Monday, September 11, 2006

Spirent Introduces New IMS Testing Product

Spirent Communications announced availability of the Spirent Protocol Tester, a new platform testing the IMS architecture.

Spirent Protocol supports all major VoIP and IMS protocols and media formats, including conformance, protocol, functional and interoperability testing, while simultaneously providing high-performance signaling and media load generation. It can test and emulate virtually any VoIP and IMS network element, function or service. Its protocol-independent architecture allows new or proprietary protocols to be added as needed.

Engineers can define and create any protocol call flow using any mix of protocols.

Ixia Scales its Subscriber Emulation for Carrier Class Networks

Ixia has added new capabilities for its Optixia hardware platform that almost triples its subscriber emulation scalability. Using the Aptixia IxLoad Triple Play test application, service providers and system vendors can emulate virtual "countries" of web users, more than 40 million, connecting at the rate of over 1.5 million users per second; virtual "cities" of voice callers, making more than 60,000 simultaneous calls; and virtual "towns" of video subscribers, receiving more than 30,000 standard definition video streams -- all from a single Optixia chassis.

The Ixia platform can simultaneously simulate complete Triple Play (video, voice and data) scenarios in an integrated solution. Additionally, Optixia can use real application layer traffic to test IP/MPLS network infrastructure -- true converged multi-services testing. Ixia said these realistic testing scenarios are superior to traditional one-way packet blasting testing techniques.

Apple Adds Movie Downloads to iTunes, Shows STB

In a much anticipated announcement, Apple began offering over 75 movies from Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films through its iTunes store. Movies will become available on the iTunes Store the same day they are released on DVD, with new releases priced at $12.99 when pre-ordered and during their first week of availability, and $14.99 thereafter, and library titles available for $9.99.

Videos are downloaded in near-DVD quality at a resolution of 640x480 (up to 480, depending on the aspect ratio).

Apple also previewed its upcoming iTV player, which is expected to debut in Q1 2007. The unit will look like a flatter version of the Mac Mini and include built-in power supply, USB 2.0, Ethernet, 802.11, optical audio, RCA and HDMI ports. The expected price is $299.

RealNetworks to Acquire WiderThan -- a Ringtone Provider -- for $350 Million

RealNetworks will acquire WiderThan, a leading provider of integrated mobile music and entertainment solutions, through a cash tender offer for $17.05 per share or approximately $350 million.

WiderThan is a leading provider of ringback tones, music-on-demand and other mobile entertainment services to more than 50 wireless carriers in more than 25 countries including leading carriers such as SK Telecom in South Korea, Verizon Wireless in the U.S., and Bharti Airtel in India.

For the six months ended June 30, 2006, WiderThan achieved $61.9 million in revenue, an increase of 39% over the same period in 2005.

Iliad Group Plans Multibillion FTTH Rollout in Paris

The Iliad Group's Free division, unveiled plans for a widescale rollout of FTTH in Paris. The company said the new network will give it true independence from the incumbent operator, France Telecom. The project is expected to take 24 months to reach 2.1 million people.

Free plans to invest EUR 1 billion in the project through 2012. The company initially will targets areas were its Freebox installation density is greatest. The Freebox HD's ADSL2+ terminal will be replaced by an optical box.

The company plans to offer a EUR 29.99 per month service that includes 50 Mbps Internet access, HD TV, and unlimited calling to numbers in France and certain international locations.

Draka Comteq has been selected to supply the FTTH network. The deployment will include two million kilometers of fiber and cable designed to resist the adverse conditions of sewers.

Free also plans to open its FTTH network to competitors.

DSL Forum Broadens its Focus to Include Broadband Control and Broadband Home Architecture

The DSL Forum is broadening its mission beyond DSL to address interoperability and management across DSL, fiber and alternative broadband technologies. In addition to the new access technologies, the expanded focus will also include the network control layer or a service provider network and the broadband home network.

"The DSL Forum serves as the catalyst for developing critical standards necessary for the delivery of DSL and integrated services across the globe," said Matt Davis, Director, Consumer Multiplay at IDC. "Companies not normally associated strictly with DSL, such as consumer electronics vendors and home networking companies, stand to benefit as the DSL Forum evolves in order to create the technological underpinnings necessary for the delivery of voice, video, and multimedia over DSL and other broadband technologies."

The DSL Forum's new BroadbandSuite initiative
has three focus areas:

  • BroadbandControl: Creates an intelligent, programmable control layer that unifies management of next-generation network elements and devices, which empowers service providers to deliver personalized services that enhance the subscriber's broadband experience.

  • BroadbandAccess: Defines specifications for broadband-agnostic access network architectures, evolving from ATM to Ethernet-based access aggregation. With Ethernet, service providers can better support high-bandwidth applications such as IPTV, video on demand and videoconferencing.

  • BroadbandHome: Unifies the home networking environment by establishing a common set of capabilities for networked devices as well as automating device activation and configuration to simplify the service delivery process.

AT&T Launches MobiTV Service over Broadband

AT&T will begin offering the MobiTV service to broadband users in the United States, including AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet and AT&T WorldNet subscribers. AT&T currently has more than 7.8 million DSL lines in service.

The browser-based service, which will be called AT&T Broadband TV, initially will have approximately 20 channels of live and made-for-broadband television content spanning national news, sports, entertainment and full-length music videos from top artists. Among the channels included in the initial channel lineup is Fox News, Bloomberg, Oxygen, History Channel, Comedy Time, Toonworld, Maxx Sports and the Weather Channel.

The service requires Windows XP, Internet Explorer 6.0 with cookies enabled, Windows Media Player Version 9, and Flash 7.0 plug-in for IE.

AT&T will charge a flat monthly subscription of $19.99.
  • In May 2006, AT&T agreed to deliver MobiTV's mobile television content across its nationwide Wi-Fi network. The service will enable AT&T customers to view live television while connected to one of AT&T's Wi-Fi hot spots.

NETGEAR Ships WiFi Phone for Skype in Volume

NETGEAR announced volume shipments of its new WiFi Phone for Skype. The phone is shipping to pre-order customers in the U.S. and Canada starting this week at an MSRP of $249.99. It will be available in Europe and Asia-Pacific by early October. NETGEAR said Skype already has an impressive pre-order list for the product.

VON: Pulver Keynote Marks 10th Anniversary of VoIP

This year marks the 10th anniversary of VoIP. What started out as "a bottoms-up disruption" from innovators at small companies has grown into a multi-billion industry embraced by all the major players, observed Jeff Pulver, speaking at the opening of the VON event in Boston. The PSTN is not going away, said Pulver, it's just morphing into a multi-modal billing engine.
This year also marks the transition of VON from strictly a VoIP event into multi-faceted conference with a Video-on-the-Net component.

"We always kinda' thought video was an app, but Moore's Law finally makes it true, said Pulver, demonstrating high-quality streaming of movie trailer from Sony site and projected onto conference's big screen.

Pulver drew a clear distinction between TV-over-IP and IPTV. He sees IPTV as a great space to be in, but ultimately another scheme for empowering incumbent phone companies with fiber in the ground.

VON remains about disruptive technologies. Many people said the Internet was not good enough for telephony. It's now clear that the Internet is good enough for TV. Video shows on Net (vlogs) are proliferating and the studios are jumping in as well.

VON conference organizers expects to attract 10,000 visitors over the course of the event.

mPhase Enhances IPTV Software for MPEG-4 Set Top Boxes

mPhase Technologies announced a new generation of its TV+ System IPTV software that supports the latest video encoding standards as well as a host of other features. The new capabilities, to be generally available in 4Q06, include the ability to apply up to 4 encodings to a single channel and thereby support a mix of MPEG4 and MPEG2 video streams, depending on STB capability. mPhase said this multiple encoding capability is an efficient way for providers to support a mix of network types - Ethernet, DSL and fiber.

A new addition to the TV+ System is a Dynamic Menu System that allows service providers to define menu profiles and map viewer selections to Portal and Browser-based services. The Portal's on-screen application can be customized in standard HTML and JavaScript authoring tools, while the full-featured TV Internet Browser incorporates a rich set of site navigation, security, cookie support, caching and other Web features. mPhase offers optional Flash integration for gaming services, and has also developed a Portal SDK for applications developers.

Intelsat, Telespazio and Hughes Europe Launch Satellite Broadband Service

Intelsat, Telespazio and Hughes Network Systems Europe are launching a satellite broadband service to serve Italian corporations with locations in Eastern Europe. Intelsat is providing capacity on the IS-901 satellite located at 342 degrees E; Telespazio (Finmeccanica/Alcatel Company) is providing Internet backbone connectivity and managing operations from its teleport in Fucino, Italy; and Hughes is supplying the recently launched HN7000S product platform with DVB-S2 including a NOC (Network Operations Center) and broadband satellite routers, plus related services. End-user services will be marketed through Telespazio's and Hughes Europe's retail service provider sales channels.


SunRocket Deploys Sylantro Application Feature Server

SunRocket has deployed Sylantro's Synergy Applications Feature Server platform for its residential VoIP subscribers. The platform provides features such as call blocking, caller ID, call forwarding and distinctive ring tones. http://www.sylantro.com

News Corp. and VeriSign Create Mobile Entertainment Company

News Corporation and VeriSign have formed a joint venture company to provide mobile entertainment. News Corp. will pay approximately $188 million for a controlling interest in VeriSign's wholly-owned Jamba subsidiary and will combine it with Fox Mobile Entertainment assets.

The new company will integrate a technologically advanced platform with mobile content production and delivery capabilities and will serve 30 territories with a potential reach of more than a billion mobile subscribers. The new company intends to retain the Jamster brand in the U.S. and the Jamba brand worldwide.

Sprint Launches its Own Mobile Sports and Entertainment Video Programming

Sprint launched its made-for-mobile sports and entertainment video programming network featuring the latest sports and entertainment news, features and original programming at no additional charge for its Sprint Vision and Power Vision customers.

The programming will originate from the Sprint Power View desk located in New York in partnership with IMG Media. In addition to the main Sprint Power View desk, 15 mobile camera crews will file on-location stories from venues and events from major markets in the United States. mSpot, a mobile multimedia entertainment company, will provide a free Java multimedia application and manage the ongoing operations of Sprint Power View.

YouTube Selects Level 3 for End-to-End Backbone

Level 3 will provide YouTube with its High Speed Internet Access via multiple 10GigE ports. Level 3 will also provide 10 GigE LAN PHY wavelength service across a nationwide footprint connecting YouTube's data centers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

AT&T to Acquire USi for $300 Million -- an ASP

AT&T agreed to acquire privately held USinternetworking, Inc. ("USi"), a leading independent Applications Service Provider (ASP) -- for approximately $300 million in cash and assumed debt.

USi specializes in managed enterprise software solutions and on-demand services. USi provides software management and outsourcing services for widely used popular business software from companies like Oracle, PeopleSoft, Siebel, Microsoft, IBM WebSphere and Ariba. The company also develops, hosts and manages customized eCommerce solutions.

AT&T said the acquisition would enhance its enterprise service offerings.


NexTone Raises $25 Million

NexTone Communications raised a $25 million investment from Columbia Partners Private Capital, the private investment group of Columbia Partners L.L.C., a Washington, D.C.-based investment management group. The new funding brings the company's total private funding to date to $92.5 million. Earlier venture investors in NexTone include One Equity Partners (OEP), BCE Capital, Core Capital, Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds, and Safeguard Scientifics.

Nextone said it has achieved record bookings in 2006 for its IntelliConnect System, a suite of intelligent session management and interconnect products designed for VoIP and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) service providers. NexTone claims over 500 customers and estimates that its customers currently carry over 50% of the world's international VoIP traffic.

"NexTone is currently experiencing record growth because the market opportunities in VoIP and IMS are so vast. This investment from Columbia Partners allows us to accelerate our business plan by rapidly scaling NexTone's strategic initiatives and expanding our product line and support organizations to match the diverse requirements of our growing customer base," said Malik Khan, chairman and CEO, NexTone Communications.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

CloudShield Targets High-Volume IP Content Control

CloudShield Technologies, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California introduced a multi-function software platform that leverages deep packet inspection specifically to address the growing challenges of managing mixed, high-volume IP services traffic.

CloudShield, which supplies high-speed packet filtering platforms for the U.S. intelligence community, is now targeting its Layer 2-7 packet analysis systems at carriers and ISPs. The deep packet analysis could help carriers gain visibility into how subscribers and applications use the network. It could be used by carriers to develop and enforce policies on select packet traffic. It might also be used to secure the network from attacks.

To meet these aims, CloudShield is introducing a new Content Control Suite (CCS) that provides analysis, control and security to enable selective granular analysis and control of traffic at high speeds. It runs on CloudShield's FPGA-driven CS-2000 Content Processing Platform, which provides core content inspection and traffic control functionality. CCS application programming interfaces allow broadband policy managers, subscriber managers and billing software. New functionality in the suite includes:

  • Signature Detection Module -- identifies traffic of interest using signatures from a variety of sources, including, Kaspersky, and custom applications.

  • Traffic Control Module -- enables a wide range of traffic controls including QoS marking, traffic shaping, redirecting, and MPLS or VLAN tagging.

  • VoIP Tracking and Reporting -- identifies SIP- or H.323-based VoIP services for measurement and control, and detects DDoS attacks against VoIP infrastructures.

  • Content Billing Module -- collects vital statistics on user flows for use in usage-based billing solutions.

  • Traffic Measurement Module -- collects and reports statistics on selected traffic for greater situational awareness and network intelligence.

  • Data set modules include

  • 3rd Party signature sets: CloudShield is making Kaspersky Lab's award-winning malware signature set available to run with the CCS Signature Detection Module.

  • Open Source signature sets: the Signature Detection Module supports the open source Snort rules and can import rules from sources including or BleedingSnort.

  • Custom signature sets: partners and end users can create their own traffic selection / detection signature sets for service identification or classified security purposes.

CCS modules and data sets will become available in Q4 of 2006.
  • CloudShield was founded in 2000 and has raised over $60 million to date.

Telecom Italia to Acquire AOL Germany for EUR 675 Million

Telecom Italia has agreed to acquire Time Warner's AOL Germany Internet access business for EUR 675 million ($870 million, Equity Value) in cash.

Under the deal, AOL will provide co-branded audience services and content on a joint web portal for all of Telecom Italia's residential Internet access subscribers in Germany and will handle all online advertising sales. As part of a five-year partnership, AOL will also provide these services for Telecom Italia's entire residential Internet access customer base in Germany.

AOL Germany has operated as an ISP for over 10 years and competes in both narrowband and broadband Internet access. As of June 2006, AOL Germany, ranked second and third among German narrowband and broadband access providers, had 1.1 million broadband subscribers and approximately 1.3 million narrowband subscribers.

Telecom Italia said it is seeking to expand its presence in Germany, which started with its acquisition of Hansenet in 2003. Once its acquisition of AOL Germany's Internet access business closes, Telecom Italia will be Germany's second-largest broadband provider - with more than 3.2 million total subscribers, including nearly 2 million broadband customers.

National LambdaRail and Cisco Extend Partnership to 2013

National LambdaRail (NLR), a consortium of leading U.S. research universities and private sector technology companies, has extended its strategic relationship and agreement with Cisco Systems through July 2013.

"Cisco Systems has been a major corporate partner of NLR from our infancy," said Tom West, President and CEO of NLR. "This extension speaks volumes about Cisco's commitment to NLR and to the U.S. networking and scientific research community. Together with our member regional optical networks and affiliated projects such as TeraGrid, OptIPuter and UltraScience, we foresee additional, exciting opportunities for our community to incorporate networking into every aspect of science, engineering and humanities research."
  • National LambdaRail (NLR) has reached fully-operational status, providing advanced optical, Ethernet and IP connectivity over more than 15,000 miles of fiber across the United States. The infrastructure provides researchers control over a nationwide network with up to 40 individual lightpaths running at 10 Gbps. The project is the result of over three years of work and nearly $100 million in funding by members.

  • NLR has deployed Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing Systems across the country. The project is also using Cisco Systems' 15808 and 15454 optical transmission platforms.