs.

The companies are also working together to deliver managed IT infrastructure solutions and enterprise private clouds. The companies have collaborated on the development of a reference architecture that will help enable enterprise customers to take advantage of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) benefits available in Savvis Symphony. This architecture was tested and validated end to end in Cisco's labs, which should enable Savvis to quickly bring these services to market.

"Savvis is one of the first service providers to deliver private cloud and Cisco Unified Computing System benefits to the enterprise," said Rob Lloyd, executive vice president of worldwide operations, Cisco. "The Cisco Unified Computing System is a key element in the Cisco service provider portfolio, which is evolving the data center to a more consolidated, virtualized and automated environment that lays the foundation for cloud computing. We are working closely to support Savvis and Savvis Symphony to provide our mutual customers with cloud IT infrastructure services based on Cisco's Unified Service Delivery architecture."

AT&T iPhone App Uses Crowdsourcing for Network Enhancement

AT&T released a free "Mark the Spot" iPhone app that enables customers to quickly and easily provide feedback on AT&T network performance in a specific location.

When a network service issue is encountered, the customer can simply press a button to indicate the nature of the situation, and add notes to describe the situation if desired. From there, the app automatically notes the location, time of day and type of device used, and the report is sent directly to AT&T's network planning team.

"With AT&T Mark the Spot, we're applying the power of crowd sourcing to our ongoing efforts to enhance and expand our network," said AT&T Chief Technology Officer John Donovan. "Feedback from customers via AT&T Mark the Spot, combined with data from more than 964,000 miles of drive testing conducted by an independent third-party source, will enable us to most quickly and effectively identify trends and maximize the impact of our ongoing network investment. We encourage all customers to download and use the app."

As reported when AT&T released 3Q financial results in October, drive tests conducted by an outside firm show that AT&T has reduced 3G dropped calls by 12 percent over the past year, nearing a dropped call rate of 1 percent nationally, while also delivering the nation's fastest 3G speeds. With plans to invest between $17 and $18 billion this year - billions of which is dedicated to its wireless network - these metrics demonstrate that AT&T's investments are paying off.

Vantrix Offers iPhone Dynamic Bit Rate Adaptation

Montreal-based Vantrix, which develops mobile video optimization and delivery solutions, announced Dynamic Bit Rate Adaptation (DBRA) for the Apple iPhone.

The Vantrix Media Broadcaster adapts and optimizes video streams to any end device -- mobile, Web (PC), or digital TV. The solution captures, ingests, encodes, adapts, and delivers any video content regardless of format, network, and device. The 8.0 version responds directly to the explosive growth of the iPhone.

iPhone video delivery is now enhanced with a patented DBRA mechanism that allows the forcing of the bit rate at which the iPhone connects to a video feed, thereby providing the best user experience for the available network capacity and at the same time substantially reducing cost of video delivery.

Force10 Adds MPLS to ExaScale E-Series Switch/Router

Force10 Networks has added MPLS functionality to its ExaScale E-Series core switch/routers.

Force10 said its ExaScale platform combines high-density, non-blocking, line-rate 10 GbE switching and routing with robust MPLS LSR support at 1/5th of the cost of a traditional core router, enabling carriers to fully capitalize on the economic advantages of Ethernet. In addition to capital cost savings, the ExaScale platform's patent-protected hardware and software innovations provide significant space- and power-related savings while also ensuring high availability.

"Customers tell us video and web content alone currently accounts for more than 50% of total Internet traffic, and that percentage continues to increase," says Steve Garrison, vice president of marketing, Force10 Networks. "This rapid growth associated with traffic not directly tied to revenues is driving carriers to look for alternatives to traditional general purpose core routers for expanding capacity more cost effectively."

The Force10 E-Series delivers an Internet-scale BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) routing implementation. It utilizes a distributed forwarding architecture incorporating three CPUs and leverages distributed control plane processing to deliver hitless failover as well as graceful and deterministic failure recovery. All system components are hot swappable and 1+1 control plane redundancy is supported. The ExaScale E-Series boasts 125 Gbps of useable data capacity per slot. It supports 140 line-rate 10 GbE SFP+ ports in a half-rack chassis.

Infonetics: North American Optical Market Continues Rebound, Asia Slows

Following a 7% increase in 2Q09, worldwide optical network hardware revenue decreased 2.5% in 3Q09, to $3.3 billion, according to a new report from Infonetics Research. The North American market grew 4%, while Asia, EMEA, and Central and Latin America were all down.

"While the overall optical network hardware market dipped in the third quarter, led by slight declines by heavy hitters Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent, the North American market inched up again, a trend we expect to continue. The other major regions were down this quarter, although we expect a strong fourth quarter across the board. Asia is at risk for a liquidity-related 'Black Swan' event if the loose lending comes to an end, but the region is on track to overtake all others as the largest optical network hardware market in 2009 and well into the future, albeit at a slowing growth rate," forecasts Andrew Schmitt, directing analyst for optical at Infonetics Research.

Some additional highlights of the report:

  • Next generation WDM optical equipment revenue grew 7% sequentially in 3Q09, indicating that telecom carriers are allocating more money toward forward-looking infrastructure plans

  • Alcatel-Lucent continues to lead the long haul optical market, although Huawei has increased its revenue market share by 80% over the last two years, while ALU has dropped a point

  • Infinera passed Ericsson and Nortel in long haul optical network equipment revenue in 3Q09

  • 40G port shipments were down sharply

  • -
  • Packet optical transport system (P-OTS) deployments are ramping rapidly in North America, and Fujitsu, Tellabs, Cisco, and Alcatel-Lucent are seeing excellent growth

  • The battle between P-OTS and IP over WDM technology will be an interesting one to watch.

Mintera and ClariPhy to Develop 2nd Gen 40 Gbps

Mintera and ClariPhy Communications announced a partnership to deliver a next-generation 40 Gbps DWDM coherent optical transport solution. Specifically, Mintera's MI 5000XM 40 Gbps Polarization Multiplexed Quadrature Phase Shift Keyed (PM-QPSK) transceiver module will employ a state-of-the art mixed-signal ASIC designed and supplied by ClariPhy.

The companies have entered into a comprehensive partnership agreement that includes joint specification and optimization of the ClariPhy ASIC and surrounding optical components, and which enables Mintera to be first to market with a module incorporating ClariPhy's ASIC.

Australia-based Optus Outsources Applications Services to HP

Australia-based Optus signed a three-year agreement under which HP will provide applications management for a number of key applications, including certain customer billing, data warehouse and other core systems. Outsourcing these applications to HP will help Optus improve applications performance, quality and reliability. Financial terms were not disclosed.