Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MetroPCS Goes Live with First Rich Communications over LTE

MetroPCS Communications announced the commercial launch of Rich Communication Services (RCS) on its 4GLTE network under the  GSMA-licensed joyn brand. 

Based on the GSMA RCS 5.0 standard, joyn by MetroPCS will deliver an experience beyond voice and basic messaging to provide customers with a unified and intuitive way to use enriched services like integrated instant messaging or chat, WiFi and video calling and simplified content sharing.

MetroPCS will support the following RCS services at launch for customers with 4GLTE joyn-enabled smartphones:
  • Contacts Presence - joyn knows and shows how users can reach and share content with contacts at any time
    • Contact availability/status sync (online, busy, away, unavailable)
    • Calendar sync
    • Social network interaction
  • Enriched Chat - Threaded conversations keep track of who's said what and show which people and groups are available to chat and share content
    • Instant messaging and group chat
    • Conversational view
    • Delivery of read notifications and composing indications
  • Content Sharing - Bring calls and chats to life by sharing content with just one click from the address book
    • Share video, images and files while on a call and within instant messaging or chat
    • Display service capabilities
    • Geo-location
  • WiFi and Video Calling - Stay connected with voice and video calls in areas with little or no cellular coverage
    • WiFi calling and video calls over WiFi

 "As the first 4G LTE carrier in the world to offer RCS, we are excited to join the global community of operators implementing the RCS standard and we are proud of our team and partners who were critical in building this capability that will evolve and expand over the next year," said Roger Linquist, CEO and Chairman of MetroPCS.

"We believe RCS is a tremendous differentiator among prepaid and postpaid competitors alike and recognize that achieving interoperability across U.S. 4G LTE networks is the next key step to paving the way for more innovative services and capabilities in the future," added Linquist.

joyn by MetroPCS will be available beginning today on the Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G. 

In August, MetroPCS officially launched its commercial Voice-over-LTE service. The first sale of a VoLTE-capable handset occurred at one of the company's Dallas/Fort Worth store locations.

Its first VoLTE-capable LG Connect 4G Android smartphone is now on sales at select stores across the U.S.. MetroPCS said it will continue to roll out VoLTE services and phones in the coming weeks.

MetroPCS had 9.3 million overall mobile subscribers as of the end of Q2, of which over 700,000 were LTE subscriptions.

With the new VoLTE, voice calls are carried transparently over LTE regardless of the handset or network used on the other end of the call.

"The initial move to LTE and this move to VoLTE allow us to achieve significant spectral efficiencies and will increase network capacity so that we can enhance the 4G LTE experience that our customers have today at a tremendous value. VoLTE also provides a foundational capability for future Rich Communication Services (RCS), which we plan to launch later this year," stated Roger Linquist, chairman and chief executive officer of MetroPCS.

MetroPCS noted that it was the first U.S. carrier to deploy a commercial 4G LTE network in September 2010. So far, the LTE network rollout covers roughly 90 percent of its CDMA footprint. 

AT&T and T-Mobile Enable Open Roaming in Sandy's Wake

AT&T and T-Mobile agreed to enable roaming on their networks in areas impacted by Hurricane Sanday and where capacity is available and subscribers have a compatible device.  Both networks use GSM and UMTS.

Customers will be able to place calls in a normal fashion and the traffic will be carried by the most available network.   There will no change necessary for rate plans.

AT&T also noted that it has many disaster response teams engaged and making progress in restoring wireless and wireline services in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.  The vast majority of the company's cell sites in the Northeast are online and working. 

T-Mobile USA said its network in New York City is more than 80% operational and that restoration work continues in the harder hit areas of lower Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island, coastal and Northern New Jersey, Connecticut and portions of Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia.

Infinera's DTN-X Selected for Mediterranean Subsea Network

Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta) has deployed Infinera’s DTN-X platform across the TE-North Cable System, interconnecting Asia and Africa to Europe.  Cyta operates and maintains the ALEXANDROS subsystem, part of Telecom Egypt’s TE-North Cable System which stretches 3,600 kilometers connecting Abu Talat, Egypt, to Marseilles, France, with a branch to Pentaskhinos, Cyprus.

Infinera’s DTN-X platform allows Cyta to add additional capacity to the ALEXANDROS subsystem, with the ability to upgrade TE North’s terrestrial network in the future.

Infinera’s DTN-X platform supports 500 Gbps long-haul FlexCoherent super-channels integrated with 5 Terabits per second (Tbps) of Optical Transport Network (OTN) switching per bay.  Infinera also supports multiple software-programmable modulation formats for optimization of the network. Integrated OTN switching is coupled with a GMPLS control plane to deliver wavelength flexibility.

“We are delighted to work with Infinera to deploy the DTN-X platform on this critical international telecommunications route,” said Yiannis Koulias, Cyta’s Director of National & International Wholesale Market. “We are confident the Infinera DTN-X delivers the most advanced optical transport platform based on 500 Gb/s photonic integrated circuits. The FlexCoherent technology will allow us to optimize transmission performance across our existing subsea fiber plant and meet the demands of our customers quickly and efficiently.”

Infinera is the first to deliver 500 Gb/s long-haul super-channels based on Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) and FlexCoherent™ Processor, scaling transport capacity without scaling operational complexity.  Infinera’s PICs combine multiple optical subsystems on a single IC and result in fewer fiber connections, less space, and less power when compared to conventional systems based upon discrete components. The Infinera DTN-X increases network efficiency with 5 Terabits of integrated OTN switching per bay, resulting in much more efficient utilization when compared to conventional WDM architectures that do not allow sub-lambda grooming and switching. Infinera’s Bandwidth Virtualization™ simplifies service deployment, enabling operators to deploy networks in days and services in minutes, thereby lowering operational costs.

Verizon Wireless: 6% of Cell Sites Offline in Northeast

As of Wednesday afternoon, Verizon Wireless reported that more than 94% of it cell towers in the Northeastern United States (from Maine to Virginia) were operational and supporting customers.   The company said it has seen some improvement to wireless service in lower Manhattan and elsewhere in the NYC metro area over the past 24 hours as power is being restored.

A number of cell sites are still on backup power and the company is working to refuel these locations as expeditiously as possible.

IPtronics Files Complaint Against Avago for 40/100G Modules

IPtronics has filed legal suit against Avago Technologies in the U.S. District Court in San Jose for allegedly violating commitments made to standards setting organizations and failing to protect IPtronics’ confidential information.

IPtronics claims that Avago ignored legally binding commitments to standards setting organizations to disclose patented technology and to make that technology available for licensing.

The claims concern short-range, 40G and 100G multimode VCSEL-based fiber optical modules.

PacketFront Acquired by Fiber Access AB

PacketFront Network Products AB has been acquired by Fiber Access Holding AB for an undisclosed sum.

PacketFront is a supplier of broadband access equipment for network operators. The company has shipped more than 1.2 million access connections since its founding in 2001.

The main owners of Fiber Access Holding AB is the investment group ShortCap, which focuses on entrepreneurial companies with strong potential for growth.

Big Switch Raises $25 Million for Open SDN

Big Switch Networks raised $25 million in Series B funding for its platform-independent Software-Defined Networking (SDN) solution.

Big Switch Networks, which was founded in March 2010 and is based in Palo Alto, California, leverages open APIs to enable customers to deploy dynamic and flexible networking applications, including data center network virtualization. The company is building an ecosystem of physical and virtual switching partners for its Open SDN architecture.

The new funding was led by Redpoint Ventures and joined by Goldman Sachs, and existing investors Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and others. The company has now raised $39 million to date.

“Big Switch is delivering on the vision of software-defined networking (SDN) with an open and standards-based platform that enables network programmability, flexibility and new levels of network service delivery. We started this revolutionary trend away from closed and proprietary systems, and are gratified that every major physical and virtual infrastructure vendor is now participating,” said Guido Appenzeller, CEO and co-founder of Big Switch Networks.

Ixia Validates LTE Base Station Performance

Ixia introduced its XAir solution for validating LTE base station performance in terms of realistic subscriber and service modeling, scalability, and QoE measurements.

Ixia said its new XAir provides realistic subscriber modeling, supporting web, voice and video applications, all LTE mobility types, and modeling of radio characteristics — cell edge, cell center and user movements.  It supports more than 1,000 emulated user equipment’s per sector and more than 6,000 per chassis.

Carriers can also use XAir carriers to optimize voice quality, including voice over LTE (VoLTE) and video quality by stressing the infrastructure with real-world traffic and measuring QoE.

Other features include:

•        End-to-end LTE network testing from the LTE base station, through the mobile backhaul and core networks, all the way to the data center.
•        QoE analysis and scoring of each traffic stream.
•        Mobility over multiple sectors.
•        Built-in high-accuracy 10 MHz clock for eNB synchronization.
•        Fully compatible with the Ixia XM and XG chassis and load modules for seamless testing with other Ixia hardware and test applications.

Extreme Posts Revenue of $76 Million, Down 13% Sequentially

Extreme Networks reported revenue of $76.1 million for its first quarter of fiscal 2013 ending September 30, 2012, a 3.5% decrease compared to revenue of $78.9 million reported for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 and a 13.1% decrease compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. GAAP net income for the first quarter was $12.9 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, an increase year-over-year compared to GAAP net income of $1.6 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2012.

"Q1 results were in-line with our targets and we are encouraged by customer and partner response related to our strategy and products released earlier in the calendar year," stated Oscar Rodriguez, President and CEO of Extreme Networks.  "Our goal is to grow revenues while continually refining our cost structure and enhancing our selling efforts to deliver superior products that we believe provide both a technology and cost advantage for both new and existing customers."

Nasuni Raises $20 Million for Enterprise Cloud Gateway

Nasuni, a start-up based in Natick, Mass., raised  $20 million in Series C funding for its enterprise cloud gateway. Nasuni provides a consolidated storage-as-a-service solution for distributed enterprises.  The solution brings all primary storage (i.e. file and block) together with built-in backup, replication, and offsite protection using an on-site appliance connected to the cloud.

The funding came from a new key investor,.Previous investors Flybridge Capital Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners and Sigma Partners also participated in the financing.

  • Nasuni is headed by Andres Rodriguez, who previously was founder and CTO of Archivas, which developed an enterprise-class cloud storage system and was acquired by Hitachi Data Systems in 2006. Earlier, he was CTO of the New York Times, where he drove digital strategy at NYTimes and

MIT Tech Review: Breakthrough in Power Amplifiers

Eta Devices, a start-up company led by two MIT electrical engineering professors, has cracked the energy efficiency problem in power amplifier designs for radio communications.  According to MIT Technology Review website, the technology promises to reduce power usage in LTE base stations by half.  The company has the backing of Strata Venture Partners.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NSN Ties Network Investments to Customer Experience Management

Nokia Siemens Networks introduced its Customer Experience Management (CEM) for Liquid Net that ties capacity optimization related investments to customer experience.  The aim is to help operators to decide precisely when and where to optimize network performance to improve user experience, for instance, identifying low throughput and uplink performance caused by network congestion. Nokia Siemens Networks said this approach links customer and revenue insights to improving network performance.

“Conventionally, operators have been making investments in network capacity based on a network view, rather than how it would impact customer experience or revenue opportunity,” said Tommi Uitto, head of mobile broadband value creation management at Nokia Siemens Networks. “With CEM for Liquid Net, operators can make investments exactly where capacity improvements are needed to achieve the maximum business impact. With this combined approach, we link capacity optimization to customer experience and revenue impact, improving both user satisfaction and profit.”

Datagram's NYC Data Center Taken Down by Sandy

Datagram's data center at 33 Whitehall in Manhattan was knocked offline by Hurricane Sandy.  Once ConEdison cut power to the neighborhood, Datagram's back-up generators kicked on.  However, the basement flooded with sea water , taking out the the diesel pumps.  The company reports no infrastructure damage.

A number of prominent websites were impacted by the Datagram outage, including Buzzfeed,, HuffingtonPost, The Real Deal and others.

Internap's NYC Data Center Flooded by Sandy

Internap's NYC data centers located at 111 8th Ave. and 75 Broad suffered damage and were knocked offline by Hurricane Sandy.  On Monday evening, Con Edison proactively cut electricity to lower Manhattan ahead of the storm surge. Both sites activated their back-up diesel generators.  However, the salt water flooded into the 75 Broad data center, compromising the diesel pumps.  The building was evacuated and the site eventually lost power.  

The data center at 111 8th Ave. continues to run on back-up power.  The company says there is enough fuel for several days and that it anticipates fuel deliveries in the event that commercial power is not quickly restored.

ADVA Intros Sync Probe (1588v2) for Mobile Base Stations

ADVA Optical Networking introduced an Ethernet network probe that helps mobile network operators deliver precise time-of-day information for phase alignment between adjacent base stations.

The ADVA FSP 150SP device features a Precision Time Protocol (PTP) clock probe that simultaneously supports Synchronous Ethernet and IEEE 1588v2, and a built-in GPS receiver, enabling time synchronization and assurance across multi-vendor mobile backhaul infrastructures.

"Service providers need to do more than simply bring fiber to the cell tower; they also need to deliver precise time-of-day information for phase alignment between adjacent base stations. This is the primary goal of our FSP 150 platform and its new member, the FSP 150SP," said Christoph Glingener, CTO, ADVA Optical Networking.

Steadfast's 121 Varick St Data Center Offline

Steadfast Networks' 5,000 square foot data center located at 121 Varick St. in Manhattan was knocked completely offline by Hurricane Sandy.  The facility suffered an auxiliary electrical failure after commercial power was cut off in the neighborhood and the building evacuated.  Steadfast's data center remained inaccessible as of Tuesday afternoon.

Broadcom Expands Base Station Solutions

Broadcom introduced a Digital Front End (DFE) board designed to speed development of multi-protocol radio systems for macro and small cell base stations. The board ships with the components for a complete transmit loop, with the exception of the customer's selected driver and power amplifier (PA).

Broadcom also noted that it recently began sampling its 28 nanometer (nm) dual-core XLP-200 series communications processor for scalable small cell designs simultaneously supporting 3G, 4G and 5G WiFi. Volume shipments of 40nmXLP-300 series processors are ramping in wireless base station, radio network controller, mobile core and cloud applications.

EMC to Acquire Silver Tail for Web Session Intelligence

EMC agreed to acquire Silver Tail Systems, a start-up offering web session intelligence and behavior analysis tools, for an undisclosed sum.

The Silver Tail Systems platform collects and analyzes real-time web traffic forensics with the goal of providing visibility into all web and mobile application traffic.  Silver Tail then provides a behavioral analysis engine that creates heuristics and rules to detect anomalies, IT security threats, fraud, insider threats, business logic abuse and other malicious activity. The company's Big Data-driven approach is to gather and analyze mass quantities of information in real time and at scale to deepen visibility into web sessions. 

Silver Tail was founded in 2008 and is based in Menlo Park, California.  The company announced a strategic relationship with MasterCard earlier this year.

EMC said the Silver Tail will extend  the capabilities of RSA's Identity Protection and Verification (IPV) solutions, as well as other areas across RSA's enterprise security portfolio.  Following the acquisition, Silver Tail will operate within EMC's RSA security division.  

"The industry is well beyond the point of providing effective security using static, perimeter point tools that fail to keep up with dynamic cyber attackers. Customers need better intelligence, analytics, and the ability to respond in real time which is a capability that Silver Tail’s products do extraordinarily well to help foil web-based attacks. Silver Tail offers proven anti-fraud solutions that complement RSA’s portfolio of risk-based and adaptive products and services, stated Art Coviello, RSA Executive Chairman and Executive Vice President, EMC Corporation.

  • In 2011, EMC acquired NetWitness -- a privately-held provider of network security analysis solutions -- for an undisclosed sum.  NetWitness' technologies provide precise and pervasive network visibility, enabling security teams to detect and remediate advanced threats while automating the incident investigation process. NetWitness' monitoring and analysis platform addresses insider threats, zero-day exploits and targeted malware, advanced persistent threats, fraud, espionage, data leakage, and continuous monitoring of security controls. NetWitness also enables automated malware analysis, a rapidly growing requirement for addressing advanced persistent threats. 

China's 21st CBH: China Unicom Looks at its Cisco Core Routers

China's 21st Century Business Herald reported that China Unicom has decided to replace Cisco core routers in the China169 backbone nodes in Wuxi, Jiangsu province due to security concerns.

Neither company has commented on the report.

The article notes that the report follows the recent public scrutiny that Huawei and ZTE have faced in the U.S..

JDSU Sees Cautious Spending by Service Providers

JDSU reported revenues of $420.9 million and a GAAP net loss was $(11.6) million, or $(0.05) per share for its fiscal 2013 first quarter ended September 29, 2012. Prior quarter net revenue was $434.0 million, with a net loss of $(22.2) million, or $(0.10) per share.

Net revenue for the fiscal 2012 first quarter was $415.8 million, with a net loss of $(5.8) million, or (0.03) per share.

The Communications Test and Measurement division accounts for 40% of revenues, while the Communications and Commercial Optical Products division accounts for 46%, and the Optical Security and Performance Products division accounts for the remaining 14%.

"Our solid fiscal Q1 results reflect JDSU’s ability to deliver to its commitments even during periods of economic uncertainty,” said Tom Waechter, JDSU’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

 "Communications service providers continue to spend cautiously due to macro-economic and geo-political concerns. Because of this uncertain climate, we are not projecting the calendar year-end budget release that frequently occurs in the Telecom industry. Looking forward, we are encouraged by the relentless broadband demand that remains a powerful driver for JDSU’s core business. Our ability to differentiate through product innovation, evolve our variable cost model, and maintain a robust balance sheet means that we are well positioned to capitalize on future growth opportunities as the gap closes between demand and actual spending by our core network customers."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Riverbed to Acquire OPNET for Network Visibility and Performance

Riverbed Technology agreed to acquire OPNET for $43 per share in cash and stock, representing an equity value of $1 billion and an enterprise value of $921 million. 

The deal will combine Riverbed's Cascade network performance management (NPM) business with OPNET's expertise in application performance management (APM) market.  The combination of Cascade and OPNET will have over $250 million in annualized revenue in a market that the companies characterize as a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

Riverbed and OPNET said their joint offering will provide "unparalleled visibility and insight into application and network performance." 

“The addition of OPNET establishes Riverbed as the clear leader in the high-growth and converging application and network performance management markets,” said Jerry Kennelly, Chairman and CEO at Riverbed. “This acquisition also transforms Riverbed into a billion dollar revenue company.”

“Riverbed and OPNET have natural synergies,” said Marc Cohen, OPNET’s Chairman and CEO. “Riverbed’s leadership in accelerating business technology combined with OPNET’s industry-leading suite of APM products provides customers with a single solution for monitoring, troubleshooting and actually fixing the application and network performance problems challenging them today.”

  • OPNET is led by Marc Cohen (CEO) and Alain Cohen (CTO).  The company was founded in 1986 and is based in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Earlier in October, Riverbed announced enhancements to its Cascade application-aware network performance management (NPM) solution with new capabilities for virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI), server virtualization, and fully virtualized data centers using VXLAN software-defined networks (SDNs).  The upcoming Cascade 10.0, which will be released in Q4, is targeting these virtualization features for deployment by service providers as well as in public, private, and hybrid clouds. The company said Cascade 10.0 will help network operators to pinpoint, understand, and troubleshoot performance issues within these virtualized environments. This includes:
  • For virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI), Cascade 10.0 monitoring supports the most popular VDI protocols, providing visibility for VMware View (PCoIP protocol) and the Common Internet File Systems (CIFS) protocol.
  • For monitoring VXLAN SDNs, Cascade 10.0 provides visibility into the UDP-encapsulated traffic and virtual tunnel endpoints. This helps control and understand VXLAN virtual overlay network performance.
  • Cascade 10.0 adds the ability to monitor and troubleshoot software-defined data centers (SDDC) and the physical network.
  • Riverbed is also introducing two new virtual editions of its Cascade product family that enable managed service providers (MSPs) to deliver application-aware network performance management (NPM) as a service to their small-to-medium-sized and enterprise customers. Riverbed said its new Cascade Profiler Virtual Edition and Cascade Gateway Virtual Edition, in addition to the existing Cascade Shark Virtual Edition, provide a completely virtualized NPM solution portfolio that allows MSPs to deliver continued value in a virtualized world with the next-generation of performance management.

Gigamon Extends and Scales its Traffic Visibility

Gigamon has enhanced its Traffic Visibility Fabric solutions with a new, 400 Gbps processing card for its high-density, GigaVUE H Series chassis. The platform supports a range of GigaSMART applications to enable the deduplication, modification, manipulation and transport of network traffic as it is delivered to management, monitoring and security tools and systems.

The enhancements represent the second step in Gigamon's four-phase evolution of its Visibility Fabric.  Subsequent phases are expected to include an Active Visibility Fabric and Living Visibility Fabric.

Gigamon emphasized that its solution represents the highest port density of any network visibility switch and that the packet processing cards as a game changer for managing, analyzing and securing IT infrastructure.

"As the volume and speed of network traffic continues to increase, the need to converge on a single platform – a fabric – that not only simplifies and automates traffic visibility, but also provides built-in intelligence, will drive the way organizations choose to monitor and manage their networks," said Paul Hooper, VP of Marketing at Gigamon.  "We see the features offered by GigaSMART as an anticipated and necessary next step in the evolution of the Visibility Fabric."

PMC Posts Q3 Revenue of $131.7 Million

PMC posted Q3 revenue of $131.7 million, a decrease of 4% compared to net revenues of $137.8 million in the second quarter of 2012 and a decrease of 24% compared to $173.3 million in the third quarter of 2011. GAAP net loss for Q3 was $274.4 million, or a loss of $1.31 per share.

Third quarter GAAP results included impairment write-downs of goodwill and intangible assets of $276.1 million related to the Passave and Wintegra acquisitions, completed in 2006 and 2010, respectively. This compares to a GAAP net income of $26.5 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, including a $28.5 million benefit from the recognition of certain U.S. tax credits, mainly arising from foreign withholding taxes paid in the second quarter of 2012.

“Our third quarter results were in line with expectations despite a tough macro environment,” said Greg Lang, president and chief executive officer of PMC. “With business uncertainty weighing on infrastructure purchases in every geography and market segment, we remain focused on best-in-class product execution, design wins and controlling operating expenses.”

Google Launches Nexus 4 Smartphone, No LTE

Google introduced its Nexus 4 smartphone, a 4.7" handset built by LG and powered by Qualcomm's quad core, Snapdragon S4 Pro processor.

The phone is priced at $299 in the U.S. for an unlocked version. It uses GSM/HSPA+ radios but it does not offer LTE connectivity.

The Nexus 4 runs Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) and features integrated Google Maps, Gmail, Chrome, Play, etc.

China Telecom's Profit Slides as Revenues Rise

China Telecom reported Q3 revenue of CNY 71.9 billion, up 15.6% over the same period last year.  Profit attributable to equity holders in the company amounted to CNY 3.75 billion, down 7.8% compared to a year earlier.

China Telecom now has 152.62 million mobile subscribers, of which 59.72  are on the 3G network.

Juniper's QFabric Completes EMC Compatibility Testing

Juniper Networks' QFabric products  have completed testing through EMC's E-Lab, certifying their interoperability with EMC VMAX and VNX storage arrays. In addition, Juniper's QFabric system has been added to EMC's Support Matrix.

EMC E-Lab tested the QFabric solution in an end-to-end, multivendor environment, which included testing and qualification of solutions with hypervisors, operating systems, Converged Network Adapters (CNA), Fibre Channel, Ethernet Switches, and EMC VMAX and EMC VNX storage systems.

The qualification adds Juniper Networks QFX3500 10GbE top-of-rack switch, QFX3000-M QFabric System and QFX3000-G QFabric System to EMC's Support Matrix.

Ceragon Says Mobile Operators Showing Extreme Caution in Spending

Ceragon Networks reported Q3 revenue of $118.0 million, up 2% from $116.1 million for the third quarter of 2011, and down 1% from $119.1 million in the second quarter of 2012.  Net loss (GAAP) was $(2.7) million or $(0.07) per basic share and diluted share, compared to net loss of $(6.7) million in the third quarter of 2011, or$(0.19) per basic share and diluted share.

"We are pleased to achieve a gross margin near our target and reach an operating profit margin of 4%," said Ira Palti, President and CEO of Ceragon. "We are making excellent progress toward our profitability goal. We remain optimistic about the business because we are well-positioned in an attractive sector that is likely to enjoy numerous growth drivers for years to come, but we are not immune to macroeconomic factors that are causing the second half of the year to be slower than originally expected.  After a dramatic pickup in bookings to record levels in Q2, we experienced a reversal in the order pattern in Q3. Although a portion of this change is accounted for by some large orders being delayed until Q4, due to the macroeconomic environment, we expect Q4 revenues to decline sequentially. With operators showing extreme caution regarding spending, sales cycles are lengthening and we are assuming no improvement from Q4 levels as we move into 2013."

Wireless Charging Builds Momentum

The Power Matters Alliance (PMA), which is creating an ecosystem and open standard for smart wireless power, has added AT&T, Google and Starbucks as members. Vint Cerf will serve as honorary chairman of the organization.

"An Internet of 'smart things' is rapidly evolving and most of them are powered electrically. Google cares greatly about a future where power can be wireless, smart and environmental," said Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google. "The PMA is about doing for power what the Internet did for data.  With the help of Starbucks, AT&T, P&G, Powermat and so many others I believe this goal is finally within reach."

PMA announced the following milestones
  • AT&T has begun selling PMA-compatible wireless power cases and charging surfaces in select markets.
  • Delta airlines installed PMA-compatible Wireless Charging Spots in lounges and gates in leading airports.
  • Duracell has begun a nationwide retail rollout of PMA-compatible wireless charging accessories through its Duracell Powermat joint venture.
  • General Motors – the world's largest automaker – will include PMA-compatible wireless charging for smartphones in upcoming models.
  • Jay Z has installed PMA-compatible Wireless Charging Spots throughout his 40/40 Club in New York.
  • Madison Square Garden, 'The world's most famous arena,' has begun installing hundreds of PMA-compatible Wireless Charging Spots throughout the arena, as has the brand new Barclays Center, in Brooklyn.
  • Powermat Technologies – the world's leader in wireless power – has contributed its core technology to the PMA and has committed that all its products will comply with the PMA specification.
  • Starbucks is testing PMA-compatible Wireless Charging Spots in select Boston stores.
  • Westfield - one of the world's largest shopping center portfolios – has installed PMA-compatible charging spots in Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall.

Xilinx Announces Defense-Grade 7 Series FPGAs

Xilinx introduced its fourth generation secure architecture with Information Assurance and Anti-Tamper IP core support for defense-grade 7 series FPGAs and Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoCs.

The reprogrammable Xilinx FPGAs and SoCs use 28nm process technology and include Information Assurance methodology and DoD 5000 Series compliant Anti-Tamper Security Monitor IP core (SECMON) technology for aerospace and defense systems.

"In addition to the secure capabilities, the defense-grade 7 series FPGAs and Zynq-7000 All Programmable SoCs offer mask set control, ruggedized packaging with fully-leaded (Pb) content for harsh environmental operation, full extended temperature range testing, long term availability and anti-counterfeiting features," stated Yousef Khalilollahi, senior director, Aerospace and Defense at Xilinx.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

IBM Builds Carbon Nanotube Chip

IBM announced a breakthrough in building a semiconductor using carbon nanotubes instead of silicon.  IBM researchers created a device consisting of more than ten thousand working transistors made of nano-sized tubes of carbon.  Standard semiconductor processes were used to fabricate the device.

IBM has previously demonstrated that carbon nanotube transistors can operate as excellent switches at molecular dimensions of less than ten nanometers – less than half the size of the leading silicon technology. 

“Carbon nanotubes, borne out of chemistry, have largely been laboratory curiosities as far as microelectronic applications are concerned. We are attempting the first steps towards a technology by fabricating carbon nanotube transistors within a conventional wafer fabrication infrastructure,” said Supratik Guha, Director of Physical Sciences at IBM Research. “The motivation to work on carbon nanotube transistors is that at extremely small nanoscale dimensions, they outperform transistors made from any other material. However, there are challenges to address such as ultra high purity of the carbon nanotubes and deliberate placement at the nanoscale. We have been making significant strides in both.”

In November 2010, IBM announced significant advances in its path to integrate electrical and optical devices on the same piece of silicon. The new CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics, which is the result of a decade of development at IBM's global Research laboratories, promises over 10X improvement in integration density than is feasible with current manufacturing techniques.

At the time, IBM said it anticipates that Silicon Nanophotonics will dramatically increase the speed and performance between chips. In addition to combining electrical and optical devices on a single chip, the new IBM technology can be produced on the front-end of a standard CMOS manufacturing line. Transistors can share the same silicon layer with silicon nanophotonics devices. To make this approach possible, IBM researchers have developed a suite of integrated ultra-compact active and passive silicon nanophotonics devices that are all scaled down to the diffraction limit -- the smallest size that dielectric optics can afford. This makes possible the integration of modulators, germanium photodetectors and ultra-compact wavelength-division multiplexers with high-performance analog and digital CMOS circuitry. 

"The development of the Silicon Nanophotonics technology brings the vision of on-chip optical interconnections much closer to reality," said Dr. T.C. Chen, vice president, Science and Technology, IBM Research. "With optical communications embedded into the processor chips, the prospect of building power-efficient computer systems with performance at the Exaflop level is one step closer to reality."

  • In March 2010, IBM announced a Germanium Avalanche Photodetector working at 40 Gbps with CMOS compatible voltages as low as 1.5V. This was the last piece of the puzzle that completes the prior development of the “nanophotonics toolbox of devices necessary to build the on-chip interconnects.

  • In March 2008, IBM scientists announced the world’s tiniest nanophotonic switch for "directing traffic" in on-chip optical communications, ensuring that optical messages can be efficiently routed.

  • In December 2007, IBM scientists announced the development of an ultra-compact silicon electro-optic modulator, which converts electrical signals into the light pulses, a prerequisite for enabling on-chip optical communications.

  • In December 2006, IBM scientists demonstrated silicon nanophotonic delay line that was used to buffer over a byte of information encoded in optical pulses - a requirement for building optical buffers for on-chip optical communications.

    América Móvil Hits 319 Million Accesses

    Mexico-based América Móvil finished was serving 319 million accesses as of the end of September 2012,  up by 4.1 million wireless subscribers and 1.6 million fixed-line revenue generating units (RGUs) in the third quarter. This figure includes 255.9 million wireless subscribers, 30.3 million landlines, 16.7 million broadband accesses and 15.8 million PayTV units. Fixed-line accesses increased 11.3% year-on-year while the wireless subscriber base was up 6.0%.

    América Móvil  third quarter revenues were 193 billion pesos (US$14.8 billion), up 4.5% from the year before.  The yearly comparison is affected by the appreciation of the Mexican peso vis-à-vis the dollar and other currencies. At constant exchange rates, the company's service revenues increased 6.1% year-on-year— practically the same pace seen the prior quarter — driven by mobile data and PayTV revenues.

    América Móvil's net debt totaled 363 billion pesos at the end of the quarter, equivalent to 1.4
    times EBITDA (last twelve months).

    Capital expenditures amounted to 81.7 billion pesos *(US$6.28 billion).

    América Móvil operates under the "Claro" brand in most of its markets.  In the U.S., it owns TracFone.

    Ericsson's Global Services Now Represent 45% of Sales

    Citing tighter carrier spending on wireless infrastructure projects, Ericsson reported lower Q3 2012 revenue of 54.6 billion SEK (US$8.14 billion  ), down 2% YOY and down 1% compared to Q2.  Net income declined 42% YOY to SEK 2.2 billion, impacted by lower profitability in Networks.

    Ericsson cited weaker sales in parts of Europe, China, Korea and Russia as well as continued decline in CDMA equipment sales.  This was partially offset by strength in North America.

    “Demand for Global Services and Support Solutions continued to be good, while Networks showed a decline in sales YoY. In North America Networks sales developed favorably, despite the expected decline in CDMA sales, while parts of Europe, China, Korea and Russia continued to be slow,” says Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC). “The growing Global Services business contributes not only with topline but also with stable operating profitability and, together with Support Solutions, represented more than 50% of Group sales," stated Hans Vestberg, Ericsson's CEO.

    Some notes:

    Global Services grew 19% YoY and 1% QoQ. Global Services represented 45% (37%) of Group sales in the quarter compared to 44% in Q212.

    Network sales were down 17% YOY to SEK 26.9 billion (US$4.0 billion)

    Ericsson cited good traction for the Smart Services Router (SSR), with 13 new contracts signed compared to seven in Q212.

    Ericsson noted good growth for the its fixed and mobile IP portfolio, with accelerating demand for AIR, its antenna-integrated radio and part of the RBS6000 family.

    CDMA sales in the quarter amounted to SEK 1.6 b., a decline of -50% YoY and with lower operating margin than average in Networks.

    LTE rollouts are accelerating in Latin America, where Ericsson claims a 50% share

    ST-Ericsson is still in a challenging situation although performance improved
    in the quarter.

    Ericsson's total number of employees at the end of the quarter increased to 109,214 (108,095) due to the addition of service professionals mainly in India and the acquisition of Technicolor Broadcast Service Division.

    Friday, October 26, 2012

    Clearwire Slows LTE Rollout to Control Costs

     Clearwire will  defer a portion of its LTE network construction in order to better align CAPEX with the expected receipt of LTE revenues.  The company now plans to have 2,000 LTE sites on air by the end of June 2013 and expects to start receiving Sprint prepayment installments in June 2013.  Clearwire said its full year 2012 CAPEX budget is expected to total $125 to $175 million, as compared to most recently provided guidance of $350 to $400 million.

    Clearwire ended Q3 2012 with approximately 10.5 million total subscribers, up 10% from 9.5 million subscribers in third quarter 2011. The subscriber base consists of 1.4 million retail subscribers and 9.1 million wholesale subscribers, reflecting 21,000 retail net subscriber adds and 489,000 wholesale net subscriber losses during third quarter 2012. Wholesale subscribers consist primarily of Sprint 3G/4G smartphone customers.

    The company said its spectrum holdings give it a strong position in the market.

    "Recent developments in the U.S. wireless industry serve as a direct reminder of the key strategic role deep spectrum resources and a global LTE ecosystem will play in the long-term success of any 4G mobile broadband operator," said Erik Prusch, President and CEO of Clearwire. "Clearwire's unmatched spectrum assets and focus on serving major population centers will be the foundation on which we will build a critical 4G LTE network positioned to serve the needs of the industry and the rapidly growing base of 4G customers across the country."

    For Q3 2012, Clearwire posted revenue of $313.9 million, down slightly year over year due to a 15% YoY decline in wholesale revenue.  Q3 wholesale revenue was $116.5 million, -- relatively flat compared to Q2.  Retail and other revenue increased 1% year over year to $197.4 million in third quarter 2012. Retail ARPU for third quarter 2012 was $45.06, representing a decrease of $(1.99) year over year as compared to $47.05 in third quarter 2011 primarily due to lower equipment lease and activation revenue under the new no-contract offering.

    BT Opens Global IP Hub in Singapore

    BT has launched a major Global IP Exchange (GIPX) hub in Singapore to meet the demand for growing traffic over its IP Exchange platform, the wholesale service that enables communications providers to connect VoIP to VoIP and VoIP to traditional voice calls.  The Singapore hub provides a local switch function in the Asia-Pac region for BT.

    BT said demand for its GIPX service has grown rapidly since it was launched globally in 2011. BT now supports 290 communications provider customers with around 10 new global customers added every month. 

    Beatriz Butsana-Sita, BT Global Services Managing Director, Global Telecom Markets, said: “We’re delighted to celebrate the commissioning of BT’s Singapore GIPX node. It’s the first full hub BT has deployed in Asia-Pac and demonstrates the confidence we have in the region. 

    “Delivering our GIPX service closer to our wholesale customers in this region, serves to minimize their cost of interconnect to this world-class clearing house. But what’s more Global IP Exchange also provides an opening into BT’s platform for advanced IP services that we continue to invest in.” 

    Steve Best, BT Wholesale’s Managing Director Products, added: “BT’s service is designed to simplify the technical and commercial complexity of achieving IP interoperability, leaving customers free to concentrate on meeting the needs of their end customers. This quarter BT has seen a 12 per cent quarter on quarter increase in voice minutes over its GIPX platform – and the concentration of use in Asia-Pac spurred us on to deploy this new node. We expect demand to continue to grow in the region which will concentrate interconnection in Singapore and this node is now ready to meet this increase in traffic.”

    ARM, Red Hat and AppliedMicro Collaborate on 64-Bit Cloud Server

    ARM, Red Hat and Applied Micro announced a collaboration to develop a 64-bit server for cloud computing, data centers and enterprises.
    AppliedMicro X-Gene Server on a Chip, which is based on the  ARMv8 architecture, is now running Red Hat's Fedora Linux in the lab.
    “We have a multi-year history in the ARM space, and already have our community-powered Fedora Linux distribution running on AppliedMicro hardware in our labs,” said Jon Masters, Chief ARM Architect at Red Hat. “Red Hat is collaborating with AppliedMicro to enable support for ARM's 64-bit ARMv8 architecture used in the upcoming X-Gene Server-on-Chip designs. We aim to have a remix of Fedora 19 available in time to support the roll out of that platform.”

    RST Global Builds FTTP Underground Network in North Carolina

    RST Global Communications, a privately funded company based in Shelby, North Carolina, has begun construction on a 100% fiber-optic network that includes backbone, middle and late mile installation.

    The network, which will serve North Carolina’s growing Piedmont region, is installed entirely underground at an average depth of 10 feet.  The company said it is pursuing this approach instead of aerial fiber deployment in order to ensure maximum security, reliability and weather protection.

    RST’s next phase of its Real Fiber Network will offer FTTP service to thousands of homes and businesses along the I-85 corridor.

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    Sprint's Network Vision Sees Some Delays

    Sprint’s Network Vision program  now has over 4,300 cell sites on air and the number either ready for construction or currently being updated has more than doubled in the last three months to more than 13,500.  Sprint has completed leasing and zoning permits on more than 20,000 sites.  Weekly construction starts are up over 250 percent from the second quarter but the company now expects to bring 12,000 sites on air approximately one quarter later than originally planned.

    On its quarterly conference call, Sprint executives said they were seeing some delays from their network vendors, setting the rollout back by a about three months, but that it hopes to close the gap with its competitors quickly.

    CAPEX reached $1.5 billion in the quarter, compared to $760 million in the third quarter of 2011 and $1.2 billion in the second quarter of 2012.

    Sprint now has LTE available in 32 cities and expects to add 115 additional cities in the coming months. Sprint has launched or announced 13 4G LTE devices to date.

    Sprint added approximately 1.5 million iPhone customers in Q3, 40% to new customers

    “The Sprint platform performed well, with strong net subscriber additions, record third quarter postpaid and prepaid churn and robust revenue growth, contributing to Adjusted OIBDA* of $1.28 billion even as we continue to invest in Network Vision and position the company for future growth,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO.

    Sprint posted Q3 revenues of nearly $7.3 billion, an increase of nearly 6 percent year-over-year, and a net loss of $767 million, or $.26 per share , as compared to a net loss of $301 million and a diluted net loss of $.10 per share in the third quarter of 2011.   The larger loss included accelerated depreciation of $397 million, or negative $.13 per share (pre-tax), primarily related to Network Vision, including the expected shutdown of the Nextel platform.

    Some highlights:
    • Wireless service revenues for the Sprint platform grew 14 percent year-over-year driven by postpaid ARPU growth of $3.01 and continued subscriber growth.
    • During the third quarter, Sprint raised additional financing of $1.5 billion and retired $1.5 billion of debt maturities including $473 million of 2013 maturities and $1 billion of 2015 maturities.
    • Sprint had 56 million customers at the end of the third quarter of 2012. This includes 32.1 million postpaid subscribers (29.8 million on the Sprint platform and 2.3 million on the Nextel platform), 15.4 million prepaid subscribers (14.6 million on the Sprint platform and 800,000 on the Nextel platform) and 8.4 million wholesale and affiliate subscribers, all of whom utilize the Sprint platform.
    • The Sprint platform added 410,000 net postpaid customers during the quarter. The Nextel platform lost 866,000 net postpaid customers in the quarter. Sprint platform postpaid net additions and Nextel platform postpaid net subscriber losses include 516,000 net subscribers from the Nextel platform acquired on the Sprint platform.
    • The company added 19,000 net prepaid subscribers during the quarter, which includes net additions of 459,000 prepaid Sprint platform customers, offset by net losses of 440,000 prepaid Nextel platform customers. Sprint platform prepaid net additions and Nextel platform prepaid net losses include 152,000 net subscribers from the Nextel platform acquired on the Sprint platform.

    Telefónica Digital Acquires TokBox for Video Platform

    Telefónica Digital has acquired TokBox, a San Francisco based start-up developing a platform for live video-based communications services.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

    TokBox's OpenTok Video Platform enables enables video calling to be integrated into websites and mobile applications. TokBox launched the OpenTok Video Platform in November 2010 with companies such as American Idol, Ford and Diet Coke having used its technology.

    Telefónica said it will leverage TokBox's Platform to enhance the communication services it offers business and consumer customers, adding cross-platform Web-based video communications to its existing voice and messaging capabilities.  Telefónica and TokBox will work to incorporate video APIs into the BlueVia platform, creating a unified video, voice and text API service with global reach.

    Ian Small will remain as CEO of TokBox and Carlos Domingo, Director of Product Development & Innovation at Telefónica Digital, will join the TokBox Board of Directors and become President of the company. The acquisition was led by Telefónica Digital's Silicon Valley-based venture investment team.

    Matthew Key, CEO of Telefónica Digital said, 'Telefónica is all about empowering our customers through new and innovative digital services. By adding TokBox's unique capabilities to our communications portfolio, we will allow our customers to leverage the full potential of web-based video communications in their own business models.'

    Deutsche Telekom Builds Massive Data Center (150,000m2)

    Deutsche Telekom has broken ground on Germany's largest data center -- a massive facility that will be built on a surface area the size of approximately 30 soccer fields (i.e., 150,000m2) in Biere, Saxony-Anhalt.

    The new facility, which will be the 90th data center operated by Deutsche Telekom's T-Systems subsidiary, will operate as a twin of another data center already running in Magdeburg.  The new construction in Biere will form a "TwinCore"  -- in the event of any disruption, the twin facility can immediately take over.

    Deutsche Telekom said it is seeing high interest in colocation and cloud services.  Some 600 corporate customers use these new IT services offered byT-Systems, including internationally active groups such as Shell and Daimler. Data protection and fail-safety are key services.  T-Systems is using 22 data centers specifically for cloud services.

    Internap Plans Another Huge Data Center for New Jersey

    Internap Network Services announced plans for a new data center in Secaucus, N.J. to serve the New York metro area.  The company's wo existing New York data centers are nearing capacity over the next twelve months.

    Internap said this data center will measure about 100,00 square feet (9,290 m2) and employ the latest power and cooling technologies to deliver power densities of up to 12 kW per cabinet.  The new Secaucus data center will add 55,000 net sellable square feet to the market once fully deployed, which represents a significant expansion of Internap’s company-controlled data center footprint, which includes 320,000 net sellable square feet of fully-deployed capacity as of end of third quarter 2012.

    The new facility will be Internap’s twelfth company-controlled facility across eight North American markets will offer colocation and managed, dedicated and cloud hosting services as well as its route-optimized Performance IP and content delivery network services. The first phase of the Secaucus data center is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2013.

    “We did extensive due diligence when researching the site of our new data center and believe the Secaucus location provides an ideal mix of space, power, connectivity options and access to a range of customers and industries,” said Mike Higgins, senior vice president of data center services at Internap. “With our two existing New York metro area data centers nearing capacity in the second half of 2013, the new Secaucus facility underscores our commitment to the New York market and our customers’ increasing demand for our cloud, hosting, colocation and route-optimized IP services.”