Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Redback Enhances Service Control for IP Video Networks

Redback Networks released a new version of its NetOp Policy Manager for its SmartEdge platform aimed at on-demand video and broadcast IP TV services.

Based on the industry standard RADIUS protocol, the NetOp Policy Manager 2.0 is designed to work over residential and business broadband access technologies including DSL, Wi-Fi, Cable, Leased Lines, ATM/Frame Relay and Ethernet.

The NetOp Policy Manager 2.0 solution tightly integrates with the Redback SmartEdge Service Gateway to assure high-quality on-demand video services by auto-adjusting bandwidth and expanding Quality of Service (QoS) functionality. From the content entry point into the network through the content delivery to the end customer, the NetOp Policy Manager intelligently identifies bandwidth and QoS requirements to ensure seamless appropriation of network resources within the Smart Broadband Network environment.

New NetOp Policy Manager 2.0 Capabilities include:

  • Open and flexible Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for seamless integration and customization with CRM and call center systems

  • Intuitive and scalable GUI allows service providers to easily define bandwidth and QoS profiles for tiered service offerings

  • Security lockdown features, including anti-virus, firewall, and automated password administration, to prevent login attacks

The NetOp Policy Manager 2.0 product can be licensed as a run-time software with feature enhancements based on feature roadmap, or the entire source code can be licensed which gives service providers the ultimate flexibility to customize the product. http://www.redback.com

The Cloud Plans European Wi-Fi Expansion with Tropos

Tropos Networks and The Cloud, the largest hot spot operator in Europe, announced a collaboration to deliver metro-scale mesh networks to city centers in the UK and Europe. The collaborative deployments will begin in 2006. Both parties anticipate the adoption of the joint solution to be aggressive, with a number of European projects to be announced during the year.

The Cloud's networks are open to any service provider who would like to provide advanced wireless services to their customers.

The Tropos MetroMesh architecture allows multiple user communities to operate on a single wireless infrastructure, with each group afforded the opportunity for individual security and authentication settings, bandwidth provisioning and unique network identification.


ThingMagic Raises $21 Million for RFID Readers

ThingMagic, a start-up based in Cambridge, Mass., has raised $21 million in financing to support the development of its radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

ThingMagic's Mercury4 RFID reader platform is designed with a unique Software Defined Radio architecture. It is certified by EPCglobal and MET Labs for all three Generation 2 RFID modes, including the complex Dense Reader mode. The Mercury4 readers can be remotely updated for any future Generation 2 variants and other new RFID standards.

New investors include Cisco Systems, Inc., the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, and Nicholas Negroponte, Wiesner Professor of Media Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founding chairman of MIT's Media Laboratory.


Amino Confirms Interoperability with H.264 Encoder Vendors

Amino confirmed that its H.264 AmiNET124 IP set-top box is fully compatible with leading H.264 (otherwise known as MPEG4-AVC) encoders.

The Amino set-top box is now certified to interoperate with H.264 encoded video from Harmonic, SkyStream, TANDBERG Television and Tut Systems.


Congress Sets February 2009 DTV Deadline

DTV-related provisions were included in Congress' budget reconciliation bill, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on February 1.

The final bill sets February 17, 2009, as the date certain for completion of the DTV transition; it allocates $990 million of the analog spectrum auction proceeds toward a digital-to-analog converter box program, with a provision that allows for the amount available to increase to $1.5 billion if Congress needs more money to fulfill the program; and the bill allocates $1 billion to be used for a grant program to help public safety agencies obtain and deploy interoperable communications systems.

Motorola and NTT DoCoMo Develop 3.6 Mbps HSDPA Prototype

Motorola and NTT DoCoMo have co-developed a high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) prototype that can be used on WCDMA(3GPP Rel5) networks worldwide. The prototype which achieves a downlink data rate of up to 3.6 Mbps.

The companies plan to actively undertake the interoperability test partnering with carriers and vendors from around the world. http://www.motorola.com

Nortel and Huawei Establish Joint Venture for Broadband Access Market

Nortel and Huawei Technologies will establish a joint venture for developing ultra broadband access solutions for markets around the world. The two companies have also entered into a supply agreement that allows Nortel to immediately begin engaging customers with Huawei's current broadband access portfolio.

The new company will combine Huawei's broadband access solutions with Nortel's voice and broadband networking technologies to create a new product portfolio designed to be a leader in the industry in value and performance. These products will give service providers the ability to converge the delivery of voice, video, data and wireless services to business and residential customers onto a common IP platform that supports copper, fiber and fixed wireless networks.

The parties intend that the joint venture will be majority-owned by Nortel and headquartered in Ottawa. The joint venture will be focused on product enhancements for Huawei's current broadband access portfolio and the development of a new ultra broadband product portfolio. This portfolio will be sold exclusively to Huawei and Nortel as channel providers.

Nortel said it revenues for the global broadband access equipment market approached US$9 billion in 2005 and included a US$1 billion IP-DSLAM segment that is forecast to reach nearly US$2 billion in 2008.

"Nortel is focused on seizing opportunities that will generate new revenue and expand operating margin. This joint venture is a bold opportunity to combine the strengths of Huawei and Nortel into a company that can aggressively target and win share in the rapidly expanding ultra broadband market," said Mike Zafirovski, president and CEO, Nortel.

  • In November 2005, LG Electronics and Nortel officially launched their joint venture, LG-Nortel Co. Ltd., will offer leading-edge communications and networking solutions in the wireline, optical, wireless and enterprise markets in South Korea and the rest of the world. LG-Nortel's headquarters will be in South Korea, with sales and marketing located in Kangnam, Seoul; R&D facilities in Anyang in the province of Gyeonggi; and an employee population of approximately 1,400.

  • In February 2004, Nortel announced strategic alliances with three suppliers of access equipment: Calix, ECI Telecom, and Keymile. Nortel has been integrating, marketing and supporting Calix's ultra-broadband loop carrier products on a worldwide basis under a three-year strategic alliance. ECI Telecom has provided access and aggregation platforms for central office DSLAM, Optical Line Termination (OLT), and remote terminal applications.

  • In November 2003, 3Com and Huawei Technologies launched their joint venture company. The new Huawei-3Com Co. Ltd. sells enterprise networking solutions, including routers and LAN switches. 3Com has the rights to market and support the Huawei-3Com products under the 3Com brand in all countries except China and Japan. In China and Japan, Huawei-3Com will sell products sourced internally as well as from 3Com.

Verizon Extends Global Ethernet Footprint in U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific

Verizon Business has expanded the availability of its Ethernet access services in key cities in the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Underlying the Ethernet service is the interconnection of the Verizon Ethernet network with the company's Converged Packet Access (CPA) hub switches to deliver consistent Ethernet access to Private IP customers globally.

Immediately available, Verizon Business' extended Ethernet portfolio includes Ethernet Private Line (EPL) and Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL), which provide service in 85 metro markets in the U.S. and in nine countries in Europe; E-LAN Services with 55 metro markets in the U.S.; E-Access for Private IP nationwide; and Internet Dedicated Services in 25 U.S. markets, nine countries in Europe and in six countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

In the coming months, Verizon Business will continue to invest in its Ethernet infrastructure and product portfolio with plans to broaden Ethernet access to Dedicated Internet Services from 25 markets to more than 60 markets nationwide. Verizon Business also plans to launch a Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS), a nationwide Ethernet-based Layer 2 VPN, in mid-2006.

Verizon Business' Ethernet portfolio will be available on the Verizon network via the company's direct fiber connections to buildings and in select locations outside the network. Unlike traditional data pricing models, Verizon Business' Ethernet Services are sold on a per megabit basis, so that customers only pay for what they need. Verizon Business supports its suite of Ethernet solutions with comprehensive service-level guarantees.

Key U.S. markets in the Verizon footprint include Boston; New York City; Dallas; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; Seattle; and Tampa, Florida. Ethernet access services are also available in new European locations, including: Belgium -- Brussels; England -- London; France -- Lyon and Paris; Germany -- Hilden and Frankfurt; Italy -- Milan; Sweden -- Stockholm; Switzerland -- Zurich; and the Netherlands -- Amsterdam.

In addition to Verizon Business' U.S. and European Ethernet footprint, Private IP customers can now access their networks using Ethernet in the Asia-Pacific region in the following locations: Australia -- Melbourne and Sydney; Hong Kong; Japan -- Tokyo and Osaka; New Zealand -- Auckland; South Korea -- Seoul; and Taiwan -- Taipei.


Cavium and Atheros Team on 802.11 Secure Gateways

Cavium Networks introduced an 802.11 a/b/g broadband wireless gateway reference design based on its newly unveiled OCTEON CN30XX MIPS64 SoCs (system-on-chip) and Atheros Communications' AR5006XS single chip WLAN solution. Cavium Networks also announced that it will be supporting the upcoming 802.11n standard.

The OCTEON reference and evaluation platform is suited for wired and wireless Broadband Remote Access and Universal Threat Management Routers and Gateways, including the emerging 802.11n standard. Combined with the Atheros AR5414 single chip MAC/Baseband/Radio solution ODMs will be able to launch next generation Small-to-Medium Business & SOHO wireless gateways.

The new OCTEON CN30XX SoC processors provide multi-100 Mbps application performance and include integrated Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. They integrate a custom MIPS64 processor core with advanced multi-layer application acceleration and security processing hardware.


Lucent Enhances VIVO's 1xEV-DO Network in Brazil

VIVO, the largest mobile operator in the Southern Hemisphere, selected Lucent Technologies to expand and enhance its 3G CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network. Lucent will provide additional infrastructure equipment and services and also work with Riverstone Networks and Juniper Networks to deliver a core IP/MPLS network serving Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

As part of the agreement, Lucent is upgrading more of VIVO's existing Lucent-supplied base stations to support CDMA2000 1xEV-DO and also providing new Modular Cell 4.0 and 4.0B base stations. Lucent Worldwide Services is providing network integration and installation services.

Riverstone Networks is providing the Ethernet infrastructure, supporting the "backhauling" of data traffic from VIVO's 3G base stations to expand the delivery of IP/Ethernet services over metropolitan access networks.

Juniper Networks is supplying M-series multiservice routing platforms, which will aggregate traffic from multiple base stations.


Motorola Offers Push-to-Talk Over Cellular Service for Pre-paid

Motorola introduced a Push-to-Talk Over Cellular (PoC) Prepaid Mediation service that enables wireless operators to extend PoC services to prepaid customers in parallel with their postpaid subscribers.

The solution works with the Motorola Global Application Management Architecture (GAMA) and virtually any billing system. It enables swift authentication and debiting of the customer account without a delay in call set-up and can support various types of PoC Prepaid billing scenarios that require a more customized approach to rating, such as pay per minute, pay per session or unlimited calling. GAMA also provides the service providers with a common service delivery and content management architecture that simplifies and accelerates the creation, deployment and management of end-user applications and services.

Motorola said its mediation solution can be extended to support other applications' prepaid billing needs by integrating with operators' network services enablers such as messaging, location-based services, video streaming and email solutions.


Nortel Gets US$1.3 Billion Financing Commitment

Nortel Networks entered into binding commitments for a new one year credit facility in the aggregate principal amount of US$1.3 billion arranged by J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, or their affiliates. The new facility will be used to refinance the outstanding US$1.275 billion aggregate principal amount of 6.125% Notes due February 15, 2006.


QUALCOMM Names Gina Lombardi to Lead MediaFLO

QUALCOMM announced the appointment of Gina Lombardi as president of MediaFLO USA, replacing Richard Sulpizio who served as interim president of MediaFLO USA since January 2005. Lombardi worked for 15 years at QUALCOMM. For the past 5 years she has served as senior vice president of marketing, product management and developer relations at QUALCOMM Internet Services, playing a critical role in driving the growth and adoption of QUALCOMM's BREW solution.


Brasil Telecom Selects Lucent for IMS Elements

Brasil Telecom (BrT), one of the largest broadband service providers in Latin America, selected Lucent Technologies to deploy new multimedia elements in the operator's networks in Curitiba, Sao Paulo and Brasilia regions. The agreement covers equipment and software on Lucent's MiLife services platform, which includes multiple elements in Lucent's IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) solution, that enables new applications over BrT's IP network. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Lucent said it now has seven IMS contracts and 77 trials of IMS elements ongoing with 16 service providers worldwide.


Monday, January 30, 2006

AT&T Says Merger Synergies Above Expectations, Outlines Growth Sectors

AT&T issued new financial guidance, saying cost synergies from its recently completed merger are ahead of expectations and power double-digit adjusted earnings per share growth and strong cash flow growth over the next three years.

The company said the net present value of AT&T merger synergies is now expected to be approximately $18 billion, versus its January 2005 estimate of $15 billion. AT&T now expects total synergies from the merger to reach an annual run-rate approaching $3 billion in 2008. Overall integration costs are largely unchanged from earlier estimates, although they will be incurred sooner due to the transaction's earlier-than-expected close and accelerated project schedules.

"Through strategic investments and internal growth, we've significantly reshaped our revenue mix to concentrate on the industry's best growth areas for the future -- wireless, broadband and business services," said AT&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edward E. Whitacre Jr. "Progress on the revenue side combined with our focus on lowering our overall cost structure provides a clear path for strong performance."

AT&T has four major operational priorities over the next three years: lead in business, lead in wireless, grow in broadband and reshape the company's cost structure.

  • In wireless, Cingular is on or ahead of schedule in all of its major integration initiatives and expects to deploy its 3G UMTS/HSDPA wireless data network in most of the top 100 metropolitan areas by the end of this year. Over the past several quarters, Cingular has seen accelerating revenue growth rates, and in 2006, it expects to deliver an upper single-digit percentage increase in revenues. Cingular expects to achieve industry-leading metrics, including margins, by the end of 2007.

  • In business services, AT&T targets growth in areas such as managed services, network security, optical networking, enhanced VPN (virtual private networking) and enterprise wireless.

    Separately, AT&T announced plans to offer a range of integrated wireless voice and data services on a GSM network to enterprises under the AT&T brand starting later this year.

    Additionally, AT&T announced the general availability of AT&T Multi-Carrier Solutions, a managed service designed to help enterprises analyze and achieve the most cost-efficient and effective wireless services for their business needs.

  • In broadband, AT&T expects to continue expansion of its DSL line base, and it is on track to scale Project Lightspeed service starting in mid-2006, reaching 21 markets by year's end. AT&T began a controlled market launch of the service in December 2005. Customers are seeing bandwidth speeds of at least 20-25 Mbps, which will deliver four streams of high-quality video -- including one HD stream -- along with high-speed Internet access and, in the future, consumer VoIP service.

  • In cost-structure improvements, AT&T has initiatives under way and planned across its operations. These projects, which are in addition to merger integration, are expected to deliver run-rate cost savings of approximately $500 million this year, growing to $1.2 billion in 2008.

CAPEX in 2006 are expected to be $8 billion to $8.5 billion -- in the low teens as a percentage of revenues. This includes capital for merger-integration projects and Project Lightspeed deployment.


Cable and Wireless Announces Restructuring

Cable and Wireless announced a significant restructuring of its business, including the following points:

  • splitting the company into two self-contained operational units -- UK (including Bulldog) and International

  • the resignation of the Francesco Caio and the elimination of his position as Group Chief Executive.

  • a reduction of its corporate operations

  • John Pluthero has been appointed head of the UK operations, while Harris Jones will serve as managing director of International operations.

The company currently expects EBITDA for its UK operations to be no higher in its next fiscal year than at present. Cable & Wireless cited several reasons for its actions, including continuing margin erosion, high levels of churn and the acceleration of the switch from legacy services to IP.


Cisco, Intel and Oracle Push for Medical IT Improvements

Cisco Systems, Intel Corporation, and Oracle have formed a Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium aimed at pushing leading medical care providers in the area to adopt health information technologies.

The Silicon Valley Pay-for-Performance Consortium brings together Cisco, Intel and Oracle as well as some of the largest medical groups and IPAs in Northern California, including Camino Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, San Jose Medical Group, Santa Clara County IPA, Santa Cruz Medical Foundation and Stanford Hospital and Clinics.

By establishing rewards for the use of processes and technology, the collaborative hopes to accelerate the transition to electronic health records and the use of automated decision support tools. Such tools can help doctors determine which course of therapy might be best for a particular patient given the latest science and medical and family histories.


Belgium's Mobistar Selects Redback's SmartEdge

Mobistar, part of the Orange Group and Belgium's second largest mobile operator, has selected Redback's SmartEdge Service Gateway platform to build a DSL network to deliver new broadband services across Belgium. The SmartEdge Service Gateway systems are being deployed both in the core and at the edge of Mobistar's new broadband network, providing carrier class routing and consumer scale subscriber management services.