Thursday, April 6, 2006

SupportSoft Names New CEO

SupportSoft has named Joshua Pickus as President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Radha Basu, who has served as Chairman and CEO of SupportSoft since 1999. She will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board.

Pickus joins SupportSoft from Computer Associates where he served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of its Clarity Division.
Pickus joined Niku Corporation in 1999, serving as President and Chief Executive Officer from 2002 until Niku's acquisition by Computer Associates in 2005. Prior to joining Niku, Pickus was a General Partner in the private equity group at Bowman Capital Management, a leading technology investment firm, and a Partner at Venture Law Group, a Silicon Valley law firm.

CableLabs Approves Real Networks' Helix DRM

CableLabs has approved Real Networks' universal Helix DRM solution for OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver (OCUR) devices connected to new PCs. Real's Helix DRM will enable the secure delivery of content to the media center PC environment through CableCARD removable security modules. The OCUR device receives encrypted digital cable content from the CableCARD and then re-encrypts that content with Helix DRM. The secure IP output of the OCUR follows CableLabs' "Digital Receiver Interface" (DRI) protocol specification, which allows connection to compliant PCs that also have Helix DRM.

Helix DRM is a comprehensive and flexible platform for the secure media content delivery of standards-based as well as leading Internet formats, including RealAudio, RealVideo, MP3, and MPEG-2, AAC, H.263 and AMR. It is the second DRM system to complete the due diligence necessary for approval by CableLabs for use with the OCUR and PCs. Prior approvals of digital rights management systems and secure digital output and recording technologies include DTCP over IEEE-1394, HDCP over DVI and HDMI, WMDRM over DRI, and VCPS and CPDO for optical media recording and hard drive storage, respectively.


CableLabs Issues Specifications for Advanced IP Services

CableLabs issued a series of new PacketCable specifications covering areas such as existing standards-based SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), security, quality of service, network address translation (NAT) & firewall traversal, and device provisioning. The specifications will enable cable operators to deliver IP-based communication and entertainment services to customers' televisions, personal computers, and fixed-line and mobile phones.

The specifications were developed in alignment with the Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture developed by the 3GPP - 3rd Generation Partnership Project, a collaboration of a number of key telecommunications standards bodies. Using widely accepted standards-based protocols such as the Internet Engineering Task Force's (IETF) SIP, these specifications will offer operators a flexible way to deploy network capabilities as required by their specific service offerings, while maintaining interoperability across a variety of devices from multiple suppliers.

These documents extend the industry's PacketCable architecture, originally defined in 1999 and now widely deployed over cable broadband networks. According to recently published market data, nearly 3 million cable customers receive digital voice service from PacketCable-based networks with that number expected to grow to 6.5 million by year-end.

"This is a huge step for our industry in its quest to extend the IP service delivery capabilities of our network," said Comcast Corporation Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning Mark Coblitz. "We are nearing a position of being able to provide IP services to a much greater range of consumer devices and that is exciting," Coblitz added.

"The PacketCable specifications will provide the basis for open, multi-vendor solutions which will enable the industry to utilize the best of what the vendors have to offer in a flexible way," said John Coppola, Director, DOCSIS Technology and Engineering, Cox Communications, Inc. "I look forward to the commercial availability of these new generations of PacketCable products," he added.

The specifications are available online.

QUALCOMM Expects EV-DO Rev. B in 2007 -- 14.7 Mbps Downlinks

QUALCOMM said its upcoming CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Revision B chipset is on schedule for commercial release in 2007.

QUALCOMM's Mobile Station Modem (MSM) solutions for EV-DO Rev. B will be highly integrated with advanced functionality, support the operation of up to three simultaneous channels of 1.25 MHz each for higher-speed data rates and deliver significant space-savings for devices that are thinner, smaller and lighter.

The EV-DO Rev. B standard supports up to 4.9 Mbps in each channel for a combined three-channel data speed of up to 14.7 Mbps on the downlink.

QUALCOMM expects the first commercial EV-DO Rev. B products to be data modems available in late 2007, with additional wireless devices available soon thereafter.

EV-DO Rev. B. technology is part of the Company's DO Multicarrier Multilink eXtensions (DMMX) platform, a set of technology and product innovations announced in November 2005.

Extremely high-performance devices could support forward-link data rates of up to 73.5 Mbps, while lower-cost or pre-existing devices could support 4.9 Mbps. Network operators may reduce their costs by allowing a greater percentage of spectrum to be allocated to IP-based services. The DMMX platform also includes numerous QUALCOMM-developed techniques to further enhance the voice and data performance of EV-DO networks.

"Consumers want devices that are smaller, lighter, faster, cheaper, as well as fully featured and with longer battery life," said Dr. Sanjay K. Jha, president of QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies. "We are committed to enabling our customers to meet these market demands, rapidly moving forward in the evolution of CDMA2000 technology to bring unprecedented levels of data throughput and network capacity with EV-DO Rev. B - capabilities that are necessary to support tomorrow's high-performance wireless applications."
  • In October 2005, QUALCOMM reached a milestone in the development of CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Revision A networks and handsets -- the completion of an end-to-end call.

    The Rev. A standard represents the next evolution of the EV-DO technologies that support the 3.1 Mbps forward and 1.8 Mbps reverse link data rates and higher system capacity required for next-generation wireless multimedia.

ARRIS Partners with UTStarcom on Fixed Mobile Convergence

ARRIS announced a joint development, licensing and supply agreement with UTStarcom to enable the fourth leg of the quadruple play for cable Multiple System Operators (MSOs) worldwide.

The joint solution will allow end customers with a Wi-Fi-enabled dual-mode handset to seamlessly roam between their cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

ARRIS' fixed mobile convergence (FMC) solution enables MSOs to add mobility features to their service portfolio. The company said it will support IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and PacketCable 2.0 specifications as they are finalized.

Specifically, ARRIS will license FMC software from UTStarcom. The licensing agreement has an initial term of three years, after which ARRIS will have the right to exercise an option to retain rights in the software. Under the conditions of the development agreement, both parties will jointly create improvements and new and enhanced features for emerging FMC solutions according to the set milestones. The supply agreement calls for UTStarcom to provide ARRIS with the hardware and software for sale to the global cable MSO community. ARRIS will have exclusive marketing rights to the global MSO community per the terms of the supply agreement and UTStarcom will retain exclusive marketing rights to the telco community.

The ARRIS FMC solution is planned for shipping in the second half of 2006 with early customer testing already underway. UTStarcom's Continuity FMC solution is available today and is currently in telecom carrier trials.

The ARRIS FMC solution consists of an ARRIS Mobility Application Server (MAS) located in a cable headend that controls the communication between a cable operator's telephony operations and the cellular operator's network. The communication between networks allows for seamless mobility between cellular and IP access networks via standardized cellular signaling mechanisms. In the home, the customer's dual-mode handset voice traffic and signaling is carried via their WiFi connection (such as the ARRIS Touchstone TM552 wireless telephony modem (E-MTA)) through the High Speed Internet access provided by the MSO's CMTS (such as the ARRIS Cadant C4 CMTS).


OpenTV and C-COR Offer Open Architecture Switched Digital Broadcast

OpenTV and C-COR introduced an open architecture switched digital video system that involves the integration of an interactive program guide based on OpenTV Core 2.0 Middleware running on Motorola's DCT-2000/2500 set-top boxes and C-COR's nABLE Global Session and Resource Manager (GSRM) providing the session and edge resource management.

The solution offers cable operators the ability to employ SDB on the Motorola box as well as any other set-top box on the market, freeing up bandwidth for other core competitive offerings such as high definition broadcasting and video-on-demand. Switched digital broadcasting enables instant bandwidth allocation for infrequently used channels, rather than the current means of allocating bandwidth to lesser used channels all the time.


BigBand Targets Advertising and Programming by Switching Digital Video

BigBand Networks is showcasing new capabilities that would enable cable operators to precisely target advertising and other content to groups of subscribers or even specific subscribers using switch digital video.

BigBand noted that over the last several years, local insertion into digital programming has become increasingly geographically precise through zoning. With targeting, different subscribers within the same zone watching the same program could receive different advertisements based on their demographics or other relevant factors. This would be achieved by individually directed streams with switched broadcast, or techniques in which subscribers' set-top boxes dynamically tune to different digital streams or frequency channels at moments of ad insertion. Switched broadcast may also play an important role in the latter case by freeing sufficient capacity to accommodate the inserted advertisements.

In a practical example of how targeted advertising could work, a viewer changing to a cooking program after a significant amount of time watching sports might receive an ad about an upcoming local sporting event. This is based on the subscriber likely being a sports fan, even when watching something different.

ARRIS Offers CMTS Circuit Emulation from Resolute

ARRIS is partnering with Resolute Networks Ltd. to introduce a Touchstone Commercial Services Modem (CSM) 470 T1/E1 MTA, enabling Multi-Service Operators (MSOs) to provision T1/E1 services over standard HFC DOCSIS infrastructure. The solution is based on ARRIS' DOCSIS technology implementation and Resolute's standards-compliant CES technology. This solution was developed based on a grant from the BIRD Foundation.

The customer premises part of the solution consists of the ARRIS Touchstone CSM 470 Commercial Services Modem with one T1/E1 port, in addition to a standard 10/100BaseT Ethernet port. With Resolute CES module technology, standard T1/E1 connectivity is provided without the need to replace or reconfigure the T1/E1-based PBX, frame relay access, router or other equipment already installed at the customer premises. The head-end solution includes a dedicated pseudo-wire CES aggregator based on Resolute module technology, and is designed to minimize rack space and power consumption, while supporting scalability through a range of aggregation density options for handoff of T1/E1 traffic to the carrier TDM network.

The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation promotes strategic partnerships between Israeli and American companies in various technological fields.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Raza Raises $20 Million for Packet Processing Silicon

Raza Microelectronics, a start-up based in Cupertino, California, closed a $20 million round of financing to support is work in high-performance silicon for packet processing applications.

The company's XLR and Orion processor families are complex, highly-integrated designs incorporating hundreds of millions of transistors and built on leading-edge TSMC silicon process technologies.

Raza Microelectronics said it is supplying its advanced silicon solutions to a number of top-tier networking system vendors.

The funding round was led by Advanced Equities Financial Corp. and included existing RMI investors, Warburg Pincus, Benchmark Capital, Duff Ackerman & Goodrich and Kodiak Venture Partners.
  • RMI's XLR Thread Processor, which incorporates 333 million transistors on 90nm CMOS technology, is a general purpose processor designed for network appliances, such as advanced firewalls, IDS, VPN boxes, intelligent switches and other edge applications. Significantly, the chip incorporates 8 MIPS64 CPU cores at up to 1.5GHz, each with 4 threads. This enables a single device to run 32 simultaneous instances of Linux. To support its high-performance threaded architecture, the XLR processor incorporates large Level-2 caches, full speed high throughput interconnects, networking accelerators, security acceleration and an interchip messaging complex. RMI said it is able to run 32-way Linux on the device.

  • RMI's Orion Intelligent Access Processor, which utilizes 180 million transistors on 130nm CMOS technology, is positioned as a "line-card on a chip." The integrated Orion chip is designed to serve as a Packet Processor Engine, a Traffic Management Engine, and a SONET/SDH Processor Engine. By combining Ethernet/MPLS/VPLS packet processing with next-gen SONET/SDH capabilities, the device could be used in range of network aggregation platforms, including customer-located equipment (CLEs or pizza boxes), micro-MSPPs, and Ethernet/MPLS line cards in IP DSLAMs. The design leverages Ethernet as a universal client interface while providing simultaneous support for legacy T1/E1 or T3/E3 delivered services.

  • Raza Microelectronics was founded by Atiq Raza, who is also the founder, chairman and CEO of Foundries Holdings, Inc. (formerly Raza Foundries). Previously, Mr. Raza was President and COO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). At AMD, . Raza oversaw the development of AMD's processor roadmap and brought the AMD-K6 and Athlon family of processor products to the market. Before that, he headed NexGen, which was acquired by AMD in January 1996.

  • In August 2003, Raza Microelectronics acquired SandCraft, which designed high-performance MIPS64 microprocessors for the communications, network storage and office automation markets.

Motorola Debuts Canopy Wireless Extension for HFC Networks

Motorola introduced a strand-mounted, MOTOwi4 Canopy solution that enables cable operators to quickly deploy wireless extensions to their existing networks.

The Motorola Canopy solution, part of the MOTOwi4 wireless access solutions, integrates a DOCSIS 2.0-compatible hardened cable modem and pre-WiMax access point constructed to withstand and perform in all outdoor conditions. The unit is line-powered and supports dedicated licensed spectrum at 2.3 GHz, 2.5GHz and 3.5 GHz.

Samsung and Tekelec Announce Interoperability for Mobile NGN

Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung) and Tekelec announced interoperability between the Samsung SSX-300C Wireless Softswitch (WSS) and the Tekelec 8000 Converged Multimedia Gateway. The interoperability brings Samsung closer to a joint solution with the Tekelec 8000 Converged Multimedia Gateway as a part of Samsung's Mobile Next Generation Network (NGN) solution for North America.

The Tekelec 8000 Converged Multimedia Gateway is a converged media gateway that complements the Samsung SSX-300C WSS, the keystone for Samsung's distributed mobile switching center (MSC) solution.

Samsung's WSS is a CDMA2000-compliant mobile call server controlling distributed media gateways and managing call/session control for voice and data services.

YouTube Raises $8 Million for Consumer Video Uploads

YouTube, a consumer media company that lets people upload and share short video clips, received $8 million in Series B funding from Sequoia Capital. This contributes to the initial $3.5 million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital completed in November 2005.

YouTube said more than 35 million videos are currently being watched daily on its service.
  • YouTube is based in San Mateo, California.

Agilent Tunes its Wireless Network Optimization Platform

Agilent Technologies released a new version of its Wireless Network Optimization Platform, which enables RF engineering teams to optimize and troubleshoot radio access networks and wireless services, and quickly identify the cause of problems.

New features include support for HSDPA and 1xEV-DO measurements.

The new platform functions include a flexible user-interface design environment, view synchronization, protocol analysis view, combined data/voice call sequencer and improved mapping capabilities.

The Wireless Network Optimization Platform incorporates service tests for voice quality, video, MMS (multimedia message service), SMS (short message service), HTTP, FTP, e-mail and WAP (wireless application protocol).

Fujitsu to Offer Mobile WiMAX, Mesh Wi-Fi Solutions

Fujitsu Network Communications will offer a native mobile WiMAX solution based on the IEEE 802.16-2005 standard. Fujitsu is also offering a series of Wi-Fi mesh products that allow telecom carriers, cable/MSO operators, utilities and municipalities to offer turnkey wireless services that integrate seamlessly within current infrastructure and operations.

Fujitsu's wireless portfolio includes WiMAX its System on Chip (SoC) and reference designs for WiMAX-certifiable systems. New WiMAX Forum Certified base stations and end-user devices are optimized for the delivery of scalable wireless bandwidth and VoIP services to residential and enterprise users.

Initial Fujitsu WiMAX products will operate at 3.5 GHz, 4.9 GHz and 5.8 GHz, with plans to support 700 MHz, 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.65 GHz in the future. Advanced RF technology allows these products to feature a two to five mile service radius in urban/suburban environments, and services up to tens of miles away in line-of-site applications.

The WiMAX products integrate SIP gateway messaging to enable call control and capacity reservation for voice traffic. Voice capacity is not reserved until requested, and can be dynamically adjusted while maintaining QoS, thus enabling the optimal use of radio link capacity. Outdoor WiMAX products can be wall-, rooftop- or tower-mounted.

The Wi-Fi mesh products are based on IEEE 802.11a/b/g, and the backhaul radios within them operate within the 5.0 GHz to 5.8 GHz unlicensed band for Wi-Fi. They can provide service within 500 yards in IEEE 802.11g mode, and can be wall-, rooftop-, tower-, pole- or strand-mounted for maximum flexibility.

AT&T Lobbies for California's "Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act"

AT&T announced its support for proposed legislation in the California Assembly authored by Speaker of the Assembly, Fabian Nunez, (D - Los Angeles) and co-authored by Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee Chair, Lloyd Levine, (D - Van Nuys). The "Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006" would streamline the video franchising process in California by implementing a new statewide-issued authorization.

Finland's Elisa Launches HSDPA Service

Finnish telecom operator Elisa launched the first commercial High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) network in the Nordic countries. Nokia supplied the HSDPA solution to Elisa as part of a frame agreement announced in June 2005, and continues as the main supplier of Elisa's mobile network infrastructure.

SupportSoft Updates its Self-Service Suite

SupportSoft released a new version of its Self-Service Suite, a Web-based software solution that enables end-users to solve technical problems on their own. The software can reduce or eliminate the need to telephone a service representative for assistance.

Self-Service Suite is part of a scalable set of software solutions from SupportSoft that enable companies to provide self-service answers for tens of thousands of employees or millions of customers. When a problem occurs that may impact many end-users, companies can use the Self-Service Suite to send proactive notifications to help avoid flood calls into the help desk or customer service.

The Self-Service Suite provides a framework that can assist end-users in solving problems ranging from repairing a faulty broadband connection to fixing corporate e-mail settings in Microsoft Outlook.

Sony and Motorola Partner on Mesh Camera Video Networking

Motorola and Sony Electronics announced a reseller agreement that will make Sony IPELA remote video cameras compatible with Motorola's MOTOMESH technology, which supports up to four radio networks in a single access point, and Motorola's Mesh Enabled Architecture (MEA).

The cameras are being sold by Motorola as its Mesh Camera Wireless Video Networking System for municipal deployments. The mesh-enabled cameras can be configured to operate over licensed 4.9 GHz public safety or unlicensed 2.4 GHz frequencies.

The cameras feature a 360-degree "endless" pan and can tilt from 0 to 90 degrees. The full-range pointing capabilities can be masked to create privacy zones with spherical (three-dimensional) tracing, and its high quality lens has a 26X optical zoom. Also, Sony's Real Shot Manager software allows personnel to remotely control pan, tilt and zoom options.

Motorola's Multi-Hopping technology turns every mesh- enabled camera into a router/repeater.


Modulus Video Awarded IPTV Orders Exceeding $10 Million

Modulus Video recently received orders exceeding $10 million for its MPEG-4 AVC SD and HD video encoding systems. The orders were for over 100 Modulus Video ME6000 high definition AVC encoders for a major U.S. telecommunications IPTV deployment.

Key features of Modulus Video MPEG-4 AVC encoders include:

  • Constrained Fidelity Constant Bit-Rate (CF-CBR) encoding to maximize bandwidth efficiency for IPTV;

  • Embedded low resolution proxy for enabling Picture-in-Picture (PIP) for Microsoft TV and Electronic Program Guide (EPG) applications;

  • Video on Demand for IPTV;

  • Commercial Insertion

Nortel Cites Customer Gains for its MIMO-powered WiMAX

Nortel said its MIMO-powered WiMAX systems recently have been selected by NEW Energie in Germany, Chunghwa Telecom (CHT) and National Taiwan University in Taiwan, and Telefónica Móviles in Mexico. NEW Energie has completed a WiMAX broadband service trial in the town of Erkelenz in North Rhine-Westphalia, laying the foundations for commercial launch. For the trial, Nortel worked with German communications consultant tkt teleconsult to deploy a WiMAX network that allowed NEW Energie to provide broadband wireless connections to a selection of small businesses and consumers at speeds of up to 10 Mbps.

Nortel has expanded its product portfolio to deliver mobile MIMO-enabled WiMAX products in the 1.5, 2.3, 2.5 and 3.5 GHz spectrum bands. Nortel is also launching WiMAX demo centers and interoperability labs.

In addition, Nortel's fixed WiMAX solution supplied by Airspan, recently achieved the designation of WiMAX Forum Certified based on the defined Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) system profile operating in the 3.5GHz frequency spectrum.