Monday, June 7, 2010

Virtela Launches Cloud-Based Application Acceleration Service

Virtela, which provides global managed network services through partnerships with 500+ carriers, introduced a virtualized application acceleration service for enterprises that promises performance boosts of up to 25x without the upfront investment of acceleration hardware. Specifically, Virtela's virtualized acceleration service leverages the network cloud instead of dedicated hardware appliances at each branch office.

Virtela is operating 50 Local Cloud Centers (LCCs), distributed around the world in close proximity to end users, to accelerate applications immediately, near the content source. The service applies caching, compression, higher layer communication protocol and other application optimization techniques to reduce application chattiness, resulting in the 5-25x performance boost.

Virrtela said its service can be activated instantly in more than 190 countries at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. The service is just $5 per day per branch office location. For example, a 20-branch-office network that follows a traditional device-dependent approach would cost $200,000 in year one, compared to $36,000 with Virtela's cloud-based model - five times less.

The new service accelerates applications between any location - headquarters, data centers, branch offices, mobile workers and partner sites - anywhere in the world. Some of the performance gains include:

  • 7-25x for Microsoft Windows File Sharing (e.g., Microsoft Office)

  • 5-17x for Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes Email

  • 5-13x for ERP/CRM Applications (e.g., Siebel, Oracle,

  • 6-10x for Web-based Collaboration (e.g., Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle WebCenter)

  • 10-25x for Data Backup and Storage (e.g., EMC, NetApp, Amazon EC2)

Virtela is backing its price/performance claims with an application response time guarantee: "if customers do not experience faster response times, they do not pay - and Virtela will pay them 250% of their service charge."

Alcatel-Lucent Selected for Africa-Coast-to-Europe Cable

Alcatel-Lucent has signed a turnkey contract valued at over US$500 million with Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), a newly formed consortium composed of 20 operators linking Cape Town in South Africa to Penmarch in France via a submarine cable network.

With an ultimate design capacity of 5.12 Terabit per second (Tbps), ACE has built-in 40 Gbps. Its 17,000-km coastal route will link South Africa to France - via Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Tenerife (Spain) and Portugal -- and will have 21 landing points along the route. Commercial launch is expected in the first half of 2012.

Initiated and headed by France Telecom-Orange, the consortium is composed of twenty parties: Baharicom Development Company, Benin Telecoms, Cable Consortium of Liberia, Orange Cameroun, Companhia Santomense de Telecomunicações, Côte d'Ivoire Telecom, Expresso Telecom Group, France Telecom, Gambia Telecommunications Company, International Mauritania Telecom, Office Congolais des Postes et Télécommunication, Orange Guinea, Orange Mali, Orange Niger, PT Comunicações, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, the Gabonese Republic, Sierra Leone Cable, Société des Télécommunications de Guinée and Sonatel.

Alcatel-Lucent will deploy its advance submarine line terminal (1620 Light Manager) working at up to 40 Gbps and using phase shift keying (PSK)-based modulation formats with next-generation coherent detection to deal with transmission impairments. Alcatel-Lucent will also supply its branching units and will implement its 1678 Metro Core Connect in the landing points that will be located along the route.

Broadband Forum Targets Next Generation Access (NGA)

The Broadband Forum outlined a number of initiatives aimed at empowering next generation access solutions in a variety of technologies, including ADSL2plus, VDSL2 and GPON. Specifically, the Broadband Forum is extending its testing and conformance efforts, encouraging the evolution of access technologies. This work includes:

  • Recent enhancements to the ADSL2plus functionality test plan (TR-105 Corrigendum 2)

  • Introduction of the new VDSL2 test suite (TR-114/TR-115 and TR-138)

  • Development of a new Vectoring best practices white paper (MD-257)

  • Recently added GPON interoperability abstract test development and testing being performed in conjunction with Full Service Access Network (FSAN). This work includes ongoing Plugfest events, open to all FSAN and Broadband Forum equipment and chipset vendors.

  • Additional fiber-related work is also moving forward addressing EPON.

The Broadband Forum has also undertaken a body of work to help service providers migrate to a more flexible, IP and MPLS-based mesh network. This pending release will be based on TR-144 "Broadband Multi-Service Architecture & Framework Requirements" and anchored by key work in progress, such as WT-145 "Broadband Architecture Requirements" and WT-223 "Requirements for MPLS over Aggregated Interfaces". A new white paper associated with this work is also in development titled "Unified MPLS: Enabling next generation transport and services using MPLS-TP".

"Our role is to ensure that the industry has all the specifications and tools it needs to optimize networks, advance interoperability, and ultimately to capture the full potential of broadband worldwide," says Robin Mersh, COO of the Broadband Forum. "These new initiatives and joint efforts will provide those tools needed to expedite the migration to the next generation broadband network."

Ethernet Alliance Tests Data Center Bridging Interoperability

The Ethernet Alliance said that results from a recent interoperability plugfest focused on IEEE 802.1 Data Center Bridging (DCB) are encouraging and demonstrated the growing interest and demand for support in DCB capabilities.

The plugfest took place the week of May 17, 2010 at the University of New Hampshire's Interoperability Lab and included Cisco, Dell, Emulex, Intel, Ixia, JDSU, Leviton, Marvell, Mellanox Technologies, NetApp, Panduit, QLogic, Spirent, and Volex.

The event was the first demonstration of interoperability testing of IEEE Std. 802.1QauTM-2010 Congestion Notification (QCN), and a continuation of testing of DCB Capability Exchange Protocol (IEEE P802.1Qaz,), Enhanced Transmission Selection (IEEE P802.1Qaz) and Priority-based Flow Control (IEEE P802.1Qbb).

Participants were able to demonstrate effectively the interoperability of their products and participate in a lossless Ethernet fabric simultaneously on the same network. In addition to traditional TCP/IP traffic, interoperability was also demonstrated with multiple converged traffic classes including higher layer protocols such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and iSCSI over DCB as well as high performance computing traffic being properly managed by the DCB protocols.

"The importance of interoperability in developing technologies such as Data Center Bridging is vital. The vendors that came together at this event are turning DCB technology into reality by implementing the standards and demonstrating the robustness of initial implementations," said Patricia Thaler, IEEE 802.1 Data Center Bridging Task Group chair.

"The IEEE 802.1 DCB task group efforts offer significant improvements in how data moves through Ethernet networks and permits the convergence of multiple traffic types onto a single network," stated Charlie Lavacchia, Ethernet Alliance President. "Ethernet Alliance sponsored plugfests help to prove the feasibility of the technology, to test interoperability among multiple vendors, and to prepare the end user for adoption of new Ethernet technologies. DCB plugfests are critical to ensure the end users can deploy new technologies like FCoE or enhance existing ones like iSCSI."

Additional information on the interoperability demonstration will be available in a white paper published next month and a paper of findings for the first interoperability testing can be found on the Ethernet Alliance Web site.

Spirent Introduces Wi-Fi Positioning Test Solution

Spirent has introduced a Wi-Fi Positioning Access Point Simulator to test Wi-Fi positioning capabilities in suitably-enabled devices and chipsets. Wi-Fi positioning can be used in addition to existing location technologies such as A-GPS and Cell ID, to provide subscribers with location information more quickly and in more places.

Spirent's GSS5700 software allows real-world test scenarios, including simultaneous simulation of up to 48 Wi-Fi access points in the lab. This approach greatly reduces the need to conduct large-scale field trials while adding essential capabilities such as full user control and test repeatability. The GSS5700 can be combined with Spirent's GPS and multi-GNSS Simulation Systems to test hybrid Wi-Fi and GPS/GNSS technologies, with the unique ability to simulate motion of a mobile device through environments where both sets of signals are present. The GSS5700 will also integrate with Spirent's 8100 ULTS and C2K-ATS Location Technology Solutions to form part of a complete, integrated solution for testing hybrid location technologies in UMTS and CDMA mobile devices.

Google Maps and Nokia's Ovi Maps, as well as personal electronic devices such as the Apple iPad, are now taking advantage of Wi-Fi positioning.

"The wide availability of signals from Wi-Fi access points lowers the barriers to deploying Wi-Fi positioning, however, effective verification and testing is critical to ensure that the user experience meets the expectations of today's demanding consumer," said Peter Boulton, Chief Technology Officer for Spirent's Positioning Technology Division. "Spirent is uniquely situated to make sure that Wi-Fi implementations work well across a wide range of real-world scenarios, especially those where GPS performance is likely to be compromised".

NTT America Appoints Kazuhiro Gomi President and CEO

NTT America has appointed Kazuhiro Gomi as the company's president and CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Gomi was formerly Chief Operating Officer (COO) and the acting head of the Enterprise Solutions Business Unit. He will succeed Tetsuro Yamaguchi who was named president and CEO of NTT America in 2006.

NTT Delivers 100GBASE-LR4 Interconnection

NTT Communications, Infinera Japan and Ixia Communications are providing a 100 Gbps Ethernet transmission network during this week's Interop Tokyo 2010 trade show at the Makuhari Messe exhibition complex. The 100 Gbps Ethernet connection serves as the backbone for ShowNet, providing Internet access by exhibitors and visitors.

The network comprises telecommunication and network infrastructure constructed and managed by NTT Com, an Infinera DTN DWDM system, and customizable network testers from Ixia. The connection uses the Ethernet specification 100GBASE-LR4, which is scheduled to be standardized by mid-June after extensive testing to prove network throughput, latency and fluctuation. Interconnection of numerous devices using the 100GBASE-LR4 specification during the show will demonstrate the technology's possibilities.

Ethernet at 100 Gbps would enable the transfer of 25GB of data - the volume of a Blu-ray disk - in two seconds at the theoretical maximum speed.

NTT DOCOMO Tests its LTE Network

NTT DOCOMO is ready to begin testing its LTE network in the Tokyo area, prior to the full-scale launch of extra-high-speed LTE commercial service in December. The LTE network will be verified for speed, latency, stability of inter-cell handover and other conditions required for commercial operation.

DOCOMO said it expects to confirm 5 MHz-bandwidth throughput for 37.5 Mbps downlinks and 12.5 Mbps uplinks, and later 10 MHz-bandwidth throughput for maximum 75 Mbps downlinks and 25 Mbps uplinks in selected test areas.

The 2 GHz network system comprises dual W-CDMA/LTE base stations, LTE core network equipment and LTE-enabled mobile devices. For efficiency, DOCOMO has been installing LTE base-station components on existing W-CDMA 3G base stations. Base stations in DOCOMO's existing W-CDMA network that already are equipped with dual W-CDMA/LTE remote radio equipment1 can be easily upgraded for LTE service with the addition of an LTE BDE (base station digital equipment).

The LTE devices to be used in the pre-launch operation are equipped for theoretical speeds of 100 Mbps downlinks and 50 Mbps uplinks. Compatibility with W-CDMA will enable seamless handover as the devices move between LTE and W-CDMA service areas in the network. The devices also are compatible with the GSM protocol, which will enable them to be used on LTE/GSM networks in overseas markets.
  • In March 2010, Fujitsu began shipping LTE mobile base station systems to NTT DOCOMO, which plans to launch LTE services in December 2010.

    Fujitsu was selected by NTT DOCOMO in October 2006 as a vendor to develop and manufacture the company's LTE wireless mobile base stations. Since then, the two companies have been jointly developing and evaluating the systems. Fujitsu said LTE, also called Super 3G, should reach transmission rates of up to 150 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream, in addition to featuring low latency. The new LTE base stations incorporate numerous advanced Fujitsu technologies, such as highly efficient amplifier technology, to make them lightweight, energy-efficient, and high-performance.

AT&T Adds Telepresence Multi-Vendor Interoperability

AT&T introduced a network-based videoconferencing bridging capability that enables users of Cisco TelePresence systems to hold inter-company telepresence sessions with both standard- and high-definition video equipment from multiple vendors.

This includes support for existing videoconferencing equipment from such brands as Polycom, LifeSize and Cisco's recently-acquired Tandberg.

"As the first provider with a Cisco license for inter-company interoperability and the first to offer exchange-based inter-company interoperability with Cisco TelePresence, AT&T marks another major milestone in Cisco's mission to change the way people communicate and collaborate," said Mark Weidick, vice president and general manager, TelePresence Exchange Business Unit, Cisco. "AT&T is a leader in the development of creative video collaboration solutions and this feature, a result of our close relationship with AT&T and our joint commitment to interoperability between equipment made by multiple vendors, and between company networks, continues to build on those developments."

Pfizer, an AT&T Telepresence Solution customer, has been testing the inter-company interoperability feature over its installed base of videoconferencing systems purchased from a variety of vendors.

India's Bharti Airtel Acquires Zain's African Networks

India's Bharti Airtel completed its previously announced acquisition of Zain's mobile operations in 15 countries across Africa for an enterprise valuation of US$10.7 billion.

The acquisition positions Airtel as one of the world's top five mobile operators with 180 million customers, operations in 18 countries across Asia and Africa. It's network footprint covers over 1.8 billion people. The company will have combined revenues of over US$12.4 billion and EBITDA of over US$ 4.7 billion, based on the last audited results.

Bharti's acquisition of Zain's African mobile services operations covers 15 countries with a total customer base of over 42 million. The total population base covered is over 450 million with telecom penetration of approximately 32%. The countries in which Bharti has acquired the operations are - Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Zain is the market leader in 10 of the 15 countries and second in 4 countries.

For Zain, the sale resulted in aggregate net cash proceeds of US$8.968 billion. As at 8th June 2010, Zain confirms that it has received US$7.868 billion of cash proceeds from Bharti. The rest is due over the next 6 months. Zain has also licensed the use of the "Zain" brand and related trademarks to Bharti in all 15 African operations for an interim period.

Zain will now focus on its Middle Eastern operations, investing in new growth opportunities in existing markets of Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. In Lebanon, the company manages "mtc-touch" on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain has a stake in Wana Telecom through a joint venture.