Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Washington State School District Deploys Marconi's ViPr

The Lake Washington School District, near Redmond, Washington, has selected Marconi's ViPr Virtual Presence System for high-resolution video telephony and multimedia communications between remote school sites. The school district's existing Wide Area Network is based on Gigabit Ethernet. Using ViPr's always-on and virtual presence capabilities, team leaders from different schools can collaborate on academic projects and Master Teachers -- experienced teachers who mentor other teachers -- can have an immediate and more effective impact on educational issues.

Marconi's delivers digital high-fidelity audio and DVD-quality video in an integrated video telephony platform that provides users with an experience they perceive as virtual presence. ViPr pioneered the use of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). The ViPr multiparty video telephony platform also eliminates the Multi-point Control Unit (MCU), a costly device that traditional video- conferencing products require for multiparty calls. The MCU also introduces delay that makes real-time video telephony impossible.

Global Crossing Continues Decommissioning TDM Switches

Global Crossing is continuing to decommission legacy switches in four additional cities throughout its MPLS network. The company's first TDM switch was decommissioned in Chicago last year and replaced with Sonus VoIP switches. Since then, the company has decommissioned switches in its San Francisco hub and moved the traffic to VoIP switches in Sacramento. It will do the same with switches in Los Angeles, Boston and Newark in the first half of this year.

Global Crossing began the decommissioning project last year as VoIP traffic traversing its private backbone grew to 2.3 billion minutes each month. In the fourth quarter of 2004, VoIP traffic represented almost 49% of the company's total voice traffic.

Global Crossing's VoIP network is fully interoperable with its TDM backbone and enables carriers and enterprises to gradually transition to a fully converged all-IP network environment over a single connection.

BroadVoice Selects UTStarcom's WiFi VoIP Handset

BroadVoice, an Internet telephony service provider, has selected UTStarcom's F1000 Wi-Fi handset for deployment to its VoIP subscribers. Customers will be able to make VoIP calls from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi hotspot.

UTStarcom said its F1000 handset has a standby time of up to 80 hours and talk time of 3 to 4 hours.

Widevine Secures Premium VOD Content for SaskTel

SaskTel has gone live with a video-on-demand (VOD) service offering Hollywood content secured by Widevine Technologies. Among the content being secured are movies provided by top Hollywood studios Warner Bros. International Television Distribution, Twentieth Century Fox and Sony Pictures Television International. SaskTel recently announced multi-year Video-on-Demand distribution agreements with all three studios.

SaskTel introduced its IP broadcast service in 2002 over its existing DSL network and launched its video-on-demand service in 2003. The VOD service is available to subscribers in all nine cities where SaskTel's video service is offered.

For the SaskTel video over DSL deployment, Widevine interfaces with Media Manager from Alcatel, the video delivery platform provided by Kasenna and set-top-boxes from Pace Micro Technology.

Spirent Introduces Distributed Abacus IP Telephony Rollout Platform

Spirent Communications announced availability of the Distributed Abacus IP Telephony Rollout Platform designed to assess and validate signaling performance and call quality in pre-production networks.

The Distributed Abacus platform allows for centralized testing of service provider or enterprise pre-production networks, rather than consuming time and resources with site-by-site testing. Spirent's Distributed Abacus platform treats multiple Abacus IP Telephony test systems as a single "virtual" platform for testing IP and hybrid IP/PSTN networks. It provides network statistics such as jitter, delay and packet Loss; call measurements statistics such as call setup time, percent of call completions, and call termination reason; and voice quality metrics such as MOS, PESQ and R value.

Spirent said its Distributed Abacus can be used to test end-to-end or at any combination of IP and PSTN points on the network facilitating true converged network testing between various locations around a city, a country or around the Globe.

In addition, Spirent offers an IP Telephony Network Assessment Service incorporating on-site Spirent Global Services experts, an initial assessment of the customer's requirements, customized network analysis, corrective recommendations and, if necessary, a follow-on service with in-depth testing of specific problems.

Spirent Adds H.235 VoIP Encryption Test Capability to Abacus

Spirent Communications has enhanced its Abacus 5000 IP Telephony Migration Test System with H.235 VoIP gateway message encryption test capability. This enables network operators and equipment manufacturers to validate the effectiveness of signaling encryption for VoIP gateways and gatekeepers within a multi-zoned H.323 environment.

VoIP architectures employ gateways to carry traffic from one network to another. Call management servers instruct gateway controllers, or gatekeepers, through the Gatekeeper ReQuest (GRQ) messages to control multiple gateways. IP telephony equipment makers typically encrypt these signaling messages in compliance with the International Telecommunications Union's H.235 signaling encryption standard, a subset of the H.323 signaling standard. Spirent's Abacus IP Telephony testing platform now includes functional and load testing specific to GRQ messages and H.235 signaling encryption.

Spirent also plans to introduce other IP telephony security-specific test capabilities related not only to gateway signaling, but also to the media stream (Secure Real Time Protocol), the transport layer (Transport Layer Security), Encryption (IPSec) and protocol robustness testing. http://www.spirentcom.com

Passave Adds Forward Error-Correction to EPON

Passave, a supplier of FTTH chipsets, releasing a sophisticated forward error-correction (FEC) mechanism for Ethernet-based passive optical networks (EPONs). The FEC capability enables the use of low-cost, low-power lasers for delivering Ethernet over low-quality transmission lines, such as lines using aging fiber.

Passave said the use of FEC doubles the reach of a FTTH network and doubles the number of customers that can be served from a single optical line terminal (OLT) in the central office. It also improves the cost-performance curve for FTTH.

FEC is a mechanism by which a transmitting system encodes data, enabling the receiving system to use redundant data to correct transmission errors. http://www.Passave.com

NTT-ME Deploys Juniper T-Series

NTT-ME Corporation has deployed Juniper Networks' T-series core routing platforms to scale its backbone. NTT-ME originally deployed Juniper Networks M-series routers in February 2003. Financial terms were not disclosed.


3Com Offers Terabit Enterprise Switch

3Com introduced a terabit-capacity, enterprise modular core network platform for large-scale, secure convergence and application integration.

The Switch 8800 uses dual load-sharing switch fabrics so that adding resiliency will also double switch performance. The Switch 8800's 1.44 Terabit backplane initially delivers up to twenty-four 10 Gigabit wirespeed ports and 288 Gigabit wirespeed ports - but can support a second generation fabric and modules to double the switch's performance and capacity.

The Switch 8800 is complemented by 10 Gigabit modules for the 3Com Switch 7700 at enterprise network aggregation points and for the 3Com Switch 3870 delivering Gigabit-to-the-desktop at the edge of the network.

DivXNetworks Licenses mp3 Patents

DivXNetworks announced a strategic licensing agreement with Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, inventors of mp3, and Thomson, co-inventors of mp3 and exclusive licensing representative for their mp3 patents and software. The agreement will enable DivXNetworks, Inc. to include mp3 and, in the future, mp3 SURROUND technology, in all DivX software and consumer electronics offerings.

In December 2004, Thomson and Fraunhofer IIS launched mp3 SURROUND, which will enable 5.1 channel surround-quality sound for a broad spectrum of applications including web-based music distribution, broadcasting systems, PC-related audiovisual or gaming applications, consumer electronics and automotive systems. mp3 SURROUND supports high-quality multi-channel sound at bit rates comparable to those currently used to encode stereo mp3 material.

DivX technology, which enables the creation and playback of high-quality video files, is currently downloaded an average of 3 million times per month by consumers and is supported in over 20 million DivX Certified consumer electronics products, including DVD players from major manufacturers. The company plans to release a new DivX Media Format in Q1 2005.

"Adding mp3 SURROUND audio to the DivX Media Format will improve the consumer experience throughout the connected home and ultimately help drive the distribution of secure premium content from the Internet to the living room," said Jordan Greenhall, CEO and co-founder of DivXNetworks, "This deal also has the potential to broaden the competitive technology options for video device manufacturers and premium content publishers, particularly in device categories such as digital still cameras, digital video cameras and recordable DVDs."http://www.divxnetworks.com

Freescale and Marvell Partner on Cellular - WiFi Convergence

Freescale Semiconductor and Marvell announced plans to offer WLAN solutions for mobile devices, such as mobile handsets, smartphones and entertainment devices. Freescale customers will receive Marvell's IEEE 802.11 reference designs, ICs, software and tools to simplify customer development and time-to-market. Freescale offers its 3G Innovative Convergence and EDGE Mobile Extreme Convergence platforms, as well as i.MX applications processor family. Marvell has a multi-mode, lower power IEEE 802.11 product line enabling connectivity using 802.11b, 802.11g or 802.11a/b/g.

Marvell is currently offering an 802.11 reference design for use with the Freescale Semiconductor Mobile Extreme Convergence (MXC) and i.300 3G platforms, as well as the i.MX family of applications processors.


AMCC Names Cisco Exec as CEO

Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (AMCC) named Kambiz Hooshmand, 43, as president, chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors. He succeeds David M. Rickey who is retiring from his post as chairman, president, chief executive officer and a director of the company.

Hooshmand joins AMCC from Cisco Systems, where he most recently served as vice president and general manager of Cisco's Optical and Broadband Transport Technology group. He joined Cisco as a director of engineering as part of the StrataCom acquisition in 1996. Hooshmand was one of the early leaders at StrataCom that developed the nascent Frame Relay market into what is now a multi-billion dollar worldwide services market.

VON Keynote: The Impact on the Enterprise

Corporations have recognized IP communications is a driver of greater productivity, said Micky Tsui, VP and GM of Avaya's Communication Systems Division, in a keynote address at VON Spring in San Jose, California, and the sales number reflect this trend. IP telephony spending over the past year has been growing a phenomenal 88% annual grow rate. IT spending overall is at about 5%, while the overall GDP growth rate is about 4%.

Based on multiple analyst reports, Avaya believes these trends will accelerate in the years ahead. Tsui presented the following figures for reference:

Worldwide IP Line
2000 700,000
2003 700,000
2004 17.0 million
2007 39.6 million

IP telephony in the enterprise is already mainstream. 2005 will be the inflection point where IP port shipments exceed TDM port shipments for the first time.

Tsui said IP-based productivity gains are often easy to measure in many professional services, such as insurance form claims - where Avaya has seen one of its customers reduce the time to process insurance claims drop 5 days to under two hours.

Force10 Awarded Patent for Terabit Backplane Design

Force10 Networks has been awarded a U.S. patent for the high capacity backplane that powers its TeraScale E-Series switch/routers. Force10's passive copper backplane leverages advanced multi-layer design and manufacturing techniques to scale to 5 Terabits per second. Force10 said the design enables network operators to migrate from 10 Gigabit Ethernet to both 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet. The company now has more than 50 patents and patents pending for its innovations in terabit scale switching and routing.

MCI Deploys Ultra Long Haul Transmission Technology

MCI has deployed Ultra Long Haul (ULH) network technology on 3,129 route miles of its network, a key milestone in its ULH Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) network expansion strategy. The network routes include New York City to Cleveland, Chicago to Denver (via Omaha), and Salt Lake City to Los Angeles (via Sacramento).

MCI said the ULH deployment will enable OC-768 capacity. ULH is also expected to lead to long-term CAPEX savings, as 70% of the network equipment components are removed from the physical plant. When the multiyear ULH network project is completed, MCI will have
32,000 miles of ULH network deployed throughout the U.S.
  • In June 2004, MCI, working in collaboration with CIENA and Mintera Corp., established a 40 Gbps connection across a long haul route spanning 1,200 km. The technology trial took place over MCI's ultra long haul DWDM route between Sacramento, California and Salt Lake City, Utah. This network route was selected because it uses the company's existing fiber plant, and includes a mix of fiber -- TrueWave Classic, Dispersion Shifted Fiber (DSF), Long Span Fiber (LS) and Single Mode Fiber (SMF). Mintera's 40 Gbps DWDM fiber optic transport terminals interoperated directly on CIENA's CoreStream Agility optical transport system, which provides an automated ULH backbone for the MCI network. The companies said the 40 Gbps wavelength was commissioned in less than an hour, and then performed error-free on the same optical fibers already carrying 10 Gbps wavelengths throughout the trial.

SIP Forum Announces New Technical Working Group

The SIP Forum has formed a new Technical Working Group (TWG) charged with bridging the gap between Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) specifications and real-world industry practices. Goals for the new Technical Working Group include producing documents specifying best industry practices, and making the SIP protocol and its extensions more accessible to implementers. Additionally, this working group will develop SIP protocol test suites allowing implementers to better prepare for interoperability events and certification programs.

The new working group is headed by Rohan Mahy, chief voice architect of Airespace. Mahy is co-chair of both the IETF SIP and SIPPING working groups. http://www.sipforum.org
  • In January, Cisco Systems agreed to acquire Airespace, a provider of wireless LAN systems, for approximately $450 million in stock and assumed options. Airespace's product portfolio includes WLAN controllers, Access Points, WLAN Management and Location Software, and Security capabilities, including IDS.

VON Keynote: Following the Money

The digital revolution certainly changed life in the 80s and 90s, but VoIP could lead to the biggest changes yet, said Stewart Alsop, General Partner, New Enterprise Associates, in a keynote address at VON Spring. Alsop believes VoIP will lead to the complete deconstruction of the telephone system and all it entails. He doesn't buy the notion that voice is just a commodity but rather that customers will be empowered to decide which services they want and from whom they wish buy them.

Alsop predicted a number of prominent deaths, starting with the RBOCs. "The wireline telephone companies are toast.. everything about their business will lead them into the ground," he said, arguing that the incumbents are just not smart enough to really understand the consumer. Ditto for cable operators and satellite TV providers, and, to a lesser extent, mobile network operators. Here at least, Alsop conceded that cellular networks would retain the strategic advantage of ubiquity while hopefully improving their customer satisfaction ratings. He's betting on third party VoIP services and VoIP over WiFi.

Alsop and his firm are big investors in Vonage and Boingo Wireless.

Data Connection SIP Software Supporting Over 1 Billion Calls This Year

Tellme Networks, which uses speech recognition to handle a third of all the directory assistance calls made in the U.S., has incorporated Data Connection's DC-SIP software solution into its network, enabling over 1 billion directory assistance calls using VoIP this year. Tellme is using Data Connection's SIP software to connect directory assistance calls to Tellme's data centers nationwide.

"Directory assistance will drive millions of SIP sessions per day to the Tellme data centers, which essentially makes our network one of the largest SIP endpoints in the world," said Troy Chevalier, Tellme's VP of Platform Engineering.

See also