Saturday, April 30, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Deploys IP Telephony from Avaya/Extreme

The new Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Country Club in Las Vegas deployed an integrated voice and data network using equipment from Avaya and Extreme Networks. The network delivers a host of communications capabilities, from centralized guest service functions to in-room communications, throughout the hotel and its 2,698 guest rooms.

In addition to providing high-speed Internet access in guest rooms, the hotel will use 4,000 color Avaya IP screen phones throughout the hotel, guest rooms and its customer service facilities to deliver a variety of services. The new IP phones will be rich with information about the hotel's services and will enable the guests to seamlessly access the hotel staff.

Wynn is also using phone applications from Citrix Systems to enable guests to use their Avaya IP screen phones as information kiosks.

The Wynn Las Vegas professional staff will also use Avaya Extension-to-Cellular, enabling the user's cellular phone to ring simultaneously when their office extension is dialed, for fewer missed calls and prompt guest service.

Wynn operators will use specialized software from System Development Company of New Hampshire. Functioning as the main answering console and database for Wynn Las Vegas, IntelliDESK will house guest information, such as do-not-disturb preferences and other special reach instructions, in order to expedite call and message delivery, in addition to wake-up call administration, voice messaging and other guest services.

NICE Systems is supplying solution for high-quality recording, monitoring and archiving of telephone conversations between guests and guest service representatives from 20 different departments, including room reservations, concierge, bell desk and limo services.

Juniper Networks and Avaya Expand Partnership

Juniper Networks and Avaya signed a global strategic partnership memorandum of understanding (MOU) to deliver secure converged communication solutions to enterprise customers worldwide.

The alliance will include joint development of converged solutions combining Avaya's enterprise communications and Juniper's security and routing strengths. The expanded relationship would also include agreements to allow the companies to resell each other's products and services, as well as a global services component to deliver services capabilities, including program management, remote network management and managed services.

Korea's SK Telecom Launches Satellite DMB Video for Mobiles

SK Telecom launched a satellite DMB service that delivers high-quality video broadcasts to a mobile phone or car-based video entertainment system. SK Telecom is initially delivering 11 video channels, 25 audio channels, and 3 data channels. Consumers in South Korea are able to receive the broadcasts either on mobile phones or in-car displays. The video uses MPEG-4 H.264 system and the music channels are furnished through a MPEG-2 AAC+ system.

In areas where the satellite view may be obstructed, such as alongside tall buildings, SK Telecom will boost its service using a signal "gap filler" from its mobile base stations and existing towers. The Ku-Band (13.824~13.883GHz) is used between the Signal Transmission Center and the satellite (which is positioned at 144 degrees east longitude), and the S-Band (2.630~2.655 GHz, 25MHz) is utilized between satellite and the mobile terminals. The Ku-Band (12.214~12.239GHz) is used between satellite and base stations providing supplemental signals.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Samsung's New SATA II Hard Disks Offer 3 Gbps I/O

Samsung Electronics began shipping the first Serial ATA II hard drives offering native 3.0 Gbps I/O transaction capabilities in addition to Serial ATA Native Command Queuing. The 3.0 Gbps speed doubles the 1.5 Gbps data transfer rate of current Serial ATA hard drives. Serial ATA also allows for the "daisy chaining" of drives via sleek and slim cables, so that systems can be expanded by simply adding additional drives.

Samsung's family of Serial ATA II hard drives include an 80 GB model ($93 estimated street price), 120 GB model ($120) and a 160 GB model($150). All feature a 7,200 rpm spindle speed, an 8.9 millisecond average seek time and a 8MB cache buffer.

Tandberg Delivers IPTV System for India's Atlas netTV

TANDBERG Television has delivered IPTV video head-end to Atlas Interactive for a large scale multimedia broadband deployment over the Indian telephone network. The Atlas netTV project will launch services to an initial 50,000 subscribers in the National Capital Region of Delhi in 2005. Financial terms were not disclosed.

TANDBERG Television is supplying a range of equipment for the project, including its TT1260 professional receivers that feed the video streams to the TANDBERG IP Streamer. Each IP Streamer in the system includes TANDBERG Television encoders to allow for bit-rate reduction of the streams to meet the low bandwidth capacity of the ADSL network. All parts of the system have full redundancy and are controlled by the nCompass management system, with monitoring based on the TANDBERG TT1260 with integrated IP input and the TANDBERG TT4010 transport stream analyser. The video head-end is being installed and integrated by TANDBERG Television's long-standing Indian business partner, Horizon Broadcast Electronics Pvt. Ltd.

Siemens Selected for Mobile Nets in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine

Siemens was awarded contracts valued at US$265 million to expand mobile networks for Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) in Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine. MTS is the largest mobile phone operator in Russia and the CIS. Together with its subsidiaries, MTS services about 39 million subscribers. The regions of Russia, as well as Belarus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, in which MTS and its subsidiaries are licensed to provide GSM services, have a total population of approximately 226 million.

EC Approves Alcatel Alenia Space and Telespazio

The European Commission gave its approval for the creation of the two companies, Alcatel Alenia Space and Telespazio. The two new companies result from the mergers of the space activities of Alcatel and Finmeccanica.

The first company, Alcatel Alenia Space, of which Alcatel will hold 67% and Finmeccanica 33%, will combine Alcatel Space and Alenia Spazio's activities. It will concentrate on the design, development, and manufacturing of space systems, satellites, payloads, instruments and associated ground systems for civilian and military applications. The headquarters of Alcatel Alenia Space will be located in France, with plants in France, Italy, Belgium and Spain. With estimated 2004 sales of EUR 1.8 billion and around 7,200 people, it will create the European leader in satellite systems and services.

The second company, Telespazio, of which Finmeccanica will hold 67% and Alcatel 33%, will combine Telespazio with Alcatel Space Services and Operations activities. It will concentrate on operations and services for satellite solutions, which includes control and exploitation of space systems as well as value-added services for networking, multimedia and earth observation. Its headquarters will be located in Italy with plants in Italy, France and Germany. With estimated 2004 sales of EUR 350 million and around 1,400 people, it will be a key player in the space services market.

Packeteer Offers New Data Compression for WANs

Packeteer introduced a new compression algorithm enabling enterprise WAN performance gains of up to 80%. The algorithm targets typical enterprise applications particularly e-mail, including SMTP, POP3, and Notes. Packeteer's dynamic compression appliances are needed at both ends of the WAN connection.

Packeteer also introduced its new "Mentat SkyX Server 155" appliance, offering enterprise-class acceleration to mitigate latency and speed application delivery for remote and mobile users using a VPN over high capacity links up to 155 Mbps. The SkyX Server 155 is installed next to the VPN concentrator and functions as a TCP protocol accelerator, optimizing protocol transmissions to manage and reduce the effects of high latency and high packet loss across the Internet. Pricing starts at $25,000.

Fabrinet to Acquire JDS Uniphase Operations in Fuzhou

Fabrinet, an engineering and electromechanical manufacturing services company, agreed to acquire JDS Uniphase's manufacturing facilities located in Fuzhou, China. The deal includes all assets and operations related to the Fuzhou plant including R&D and the manufacture of products such as crystals and precision optics. The Fuzhou plant employs over 500 engineers, technicians, and skilled operators, all of whom are expected to transfer to Fabrinet and continue their employment at the site. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Germany Trims Local Loop Rental to EUR 10.65

Germany's Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Posts (RegTP) trimmed the monthly price for a competitor to rent a local loop from the incumbent by another 9.75%. The monthly price had been EUR 11.80 and is now EUR 10.65. Deutsche Telekom had applied for a price of EUR 17.40. RegTP said it based the new price on a cost model and an international tariff comparison. The move is expected to bolster local competition for broadband services.

"With our new decision we are well amongst the average level of countries using the same cost measures, also within the framework of European comparison. The new local loop price - as an appropriate and cost-based price - is a guarantee for long-term and stable competition on the German telecoms market," said RegTP's Matthias Kurth.

DISH Adds 10 Original VOOM HD Channels

EchoStar's DISH Network satellite TV service will expand its high-definition television (HDTV) package by adding 10 original VOOM HD networks.
  • In April 2005, Cablevision Systems confirmed plans to shut down its VOOM HD satellite TV at the end of April.

  • In January 2005, EchoStar Communications agreed to acquire Cablevision's direct broadcast satellite and certain other related assets for $200 million. The deal includes the Rainbow 1 satellite, located at the 61.5 degree W.L. orbital position, as well as FCC licenses to construct, launch and operate DBS services over 11 frequency channels at the 61.5 degree W.L. orbital location. In addition, EchoStar will acquire the contents of Rainbow DBS's ground facility in Black Hawk, S.D. and related assets.

FCC Chairman Announces Staff Appointments

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced several new appointments:

  • Dan Gonzalez -- Chief of Staff

  • Tom Navin - Wireline Bureau Chief

  • Michelle Carey - Wireline Competition Advisor to Chairman Martin

  • Kris Monteith - Enforcement Bureau Chief

  • Monica Desai - Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Chief

Union Raises Questions on BT's Exclusion of Marconi

Amicus, the UK's largest private sector union, raised questions about the decision by BT to award preferred supplier status for its network upgrade to eight foreign owned companies.

In a public statement, the union said it would seek answers on the following questions:

  • If any of the US or other European companies selected have received any direct or indirect public subsidies which enabled them to undercut Marconi by offering lower prices

  • If any of the US or other European companies selected have received
    protection or preferred supplier status from national governments or
    national telecoms companies

  • Why Ericsson was chosen as sole supplier in one of the contract domains, when the stated policy of BT was to seek more than one supplier. (Ericsson was chosen as sole supplier for the I-node domain, essentially the intelligence that controls the services, despite the fact that Marconi's highly regarded Softswitch network software was the only one included in BT's preliminary trials)

Peter Skyte, Amicus National Officer, said "Companies in other countries are able to use their national champion and protected status in their home market to bid for contracts such as the BT 21st Century Network at low or loss leader prices. The strategic decision to exclude Marconi from this project marks the beginning of the end for the UK telephone and telecoms equipment industry, following the same path of other core infrastructure industries such as railway production."

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Cisco and IBM Team on Speech-Enabled Contact Centers

IBM and Cisco will jointly deliver speech-enabled self-service solutions for contact centers. The solution combines IBM's WebSphere Voice Server product and Cisco's Customer Voice Portal. The companies said they would leverage open standards, including Voice XML and J2EE. These solutions enable contact centers to provide low-cost speech-enabled self-service transactions to their customers, such as transferring money from a checking account, submitting insurance claims, changing cellular phone plans, making hotel and car reservations or finding the nearest store location using speech automation -- functions that frequently required a live agent in a contact center.

Telefónica Deploys Acme Packet's SBCs

Telefónica de España has selected Acme Packet's Net-Net session border controllers for its hosted business and residential VoIP offering throughout Spain. Financial terms are not disclosed.

The Acme Packet session border controllers are interoperating with Telefonica's existing infrastructure, Ericsson's Engine Multimedia, a complete, all-IP and SIP solution with an open architecture based on IMS, the 3GPP standard. The Acme Packet session border controllers are providing access control and complete network topology hiding at all protocol layers for confidentiality and attack prevention. The denial of service (DoS) protection includes session agent DoS protection for protecting the service provider's infrastructure (e.g. SIP servers, softswitches, application servers, media servers or media gateways) and session border control DoS protection, an autonomic self-protection against malicious and non-malicious DoS attacks and overloads.

To extend its service reach, Telefónica is utilizing features including overlapping address support using VLANs, SIP-H.323 interworking, and hosted NAT traversal. They are now able to connect with previously incompatible networks, such as those using different versions and configurations of H.323, as well as traverse existing data firewalls at the customer premise, both immense challenges to offering secure, high-quality interactive IP communications.

Live trials of both the residential and the business services have been underway for several months and production deployment is planned for later in the second quarter of this year.

Comcast Reaches 7.4 million Cable Modem Subscribers

Comcast added 414,000 cable modem customers in Q1 giving it a total of 7.4 million subscribers, representing a penetration rate of 18.3% of available homes. Average monthly revenue per subscriber was $42.81 in the first quarter of 2005, a slight increase from the first quarter of 2004 and a 1.8% increase from the $42.06 reported in the fourth quarter of 2004. Comcast High-Speed Internet service revenue increased 32.5% to $925 million. Some additional highlights from Comcast's Q1 report:

Comcast Cable reported revenue of $5.1 billion for Q1, representing a $453 million or 9.7% increase from the $4.7 billion in the first quarter of 2004.

Video revenue increased $178 million or 5.6% to $3.4 billion in Q1.

Comcast Cable added 200,000 new digital customers, giving it a total of 8.8 million subscribers.

Digital cable penetration reached 41.1% of basic subscribers. Basic cable subscribers declined 29,000 during the first quarter of 2005.

Pay-per-view revenue increased more than 18% driven by movie and event purchases through the Comcast ON DEMAND service. Pay-per-view revenues have increased each of the last six quarters reflecting the strong consumer appeal of the ON DEMAND service.

Comcast has deployed a combined 1.6 million set-top boxes with DVR and/or HDTV programming capability, an increase of more than 1 million in the past year. More than 428,000 or 25% of these advanced set-top boxes were deployed in Q1, generating an incremental $5 to $10 of monthly revenue per box.

Cable phone revenue declined 3.1% from Q1 2004 to $173 million in the first quarter of 2005. The decrease in revenue reflects a decline in cable phone customers during 2004. Comcast Cable reported 4,000 net new cable phone customers in the first quarter of 2005 including the addition of more than 7,000 Comcast Digital Voice customers (Comcast's phone service using IP technology), offset by a decline in the number of Comcast's circuit-switched telephone customers as we transition to focus on marketing Comcast Digital Voice.

CAPEX increased 8.5% to $883 million from the same period last year.

Taiwan's Chunghwa Reaches 3.2 Million ADSL Subscribers

As of 31-March-2005, Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom was serving 3.2 million ADSL subscribers, up by 132,000 for the quarter. Total Internet subscriptions numbered 3.87 million. The number of fixed-line subscribers was 13.26 million. The company also serves 8.17 million mobile subscribers.

NETGEAR Sees 23% Year-over-year Growth

NETGEAR reported Q1 revenue of $109.0 million, a 3.7% increase as compared to $105.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2004, and a 23.3% increase as compared to $88.4 million for Q1 2004.

Net revenue in the first quarter of 2005 derived from North America was $51.1 million, the Europe, Middle East and Africa, or EMEA, region was $47.0 million, and the Asia Pacific region was $10.9 million.

Non-GAAP gross margin in the first quarter of 2005 was 33.0%, as compared to 32.9% in the prior quarter and 31.1% in the year ago comparable quarter.

OIF Delivers Two Common Electrical I/O Agreements

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) completed two Implementation Agreements (IAs) relating to Common Electrical I/O technology.

The first, CEI 11G-LR, addresses 11 to 13 Gbps applications over backplanes. This IA responds to the industry's move toward higher speed electrical signaling, driven by system vendors' desire to quadruple the bandwidth of existing systems without increasing the number of backplane traces.

The second IA, CEI Protocol (CEI-P) is a new protocol designed for use with the fast electrical interfaces developed by the CEI project team. A key feature of this new protocol is the Forward Error Correction (FEC) capability, which is tolerant of burst errors and substantially improves the error rate performance of a link. The FEC has the capability to improve the channel's bit error ratio by as much as 12 orders of magnitude.

The two new agreements build upon the existing CEI IA published last quarter that addressed 6 Gbps short and long reach and 11 Gbps short reach applications.

France Activates 890,000 ADSL Access Points in Q1

In Q1 2005, 890,000 ADSL access points were added across France. This includes lines served by France Telecom and the unbundled lines served by other carriers. The total number of ADSL access points in France (including unbundled lines) has now topped 7.2 million, up from 4.1 million a year earlier. As of 31-March-2005, France Telecom had 5,150,000 ADSL lines in its home market, of which 3,364,000 were serviced by its own Internet service and 1,787,000 were using third party ISPs.

Some highlights from the carrier's quartely report:

The number of residential telephone lines served by France Telecom in its home market was 27,419,000, roughly flat from a year earlier. Its market share of local calls was 70.9% compared with 75.2% a year earlier, and its market share of long-distance calls was 58.1% compared to 59.4% a year earlier.

Consumer Service revenues were down -3.0% on a comparable basis, linked to the 12.6% fall in revenues on residential telephone calls, with an 8.9% reduction in telephone traffic volume (switched voice), reflecting the losses in market share and the downturn of the overall fixed telephony market (measured at interconnection).

France Telecom now has 245,000 home VoIP users.

Elsewhere in Europe (Spain, Netherlands and UK), France Telecom has 1,682,000 broadband users, up from 745,000 a year earlier.

In Q1 2005, CAPEX increased significantly (+29.4% compared with the same period in 2004) and represented 10.0% of revenues. France Telecom Group attributed the rise to the rapid deployment of broadband, both fixed and mobile, notably with the launch of EDGE (to open at mid-year, with objective to cover 85% of the French population). In most of the other European countries in which Orange is present, UMTS and/or EDGE openings are planned for mid-2005 at the latest.

In broadband, France Telecom Group is upgrading its access network (RE-ADSL, ADSL 2+) and rolling out TV-over-DSL and VoIP services. In Spain, the UK and the Netherlands, France Telecom is rolling out unbundled packages. In Poland, the Group continues to rapid development of its ADSL offering.

France Telecom reported Q1 consolidated revenues of EUR 11.62 billion, compared with EUR 11.23 billion a year earlier, representing an increase of 3.5% on an actual basis and 1.0% on a comparable basis.