Monday, April 12, 2010

WiMAX Forum Launches New Open Retail Initiative

The WiMAX Forum kicked off an Open Retail Initiative aimed at increasing the global availability of WiMAX devices, while reducing the technical and capital overhead by WiMAX network operators to test products on their network.

The new certification program seeks to drive the proliferation of WiMAX consumer devices, sold direct or through retail channels that can be activated with ease by the consumer over the air (OTA) on the network of any participating operator. To fully support this new program, the WiMAX Forum will have its designated certification laboratories ready to test and certify mobile Open Retail devices for interoperability in May 2010.

As part of the new certification program, The WiMAX Forum announced a significant number of new capability requirements and tests -- including radiated performance testing (RPT) thresholds and operator interoperability testing (IOT). The program could reduce a mobile operator's interoperability testing overhead. In addition, these tests will ensure equipment interoperability at the level operators require. In order to address and scale to market demands, the WiMAX Forum has the following independent lab resources available to certify equipment and devices in an end-to-end IOT environment: AT4 Wireless (U.S. and Spain labs), Bureau Veritas ADT (Taiwan), Telecom Technology Center (Taiwan), China Academy of Telecommunication Research (China), and the Telecommunications Technology Association (Korea). Later this fall, the WiMAX Forum will add another test facility in Malaysia.

"The introduction of the Open Retail Initiative is a pivotal step for the WiMAX ecosystem to remain on the current accelerated path for mass adoption through a certification and IOT program that provides significant benefits to operators and vendors," said Ron Resnick, president and chairman of the WiMAX Forum.

CENX and Interxion Partner on Carrier Ethernet Exchange

Interxion and CENX will jointly launch a pan-European Carrier Neutral Ethernet Exchange service.

The CENX-Interxion service will be available in Interxion's London data centre in June 2010 with expansions being planned for other locations including, amongst others, Amsterdam and Paris.

CENX noted that its Carrier Ethernet marketplace provides access to over 5 million Ethernet end user locations served by more than ten service providers, including Verizon and Level 3.

Interxion operates data centres in 11 European countries, providing direct connectivity to all the major Carrier Ethernet service providers.

"Our partnership with European market leader Interxion, with over 350 interconnected carriers throughout Europe, allows CENX to create the only European solution bringing both the ease of colocated physical connectivity together with the efficiency of CENX's Carrier Ethernet Exchange solution," said Nan Chen, CEO and co-founder of CENX.

AT&T to Offer Video Publishing from iStreamPlanet

Enhancements to AT&T's Digital Media Solutions announced this week include the ability to dynamically adapt video delivery for a better viewing on various devices. AT&T Digital Media Solutions supports Adobe Flash Media Interactive Server 3.5, allowing customers to take advantage of adaptive bit rate streaming technology, which dynamically adjusts video delivery for an optimized viewing experience for the end user.

In addition, AT&T announced an agreement with iStreamPlanet to expand the range services supporting video creation and publishing. Specifically, AT&T will offer iStreamPlanet's Director, Presenter and Managed Live Broadcasting and Professional Services including content acquisition, encoding into all media formats, inclusive of the latest adaptive streaming formats, design and development of rich media experiences, and project management.


AT&T to Deploy HD-SDI Switching to Distribute Contribution Video

AT&T confirmed plans to deploy a standards-based High Definition-SDI video transport and switching network capability for the professional broadcast marketplace.

The new capability combines AT&T's SONET optical network with next-generation video transport technology based on JPEG2000 compression standards. It will support HD-SDI at rates between 75Mb and 400Mb along with SD-SDI at 24Mb to 150Mb.

Following a successful pilot program in January, AT&T expects to start delivering the feature utilizing JPEG2000 compression capabilities beginning 3Q 2010 in major metropolitan areas across North America.

"This enhancement to our AT&T Global Video Services portfolio will enable broadcast customers to take advantage of a cost-effective, high availability, high quality compression process for migrating to next generation video services such as 3D and higher-quality HD," said Sanford Brown, vice president, AT&T Connectivity and Metro Network Services. "AT&T has the ability to reach many media outlets on a global scale with a high level of network redundancy and resiliency -- and now with JPEG2000 compression technology planned -- for an unparalleled viewing experience."

4Home Raises $7 Million for Connected Home Software

4Home, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, raised $6.8 million in Series-B financing for its connected home software.

The company is known primarily for its work in pioneering connected home services, which include energy management, home control and monitoring, media management, and home health.

"4Home's revenue grew by 300% in the past year and we more than doubled our workforce in the same period. As a result of this growth we'll be relocating our offices to a larger Sunnyvale complex in May," said Leon Hounshell, President and CEO of 4Home. "We couldn't be more excited about the momentum 4Home is building and are expecting strong growth in 2010."

4Home recently announced strategic partnerships with Sensus Metering Systems, the nation's largest AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) vendor, Marvell Semiconductor, and Sigma Designs, among others.

3Crowd Raises $6 million for Cloud Mgt Tools

3Crowd Technologies, a start-up based in San Mateo, California, raised $6.62 million in Series A financing for its crowd-sourcing method of leveraging multiple content delivery networks (CDNs).

3Crowd has developed a series of management tools that give enterprises greater controls over content delivery and other cloud services, enabling them to use multiple services at once and thereby command new pricing and performance dynamics. 3Crowd's flagship product, CrowdDirector, effectively unifies any services that are based on web protocols, so they can be monitored, managed and deployed as a single service.

CrowdMonitor lets content providers actively monitor and react to cloud service performance and reliability data. Passive monitors are placed throughout a network and at the end user's location. CrowdMonitor collects continuous streams of logs and analyzes information related to traffic path, speed, downtime, whether or not content is cached, latency times, etc. CrowdDirector effectively acts as a virtual load balancer on a network, enabling enterprises and content owners to manage their services across multiple CDNs, cloud services, and web servers, using a set of simple and articulate rules. These rules, which include feedback from the ‘crowd' or the performance from the actual content delivery, are built from a multitude of parameters such as time, location, networks (ASNs), content types, CDN performance, traffic capacities, pricing and more.

The investment came from Canaan Partners and Storm Ventures.

Continuous Computing Optimizes for LTE EPC and Femtocell Gateway Efficiency

Continuous Computing announced that its Trillium Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) FastPath software has achieved a 10X performance improvement over generic user-space SCTP implementations. Trillium SCTP FastPath leverages the 6WINDGate packet processing software suite from 6WIND and its optimized performance is delivered via the FlexPacket ATCA-PP50 Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) blade from Continuous Computing featuring dual NetLogic Microsystems XLR732 multi-core processors.

Trillium said the choice of SCTP as the IP transport layer for mobile data networks has placed a huge strain on SCTP processing that was not envisioned when the SCTP protocol was defined. Massive growth in smart phone usage is consuming signaling resources and impacting throughput in the signaling plane, while rapid gains in the number of connected devices and base stations limits scalability because each reliable connection requires significant signaling capacity. This strain will be felt in the femtocell market where hundreds of thousands of connected femtocells will be managed by a single Femtocell Gateway (FGW), as well as in the LTE market where the Mobility Management Entity (MME) in the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) will face similar challenges from the multitude of small cell deployments.

Trillium SCTP FastPath software moves SCTP into the native execution environment on the PP50 to yield unprecedented scalability; achieves a 10X improvement over generic user-space implementations of SCTP. This supports over 1 million packets per second and over 60,000 associations of SCTP traffic on just three of the 16 available processing cores of the PP50 blade.

Halstad Selects Calix in Broadband Stimulus Build

Halstad Telephone Company (HTC) selected the Calix Unified Access portfolio to bring 100 Mbps services to thousands of homes and businesses in communities it serves across Minnesota and North Dakota. Halstad will leverage $11.7 million in Broadband Stimulus funds to implement and deploy its network. Plans call for IPTV services, residential and business data services, fiber-fed mobile backhaul services, and VOIP to previously underserved and unserved communities. Calix will supply its E7 Ethernet Service Access Platform (ESAP) for both AE and GPON, optical network terminals (ONTs) terminating both AE and GPON for residential, MDUs and business access, and E5-120 Ethernet Service Platforms for providing VDSL2 and SIP voice services.

Voltaire Adds Virtualized Data Center Mgt to GigE Fabrics

Voltaire introduced new Unified Fabric Manager (UFM) software that orchestrates physical and virtual switches over high-performance Ethernet switching fabrics, thereby delivering guaranteed levels of service per application. By using an application-centric, real-time approach, UFM enables data center operators to monitor and manage the entire fabric, maximize fabric resource utilization and enforce security and isolation policies. The software can identify network congestions and take corrective action before any potential performance degradation occurs ensuring the guaranteed levels of service.

"Voltaire's unique approach to data center networking includes intelligent management and application acceleration software offerings that work in combination with the switched infrastructure to enable extremely high-performance, dynamic data centers," said Asaf Somekh, vice president of marketing, Voltaire. "The new software we're introducing today is optimized for Voltaire's Vantage 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches and also enhances the performance of many third-party 10GbE switching platforms."

Voltaire also introduced Voltaire Messaging Accelerator (VMA) software for Ethernet fabrics. VMA software provides seamless Ethernet IP multicast connectivity, with transport latency (RTT/2) as low as 3.5 microseconds and application-to-application latency as low as 7 microseconds.

Voltaire said its VMA boosts performance of high frequency trading applications, including NYSE Technologies' Data Fabric, 29West LBM, RTI DDS and others developed in-house, cutting latency by as much as 80% and increasing application throughput per server, as compared to applications running on traditional Ethernet interconnect networks. VMA software runs on Voltaire Vantage switches and other industry-standard 10 GbE Ethernet networks and requires no changes to the application.

Crossbeam Systems Signs European Partners

Crossbeam Systems has signed a number of European partners for its next-generation security platforms. These include Corpus Solutions in the Czech Republic, Integralis in the United Kingdom, Pan Dacom in Germany and Unitronics in Spain.


Alcatel-Lucent Unveils "Optism" Mobile Advertising

Alcatel-Lucent is entering the mobile advertising space with a hosted service that matches advertising inventory with targeted mobile audiences. The new Alcatel-Lucent "Optism" solution is designed to help mobile operators rapidly introduce an opt-in program that delivers SMS and MMS ads from leading global brands to specific mobile users.

Alcatel-Lucent will broker relationships between mobile operators and advertisers, greatly simplifying the media selling process for aggregated operator inventory. Its new "Optism" media arm will build commercial relationships with global brands and agencies, creating an ecosystem to facilitate the sale of aggregated media inventory across multiple mobile operators. To create this media agency and hosted advertising platform, Alcatel-Lucent has hired talent from global advertising agencies.

Alcatel-Lucent said its model will use permission-based messaging, where the subscriber specifically enables advertising messages to be sent, most likely in return for a discount, a free download or other incentive.The advertising would be tailored to their specific interests and lifestyles, such as discount offers on products and services. Advertising would come in the form of an SMS or MMS and could be tied into location-based systems, although not necessarily. By sharing this platform across multiple operators and making it available to all devices and mobile operating systems, Alcatel-Lucent believes it can scale to service to reach a huge audience.

Orange Austria is already planning to use this system and Alcatel-Lucent confirmed that other operators are also evaluating.

"Mobile operators have a huge role to play in the growth of mobile advertising," said Thomas Labarthe, Vice President of Mobile Advertising at Alcatel-Lucent. "Our solution unlocks that potential and finally creates a compelling proposition for operators, advertisers and, importantly, subscribers."