Sunday, February 2, 2014

Connectem Envisions a Simplified, Virtualized LTE Packet Core

Connectem, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, is adopting an overlay strategy for its Virtualized LTE Evolved Packet Core (EPC), betting that mobile operators will implement its NFV-powered solution first for specific business applications while continuing with their current LTE infrastructure rollouts.  Once the Connectem virtual EPC has proven effective as an overlay delivering specialized services, carriers would then cap the investments in the first generation EPC boxes from the traditional vendors and move more critical packet core functionality into the Connectem solution running on low cost x86 servers.

Connectem, which was founded in 2011, is betting that virtualized EPC software will prove more cost effective and scalable in addressing signaling and data throughput in LTE networks.

While the incumbent EPC suppliers are also pursuing NFV implementations, Connectem argues that they are going about it in the wrong way by essentially re-creating virtual machines in the cloud for each of the nodes that exist in the current networks.  In other words, the traditional equipment suppliers will likely supply NFV solutions with separate VMs for existing MME, HHS, PCRF, S-Gateway and P-Gateway node. A great deal of complexity will be inherent in building scalable interfaces between each of these VM nodes.  Connectem, on the other hand, proposes to dismantle the idea of a separate VM node for each function in the packet core.  Its model removes the encode/decode layers at the interface between each node, thereby simplifying the entire evolved packet core.

Connectem conducted its first virtual EPC live network trial with Singtel/Optus in December 2012 and now cites numerous trials around the world.  In terms of interoperability, the company says it has been tested alongside solutions from NSN and Huawei for delivering services to iOS and Android devices.

In November, Connectem signed a distribution agreement Macnica Networks, an integration company serving  mobile network operators in Japan.  In terms of other industry partnerships, Connectem has demonstrated its VCM software running on the IBM PureFlex platform, although it could leverage the entire x86 ecosystem.  The company is also working with Cyan to tie is virtual EPC into Cyan's blueplanet SDN framework.

  • Connectem is led by Nishi Kant (CEO), who previously worked at Stoke and Azaire Networks, as well ast Hughes Networks and Nortel Networks.

Qwilt Enables Transparent Caching for Live Video Streaming

Qwilt, a start-up based in Redwood City, California, introduced a  transparent caching solution for live-streamed events online.

The Qwilt Live Stream Cache, which is a software upgrade for the company's QB-Series Video Fabric Controllers, detects trending and popular live OTT video streams, enabling the QB-Series to instantly direct those streams into the controller's FastCache, a dedicated control and storage path optimized for quick delivery of live streams. The Qwilt Live Stream Cache then establishes a local live video transmission point in each neighborhood that can serve a very large population of nearby subscribers using a single seed stream, offloading significant strain on operator network infrastructures.

Qwilt's QB-Series Video Fabric Controllers are deployed by cable operators and broadband carriers close to subscribers, typically next to a B-RAS or CMTS.  The company says its solution can deliver a 50% reduction in traffic while improving average video bit rates during times of peak network utilization. The QB-Series Video Fabric controller is 100% software running on COTS. A 2U form factor offers 10 Gbps of video delivery capability, 20 Gbps of analysis, and 20 TB of onboard storage.

Qwilt said this innovation will prove especially effective for live event, such as the Super Bowl, Olympics or World Cup, as

"High quality live event streaming is the 'holy grail' of online video. However, until now, the required infrastructure from the origin server, through CDN, via operator last mile network, was not designed to deal with the scale and capacity required to deliver a high quality experience to the consumers. As consumers increasingly look to access live and VOD content from connected devices, network operators and content providers must keep pace with demand," said Alon Maor, CEO and Co-Founder of Qwilt.

  • Qwilt was founded in 2010 and is backed by over $40 million in funding from Accel Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Marker and Redpoint Ventures. 

Telstra Tests 300 Mbps LTE Carrier Aggregation with Ericsson + Qualcomm

Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies have conducted the first inter-vendor interoperability testing of LTE Category 6, which promises potential speeds of up to 300 Mbps.

The final stages of testing, which were completed in collaboration with Telstra, was based on ready-to-release versions of Ericsson's L14A software release. Ericsson said its L14A software leverages load balancing for better spectrum efficiency and improved user experience during high-load situations. It supports all bandwidth and frequency combinations for up to 40MHz Carrier Aggregation, providing users with speeds of up to 300 Mbps.  The test also used Qualcomm;s fourth-generation 3G/LTE multimode modem, the Qualcomm Gobi 9x35 chipset.

HÃ¥kan Eriksson, CEO, Australia and New Zealand at Ericsson, says: "We are pleased to see 300Mbps achieved and we're excited about the superior broadband experience this will enable. With the introduction of Category 6, adoption of LTE Advanced is expected to accelerate, with a key factor being the availability of commercial infrastructure and global chipsets for smartphones."

Telstra Conducts Stadium Trial of LTE Broadcast

Telstra conducted a trial of Long Term Evolution Broadcast (LTE-B) technology during the T20 International cricket match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Lab trials were conducted last October.

The trial streamed three channels of dedicated content to selected participants using specialised LTE-B enabled smartphones with specialised device firmware been provided by Samsung.  Network equipment was supplied by Ericsson.

“When a large number of people gather in one place we often see a huge spike in the demand for data, which can stretch the capabilities of our network and affect our customers’ experience. This is particularly evident during sporting events with a lot of our customers looking to enhance the live event by accessing commentary or stats online,” said Mike Wright, Telstra Executive Director Networks.

NEC Lands SDN Order from Toyo Seikan Group for Pooled Firewalls

NEC Corporation was awarded an order by Toyo Seikan Group to integrated the networks of its subsidiary companies using Software-Defined Networking technology.  The systems, which will come into operation starting from February 2014, will be deployed in the companies' data centers to pool the corporate firewalls into a common resource.

Toyo Seikan GHD is considering the use of SDN for the Group's common virtual server infrastructure, for integration of the Group LAN through virtualization, business continuity measures and other purposes in the future. NEC is also providing consulting services for planning this project.

NEC's UNIVERGE PF Series is an OpenFlow product.

NEC also noted that it has delivered SDN-based systems to more than 100 companies in Japan and abroad.

NTT Com Launches "Compute (VPC Type)" Service

NTT Communications launched a "Compute (VPC Type)" service, which can be used by customers of NTT Com’s Cloudn public cloud service to build virtual server environments connected to VPNs and other secure networks.

The "Compute (VPC Type)" service enables a virtual server to be established on a private network connected to a high-quality Internet virtual private network (VPN) or an IP-VPN such as NTT Com's Arcstar Universal One.  The virtual service offers instant connections and expansion to various networks. The service rate is fixed, regardless of bandwidth or traffic volume.

NTT Com will intitially offer the service from its data centers in Japan, but applications will be accepted from users overseas.

Going forward, Cloudn will be enhanced with other seamless, secure services, including from data centers in the US and other locations within APAC, and security options such as antivirus for virtual servers.

NTT DOCOMO to Delist from the London Stock Exchange

NTT DOCOMO will  request the cancellation of the standard listing of its Shares of Common Stock from the Official List of the UK Listing Authority and the cancellation of the admission to trading of the shares on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange (the "LSE").

The company cited the low trading volume of the Shares on the LSE, saying there to be no significant benefit in maintaining the listing.