Monday, April 11, 2005

France Telecom Extends its TV-over-DSL Rollout

France Telecom is extending its "MaLigne tv" television-over-DSL service to a further 100 French towns during Q2. The service, which was first launched in December 2003, provides a broad range of content offered by TPS and CANAL+, the majority of TNT's free-to-view and subscriber channels, and a library of VOD choices. France Telecom said the service will now be available to some 10 million households across the country.
  • France Telecom has deployed a dedicated end-to-end architecture for its TV-over-DSL. Its partners include Alcatel for the multicast-enabled DSLAMs , SAGEM for the MPEG-2 set-top decoders, Thal├Ęs for the service management platform and Thomson for the video encoders. Digital rights management is provided with the Viaccess conditional access system.

MEF Sets Sights on Carrier Ethernet, Offers Certification Program

With Ethernet now becoming prevalent in metropolitan area networks, the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) is setting its sights on promoting Ethernet services across the WAN. As part of this effort, the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) is launching a Certification Program. The program will initially allow MEF member companies to certify that their products meet the international Carrier Ethernet service standards detailed in MEF specifications. Certification will later become available to non-MEF members from a growing number of laboratories worldwide and will embrace services as well as equipment.

The developmental phase of the Certification Program will be led by Iometrix and open to MEF members whose equipment meets MEF requirements for E-Line (point to point) and E-LAN (multipoint) services. The results for those companies that submit their equipment for testing by June 9, 2005, will be announced at the Carrier Ethernet World Congress in Berlin, Germany, September 2005.

According to the latest Infonetics study, the Carrier Ethernet market should exceed $2.7 billion in equipment revenues alone by 2008. In addition, IDC predicts Ethernet based service revenues will exceed $19 billion by 2007.

"I see Ethernet developing in four directions: UP, DOWN, OVER and ACROSS. UP in speed - whether we jump to 40Gbps or 100Gbps is more to do with the decision balance between telephone and computer companies than any limit to the technology. Telephone generations are traditionally four times faster while computer generations go up in tens. Ethernet is moving DOWN to the 8 billion processors shipped each year that are not yet networked. It's increasingly moving OVER wireless links - WiFi, WiMax, ZigBee and others - which is ironic as it was derived from the 1970 Alohanet packet radio network. And now it's moving even further ACROSS the telechasm between LANs and WANs with the development of Carrier Ethernet. It marks the end of outmoded SONET and T-1 technologies as businesses will be able to buy cheaper bandwidth at higher speeds - with the advantage of a 'granular' pricing structure that allows selection of just the bandwidth needed while paying for no more than what you really require," said Bob Metcalfe, who is credited with inventing Ethernet and now serves as Advisory Director to the MEF.

is a Great Time for Metro Ethernet!

With continued and
growing industry support, the technology has clearly moved beyond its
origins in local area networks to become a compelling, robust solution for
meeting the service delivery and cost reduction requirements of today's
leading carriers and service providers.

QUALCOMM Completes Interop Testing on NTT DoCoMo's FOMA

Qualcomm announced the successful completion of WCDMA interoperability testing (IOT) on NTT DoCoMo's 3GPP WCDMA-compliant FOMA network. The IOT began in June 2004 using QUALCOMM's Mobile Station Modem (MSM) chipset and software solution.

"QUALCOMM's solution will allow global mobile users to roam onto our FOMA network and take advantage of the advanced services we offer. We are sure this will lead to the rapid expansion of WCDMA globally," said Dr. Kazuhiko Kushima, vice president of Global Network Development Department for NTT DoCoMo.

BT to Supply Avaya's IP Communications Gear

Avaya announced a supplier contract with BT, estimated to be worth up to GBP 80 million over three years. The deal extends two existing contracts between the two companies -- one for the UK and one for the rest of Europe -- and combines them into one overarching agreement.

Specifically, BT will supply Avaya's portfolio of communication systems and MultiVantage Communications Applications to its customer network throughout the European Union and some strategic non-EU countries. BT will provide a comprehensive service including installation, maintenance and support for the Avaya products.

BT Suppliers High-Def Transatlanctic Circuit for NHK

BT was awarded a three year contract by NHK, a major Japanese public broadcaster, to supply a full-time High- Definition (HD) circuit from Paris to New York. The BT fiber network provides a compressed 60 Mbps, 4:2:2 format, fully-managed circuit that runs between NHK Paris and NHK New York and additionally passes through the BT Tower in London.

NHK currently contributes news content from its European bureau to its General Bureau for America in New York. From there the content is routed to Japan, via NHK's existing transpacific fiber, for contribution to NHK's HD satellite and terrestrial channels. Previously, content gathered by NHK's European bureau was only transmitted in HD format through the use of satellite.

AT&T Wins $21 Million IP VPN Contract From ServiceMaster

AT&T was awarded a three-year, $21 million contract to continue providing an IP VPN solution for The ServiceMaster Co. , the largest provider of residential and commercial outsourcing services in the U.S. The IP VPN links over 5,400 company-owned and franchised service centers and business units, as well as with business partners and suppliers.

Foundry Networks Says Q1 Below Forecast

Foundry Networks warned that its net revenue for the first quarter ended March 31, 2005 is expected to be approximately $84 million, compared to the company's previous forecast of $100-$110 million. The Company also expects earnings per diluted share for the first quarter to be in the range of $0.06 to $0.07, versus the Company's previous forecast of $0.08 to $0.12.

"We believe the shortfall in our revenue as compared to our forecast was influenced primarily by two factors," said Bobby Johnson, President and CEO of Foundry Networks. "First, we experienced a slowdown in our U.S. Federal Government orders. Second, our sales to North American enterprise customers were below our initial forecast for the period."

Congressional Internet Caucus to Consider VoIP Port Blocking

The Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee, a diverse group of public interest, non profit and industry groups working to educate the Congress, has scheduled a hearing next week to consider VoIP port blocking issues. Invited witnesses include:

  • Dan Brenner, National Cable & Telecommunications Association

  • Jeffrey Citron, CEO, Vonage

  • James Speta, Associate Professor, Northwestern University Law School

  • Timothy Wu, Associate Professor, University of Virginia Law School

Congress is looking into making changes to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The panel is expected to discuss whether "packet discrimination" should best be dealt with by legislation, regulation or on a case-by-case basis.

The event is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, 2005, from 9:30 - 11:00 am in Room HC-5 of the U.S. Capitol Building.
  • In March 2005, Vonage prevailed in a case involving VoIP-port blocking by local telephone company. The case involved the Madison River Telephone Company, which Vonage accused of blocking ports used for VoIP applications. Last month, the FCC's Enforcement Bureau issued a Letter of Inquiry to Madison River. This has resulted in a Consent Decree under which Madison River will refrain from blocking VOIP traffic and ensure that such blocking will not recur. Madison River will also pay a $15,000 fine to the U.S. Treasury. The consent decree expires in 30 months.

Samsung Elected to WiMAX Forum, Supports WiBro for Mobility

Samsung Electronics was elected to the Board of Directors of the WiMAX Forum. The company had joined the forum in December 2004.

The WiMAX Forum promotes and certifies compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products based on the IEEE 802.16 standard, and is seeking to develop the existing fixed standard (802.16d) into a mobilized standard (802.16e).

Samsung is developing WiBro solutions, which South Korean companies are expected to commercialize. WiBro is also based on the IEEE's mobilized technical standard (802.16e), allowing WiBro to be compatible with mobile WiMAX. Samsung Electronics has already demonstrated WiBro.
  • In July 2004, South Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication issued a statement endorsing the IEEE 802.16 standard as Korea's base technology for portable wireless broadband access. Plans are being developed for the licensing of carriers interested in offering "WiBro" portable broadband services based on the standard. Initial commercial services are forecast to launch in 2006.

Anystream Raises Funding from Softbank for Digital Media Automation

Anystream, a start-up based in Sterling, Virginia, raised $8 million in Series B funding led by SOFTBANK Capital Technology Fund III LP (SBCT). Existing investor SCP Private Equity Partners also participated in the round.

Anystream supplies software that automates digital media production and distribution. The software enables broadband applications -- such as premium online content, video-on-demand, mobile video, and online learning -- by automating the complex processes, from metadata tagging to compression and distribution, required to share high-quality video over broadband networks.

SBCT is a U.S. venture fund sponsored by Japan's SOFTBANK, a global pioneer in converged broadband services.

Qwest Installs its First FTTH

Qwest announced its first FTTH deployment at a new home development at RidgeGate, south of Denver, Colorado. The company said it has decided to deploy FTTH in certain new developments where green field conditions exist. RidgeGate residents will receive high-speed Internet access, TV, local, long-distance and wireless on one monthly bill from Qwest.

Mintera Raises $18.5 Million for 40 Gbps Systems

Mintera, a start-up based in Lowell, Massachusetts, raised $18.5 million in Series B funding for its 40 Gbps optical sub-systems for metro, regional and long-haul networks. Mintera demonstrated a 40 Gbps ultra long-haul optical transport connection in June 2004 in a trial with MCI and Ciena Corporation. Recently, the company conducted a live traffic trial on the Cernet network in China and a formed a partnership with Mahi Networks.

The funding was co-led by new investors Polaris Venture Partners and RRE Ventures. Also participating in the round are existing investors including Court Square Ventures, Star Ventures and Portview Communications Partners. Industry veterans Bob Metcalfe, General Partner, Polaris Ventures and RRE General Partner Rich McGinn, will join Mintera's board of directors.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Liberty Alliance Releases Identity-based Web Services Specs

Liberty Alliance, a global consortium for open federated identity standards and identity-based Web services, released interface specifications that support presence, contact book and geo-location Web services. Deployable on Liberty's Identity Web Services Framework (ID-WSF), these specifications offer new application functionality to enterprises and service providers, as well as privacy, personalization and security benefits to users.

  • Contact Book Service Interface: A common method for users to manage and share personal or business contacts regardless of contact book provider, enabling service providers to access or automatically update, at the user's request, information like billing or shipping address.

  • Geo-location Service Interface: An interoperable way to automatically identify a person's location, at the user's request, to provide services like weather, news, travel or currency updates or directions to a chosen location.

  • Presence Service Interface: A common way for users to share presence information, such as whether they are online, offline, on the phone or in a meeting, with any service provider for the purpose of communicating availability.

The three service interfaces are designed to function individually or in a seamless unified fashion. As with ID Personal Profile and ID Employee Profile, previously released service interfaces available with the first version of ID- WSF, each has been created to enhance user control of invoked Web services, in a privacy-respecting manner. Each has been created to enhance user control of invoked Web services, in a privacy-respecting manner.

The three service interface specifications are currently available in draft form.

SwitchCore Targets IP DSLAMs with Xpeedium2pro

SwitchCore AB unveiled Xpeedium2pro Ethernet switching chip targeted at IP DSLAMs and other next-generation access equipment.

The Xpeedium2pro, which builds on SwitchCore's design experience for enterprise Ethernet switches, is positioned as a drop-in replacement from ATM-based DSLAMs. Xpeedium2pro supports up to 4,000 subscribers per device. This provides "color-aware" DiffServ bandwidth management with three different services for up to 4,000 subscribers.

The Xpeedium2pro offers 28 ports of wire-speed Gigabit Ethernet switching and routing; VLAN support (VLAN swapping and forwarding, double tagging); Layer-3 forwarding, including IP-multicast support and ECMP. SwitchCore uses CAM-based forwarding databases for deterministic performance. The switching fabric also features a shared memory architecture to eliminate head-of-line blocking.

Xpeedium2pro will be available in Q2 2005.

SwitchCore has also entered into a partnership with PMC-Sierra focused on IP DSLAMs. The companies are supporting a major mutual customer.

Mindspeed Announces VoIP-over-Cable Software

Mindspeed Technologies announced a suite of VoIP-over-Cable software for its Comcerto VoIP processor family. The new software combined with Comcerto Series processors support CableLabs' PacketCable initiative for advanced, real-time digital multimedia services over two-way cable plant.

Mindspeed's Comcerto system-on-chip (SoC) hardware and software solution combines digital signal processing (DSP) cores and a packet-processing engine with streaming packet interfaces. The feature set incorporates the full range of PacketCable codecs including G.711, G.728, iLBC, G.729e and T.38 Fax relay along with support for, TTY/TTD, RTCP and G.168-2002-compliant echo cancellation. The software suite also includes Mindspeed's proprietary zero-delay implementation of the G.711 Appendix 1 PLC, and an adaptive jitter buffer for optimized performance. All codecs include Mindspeed's voice activity detector, which includes the company's proprietary music detection algorithm to further improve performance.

TeraChip Raises $7.2 Million for Silicon Switch Fabrics

TeraChip, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California with R&D in Israel, raised $7.2 million for its next-gen switching fabrics. The funding was led by Accel Partners and Benchmark Capital.

TeraChip offers a series of fully scalable silicon solutions that provide network vendors the highest available bandwidth density on a single chip. The shared-memory switch fabrics support line card designs ranging from 10 to 40 Gbps, and offers rich QoS and multicast capabilities.

TeraChip also appointed Rod Kay as President and CEO, replacing Micha Zeiger, TeraChip's founding CEO, who has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors and CTO. Prior to joining TeraChip, Kay served as Vice President of Marketing at Ardent Communications, a voice-over-packet startup acquired by Cisco Systems in 1997. Following the acquisition by Cisco, Kay held executive marketing and business development positions in Cisco's Enterprise and Service Provider business segments.

Yipes Raises $24 Million for Ethernet Services

Yipes Enterprise Services raised $24 million in series C round funding led by San Francisco-based Crosslink Capital, along with existing Yipes' investors Norwest Venture Partners, JPMorgan Partners, LLC and Sprout Group, a venture capital affiliate of Credit Suisse First Boston.

Yipes said the new round of funding exceeds its financial requirements to reach positive cash flow in 2006. In total, Yipes has raised nearly $94 million since July 2002.

Yipes provides uniquely scalable Ethernet services in the major metros in the U.S. and U.K. Additionally, Yipes has interconnected its metros using its MPLS-enable backbone to offer national and global area network services.

During the past two years, Yipes has tripled its customer base to more than 600 customers.

SEC Concludes Global Crossing Investigation

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) concluded its investigation of Global Crossing's reciprocal purchases and sales of telecommunications capacity with other carriers and related matters. The investigation, which was launched in February 2002, found that Global Crossing did not comply with certain reporting obligations under the securities laws and requires the company to cease and desist from committing any future violations. No fines or penalties were assessed against the company, and the order does not include a finding of fraud. The company neither admitted nor denied the SEC's findings.

"We're happy to have reached a settlement with the SEC and that we can put these issues solidly behind us without a finding of fraud or a financial penalty against the company," said Global Crossing CEO John Legere.

See also