Sunday, May 1, 2005

Aktino Combines MIMO with Copper Bonding to Push Access Rates

Aktino, a start-up based in Irvine, California, unveiled a unique new way of bonding copper pairs into higher capacity "fiber-like" access lines. The solution, which is aimed at business-class services for locations not served by fiber, is a carrier-class product for long-reach DS3 (45 Mbps) over copper.

Aktino' uses Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) techniques found in high-performance wireless equipment. Unlike earlier copper bonding solutions, Aktino's silicon performs the bonding at the physical layer, overcoming noise and line impairment problems. Aktino's multi-pair transceiver dynamically load balance traffic across all the loops being used. The platform is T1.417 compliant and does not interfere with existing services such as ADSL and HDSL in the same binder group even at long distances and high bandwidth levels. Aktino also uses discrete multitone (DMT) technology to reduce self cross-talk between the bonded pairs.

Aktino said its AK3000 product only one-third to one-half as many copper loops as other bonded solutions, such as G.SHDSL and HDSLx. It also features a line-powered capability.

In a recent deployment, one independent operating company was able to quickly turn up a clear-channel DS3 service to its customer more than 15,000 feet away from the central office (CO) over the existing copper loops using 14 copper pairs.
http://www.aktino.comAktino was co-founded by Ben Itri, Hossam Salib, Michail Tsatsanis, and Ray Nagele, many of who had earlier worked at PairGain Technologies. The company is headed by Bruce Kimble, who had previously served as the Vice President and General Manager at PairGain.

Laurel Positions its Edge Router for Triple Play

Laurel Networks unveiled a "drop-in" IP Video Routing Solution that positions its ST200 broadband services router for large scale IPTV and VOD deployments. The rollout includes the introduction of two new line cards that significantly increase the Ethernet density of the company's ST200 broadband services router. These include an Ethernet-optimized network processing blade (NPB-E) that provides 10 Gbps wire-speed performance (not over-subscribed) and a new high-density 10-port Gigabit Ethernet physical interface (PHY) card, which brings port density of the ST200 to a maximum of 80 Gigabit Ethernet ports (line rate), allowing direct connectivity to large numbers of Ethernet-based DSLAMs and OLTs.

The new hardware supports the subscriber management, quality of service and security features needed to deliver IPTV, video, voice, interactive gaming, and other "on demand" services to subscribers. Specific capabilities include:

  • Wire-speed multicast and unicast performance

  • Guaranteed QoS with priority and weighted queue servicing, which enables any mixture of voice, video, and data traffic on a single port

  • Enhanced security to prevent source IP and source MAC address spoofing and block unauthorized sources from the video domain.

  • Seamless bandwidth expansion and link protection via the IEEE 802.3ad standard.

  • Support for IEEE 802.1Q VLAN tagging as well as Q-in-Q (VLAN stacking) to facilitate more scalable Ethernet aggregation and enforce secure, dedicated connectivity to the subscriber.

  • Both cards are in trials during 2Q, with general availability scheduled for 3Q 2005.

The Laurel IP Video Routing Solution also features the latest release of Laurel's ShadeTree system software. Included in the new ShadeTree 3.2 release is support for automated discovery, authentication, and network configuration of Ethernet home media devices such as IPTV set-top boxes. It also enables non-stop forwarding for multicast traffic - even in the event of primary control processor failure.
  • Last month, Laurel Networks announced that Grande Communications had selected its ST50 Broadband Routing Platform to support a large-scale rollout of fiber-to-the-home in locations across Texas. The Laurel ST-series broadband platform provides the edge routing functionality for delivering advanced services such as VoIP, video-on-demand and IP VPNs.

Avaya Releases its Latest IP Telephony Software

Avaya released Version 3.0 of its flagship IP telephony software, adding advanced survivability, reliability and SIP functionality. The Avaya Communication Manager 3.0 provides support for open Web Services-based applications development. This is achieved by a new version of the Avaya Converged Communications Server, a software solution that delivers the application protocol interfaces (API) of Avaya's new IP telephony software and the advanced functionality of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which supports real-time collaboration and presence.

The upgrades supports the deployment of an Enterprise Survivable Server in the network so that, in the event of a headquarters failure, communications continues throughout an organization with full feature functionality. Additionally, for IP calls transmitted between gateways, new Inter Gateway Alternate Routing enhancements solve over-crowding issues by providing alternate PSTN routes for calls on congested IP networks.

Agere Targets Wireless Converged Access with Network Processors

Agere Systems unveiled its "TrueAdvantage" Wireless Access Solutions aimed at converging 2G, 3G and other wireless access services over a single network.

Agere's solution consist of its Advanced PayloadPlus (APP) network processor chips, Link Layer Processor (LLP), TADM, and its Ultramapper and Hypermapper framing and mapping devices. Agere also provides the software and reference designs for telecom equipment manufacturers.

The TrueAdvantage solution supports a variety of protocols required for 2/2.5G and 3G networks, such as Transcoder Rate Adapter Unit (TRAU), Frame Relay, and AAL1 Circuit Emulation. The solution could be used for an integrated base station supporting 2G and 3G services. This allows carriers to cut costs by reducing the number of T1/E1, SONET/SDH and Ethernet backhaul links they must deploy. Additional backhaul savings can be achieved by improving the efficiency of T1/E1 backhaul links with the flexible protocol processing of the TrueAdvantage Wireless Solution. Agere estimates backhaul efficiency is improved by as much as 35% by providing support for header compression and multiplexing protocols such as PPP mux (Point-to-Point multiplexing) and cUDP (compress User Datagram Protocol). This offers wireless carriers a potential global savings of $300 million per year, as fewer T1/E1 leased lines will be required to cover a service area.

NEC has selected Agere's TrueAdvantage solution, including its Advanced PayloadPlus (APP) network processor chips, for use in its wireless access equipment.

Symbol Handhelds to Use Xten's Software

Symbol Technologies' handheld mobile computers will support Xten's SIP softphones. The first product supported is Symbol's MC50 Enterprise Digital Assistant (EDA), which is designed for mobile professionals seeking to capture, move and manage information at the point of business activity.

Broadcom's Latest StrataXGS III Targets Carrier Ethernet Routers

Broadcom announced the second product family in its line of StrataXGS III switch silicon. The new 600 Series of switches, which is designed specifically for carrier applications, includes 3 new devices: the BCM56600, BCM56601 and BCM56602. Each device provides both Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and integrates 12 Gbps "HiGig" SerDes (serializer/deserializer) technology for resilient scaling of StrataXGS devices across backplanes in modular systems.

Each of the chips supports IPv6 routing, MPLS, service provider bridging, stacked Layer 2 services, protocol tunneling, extensive Layer 2 and Layer 3 IPv6 tunneling, efficient multicast, and point-to-multi point virtual private LAN services (VPLS). Also integrated in the 600 Series are comprehensive traffic management capabilities that enable the deployment of carrier-class service level agreements (SLA) to hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

Broadcom said the scalability of its design enables carriers to offer high throughput flows across multiple switch fabrics with automatic protection switching.

Broadcom's 600 Series also provides scalable, wire-speed packet buffering across all packet sizes -- a feature that is necessary to prevent data loss which can impact the user experience. IPTV, a next-generation billable service that carriers are planning to deploy with the 600 Series, requires this level of deep packet buffering.

The devices are currently sampling to Broadcom's early access customers.

TI Teams with Microsoft on Mobile-based Portable Media Center

Texas Instruments (TI) is working with Microsoft on future versions of Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Centers. The development is based on a TI system-on-a-chip (SOC), a highly- integrated Digital Media processor targeted specifically for portable applications, capable of supporting QVGA resolution for Windows Media Video 9, as well as up to D1 resolution of other commonly used video formats. TI's Digital Media processor is a multi-core device, embedding a digital signal processor (DSP) and an ARM core. It has an integrated peripheral set, supporting the base Portable Media Center requirements, as well as many of the additional options available to Portable Media Center developers. It features an integrated video encoder, hardware video accelerators and USB host capabilities.

"Portable Media Centers have created new opportunities for people to take their entertainment -- video, photos and music -- with them anywhere, anytime," said John Pollard, director of Windows Mobile Applications and Services Marketing at Microsoft Corp. "TI's Digital Media processors will help our Windows Mobile-based device manufacturers deliver more choices as the category continues to evolve and expand."

Microsoft Offers Customer Care Framework for Call Centers

Microsoft released a Customer Care Framework that streamlines call center operations for service providers. The software solution is aimed at improving customer service and reduce costs by decreasing average call times, eliminating redundant data requests and delivering better information faster to call center agents.

Based on Microsoft .NET technology and Web services architecture, Microsoft Customer Care Framework integrates with existing customer relationship management (CRM) systems, operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS). It works in conjunction with a suite of products, including Microsoft BizTalk Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET. In addition, Web services enable multiple data sources and applications to be accessed simultaneously. Initial customers include Primus Telecom Australia.

In addition, leading system integrator Accenture Ltd., independent software vendors CosmoCom Inc., Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc. and Telution Inc., and industry partners such as Mahindra-British Telecom (MBT) are adopting the solution to improve their own customer care offerings.

Entrisphere Debuts PON Terminals

Entrisphere introduced an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) designed to interoperate with its Broadband Loop Multiplexer or other standards-compliant Optical Line Terminals (OLTs) for delivering PON-based triple play services to subscriber homes. The first ONT model being introduced by Entrisphere serves single-family homes. It delivers data service at up to 100 Mbps, voice, digital video, IPTV, and other advanced services to subscriber households. The T100 lowers providers' costs through operational advantages and flexible powering options. The T100 has already been deployed by Grande Communications for an FTTH overbuild in Texas.

Encased in an environmentally hardened enclosure, the T100 provides four voice ports, one Ethernet port for high-speed data, and one RF video port. The voice ports can support either POTS or packet voice services. In addition to delivering voice and data services at up to 100 Mbps, the T100 supports switched digital video (SDV) service. An optional third wavelength can deliver RF video at 1550 nm, which enables providers to deliver up to 80 NTSC channels without a set-top box, and to deliver up to 500 MPEG digital channels to subscribers with set-top boxes.
  • In March 2005, Entrisphere introduced its Broadband Loop Multiplexer (BLM) 1500, which is designed to integrate all major access network service and transport functions on a single platform, including PON OLT, NGDLC/DSLAM, packet voice gateway, as well as IP and analog video support along with SONET and IP transport. Based on an 18-slot, fully hardened 14RU chassis, the BLM 1500 can deliver any service from any slot through a variety of Entrisphere solutions for Video services, High Speed Data service, Packet Voice services, Ethernet, and Transparent LAN service, all with a unified management interface. Specific applications include FTTP, FTTC, Fiber-to-the-Node (FTTN), IGMP-based switched digital video or IPTV, RF video, VoIP and packet voice (H.248), ADSL and ADSL2+, Gigabit Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, OC-48, T1 (HiCap), DS3, and POTS.

  • Entrisphere is headed by Mark Floyd, who previously was a founder of Efficient Networks (acquired by Siemens). The company is based in Santa Clara, California with an office in Plano, Texas.

TVN to Supply VOD Content and Services to Cox

TVN Entertainment signed a multiyear agreement to provide transport of Video On Demand (VOD) programming and services to Cox Communications, the third-largest cable broadband provider in the U.S. with 6.6 million subscribers. The agreement with TVN encompasses all of Cox's On Demand markets.

TVN will provide Cox with a variety of content to augment its current On Demand content offerings, including access to TVN's growing slate of basic and specialty on demand networks.
  • TVN is currently offering more than 2,000 hours of VOD programming from over 70 content providers. TVN has previously announced deals with Adelphia, Bresnan, Buckeye, Blue Ridge, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Insight, Mediacom and Verizon.

Verizon Extends Managed IP-PBX Service Nationwide

Verizon's Managed Communications Solution for small- and medium-sized business customers is now available within the company's serving areas nationwide. The hybrid service combines IP features, data networking and remote management using an Alcatel Omni PCX Office PBX managed by Verizon. It was first introduced last fall in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Verizon said its target market includes businesses with multiple office also businesses with 20 to 200 employees.

Nortel Reports 2004 Results

Nortel Networks reported Q4 2004 revenues of $2.6 billion, up sequentially 20%, and Q4 2004 net earnings of $133 million, or $0.03 per common share on a diluted basis.

Wireless Networks revenues were $1.28 billion, an increase of 21 percent sequentially and a decrease of 11 percent compared with the year-ago quarter.

Enterprise Networks revenues were $651 million, an increase of 10 percent sequentially and a decrease of 31 percent compared with the year-ago quarter.

Wireline Networks revenues were $461 million, an increase of 22 percent sequentially and a decrease of 19 percent compared with the year-ago quarter.

Optical Networks revenues were $226 million, an increase of 46 percent sequentially and a decrease of 28 percent compared with the year-ago quarter.

Gross margin was 45 percent of sales in Q4.

Cash balance at the end of Q4 2004 was $3.69 billion which was up from $3.39 billion at the end of Q3 2004.

For the year 2004, revenues were $9.83 billion compared to $10.19 billion for the year 2003. Nortel reported net loss of $51 million, or ($0.01) per common share on a diluted basis, for the year 2004, compared to net earnings of $434 million, or $0.10 per common share, for the year 2003.

DIRECTV U.S. Adds 505,000 Net Subscribers in Q1

DIRECTV added 505,000 net subscribers in the U.S. during Q1, giving it a total customer base of 14.45 million subscribers, an increase of 14% compared to a year earlier. Average monthly churn was 1.49% during the period. ARPU climbed to $65.78 from $63.57 a year earlier. The higher ARPU was attributed to an increase in the average number of set-top receivers per customer and an increase in the percentage of customers subscribing to local channels.

DIRECTV U.S. generated quarterly revenues of $2.80 billion, an increase of 35% compared to last year's first quarter revenues. The increase was primarily due to continued strong subscriber growth, the consolidation of the full economics of the former NRTC and Pegasus subscribers and higher ARPU.

ZyXEL Selects Ikanos' 100100 Chipset

ZyXEL Communications, a leading supplier of DSL router and VDSL equipment, will use Ikanos' Fx 100100 chipsets for triple play solutions. ZyXEL's new symmetric 100 Mbps offering incorporates a VDSL switch, a hostless modem and a residential gateway supporting symmetric 100 Mbps bandwidth. The Fx 100100 is designed for use in Optical Network Units (ONUs) and Optical Line Terminals (OLTs) while the Fx 100100S-4 is designed for Subscriber Located Equipment (SLE) and Optical Network Terminals (ONTs).

Microsoft's Xbox Live to Use Limelight's CDN

Microsoft's Xbox Live will utilize Limelight Networks' content delivery network (CDN) to provide on-demand games and other multimedia content to its full network of online subscribers.

Limelight Networks said its content delivery network now has over 400 customers, including Akimbo, ABC Radio Networks, Belo Interactive,, DreamWorks, IFILM, Live365, Marimba, Musicmatch - Yahoo!, NC Interactive, NPR, Real Networks Rhapsody, Radio Free Virgin, radioio, and Valve Software.

Vitesse Samples Octal GigE Over Copper Transceivers

Vitesse Semiconductor announced sample shipments of octal Gigabit Ethernet over copper transceivers (PHYs) designed for high-density, multi-port switch designs. The PHYs support Ethernet In-Line Power, a requirement for Power-over-Ethernet applications such as VoIP phones, wireless access points, and security cameras.

Vitesse said the PHYs consume less than 500 mW of power per port which is 30% less than competitive offerings. The PHYs utilize integrated MAC and media-side terminations to minimize system complexity and to eliminate 500 components.

MCI Accepts Verizon's Bid, Qwest Withdraws

MCI's Board of Directors accepted a new acquisition bid from Verizon provides at least $26.00 per MCI share comprised of $5.60 in cash which would be paid upon approval of the transaction by MCI's shareholders, plus the greater of 0.5743 Verizon shares for every share of MCI Common Stock or Verizon shares or cash valued at $20.40.

For its part, Qwest issued a statement confirming that it is dropping out of the bidding war for MCI. "It is no longer in the best interests of shareowners, customers and employees to continue in a process that seems to be permanently skewed against Qwest... By accepting a lower offer, without even contacting Qwest, and by reportedly allowing Verizon to instruct MCI to impugn Qwest, it is only fair to conclude that MCI is more interested in bending to Verizon's will than serving its shareholders."

Motorola Pushes Ojo Personal Video Phone into Retail

Motorola's new Ojo Personal Video Phone is moving into major retail channels in the U.S. beginning later this month. The unit captures and sends full motion video at 30 frames per second using MPEG-4 coding standard (H.264). Motorola says it delivers the video conference with synchronized audio at data rates as low as 100 Kbps. Residential broadband service is required for video telephony calls. A monthly service fee of $14.95 is required to send and receive video calls. The MSRP is $799.99.

AT&T Unveils Dynamic Network Applications (DNA) for Businesses

AT&T unveiled a portfolio of IP-based Dynamic Network Applications (DNA) that leverage its global MPLS network and its IP VPN services.

The first service available in the portfolio will be AT&T Voice DNA(SM), a network-based VoIP solution for enterprise branch offices and remote locations, as well as for smaller businesses. The service offers standard business-class capabilities and advanced features, such as mid-call move, which gives customers the ability to move a call from one phone to another without disruption; personalized call handling; simultaneous ring; click-to- call, to dial calls with a single mouse click; locate-me; the ability to have multiple phones ring at once or sequentially; on-demand audio conferencing; and integration with Microsoft Outlook. AT&T will begin rolling out this service to a limited number of customers in the coming months, and will continue to roll out service through the rest of the year. AT&T Voice DNA will also support a variety of IP phones, including select models from Cisco and Polycom as well as a variety of IP PBXes, including select models from Cisco & Avaya. Additionally, the service will support a variety of softphones.

Future targeted services of the AT&T DNA portfolio include IP-conferencing and messaging services. The company also said the portfolio of services will be standards-based and capable of interoperating with service-oriented business applications from AT&T and third-party providers.

Qwest Offers 5 Mbps DSL

Qwest Communications will begin offering a "Choice DSL Premier" service with downlink speeds up to 5 Mbps, which is up to three times faster than Qwest's previous top speed of 1.5 Mbps. The uplink speed is up to 896 kbps. Customers who order Qwest Choice DSL Premier with MSN Premium for their home will receive the service for $29.99 per month for the first two months with a qualifying Qwest home phone package ($34.99 per month without). After two months, the price is $49.99 per month with a qualifying Qwest home phone package ($54.99 without).