Wednesday, September 7, 2005

WSJ: After Katrina, Communications Still Hobbled

A story in The Wall Street Journal reports that the lengthy breakdown in telephone, cellular and even emergency radio communications systems following Hurricane Katrina raises fresh questions about these networks in times of crisis. Apparently efforts to improve networks after the September 11 disaster have fallen short of goals.

Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt is quoted as saying "After every single calamity we see the exact same thing."

Texas Instruments Targets Video with DSP-based DaVinci Portfolio

Texas Instruments unveiled its DSP-based DaVinci silicon technology aimed at next generations of digital video products.

The DaVinci product portfolio, which will include processors, software, tools and partnership solutions, addresses digital video requirements across a range of applications, including video security, IP set-top boxes, video conferencing, automobile infotainment, portable media players and digital cameras.

DaVinci processors, some of which are already on the market, consist of combinations of DSP and ARM cores, memory configurations, video accelerators, and peripheral interfaces for specific applications. DaVinci silicon is based on the new TMS320C64x+ core and it is code compatible with TI's TMS320C64x DSPs. TI will support a full range of audio, video and imaging codecs.

A key feature of the DaVinci portfolio will be common Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to accelerate the development of new consumer products. APIs will make it easier for OEMs to develop interoperable code that will work with other DaVinci-based applications. TI is also developing an en-to-end video ecosystem through a range of partners. Over the coming year, TI and its third parties plan to introduce a large number of products, including multiple development platforms, reference designs, software and silicon based on DaVinci technology.

"This is premier digital signal processing technology that will grow the market for new digital video applications and make existing applications much easier to use," said Rich Templeton, president and CEO of Texas Instruments.

MCI Unveils Hosted Digital Media Solutions

MCI is launching a hosted digital media solution that combines its global IP network capabilities with the ICF Media Platform. The new service is aimed at media and entertainment companies with digital content production and distribution needs, including digital content aggregation and syndication to IPTV, broadband TV and mobile video platforms; remote rough-editing; content logging; broadcast archiving and digital asset management; as well as digital dailies. Since content is stored centrally and available globally, the ICF Media Platform Hosted Edition allows customers to securely manage, edit and distribute media assets using Web-enabled devices, thereby accelerating production cycles.

ICF Media Platform is also available as a software product offered by MCI to be installed at the customer's premise.

MCI's Digital Media Technologies Group, which recently acquired the assets of Interactive Content Factory (ICF), is dedicated to developing and distributing end-to-end, digital media solutions for content creators, producers, media outlets and entertainment and video gaming organizations.
  • In April 2005, MCI announced the formation of its new Digital Media Technologies group, dedicated to developing and distributing end-to-end, digital media solutions for content creators, producers and distribution outlets for media, entertainment and gaming organizations. As a first step, MCI acquired the assets of ICF (Interactive Content Factory), which specializes in IP-based media and entertainment services. Financial terms were not disclosed. ICF developed IP-based remote editing platforms targeted toward consolidating the work processes of media rich industries including broadcast, iTV, broadband, Web and mobile outlets, such as cell phones and media players.

Google Hires Vint Cerf to Build its Network Infrastructure

Google hired Vint Cerf, the longtime technologist who is widely known as a "founding father" of the Internet, as Chief Internet Evangelist. His role will be to "help Google build network infrastructure, architectures, systems, and standards for the next generation of Internet applications."

Cerf joins Google from MCI, where he led technology advancements since 1982, with a break to return to research at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives from 1986 to 1994. On his return to MCI in 1994, he helped to put MCI on the Internet map. With Robert Kahn, he recently received the ACM's A.M. Turing Award, considered "the Nobel Prize for computing," for his achievements in computer networking. Cerf is also working on the Interplanetary Network, a project of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, which aims to extend the Internet into outer space for planet-to-planet communications. He will also continue in his role as the Chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

News Corp. to Acquire IGN, Expanding its Web Presence

News Corporation will acquire IGN Entertainment, a community-based Internet media and services company for video games and other forms of digital entertainment, for approximately $650 million in cash. IGN will become a part of News Corp.'s new Fox Interactive Media unit.

GN's major video game-related properties include, GameSpy, GameSpy Arena, FilePlanet, TeamXbox, 3D Gamers, Direct2Drive, and a number of web sites within the Vault and Planet networks.

Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation's Chairman and CEO, said: "With the acquisition of IGN and its 28 million unique users, we have gone a long way toward achieving two of our key strategic objectives in our efforts to become a leading and profitable internet presence. First, we have significantly enhanced our online reach, strengthening our position as the fifth most trafficked presence on the web. We also become the fourth largest network in terms of monthly page impressions. And second, we have furthered our strategy to leverage the unique competencies the company enjoys with its news, sports, and entertainment assets to create a leading internet destination."
  • In July 2005, News Corporation announced the formation of Fox Interactive Media (FIM), a new unit that will consolidate the company's Web properties. FIM will manage interactive assets from all Fox divisions - including, and, as well as coordinate the owned-and-operated television station web properties. The company said it will focus on creating a robust broadband experience leveraging the vast current and archive video assets, while also building an integrated hub of dynamic content with multiple points of entry, seamless navigation and the ability to customize and personalize.
    Ross Levinsohn was named President of FIM, which will be based in Los Angeles.

Nortel Launches SIP-enabled DMS-10 platform

Nortel has launched a SIP-enabled DMS-10 platform for delivering residential VoIP to the rural North American market.

Nortel's rural VoIP solution gives DMS-10 subscribers the option to use traditional or VoIP primary phone service and allows users to add cost-effective secondary VoIP lines. Subscribers can also take advantage of VoIP mobility capabilities and the DMS-10 web portal, which allows users to modify call features and call routing.

In the initial release, the DMS-10 will support SIP signaling to Terminal adaptors, Ethernet sets, and PC clients. In a hybrid TDM/VoIP configuration, a DMS-10 will support current TDM peripherals as well as SIP gateways devices. Nortel plans subsequent support of trunk media gateways.

To support VoIP networking, a new DMS-10 network component, the Packet Gateway Interface will be introduced. Softswitch capability is enabled on the DMS-10 with the addition of the DMS-10 600 Series software and deployment of the Packet Gateway Interface. The Packet Gateway Interface will route H.248 call control out to media gateways on the IP network and set up VoIP calls so the voice bearer paths between media gateways only traverse the IP network. In a hybrid configuration, the Packet Gateway Interface will also provide voice bearer path interworking between peripherals on the DMS-10's TDM network and H.248 media gateways. Nortel said this Packet Gateway Interface will enable service providers to better manage network growth while maximizing investment in current DMS-10 facilities.

The DMS-10 with softswitch functionality is being positioned as an upgrade path for smaller networks. For medium to large DMS-10 networks, Nortel said it may be more advantageous, both from capital expenditure reduction and feature enhancement standpoints, to collapse multiple DMS-10 offices onto line and trunk gateways controlled by a centralized Communication Server 2000 or Communication Server 2000--Compact Superclass softswitch.

Nortel said more than 75 service providers are already scheduled to deploy Nortel's rural VoIP enabled solution this year with volume shipments planned for October 2005.
  • The Nortel DMS-10 switch supports up to 20,000 lines.

Skype Opens Marketplace for Voice Services

Skype launched a Voice Services Program for third party content providers.

Skype is partnering with Tellme Networks, Voxeo and Voxpilot to enable content providers to become a part of Skype's new marketplace for either free or chargeable voice services.

Skype callers will pay for chargeable voice services from their Skype Credit account with a percentage of the fee going to the content provider who created the service. Content providers' voice services will be reviewed and the most popular will be deployed and listed on the Skype website.

Examples of voice services Skype callers could benefit from include live traffic reports, horoscope of the day, language learning tools, or international delivery tracking systems, available for free or for a charge to the caller.

"Skype has driven a revolution in personal communications by popularizing free Internet phone calls. We are committed to opening the endless possibilities for voice by creating a marketplace for our thriving ecosystem of partners and developers to make it easy for their innovative services to be available to our millions of callers worldwide," said Niklas Zennstrom, CEO and Co-founder of Skype.

Ericsson Provides Global Crossing with Advanced IP Telephony Solution

Global Crossing selected Ericsson to provide an upgraded IP telephony platform for the company's RailNet network in the UK, which serves some 65,000 users from UK train operator Network Rail and rail infrastructure companies.

The upgraded RailNet platform will provide seamless IP-based communications using Ericsson's MC110 systems. . Ericsson will be responsible for technical collaboration, design, project management and the integration of the MD110 Converged Communication Systems.

When fully deployed the MD110 systems installed in RailNet will integrate fixed and mobile telephony, IP phones, PC soft phones, cordless phones, mobile phones, digital phones and IP gateways. Additionally, 120 existing MD110 systems will be upgraded to provide advanced facilities. Financial terms were not disclosed.

EBay Reportedly Mulls Skype Acquisition

EBay was reported to be in talks to acquire Skype, according to various media sources. Neither company commented on the reports.

Avaya to Resell Meru's WLAN Portfolio

Avaya will resell Meru Networks' complete wireless LAN (WLAN) portfolio. The agreement formalizes collaborative marketing and sales initiatives the companies already have in place. Recently, Meru was named a Premier member of the Avaya DeveloperConnection program, which certified the interoperability of Meru's Wireless LAN system with key IP telephony solutions from Avaya.

The joint solutions resulting from the agreement include the following Avaya and Meru Networks products and solutions:

  • Avaya Communication Manager IP telephony software

  • Avaya Media Servers

  • Avaya Voice Priority Processor

  • Avaya IP Office 403

  • Avaya 4600 Series IP telephones

  • Avaya 3616/3626 IP Wireless telephones

  • Avaya IP Softphone and Avaya IP Softphone for Pocket PC

  • Avaya Phone Manager Pro

  • Meru AP-200 Access Point

  • Meru MC-500, 1000 and 3000 Controllers

JDS Uniphase to Acquire Agility for Tunable Lasers

JDS Uniphase will acquire Agility Communications, a provider of widely tunable laser solutions for optical networks, for an undisclosed sum.

Agility Communications supplies a line of widely tunable lasers that can be integrated with other devices such as Electro-Absorption or Mach-Zehnder modulators and a Semiconductor Optical Amplifier (SOA). Agility's design can also enable tunable 2.5 Gbps SFP and 10 Gbps XFP form factors. The company's tunable transmitter and transponder products are sold to top tier customers, including Siemens, Marconi, Mahi Networks, Tropic Networks, ECI, and many others.

Because widely tunable lasers can cover the entire C-Band, carriers purchasing them only need to forecast their total volume of demand, rather than having to predict the demand for 100 or more individual wavelengths separately.

JDSU said migration to pluggable solutions is expected to enable vendors to enjoy significant reductions in power dissipation, footprint and provisioning costs. The Agility platform also offers switching speeds of less than 10 milliseconds, and is less sensitive to shock and vibration than other solutions, thus enabling deployment of robust, agile optical networks.

"We believe the shift to tunables is inevitable and that the transition will be rapid," said Mike Ricci, vice president of JDS Uniphase's Component and Modules Group. "Agility's single chip monolithic platform is capable of addressing the entire market and is not limited to a single form factor. Agility's proven architecture, coupled with JDS Uniphase's scalable manufacturing capability, paves the way for high volume, tunable, pluggable solutions."

Agility is privately held with approximately 90 employees and headquarters in Santa Barbara, California.Agility Communications was founded in October 1998 by Dr. Larry Coldren, a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara and co-founder of OCI (now Gore Photonics), and Greg Fish, a researcher specializing in InP photonic circuit design at UC Santa Barbara.

The company raised over $200 million in venture funding from Alliance, Amerindo Investment Advisors, CIENA Corp., Comdisco Ventures, Dell Ventures, General Bank, GM Investment Management Corp., Global Strategic, Granite Global Ventures, London Pacific Assurance Limited, Meritech Capital Partners, Mitsubishi International Corp., Morgenthaler Ventures, Mustang Ventures, Nissho Electronics Corp. (Nissho Iwai American Corp.), Siemens Venture Capital, Tellabs, U.S. Venture Partners, and Worldview Technology Partners.

WiNetworks Offers WiMAX Solution for Satellite Operators

WiNetworks introduced a WiMAX-based solution designed to enable Digital Broadcast Satellite (DBS) operators to launch Triple Play services. The WiNetworks Hybrid WiMAX DVB technology allows DBS operators to leverage their customer premise infrastructure (e.g. dish, existing coax wiring, existing STB, etc.) for the WiMAX connectivity.

WiNetworks is using the Intel ProWireless 5116 broadband interface silicon.

French Satellite Provider to Deploy OpenTV Middleware

TPS, a leading French digital television company, has selected OpenTV's middleware for the development and deployment of its advanced set-top box platform on which TPS will launch its high definition television (HDTV)/MPEG4 satellite services. TPS expects to offer the first group of HD capable set-top boxes within a few months.

TPS's HDTV/MPEG4 satellite platform will be enabled by the latest generation of OpenTV's leading set-top box middleware, OpenTV Core 2.0. OpenTV's middleware will allow TPS to maintain their platform, to support multiple set-top box suppliers and facilitate rollout to other platforms including digital terrestrial television (DTT) and personal video recording (PVR).

COLT Selects EMC to Manage IP VPN Portfolio

COLT has selected EMC Smarts as the core analysis and impact assessment solution for its networked infrastructure. The Smarts software is being deployed to manage COLT IP VPN Corporate, a comprehensive portfolio of managed IP VPN services.

COLT is deploying Smarts with more than 30,000 network devices, encompassing Internet services, P2P IP VPN, leased line, ATM/Frame Relay and MPLS-based IP VPN. The Smarts software automatically discovers every device on the COLT network and then analyzes the relationships among these devices. The solution is then able to diagnose the root cause of Layer 2 and Layer 3 problems and build a real-time dashboard picture of the business impact of these problems.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

PMC-Sierra Appoints Dr. Robert Yung as CTO

PMC-Sierra named Dr. Robert Yung to the position of Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Dr. Yung was most recently a Founder and Partner at GSR Ventures, an early-stage private equity technology fund focusing on semiconductor design, wireless and Internet services in China and the USA. Prior to founding GSR Ventures, Dr. Yung held various CTO positions within Intel, the most recent being Chief Technology Officer, Enterprise Processors. Prior to joining Intel, Dr. Yung was the Chief Technology Officer for Sun Microsystems in Asia.

Vitesse Introduces Photodiodes for Ethernet and FTTx

Vitesse Semiconductor announced a new line of photodiode products aimed at Ethernet, multi-rate Fibre Channel and FTTx applications. The first two products in the family, the VSC7750 and VSC7780, are designed for use in the optical receiver side of both the Small Form Factor (SFF) and its pluggable counterpart (SFP).

Both devices are manufactured using repeatable fabrication techniques. These include the use of large 4-inch wafers as well as other proven high-volume manufacturing methods to realize unrivaled economies of scale and high device yields. These advancements produce up to four times as many devices per wafer as compared to the two-inch wafer size commonly used for optical devices today. Higher device yields equal lower costs and direct savings to the customer.

Avaya and Equant Form Global Strategic Alliance

Avaya and Equant formed a global strategic alliance to jointly deliver solutions that provide customers with advanced IP communications. The first joint offering, available today, is a managed IP telephony communications solution designed specifically for multinational companies.

Centillium Introduces its eXtremeVDSL2 Silicon

Centillium Communications introduced its eXtremeVDSL2 silicon technology designed to complement its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) initiative and extend its DSL product portfolio. Addressing worldwide interoperability requirements, eXtremeVDSL2 is expected to be backwards-compatible with both ADSL2+ and ADSL2++, enabling operators to deploy video and triple play services without overhaul or disruption of their existing infrastructure.

Centillium said its eXtremeVDSL2 solution is being designed from the ground-up to meet the recently approved VDSL2 ITU-T (993.2) standard. It is highly configurable, dissipates very low power, provides better cross-talk immunity, and offers the highest symmetric data rates for multi-dwelling/multi-tenant (MxU) deployments.