Monday, November 27, 2006

IBM to Acquire Vallent for Network Performance Monitoring Software

IBM agreed to acquire Vallent Corporation, a supplier of network performance monitoring and service management software for wireless service providers, for an undisclosed sum.

Vallent's software helps service providers manage the performance of their network infrastructure through monitoring and reporting problem areas such as dropped calls and traffic bottlenecks.

IBM said that adding Vallent's expertise to its Tivoli Software's Netcool portfolio creates a broad set of service assurance capabilities spanning fault, network performance and service quality management over a wide array of technologies and third-party equipment and applications. The acquisition of Vallent extends the Netcool operations support system portfolio acquired with Micromuse in February of 2006 and will further enhance IBM's ability to address the growing needs of its customers in this area, especially communications service providers.

Vallent is based in Bellevue, Washington and has more than 400 employees. Vallent claims more than 200 customers worldwide, including worldwide market leaders such as KPN, Bharti, China Mobile, and Brasil Telecom, as well as equipment providers such as Lucent, Motorola, and Alcatel.
  • Vallent's investors included Argo Global Capital, Columbia Capital Corp., Ericsson Venture Partners, Investor Growth Capital Inc., New Venture Partners, Origin Partners, ORIX, and Pequot Capital.

Veraz Increases Capacity between Switch Centers for Mobile Operators

Veraz Networks announced that its voice compression technology can increase the capacity of existing TDM transmission links between existing mobile switching centers (MSCs) by compressing up to 10 E1s onto a single E1, while preserving high voice quality. By enabling compressed VoIP over TDM using an IP media gateway, Veraz allows mobile operators to accommodate increased traffic on their existing TDM transmission links while avoiding the expenses of building a transmission network or leasing additional TDM transmission capacity.

NTT Com Asia Deploys Juniper's SSL VPN appliances

NTT Com Asia has deployed the Juniper Networks Secure Access 6000 SSL VPN appliances with the Instant Virtual Systems feature set to provide managed remote access services for the Hong Kong market.

The Secure Access 6000 appliances deployed at NTT Com Asia operate with Juniper Network's Advanced Feature Set, which includes advanced role and resource usage definition and management to allow organizations to administer different security policies for different departments.

Juniper said the Instant Virtual Systems (IVS) feature of the SA 6000 enables NTT Com Asia to completely segment SSL VPN traffic between multiple customers within its cluster pair of SA 6000 appliances, and ensure network independence. Customers of NTT Com Asia's managed service can also enjoy dedicated administrator controls for their own SSL VPN segments without the risk of sharing the controls or segment with other parties using IVS capabilities.

3Com to Acquire Huawei's Stake in JV for $882 Million

3Com agreed to acquire Huawei Technologies' 49% Huawei-3Com (H3C) for $882 million, which represents an implied equity value of $1.8 billion.

Under the existing shareholders' agreement, the parties have agreed that the selling shareholder in the bid process would, under certain circumstances, be subject to a non-compete provision for 18 months after the closing.

H3C said its mission, vision and strategy will remain unchanged after the transaction.

  • November 2006 marks the third anniversary of the founding of the Huawei-3Com (H3C) joint venture, which is registered in Hong Kong with research and development centres in China (Beijing, Hangzhou and Shenzhen) and India (Bangalore).

  • On Nov. 15., the company said its first half revenues climbed more than 70 percent over the same period last year with international sales now accounting for one third of all sales. Net sales revenue for the first half of 2006 totaled US$324 million.

  • H3C employs 4,800 people with more than half engaged in R&D.

Orange Business Services Partners with Nortel on SIP Services

Orange Business Services' newly launched suite of SIP multimedia services is based on Nortel's technology. The new "Business Together" service, which will first become available for corporate French customers this month, is the result of a strategic partnership formed between France Telecom and Nortel in 2004.

"Business Together" from Orange Business Services unifies telephony, collaboration, instant messaging and multimedia communications, making them all accessible from a computer, an IP phone or a mobile smartphone.

Orange's "Business Together" services include Nortel's SIP Multimedia Communication Server 5200 (MCS 5200) which seamlessly integrates voice with video, collaboration, presence and reachability services. The solution leverages SIP.

YouTube and Verizon Wireless Ink Agreement

Starting in early December, selected YouTube clips will be available to users of Verizon Wireless's V CAST mobile service. YouTube will deliver a sampling of the most popular videos. In addition, video enthusiasts also will be able to record and share their favorite moments with their mobile phones.

"Delivering YouTube content gives V CAST customers a mobile connection to video content that has revolutionized how people are being entertained today," said John Harrobin, vice president of digital media for Verizon Wireless.

BT Activates First Customers on 21CN

BT switched over the first customer lines to its 21st Century Network (21CN). As planned, BT has started to move customers in the village of Wick, near Cardiff, to the next generation infrastructure.

BT described the event as a landmark in its history. To reach this milestone, BT has re-built around ten percent of the UK's core national communications infrastructure, installed 21CN equipment at over 100 sites across the UK, and laid more than 2,300 kilometers of new fibre optic cable in South Wales.

Paul Reynolds, chief executive of BT Wholesale and BT board sponsor for the 21CN programme said, "Today marks a symbolic and momentous occasion for BT, the communications industry and for the UK as 21CN, over three years in the making, starts to become real for customers. Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call 130 years ago -- we are also making history with the first live UK customer calls using a carrier class, all IP network. Years of research and development, network build and design, rigorous trials and testing, together with open collaboration with the communications industry have culminated in this historic moment. A network transformation on this scale has not been attempted anywhere else in the world -- it's happening now in South Wales, and the rest of the UK will follow over the next few years."

Alcatel Demos Mobile TV in S-Band Handsets

Alcatel demonstrated Europe's first broadcast of live TV channels on mobile handsets in S-band. The demonstration used the new DVB-SH
standard (Satellite services for Handhelds), which is currently being
drafted by the DVB Project. To perform this demonstration, Alcatel was assisted by UK broadcasters Sky, ITV and BBC.

DVB-SH is a new technology targeting the S-band. DVB-SH is a
related standard to DVB-H. With DVB-SH technology, Mobile TV signals can be broadcast from satellites as well as from terrestrial transmitters directly to handhelds.

The demonstration featured SAGEM myMobileTV handsets using the S-band telecom frequency between 2.17GHz and 2.20GHz, which is adjacent to the 3G/UMTS band. 30MHz of spectrum is currently available all across Europe and in other major regions in the world.

In addition, Alcatel demonstrated two possible key technical features using the DVB-SH standard. Reception Antenna Diversity, a feature using two antennas inside the same mobile device, enables improvements in the signal quality under difficult conditions. Furthermore, improved Time Interleaving overcomes fading impairment in mobility conditions. The significant quality enhancement was demonstrated by implementing these DVB-SH features.
  • In October 2006, SES GLOBAL and Eutelsat Communications announced a 50/50 joint venture company, which will operate and commercialize S-band satellite services over Europe for mobile video services. The S-band (2.0 and 2.2 GHz), which represents a new frequency band for both SES and Eutelsat, provides a set of frequencies optimized for supporting a wireless distribution network for mobile devices, including phones, PDAs, laptops and vehicle receivers.

    Eutelsat Communications confirmed its order with Alcatel Alenia Space for an S-Band payload on its upcoming W2A satellite, which is slated for launch in 2009. Based on the Alcatel Alenia Space Spacebus 4000C4 platform, W2A's missions also comprise up to 46 transponders in Ku-band and a C-band payload of 10 transponders.

CloudShield Expands into APAC

CloudShield Technologies, which provides IP service control and
infrastructure security solutions, opened a new office in Sydney, Australia to serve the Asia Pacific region. CloudShield is also announcing the appointment of Greg Kershaw as managing director of CloudShield Asia Pacific.

Taiwan's Chunghwa Purchases Additional 300,000 Widevine Security Clients

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom has purchased an additional 300,000 Virtual SmartCard clients from Widevine Technologies to secure premium linear broadcast and video-on-demand delivery across a wide range of consumer electronics devices. This is in addition to the 500,000 clients Chunghwa purchased in 2005 for planned subscriber growth.

Chunghwa's interactive TV service, Multimedia on Demand (MOD), is one of the largest IPTV deployments in the world. The MOD service offers a wide range of video-on-demand, near VOD (NVOD), karaoke-on-demand and linear broadcast channels. Widevine Cypher is used exclusively to protect the entire Chunghwa multimedia footprint across Taiwan. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Narad and Tropos Partner on Mesh Backhaul over HFC

Narad Networks, which supplies switched broadband access solutions, and Tropos Networks, which delivers metro-scale Wi-Fi mesh network systems, competed interoperability testing of a combined solution for backhauling mesh Wi-Fi traffic within the metro area. Tests using Narad's switched Ethernet-over-coax solution and the Tropos 5210HFC MetroMesh router demonstrated aggregate performance exceeding 20 Mbps of symmetric capacity with low end-to-end latency.

The companies said metro Wi-Fi networks are a logical way to extend the functionality of the cable network to mobile users throughout a metro area without the need for deploying fiber for backhaul.

Portugal's TV Cabo Deploys Arris CMTS

TV Cabo, Portugal's largest Pay-TV operator with over 1.4 million customers, has selected the ARRIS C4 CMTS for its network upgrade. The operator will be introducing cable VoIP service and ultra high-speed access.

Juniper Offers "Liquid LSPs" and MPLS Point-to-multipoint (P2MP) Broadcast Video Capabilities

Juniper Networks announced a series of product enhancements aimed at improving video transport throughout an IP network core. The new features include several enhancements to MPLS-based point-to-multipoint (P2MP) broadcast video distribution and new capabilities for the company's SDX-300 Service Deployment System.

Juniper is also introducing "Liquid LSPs", a solution that leverages the SDX-300's open APIs to ensure efficient network handling of video-on-demand content. Using an open API, third-party video serving platforms communicate with the SDX-300 and Juniper routers to map the best possible path between subscribers and content sources to increase network efficiency, while also preserving high levels of video quality. The Liquid LSP feature also supports Fast Failover capability for split-second failover, ensuring the quality and reliability of video services even in times of network congestion and equipment failures.

Juniper said that by enabling the dynamic activation and modification of LSPs between video serving locations, Liquid LSPs enable providers to serve videos from multiple locations, reducing costs and increasing network design flexibility.

SeaChange International is the first to integrate its open IPTV platform with Juniper's Liquid LSP capability.

Juniper has also implemented a number of enhancements to further extend the point-to-multipoint (P2MP) capabilities of JUNOS. P2MP is
an MPLS-based multicasting solution that provides efficient, scalable and reliable delivery of broadcast TV traffic across the backbone. P2MP enables providers to leverage the simplicity of MPLS for core video distribution without adding new protocols or increasing operational complexity. The new features include the extension of constrained shortest path first (CSPF) functionality to P2MP LSPs, which enables the network to automatically determine the most efficient path through the network for a given video stream. This allows a few super head-ends to service many remote video sites
over long distances while assuring delivery quality of the broadcast TV channels.

Juniper is also announcing enhancements to BGP (Border Gateway
Protocol)-based VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Services) that simplifies the scaling of metro video distribution networks.

"Much of the attention around IPTV to date has been focused on the network edge, but efficient delivery of IP-based video through the core IP network is just as important to our customers," said Shailesh Shukla, vice president of service provider marketing and partnerships, Juniper Networks.

AT&T Adds HD Programming to U-verse in San Antonio

AT&T has added High Definition (HD) programming and other new features to its U-verse service currently available in San Antonio, Texas. The lineup includes more than 25 HD channels, which is more than the local cable providers. New HD customers can receive two months of free HD programming ($10 per month thereafter).

Other new capabilities include:

  • Web-remote access to digital video recorder (DVR), which allows customers to schedule recordings using their AT&T Yahoo! Internet account.

  • The ability to record up to four programs at once using a DVR receiver.

  • An expanded lineup of available programming with more than 300 channels, including digital music, local, and premium movie and sports programming.

  • New set top boxes, manufactured by Motorola, all of which are HD-capable and include specially-designed universal remote controls that provide backlit buttons and one-touch access to VOD, DVR, and other services.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

EC Asks UK Regulator to Reconsider Mobile Termination Rates

The European Commission has asked Ofcom, the UK telecom watchdog, not to include inflated 3G auction costs in termination rates for mobile phone operators.

In the Commission's view, Ofcom's proposed tariffs keep termination values higher than necessary due to 3G spectrum cost valuations which risk overestimating the costs. The Commission therefore asks the UK watchdog to reconsider the valuations. It said Ofcom's approach would be detrimental to fair competition in the UK's mobile market and lead to higher consumer prices for consumers.

Cisco Partners with Russia's Sitronics

Cisco announced a regional partnership with Sitronics JSC, a leading technology company in Russia & CIS, to offer advanced communication solutions in countries that are undergoing major economic and social transformation, including Russia, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE); and Middle East and Africa (MEA).

Initially focused on migrating existing public switched telephone network (PSTN) infrastructure to an IP network platform, the modernization solution offered will be built around Sitronics' IP-NGN soft-switching and OSS portfolio, and Cisco's core routing and switching products, including the CRS-1 Carrier Routing System. The solution is already being successfully implemented by the leading Russian telecommunications operator, MGTS that has 4.3 million subscribers in the Moscow region.

T-Mobile USA Selects Ericsson and Nokia

Both Ericsson and Nokia announced major contracts to supply gear for T-Mobile USA's 3G network deployment. Neither company disclosed financial terms.

Ericsson said it was selected for its turnkey network rollout and to serve as the prime radio provider for WCDMA 3G services in certain markets, including New York City which is scheduled to be operational in 2007.

Nokia said it will supply its Flexi WCDMA Base Station optimized for T-Mobile's newly acquired AWS spectrum bands. T-Mobile will be the first U.S. operator to deploy the fully HSPA capable Nokia Flexi WCDMA Base Station. The Nokia Flexi WCDMA Base Station enables easy deployment of WCDMA 3G in multiple spectrum bands with significantly lower base station site expenditures. Nokia also s a provider of High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) networks to T-Mobile in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands - all of which are operational networks. In the U.S., Nokia has been a provider of 2G equipment and services to T-Mobile USA and has provided infrastructure and services to T-Mobile USA/VoiceStream since 1996.

Ericsson Appoints New Management Team

Ericsson appointed the following new group management team:

  • Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chief Executive Officer and President
  • Karl-Henrik Sundström, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

  • Kurt Jofs, Executive Vice President and General Manager, business unit Networks

  • Bert Nordberg, Executive Vice President, group function Sales and Marketing

  • Björn Olsson, Executive Vice President and deputy General Manager, business unit Networks

  • Hans Vestberg, Executive Vice President and General Manager, business unit Global Services

  • Jan Wäreby, Senior Vice President, head of business unit Multimedia

  • Carl Olof Blomqvist, Senior Vice President, group function Legal Affairs

  • Håkan Eriksson, Senior Vice President, group function Technology, and Chief Technology Officer

  • Marita Hellberg, Senior Vice President, group function Human Resources and Organization

  • Henry Sténson, Senior Vice President, group function Communications

  • Joakim Westh, Senior Vice President, group function Strategy and Operational Excellence

The company also said that it will begin a headcount reduction as a result of its reorganization.

MIT Lincoln Lab and Naval Research Lab Deploy CIENA's 40G DWDM

MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) selected CIENA to upgrade the Boston South Network (BoSSNET) - an applications and network test bed for researching high bandwidth (10s of Gbps per wavelength), long reach (approx. 1,000 km) all-optical transmissions - using the company's standards-based, all-optical DWDM technology.

Specifically, BoSSNET will be upgraded with Ciena's CoreStream Agility Optical Transport System, which is capable of routing wavelength services up to speeds of 40 Gbps for long-haul and ultra long-haul network routes. The platform eliminates optical-electrical-optical (OEO) signal conversions and transceivers, and lowers ongoing operational costs by automating end-to-end service provisioning and management, inventory and resource tracking, and dynamic power management. BoSSNET will also leverage CoreStream's software-defined ROADM technology to enable automated wavelength activation and reconfiguration in capacity increments of 10G and 40G today, with a clear migration path to 100G. CoreStream is also the core optical transport and switching foundation of the Department of Defense's GIG-BE network, ensuring full compatibility for BoSSNET.

BoSSNET is the research network for the Lab's Advanced Networks Group, which architects, designs and builds prototypes of next-generation optical, wireless and satellite communication networks to address critical problems of national security, while also transferring those technical advances to commercial applications.

BoSSNET spans from Boston to Washington, D.C., with local metro area connections to Lincoln Lab, New York and the D.C. area.
  • Qwest Communications supplies dark fiber for BoSSNET.

Data Connection and MetaSwitch Post Near 24% Revenue Growth

Data Connection, and its MetaSwitch division, reported record annual revenue of $87 million and earnings of $13.7 million. The company's fastest-growing division, MetaSwitch, now generates 53% of revenue. Data Connection, which is a privately-held company headquartered in London, said the past fiscal year marked one of the highest annual growth rates since the company was founded in 1981.

Some highlights:

  • MetaSwitch, the next generation softswitch division, now boasts more than 300 deployments with incumbent and competitive service providers in North America, Central America and Europe.

  • Data Connection's Network Protocols Division strengthened its leadership position in the fields of IP Routing, MPLS, VoIP and Session Border Controller source code solutions. The Division increased its year-on-year revenue by 21%, added several major new customers, and shipped new products such as IP Multicast, and increased IPv6 functionality and enhancements to the optical product family. Data Connection's VoIP technologies, which include SIP, Megaco/H.248, and MGCP, continue to enjoy strong demand from OEMs requiring core IMS technologies. DC-SBC, the industry's only portable software Session Border Controller specifically designed for OEMs, has obtained design wins with top OEM's in the industry.

  • The company's Internet Applications Division, which continues to invest heavily in IMS applications, had a successful year marked by the delivery of new enhanced voice services solutions as part of its UC-Portal applications platform, along with further customer wins and deployments among North American Tier 1 Service Providers. UC-Portal is used by Service Providers to deliver a Unified Communications service to subscribers, incorporating both multi-media messaging and innovative real-time telephony services, giving subscribers control of how they communicate regardless of whether they are served by existing fixed or mobile networks or VoIP.

  • The Enterprise Connectivity Division's strategic relationships with IBM, Microsoft, Cisco and other major OEMs continue to thrive, and the division has once again been highly profitable.

  • In accordance with the objectives of the Employee Benefit Trust, which holds 100% of the company's shares, the profits will be distributed to the employees.