Saturday, June 17, 2006

Nokia and Siemens Expected Announce Merger

Nokia and Siemens are set to announce a merger of their network equipment divisions in a deal valued at EUR 25 billion (US$31.5 billion), according to media reports. Details could be announced as early as Monday.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mobile Satellite Ventures Appoints Cingular Exec as VP of RF Engineering

Mobile Satellite Ventures, which is planning a satellite-cellular wireless communications network for the U.S., announced the appointment of Mike Yglesias as Vice President of RF Engineering, where he will be responsible for the overall design segment of the MSV terrestrial Radio Frequency (RF) network. Yglesias joins MSV from Cingular Wireless, where he held the position of Director of RF Engineering.
  • In January 2006, Mobile Satellite Ventures (MSV), a provider of hybrid satellite-cellular communications backed by Columbia Capital, Spectrum Equity Investors and others, selected Boeing for a new generation of mobile satellites serving North and South America beginning in 2000.

  • MSV has awarded a contract valued at $500 million to $1 billion to Boeing for the construction of three satellites and associated ground systems. Although financial details were not disclosed, Boeing said this is the largest commercial satellite order it has booked since 1997.

  • The network will based on MSV's patented Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) technology, which will combine satellite and cellular technology to deliver reliable, advanced and widespread voice and data coverage. The service will use wireless devices that are "virtually identical to cell phone handsets in terms of aesthetics, cost, and functionality."

  • Boeing will also develop ground-based systems that will provide advanced beam forming flexibility and interference cancellation unprecedented in commercial satellite systems.

  • The satellites will be among the largest and most powerful ever built. Each spacecraft will supply 11,000 watts of power through 5-panel solar array wings using highly efficient triple-junction Gallium arsenide cells. The 22-meter L-band reflector for mobile terminal links will complement a 1.5 meter Ku-band antenna.

  • Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) technology which allows existing satellite phone spectrum to also be used over dedicated terrestrial networks, with call capacity managed and reallocated, in real time, between satellite and terrestrial networks via a common control center. Calls can be made over either network using the same phone handset. ATC technology could be used to supplement satellite phone service with a ground-based network to provide a "back-up" signal.

Verizon Signs PBS for FiOS TV

Verizon announced a major agreement with the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) and PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) to carry local public television stations' digital programming over its fiber-optic FiOS TV service.

Under the multiyear agreement, every Verizon FiOS TV system will carry the full digital signal of up to three public television stations within the system's service area, as well as any additional noncommercial station that does not duplicate programming of another station in the market. The agreement also includes PBS and local public television stations' HDTV programming and local stations' digital multicasts.

Verizon FiOS TV will carry all freely available digital data broadcast by participating public television stations, including public safety warning information and formal educational materials such as certain subscription- based educational data.

Aperto Networks Appoints VP of Engineering

Aperto Networks announced the appointment of Behrooz Parsay as vice president of engineering. Parsay began his career as an RF engineer and has held engineering management positions at L3 Communications, Ericsson, DIVA, Kestrel, and Lantern Communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Chico State University, and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Santa Clara University.

Aperto Networks also announced that Dr. Subir Varma has been appointed vice president of technology.

Aurora Ships New Optical Transmitter for its MSO Platform

Aurora Networks began shipping a new line of 1 GHz 1310 nm optical broadcast and narrowcast transmitters for cable operators. Four versions of the low-cost 1 GHz transmitters are available, offering:

  • One all-band RF input port

  • Dual RF input ports for broadcast and narrowcast inputs

  • Dual RF input ports with automatic gain control (AGC)

  • Fully-featured LCWDM versions

Aurora also began shipping three other transmitters for its optical transport platform:

  • 1550 nm broadcast transmitters optimized for NTSC 77-channel and PAL B/G 64-channel plans at transmission distances of 65 or 100 kilometers and with 9.5 dBm minimum optical output power

  • 1550 nm narrowcast transmitters with 42 different DWDM wavelength versions with 100 GHz channel spacing (channels 18 through 59 on the standard ITU-T G.694.1 grid and 10 dBm optical output power

  • 1310 nm Enhanced Performance Transmitters with 53 dB CNR (with full channel loading of 50-550 MHz analog and 550-1002 MHz, 256 QAM).

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

WCA Takes Position on Net Neutrality

The Wireless Communications Association International (WCA) has joined -- an e-forum to promote a debate on the merits of net neutrality regulation.

"With spectrum a scarce and expensive resource, it is imperative that wireless broadband providers remain free to manage their own networks," commented WCA President Andrew Kreig. "Net neutrality regulation would discourage innovation and investment in more competitive broadband choices to all Americans. Our member companies are investing heavily in WiMAX or other '4G' types of next generation broadband competitive alternatives. Our companies are part of the competitive solution, not part of the regulatory problem."

BridgeCo Raises $23 million for Digital Home

BridgeCo, a developer of digital home networking products, raised $23 million in series D venture financing. The company recently opened a new headquarters in the Los Angeles suburb of El Segundo. The bulk of BridgeCo's engineering and development team will continue to be located in Zurich, Switzerland. BridgeCo also maintains sales and marketing offices in London, Taipei and Tokyo, and satellite development teams in Moscow and Bangalore.

"The US consumers are a major driver of the emerging digital home market," said Gene Sheridan, CEO of BridgeCo. "Our new LA business HQ gives BridgeCo a front row seat in this important market, and enhances our relationships with key global companies that are at the forefront of content creation and technology development across the PC and CE markets."

The financing round was led by Advent Venture Partners and Wellington Partners, who were joined by all of BridgeCo's Series C investors: Benchmark Capital, Cipio Partners (formerly Infineon Ventures), Earlybird Venture Capital, Fidelity Ventures and Intel Capital.

EdenTree Targets Automated Network Lab Testing

EdenTree Technologies introduced a re-architected version of its network lab automation software, an open "lab operating system" that works with any kind of network equipment, managing physical layer infrastructure to which test equipment and devices under test are connected. Instead of manual patch panels linking network test equipment to targeted switched and routers, EdenTree provides a software-controlled lab environment with drag-and-drop interfaces for connecting equipment and scheduling tests. The EdenTree system provides an ability to share expensive test equipment among multiple users and multiple test beds. Its queue-based scheduler enables a test to be queued to run at the earliest available time based on equipment availability.

EdenTree, which has been shipping its "Layer 1" lab automation solution since 2003, supports interfaces for switches from 15 manufacturers. Customers have included Spirent, Tekelec, Cisco, Juniper, Hitachi Data Systems, McData, AT&T, BellSouth, Comcast and Verizon, amongst others.

EdenTree's new Lab Manager 5.0 release is significantly enhanced with an SQL database and XML interface to be more open, scalable, and modular, and includes new features such as event-based scheduling, a Web interface, and integrated power control.

Also new to Lab Manager 5.0 is integration with power controllers allowing test engineers to control power cycling and system rebooting directly from Lab Manager, integrated with the GUI or script control of test topologies. The software supports power controllers from leading vendors, including APC, Cyberswitching Inc., MRV Communications, Server Technology and WTI.

Network Processing Forum Merges with OIF, Completes Six IAs

The Network Processing Forum completed its merger with the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) and announced the completion of six new implementation agreements (IAs) covering software and benchmarking specifications.

The NPF's latest technical work includes the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Accelerator Service IA, which specifies a set of Services APIs for hardware that offloads and accelerates the processing of SSL. The NPF membership also approved the Switch Address Generator ATM Logical Functional Block (LFB) and Functional API IA. This, combined with 2 additional ATM IAs released earlier this year, complete a suite of 14 NPF software ATM APIs for supporting the implementation of ATM interfaces on network processing elements.

European Commission Urges Germany to Spur Fixed Telephony Competition

The European Commission is urging the German regulator, Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), to impose more effective competition remedies for fixed telephony.

In December 2005, Deutsche Telekom AG was found by BNetzA to have significant market power on the retail access market and on the market for local and national calls. The current notification covers the remedies that BNetzA intends to impose on DTAG in the access market and in the market for national calls as a follow-up to the December findings.

In line with the EU telecom rules, the European Commission is reminding BNetzA that carrier (pre-)selection services which allow the end-user to select a carrier of its choice for all, certain or individual calls, must be provided at a price that is based on actual costs and that direct charges to subscribers must not act as a disincentive for the use of such facilities.

"In Europe's telecom markets, remedies need to be clear and effective in order to improve the competitive situation and to safeguard the interests of consumers", said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "I am determined to ensure a high degree of coherence and effectiveness of regulatory remedies throughout the European Union. This includes remedies at the retail level in cases where measures at the wholesale level have not resulted in a satisfactory degree of competition".

FLO Forum Adopts Service and Technical Specifications

The FLO Forum, a multi-company initiative led by QUALCOMM and dedicated to the global standardization of FLO (Forward Link Only) technology, ratified and adopted three cornerstone technical specifications: the Service Information Specification, the FLO Services and Use Cases Specification and updated versions of the FLO Device and Transmitter Minimum Performance specifications.

The System Information Specification defines the functions and structure of the system information (SI) associated with real-time and non-real-time broadcast and multicast services in FLO Networks. The SI in this specification provides users with the advance information needed to make service subscription and service selection decisions.

The FLO Services and Content Committee's Service Descriptions and Usage Flows Specification presents a set of use cases and service models for FLO services which are used to derive requirements for other FLO technical specifications.

The updated FLO Minimum Performance Specifications for both the Device and Transmitter provide refined performance guidelines based on the most up-to-date testing of commercial-grade FLO devices and transmitters.

In addition, announced 11 new members, bringing its total membership to 44 companies. The new members are Axcera, DTVinteractive Co., , Envio Networks, Motorola, Nagravision, PacketVideo, Penthera Technologies, Spirent Communications, Telephia, Terayon Communication Systems, and Wireless Test Systems.
  • FLO technology is a new air interface originally developed by QUALCOMM with multicasting capabilities designed to increase capacity and reduce content delivery costs to mobile handsets.

mPhase Enhances its IPTV Software

mPhase Technologies announced several enhancements to its IPTV Software, including:

  • the ability to manage multiple set top boxes (STBs) per location

  • the ability to manage multiple accounts per subscriber, and

  • multiple STB managers that provide scalable failure recovery and load balancing

The new mPhase TV+ System Release 5.0 also includes an enhanced user interface with a new look and advanced program guide searching features. The company also added new language support for Russian, Arabic and Chinese.

mPhase also added features for flexible and secure license management to remotely provision features without complete software upgrades.

Other recent improvements include general availability of an integrated Latens dynamic Conditional Access System, a pure software security solution that protects content and allows telcos to offer revenue rich premium content.

Internet2 and Level 3 Plan 100 Gbps Nationwide NGN

Internet2 and Level 3 Communications unveiled plans for a new nationwide network that will offer Internet2 members 100 Gbps of capacity, more than 10 times that of the current Internet2 backbone network, and will be designed to easily scale to add capacity as Internet2 members' requirements evolve.

The network will support a full range of production IP services as well as new on-demand, dedicated optical wavelength services.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Level 3 will provide dedicated facilities enabling multiple 10 Gbps wavelengths, high-speed IP transit and colocation services with options for private line, metro and long-haul dark fiber services to interconnect the backbone with academic institutions and support growth and changes in member requirements over time.

Level 3 will deploy digital optical technologies for Internet2 to provide multiple 10 Gbps wavelengths and enable rapid bandwidth provisioning across the entire footprint for its members. These new optical services will allow network users to obtain dedicated one Gbps sub-wavelengths or entire 10 Gbps wavelengths through advanced network scheduling or on-demand. It will also enable users to provision circuits dynamically for short or long-term use. Additionally, using this optical system, the new Internet2 network will provide production IP capabilities and bundled access to the Internet.

The new network infrastructure's capabilities build on the successes of Internet2's Hybrid Optical Packet Infrastructure (HOPI) testbed, an initiative examining a hybrid of packet and circuit switched optical infrastructures to understand next generation architectures.

Internet2 said it is working with its members and regional networking organizations to finalize deployment details with the new network becoming operational during 2007. In the interim, Internet2's relationship with Level 3 will enable optical circuit services for the community using Level 3's existing facilities. Internet2 is also working closely with its current network partners and network connectors to ensure a smooth and seamless transition of traffic from its current backbone network onto the new infrastructure.http://networks.internet2.edu
  • The Internet2 Hybrid Optical and Packet Infrastructure (HOPI) is a national network testbed that allows researchers to experiment with new optical technologies, including dynamically provisioned wavelengths, circuit switched environments, and new transport protocols. The HOPI testbed uses facilities from Internet2's Abilene Network, the National Lambda Rail (NLR) network, the MANLAN exchange point, and regional optical networks. Each HOPI node consists of an Ethernet switch with 10GigE capabilities, a fiber cross connect switch, and servers to control HOPI's network infrastructure and measure network performance, all designed to model future optical infrastructures.

    The HOPI testbed is using HP's ProLiant DL360 G4 servers to provide monitoring and control plane capabilities.

    Force10 Networks is supplying its Force10 E-Series family of switch/routers for Internet2's Hybrid Optical and Packet Infrastructure (HOPI) project.

  • In February 2006, National LambdaRail (NLR), a consortium of leading U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies, reached fully-operational status, providing advanced optical, Ethernet and IP connectivity over more than 15,000 miles of fiber across the United States. NLR has deployed nine Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing Systems across the country. The project is also using Cisco Systems' 15808 and 15454 optical transmission platforms.

Charter Deploys 1 Millionth Cedar Point SAFARI C(Cubed) Line

Cedar Point Communications announced a deployment with Charter Communications that represents the shipment of Cedar Point's one millionth telephony line. The milestone was achieved less than two years after the initial deployment of SAFARI C(Cubed).

Cedar Point's SAFARI C(Cubed) is a carrier class VoIP switch that incorporates all of the components that make up the voice switching infrastructure, providing a seamless evolution to SIP-based features and an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture. SAFARI C(Cubed) is PacketCable-qualified and future-architected to fit within an IMS core network infrastructure. New applications can be integrated into SAFARI C(Cubed), or can be accessed via third-party application servers.

Nokia Supports Celcom in Launching HSDPA in Malaysia

Celcom, a subsidiary of the TM Group, launched High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) services in Malaysia offering download speeds up to 3.6 Mbps. Celcom is using Nokia's HSDPA solution. Apart from supplying to Celcom's expanded radio network, Nokia is also supplying the core network equipment to expand Celcom's current 3G network to four new regions.

Under the agreement, Nokia is supplying the Nokia HSDPA solution with 3.6 Mbps capability, a radio access network and transmission from its radio network portfolio. From its Unified Core Networks portfolio, Nokia is providing its MSC Server mobile softswitch, IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and Flexi Intelligent Service Node (ISN). Financial terms were not disclosed.

In WCDMA 3G, Nokia has 59 customers to date. Nokia's HSDPA is a software upgrade to Nokia WCDMA networks.

Verizon: More Than Half of New Broadband Subscribers Now Choose DSL Over Cable

As many as one in seven new Verizon DSL customers who order service online have switched over from cable modem service. Verizon currently serves nearly 6 million wireline broadband customers.

The Leichtman Research Group reports that more than half of all new high-speed Internet customers in the U.S. chose DSL over cable modem service in 2005, and that Verizon netted the most broadband customer additions among all cable and DSL providers in the nation over the past six months ("1Q 2006 Quarterly Notes," Leichtman Research Group Inc.).

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

NTT Develops IP Optical Traffic Engineering Server

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) announced the development of an IP optical traffic engineering (TE) server for an IP optical backbone network composed of IP routers and optical crossconnects (OXCs).

The IP optical TE server controls the IP optical backbone network using an original traffic control algorithm that applies to both IP routers and OXCs. NTT said its TE server responds flexibly to unexpected changes in traffic demand, and could be used to restore operations quickly in the event of system failures or natural disasters.

NTT will be giving presentations related to this technology at the iPOP2006 international conference to be held next week at the Meiji Kinenkan complex in Tokyo.

HP Unveils BladeSystem for Data Centers

HP unveiled its BladeSystem c-Class architecture that aims to deliver significant improvements in virtualization, power and cooling, and system management capabilities that can reduce both operational and capital expenditure costs by 46% in a typical data center implementation.

The modular HP BladeSystem c-Class allows businesses to start with HP ProLiant and Integrity servers, HP StorageWorks storage offerings as well as client blades and then flexibly add applications and third-party products to expand their data centers as needed.

The HP Virtual Connect Architecture enables server administrators to manage resources on the fly via virtualized Ethernet and Fibre Channel connections, saving hours or days of administrative "wait time."

The virtualization is coupled with a fast midplane and five terabits per second of aggregate throughput.

In addition, HP BladeSystem c-Class and StorageWorks Storage Area Networks (SANs) simplify IT consolidation by integrating the server-to-storage interface. The new HP BladeSystem 4 Gbps Fibre Channel SAN switches and the industry's first redundant, embedded 4 Gbps Fibre Channel HBA reduce the cost of SAN connectivity to HP BladeSystem by more than 40% while providing highly available, redundant connection to existing SANs. The switches also reduce the number of Fibre Channel cables required by up to 60%.

Other improvements include an ultra-efficient HP Active Cool Fan that cuts server airflow by 30% and energy consumption by 50% compared to traditional fans, and HP Insight Control Management software that achieves a 200:1 device-to-administrator ratio -- a tenfold improvement for many IT tasks .

HP also plans to build out an BladeSystem ecosystem of independent software and hardware vendors, systems integrators and value-added resellers. Some of the application and hardware partners involved in the launch of c-Class include: AMD, Blade Network Technologies, Brocade, Cisco Systems, Citrix, Emulex, Intel, Mellanox, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle, PolyServe, QLogic, Red Hat, SAP, VMware and Voltaire.

See also