Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sprint Bids for Remaining Stake in Clearwire

Sprint Nextel has offered to acquire the remaining shares of Clearwire that it does not already own for a reported $2.1 billion.
Clearwire confirmed that it is currently in discussions with Sprint regarding a potential strategic transaction.
  • In October, Sprint increased its stake in Clearwire to 50.8% by acquiring the shares of Eagle River Holdings for $100 million.  Sprint previously held a 48% share in Clearwire, so this October transaction restored Sprint's majority control of the firm. Eagle River Holdings is controlled by telecom pioneer Craig McCaw.
  • 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 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.
  • Also in October, SoftBank announced plans to invest $20.1 billion to acquire a 70% in Sprint.  The deal consists of $12.1 billion to be distributed to Sprint stockholders and $8.0 billion of new capital to strengthen Sprint’s balance sheet.  The investment aims to accelerate Sprint's next generation network and its competitive position as the No. 3 U.S. mobile operator.  For Softbank, this represents a major leap beyond its home market of Japan, where it is the No. 3 mobile operator and No. 2 wireline broadband provider. The companies hope to get the deal done by mid-2013, pending regulatory approvals.

Juniper to Acquire Contrail for $176M -- an SDN Start-up

Juniper Networks agreed to acquire Contrail Systems, a start-up developing software defined networking (SDN) solutions for approximately $176 million in cash and stock.

Contrail Systems, which is based in Santa Clara, California, was founded in early 2012 is still in stealth mode. No products have been announced so far.  Juniper said the acquisition brings an SDN architectural approach that augments its portfolio of products and services.

Contrail is believed to be working on a virtualization architecture for very large cloud service providers with multiple data centers.

Contrail Systems is headed by Ankur Singla (CEO), who previously served as Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering at Aruba Networks.  The Contrail team  includes Dr. Kireeti Kompella (CTO), who was formerly CTO and Chief Architect, JunOS at Juniper; Pedro Marques,previously a developer of control applications for the Cluster Management Team at Google and before that a distinguished engineer at Cisco and Juniper; Harshad Nakil, previously at Aruba Fellow and also distinguished engineer at Juniper and Cisco; and others.

Juniper was a strategic investor in Contrail earlier this year. Khosla Ventures was also an investor.

Some other recent SDN start-up news

Plexxi Unveils its SDN Switch with LightRail Optical Interconnect

Plexxi, a start-up based in Cambridge, MA, introduced a Software-defined Networking (SDN) data center switch that creates network connections by implementing efficient topologies based on actual workload needs and by scaling with a proprietary "LightRail" optical interface between switches. Plexxi is targeting cloud and virtualized data centers. The aim is "a system that directly manifests workload-optimized solutions in the real, physical network,...

NoviFlow Debuts 100Gbps OpenFlow 1.1 Switch

NoviFlow, a start-up based in Montreal, released a 100Gbps Open Flow 1.1 compatible switch designed to bring network virtualization and programmability to large data centers, network operators, cloud and financial service providers. The NoviKit 100 leverages EZchip's NP-4 Network Processor.  Key features include: High performance NoviWare 100 OpenFlow 1.1 switching software – with demonstrated performance rates of 100 Gbps OpenFlow-based...

Big Switch Ships its Open SDN

Big Switch, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, announced the full commercial release of its Open Software-Defined Networking (SDN) product suite, encompassing a Big Network Controller (BNC), the Open SDN platform for network applications which scales to more than a thousand switches and 250,000 new host connections per second; Big Tap, a unified network monitoring application which provides cost-effective enterprise-wide network visibility;...

VMware to Acquire Nicira for $1 Billion for Network Virtualization

VMware agreed to acquire Nicira, a start-up focused on software-defined networking (SDN) for approximately $1.05 billion in cash plus approximately $210 million of assumed unvested equity awards. The goal of SDN is to allow enterprises and service providers to create the most flexible network topologies that seamlessly span any cloud environment. Nicira, which is based in Palo Alto, California, has developed a software-based Network Virtualization...

An Update on Verizon's 100G Network - New Routes 2012

Verizon provided an update on its 100G network rollout.  In 2012, the carrier added 20,921 additional kilometers (13,000 miles) of 100G routes in the U.S. and 2,600 kilometers (1,616 miles) in Europe.

Verizon said it is adding 100G on selected routes in the U.S., where traffic demand is highest, including Atlanta to Tampa, Kansas City to Dallas and Salt Lake City to Seattle, using the same routers and coherent optical transport equipment as on the company’s first 100G routes deployed in 2011.

 In Europe, Verizon added 100G routes between London and Paris, and London and Frankfurt.  Verizon already had 100G running on the  Frankfurt-to-Paris route. This creates a 100G ring that spans more than 2,600 kilometers.

"Expanding 100G technology on our high-performance U.S. and European networks means Verizon is able to successfully meet traffic demand while increasing efficiency and capacity,” said Kyle Malady, senior vice president of global network operations and engineering for Verizon. “Increased video traffic, LTE 4G growth and cloud usage are driving bandwidth demand and 100G is critical to creating that rich end-user experience."

Bell Labs: Internet Video to Push Networks to their Limit

Driven by tablet usage at home and on the go, consumers in the United States alone will access seven hours of video each day – as opposed to 4.8 hours today, according to a new study from Bell Labs.  The research points to a dramatic shift in viewing habits, as consumers switch from broadcast content to video-on-demand services, which will grow to 70% of daily consumption compared with 33% today.

Some highlights of the 16-page report:

  • The proportion of time spent watching managed video-on-demand services and web-based video will grow from 33% to 77%. This will come at the expense of traditional broadcast TV services, whose relative share of time will drop from 66% to 10%.
  • Internet-based video consumption each year will grow twelvefold, from 90 Exabytes to 1.1 Zettabyes.
  • Consumption of managed video-on-demand from services providers versus OTTs is expected grow at 28 percent annual rate, from 44 Exabytes to 244 Exabytes.
  • 10.5% of managed video consumption and 8.5% of OTT video consumption will occur at the peak hour, 8:00 p.m.

Bell Labs is warning that this shift to unicast distribution will put disproportionate pressure on the IP edge of broadband networks.

"Delivery of video from the cloud and from content delivery networks to tablets, TVs and smartphones - with guaranteed quality -, presents an exciting new revenue opportunity for communications service providers, but only if they are prepared to take advantage of it. Left unmanaged, the rapid growth in video traffic can turn into a deluge and spell disaster. It is important to look at where service providers’ investments can have the most impact, and this research makes clear that the IP edge of both wireline and wireless networks – which are increasingly becoming one and the same - offers the greatest opportunity to improve network performance. At the same time, it also presents the greatest source of risk if not managed appropriately,” stated Marcus Weldon, Chief Technology Officer, Alcatel-Lucent.

The full paper is available here:

Infonetics: WLAN Equipment Sales Surge Ahead

The global market for WLAN equipment passed the US$1 billion mark for the first time in Q3 2012, according to new report from Infonetics Research, reflecting continued growth in all major regions.

“Coming on the heels of a 16% jump the previous quarter, WLAN equipment revenue grew another 6% quarter-over-quarter, passing the $1-billion mark for the first time,” notes Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise networks and video at Infonetics Research. “The usual demand drivers—wireless devices, BYOD, mobility—were in play, but there was also an acceleration of carrier WiFi deployments, with sales of outdoor access points doubling over the past year.”

Some highlight of the report:

  • Global demand for WLAN gear is well balanced, with 3 major regions (North America, EMEA, and Asia Pacific) seeing ~20% year-over-year revenue growth
  • Interactive access point revenue grew strongly in 3Q12, as businesses move to centrally managed WLAN architectures
  • The transition to 802.11n is coming to an end, with 84% of access points shipments now based on the standard; next-generation 802.11ac products will start shipping in the summer of 2013
  • In 3Q12, Cisco added to its strong 2Q12 performance, growing another 2% sequentially to hold on to 1st place for WLAN equipment; Ruckus grew 78% year-over-year and moved into the #4 spot
  • Vocera stayed in the lead for WiFi phone market share in 3Q12, thanks to its success in the health care market.

NSN Demos Core Virtualization and Cloud Management

Nokia Siemens Networks reports progress in its efforts to bring virtualization and cloud management to the core of mobile networks.

A recent proof of concept project conducted with a leading global operator demonstrated that core virtualization and cloud management are viable technologies.

Nokia Siemens Networks said the goal is to allow the core network, comprising the packet-switched, circuit-switched and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) domains, to run on a common resource pool of generic multipurpose hardware.

The cloud prototype developed by Nokia Siemens Networks incorporates network elements such as an MSC Server (MSS), Mobility Management Entity (MME), Call Session Control Function (CSCF) and Telecom Application Server (TAS) into a virtualized infrastructure running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware based on Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA) or any other commercially available IT server platforms depending on the operator’s preference. The virtualized network elements and cloud framework are integrated into NetAct, which provides an end-to-end view of the status of the virtualized network, as well as managing all Nokia Siemens Networks core network products.

“With the explosion of data traffic created by the popularity of smart devices and new high-definition (HD) voice and video, core networks must deliver virtually unlimited scalability, flexibility and efficiency with superior customer experience”, said Michael Clever, head of Voice and IP transformation at Nokia Siemens Networks. “Identifying concepts for adapting telco network capacity and service management in the cloud will help operators understand the advantages of telco cloud technologies and the power of virtualization.”

SK Telesys Builds Small Cell Base Stations with Mindspeed, Radisys

Radisys, SK Telesys and Mindspeed Technologies have teamed up on a fully integrated carrier-class Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) solution for small cell base stations.

SK Telesys, which is the wireless system manufacturer in SK Group Korea, is using the Mindspeed Transcede 3000 system-on-chip (SoC)and software from both Mindspeed and Radisys, in a small cell product that is compliant with 3GPP Release 9 "Home eNodeB" specifications, including support for self organizing network (SON) features.

"VoLTE has been a critical component of Radisys' corporate strategy since our initial investment in LTE. We are uniquely positioned to deliver VoLTE capabilities as we provide a complete end-to-end LTE solution, from our Trillium TOTALeNodeB small cell software to our VoLTE-enabled Media Resource Function, the MPX-12000, that ensures quality of service," said Todd Mersch, director of product line management at Radisys. "It was a natural evolution for Radisys to enable VoLTE on the Mindspeed platform, to the benefit of our joint customers."

"VoLTE is an important component of the LTE small cell deployments that we're engaged in with our customers in Korea. Our customers expect small cells to be a natural extension of their macrocell network and include support for the same services, regardless of what layer of the Radio Access Network a user is connected to. By working with Radisys and Mindspeed, we have been able to deliver VoLTE service with the performance and quality consistent with the macro network," said Il-Hyun Sohn, director of research and development at SK Telesys.

Vodafone Ireland Employs Tellabs for Mobile Analytics

Vodafone Ireland is deploying Tellabs's Insight Analytics Services to analyze the network data contained in its multi-vendor 3G mobile network.

Tellabs said its Software as a Service (SaaS) approach to analytics provides a comprehensive view of service performance from network behavioral patterns over time.  This helps to optimize network performance and will also enable Vodafone Ireland to perform capacity management and root-cause analysis quicker and more cost-effectively.

"As networks evolve from TDM to IP and 3G to LTE, service providers are faced with increasing challenges in providing outstanding network performance,” said Scott Forbes, vice president, Global Services at Tellabs. “With our global expertise in mobile networks, Tellabs provides a competitive and unique analytics solution that helps our customers continue to succeed. We are proud to work with Vodafone Ireland to help them solve some of the challenges they face in providing a high-quality user experience.”

Tellabs Adds Dennis Strigl and Mikel Williams to Board

Tellabs added two new directors to its Board:

  • Dennis F. (Denny) Strigl - a former president and chief operating officer of Verizon Communications Inc. and former president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless. 
  • Mikel H. Williams - a former president and chief executive officer of DDi Corp

Tellabs' board of directors now has 11 members.

  • In November, Tellabs named Daniel P. Kelly as its new chief executive officer and president. Kelly, 51, has served as Tellabs acting CEO and president since June 27, 2012, following the passing of Rob Pullen. 

Airtel Nigeria Tests LTE in Lagos

Airtel Nigeria has completed its LTE trial in Lagos and will expand the pilot network in the other major cities across the country including Abuja and Port Harcourt.

In the Lagos trial. download speed, under ideal conditions was 37 Mbps, while under non ideal conditions, was 32 Mbps. Upload speed was 10.6 Mbps. Measurement under non ideal condition was done using

In February this year, Airtel Nigeria announced the roll-out of widest 3.75G services across the 36 States in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Franco Bernabe Re-Elected to Head GSMA

Franco Bernabe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Telecom Italia Group, has been re-elected as Chairman of the GSMA for another two year term.

Jon Fredrik Baksaas, President and CEO, Telenor Group, was elected as Deputy Chairman.

 "We are at an important time in the development of the mobile industry - following years of unprecedented growth, we are now faced with new challenges, as well as further growth potential, as we see nearly everyone and everything in our lives becoming connected by mobile. This has implications not only for individuals and businesses around the world, but also for mobile operators and other players across the ecosystem. Together, with Jon Fredrik Baksaas as Deputy Chairman and our Director General Anne Bouverot, I look forward to working with the GSMA Board and our entire membership to renew the innovation that has been the very foundation of the success of GSM and mobile," stated Mr. Bernabe.