Thursday, October 11, 2012

Broadband Forum Conducts VDSL2 G.vector Testing

The Broadband Forum and the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) conducted the first interoperability testing of chipsets supporting the ITU-T’s new G.vector specifications.

Broadcom, Ikanos, Lantiq, Realtek and Triductor all participated in the plugfest, providing
chipset platforms to test with one another.

Telebyte also participated, providing testequipment to simulate the crosstalk of copper networks during the testing.

“This was the first event in a very important journey and we are looking forward to continued
progress as the innovative technology is implemented and scaled for deployment,” commented Kevin Foster, Head of BT’s UK Access Platform Evolution. “Interoperability has always been a key component of successful large-scale deployment of DSL, and we are looking to the Broadband Forum and UNH-IOL labs to lead these testing efforts to allow Operators to achieve smooth introduction of DSL innovations such as Vectoring.”

European Investment Bank Loans EUR 500 Million to Ericsson R&D

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will loan EUR 500 million to Ericsson to support its R&D efforts for the next generation of mobile broadband technology.  The load is designated for research sites in Sweden and Finland.

Ericsson noted that it invested SEK 32.6 billion in R&D in 2011, including restructuring charges.

Ikanos Announces its Velocity-3 Vectored VDSL Chipset

Ikanos announced its Velocity-3 Vectored VDSL chipset and software solution.

The company's "NodeScale" Vectoring technology identifies and cancels VDSL crosstalk on up to 384 copper lines in a bundle.  The technology eliminates crosstalk from all lines in the vectored group, independent of binder, cable or chassis, increasing rate, reach, robustness and reliability.

“With Velocity-3, we are delivering the broadband 'holy grail':  fiber speeds for a fraction of the cost of deploying fiber to individual homes,” according to Omid Tahernia, chief executive officer at Ikanos.  “Carriers benefit by super-charging their existing one billion copper line infrastructure, while satisfying consumers’ needs for ever-increasing bandwidth applications.”

Juniper Scales its MX Edge Router, Adds Virtualization

Juniper Networks  introduced its scaled-up MX2020 and MX2010 3D Universal Edge Routers, packing up to 80 Tbps of routing capability in a single chassis and adding new virtualization capabilities for multivendor applications.

At the high-end, a single MX2020 3D Universal Edge router offers 80 Tbps of capacity using Juniper's existing Junos Trio Chipset.  Existing line-cards based on the Trio chipset can be added to the new chassis. The MX2010 3D router supports 40 Tbps of capacity.

Juniper also introduced a JunosV App Engine for the MX Series.  This hypervisor allows Service Providers to run various applications simultaneously in isolation, such as load balancing, security services, online gaming and advertising.

The MX Virtual Chassis can virtualize broadband or business edge services over multiple MX 3D routers allowing service providers to operate the systems as a single chassis and quickly add new subscribers.

Other enhancements include a programmable Path Computational Element (PCE) on the MX.
Juniper is also offering a Rapid Assessment suite of services to enable simplified integration and testing with operating and business support systems (OSS/BSS), traffic migration, network security, and virtual application development.

"Our vision for the new network is to provide innovations that help transform service providers into super providers," said Rami Rahim, senior vice president, Edge and Aggregation Business Unit, Juniper Networks. "Thousands of MX customers have validated the need for massive scaling and reduced complexity driven by emerging video, applications, and cloud-based services. We see our new edge services engine as the first solution that truly empowers service providers to take control of their business by removing barriers currently hindering innovation and revenue expansion."

Telefónica and Jazztel Announce FTTH Sharing Accord

Telefónica de España and Jazz Telecom (Jazztel) announced a network infrastructure sharing agreement covering fiber to the home (FTTH) projects in Spain.  The deal could have a potential reach of up to 3 million fiber end points across Spain.  The companies said the are open to other operators also joining the pact.

Alcatel-Lucent Opens New Conversation with APIs for IMS

Alcatel-Lucent introduced a suite of nine ‘New Conversation APIs’ to help developers access capabilities in service providers'  IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) infrastrucuture.

The suite of application programming interfaces (APIs) is aimed at jump starting the ecosystem of companies developing solutions for 4G LTE and IP networks. These capabilities include high definition voice and video, audio/video conferencing, interactive voice, messaging and call control, which can be used to build services for both consumers and businesses.

Alcatel-Lucent said because its new APIs are based on REpresentational State Transfer (REST), a popular, easy-to-use software architecture used to create applications for the Web, developers can more easily create services delivered via IMS.  For service providers, this opens new retail and wholesale revenue opportunities.

Sandip Mukerjee, President of Advanced Communications at Alcatel-Lucent said: “Today, no one else in the marketplace is offering service providers what our New Conversation APIs offer. They enable service providers to fast-track 4G innovation – turning IMS into a real engine for the rapid creation of new services. We make it easy to access the rich features supported by service providers and thereby attract more developers. New applications using IMS-based APIs can be built very quickly, in turn allowing the rapid introduction of more services, and a growth in revenue that comes from our customers being able to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.”

Clearwire Speculation Centers on Spectrum and TD-LTE

Clearwire shares rose 71% on Thursday, as speculation rose that Softbank may bid to acquire the firm. Clearwire is the largest spectrum holder in U.S. and is closely tied with Sprint.

Clearwire operates a nationwide WiMAX network and is planning to make the transition to TD-LTE.  Its main wholesale customer and investor is Sprint, which has extended its 4G agreement through 2015.  The companies have outlined ways of bridging their FD-LTE and TD-LTE networks with dual-mode devices that are under development.  However, Clearwire's CAPEX investments in its network have slowed to a crawl in 2012 as the company conserves cash as it looks for new funding sources.

Revenue in Q2 2012 declined slightly year over year to $316.9 million primarily due to a year over year decline in wholesale revenue. Second quarter 2012 wholesale revenue of $117.6 million, was sequentially flat as compared to first quarter 2012 wholesale revenue of $117.8 million, and down (11)% year over year despite a 50% increase in wholesale usage over the same period.

Some other notes on Clearwire:

  • Clearwire holds the largest spectrum portfolio in the U.S. but in upper bands.  Its spectrum is an average 163 MHz in the top 100  U.S. markets.
  • Clearwire's network at the end of Q2 2012 covered 134 million POPs, about the same as a year earlier.
  • At the end of Q2 2012, Clearwire was serving 9.6 million wholesale subscribers (mostly Sprint) and 1.3 million retail subscribers.  This compares with 6.4 million wholesale and 1.3 million retail subscribers a year earlier.
  • ARPU for Q2 2012 was $46.12 compared with $47.59 a year earlier.
  • Clearwire's CAPEX in Q2 2012 was $24 million
  • Sequans and Qualcomm are key silicon contributors in the TD-LTE ecosystem.
  • China Mobile and Clearwire have agreed to TD-LTE roaming betweeen U.S. and China.

A Busy Month for Softbank: Acquisition of eAccess (Japan) and Discussions with Sprint

Sprint confirmed published reports that it is in discussion with Softbank of Japan about a possible take-over or major investment.

Various media sources have speculated that a buyout of Sprint could be worth US$12.8 billion.  Softbank may also be looking at acquiring Clearwire.

Sprint is the No.3 mobile operator in the U.S. with 56 million subscribers.

Both Clearwire and Softbank Japan are pursuing TD-LTE for their respective networks.

The news follows closely on Softbank's decision to undertake another major deal in its home market.

Earlier this month, Softbank Mobile agreed to acquire eAccess in a deal that combines Japan's No.3 and No.4 mobile operators.  The stock-swap was valued at approximately ¥180 billion, or $2.3 billion.

The companies plan to continue to operate both the Softbank and EMOBILE brands following the merger.  Network and spectrum integration will provide key advantages to both brands.

SOFTBANK MOBILE will provide eAccess with access to its 900 MHz network (Band8, operating band specified in 3GPP) and 2.1 GHz network (Band1, operating band specified in 3GPP), which will allow eAccess to provide the voice and data communications service in broader areas.

eAccess will provide SOFTBANK MOBILE with access to its 1.7 GHz (Band3, operating band specified in 3GPP) FDD LTE network for the data communications service, which will allow SOFTBANK MOBILE to use both 2.1 GHz and 1.7 GHz for its FDD LTE service.

SOFTBANK MOBILE and eAccess will integrate their base station sites, enabling both brands to expand service coverage more quickly and to decrease capital expenditures and maintenance costs.  The backbone and backhaul networks will also be integrated.
Softbanks currently has more than 9,000 LTE base stations in operation.  It plans to scale this to 20,000 LTE base stations by March 2013.  At this point, eAccess should have about 10,000 LTE base stations of its own.

Softbank said the deal gives it a key spectrum advantage over Japan's No. mobile operator, KDDI-au.  For iPhone 5 service, Softbank will be able to offer coverage over both the 1.7 GHz and 2.1 GHz bands, whereas au will be limited to its 2.1 GHz spectrum footprint.