Wednesday, January 18, 2006

IEEE Confirms 802.11n Wi-Fi Draft Specification

The IEEE Task Group "N" voted to confirm the proposal for the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard. The draft will now proceed through the IEEE ratification process.

The proposed IEEE 802.11n standard supports speeds of up to 600 Mbps and will enable wireless systems to deliver greater range.

http://www.enhancedwirelessconsortium.orgIn October 2005, a group of 27 Wi-Fi companies formed an Enhanced Wireless Consortium to accelerate the IEEE 802.11n standard development process. The EWC specification comprises a number of technical elements, including:

  • Mixed-mode interoperability with 802.11a/b/g networks -- provides enhanced performance while maintaining communication with legacy devices;

  • PHY transmission rates up to 600Mbps -- supports applications requiring high data rates (such as transmitting multiple HDTV streams), and reduces battery drain by minimizing the time required to send and receive data streams;

  • Enhanced efficiency MAC with frame aggregation -- brings actual throughput closer to the raw PHY rate, providing end users with at least 100 Mbps application level bandwidth;

  • Use of 2.4GHz and/or 5GHz unlicensed bands -- matches the frequency plan of existing 802.11 devices;

  • 20MHz and/or 40MHz channel support -- uses more of the wireless spectrum when available to enhance performance;

  • Spatial multiplexing modes for simultaneous transmission using 1 to 4 antennas -- increases robustness of wireless connections to support very high data rates;

  • Enhanced range via multiple antennas and advanced coding -- provides for a wider coverage area with consistent wireless speeds.

LGC Wireless Optimizes Multi-Carrier Cellular Coverage for Atlanta Airport

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which ranks as the worlds busiest passenger air terminal, has installed LGC Wireless' InterReach Unison system to deliver cellular and public safety wireless coverage throughout the airport's 5.8 million square foot facility.

The multi-operator system has been funded by the airport itself, and will provide coverage in its terminal as well as in the underground transportation mall, where a train system links the airport's concourses. The InterReach Unison system will support traffic for all major cellular network carriers as well as the airport's own public safety organizations. The legacy wireless extension systems (supplied by Cingular, Sprint Nextel, and Verizon) did not cover the entire airport.

LGC's InterReach Unison system is a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) that uses active Ethernet-based technology and standard fiber and copper transport cabling. The Atlanta airport deployment uses 36 main hubs, 96 expansion hubs, and more than 700 individual antennas.

Sprint Nextel Plans 4G Rollout in 2008

Sprint Nextel plans to leverage its extensive 2.5 GHz Broadband Radio Service (BRS) spectrum holdings with a major rollout of 4G services in 2008, said Len Lauer, COO of Sprint Nextel, speaking at WCA conference in San Jose. Its market strategy will be to deploy the network quickly in top 100 U.S. markets, giving it as much as a two-year lead over its major wireless competitors. Sprint Nextel is currently evaluating a number of different wireless technologies and network architectures, including multicarrier DO (MCDO), f-OFDM, WiMAX, HSPA, TD-CDMA and 3G LTE. Discussions and trials are underway with a number potential suppliers.

Lauer outlined a number of key requirements for the new network. Ideally, it would like be an architecture that is also deployed globally, especially in Europe. The company does not want to become a wireless island. Technologies must be part of a larger ecosystem. Base stations and client devices must be delivered at competitive price. And the network must be able of offer new services, content, experiences that provide a true mobile alternative to home DSL and cable connections. Sprint Nextel initially is looking for 2 to 3 Mbps per user.

In the meantime, Sprint Nextel is gaining momentum with its EVDO network, which currently delivers downlink speeds of 400-700 kbps and is available in over 200 markets across the country. An upgrade to the EVDO network is planned for 2007/8. Lauer also demonstrated the company's currently mobile TV application. As the subscriber numbers for this multimedia service climb, Sprint Nextel may be in the position of needing more capacity before its 4G rollout is ready. The company is evaluating QUALCOMM's MediaFLO and DVB solutions to handle such a contingency.

As for the joint venture with the cable operators, Lauer said Sprint Nextel already is the largest supplier of VoIP services to MSOs. The first new services from the joint venture are expected to debut in mid-year.

NTT Communications and Telefonica Wholesale Interconnect

NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com) and Telefonica International
Wholesale Services (Telefonica Wholesale) agreed to interconnect their
international data networks. The agreement will enable both companies to increase their coverage through a seamless international network covering almost all the Asia Pacific Region, the United States, Latin America and Europe.

France Telecom Reaches 200,000 IPTV Subscribers, Launches "Le Bouquet" MPEG4

France Telecom now has over 200,000 subscribers for its MaLigne TV, a premium IPTV service that was first launched in December 2003. As of 30-Sep-2005, there were 142,000 MaLigne TV customers in France, compared to 116,000 at the end of June.

Starting February 1, France Telecom is expanding the offering with the launch of "Le Bouquet TV", featuring free access to a range of general and specialized channels as well as all the free channels available with Digital Terrestrial Television.

Le Bouquet TV will use an MPEG4-standard decoder.

MaLigne TV is already providing access to some 200 channels.

France Telecom will also begin carrying exclusive channels for major events. For the Turin Winter Games, it will have seven dedicated channels.

France Telecom is also launching "Mon Magneto", another DSL-based video service that lets customers manage live recordings directly on their decoder's hard drive (PVR).

Agere Hits 100 Million Unit Milestone for GSM Chipsets

Agere Systems has shipped in excess of 100 million Global System for Mobile (GSM)-based wireless chipsets for mobile phones. The company began supplying solutions for GPRS mobile phones in limited quantities in 2000, achieving its highest shipment levels over the last two years.

WiMAX Forum Announces First Certified Products

The WiMAX Forum announced the first fixed wireless broadband network products to achieve the designation of WiMAX Forum Certified. These include:

  • Aperto Networks' PacketMAX 5000 base station

  • Redline Communications' RedMAX AN-100U base station

  • SEQUANS Communications' SQN2010 SoC base station solution

  • Wavesat's miniMAX customer premise equipment (CPE) solution.

To date, the WiMAX Forum's certification laboratory, Cetecom Spain, has confirmed 26 additional reservations from manufacturers for testing slots for both subscriber and base station equipment certification. In order to handle this additional capacity, Cetecom already has set up multiple test lines for testing and certification for these products -- a process that will continue over the next two months.

The first round of WiMAX Forum Certified products were developed according to the WiMAX Forum-defined certification profile for 3.5 GHz systems, which is based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 and ETSI HiperMAN standards. Each hardware system was required to pass stringent and extensive test procedures, consisting of protocol conformance, radio conformance and interoperability testing in order to attain the WiMAX Forum Certification seal.

Earthlink Signs Motorola and Tropos for Wi-Fi in 5 Cities

Earthlink signed a contract with Motorola for it to provide wireless equipment, design, installation and system integration for the initial five major cities where EarthLink will deploy municipal Wi-Fi Internet access networks. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Motorola will provide its MOTOwi4 portfolio of products, including its Canopy high-speed backhaul and Wi-Fi mesh network equipment supplied to Motorola by Tropos Networks.

Motorola will also install and provide system integration and support services for the networks operated by EarthLink.

The Tropos MetroMesh equipment on city light poles that will enable wireless data connectivity between consumers and the Internet.


ITV Expands Web Video with Narrowstep

ITV, the UK's top, and Europe's second largest commercial broadcaster, has extended its contract with Narrowstep to broadcast its new local broadband TV service.

ITV first signed Narrowstep in October 2005 to test TelVOS, its Television Operating System, in order to offer Brighton and Hastings their local news, weather, community activities, travel and other ITV entertainment. With the expansion of the trial, Narrowstep has increased its services to ITV by creating a further four channels on the site with the inclusion of Teachers' TV, Brighton Property, Regional news and weather and the Upload Channel for advertising for local businesses and individuals which will be revenue generating.

In the short time since the start of the trial, over 10,000 individuals per week in the Brighton and Hastings area have been using the service. Many of the viewers watch for more than one hour at a time.www.itvlocal.tv

vs. Multicast:  The Challenge for Cablecos

The world of television is becoming a confusing place. Technology that has
remained stable and consistent for over four decades is suddenly being
usurped.  On the one hand, there is an increasingly rapid shift to HD
underway. On the other, IPTV is arriving to shake things up. It is
therefore not surprising that the world of programming is undergoing a

Broadcom Launches "Intensi-fi" Silicon for 802.11n

Broadcom announced the availability of its new "Intensi-fi" WLAN chipsets designed to comply with the IEEE 802.11n draft specification. The chipsets incorporate all mandatory elements of the IEEE 802.11n draft specification and are software upgradable once the standard is finalized. Broadcom said it is working closely with other industry leaders to demonstrate real-world interoperability among brands as draft-802.11n products become available.

Nielsen//NetRatings: iTunes Reaches 14% of Active Internet Universe,

Traffic to Apple's iTunes Web site and use of the iTunes application has skyrocketed 241% over the past year, from 6.1 million unique visitors in December 2004 to 20.7 million in December 2005, reaching nearly 14 percent of the active Internet population, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

Teens are disproportionately represented among iTunes users; 12 to 17 year olds are nearly twice as likely to visit the iTunes Web site and use the application as the average Internet user. iTunes users are also more likely to be male; the site's traffic is 54 percent male and 46 percent female.

"The rapid growth of iTunes is an important phenomenon in the online media marketplace," said Jon Gibs, director of media analytics, Nielsen//NetRatings. "Consumers have clearly indicated that they are eager to control their own music libraries, one song at a time," he continued.

Meru Ships its Radio Switch for High Density WLANs

Meru Networks began shipping its new Radio Switch Family, a gigabit-class, wireless LAN infrastructure switch built for high-density data and wireless VoIP applications in pervasive, enterprise WLANs.

Meru's Radio Switch family includes the four-radio RS-4000, the eight-radio RS-8000, the twelve-radio RS-12000 and a patent-pending, built-in omni-directional antenna. The system delivers up to 648 Mbps of WLAN bandwidth utilizing 802.11 standard radios, and is capable of scaling up to 1.2 Gbps of bandwidth across its coverage zone.

The Radio Switch layers up to 12 channels in a single coverage area -- a feature that is enabled by Meru's cellular-like architecture and Air Traffic Control technology. All three products are modular and can support radio additions and upgrades, including future 802.11n upgrades.

LANs Need to Evolve toward Cellular Wireless Architecture
IEEE 802.11 task groups have worked to improve the speed of wireless
networking and increase the sophistication of the 802.11 base itself.
Unfortunately, 802.11 is still hamstrung by a fundamental problem. Given
the ever-increasing need to have real predictability in networks that will
soon top out at over 600Mbps and rival the capacity of wired networking,
it is clear that 802.11 needs to embrace a cellular wireless networking
architecture and associated technologies.

Nortel Hires GE's Dennis Carey

Nortel announced the appointment of Dennis Carey as executive vice president, Corporate Operations. Building on a 25-year career with GE, Carey brings to Nortel an extensive background in general management, business development, corporate operations, strategy, finance, information systems, mergers and acquisitions, auditing, supply chain management and Six Sigma. He also has served as vice president and general manager for Corporate Productivity and M&A for AT&T, and more recently as executive vice president for Business Development, Strategy and Corporate Operations for The Home Depot. In his most recent assignment, Carey was executive vice president, president and CEO, Integrated Electronic Systems for Motorola.

Scientific-Atlanta Sees Rise in Higher-End STBs and Modems

Scientific-Atlanta reported quarterly sales of $495.2 million. Net income $53.4 million, or $0.34 per share, compared with $58.7 million, or $0.38 per share, in the same period last year. Gross margin in the second quarter was 36.1 percent of sales, down one percentage point from last year. Some highlights:

  • There was a year-to-year increase in sales of subscriber products driven by higher volumes of Explorer digital set-tops and WebSTAR cable modems and a continued mix shift toward higher-end set-top and modem products.
  • <

  • Selling prices for almost all set-top models continued to decline in the quarter.
  • <

  • The company sold 1.152 million set-tops during the quarter. Sales of transmission products were $122.4 million, up 7%from last year but down 5% sequentially.
  • <

  • Digital video recorder (DVR) shipments set a new record of 556,000 units this quarter, increasing 24% from last year's second quarter and 20% sequentially. Two hundred sixty thousand digital video recorders, or a little under half of the total, were high-definition units. Shipments of all high-definition set-tops, including DVR and non-DVR models, were 386 thousand units, an increase of 27% from last year and 7% sequentially.
  • <

  • Scientific-Atlanta sold a record 981 thousand modems, an increase of 113 percent from last year and an increase of two percent sequentially. Forty percent of unit shipments, or 391 thousand, were voice modems. Voice modem shipments increased by 234 percent from last year but declined eight percent sequentially. The sequential decline was related to a product issue that was resolved during the quarter just ended. More than two-thirds of the voice modems were shipped to customers outside the United States.

  • The company hopes to close its merger with Cisco this quarter.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Gizmo Project and Google Talk Connect IM Networks

SIPphone and Google Talk became the first major instant messaging networks to launch complete compatibility between their user bases.

Interoperable features incorporated between the two services include:

  • Instant messaging, which allows users of Google Talk and Gizmo Project to communicate across networks.

  • Full address book management, including the ability to send invitations to members of other networks.

  • Presence (online, offline, away) so you can see if your contacts are available to chat.

The companies said this relationship is the culmination of over six months of cooperation.

"Although Gizmo Project and Google Talk are competing instant messaging products this technical cooperation illustrates our commitment to open directories," said SIPphone CEO Michael Robertson. "Our partnership will put pressure on closed networks like MSN, Yahoo!, Skype and AOL to connect to the rest of the world so a user won't be forced to juggle five different accounts on different networks to communicate with the world."
  • In July 2005, The Gizmo Project, a free VoIP service developed by Michael Robertson and his team at SIPphone, released the first public beta of its consumer VoIP software. Robertson's previous start-ups have included, Linspire, SIPphone and most recently Unlike Skype, Gizmo is based on SIP and follows a standards-based approach to its network and directory. New users choose their username and then a SIP number is automatically assigned to the account. Gizmo can send/receive calls to over 100 other SIP networks, including some university networks and Asterisk-based networks. Regular phones could be attached to the service using an unlocked SIP analog-telephone-adapter.

  • Gizmo, which is describing itself as a "Skype-killer", said it because it does not operate on a pure P2P model, its members' computer resources and bandwidth are never tapped to route calls, as they are with Skype. Gizmo is supporting a range of audio compression technologies including Global IP Sound, which is also used by Skype.

Opnext Ships its 100,000th 10G transceivers

Opnext has shipped more than 100,000 10G transceivers to date. The company offers a line of 10G products, including 300-pin, XENPAK, X2, XPAK and XFP encompassing all port types within these form factors. The company's modules enable applications for use in: SONET OC-192 and SDH STM-64 and 10GbE long-reach terrestrial transmission, metropolitan area network, IP Router premise switching, OADM, High-speed data communications, and FEC (10.7 Gbps G.709).

Sentito Appoints Stephen Crummey as CEO

Sentito Networks named Stephen Crummey as its new CEO, replacing Dennis Chateauneuf. Crummey joins Sentito from vCentrix, where he served as the company's CEO. vCentrix offers a hosted, turnkey VoIP platform for telecommunications service providers. Prior to his tenure at vCentrix, Steve served as CEO of e-Studio Live, a multimedia applications company that developed authoring software for the webcasting market; co-founded and held the position of CEO at the web-collaboration company, now Webex; served as VP of Worldwide Sales for video conferencing company PictureTel; and served as VP of Sales and Marketing for Avid Technologies.

Sentito's ONX solution, which includes its Intelligent Voice Gateway, Proxy 7 Signaling Gateway, and PreVision Network Manager, works in an open VoIP environment to deliver a wide range of service provider applications.

Sentito said that since the release of its ONX System 3 in August 2005, it has six customers and an additional ten product evaluations deployed at service providers worldwide.

Cisco Names Susan Bostrom as Chief Marketing Officer

Cisco Systems announced the appointment of Susan L. Bostrom to the position of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and an executive officer of the company. Bostrom succeeds James Richardson, who has been appointed Senior Vice President (SVP), Commercial Business, a new role created to accelerate Cisco's opportunity in its fastest growing customer segment made up of small and medium-sized businesses.

An eight-year Cisco veteran, Bostrom most recently led Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), an organization she created and built from the ground up to bring vertical expertise and Internet best practices to Global Fortune 500 companies, governors, and heads of state. In addition, Bostrom continues to lead Cisco's Worldwide Government Affairs organization where her leadership has driven and expanded Cisco's policy thought leadership and coverage of key global issues such as healthcare. Her industry background includes more than 20 years of marketing experience at companies including Cisco, National Semiconductor, AT&T, McKinsey and Company, and FTP Software.

As one of the most experienced general managers at Cisco, Richardson's tenure at Cisco spans more than 16 years, including leading the company's Enterprise Line of Business and successively from 1992 to 1999 each theatre sales organization.

IPWireless Launches TDtv for Existing 3G Spectrum

IPWireless unveiled its TDtv mobile television solution that would allow mobile operators to leverage existing unpaired 3G spectrum.

TDtv combines IPWireless' commercial UMTS TD-CDMA platform and the newly defined 3GPP Release 6 Multimedia Broadcast and Multicast Standard (MBMS. IP Wireless cited several strategic, performance, and economic advantages over alternative mobile TV solutions. These include:

  • TDtv operates in the universal unpaired 3G spectrum bands that are available across Europe and Asia at 1900MHz and 2010MHz. It allows UMTS operators to fully utilize their existing spectrum and base stations to offer subscribers attractive mobile TV and multimedia packages without impacting other voice and data 3G services. Several operators in Europe are expected to announce TDtv trials in their 1900MHz unpaired 3G spectrum during the first half of this year. In Japan, IPMobile plans to trial the technology for their services in their recently awarded 2010MHz spectrum. The solution will also be made available to operators in the other frequency bands that IPWireless supports globally, including the 2.5GHz band.

  • With TDtv, UMTS operators can deliver up to 50 channels of TV for standard mobile phone screens, or 15 higher quality QVGA channels, all in their existing 5MHz of unpaired 3G spectrum. For operators that have 10MHz of spectrum in any of the bands supported, the solution can deliver twice the number of channels or increase the quality of their service offerings. And unlike current unicast mobile TV services that take additional network bandwidth for every subscriber using the service, TDtv leverages MBMS to allow an infinite number of customers to watch the same channel or use the same network bandwidth. Operators can also deliver digital audio or other IP data cast services to enhance their service offerings.

  • TDtv promises better integration with WCDMA systems than other Mobile TV technologies. TDtv architecture is designed to seamlessly integrate with WCDMA on both the network and device side. At the cell site, the very low cost TDtv base stations can be co-sited on existing WCDMA sites without additional regulatory issues. The solution integrates with WCDMA at the core network level resulting in easier billing and other back office integration. By utilizing the Broadcast Multicast Service Center (BMSC) as defined in the 3GPP standard, the two networks can work in unison to deliver services to subscribers.

  • On the device side, IPWireless is partnering to integrate TDtv into existing WCDMA devices at very low cost. Initial two-chip TD-CDMA/WCMDA handsets or larger screen devices will be able to reuse much of the WCDMA RF to lower cost and reduce size. Ultimately, TDtv will be integrated into WCDMA chipsets. Because TD-CDMA can reuse many of the existing WCDMA stacks, this adds a very minimal cost to the device.
  • IPWireless technology operates in a non line-of-sight environment allowing fast wireless data access indoor, outdoor and in vehicular mobility environments. The system gain (link budget) is typically higher than 2G cellular systems allowing cells to be larger than that of typical cellular / PCS systems, or alternatively similar size with greater building penetration probability. Cell radius will depend upon deployment strategy, but can be as small as a microcell or as large as 29km.

  • IPWireless' current product line is optimized for data rate of up to 16 Mbps carrying IP traffic.

Siemens Selected for Nationwide Wireless Network

Hutchison Telecommunications International selected Siemens to be the supplier for a nationwide turnkey wireless network and managed services in Indonesia. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Hutchison Telecom Indonesia plans a range of nationwide comprehensive and affordable wireless communications services in Indonesia, through a GSM 1800 network with UMTS infrastructure overlaid in key cities.

According to plan, the network shall be expanded in phases with target completion of around 2,000 cell sites in Phase One in the second half of 2006. Under the agreement Siemens will also provide financing as well as network management services for an initial three-year period, which will include network maintenance, performance and capacity management, service management as well as network field services.