Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Psytechnics Appoints New CEO

Psytechnics, which supplies VoIP, mobile video and IPTV Quality of Experience (QoE) assessment solutions, has appointed Anthony Finbow as chief executive officer. Prior to joining Psytechnics he was Managing Director at MetaSolv Software Inc (MSLV), where he was responsible for operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. From 2000 to 2003, Finbow held a number of executive positions at Orchestream plc.


Teliasonera Tests Enterprise WLAN IP Telephony with Nokia, Cisco

TeliaSonera will trial wireless IP telephony via WLAN for enterprise customers using equipment from Nokia and Cisco Systems.

"The trials with Nokia and Cisco are part of TeliaSonera's ambition to provide customers with an easy-to-use wireless VoIP concept. We are pleased to be the first operator in Europe to conduct trials in this area with two strong partners. Simplicity, security and quality are important aspects which will now be tested in depth together with all parties.", said Anders Igel, CEO and President, TeliaSonera AB.

TeliaSonera is currently also conducting trials of a wireless VoIP solution using UMA technology for consumers in Denmark and Sweden.


U.S. Telecom Spending to Reach $944.7 billion in 2006, up 10%

Total spending in the U.S. telecommunications industry rose 8.9% in 2005 to an estimated $856.9 billion and is expected to climb 10.2 percent in 2006 reaching $944.7 billion, according to the newly released TIA's 2006 Telecommunications Market Review and Forecast.

TIA said this growth was led by double-digit increases in network equipment, wireless devices, wireless services, services in support of equipment, Internet access, unified communications, videoconferencing public room services and Web conferencing.

TIA is also predicting that the U.S. telecommunications industry will grow at a projected 9.0% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 2006-2009, reaching $1.2 trillion.

Total international communications spending (not including the United States) reached $1.8 trillion in 2005, up 11.4% over 2004, fueled by double-digit increases in wireless transport services, Internet access, public network equipment and professional services in support of public network and enterprise equipment. Middle East/Africa was the fastest-growing region in 2005, with an 18.4% advance to $66.7 billion. Overall international telecommunications spending is expected to reach $2.7 trillion in 2009, growing at a 10.4% CAGR 2006-09.

Additional highlights of the report include:

  • Total U.S. equipment and software rose 5.4% in 2005, reaching $165.7 billion in 2005. A principal driver of this growth was revenue from wireless devices.

  • Wireless devices revenue reached $15 billion in 2005, a 22.6 percent increase over 2004.

  • Network equipment revenue rose over the past two years after falling 71 percent between 2000 and 2003, with increased spending on fiber optic cable the principal driver of the rebound.

  • Total revenue in the network equipment and facilities market is expected to reach $20.9 billion in 2006 and achieve a 5.2 percent CAGR 2006-2009, reaching $24.4 billion in 2009.

  • The U.S. enterprise equipment market expanded 6.9 percent to $98.3 billion in 2005. In the enterprise market, the long-heralded move to convergent technologies is now taking off and IP equipment and IP-based services are beginning to replace legacy technologies. As legacy equipment ages, replacement demand, along with rapid growth in video-conferencing and unified communications, will continue to fuel spending. Total spending on enterprise equipment is expected to reach $104.5 billion in 2006, a 6.3 percent increase over 2005.

  • Spending on transport services in the U.S. increased 4.2 percent in 2005, reaching $310.8 billion. Landline revenue continued to fall in 2005, recording its fifth consecutive year of decline, and wireless continued to grow at double-digit rates.

  • Total landline revenue in 2005 reached $192.3 billion, a 1.4 percent decrease over 2004; wireless services revenue reached $118.6 billion in 2005, a 14.8 percent increase over 2004. The downward trend in landline spending is the result of the erosion in landline subscribers. For example, with broadband Internet subscribership on the rise, the need for a second line to support dial-up Internet access has declined.

  • In 2005, the number of wireless subscriptions, 194.5 million, passed landline subscriptions, 172.1 million, and with approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population subscribing to a wireless service, the market still has room for expansion. TIA expects wireless penetration to rise to 88 percent by 2009, which would translate into 270 million subscribers.

  • Internet access revenue rose 10.2 percent in 2005, fueled by rising broadband penetration.

  • The U.S. broadband market has grown from 4.5 million high-speed Internet access subscribers in 2000 to 41.2 million in 2005.

"The U.S. market is back on an upward path and the international markets are growing even faster. With revenues from international markets more than double that of the U.S., the global marketplace is clearly where companies must compete," states TIA President Matthew J. Flanigan.


LongBoard and G-Tek Plan IMS-Compatible FMC Handsets

LongBoard, a developer of SIP-based Personal Mobility Applications, and G-TEK, a Taiwanese handset manufacturer, announced a partnership to integrate LongBoard's SIP-based Fixed-Mobile Convergence client with G-TEK's dual-mode handsets.

The handsets will enable seamless roaming between WiFi and cellular environments when deployed with the LongBoard OnePhone solution for IMS compatible Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC).

G-TEK specializes in the production of Linux-based smartphones for consumer and enterprise environments. G-TEK's Linux-based handsets have also been integrated with a variety of key-systems and PBXs. http://www.longboard.comhttp://www.gtek.com.tw

MIT Media Lab Appoints New Director

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology named Dr. Frank Moss as director of the Media Lab. Moss has previously served as CEO and chairman of Tivoli Systems , a pioneer in the distributed systems management field, which merged with IBM in 1996. He also co-founded several other companies, including Stellar Computer, a developer of graphic supercomputers; Bowstreet Inc., a pioneer in web services; and Infinity Pharmaceuticals, an early-stage cancer drug discovery company.

With Moss's appointment, Media Lab co-founder Nicholas Negroponte will step down as chairman to concentrate on One Laptop per Child (OLPC), an independent nonprofit organization he launched in January 2005 to develop a very-low-cost laptop to help solve the problems of education, especially in developing nations. Negroponte will work with Moss on Media Lab sponsor outreach and strategy. Walter Bender, a founding member of the Media Lab who has served as lab director for the past five years, will take a two-year leave of absence from MIT to serve as OLPC's president for software and content development.


JDSU Adds DWDM and CWDM Fiber Analysis Module

JDSU introduced a new CWDM module for its T-BERD and MTS-8000 platform. The module design is the first of its kind to incorporate three unique test processes without disengaging from the fiber being analyzed. The new functions include polarization mode dispersion (PMD), the analytic process that is at the heart of fiber characterization and helps carriers identify fibers with a greater capacity than others to carry data. PMD enables the additional features available in the module, spectral attenuation profile (AP) and CWDM and DWDM channel analysis capabilities.

"CWDM transmission is becoming a key delivery system for triple-play services due to its inherent ability to drive cost savings," said Enzo di Luigi, general manager of JDSU's fiber optics Test and Measurement group. "The JDSU T-BERD/MTS-8000 not only enables CWDM, but also DWDM and PMD, providing a truly all-in-one solution that is both capex- and opex-friendly."http://www.jdsu.com

Microsoft Office Live Services Enters Beta Testing

Microsoft Office Live, a set of online software and services for small businesses, entered beta availability. Microsoft is offering:

  • Microsoft Office Live Basics. A collection of free services (advertising-supported) will provide a small business with the core requirements for establishing an online identity. Services include a company domain name; five e-mail accounts using that company domain name, each with 2 GB of storage; a Web site with 30 MB of file storage space; an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop design tool for creating a compelling, professional-quality Web site; and the Microsoft Office Live Site Reports tool for monitoring and analyzing Web site traffic.

  • Microsoft Office Live Collaboration. Based on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services technology, the Microsoft Office Live Collaboration service offers small businesses password-protected online workspaces (intranets and extranets). Capabilities include customer management, project management, sales and marketing management, employee management, and company administration, as well as password-protected internal shared sites to facilitate collaboration among employees, customers, suppliers and other business partners.

  • Microsoft Office Live Essentials. Services include a company domain name; 50 e-mail accounts using that company domain name, each with 2 GB of storage; a Web site with 50 MB of file storage space; the same Web design tool as Microsoft Office Live Basics, plus Microsoft Office FrontPage support; more advanced Web site analytics; and a rich set of Internet-based applications to help small-business owners streamline and automate daily business tasks, such as management of customers, projects and documents.

Microsoft Office Live Basics, Microsoft Office Live Essentials and Microsoft Office Live Collaboration are being offered free of charge to customers during the beta program.


Orange to Trial IPWireless' TDtv Technology

Orange will be the first UMTS operator globally to test IPWireless' recently announced TDtv technology, a mobile TV and multimedia solution based on the 3GPP Multimedia Broadcast and Multicast Services (MBMS) standard. Orange will launch this technical trial in the UK in its unpaired 3G spectrum, starting mid-2006.

TDtv operates in the universal unpaired 3G spectrum bands that are available across Europe and Asia at 1900MHz and 2010MHz. It allows UMTS operators like Orange to utilize their existing spectrum and base stations to offer mobile TV and multimedia packages without impacting other voice and data 3G services.

IPWireless said its TDtv will allow mobile operators to deliver up to 50 channels of TV for standard cell phone screens, or 17 higher quality QVGA channels, in 5MHz of unpaired 1.9GHz spectrum. Unlike current unicast mobile TV services which take additional network bandwidth for every subscriber, TDtv leverages MBMS to allow an unlimited number of customers to watch the same channel or use the same network bandwidth. With TDtv, Orange would also be able to deliver digital audio, multicast, or other IP data cast services to enhance their service offerings.


Telcos Urge Video Franchise Reform, Cable Operators Object

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee heard from major telecommunications carriers, cable operators and consumer groups on the question of new video franchising rules. Here are highlights from some of the testimony.

Verizon's CEO, Ivan Seidenberg: "Verizon believes a streamlined national video franchising process -- combined with our willingness to ensure that legitimate local concerns are met -- presents a win-win for localities, consumers and the marketplace. Consumers gain a long-delayed competitive edge and a true, superior choice for video services. State and local governments preserve and possibly grow revenues. The marketplace will see continued growth and investment in fiber deployment across the country, as demand for broadband services continues to grow."

AT&T's Chairman and CEO, Edward E. Whitacre, Jr. : "I will confine my remarks to five basic points. First, more than 20 years after the passage of the Cable Act, cable operators are still not subject to effective competition. Second, the best evidence of the lack of effective video competition is that, unlike the pricing trends in every major segment of the communications marketplace, cable prices continue to rise --over three times the rate of inflation. Third, new video providers stand ready to bring real competition to the video market, but this cannot happen if they must first negotiate thousands of separate local franchises. Fourth, Congress should enact legislation that encourages video competition in the same way it has encouraged competition across the communications industry -- by removing legacy barriers to entry. Five, in doing so, Congress can and should protect legitimate local interests by both requiring that all video providers pay a reasonable, consistent fee to municipalities and maintaining the cities' long-standing authority over public places and rights-of-way.

Cablevision Systems' COO, Tom Rutledge: "Our primary concern is ensuring that we face our competitors -- including the phone companies -- on a level playing field. A level playing field means that succeed or fail based on innovation and effort rather than because our competitors may get better rules. Franchising is an important part of fair competition. Our franchises contain commitments that are important to the communities that we serve, but are being questioned by phone companies in their new video plans. For example, Cablevision has made service to every neighborhood in a community a key part of its local franchises. In New York and New Jersey, Verizon's fiber upgrade is focused on wealthier suburban areas but leaves rural and urban centers virtually untouched."

Consumers Union's Senior Director of Public Policy, Gene Kimmelman: "The need for greater competition in the monopolistic video marketplace is an urgent one -- but it has been urgent for ten years. We urge Congress to take the time to consider the many policy issues that must be addressed beyond the question of franchising if it seeks to spur true video competition and the consumer benefits that spring from it. These include mandatory build-out requirements or in lieu thereof, resources to meet the needs of underserved consumers; consumer protections and provider obligations to serve community needs; prohibitions on preempting municipal broadband systems; prohibitions on anticompetitive contractual channel bundling requirements that reduce consumer choice and prevent product differentiation; and a strong, enforceable prohibition on network discrimination."http://commerce.senate.gov/hearings/witnesslist.cfm?id=1700

Oracle Buys HotSip for SIP Software

Oracle agreed to acquire Sweden-based HotSip AB, a provider of telecommunications infrastructure software and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) enabled applications for IP telephony, presence, messaging and conferencing on new converged networks. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Hotsip offers convergent off-the-shelf applications as well as an open Service Creation Environment (SCE) for building new customized SIP and web applications. The company's core product is its Hotsip Multimedia Communication Engine (M2CE), a carrier-grade Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) application server.
  • Hotsip was founded in 1999 by Jens Lundström and Johan Liseborn, who worked together at Ellemtel Utvecklings AB (a research and development company jointly owned by Ericsson and Telia).

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cisco Launches IP RAN Optimization for Mobile Operators

Cisco Systems launched an IP Radio Access Network (RAN) optimization solution designed to help mobile operators using GSM and UMTS networks to reduce up to 50% of their backhaul traffic.

The Cisco IP RAN optimization solution optimizes GSM and UMTS traffic at the cell site using IP and helps to enable end-to-end IP services. A key component to this is the Cisco MWR 1941-DC-A mobile wireless access router.

In a typical deployment, Cisco MWR 1941 mobile wireless access routers optimize and aggregate GSM and UMTS traffic at the cell site. In doing so, they reduce operator dependency on leased T1/E1 lines. The routers support traditional narrowband (T1/E1) and high-speed IP broadband (xDSL, WiMax, Metro Ethernet) RAN backhaul networks for greater scalability and network flexibility. Having an IP router at the cell site also gives operators the ability to deploy new services, such as IP cameras for surveillance, IP telephony, WiFi and WiMAX access, Internet connectivity and location-based services to reach new customers.

The Cisco ONS 15454 Multiservice Provisioning Platform (MSPP) provides scalable aggregation and optimization services for backhaul traffic at the base station controller/radio network controller (BSC/RNC) site. The ONS platform can connect multiple cell site mobile wireless routers to a BSC/RNC, and in doing so can enable the mobile network operator to aggregate hundreds of connections on a single platform. The Cisco ONS 15454 MSPP supports a wide range of TDM and IP features, eliminating the need for dedicated TDM cross connect and ATM platforms at the BSC/RNC site.

"A revolution is taking place right now in mobility," said Larry Lang, vice president and general manager, Mobile Wireless Group, Cisco Systems. "Customers today demand a variety of services that will allow them to live, work and play in their fast-paced, mobile world. These new services drive new packet traffic, not only across new air interfaces, but also in the transport to each cell site."http://www.cisco.com/go/mobile

Tellabs Develops 1RU Multi-Service Provisioning Platform (MSPP)

Tellabs unveiled a fully featured MSPP that fits into one standard rack unit (size 44mm).

The Tellabs 6325 edge node is a fully redundant, carrier-class MSPP designed for deployment in access or metro network locations for both wireless and wireline applications.

MSPPs transport a mix of TDM and data traffic over a Next-Generation Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (NG-SDH) infrastructure.

Golden Telecom (Ukraine) is one of the first customers to order the 6325 node to expand its existing network, which is based on Tellabs technology.

As part of the Tellabs IntegratedMobile solution, the Tellabs 6325 node can provide capacity, redundancy and grooming at the edge of a RAN network. The Tellabs 6325 edge node also is part of the Tellabs AssuredEthernet solution and enables wireline service providers to offer triple-play services. It will provide carrier-class Ethernet using MPLS for service differentiation.

Ericsson selected by Vodafone for IMS

Vodafone Group named Ericsson as a preferred supplier of its IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the agreement, Ericsson will be able to supply its IMS system,
support and integration services to support Vodafone's step-by-step
evolution to an all-IP network. As Ericsson's IMS enables
interoperability between operators, network types and handsets,
Vodafone's aim is to start interoperability testing as soon as possible.

The first market implementation is planned for Vodafone KK (Japan).

"Vodafone intends to pilot the next generation of services based on
this technology", said Detlef Schultz, Head of GSCM at Vodafone
Group. "We have chosen Ericsson as a supplier for IMS because of
their technology leadership in this area, which will ensure we can
start interoperability testing as soon as possible."http://www.ericsson.com

MovieBeam Launches with HD Content, Future Broadband Connectivity

MovieBeam, a movies-on-demand service backed The Walt Disney Company, Cisco Systems, Intel and leading venture capital firms, launched its service in 29 major metropolitan areas across the U.S., including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, reaching nearly half of all U.S. households.

The MovieBeam movies-on-demand service provides instant access to a library of protected content stored on a set-top box with a hard drive. New content is delivered via MovieBeam's exclusive, low-cost over-the-air datacasting technology. There are always 100 movies immediately available, with up to 10 new titles automatically delivered digitally each week -- including select movies in high definition (HD).

The MovieBeam player features a 160 GB hard drive and a 200 MHz central processing unit (CPU). The player easily connects to virtually any television set, with video connection ports including HDMI, component, S-video, composite and audio connection ports including digital coaxial, SP/DIF, HDMI and left/right stereo audio. MovieBeam supports advanced audio and video formats, including Windows Media 9/VC-1 and Dolby Digital 5.1.

With this flexible platform and PC-compatible digital movie files, the MovieBeam service can in the future be extended to other devices. As part of Intel's investment, the two companies are collaborating to develop a USB peripheral that will, in the future, bring the MovieBeam service to other devices.

The player also features Ethernet and USB 2.0 ports, which will enable broadband connectivity later this year, giving MovieBeam the ability to add even more features and content to the service. The player is co-branded with Linksys, a division of Cisco Systems and a leader in home networking devices, as part of Cisco's investment in MovieBeam. The two companies intend to explore future joint development opportunities.

Through a long-term agreement with National Datacast (and its nationwide network of PBS stations), MovieBeam's exclusive over-the-air datacasting technology provides a low-cost content distribution solution and enables the efficient, secure and simultaneous delivery of hundreds of digital movie files to millions of customers' homes across the country. The MovieBeam datacasting signal rides on top of the existing PBS broadcasting infrastructure and National Datacast's 15 years of experience provides MovieBeam with a distribution solution including network coordination, management and monitoring.

Key features of the new MovieBeam offering include:

  • Every new release and select popular favorites from virtually every major Hollywood studio, with 100 movies always instantly available and up to 10 new titles automatically delivered each week

  • Access to high-definition movies -- with specially selected titles in native HD format and an HDMI connection that up-converts standard-definition content when connected to an HD TV

  • Content rights, including select titles from a major studio day-and-date with DVD release

  • Full playback functionality, with familiar controls such as Pause, Stop, Fast-forward and Rewind

  • Intuitive user interface that sorts movies by title, genre, actor/director and rating

  • Free full-length theatrical trailers for every movie available for rental

  • Pay-as-you-go model, with no subscription fees and no annual contracts

  • Simple set-up, requiring no professional installation or special equipment

  • Personalized spending limits and parental controls

The MovieBeam System will be sold by major national consumer electronics retailers including Best Buy, CompUSA and Sears, as well as regional and independent retailers in the markets in which the service is available.

The advertised price of the MovieBeam System is $199.99 after an introductory rebate of $50. There is a one-time service activation fee of $29.99. Movie-rental prices are $3.99 for new release titles and $1.99 for library titles -- with a $1 premium for HD movies. Each rental covers a 24-hour viewing period during which customers can watch a movie as many times as they like, with full video playback functionality. There are no annual contracts or monthly subscription fees.


Axerra Appoints Gadi Tamari as CEO

Axerra Networks announced the appointment of Gadi Tamari as CEO, effective March 1. Mr. Tamari recently stepped down as the CEO of RADVISION after leading it from 2001 through 2005. Prior to joining RADVISION, he was appointed VP of international sales of Lucent Softswitch after the acquisition of Excel Switching by Lucent in 1998 for $1.7B. Tamari will also become a member of Axerra's board of directors.

Gil Biran, Founder and current CEO of Axerra, will assume the position of COO and retain his current position on Axerra's board of directors. In his capacity as COO, Mr. Biran will continue to drive Axerra's technology vision, managing day-to-day operations as well as research and product development.

Axerra Networks' Pseudo-Wire solutions enable mobile wireless operators, cable operators, competitive access providers, and incumbent carriers to extend IP plus legacy data and voice services in native format over Ethernet, IP, and MPLS networks.


Nortel Expects HSOPA to Deliver 25 Mbps Wireless Links in 2007

Nortel announced a strategy to bring some of the key advantages of OFDM and MIMO technologies into its broadband wireless systems, including High Speed OFDM Packet Access (HSOPA). The technologies could enable wireless operators to offer true "quadruple play" services: voice, high-speed interactive applications including large data transfer and feature-rich IPTV with full mobility.

In addition, HSOPA/LTE has the potential to increase ten-fold the number of users that can be served by an operator's network. Nortel estimates that by using HSOPA/LTE technology the cost per megabyte to the operator could be as low as one twentieth of the cost associated with UMTS.

In 2006, Nortel expects to deliver an HSOPA/LTE laboratory prototype solution that can provide up to 25 Mbps uplink in the 5MHz spectrum - at least 15 times faster than today's fastest mobile connectivity. Nortel's original OFDM-MIMO laboratory prototype, demonstrated in 2004, delivered 37 Mbps in downlink in the same bandwidth. These two advances mean that Nortel anticipates beginning customer HSOPA/LTE trials in 2007.

Nortel aims to demonstrate that UMTS operators can evolve to HSOPA/LTE with minimal additional investment. On the radio access side, Nortel's Base Transceiver Station (BTS) platforms enable a smooth evolution to HSOPA as well as supporting GSM, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA and HSOPA/LTE.

By 2008, HSOPA/LTE would also benefit from the expected evolution of the converged core network. This converged core would terminate traffic from any fixed or wireless access technology to provide greater service continuity, improved quality of service and embedded security.


Nortel to Adopt ATCA Architecture for Carrier-Class Platforms

Nortel announced plans to evolve its wireless and wireline platforms to the Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA). Nortel is working closely with Motorola's Embedded Communications Computing division and Intel to incorporate modular communications server building blocks into its ATCA system architecture.

Nortel's Call Session Control Function (CSCF), which is in multiple global customer trials, will be the first IMS product delivered on the VSE platform, with planned commercial availability in the second quarter of 2006. Nortel said it intend to introduce additional IMS and core products such as the IMS Home Subscriber Server (HSS), wireline/wireless call servers (MSC) and Home Location Registers (HLR) on the VSE in 2006 and 2007, enabling significant operational savings for service providers as these ATCA-based platforms are deployed within one common environment.

The VSE delivers an extensive set of carrier class features that give service providers a 50 percent increase in shelf density, significant circuit pack commonality between platforms and "flight recorder" capabilities that enable system restoration without data loss.

Standardizing Nortel's core IMS components on the ATCA-based VSE ensures solutions are delivered with robust commercially available components. The value of ATCA-based IMS architecture will become even more compelling as wireline and wireless core networks begin to converge. The new Nortel IMS release is not only designed to bring operators the openness of ATCA standardization but also give service providers access to empowered services such as converged mobility that enable subscribers to transparently move across cellular and WiFi domains with voice and multimedia services.


Cingular Awards 3 Year Contract to Nortel for 3GPP Release 4

Cingular Wireless awarded a three-year contract with Nortel to provide wireless network services and equipment. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Specifically, Nortel will deploy its 2G/3G 3GPP Release 4 compliant MSC (Mobile Switching Center) Server and Media Gateway products to support Cingular's UMTS/HSDPA network deployment. These products are compliant with 3GPP Bearer Independent Core Network standards. Nortel's R4 technology will help provide a significant increase in call handling capacity - up to 300% according to Nortel estimates.

Nortel has already deployed more than two million ports of its MSC solution to support Cingular's national 2G/GSM network in major markets across the United States. According to Nortel estimates, this is believed to be the industry's largest in-service R4 core network installation to date. Nortel has been a supplier of wireless infrastructure equipment in the Cingular Wireless network since 1995. http://www.nortel.com