Friday, November 11, 2005

SonicWALL Acquires Lasso Logic and enKoo

SonicWALL has acquired data backup solutions company Lasso Logic, a San Francisco-based start-up providing continuous data protection for backup and recovery for the small and medium business (SMB) market. Lasso offers a tapeless, hands-free, appliance.

SonicWALL has acquired the assets of enKoo, a start-up based in San Jose, California that offers secure remote access technology for SMBs.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

MoCA Completes Plugfest For 270 Mbps Home Nets over Coax

The Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) completed a plugfest in which eight member companies tested eight products to verify that they interoperate and perform at levels consistent with specifications. The Plugfest featured an 8-node MoCA network using all companies' products simultaneously sharing three HD videos, eight SD videos, and interactive gaming for a total of more than 90 Mbps of full motion digital entertainment.

Companies taking part in the Plugfest included Actiontec Electronics,
Entropic Communications, Linksys, Motorola, Mototech, Panasonic, 2Wire, and Westell Technologies, which tested various home networking products including, residential gateways, Ethernet/coax bridges, reference designs, and chipsets.

Comcast and Verizon attended the Plugfest as observer proctors.

A MoCA network can transport video, voice and data to TVs, set-tops, DVRs, game boxes, WiFi repeaters and PCs at physical speeds of up to 270 Mbps homes and has been field tested across America in real world situations to deliver over a net usable 100 Mbps at greater than
97% of coax outlets.

Linux Phone Standards Forum Aims for Next-Gen Mobiles

A new Linux Phone Standards Forum (LiPS) has been founded to promote mass market adoption of Linux telephony terminals through standardization, interoperability testing and market education. The founding members include Cellon, France Telecom, FTM Labs, Huawei, Jaluna, Mizi, Open Plug and PalmSource.

LiPS will support device manufacturers and operators in bringing to market Linux-based devices at lower cost (due to lower deployment costs through standardization), while facilitating the programming and development process for software and silicon vendors.

The Forum said plans to work with other organizations such as the OMTP and OMA to identify requirements of distinct device categories including smartphones, feature phones, fixed-line, or converged devices. For each of these categories, or profiles, LiPS will define standard API's that support relevant applications and services as well as a certification process for technology providers.

In keeping with the open source philosophy, LiPS will cooperate with other dedicated Linux groups that address aspects of Linux telephony outside the scope of the Forum's work. Through collaboration and sharing of resources and ideas with these additional industry bodies, LiPS will ensure convergence of standards, meaning earlier availability of findings and more interoperability within the Linux community.

Cisco Debuts "Linksys One" Hosted Convergence Suite for Small Business

Cisco Systems' Linksys division introduced a new line of small business products designed for hosted communication services.

The new "Linksys One" brand is a solution hosted by Service Providers and sold, installed, and serviced by Value Added Resellers (VARs). This solution includes integrated data and voice products coupled with communication services from a Service Provider including security, monitoring, management and QoS for VoIP.

The Linksys One Product Suite includes the following:

  • Linksys One 16-Port Services Router (SRV3000): The cornerstone of the Linksys One Services Platform and vision is the Services Router.

  • Linksys One Color Manager IP Phone (PHM12000): This SIP-based Color IP Telephone offers both the cost-saving advantages of VoIP and the voice quality and features of a small business key phone system.

  • Linksys One Analog VoIP Gateway (VGA2000): The Linksys One Voice Gateway increases the flexibility of the system, allowing businesses to integrate their existing analog phones and fax machines. Access to
    PSTN networks is enabled locally and also provides a failover system
    in case of service outages or emergency 911 calls.

All Linksys One products are designed to be plug and play. They feature a network discovery process and automated configuration to provide new networks, additions to the system, and new technologies with only limited-touch deployment.

Linksys announced its first service providers supporting this rollout:

  • MCI (nationwide US coverage)

  • airBand Communications (regional US coverage).

  • NeoNova Network Services (regional US coverage)

  • IP Systems Pty Ltd (Australia)

Linksys One will become the seventh Cisco Advanced Technology under the name Hosted Small Business Systems (Hosted SBS). The other six advanced technologies are home networking, enterprise IP communication, optical networking, security, storage area networking and wireless.

In the US, Linksys One solutions are scheduled to be available regionally in Q1 of 2006, with full national deployment next summer. Asia Pacific rollouts of Linksys One will begin in Australia in Q2, 2006. Linksys One will be available in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, and other parts of the world in the latter half of 2006. In the interim, Linksys is actively recruiting VARs.

Hanaro's Fiber Access Reaches 3,200 Apartment Complexes in Korea

South Korea's Hanarotelecom reported progress in its rollout of 100 Mbps fiber-optic LAN services, which now encompasses 3,200 apartment complexes and 1.90 million households (about 40% of the complex coverage). The company reported net adds of about 320,000 subscribers for its Optical LAN service since the beginning of the year.

The company stated that it posted revenues of KRW 361.7 billion and EBITDA of KRW 129.0 billion, and as a result of increased revenues and reduced marketing expenditure, achieved a turnaround by posting operating profit of KRW 15.0 billion.

Canada's Shaw Tops One Million VoIP Calls / Day

Nine months after launching Digital Phone service in its first market, Canada's Shaw Communications is now handling more than 1,000,000 calls per day in its network.

Currently, more than 50% of Digital Phone customers are taking a new phone number when they activate Shaw Digital Phone service. All customers choosing a new number can have their Shaw Digital Phone service installed the next day. Shaw Digital Phone is currently available in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Victoria.
  • In January 2005. Shaw Cablesystems, one of the largest Canadian multi-system cable operators, confirmed the deployment of a multimedia network from Nortel, including the Multimedia Communication Server (MCS) 5200. The SIP-based platform could be used to deliver a variety of multimedia services, including desktop video calling, voice call management, instant messaging, collaboration tools, and personalization services. Shaw plans to offer these services in conjunction with its high-speed Internet service and is expected to be the first cable operator in Canada to offer SIP-based multimedia services.

Telefónica Raises Financial Guidance

The Telefónica Group reported a sharp acceleration in the growth of revenues (+24.2% year on year) and the profitability of operations (OIBDA +20% year-on-year and OI +24.5% year-on-year) for the first nine months of 2005. Q3 was characterized by the strong commercial activity primarily in high growth businesses (mobile and broadband). Some highlights:

  • Significant year-over-year growth of 37.8% in the customer base to 147.7 million total accesses, of which 89 million corresponded to mobile telephony customers and 4.4 million related to retail ADSL lines in Spain, Latin America and the Czech Republic.

  • Free cash flow rose 13.4% to EURs 7.61 billion.

  • In Q3, net profit jumped 53.3%, while revenues, OIBDA and OI advanced 32.3%, 27.8% and 29.1%, respectively.

  • CAPEX increased 38.3% to EURs 3.33 billion, driven primarily by investment in broadband, both in Spain and Latin America, and by investment to expand mobile network capacity in Spain, Brazil and Mexico.

  • Telefónica de España also revised its revenue guidance upwards from its initial range of +0.5% to +2% to an estimate of over 4%.

Siemens Sells Shares in Juniper

Siemens sold its remaining 22.8 million shares in Juniper Networks for $544.1 million. Siemens' equity stake was originally obtained in 2002 when Juniper acquired Unisphere Networks, which was a division of Siemens.
  • In December 2004, Siemens sold approximately 13 million shares of its holdings in Juniper Networks' common stock. Siemens remaining ownership in Juniper Networks common stock is below 5% of the total outstanding shares.
  • In 2002, Juniper Networks acquired Unisphere Networks, a division of Siemens, for $375 million in cash and 36.5 million JNPR shares. At the time the deal closed, Siemens held slightly less than 10% of the outstanding shares in Juniper. Unisphere developed the ERX edge router.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

RCN Tests 20 Mbps Cable Modem Service in Wash DC and Boston markets

RCN has successfully tested 20 Mbps high-speed data service over its cable networks in the Washington, D.C. and Boston markets.

Some highlights from the company's quarterly financial report:

  • Third quarter 2005 revenue of $138.8 million decreased 1.4% from $140.7 million in the third quarter of 2004 and 1.8% from $141.4 million in the second quarter of 2005.

  • Third quarter 2005 ending subscribers were approximately 411,000 versus approximately 429,000 in the third quarter of 2004 and approximately 413,000 in the second quarter of 2005.

  • Third quarter 2005 average revenue per customer (ARPC) was $102, an increase from $96 in the third quarter of 2004 and comparable to $102 in the second quarter of 2005.

  • EBITDA for the third quarter 2005 was $23.3 million versus $13.5 million in the third quarter of 2004 and $19.8 million in the second quarter of 2005.

  • Third quarter 2005 CAPEX was $17.5 million versus $11.6 million in third quarter 2004 and $11.5 million in second quarter 2005.

  • Increased RGUs by 8,000 sequentially

  • Increased penetration of higher-margin customers: bundle rate up approximately 2% sequentially to 67%; triple-play rate up approximately 1% to 38%

WiMAX Forum Members Demo Interoperability

The second WiMAX Forum Plugfest was held last week to identify interoperability problems and different interpretations of standards, foster open technical discussions, and help refine interoperability testing for future certification testing. Participants represented a wide spectrum of leading companies in the telecommunications industry, including Airspan Networks Inc., Alvarion, Aperto Networks, Axxcelera Broadband Wireless, Huawei Technologies, PicoChip, Proxim Wireless, Redline Communications, SEQUANS Communications, Wavesat Wireless Inc., WiNetworks and ZTE Corporation, along with test equipment vendors Invenova Corporation and Sanjole. Many of the participants demonstrated solid links with other participants in FDD and TDD implementations in the 3.5 Gigahertz (GHz) frequency spectrum, which allowed vendors to conduct testing at higher layers demonstrating video streaming applications. The average throughput over the air -- dependant on modulation schemes -- ranged from 2.7 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 7.2 Mbps.

The Global WiMAX Summit was also held last week in Beijing.

"WiMAX products are shipping and we expect to see strong momentum of rapid deployments around the globe. The growing list of 350+ WiMAX Forum members -- comprised of operators, equipment and chip suppliers and content providers -- continue to unveil new products and solutions. Currently, there are more than 150 pilot and commercial networks around the world," said Ron Resnick, president of the WiMAX Forum."

Westell Integrates Entropic Chipset for BB Gateway

Westell is using Entropic's c.LINK 270 chipset for its new line of home networking routers for IPTV and video delivery. Westell's UltraLine II is a broadband gateway that provides for delivery of full-motion video using built-in QoS, over a variety of LAN and WAN access delivery systems including Ethernet for FTTP, VDSL2, and Bonded ADSL2+. To simplify installation and eliminate the need for new wiring, a single connection links the UltraLine II to the customer's existing in-home coaxial cabling, providing 100 Mbps of network throughput around the home entertainment LAN, in addition to providing a WAN access link on the same coax at a different frequency.
Multi-room video sharing is supported.

NRTC Inks IPTV Deal With SES AMERICOM for Rural Telcos

The National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) signed a multi-year agreement with SES AMERICOM to offer IPTV services to nearly one thousand independent and local telcos across the U.S. using SES AMERICOM's "IP-PRIME" distribution platform.

The centralized, satellite-delivered IPTV solution originates from SES AMERICOM's IPTV Broadcast Center in Vernon Valley, New Jersey, where high-end video programming and content is received, processed, and then transported by SES AMERICOM's AMC-9 satellite to authorized video hubs nationwide. The NRTC IPTV offering is an end-to-end solution to the IP set-top, which includes conditional access and middleware and greatly reduces headend and video operations and equipment costs.

IP-PRIME will enable small telcos to distribute hundreds of television channels. The first NRTC member telcos expect to begin trials of IP-PRIME in January 2006. A full NRTC commercial launch of IPTV aboard the IP-PRIME platform is scheduled for the second quarter of 2006.
  • The AMERICOM-9 (AMC-9) satellite, which was launched in June 2003, is a hybrid C/Ku-band satellite based on Alcatel's Spacebus 3000B3 platform. The C-band payload features 24 - 36 MHz transponders, while the Ku-band payload features 24 - 36 MHz transponders.

Whitacre to Serve as Chairman & CEO of New AT&T

Edward E. Whitacre Jr., 64, will serve as the Chairman & CEO of the new AT&T. The SBC acquisition of AT&T is expected to close later this month. The company announced the following appointments for its senior management team:

  • James W. Callaway, 59, group president-merger transition.

  • James Cicconi, 53, senior executive vice president-external and legislative affairs, responsible for managing the company's public policy organization.

  • James D. Ellis, 62, senior executive vice president and general counsel.

  • Karen E. Jennings, 54, senior executive vice president-human resources and corporate communications.

  • James S. Kahan, 58, senior executive vice president-corporate development.

  • Rick Lindner, 50, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer.

  • Forrest E. Miller, 52, group president-AT&T, in charge of leading the national and global network, enterprise and consumer operations of the existing AT&T, as well as AT&T Labs. Miller will also help lead the integration of the two companies.

  • Randall L. Stephenson, 45, chief operating officer, retaining his current responsibilities and also helping integrate operations of SBC and AT&T.

  • Rayford Wilkins, Jr., 54, group president in charge of directory operations, international operations and the company's Sterling Commerce subsidiary.

In addition, the company announced that David Dorman, 51, current CEO and chairman of AT&T, will become president of the new AT&T and a member of the board of directors for a brief transition period, after which he will resign from both positions. Dorman will then continue as a consultant to the combined company.

Nortel Supplies Broadband in World's Tallest Residential Tower

Nortel has supplied a broadband network for Australia'sQ1 tower, which at 80 floors is the world's tallest residential building. Nortel's Ethernet switched infrastructure is provided to each apartment.

Q1, which is located in the Gold Coast resort town of Surfer's Paradise, features 526 apartments, 80 floors, conference facilities, ground floor retail outlets, sandy beach lagoon swimming pool, spa, sauna and fitness centre, and Australia's only beachside observation deck.

Bush Nominates Copps, Tate for FCC Posts

President Bush nominated Michael J. Copps, of Virginia, for a new five year term as FCC Commissioner from July 1, 2005. It would be Copp's second term in the post. Copps is a Democrat.

Bush nominated Deborah Taylor Tate, of Tennessee, to serve as FCC Commissioner for the remainder of the term held by former FCC Chair Michael Powell, who resigned earlier this year. This term expires June 30, 2007. Tate, who is a Republican, currently serves on the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and FCC's Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Telecommunications Services.

Agilent Lands $14.5 Million OSS Order with VSNL, Tata

Agilent Technologies announced a $14.5 million order with India's primary communications service providers Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL) and Tata Teleservices Ltd. (TTSL). The companies will use the Agilent OSS solutions to form their centralized network management system (CNMS) located in Mumbai. The CNMS will manage the service providers' international and nationwide telecommunications services, ensuring high quality of service and optimal customer satisfaction while streamlining network operations.

The deployment includes the Agilent OSS QoS Manager and NETeXPERT-based network management software products, services and support.

SkyTerra to Acquire the Remainder of Hughes Network Systems

SkyTerra agreed to acquire the remaining 50% of the Class A membership interests of Hughes Network Systems not already owned by SkyTerra from The DIRECTV Group for $100 million in cash.
  • In December 2004, SkyTerra Communications acquired 50% of a new entity that will contain the assets of Hughes Network Systems (HNS) in a transaction that values HNS at approximately $360 million. HNS, which is based in Germantown, Md., is a wholly owned subsidiary of The DIRECTV Group. After two separate divestitures completed earlier this year, HNS is primarily focused on providing broadband satellite networks and services to enterprises via its core enterprise Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) business. HNS' other businesses include Consumer DIRECWAY, Mobile Satellite and Carrier Networks, as well as the portion of the Spaceway satellite platform that is under development and that will not be used in DIRECTV's direct-to-home satellite video broadcasting business. The transaction did not include rights to the first two satellites designed for the Spaceway program, Spaceway 1 and 2, which have been redeployed to support DIRECTV's direct-to-home satellite broadcasting business and are scheduled for launch next year. However, the transaction does include rights related to the third Spaceway satellite which is currently under construction, as well as rights to a contemplated fourth Spaceway satellite.

  • SkyTerra Communications is an affiliate of Apollo Management, L.P., a New York-based private equity firm.

Micromuse Teams with Alcatel on IPTV BSS/OSS

Micromuse is participating in a demonstration of IPTV BSS/OSS on permanent display at Alcatel's Plano-based Operational Support Systems Integrations Laboratory.

The Alcatel IPTV BSS/OSS demonstration focuses on how service providers can construct their OSS to ensure faster and more accurate delivery and quality of triple play services through integrated next generation solutions for service assurance and performance management. As part of a complete OSS, Micromuse's Netcool suite, including Netcool/Realtime Active Dashboards and Netcool/Proviso solutions are integrated with other vendors products to provide end-to-end service assurance and performance monitoring of Alcatel's fabricated IPTV BSS/OSS environment.