Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Staccato and Fujitsu Develop UWB-Enabled Camera

Fujitsu has developed a digital still camera platform incorporating wireless USB chipset from Staccato Communications. The platform uses the world's first single-chip all-CMOS, Multiband-OFDM Alliance (MBOA) --compliant PHY module based upon the Fujitsu 0.11 micron semiconductor process. It also includes Staccato's MBOA MAC that provides rapid device discovery, fast stream establishment, QoS and efficient use of spare capacity in a decentralized architecture.

Staccato and Fujitsu are jointly demonstrating the system in the Wireless USB Community at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) spring events this week in Tokyo, Taipei and Beijing.

Wireless USB is the first major application for ultrawideband, and this demonstration shows how close we are to delivering products," said Rick Kornfeld, President and CEO, Staccato Communications.
  • In December 2004, Staccato Communications, a start-up focused and wireless ultrawideband (USB) silicon, named Rick Kornfeld as president and CEO. Kornfeld most recently was vice president and general manager of Texas Instruments' Wireless Center, where he was responsible for TI's wireless chipset business.

  • Also in December, Fujitsu Limited and Staccato Communications announced a partnership under which they will provide all-CMOS, single-chip wireless universal serial bus (USB) and ultra-wideband (UWB) solutions for the global marketplace. Fujitsu will offer its SoC/ASSP together with Staccato Communications' UWB products as part of its next-generation wireless USB/UWB technology-based solutions to its customers.

Tekelec Moves HQ from California to North Carolina

Tekelec is moving its corporate headquarters from Calabasas, California, to Morrisville, North Carolina. Over the past year, the number of Calabasas-based employees has been reduced from about 145 to 40 people as Tekelec aligned its manufacturing operations with its business units and expanded the use of contract manufacturing.

"During the past year, our company's revenue grew more than 50%, we greatly expanded our global business and we completed several major acquisitions that increased our capabilities to provide integrated communications solutions for our customers on a global basis," said Fred Lax, president and CEO of Tekelec.

The company announced a number of executive appointments, including Lori Craven as executive vice president, Global Sales & Marketing and Customer Service, and Rick Mace as executive vice president, Global Business Group Operations,

America Online Launches its Consumer Internet Phone Service

America Online rolled out its AOL Internet Phone Service in 40 cities across the U.S., saying the enhanced VoIP service would provide current and new AOL members with an easy-to-use choice for integrating all of their voice, e-mail and instant messaging communications needs.

For the AOL Internet Phone Service alone, current AOL members can choose from three price plans with introductory offer rates:

  • Local Plan: $13.99 per month for the first three months for unlimited local and regional calls and $0.04 per minute for long distance calls anywhere in the US and Canada ($18.99 per month thereafter);

  • Unlimited Calling Plan: $24.99 per month for the first three months for one flat fee for local and long distance calls within the US and Canada ($29.99 per month thereafter); and

  • Global Calling Plan: $29.99 per month for the first three months, including unlimited local and long distance calls within the US and Canada and low international rates ($34.99 per month thereafter).

America Online is giving current AOL members who sign up a free wireless home network base station. America Online is also working with Linksys and NETGEAR for the CPE.

The AOL Internet Phone Service "Dashboard" provides a central Web page to manage account settings, call handling and call forwarding preferences, call logs of incoming and outgoing calls, as well as access contact lists with click-to-dial functionality and their address book.

AOL is providing E-911 service, which delivers a user's address-specific information with the emergency call, using direct trunking to local public safety agencies. However, AOL warns that all 911 calls must be placed from the customer's service address location in order to e routed to the right public safety agency. Also, the VoIP service will not work in the event of a power or broadband outage.

AOL is also featuring Parental Controls for blocking specific in-bound or out-bound calls.

America Online has named Sonus Networks and Level 3 Communications as key technology partners for the VoIP service. America Online has deployed Sonus' GSX9000 Open Services Switch, the Insignus Softswitch and the Sonus Insight Management System. It is also using a customized version of Level 3's consumer-oriented VoIP service.
  • The AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) service is currently handling about 2.5 billion messages per day.

ZTE to Open R&D in Pakistan

ZTE announced plans to open R&D facilities in Islamabad, Pakistan as part of its growing presence in international markets. The new office will be the 12th R&D centre created by ZTE around the world and comes less than a month after the company announced similar plans in India.

ZTE said its already has more than 10% of the fixed line market in Pakistan, while its wireless products are also increasing their penetration. Last December, ZTE built Pakistan's first NGN (next generation network) while a CDMA WLL (wireless local loop) network for local operator Telecard will eventually be enlarged to cover the whole country.

In neighboring India, ZTE's new facility will manufacture CDMA, GSM, DSL and NGN equipment, as well as handsets.
  • ZTE is China's largest listed telecommunications equipment manufacturer and wireless solutions provider.

Nortel Invests in India's Sasken for R&D Outsourcing

Nortel has invested US$10 million in Sasken Communication Technologies Limited, an Indian company specializing in telecom R&D outsourcing. Sasken has been a supplier to Nortel since 1991 and is currently focused on supporting Nortel's GSM and enterprise communications solutions. Sasken will also play a major role in training, technical support and other engineering services in Nortel projects in India.

Sasken employs over 2,000 staff and has facilities in Bangalore and Pune, India and has offices in Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Sweden, France, the UK and the U.S.

Ericsson Supplies IMS to Telefónica

Telefónica selected Ericsson's IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) to support IP telephony and IP Centrex to business users. The
deployment will start during the spring. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The IMS based IP Centrex functionality hosts a complete set of
personal and group services, with the addition of multimedia support
such as video telephony, conference calling, sharing of documents and
web pages (collaboration), presence management, instant messaging,
e-mail integration and support for remote workers.

Ericsson Completes Testing with NTT DoCoMo

NTT DoCoMo completed interoperability testing of Ericsson's WCDMA/GPRS platform U100. Tests have been performed in DoCoMo's laboratories followed by fully completed field tests in DoCoMo's live FOMA network.

Zyxel Offers Palm-Sized Firewall

ZyXEL Communications announced its ZyWALL P1 Personal Internet Security Appliance, a small, lightweight, plug-n-play firewall and VPN device for mobile computer users.
The portable device, which has an MSRP of $299, is equipped with a 10/100Mbps Ethernet WAN and LAN ports and can be powered by the USB port. It integrates a Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewall and also includes ICSA-certified IPSec VPN client support. Network administrators could use it to enforce security policies on every endpoint PC whether in the office or in the field.

Zyxel said its hardware-based VPN that is much faster than software VPN counterparts.

Tiscali Chooses ECI for Pan-European IP/MPLS Upgrade

Tiscali International Network selected the Enstara platform from ECI Telecom to upgrade its international IP/MPLS backbone. The announcement was made today by ECI and their partner, Chiaro Networks, the developer of the Enstara infrastructure-class IP/MPLS platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Tiscali International Network's IP/MPLS backbone spans Europe and the United States with approximately 120 POPs. The company delivers IP Transit, Remote Peering, clear channel and Voice services to the wholesale market of carriers and ISPs.

The deal represents the first major customer for the ECI-Chiaro partnership.
  • In December 2004, ECI Telecom and Chiaro Networks announced a strategic partnership under which ECI Telecom provided $6 million in financing to Chiaro Networks and also became the exclusive distributor of Chiaro's Enstara IP/MPLS platforms worldwide.

  • In March 2004, Chiaro announced that the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) selected its "Enstara" router for its DataTAG project, a large-scale intercontinental Grid test bed. CERN is testing the Enstara platform for its ability to provide consistent and sustained ultra reliability for high-performance data replication and guaranteed real-time traffic delivery over long-distance, high-bandwidth connections. Chiaro said its STateful Assured Routing (STAR) technology enables five nines availability with seamless, transparent protection of hardware and software during switchover following failures and maintenance activities, including "hitless" upgrades. Its router features a modular distributed software architecture that provides automatic fault detection and recovery, intelligent fault monitoring and network stability, with software modules added or upgraded as needed. <.li>
  • In May 2003, Chiaro Networks introduced its network core, multi-chassis, IP routing platform. Chiaro's design leverages a gallium arsenide (GaAs) optical switch fabric for scalability from 10 slots to a multi-chassis with 315 slots. The company claims that the scalability and flexibility provided by its optical backplane, along with network-processor based line-cards, will lead to a 7 to 10 year lifecycle for the platform. Key features of the Chiaro platform include an Optical Phased Array (OPA) switch fabric coupled with a Global Scheduler providing a single-hop optical crossbar architecture.

BT Passes 5 Million Broadband User Milestone

BT has connected its five millionth wholesale broadband customer, beating a target set by the company a year ahead of schedule.

Broadband is now one of the fastest growing consumer products of all time in the UK, with a higher take up rate than televisions, CD players, video recorders or mobile phones.

More than 95% of UK homes and businesses are now connected to broadband-enabled central offices (exchanges) and that figure will reach 99.6% by this summer, putting the UK ahead of any other G7 country in terms of DSL availability.

The five million connections are shared between more than 200 service providers with BT's own retail arm having around 35% of the total DSL market. There are also an estimated two million cable broadband customers in the UK.

Ben Verwaayen, BT's CEO said: "Three years ago when we set a target of five million by 2006 it seemed a daunting task. To have reached this milestone so early into 2005 is a massive achievement for the whole industry. The momentum of broadband is continuing to build. The latest million connections have come in just four months, and BT is connecting a customer every ten seconds. But now the focus needs to move from broadband availability towards the ways in which broadband can improve people's lives.

Deutsche Telekom Mourns Death of T-Systems' CEO

Deutsche Telekom announced the unexpected death of Konrad R. Reiss, the CEO of T-Systems.

Konrad R. Reiss was named a member of the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management and Chairman of the T-Systems Management Board in January 2003. He was the founder of two companies, which he later sold to Cap Gemini. Within the Cap Gemini group he assumed various management positions until he joined the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler Services AG in 2000. In 2001, he founded BlueChipBusiness Laboratories and two years later, he was named to the Deutsche Telekom Board of Management. He leaves behind a wife and three children.

MSN Messenger Reaches 155 Million Users

Microsoft released Version 7.0 of its MSN Messenger client. The company said it now has more than 155 million registered users who collectively exchange more than 2.5 billion instant messages (IMs) every day.

MSN Messenger 7.0 is available worldwide in 26 languages and introduces improved video, voice and personalization features. These include:

  • PC-to-PC video conversation -- the free MSN Video Conversation service, powered by Logitech technology, connects people with one-click synchronized audio and video, and offers full-screen video viewing.

  • Higher-quality audio functionality for PC-to-PC calling

  • PC-to-mobile communications using IMs. Customers in selected countries will be able to send SMS text messages from MSN Messenger to mobile phones -- even if the person they are sending to doesn't have an MSN Messenger account -- and the mobile user can reply to the MSN Messenger user. This feature will be available in certain markets this spring.

Microsoft is also expanding MSN Spaces, a blogging service, and integrating it with MSN Messenger.

VeriSign Completes Acquisition of LightSurf

VeriSign completed its LightSurf, a provider of multimedia messaging and interoperability solutions for the wireless market, for $270 million in stock.

Operators and service providers offering the LightSurf solution today include Sprint, Bell Mobility, Kodak, Rogers Wireless, Microcell, Telecom New Zealand, Iusacell, and Qwest.

LightSurf was founded in 1998 by Philippe Kahn, who founded Borland in 1982 and was CEO of the company for 12 years. In 1994 Philippe co-founded Starfish Software, which was acquired by Motorola in 1998.

Exar Acquires Assets of Infineon's Optical Networking Product Line

Exar has entered into a definitive agreement with Infineon Technologies North America Corp. in which Exar has agreed to acquire for cash a significant part of Infineon's Optical Networking(ON) Business Unit. The acquisition includes assets relating to the multi-rate TDM framer products, Fiber Channel over SONET/SDH, Resilient Packet Ring (RPR), as well as certain intellectual property for Data over SONET products. The transaction is expected to close shortly.

CA to Acquire Concord Communications

Computer Associates (CA) agreed to acquire and Concord Communications, (NASDAQ:CCRD), a provider of network service management software solutions, in an all-cash transaction valued at $17 per fully diluted common share, or approximately $330 million. CA will also assume approximately $20 million in net debt from Concord for a total purchase price of $350 million.

Concord, which is based in Marlboro, Massachusetts, offers Business Service Management (BSM) software that reduces IT downtime, improves capacity planning, and optimizes service level management. Concord's eHealth technology, which provides proactive network performance management and predictive capacity planning, is deployed by telecommunications companies, service providers and enterprises around the world. The management solution can be used in VoIP and wireless mobile networks. Concord claims 23 of the world's 24 largest service providers as customers.

Concord recently acquired Aprisma Management Technologies and its SPECTRUM Business Service Intelligence software, which manages the availability of IT infrastructures. Computer Associates said SPECTRUM's service modeling and patented technology in the areas of root cause analysis, relationship mapping, impact analysis, topology discovery, and condition correlation will be of significant value to CA customers as part of the company's Unicenter solutions portfolio.

It is anticipated that the vast majority of Concord's approximately 640 employees will remain with CA after the completion of the transaction.

Nokia Announces Dividend, Stock Repurchase

Nokia's Board of Directors agreed to distribute a dividend of EUR 0.33 per share for 2004. The company's Board also confirmed its previously announced plan to repurchase Nokia shares under a up to a maximum of EUR 5 billion or so that a maximum of 443.2 million Nokia shares be repurchased.

In addition, the company announced that all the current members of the Nokia Board of Directors were re-elected.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

NEC Develops 1 Gbps Wireless HDTV Transceiver in 60-GHz-band

Earlier this month, NEC announced a wireless transceiver for indoor, short range HDTV transmission, such as between a cable box a wall-mounted display. The wireless module carries uncompressed HDTV signals and stereo audio signals in a 1 Gbps data stream in the 60-GHz-band using amplitude shift keying (ASK) modulation. A dual receiver configuration supports two transmission paths. Automatic switching from one path ensures continuous transmission should interference disturb one of the paths.

Compared to other WLAN (2.4 and 5 GHz) or UWB, NEC said the 60-GHz band is better suited for HDTV transmission because of less interference at high frequencies.

In Japan, 59 to 66 GHz is allocated as an unlicensed frequency band for low-power applications. In the U.S., 57 to 64 GHz is also allocated for unlicensed applications. NEC said the radio wave in these frequency ranges is characterized by relatively high attenuation in the air due to the oxygen absorption and thus appropriate for short-range communications with less interference from other wireless systems. Its propagation is straightforward rather than diffractive and interrupted with significant attenuation by obstacles such as a human body in the way.

Widevine Supplies Virtual Smart Cards for Chunghwa Telecom's IPTV

Taiwan's ChungHwa Telecom has ordered an additional 500,000 downloadable Virtual Smart Cards from Widevine Technologies. ChungHwa Telecom is using Widevine Cypher, a conditional access and digital rights management solution.

Chunghwa's Multimedia on Demand (MOD) project, one of the largest IPTV deployments in the world, offers True Video-on-Demand (TVOD), Near VOD (NVOD), Karaoke-on-Demand and linear broadcast channels. The MOD expansion project will add another 500,000 subscribers to the current MOD subscriber base. The expansion project will feature two additional head ends. For the project, Widevine will deploy with two middleware providers -- Orca and Alcatel -- and four set-top boxes from three manufacturers: Pace, Foxcom and Hwacom/Setabox.

ChungHwa Telecom has licensed Widevine Cypher from Mediascape, Widevine's distributor in Taiwan. Widevine will be paid an upfront licensing fee plus an additional per-subscriber fee as the install base increases over the years.
  • In January 2005, Alcatel and Widevine announced a global agreement for Alcatel to resell Widevine Technologies' Cypher technology-Virtual SmartCard and Application Level encryption for securing content over video networks. The Widevine Virtual SmartCard solution is currently used a content security solution in the TVoDSL and FTTH markets. The companies cited Chunghwa Telecom's rollout as the catalyst for their agreement.

  • Chunghwa Telecom, the incumbent operator in Taiwan, had 3.1 million ADSL users as of 31-Dec 31, 2004, a 26.6% YoY increase