Monday, November 28, 2005

OnFiber Deploys World Wide Packets for Ethernet

OnFiber, which builds and operates metro networks in major U.S. markets, has selected World Wide Packets' LightningEdge Carrier Ethernet Product Family to enable Ethernet services for business customers. World Wide Packets said its solution was selected because of its ability to provide automated provisioning, which simplifies integration and maintenance while ensuring predictable, flexible and scalable results. OnFiber's Ethernet services range from 10 Mbps to 1000 Mbps. With the World Wide Packets rate limiting feature, increasing from 10Mbps, at the low end of the offering service, may be done remotely.

T-Com Venture Fund invests in Nominum

The T-Com Venture Fund has made an equity investment in Nominum, a developer of IP address infrastructure solutions. Nominum's Foundation product family includes scalable, reliable and secure DNS and DHCP servers and IP address management (IPAM) systems for service providers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

TI's OMAP2 Processor Accelerates H.264 and VC-1

Texas Instruments (TI) began sampling its new OMAP2-based processor for 3G mobile phones, boosting video performance by up to 4X and imaging performance by up to 1.5X. TI said the device will enable secure downloadable media streaming and playback, digital video recording, still image capture, video teleconferencing and 3D gaming on 3G phones.

The latest OMAP2430 application processor offers even higher performance than first-generation OMAP 2 processors while at a lower cost. The OMAP2430 includes TI's latest generation imaging, video and audio accelerator, the IVATM 2, a power-optimized version of the signal processing technology used in TI's recently announced "DaVinci" technology. IVA 2 is a programmable engine that enables quick integration of new codec standards, codec enhancements, and stabilization algorithms for flexibility and differentiation. The IVA 2 engine is software compatible with TI's DaVinci technology, allowing third parties to attack a broader market space.

The OMAP2430 processor supports DVD resolution decode up to 30 frames per second (fps) for MPEG4 and Windows Media Video 9 (Microsoft's implementation of VC-1, the proposed SMPTE standard) formats, and up to 30-fps VGA resolution decode for H.264 and RealVideo 10.
The OMAP2430 is based on TI's high-performance, low leakage 90-nanometer CMOS technology and integrates an ARM1136 RISC processor core and dedicated 2D/3D graphics hardware acceleration, in addition to the IVA 2 engine. System hardware support includes a high-speed USB 2.0 On-the-Go (OTG) interface for significantly faster file transfers on and off the handset, an increasingly important feature as the mobile phone becomes a primary media capture, storage and playback device.

Additionally, TI is announcing the all-in-one audio/power management companion device to the OMAP2430 processor, the TWL4030, which enables lower power and smaller phone designs.
  • In September 2005, 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.

Lucent and Infoblox to offer IP Address management for Enterprises

Infoblox and Lucent Technologies have teamed to offer a scalable, secure, and easy-to-deploy IP address management (IPAM) solution for mid-to-large enterprise customers. The new IP address management solution, which includes support for the domain name system (DNS) and the dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP), combines Infoblox's network appliance and distributed grid management technologies with Lucent's VitalQIP IP Address Management software.

Pricing for the Infoblox-1000 appliance with the Infoblox Integration Module for Lucent VitalQIP Software and the Infoblox Keystone Module starts at $13,495 in the U.S.

MFA Forum Notes Progress, Elects New Board Members

�Following its fourth-quarter meeting in Boston earlier this month, the MFA Forum (MFAF) announced that several technical specifications are ready for final vote.

Going to final ballot are specifications addressing ATM and Frame Relay to MPLS Control Plane Interworking: Client-Server and Use of Virtual Trunks for ATM/MPLS Control Plane Interworking, and High Speed Connections for ATM.

  • The two Control Plane Interworking specifications define the control plane and protocol interworking procedures for ATM and Frame Relay connections across an IP/MPLS PSN using pseudo wires.

  • The ATM Control Signaling group has approved for final ballot
    the High Speed Connections specification. This specification alleviates the current maximum signaled bandwidth of 7 Gbps per connection for ATM. This enables storage applications with ATM core networks to make full use of current 10 Gbps core ATM networks, scaling to terabit connections in the future.

The MFAF also welcomed new member companies Adtran, Analog Devices, Calix Networks and Telcordia Technologies.

The MFAF also attracted major companies to its board, with newly
elected directors Michael Buttery of Sprint and Lily Lu of Cisco Systems. Bernard da Costa of Bell Canada, Doug O'Leary of Verizon, and Tom Walsh of Lucent Technologies were re-elected to the board of directors. O'Leary remains in his position as treasurer, and Walsh continues as vice-chairman.

neuf Cegetel Reaches 350,000 VoIP Users with Nortel Softswitch

neuf Cegetel, the largest alternative operator in France with an installed based of one million residential broadband subscribers, has deployed VoIP services to more than 350,000 of these subscribers using Nortel solutions.

Nortel's VoIP solution for neuf Cegetel includes the Communication Server (CS) 2000 superclass softswitch for both consumer and business VoIP services. neuf Cegetel has also deployed the Nortel Media Gateway (MG) 15000, which serves as a high density IP trunk gateway to interconnect with other carrier networks.

Earlier this year, neuf Cegetel also selected Nortel solutions to launch neuf Office service, a carrier-grade VoIP services offering for business customers.

Orca Hires New CTO

Orca Interactive, a supplier of middleware and applications for IPTV, named Dr. Ofer Weintraub as its new CEO. Most recently, Weintraub was a telecom and cellular consultant with The Standard Insider, a consulting firm based in Herzelyia, Israel, and focused on mobile data services and IP infrastructure (IMS). He previously served as chief technology officer and research group manager at Emblaze Systems where he was responsible for the overall technology roadmap, standardization work and patent applications, and was personally involved in contributing to the 3GPP, the OMA and other standardization bodies. Before joining Emblaze Systems, he was the co-founder and CTO of Crosseller Technologies, a startup that developed remote data mining solutions for eCommerce.

Tropian Secures Funding for Multimode Radio Silicon

Tropian, a start-up based in Cupertino, California, announced the completion of an additional financing round led by Crosspoint Ventures for its patented "Polar Impact" approach to Radio systems.

Tropian provides multi-mode radio solutions for the cellular handset market. The company's Polar Impact polar modulation approach to RF design supports multiple standards. Its products offer a combination of multimode capability, with a single radio and power amplifier for all modes, and greater power efficiency and integration.

Ericsson HSDPA Deployments Underway in 15 Countries

Ericsson's HSDPA solution is now in operation in 15 countries, providing data speeds up to 3.6Mbps in the downlink.

"We have received positive reactions from our customers to the opportunity to explore the mobile broadband possibilities of HSDPA at an early stage. There are now 15 live HSDPA systems, with ongoing evaluations of applications. This strengthens my belief that we will see many successful HSDPA launches during 2006, based on our solution," said Carl-Henric Svanberg, President and CEO of Ericsson.

Cingular and Orange Offer Consolidated Services for Multinationals

Cingular Wireless and Orange SA will offer consolidated mobile services to multinational companies in the U.S. and Europe under Cingular's WorldView program.

Cingular and Orange customers with operations in the U.S., Great Britain, France, Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland now can access and manage their combined Cingular and Orange wireless usage and expenditures through a secure online portal, called WorldView Wireless Information Navigator, which is available exclusively to WorldView customers.

In addition to this combined domestic/international management capability, Cingular customers who are signed up under Cingular's flagship business offer, Cingular Corporate Digital Advantage (CCDA), can now also apply their wireless usage with Orange to their minimum usage commitment under CCDA to qualify for volume discounts with the WorldView Global Discount Program.

Cisco to Acquire Cybertrust's Intellishield Alert Manager

Cisco Systems agreed to acquire select intellectual property and assets of Cybertrust, including its security intelligence information service, known as Intellishield Alert Manager. Cisco will pay $14 million in cash in exchange for the technology, customer contracts and other components of Cybertrust's Intellishield Alert Manager.

Intellishield Alert Manager is a web-based security intelligence service, providing daily information to customers about information security threats and IT product vulnerabilities that affect the entire corporate information technology domain. The service is delivered through a continually updated web portal, XML feeds and email subscriptions.

Intellishield Alert Manager will become part of the Cisco MySDN security intelligence Web site. This acquisition further demonstrates Cisco's commitment to address Internet security issues and will join Cisco's portfolio of Security Lifecycle Services that assist customers in making their networks secure.

Cisco said the ability to research, understand and advise customers on all types of threats and vulnerabilities is core to its Self-Defending Network strategy.
  • Cybertrust is based in Herndon, Virginia.

Cisco's 2005 Acquisitions

Intellishield Alert Manager
security intelligence service, providing daily updates
Telephony Provisioning 
boxes and video transmission systems
memory technology to enhance performance of core switching platforms 
virtualization technology
Technology A/S
entertainment devices
NetSift  deep
packet processing
I. Secure Corporation
and VPN solutions
optimization appliances
Sipura VoIP
customer premise equipment
networking equipment designed for grid and utility computing
Airespace WLAN
controllers, Access Points, WLAN Management and Location Software, and
Security capabilities

Bluetooth Shipments Take Off

More than 9.5 million Bluetooth-enabled products are shipping per week, according to IMS Research and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). In May, the shipment figures were 4.75 million per week and in September -- only four months later -- this figure had doubled.

"By doubling the Bluetooth shipments in just four months, Bluetooth technology has once again proved itself as the wireless technology for the personal area network," said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director of the Bluetooth SIG.

Mexico's Cablemas Selects ARRIS' CMTS

Mexican Multiple System Cable Operator (MSO) Cablemas has selected the ARRIS Cadant C4 CMTS to provide VoIP and high-speed data service to its customers. Several fully-loaded C4 CMTS chassis have been installed and activated in Tijuana in anticipation of widespread VoIP and high speed data deployments throughout the Cablemas service area of more than 1.5 million homes passed. Financial terms were not disclosed.

FCC Chairman Urges A-la-Carte Video Programming or New Decency Requirements

In testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin called on the cable industry and direct satellite broadcasters to offer better tools and packages to filter between adult-oriented content and family-friendly programming or face new rules. Specifically, Martin called upon multichannel video providers to offer a-la-carte programming choices so that viewers do not have to purchase objectionable content as part of a "basic" or "expanded basic" package.

Some highlight of his testimony:

  • "I have urged the industry to voluntarily offer one of several solutions. First, cable and satellite operators could offer an exclusively family-friendly programming package as an alternative to the "expanded basic" tier on cable or the initial tier on DBS. This alternative would enable parents to enjoy the increased options and high-quality programming available through cable and satellite without having to purchase programming unsuitable for children. Parents could get Nickelodeon and Discovery without having to buy other adult-oriented fare.

    "A choice of a family friendly package would provide valuable tools to parents wanting to watch television with their families, and would help them protect their children from violent and indecent programming. Other subscribers, meanwhile, could continue to have the same options they have today. Indeed, some cable and DBS operators are already providing tiers such as digital sports tiers and Spanish-language tiers.

    "Alternatively, the programming that cable and DBS operators offer in the expanded basic package could be subject to the same indecency regulations that currently apply only to broadcast. This standard would apply only to channels that consumers are required to purchase as part of the expanded basic package, not premium channels."

TiVo Adds 434,000 Subscribers in Latest Quarter

As of October 31, 2005, TiVo had 4,008,000 subscribers, which represents 74% growth in the subscription base during the past year. Total net new subscription additions in the most recent quarter were 434,000, an increase over the 419,000 total net new subscriptions added in the same quarter of last year.

TiVo-Owned gross subscription additions were 92,000 for the quarter, compared to 119,000 in the third quarter of last year. TiVo-Owned net subscription additions were 55,000 compared to 103,000 in the third quarter of last year. DIRECTV net subscription additions were 379,000 for the quarter, compared to 316,000 in the third quarter of last year.

Service and technology revenues for the quarter increased 52% to $43.2 million, compared with $28.4 million for the same period last year. TiVo reported a net loss of ($14.2) million and net loss per share of ($0.17), a significant improvement compared to a net loss of ($26.4) million, or ($0.33) per share, for the third quarter of last year.

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.