Wednesday, July 9, 2003

City Telecom (Hong Kong) to Launch Pay-TV Service

City Telecom (Hong Kong) announced plans to provide pay-TV services over its existing fixed network. In the initial stage of launch, the new service will offer 10 to 20 program channels. The company aims to expand the network coverage to 300,000 to 500,000 households. As of May 2003, City Telecom was serving 232,000 customers, reaching 530 commercial buildings, and passing some 1.2 million homes.

City Telecom has been deploying a network based on metro Ethernet over fiber or CAT5E copper wire. It launched commercial telephone services in March 2003. In the residential market, the Group currently offers broadband Internet and local telephony services.

FCC Adopts Homeland Security Initiatives

The FCC has established an Office of Homeland Security within its Enforcement Bureau to focus on the nation's emergency preparedness issues. The Office of Homeland Security will also be responsible for rules relating to the Emergency Alert System and will oversee operation of the FCC's 24-hour Communications and Crisis Management Center and its Emergency Operations Center, functions that are currently handled in the Enforcement Bureau's Technical and Public Safety Division. James A. Dailey, a 31-year FCC veteran, has been named Director of the Office.

The two main objectives of the FCC's Homeland Security Action Plan are:

  • to strengthen measures for protecting the nation's communications infrastructure and facilitate rapid service restoration after disruption. This includes promoting the best practices of the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council (NRIC).

  • to promote access to effective communications services by public safety, public health, and other emergency personnel. This includes further work on the E911 initiative, resolving interference issues for public safety systems in the 800 MHz band, permitting dedicated short-range communications at 5.9 GHz for intelligent transportation systems, and other work on Cognitive Radio Technologies.

Bell Canada to Provide Wi-Fi on Trains

Bell Canada is extending its AccessZone Wi-Fi hotspot pilot service to select VIA Rail train cars. The pilot program will provide free Wi-Fi for VIA 1 passengers traveling between Montreal and Toronto. The mobile WLAN connectivity is supported by combined satellite and wireless coverage from Bell Mobility's 1X network to the train. The network will provide connections that are similar to or better than dial-up connection speeds. Bell Canada is also providing hotspots in Dorval Train Station, Toronto's Union Station and Montreal's Central Station.

ITXC Signs Russian Partner for IP Telephony

ITXC and Baltic Communications Limited (BCL), an IP-based service provider in Russia, signed an agreement for bilateral exchange of international voice traffic to and from Russia over As part of ITXC's global expansion plan, the company opened a new sales office in Moscow in May 2003.

China Telecom awards Commercial Circuit-to-Packet Contract to Alcatel

Shanghai Telecom, a subsidiary of China Telecom, awarded a contract to Alcatel Shanghai Bell to supply a packet telephony solution for the heart of its future network. The solution includes the Alcatel Softswitch, the Alcatel Media Gateway, and the Alcatel Litespan Multi-service Access Gateway, accompanied by the Alcatel Open Services Platform with applications such as the personal communication assistant and video conferencing. The contract also encompasses an integrated network management system and a series of application servers and CPE devices. When completed by the end of this year, Shanghai Telecom will be able to provide fully integrated voice, data and multimedia services via ADSL and Ethernet to broadband and residential customers. The contract follows an extensive trial of the Alcatel NGN solution over the past year. The deal represents China Telecom's first commercial NGN contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • Earlier this month, China Telecom awarded contracts to Alcatel to supply equipment for 920,000 new DSL lines. Under the contracts, Alcatel will provide the DSL lines to China Telecom subsidiaries in 18 provinces and municipalities in southern China including Shanghai, Sichuan, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Fujian and Anhui by the end of the year. The installation includes the Alcatel 7300 Advanced Services Access Manager (ASAM) and the 5523 Alcatel ADSL Workstation (AWS) Element Management System. China Telecom is already using Alcatel equipment in its existing DSL network.

  • In May, China Telecom awarded a multimillion dollar contract to Alcatel Shanghai Bell for the construction of a new 10 Gbps DWDM network linking western and southern China.

  • In November 2002, Alcatel Shanghai Bell announced two major switching and transmission contacts with China Telecom. First, China Telecom will use Alcatel 1000 switching solutions and signaling transfer point equipment to span the two municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin, and eight provinces: Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Liaoning, Shandong and Shanxi. This will enable inter-network transactions between China Telecom and other service providers. Second, China Telecom will install the Alcatel 1641 SX Multiservice Metro Gateway, an SDH multi-service cross-connect system, in the cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongming and Shantou.

  • In May 2002, Alcatel completed the integration of its key operations in China with Shanghai Bell. The new Alcatel Shanghai Bell, which is the first foreign-invested company limited by shares (CLS) in China's telecommunications sector, was expected to achieve about $2 billion in sales in its first year of operation, as well as more than $1 billion of exports within the first three years. Alcatel holds 50 percent plus one share in the company, with Chinese entities holding the remaining shares.

Municipal Utility Deploys Motorola's Canopy Wireless

The East Bay Municipal Utility District, which is the water utility serving Oakland, California and adjacent communities, is deploying Motorola's Canopy wireless broadband technology to monitor data at its pumping plants, reservoirs, dams, water treatment plants and other sites. The wireless WAN backbone has over 20 point-to-point links utilizing Canopy's 5.7 GHz 20 Mbps backhaul equipment. Some of the links extend over 35 miles. The utility plans to add access points at many East Bay locations and subscriber modules at over 200 remote sites.

CIENA Enhances Long-haul Optical Transport

CIENA announced several enhancements for its CoreStream long-haul DWDM transport platform, including:

  • 1 GbE and 10GbE support -- enabling direct interconnection at full line rates between core routers across long-haul and ultra long-haul distances. Ethernet interfaces are expected to be significantly cheaper than TDM interfaces. Product availability is expected by the end of the year. Pricing was not disclosed.

  • tunable transceivers (lasers) -- which would reduce sparing costs on optical backbones by 90% while simplifying management with remote dynamic provisioning. CoreStream's tunable transceivers are scheduled for release this summer.

  • next-generation integrated line amplifiers (ILAs) -- which would provide cost savings by using a single amplifier for all applications, reducing the number of circuit packs to maintain and spare by 50%. The new ILAs also support transient suppression, a technique that allows the system to recover more quickly in the event of a transient caused by a fiber cut or network failure. Commercial release is expected this summer.

CIENA's CoreStream DWDM offers both 50GHz and 25GHz channel spacing. With 25GHz channel spacing, the platform could support 192 10G wavelengths in the C-band alone.

Verizon Deploys Sonus for Select LD VoIP Expansion

Verizon Communications has deployed Sonus' voice infrastructure solutions to support long distance services in select markets. Specifically, Verizon is using Sonus' GSX9000 Open Services Switch, the Insignus Softswitch and Sonus Insight Management System. Verizon is currently carrying live traffic on the Sonus platform in one location, and plans to expand to additional U.S. markets. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • In a conference call, Sonus described the contract as a significant milestone in the development of the packet voice market.

Sonus Reports Q2 Revenue of $21.4 Million

Sonus Networks reported Q2 revenue of $21.4 million compared with $16.0 million for Q1 2003 and $21.3 million for Q2 2002. Net loss for Q2 was $3.2 million or $0.01 per share. The company said it was pleased with the 33% sequential rise in revenue, attributing the results to better performance across all areas of its business.
  • Qwest and Global Crossing each represented over 10% of Sonus' quarterly revenues

  • 3 RBOCs are now customers, as are PTTs Deutsche Telecom and NTT

  • Sonus has 27 customers worldwide with deployments in 20 countries

  • More than 5 billion minutes of voice traffic per month is carried by Sonus systems

  • Sonus expects 15% revenue growth in Q3 2003

Teknovus Debuts Ethernet PON System-on-a-Chip

Teknovus, a start-up based in Petaluma, California, introduced its family of gigabit Ethernet PON (EPON) chips for FTTH and FTTB networks. Teknovus said its design supports advanced EPON functionality such as dynamic bandwidth allocation, traffic shaping, SLA management, and service provisioning. The company is currently shipping an EPON System Development Kit, allowing vendors to begin software development, system design and testing. The development kit provides OLT and ONU chip evaluation boards, firmware and documentation.
  • In June 2002, Teknovus closed $5 million in first round venture financing for development of broadband access semiconductors. The round of financing followed a $1-million seed investment from NEC Electronics. Additional investors included Partech International and U.S. Venture Partners. The company was established in January 2002.

  • Teknovus is headed by Gerry Pesavento, who previously was Founder/CEO/VP R&D of Alloptic, an optical access network company, and an executive at DiCon Fiberoptics. Its technical team also includes Ed Boyd, previously Vice President of Advanced Technology in charge of ASIC development for Terawave, and JC Kuo, also a founder and the CTO of Alloptic.

Juniper Reports Q2 Revenue of $165 M, up 41% over Last Year

Juniper Networks reported Q2 revenue of $165.1 million, compared with $117.0 million for the same period last year, an increase of 41%. Revenues in Q1 of this year were $157.2 million. GAAP net income for Q2 was $13.6 million or $0.03 per share, compared with a GAAP net income of $6.2 million or $0.02 per share in Q2 of 2002. The company described the quarter as "strong," and said it was encouraged by both the broadband momentum around the world as well as its sound financial footing in the industry.

Deutsche Telekom Begins Testing 40 Gbps Optical Network with Siemens

Deutsche Telekom began testing a purely optical transmission network operating at rates up to 40 Gbps. Siemens is a partner in the field trial. The WDM network operates along a route almost 1,000 kilometers in length and uses flexible optical add-drop-multiplexers. The testing by Deutsche Telekom will also include the use of wavelength converters (transponders) which operate with tunable-laser technology.

Joltid Develops Peer-to-Peer Cache for Reducing ISP Traffic

Joltid, a start-up based in Stockholm, Sweden, has developed a caching product that it claims significantly reduces ISP bandwidth use associated with peer-to-peer (P2P) usage while providing faster downloads for end-users. Joltid's PeerCache transparently and temporarily caches FastTrack P2P traffic, thereby reducing up to 70% of FastTrack bandwidth. The FastTrack protocol is used by KaZaA, the most popular P2P application in the world, iMesh, the second most popular, and others.

CSS Builds FTTP Network with Alloptic

CSS Communications, a licensee providing services over the dark fiber networks of public utilities, began deploying a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network for data, voice and video services to businesses and residents of the city of Bellingham, Washington. CSS is using Alloptic's Gigabit Ethernet passive optical network (EPON) solution. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Ikanos Secures Additional Investment from TL Ventures

Ikanos Communications received new funding from TL Ventures to close its Series D round with $33 million. The company will use the additional capital to support volume shipments of its broadband chipsets in Korea, Japan, China, and Europe. Ikanos offers programmable, integrated, broadband chipsets that support multiple international standards of VDSL-DMT, as well as ATM and Ethernet protocols, symmetric and asymmetric applications, and scalable speeds up to 150 Mbps over copper pairs.

NexTone Reaches VoIP Milestone for its Session Controllers

NexTone Communications, a start-up based in Germantown, Maryland, announced that the global deployments of its session controllers, Multiprotocol Session Controller (MSC) and Multiprotocol Signaling Switch (MSW) are now carrying over one billion minutes of VoIP traffic per month.
The platforms can by used to perform network address translation (NAT), to perform VoIP call routing, to mediate between Clarent H.323, other H.323 and SIP networks. NexTone also announced four new customers who have deployed a combination of its products: Terra Telecommunications, iOnosphere, Encore Telecommunications, and Vitcom.

Lucent Supplies Core DWDM to Korea Telecom

Lucent Technologies was awarded a contract to supply optical line systems to KT (formerly Korea Telecom). Specifically, KT will deploy Lucent's WaveStar OLS 1.6T systems with the capacity of 800 Gbps in the cities of Seoul, Busan and Suwon by the end of August. The KORNET backbone carries KT's broadband traffic and handles high-end data services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • Last month, Lucent Technologies announced a contract to supply its DWDM systems to Hanaro for a nationwide backbone upgrade. Specifically, Lucent will deliver and deploy WaveStar OLS 1.6T systems in the major metropolitan areas including Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon and Gwangju by the end of August.

Pentagon Opposes Sale of Global Crossing to Singapore Telemedia

Due to national security concerns, the U.S. Department of Defense will oppose the sale of Global Crossing to Singapore Technologies Telemedia, according to an internal memo leaked to Reuters. Other reports said Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz had not yet made up his mind on the issue. Separately, Singapore Technologies Telemedia said it remained optimistic about completing the deal.
  • In March, The New York Times reported that Richard N. Perle, chairman of the influential Defense Policy Board, had been retained by Global Crossing to help overcome Defense Department resistance to its proposed sale to a foreign firm. Perle reportedly is close to many senior officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who appointed him to lead the policy board in 2001.

  • On 30-April-2003, Hutchison Telecommunications decided to withdraw its proposed acquisition of a 30.75% stake in Global Crossing due to opposition to the deal from the U.S. government's Committee on Foreign Investment.

Catalyst Keynote: Microsoft Says IPv6's Time Has Come

"The Dream Network of the future requires IPv6," said Christian Huitema, Architect of Networking and Communications for Microsoft, in a keynote address delivered at the Burton Group's Catalyst conference in San Francisco. The vision calls for an easy-to-use, always available, secure, scalable and manageable and tightly integrated into all versions of the next generation of Windows. As a first point, Huitema acknowledged that IPv6 by itself does not solve all the security, reliability and availability problems in networking. It does, however, start to provide the bridge between all the islands of connectivity. As an example, Huitema demonstrated a children's storybook application shared online by a mother and daughter. The mother read the story to her daughter from an airport lounge using a tablet PC connected to a WLAN. The daughter followed along using a similar tablet connected to a home WLAN. Huitema argued that the Dream Network has to be more than a conduit... it has to offer the peer-to-peer connectivity that lets the mother share the application residing on the home network. All of the most promising new PC applications, said Huitema, are based on this peer-to-peer concept. He said that IPv6 is needed because "NAT is evil." It blocks the connectivity needed for the next wave of applications. IPv6 provides the addressing needed to support them. Huitema noted that a huge number of calls to the MSN support lines concern NAT issues. The Xbox Live network also has had to implement significant technical workarounds to solve NAT issues.

For some years, there has been a chicken-and-egg problem regarding IPv6. Huitema argued that it is not practical to wait until IPv6 networks are deployed before developing applications. Microsoft has already released IPv6 development kits for Windows XP. He listed three technologies for bridging the IPv4-to-IPv6 gap:

  • 6to4 -- which derives an IPv6/48 network prefix from a global IPv4 address

  • Teredo -- which provides automatic tunneling of IPv6 over UDP/IPv4 and works through NAT, although it may be blocked by firewalls

  • ISATAP -- which is a single box that can provide automatic tunneling of IPv6 over IPv4 enterprise networks. Microsoft is using such a system in its own network.

Finally, Huitema noted that Microsoft's .NET initiative is IPv6 ready.

Catalyst Keynote: New Enterprise Technologies and Services

"The pendulum has swung back from service provider networking to enterprise networking," said Dave Passmore, Research Director at the Burton Group, speaking at the opening of this year's Catalyst Conference in San Francisco. This shift follows the worst two years in the history of networking - it's now clear that the telecom bust was much bigger than the dot-com bust. Apart from the bankruptcies, indictments and scandals, Passmore noted that the industry is still reeling from declining prices for voice, declining numbers of phone lines due to technology substitution, declining bandwidth prices and the disrupting shift from TDM to IP. With the service provider market continuing to suffer, the major networking vendors and venture capitalists have turned their attention back to enterprise networking and home networking.

Passmore observed that enterprises continue to evolve their network architectures, especially to better accommodate mobile and at-home workers, exploit new site-to-site transport options, consolidate their storage requirements and tie together the "islands of connectivity" that currently obstruct the next wave of applications. Some of the major trends Passmore covered included:

The evolution of enterprise Ethernet -- as all the functionality previously associated with enterprise PBXs are migrates into Ethernet switches. In addition to IP telephony support, the list of improvements includes better QoS, better security, better intelligence and power-over-Ethernet support.

Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop -- which is arriving by default in PCs, servers, switches and even notebooks. This will drive 10 Gbps Ethernet into enterprise backbones. As seen with earlier generations of Ethernet, prices for 10 Gbps Ethernet will decline precipitously. Passport also expects that increased bandwidth will only heighten the need for QoS mechanisms, as network managers will seek to ensure that critical traffic isn't flooded by gigabit enabled clients.

Security -- with increasing numbers of mobile workers and the proliferation of wireless handheld devices, enterprises are facing a major challenge in protecting their assets while still extending resources to the new devices.

Site-to-Site connectivity -- what types of WAN services do enterprises really want to buy? They are still spending lots of money on Layer 2 services like Frame Relay and ATM, yet the majority of their traffic is Layer 3 IP. The perception remains that IP is inherently insecure and there is concern that there will be a greater management cost to migrate existing networks to new architectures. The menu of available services continues to expand, including multipoint Ethernet via VPLS, metro Ethernet over SONET and optical wavelengths.

Storage area networking -- does it make sense to migrate SANs onto IP? The old rule of "never bet against Ethernet" implies that performance and pricing will make 10 Gbps Ethernet a viable alternative. However, there are counter-arguments, especially that circuit-switched Fibre Channel does not suffer the latency of TCP/IP, and that iSCSI is hard to manage. The debate continues. Meanwhile, large enterprises are deploying CWDM to separate storage traffic from other IP traffic.

Tying together various "connectivity islands" -- for instance where NAT restricts communications between subnets. Some resources remain unnecessarily isolated behind firewalls and proxies, while PSTN / media gateways can be an obstacle to direct VoIP communications. Emerging solutions include tunneling, IPv6 and new border session controllers.

Passmore's conclusion: Network architecture is as important as ever.