Thursday, March 16, 2006

Gigamon's Out-of-Band Monitoring Provides Scalable VoIP Testing

Gigamon Systems, a start-up based in San Jose, California, is positioning its GigaVUE-MP Data Access Switch as a scalable means of providing VoIP monitoring and testing. The Gigamon switch solves the problem of "too many tools and not enough access points or SPAN ports" by creating an "out-of-band" monitoring network that brings all critical data to the VoIP analyzer, enabling other tools to share the data view for security or monitoring purposes. The platform aggregates traffic from multiple network segments and access points, separating VoIP from non-VoIP data. It uses hardware packet-based filters and logically divides and maps this aggregated VoIP traffic to multiple VoIP analyzers in order to guarantee optimal traffic load. The entire flow of VoIP calls may be monitored en mass, or it cal drill down to a single call.

By filtering, aggregating, and multicasting traffic critical data to support multiple network monitoring tools, GigaVUE-MP enables more flexible network security, monitoring and troubleshooting while using far fewer and less intrusive tools.

Key switching functionality includes any-to-any, any-to-many, many-to-any, and packet filtering with the ability to map specific traffic flows to designated test tools.

Gigamon said deploying multiple distributed analyzers to cover all the possible paths in redundant asynchronously routed networks is cost prohibitive, and still likely to miss packets or entire calls.

FCC to Establish Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

The FCC plans to establish a "Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau" whose mission will be "to provide a more efficient, effective, and responsive organizational structure to address public safety, homeland security, national security, emergency management and preparedness, disaster management, and other related issues."

he Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will handle the following issues and functions that have been dispersed among seven different bureaus and offices:

  • Public safety communications, including 911/Enhanced 911 (E911) requirements, Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), Interoperability and operability of public safety communications, and Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).

  • Priority emergency communications (TSP/WSP programs)

  • Alert and warning of U.S. citizens (EAS, etc)

  • Continuity of government operations (COG) and Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning

  • Public safety outreach (e.g., PSAPs, first responder organizations)
  • Disaster management coordination

  • Disaster management outreach

  • 24/7 Communications Center

  • Communications infrastructure protection

  • Network reliability and resiliency

  • Network security

  • Advisory Committees and panels focused on public safety and security issues

  • Studies and reports of public safety, homeland security, and disaster management issues

The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will be organized into three divisions: Policy Division, Public Communications Outreach & Operations Division, and the Communications Systems Analysis Division. In addition, the Bureau will have a Front Office consisting of the Bureau's senior leadership and management staff.

Ericsson Bids $178 Million for Riverstone

Ericsson made a last minute, $178 million offer to acquire Riverstone Networks, a supplier of carrier Ethernet infrastructure solutions for business and residential communications services.

On February 7, 2006, Riverstone and Lucent Technologies signed an asset purchase agreement in which the stated purchase price was $170 million, subject to certain potential adjustments. At the same time, Riverstone announced that it had filed a petition under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, and that it intended to conduct an auction for the sale of its assets under section 363 of the Code.

The deadline for submission of bids was March 16, 2006. Riverstone received no bids other than the Ericsson offer by the deadline.
  • In September 2004, Lucent and Riverstone Networks formed a partnership to deliver Ethernet solutions for new and existing carrier networks. Specifically, Lucent agreed to integrate Riverstone's MPLS-based Ethernet routing equipment with Lucent systems, software and professional services. Riverstone's equipment also complements Lucent's access and metro optical networking solutions. The agreement is non-exclusive.

TANDBERG Showcases Xport MPEG-4 Packaging Tool

TANDBERG Television is introducing "Xport" technology designed for an IPTV network. Xport is a content creation and packaging tool for MPEG-4 AVC video-on-demand. TANDBERG said its initiative marks the first time that a company is taking streaming technology into an on-demand environment. During the upcoming TelecomNext show in Las Vegas, the company will demo Xport by illustrating how IPTV operators can capture MPEG-4 AVC files and get twice the amount of content as other service providers.

In addition, TANDBERG Television will be showcasing its OpenStream Digital Services Platform, an open back office on-demand system. It brings scalability and open architecture to IPTV and is widely deployed worldwide.

Also being demonstrated is TANDBERG Television's asset management system, MediaPoint AMS, which manages the flow of content for on-demand systems. MediaPoint validates the metadata to industry standard specifications and dynamically puts rules in place to ensure content is consistently being delivered to the end user.

SunRocket Names Former AOL Broadband Exec as New CEO

SunRocket, a VoIP service provider, announced today that Lisa Hook has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer.

Hook most recently was President of AOL Broadband, Premium and Developer Services, where she grew the AOL Broadband service from 300,000 subscribers to over five million subscribers in less than two years. She also created AOL's Premium Services business in early 2003, which grew to over two million subscribers by year-end 2004. Earlier, Hook launched AOL's wireless and voice services businesses.

Prior to joining AOL in 2000, Hook was a partner at Brera Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm focused on media and telecommunications.

SunRocket said it now has more than 80,000 subscribers and is the second fastest-growing residential Internet phone company in the U.S.
  • In September 2005, SunRocket, a provider of consumer Internet phone service, secured $25 million in its second round of institutional financing. Mayfield Fund led the round, joined by DCM - Doll Capital Management and existing investors BlueRun Ventures and Anthem Capital Management. To date, SunRocket has raised $34 million in venture financing.

Bezeq Deploys VoIP from Veraz and SigValue

Bezeq International has replaced its legacy TDM environment with a fully-integrated, end-to-end, VoIP network solution supplied by Veraz Networks and SigValue Technologies Ltd.

The joint Veraz-SigValue solution allows Bezeq International to offer new applications such as Voice over Broadband (VOBB), Class 5 Services and Intelligent Network (IN) services. The solution provides a suite of long-distance, international gateway functionalities alongside billing and value added services such as prepaid services and a full-featured postpaid calling card service. Bezeq International will also be able to leverage SigValue's Value platform to deploy additional services including Callback service and Advanced International toll-free service.


TeliaSonera joins FreeMove Roaming Alliance

TeliaSonera has joined FreeMove, the mobile alliance between Orange, Telefonica Moviles, TIM (Telecom Italia Group) and T-Mobile.

The FreeMove alliance is focused on the development of roaming business and delivering competitive services to multinational customers. Collectively, FreeMove alliance members now span 26 markets and reach more than 230 million customers across Europe. The FreeMove alliance was formed in 2003 aiming to take the complexity out of international mobile services. Freemove and TeliaSonera share the ambition to deliver an outstanding experience to customers when traveling abroad, through seamless access to familiar services such as voice mail, customer service and direct-dial.

VSNL Deploys Aperto WiMAX in 65 Indian Cities

Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL), India's leading telecommunications service provider, has completed deployment of Aperto's PacketWAVE multi-service broadband wireless systems in over 65 cities across India. This is part of an initial deployment phase with the goal of growing the network to cover over 200 cities within twelve months.

Aperto's PacketWAVE family of base stations and subscriber units are a part of a country-wide network that enables high-speed wireless voice and data services for a wide variety of end users throughout India.

Aperto has been working closely with VSNL since 2004 and has been involved in all phases of network design and deployment. VSNL has deployed hundreds of sectors of the PacketWAVE series of products in the 3.3GHz - 3.4GHz band.

Cognio's Spectrum Expert Supports Wireless VoIP

Cognio, a start-up based in Germantown, Maryland, announced a spectrum management platform with the ability to create detailed device versus channel charts that shows the impact of specific devices on each WiFi channel and how they are impacting channel and overall network performance. Cognio's technology not only plots the energy of the spectrum but also reads and lists the devices that are using the spectrum in real time.

Cognio said this capability enables IT managers to remove, move, shield, or replace specific devices to minimize impact and maximize WiFi network performance. By understanding what devices are actively using the spectrum by name (such as cordless phone, Bluetooth device, and microwave ovens), Spectrum Expert helps enterprises set policies to deal with the consequences of intrusions into the spectrum. For example, an enterprise could set a policy that cordless headsets and handsets are not allowed in the environment.

Cognio has also added the ability for wireless technicians to perform a full spectrum capture at remote sites that can be saved for later review and analysis or transmitted via the wireless network back to headquarters for real-time analysis. This enables IT managers to create a baseline and compare spectrum changes over time.

Ikanos Raises $48 Million in Stock Offering

Ikanos Communications priced a common stock offering of 2,500,000 shares sold by Ikanos and 3,250,000 shares sold by certain selling stockholders at a public offering price of $20.75 per share. As a result of the offering, Ikanos is expecting to receive estimated net proceeds of approximately $47.8 million. The offering is expected to close on March 22, 2006, subject to customary conditions. The selling stockholders have granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to 862,500 additional shares of common stock to cover over-allotments.

Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Lehman Brothers Inc. acted as the joint book-running managers for the offering. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Thomas Weisel Partners LLC and Needham & Company, LLC acted as co-managers.

BigBand Signs Three Cable Operators in China

BigBand Networks announced cable customers in China: Luoyang Radio and Television Information Network, Lanzhou Radio and Television Information Network and Wuyang Iron and Steel's Digital TV project, representing over 1 million subscribers between them. These operators plan to utilize the BigBand BMR (Broadband Multimedia-Service Router) for processing and delivery of digital video content from their headends. This increases the number of Chinese customers announced by BigBand Networks during the last year to six, driven largely by the country's efforts to implement all-digital programming by 2008.

Nortel Reaches Agreement with Lead Plaintiffs

Nortel announced agreement in principle for a proposed settlement of certain shareholder class action lawsuits with the lead plaintiffs in two significant class action lawsuits.

As previously announced, the proposed settlement was conditioned, among other things, on the resolution of insurance related issues and Nortel and the lead plaintiffs reaching an agreement on corporate governance related matters. These matters have now been resolved with Nortel's insurers agreeing to pay US$228.5 million towards the settlement and Nortel agreeing with the insurers to certain indemnification obligations. The Company believes that these indemnification obligations would be unlikely to materially increase its total cash payment obligations under the proposed settlement. These insurance payments would not reduce the amounts payable by the company as noted below.

Nortel has also agreed to certain corporate governance enhancements, including the codification of certain of its current governance practices (such as the annual election by its directors of a non-executive Board chair) in its Board of Directors written mandate and the inclusion in its annual proxy circular and proxy statement of a report on certain of its other governance practices (such as the process followed for the annual evaluation of the Board, committees of the Board and individual directors).

As previously announced, under the terms of the proposed global settlement contemplated by the agreement in principle, the Company would make a payment of US$575 million in cash, issue 628,667,750 of its common shares (representing 14.5% of its equity), and contribute one-half of any recovery in the existing litigation by Nortel against Messrs. Frank Dunn, Douglas Beatty and Michael Gollogly, the Company's former senior officers who were terminated for cause in April 2004.

DSL Sets Records in 2005: 41 million New Subscribers

As of 31-December-2005, there were 138.8 million DSL subscribers worldwide -- up by 41 million new lines for the year, the equivalent of 112,000 every day or nearly 800,000 per week. Regionally, the European Union (EU) remained the largest DSL population worldwide, adding 16.7 million subscribers in the year -- a growth of 53% -- and at a total of 48.2 million DSL subscribers, now accounting for
almost 35% of the world market.

The Middle East and Africa was the fastest growing region, increasing its DSL subscriber base by 112.5% in 2005, to reach a total of almost three million. Turkey added more than one million new subscribers and accounted for almost 70% of the region's growth in the year. Latin America saw a growth of 79% to reach 6.37 million DSL subscribers, led principally by subscriber increases in Brazil (up 1.27 million) and Mexico (up 912,000).

By the end of 2005, there were 20 countries with a DSL subscriber
population of more than one million. Half of these are in Europe (both the EU and other Europe), but each region worldwide is represented in the list. Five countries passed the million mark during 2005: Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico, Poland and Turkey.

China, which has comfortably the highest DSL country population worldwide, added 9.4 million new subscribers in 2005, and now accounts for almost 94% of the total subscriber base in South and South East Asia. The USA, one of the first markets to deploy DSL commercially, remains the second largest country in the world for this access technology that is at the core of global communications networks.

Of the emerging DSL nations, the Czech Republic, Russia, Thailand,
Malaysia, New Zealand and Venezuela all showed over 80% growth in 2005 from a small subscriber base at the end of 2004. India showed the highest percentage growth worldwide (over 400%) to reach 639,000 subscribers by the end December 2005.

Even in well-established markets with over a million subscribers at the end of 2004, three countries experienced DSL subscriber growth of over 60%: Australia (up 89.1%), the UK (up 73.2%) and Brazil (up 67%). Four further major countries grew by around 50%: China (up 55.6%), Germany (up 55%), Spain (up 50%) and France (up 49.2%).

In terms of market penetration, 17 countries have achieved the initial
mass-market status of at least 20% of phone lines delivering broadband DSL services. Major markets with over a million subscribers make up 11 of these, with a further six smaller countries at 20% or more.

Of the major markets, Germany and Sweden are fast approaching this
mass-market status with over 19% of penetration. China has also significantly increased DSL its penetration -- 12.3% of phone lines are delivering services over DSL. In North America, DSL continued its progress with Canada reaching a 16.8% DSL penetration of phone lines.

Among smaller population countries, six have already exceeded 20% of
telephone lines delivering broadband DSL services to homes and businesses. Iceland and New Zealand are close to reaching mass-market status, with over 19% penetration each.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Vendors Promote MSML Interface for IP Media Server Control

Convedia, Intel, and NMS Communications announced a joint effort to use, evolve, and promote the standardization of Media Server Markup Language (MSML), an extensible, open, and IPR-free language used to control IP media servers.

MSML is used along with the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to provide standards-based control of IP media servers when deployed in VoIP and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) networks. Based on eXtensible Markup Language (XML), MSML provides a common language that can be implemented by all application and media server vendors enabling simplified integration and broader solution interoperability. MSML enables SIP application developers to control the voice, video, and multimedia processing capabilities provided by IP media servers. Media servers enable traditional enhanced services such as voicemail, voice conferencing, and interactive voice response, as well as new services such as ringback tones, online gaming, and video messaging to be delivered efficiently and cost-effectively in an IP network.

Convedia uses MSML as a control interface for their CMS-6000T and CMS-1000T Media Servers. Intel has completed considerable research with MSML and their multimedia servers built on Intel NetStructure Host Media Processing Software 3.0 for Windows and 3.1 for Linux. NMS Communications is using MSML to control IVR and conferencing functions in its Vision Media Server family, supporting TDM and VoIP networks.

The companies among the technology providers driving MSML from an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Internet Draft to an IETF RFC standard, as well as promoting the interface to other standards bodies.

MSML is a derivative of two earlier IETF drafts known as Media Sessions Markup Language and Media Objects Markup Language. These two drafts were first introduced by Convedia in 2003 and were designed to complement RFC 4240, Basic Network Media Services with SIP (previously known as Netann) and VoiceXML. The consolidation of the Media Sessions Markup Language and Media Objects Markup Language into the new MSML is fully backward compatible and simplifies adoption, use, and evolution of the control interface. The current version of the MSML draft can be found online.

Tut Upgrades IPTV Headends to MPEG-4 AVC

Tut Systems announced contracts to upgrade existing IPTV headends to MPEG-4 AVC compression technology. The contracts were awarded by triple play pioneers that previously deployed MPEG-2 technology. Tut Systems said the upgrades represent the third phase of new technology in the rapidly growing IPTV market that originally deployed MPEG-2 over ATM, followed by MPEG-2 over IP, and now MPEG-4 AVC over IP.

LiteScape and LignUp to Deliver Converged CRM applications

LiteScape Technologies, Inc., which develops converged applications, and LignUp Corporation, a provider of converged IP telephony communications solutions, will make the LiteScape ServicePoint applications available on the open, SIP-based LignUp platform and market these enhanced solutions through their global channels. LS ServicePoint functionality includes accessing time management, corporate directories, inventory check and bulletins directly from IP phones. LiteScape provides collaboration, converged CRM and identity management solutions to the government, education, manufacturing, retail, financial services and professional services sectors. http://www.LiteScape.com

TeliaSonera to Provide Backbone for FastLign Managed Telephony

TeliaSonera International Carrier (TSIC) will deliver FastLign managed IP telephony services to service provider customers across Europe.

FastLign, an alliance founded by LignUp, NexTone and others, is providing a managed services platform that allows service providers to rapidly deliver competitive hosted services.

In Europe, IP telephony service provider Streamdoor Ltd. will host the completely integrated FastLign services architecture and provide full datacenter capacity, system support and help desk capabilities, while providing access to the TeliaSonera International Carrier global IP network.

FastLign service provider customers license solutions directly from FastLign Alliance member companies. This licensing model enables them to fully modify and customize their services.

Belgacom Deploys VDSL, Ikanos Supplies Chipsets

Belgacom has begun deploying VDSL in its broadband access network. Ikanos Communications announced that is CleverConnect 600 and SmartLeap 8100 chipsets are be used in equipment for the deployment. The Ikanos CleverConnect 600 chipset is a single-port solution configurable for VDSL2 and VDSL customer premises applications, while the SmartLeap 8100 chipset is an eight-port solution configurable for VDSL2 and VDSL DSLAM applications. The chipsets are designed to offer up to 30 Mbps symmetrical bandwidth, or up to 60 Mbps downstream and 30 Mbps upstream.