Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blu-ray 3D Specification Released

-The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) today announced the finalization and release of the "Blu-ray 3DTM" specification, offering Full HD 1080p resolution to each eye. The specification is display agnostic, meaning that Blu-ray 3D products will deliver the 3D image to any compatible 3D display, regardless of whether that display uses LCD, Plasma or other technology and regardless of what 3D technology the display uses to deliver the image to the viewer's eyes. The association expects the first products to reach the consumer market by mid-2010.

The Blu-ray 3D specification calls for encoding 3D video using the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec, an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players. MPEG4-MVC compresses both left and right eye views with a typical 50% overhead compared to equivalent 2D content, and can provide full 1080p resolution backward compatibility with current 2D Blu-ray Disc players. The specification also incorporates enhanced graphic features for 3D. These features provide a new experience for users, enabling navigation using 3D graphic menus and displaying 3D subtitles positioned in 3D video.

The Blu-ray 3D specification is also designed to allow PS3 game consoles to play back Blu-ray 3D content in 3D. Additionally, the specification supports playback of 2D discs in forthcoming 3D players and can enable 2D playback of Blu-ray 3D discs on the large installed base of Blu-ray Disc players currently in homes around the world.
  • A single-layer Blu-ray Disc holds up to 25 gigabytes of data and a double-layer Blu-ray Disc holds up to 50 gigabytes of data.

JDSU Expands Carrier Ethernet Field Test Portfolio

JDSU released a new set of Ethernet OAM capabilities that enable technicians to verify Ethernet OAM features in a Carrier Ethernet network. Available for the JDSU T-BERD/MTS 6000A Multi Services Application Module (MSAM), T-BERD/MTS-8000 Transport Module, and HST-3000 Ethernet Service Interface Module (SIM), the new capabilities help carriers meet end-to-end service level agreements (SLAs) and deliver differentiated Ethernet services.

The new features include the addition of link layer OAM (IEEE 802.3ah, Ethernet first mile) and the service layer OAM (IEEE 802.1ag and ITU-T Y.1731) test features. JDSU Ethernet OAM features perform end-to-end testing including verification of connectivity check messages, Ethernet loopback and insertion/receipt of Ethernet AIS/RDI alarming. This helps technicians install and troubleshoot Carrier Ethernet circuits.

Vice President Announces $2 Billion in Broadband Grants

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced $2 billion in Recovery Act grants and loans to bring broadband to communities that currently have little or no access to the technology. The initial $182 million investment is for eighteen broadband projects benefiting seventeen states, and has already been matched by over $46 million in private capital. The projects are to be rolled out over the next 75 days.

The broadband grants in the Recovery Act will total over $2 billion in the next 75 days, and over $7 billion within the next year.

In a statement, the White House said a big focus of the new awards is on the "middle mile" -- the infrastructure that connects the Internet backbone to underserved communities across the nation. The middle mile investments are intended to set the stage for private investors to finish the job, with the so-called "last-mile" connections to homes and businesses.

The National Economic Council also released a new report (pdf) called "Recovery Act Investments in Broadband: Leveraging Federal Dollars to Create Jobs and Connect America". This report outlines the Administration's strategy for using stimulus dollars wisely to get the biggest return on investment, in terms of jobs and exciting new opportunities for Americans.

In rural areas and areas with low population density that are difficult to reach, Recovery Act awards will fund investments in the "last mile" of service. The funding is also targeted at community
institutions that provide critical services in urban and rural areas, including schools, libraries, and hospitals.

Significantly, the report notes that the awards come with requirements for "open interconnection," meaning that grantees must make any infrastructure funded with taxpayer dollars available for interconnection with other networks.

Examples of projects getting funding include:

  • North Georgia Network Cooperative will receive a $33.5 million grant to deploy middle-mile infrastructure to eight counties in the impoverished Appalachian region of northern Georgia and North Carolina. The 260-mile fiber optic ring will directly connect 245 community institutions. The ring also includes 2,600 interconnection points that will allow Internet service providers to build out last-mile connections to end users.

  • A partnership between ION, a for-profit company based in the capital of Albany, and the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC), a public benefit corporation will receive a grant of $39.7 million -- these entities will develop a regional broadband plan that will immediately connect more than 100 community institutions.

  • The Biddeford Internet Corporation, a public-private partnership between service providers and the University of Maine, will receive a $25.4 million Recovery Act grant to construct middle-mile infrastructure across rural Maine.

Verizon Tests 10 Gbps XG-PON

Verizon is undertaking field-tests of XG-PON, which can transmit data at 10 Gbps downstream and 2.4 Gbps upstream, four times as fast as the current top transmission speeds supporting the company's all-fiber FiOS network.

The XG-PON signal was tested independently on a dedicated passive optical network (PON) as well as overlaid on a fiber providing FiOS service to a customer. The overlay test verified there was no interference between the XG-PON signal and the regular FiOS signal using gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology and running at 2.5 Gbps downstream and 1.24 Gbps upstream. The test was conducted recently in southern Massachusetts. Previously, Verizon tested the XG-PON signal in the company's Waltham laboratory.

The XG-PON trial consisted of a new optical line terminal (OLT) installed in the Verizon central office, generating a 10 Gbps XG-PON signal transmitted over a wavelength, or color of light. Two tests were conducted: One test transmitted the XG-PON signal by itself on a separate PON fiber between the central office and a new optical network terminal (ONT) device at a customer's home. In the other test, the XG-PON stream was merged as a separate wavelength onto an already-operating live fiber running FiOS with GPON at 2.5 Gbps to provide a total downstream flow of 12.5 Gbps. At the customer's house, the XG-PON and GPON signals were received by ONT devices, showing that the network can simultaneously deliver the GPON and XG-PON signals on the same fiber at the two speeds, without any degradation in service.

Verizon said that XG PON could be used to meet the emerging customer demand for a wide variety of devices and applications that require a network capable of transmitting large amounts of data at very high speeds. The devices and applications could include unicast HD video streaming, ultra-high-definition video, 3D video, user-generated content distribution, video conferencing, and new high-speed data services for medium- and large-business customers.

Final technical standards for XG PON aren't expected until mid 2010. These initial tests used XG PON equipment from Huawei Technologies. Verizon plans to test and validate the next generation of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) technologies from various vendors to help accelerate standards activities.

"From the earliest stages of the FiOS design, we knew we could repeatedly and progressively leverage the immense capacity of fiber to carry more and more data in support of customer applications," said Mark Wegleitner, senior vice president of technology for Verizon. "Now we're already working on the best way to take the next leap forward in capacity."

WiMAX Forum Counts 112 WiMAX Networks Deployed in 2009

Wireless broadband Internet deployments based upon WiMAX have reached 519 in 146 countries, according to new figures released by the WiMAX Forum. This includes 95 WiMAX networks deployed by 2G mobile operators. Of the 519 WiMAX deployments, 112 were added in 2009. The WiMAX ecosystem advanced certification activity with 86 products receiving WiMAX Forum Certified status this year.

"Despite the global economy, WiMAX is going strong in 2009," said Ron Resnick, president and chairman of the WiMAX Forum. "The WiMAX Forum membership has continued to bring WiMAX to new markets, certify devices and keep the spirit of delivering mobile Internet services to people throughout the world. We expect 2010 to bring new innovations to the WiMAX ecosystem with completion of the IEEE 802.16m standard, commercialization of the global roaming program and new WiMAX Forum programs to help bring certified devices to retail channels faster."

On the regulatory front, FDD WiMAX was accepted into the IMT-2000 family of standards and more than 50 companies endorsed the IEEE 802.16m IMT-Advanced candidate proposal for a future-proof roadmap.

To support IMT-Advanced and the WiMAX Forum evolution of its technology roadmap, leading suppliers and operators this year expressed their commitment to build and trial WiMAX Release 2 based on the IEEE 802.16m standard. These ecosystem backers included Alvarion, Beceem, Cisco, Clearwire, Huawei, Intel, KT, Motorola, Samsung, Sequans, UQC, Yota and ZTE. The WiMAX Forum also announced that in 2010 it will finalize its WiMAX Release 2 specification in parallel with IEEE 802.16m and IMT-Advanced, ensuring that WiMAX Release 2 networks and devices will remain backward compatible with legacy WiMAX Release 1 based on IEEE 802.16e.

Some other facts highlighted by the Forum:

  • Yota has reached 250,000 active commercial users on its Russian network and has passed the breakeven point, thanks to more than 2,300 subscribers added per day to its WiMAX network.

  • Clearwire has reached more than 555,000 subscribers; its network covers more than 30 million consumers in 34 markets and has an ARPU of nearly $40.

  • Malaysia's Packet One Networks, which celebrated its first anniversary of operations this year, has reached 130,000 subscribers.

  • KT covers more than half of the Korean population, and UQ Communications now covers more than half of Japan's population, offering services to consumers via more than 20 MVNO partners.

  • Motorola recently announced it shipped its 10,000th WiMAX Access Point and one millionth WiMAX CPE.

  • In 2008, Huawei achieved a 200 percent increase in WiMAX revenue and expects to achieve that same level of growth by the close of 2009.

  • Alvarion now supplies more than 260 commercial network deployments in more than 100 countries.

  • Next year, the WiMAX Forum will publish an updated WiMAX Forum subscriber and POPs forecast in early 2010; begin certification of Mobile WiMAX 2.3 GHz products; launch an Open Retail Certification Program.

  • The Forum is also planning on completing the WiMAX Forum Release 2 specs based on the new IEEE standard 802.16m. Commercialization and deployment of the WiMAX Forum global roaming program is also expected to occur.

  • Three WiMAX Forum Congress Series Events are planned in 2010, including Asia Congress in April, Global Congress in June and Americas Congress in December 2010 .

    Hibernia Atlantic Chooses 3Com's H3C for Ethernet Services

    Hibernia Atlantic has selected 3Com's H3C S7500E modular switches to deliver Ethernet services across its transatlantic submarine cable network. Hibernia Atlantic owns and operates a fast, direct connection between North America and the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe.

    GSMA's Mobile World Congress Books Duran Duran

    Duran Duran will headline the Congress Party & Awards Celebration on Tuesday 16 February 2010 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. At the official Congress Party & Awards Celebration at the National Palace in Barcelona, three high-profile awards for the year will be presented, including Best Mobile Handset, the GSMA Chairman's Award and Mobile Industry Personality of the Year

    KDDI Expands its Managed Network Services with Virtela

    Japan's KDDI will expand its international network reach for enterprise network services to more than 190 countries through an agreement with Virtela. Leveraging Virtela's multi-carrier network, KDDI will offer Japanese enterprises an array of high quality, cost effective choices for global network services and support. Virtela aggregates and integrates local, regional and global networks.

    By adding a unique overlay of intelligence that performs optimal routing and automatic failover for customer network traffic, Virtela says its multi-carrier Global Service Fabric gives enterprises an inherently higher performing, more resilient and cost effective alternative than traditional carrier networks. Virtela is the single point of contact for expert design, implementation and 24x7 proactive monitoring and management worldwide.

    m:tel Picks Alcatel-Lucent for Converged IP and Optical

    Telekom Srpske a.d. Banja Luka (or m:tel), the main public telecommunications provider in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has selected Alcatel-Lucent for a project that will consolidate its IP and optical networks into a common highly leveraged IP network infrastructure.

    Alcatel-Lucent will provide its new Converged Backbone Transformation solution which more tightly integrates IP and optical transport resources, enabling service providers to optimize and leverage their transport networks to deal with the growing demand of bandwidth. Financial terms were not disclosed.

    Tata Teleservices Selects NSN for Mobile Backhaul

    Tata Teleservices, one of India's leading private telecom service providers, has selected Nokia Siemens Networks to implement part of its next phase transmission network.

    Under the contract, NSN will supply its FlexiHybrid microwave radio to support both legacy Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) and IP on a single platform. The contract also includes the FlexiMetro radio for high capacity and improved bandwidth efficiency, as well as FlexiHopper, a cost-optimized, low-capacity microwave radio for connecting base stations. These three mobile backhaul platforms provide fast wireless connections from base stations to the core of the Tata Teleservices network.

    Nokia Siemens Networks' will also deploy its NetAct Operations Support Systems platform for the efficient monitoring, management and optimization of the network to ensure high-quality end-user services as well as its NetViewer suite for managing the microwave radio networks. The full turnkey solution includes an array of services such as project management, network planning, installation and commissioning. Nokia Siemens Networks will continue to operate Tata Teleservices' network under an existing Managed Services contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.