Sunday, November 27, 2005

Freescale Develops 24-Mbit Nanocrystal Memory in CMOS

In what it termed a major step toward replacing conventional floating gate-based flash memories, Freescale Semiconductor announced the first production of 24-megabit (Mbit) memory array based on silicon nanocrystals. Silicon nanocrystal memories are part of an advanced class of memory technologies called thin-film storage. Freescale said they are more scaleable than conventional floating gate-based flash technology, as their tunnel oxide thickness can be reduced without impacting data retention. The charge is stored on isolated nanocrystals and is lost only from those few nanocrystals that align with defects in the tunnel oxide -- while the same defects would result in significant charge loss from a conventional floating gate. A thinner tunnel oxide permits lower-voltage operation, substantially reducing the memory module area needed to generate the bit-cell programming voltages, and allowing for significant wafer processing simplifications and manufacturing cost reductions. The combination of higher bit density and reduced cost translates to lower cost per bit to embed silicon nanocrystal memories. Freescale expects significant reductions in cost per bit of silicon nanocrystal thin-film storage memories.

The 24-Mbit memory array technology was manufactured at Freescale's Austin Technology & Manufacturing Center using 90-nanometer (nm) CMOS bulk technology.

"The industry anticipates that conventional embedded flash memory technology will reach its scaling limit within the next four years due to high-operating voltage, fabrication process complexity and cost," said Freescale Chief Technology Officer Dr. Claudine Simson. "A viable alternative is crucial for key suppliers to automotive, wireless and consumer markets to continue to scale their products and add new functionality. Silicon nanocrystal technology offers lower operating voltages, reduced memory module size, simpler process flow and lower manufacturing costs. Additionally, it requires no new materials or wafer fabrication equipment, allowing for immediate compatibility with existing production wafer fabs."

More than 120 Million Wi-Fi Chipsets Shipped in 2005

Approximately 120 million chipsets will ship in 2005, according to In-Stat and the Wi-Fi Alliance.

"Wi-Fi has truly come of age," said Frank Hanzlik, Managing Director of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "Today more than 90% of notebook computers are Wi-Fi enabled, and as we look ahead, there are seemingly limitless opportunities, due to the insatiable consumer and enterprise demand for the technology. We expect the next milestones will come even faster as Wi-Fi becomes integrated into consumer electronics and mobile handsets and more people around the world experience the benefits of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products."

FLO Air Interface Enables Multicast to Mobiles

The new FLO (Forward Link-Only) Air Interface Specification (AIS) has been ratified by the FLO Forum, an association of wireless industry leaders. The technical requirements captured in the AIS form a foundation for compatibility standardization for FLO based terrestrial mobile multimedia multicast systems.

FLO technology is a new air interface originally developed by Qualcomm with multicasting capabilities designed to increase capacity and reduce content delivery costs to mobile handsets.

The AIS includes a complete description of the Physical layer, which uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) and advanced forward error-correction techniques, and a complete description of the Stream/Control and MAC layers, which multiplex a multiplicity of simultaneous multimedia services into logical units distinguishable at the radio interface (physical) layer. The specification enables the delivery of multiple, multimedia streams over the standard TV channel allocation bandwidths while ensuring fast service acquisition, robust performance in mobile fading links, and low receiver power consumption. The AIS, the first technical specification produced by the FLO Forum, will be forwarded to Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) for inclusion in new standards that address the delivery of terrestrial mobile multimedia multicast services to mobile devices.
  • FLO Technology is independent of the cellular network but complements CDMA2000 1X, 1xEV-DO and WCDMA cellular network data and voice services.

  • In September 2005, QUALCOMM announced the first live, over-the-air demonstration of "FLO" (Forward Link Only) Technology delivered to a wireless handset. The demonstration will feature over-the-air delivery and viewing of multiple channels of wireless multimedia content, both streaming video and multicast packet data on a form factor accurate (FFA) handset.

  • In July 2005, QUALCOMM and other key members of the wireless industry announced the establishment of The FLO Forum, a new non-profit industry association that promotes the development of products and services related to the delivery of advanced multimedia services to wireless devices around the world using "FLO" (Forward Link Only) technology.

TiVo Announces First Advertising Search Product for Television

TiVo plans to launch a television-based advertising search solution in Spring 2006. Advertisers will have the ability to deliver television advertising, on demand and targeted to consumers, without the limitations of traditional television media placement. Advertisers will be able to reach viewers in the market for a certain product or service. Ads will be delivered to subscribers who can conduct a search for a product by category or associated with keywords.

Leading media and advertising agencies including Interpublic Media, OMD, Starcom Mediavest Group and The Richards Group, as well as Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, have worked with TiVo to develop the capability.

Alcatel Introduces High-Density 10GigE Enterprise Switches

Alcatel introduced a family of high-performance 10-Gigabit Ethernet core switches. The new OmniSwitch 9000 family, which is the first chassis on the market to use Broadcom's Strata XGS III family of Ethernet switch chips, offers 570 Mbps of aggregate switching capacity, enabling high densities of 10GigE or Gigabit Ethernet connections. It deliver wire-rate processing for IPv6 and support multicast applications.

The OmniSwitch 9000s are part of Alcatel's end-to-end enterprise switch family that includes stackable and modular edge switches, which use the AOS for simplified manageability, high availability, security, and reduced total cost of ownership. High availability is ensured through component redundancy and security features are provided through the unique Alcatel OmniVista Quarantine Manager, which identifies and isolates viruses and unauthorized users.

the Alcatel OmniSwitch 9700 model is available in a 10-slot chassis with a dedicated high-performance management and switching-fabric module. Initial choice of modules will include a two-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet (XFP) module, a 24-port Gigabit Ethernet copper (10/100/1000 RJ45) module and a 24-port Gigabit Ethernet fiber-optic (SFP) module.

The larger Alcatel OmniSwitch 9800 chassis as well as additional modules including a six-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet (XFP) module, a 24-port Gigabit Ethernet copper (10/100/1000 RJ45) with power-over-Ethernet support modules and a dedicated high-performance management and switching-fabric module, will be available shortly.

The Alcatel OmniSwitch 9000 family features a completely redundant configuration starting at $23,995.

Cisco and Northrop Grumman Supply IP Video for U.S. Military

Cisco Systems will provide IP-based video and voice conferencing capabilities to the Department of Defense through the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) as part of the Northrop Grumman Corporation team.

The DISA Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization awarded the Defense Information Systems Network Video Services II (DVS II) task order under Encore I, which is a seven-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract awarded by DISA in 2002.

Under the $51 million, one-year DVS II task order, Northrop Grumman's Mission Systems sector is upgrading DISA's integrated services digital network system with IP-based capabilities. The new fully compatible, integrated and secure net-centric system will provide real-time video and audio-conferencing services to DISA and users of the global information grid-bandwidth expansion network.

The solution provides fully integrated rich-media communications including video, web and audio with rich collaboration and meeting control capabilities, as well as security, Layer 2 and Layer 3, call center and network management products. The foundation of DVS II architecture is based on the Cisco Internet Protocol Video Conferencing (IPVC) 3540 Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) for video conferencing and Cisco MeetingPlace for integrated video, voice and web conferencing.

Cisco said the DVS II award represents the largest single acquisition of IP video and voice conferencing services in the federal government.

Additional suppliers on the Northrop Grumman team include AT&T, FC Business Systems, CritiCom, NETCONN Solutions, Parsons and Radvision.

PMC-Sierra Adds Processors for Network Storage and Media Servers

PMC-Sierra announced the addition of network storage devices to its portfolio of Multi-Service Processor (MSP) solutions. The new MSP devices -- MSP2200, MSP2202, MSP2204 and MSP2206 -- are storage-optimized processors integrating key features such as hard disk drive (HDD) controllers, while providing superior performance and significantly lower costs compared to general-purpose processors.

PMC-Sierra said the new family of network storage processors represents a natural extension to its VoIP solutions for the digital home and office.

"The expansion of triple play-bundled services from carriers, along with the rapid growth of content-intensive applications such as digital music, photos, recorded TV shows and home movies, is driving the demand for easy-to-use storage solutions that must seamlessly integrate into home networks," said Dino Bekis, vice president of marketing and applications for PMC-Sierra's Communications Products Division.

Alvarion's WiMAX Solution Deployed in Mali

Ikatel, an affiliate of France Telecom offering broadband data services in the West African country of Mali, will install Alvarion's BreezeMAX 3500 system, including hundreds of CPEs based on the Intel WiMAX chip to deploy a WiMAX network in the capital city of Bamako. Ikatel, a leading GSM and Internet operator in Mali, expects to deploy the network by year-end.

DCL and MetaSwitch Report Record 30% Revenue Growth

Data Connection (DCL) reported a 30% rise in revenues to $68 million for its financial year ended 31-Aug-2005. The year also represented the 24th consecutive year of increasing profitability, with record earnings of $16M. Data Connection saw increased revenues from all its business units contributing to this record year for the entire company.

  • MetaSwitch, the next generation softswitch division, more than doubled its gross revenue from the previous year, increasing its share of total revenue to 40%. The division now has over 170 deployments - up from 60 this time last year - with incumbent and competitive telephone operators, primarily in North America. Notable events during the year included the introduction of the UC9000 Unified Communications System, adding a powerful range of IMS applications services to the division's established strength in Class 4/5 softswitching, and the successful introduction of a distributed softswitch architecture with the CA9020 Call Agent, already deployed in more than 30 carrier networks.

  • Data Connection's Network Protocols Group continued its leadership position in the areas of IP routing, MPLS, VoIP and ATM, and expanded into a major new product area with a portable, software-based Session Border Controller for OEMs, known as DC-SBC. In IMS networks, DC-SBC implements a range of security, address translation and quality of service functions within network elements such as edge routers, switches and media gateways. Strategic relationships announced during the year include Entrisphere, Fujitsu, Hammerhead Systems, Infinera, NEC, Photonic Bridges and QNX.

  • The company's Internet Applications Group, which provides unified messaging, web conferencing and directory solutions, made particularly strong growth in the tier 1 service provider and government markets, by leveraging Data Connection's industry-leading expertise in next-generation, VoIP-based application services for the telecommunications market. Major recent R&D investment in key areas such as legacy voicemail replacement and service creation environment (SCE) functions, will sustain growth in the coming year.

  • The Enterprise Connectivity Group continues to operate successfully through its long-term strategic relationships with IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, HP and other major OEMs, in addition to its direct sales to large enterprises.

Redback Teams with HP for MPLS VPNs

Redback Networks an HP will offer an integrated solution for managing MPLS virtual private networking services. The solution combines the edge routing, Ethernet aggregation and subscriber management capabilities of the Redback SmartEdge Service Gateway with the management capabilities of the HP OpenView Service Activator, simplifying operations support system (OSS) integration and reducing time-to-market for new IP services.

The SmartEdge platform supports both Layer 2 and Layer 3 MPLS VPN services in conjunction with virtual routers to create a flexible and powerful service offering. Combined with HP's OpenView Service Activator, Redback's SmartEdge platform enable carriers to rapidly deploy and manage VPN services in any environment. MPLS VPN services can be delivered over ATM, Frame Relay, or Ethernet.

Conexant Selected by LG for DVB-S2 Set-Top Box

LG Electronics has incorporated Conexant's satellite set-top box (STB) DVB-S2 demodulator and CX24118 advanced modulation 8PSK tuner in their new high-definition television (HDTV) receiver. LG's model H20 is the world's first set-top box based on DVB-S2, the industry's newest digital video broadcast standard. DVB-S2 leverages key developments in channel coding and modulation to provide up to a 35% capacity increase over the previous DVB-S standard. The H20 STB is currently being deployed by DIRECTV in the United States.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Siemens Supplies ADSL2+ and Mobile Technology to Greenland

Siemens Communications is supplying ADSL2+ for the 57,000 inhabitants of Greenland. By the end of the year, all settlements on the island will be connected to the IP-DSLAMs of the ADSL2+ network, enabling Internet access at 12 to 24 Mbps. Currently, satellite or microwave links are used to link settlements across Greenland because it is not feasible to bury fiber in the ice. Siemens is also deploying IP-based nanoBTS GSM base stations in conjunction with the new local switching technology. This technology enables intra-village mobile phone conversations to be connected directly, eliminating the need for them to be routed via satellite. For the population of Greenland, this is an enormous advantage. In many villages, the number of mobile phone users is rapidly rising, and now totals more than 70%throughout Greenland -- some 37,000 subscribers.

BNS Showcases MPEG-4 IPTV Middleware for Flexible Pricing Models

Broadband Network Systems Ltd (BNS) is showcasing MPEG-4 standard-based middleware at this week's IPTV Forum Asia in Hong Kong.

The BNS solution features a real-time pricing engine that enables service providers to create complex IPTV business models with highly flexible pricing.

The BNS booth will also feature key showcases by BNS's partners Entone (VOD content management), Envivio (MPEG-4 H.264 broadcast series encoders and middleware) and Widevine (conditional access and digital rights management solution).
  • Hong Kong-based Broadband Network Systems (BNS) is a strategic consultant, technology integrator and content aggregator for broadband service providers deploying IPTV. Its customers include Chunghwa Telecom, Hanaro Telecom, Telekom Malaysia and others.

is Asia leading the Global IPTV Revolution?
is leading the IPTV revolution. The region boasts the highest broadband
penetration rates and is already the fastest growing market for IPTV.
Forecasts predict IPTV subscribers set to double in the next 12 months for
major markets in Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. There are a number of
contributing factors for IPTV that are shared across other markets in
Asia. However, IPTV business models and technologies are still evolving.
The next 12-18 months will be an exciting time.

China Reaches 380 million mobile subscribers, Further Growth Forecast

China currently has 380 million mobile subscribers. Nokia said it holds about 30% market share amongst handset makers in China. The company is forecasting an additional 250 million mobile subscribers in China by 2010.

Marconi Posts Quarterly Profit

Marconi reported quarterly revenue of £312 million, up 9% sequentially and up 2% on the prior year. The adjusted gross margin was 30.8%, compared with 33.4% a year earlier. There was a profit of £7 million for the quarter, compared to a loss of £6 million in the prior quarter and a profit of GBP 2 million a year earlier.

Marconi said optical and access network solutions continue to be its main drivers of growth.
  • In October 2005, Ericsson agreed to acquire most of Marconi for approximately £1.2 billion (US$2 billion). The deal, which continues the trend of consolidation in the industry, gives Ericsson access to a more comprehensive portfolio of solutions, an expanded R&D capability, and strategically important customer accounts worldwide.

Swiss Federal Council to Block Swisscom-Eircom Acquisition

Switzerland's Federal Council has instructed its representative on the Board of Directors of SwissCom to vote against the company's proposed acquisition of Eircom, the incumbent telco in Ireland, and other possible acquisitions that Swisscom might make abroad. Market observers believed that Swisscom might have been contemplating a bid for Tele Danmark (TDC). Instead, the Swiss government is encouraging SwissCom to distribute available capital to its shareholders.

The Swiss state holds approximately 66% equity stake in SwissCom. In a statement on Thursday, representatives of the government's finance and communications ministries also said the state would sell additional shares in Swisscom, encouraging the move toward privatization.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Canada's Rogers Cable Hits Milestone of 100,000 HD Subscribers

Since January 2005, Rogers Cable Communication has more than doubled its HDTV customer base, which now exceeds 100,000. The cable company now offers up to 28 HDTV channels.

Rogers Digital Cable also noted that 1 in 3 new HDTV customers adding an HDPVR to their service. Rogers offers the Scientific-Atlanta Explorer 8300HD PVR digital terminal, which features a dual tuner and the ability to record up to 20 hours of HDTV programming or 90 hours of regular television programming.
  • Rogers Cable passes 3.4 million homes in Ontario, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, with 67% basic penetration of its homes passed.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sagem and ST Debut First Single-Chip MPEG4 Set-top Box

Sagem introduced the first MPEG4 set-top boxes based on a single-chip decoder. The new advanced range of STBs from Sagem employs ST's next-generation MPEG4 decoder chip for HDTV, the STB7100.

Sagem's first two STBs available in the new family are standard-definition (SDTV) models, the SAGEM ITD80 for Pay and Free-to-air DTT (digital terrestrial TV) broadcast reception, selected by CANAL+, and the SAGEM ITAD80 for both IPTV and Free-to-air DTT, already selected by several operators. Before the end of this year, Sagem will expand its new MPEG4 range of STBs, all based on ST's STB7100 decoder family, to include new HDTV-capable models for all transmission media (satellite, cable, terrestrial, and IP).

ST's single-chip MPEG4 decoder, which is implemented in 90nm process technology, embeds all the major functions of a STB in a single device, including a high-performance CPU, video-decoding circuitry, and a wide range of peripheral devices.

Sagem said it expects to ship at least 100,000 MPEG4 STBs by the end of 2005. Announced customers include France Telecom and Telecom Italia for the SAGEM ITAD80 for IPTV and free-to-air DTT (Digital Terrestrial TV), and Canal Plus for the SAGEM ITD80 for free-to-air and pay DTT.
  • In June 2004, STMicroelectronics and Microsoft announced a partnership to develop a series of new integrated circuit components for extending the reach of high-quality, secure Windows Media 9 Series content, in both standard and high definition, to a wide range of popular devices such as set-top boxes and DVD players. ST will supply these new components to consumer electronics manufacturer for use in set-top boxes, DVD players, digital video recorders (DVRs), Portable Media Centers, home-networking devices, etc. In addition to standard formats, the devices will includes the following audio and video technologies: Windows Media Audio 9, Windows Media Audio 9 Professional (which delivers 5.1 or even 7.1 channels of discrete digital surround sound at bit rates as low as 128 kbps, and supports 24-bit resolution and 96 kHz sample rates to deliver better-than-CD quality sound), and Windows Media Video 9 (including VC-9).

  • ST launched the world's first integrated MPEG2 decoder STB chips in the mid 1990s.