Monday, December 18, 2006

Unicom Deploys UTStarcom's CDMA2000 Gear in Alaska

Unicom Inc., a communications carrier and a wholly owned subsidiary of United Companies, will deploy UTStarcom's MovingMedia 2000 all-IP CDMA2000 network solution in its new digital cellular network for rural Alaska. The initial deployment phase of Unicom's new digital cellular network will provide wireless voice and broadband data services in Bethel and the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta area of Alaska. The network's main infrastructure will be located in Bethel and will be connected by either satellite or microwave transmission to the outlying communities.

Sony's PLAYSTATION Network Moves to Akamai

Sony Computer Entertainment's PLAYSTATION Network is adopting Akamai's content delivery for the PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3).

In addition to providing delivery services to Japanese companies that offer online game content, such as SCE, Akamai's global platform is being leveraged in Japan to drive the commercial use of the Internet by providing delivery services optimized to meet the particular needs of companies in a variety of fields including image-delivery services, financial services, food and beverage services, cosmetics, and multimedia.

Nortel Confirms US$2B Supply Order from Verizon Wireless

Nortel and Verizon Wireless signed an expected five-year, US$2 billion agreement for Nortel equipment and services.

Under this agreement, Verizon Wireless plans to deploy additional CDMA2000 radio base stations, switching, IP platforms, optical networking solutions and related equipment with the help of professional services from Nortel. In addition, this agreement builds on the contract announced in July 2006, whereby Nortel was selected to supply Verizon Wireless with CDMA 1xEV-DO Revision A technology.

This new agreement also presents an opportunity for Verizon Wireless and Nortel to further develop and deploy next-generation IMS-based applications and services.

AboveNet Deploys Juniper's T-Series for Core Network

AboveNet has begun upgrading the capacity of its nationwide Tier 1 IP network backbone with Juniper Networks T-series core routers. AboveNet's private optical network delivers key network and IP services in and between 14 top U.S. metro markets and London. The Juniper Networks T-series routers are being used to enhance the capacity of AboveNet's network and its existing Layer 2 eWAN service. AboveNet will also introduce new services such as Layer 3 MPLS-based VPN Services.

Intellon Raises $18 Million for HomePlug AV Chips

Intellon, a privately-held supplier of powerline communications technology, raised $18 million in new equity financing, including financial backing from Samsung. Intellon will use the new funds to accelerate the global rollout of its HomePlug AV compatible ICs. The company already ships a line of HomePlug 1.0 compatible ICs for use in home networking, IPTV distribution, broadband over powerline (BPL) and commercial applications.

Intellon said its new HomePlug AV ICs enable whole-house distribution of high definition video and digital audio over existing home electrical wiring and coaxial cable, with robust quality of service and tight control of latency and jitter.

In this latest funding round, Samsung Ventures joined existing investors BCE Capital; Comcast Interactive Capital; Duchossois Technology Partners; EnerTech Capital; Fidelity Ventures; Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Intel Capital; Liberty Associated Partners, LP; Motorola Ventures, the strategic investment arm of Motorola, Inc.; TL Ventures; and UMC Capital Corporation in the financing round. The round was led by Goldman Sachs.

Nokia Wins US$100 Million GSM/EDGE Contract in China

Thailand's Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited (AIS) selected Nokia for the expansion of its GSM/EDGE network, resulting in nationwide coverage for both GSM and EDGE. Nokia will supply a wide range of its GSM/EDGE radio and core network solutions, including base stations, Nokia MSC Server System mobile softswitch and the Nokia Intelligent Network. The network will be supported by the multivendor, multitechnology Nokia NetAct network and service management solution, including Nokia NetAct Traffica and Nokia Profile Manager to provide real-time monitoring and provisioning services for AIS' subscribers. Nokia will also provide telecoms implementation, consulting and systems integration, and care services, along with managed services covering the first-line maintenance service for more than 400 of AIS' sites across Thailand. The deal was valued at US$100 million.

Matsushita Selects AT&T Global VPN Network for SWIFTNet

Japan's Matsushita Electronic Industrial Co. has awarded AT&T a contract for a global VPN that will provide the company's SWIFTNet connection. SWIFTNet is the latest messaging platform used by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) for global financial transactions.

AT&T already provides AT&T global VPN network services to numerous Matsushita locations in the United States and Europe as part of a global network infrastructure that supports its international business operations.

Lenovo Integrates Atheros in Ultraportable Draft 802.11n Notebooks

Lenovo has integrated Atheros' XSPAN draft 1.0 802.11n silicon into models of its Lenovo 3000 product family. These Lenovo notebooks integrate Atheros' AR5008E-3NX chipset, which supports the PCI-Express interface and operation in both the 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) and 5 GHz frequency bands.

US LEC Offers Nationwide MPLS

US LEC, a carrier based in Charlotte, North Carolina, announced the expansion of its MPLS VPN data network, saying it can now provide secure connections across the U.S. and internationally. Speeds may be scaled incrementally from fractional T-1 speeds below 1.544 Mbps to DS3 (up to 45 Mbps) to Ethernet Local Loop at 100 Mbps.

Verizon Makes Executive Appointments

Verizon Wireless President Denny Strigl has been named President and Chief Operating Officer of Verizon Communications, reporting to Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg.

Verizon named Lowell McAdam, currently Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Verizon Wireless, to become President and CEO of Verizon Wireless, succeeding Strigl.

Verizon named John Stratton, currently Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Verizon Wireless, to the newly created position of Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for the marketing and brand initiatives of all Verizon's business units.

Shaygan Kheradpir, currently Chief Information Officer for Verizon Telecom, has been named to the newly created position of Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, responsible for the information technology initiatives of all Verizon's business units.

McAdam, Stratton and Kheradpir will report to Strigl, and all of the positions are effective Jan. 1, 2007.

Also reporting to Strigl will be John F. Killian, President of Verizon Business; Daniel S. Mead, President of Verizon Services Operations; and Virginia P. Ruesterholz, President of Verizon Telecom.

Broadcom Announces DSP-Based 10 Gigabit Ethernet Serial Transceiver

Broadcom announced a new 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) physical layer (PHY) device that leverages DSPs -- an industry first. The company said its unique high-speed DSP provides significant performance, manufacturing and reliability advantages over competing analog solutions. The new 10GbE DSP PHY exceeds the requirements of the new standard, which was developed to provide a low cost 10x speed upgrade for existing Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) links in multi-mode fiber (MMF) applications.

Currently, more complex and higher cost 10GBASE-LX4 optical modules are being used in this market. Additionally, as density of 10GbE line cards increase from 8 to 16 channels today to as many as 48 channels on next generation designs, new smaller form factors and lower cost 10 Gigabit modules (such as SFP+) will be required.

The new Broadcom BCM8706 10GbE (SFP+ to XAUI) transceiver that builds on five generations of the company's 10GbE serial PHY technology, and will be used in SFP+ line card applications and inside X2 optical modules. The DSP equalizer provides optimal performance over 300 meters of multi-mode fiber that exceeds the IEEE specified link distance of 220 meters. An on-chip micro-controller provides additional flexibility to maintain optimal performance in even the most challenging operating conditions.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

FCC Commissioner McDowell Disqualifies Himself from AT&T+BellSouth Merger Vote

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell disqualified himself from voting on the proposed AT&T+BellSouth merger approval vote, leaving the Commission evenly split between two Democrats and two Republicans. McDowell cited his earlier employment by COMPTEL, a lobby group of competitive carriers that has opposed the ILECs. In a statement, McDowell said promises made during his Senate confirmation hearing, and his own personal ethics, led him to withdraw from participating in the vote.
  • Earlier this month, the General Counsel of the FCC cleared Commissioner Robert McDowell from any conflict of interest concern that might otherwise have prevented him from voting on the AT&T/BellSouth merger proceeding.

Agere Debuts New Product Category -- BluOnyx Mobile Content Server

Agere Systems unveiled its BluOnyx Mobile Content Server, a new consumer product category designed to un-tether users from the PC and stationary storage devices by giving them access to content and applications in a portable device.

The BluOnyx server, which will be shown at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in January, enables mobile users to share and stream music, video and business files to or from electronic devices ranging from cell phones, PCs, digital cameras, game machines, DSL routers, etc. The credit card size device does not come with its own screen but is controlled by mobile phone, PC or other video device using a Bluetooth connection. Agere will be offering a turn-key solution for other consumer product brands.

The credit-card sized unit combines either Flash-based storage or a mini-HDD with an application processor, middleware and wireless connectivity. The amount of storage on the BluOnyx server will range from 1 GB to 40 GB. Devices can connect to the BluOnyx server wirelessly through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections or using USB cables or SD cards. The BluOnyx server can be accessed directly or through a home or corporate network where it is seen as a drive letter.

Agere said one of the possible uses for the BluOnyx server could a "Digital Campfire", where friends gathered around a table share media content via their mobile phones. The BluOnyx server is capable of streaming videos to one or more cell phones. Agere is working to support various DRM implementations. The device could also be used to back up pictures, music, video, emails, personal and business documents
and images from cell phones, cameras and PCs. It might also be used to share Internet access for cell phones and PDAs that are not broadband enabled and cannot access the Internet on their own.

The BluOnyx solution combines several of Agere's subsystems, including its storage silicon and a new processor. Details on the processor have not yet been announced. The Bluetooth, and later Wi-Fi capabilities, use commercially-available radios from multiple providers.

Key stats:
  • Dimensions of 90 mm long by 60 mm wide and between 6 mm and 15 mm thick (depending on memory capacity)

  • Battery life: up to 12 hours

  • Weight: about 140 grams with 40 GB HDD

The retail price of the BluOnyx server is expected to range from $99 to $250 depending on memory capacity. Agere said it is currently in discussions with consumer electronic device makers and cell phone service providers.

Loral Skynet to Merge with Telesat Creating Global FSS Provider

Loral Skynet will merge with BCE's Telesat division to create one of the world's largest operators of telecommunications satellites, with a combined fleet of eleven satellites and four additional satellites to be launched over the next three years. The new company will have combined trailing 12 months revenue for the period ended September 30, 2006 of approximately US $568 million (CAD 658 million) and US $4.9 billion (CAD 5.6 billion) of backlog, generating combined trailing 12 months Adjusted EBITDA for the period ended September 30, 2006 of approximately US$295 million (C$341 million).

Under the deal, BCE (Bell Canada Enterprises) will sell its satellite services subsidiary, Telesat Canada, for $3.42 billion to a new acquisition company formed by Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) and Loral Space & Communications. Loral will merge its Loral Skynet fixed satellite services and network services assets business into the new company. This involves complementary satellite services assets in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Combined with Telesat's existing services, in North and South America, the new Telesat will be a truly global operator of scale, headquartered in Ottawa.

Net of Telesat's debt, BCE will realize total proceeds of $3.25 billion from the all cash transaction.

BCE said the sale is consistent with its stated strategy of concentrating on Bell, its core communications business.

In conjunction with the sale, BCE has put in place a set of commercial arrangements between Telesat and Bell ExpressVu that guarantee ExpressVu access to current and expanded satellite capacity, including the launch of Nimiq 5 in 2009.

Carriers Plan New Terabit Capacity Trans-Pacific Express Optical Cable

Verizon Business signed a construction and maintenance agreement with a consortium planning to build an undersea optical cable system directly linking the U.S. mainland and China.

The new Trans-Pacific Express (TPE) will initially provide capacity of up to 1.28 Tbps, with a design capacity of up to 5.12 Tbps to support future Internet growth and advanced applications. Customers will have access the cable system at 10 Gbps wavelengths. Construction of the new cable system, which will extend more than 18,000 kilometers, will begin in the first quarter of 2007. Completion is scheduled in the third quarter of 2008. The project represents an investment by consortium members of more than $500 million.

Verizon Business is the only U.S.-based member among the initial parties of the consortium, which consists of China Telecom, China Netcom, China Unicom, Korea Telecom and Chunghwa Telecom (Taiwan).

Landing points will be at Nedonna Beach, Oregon; Qingdao, China; Chongming, China; Tanshui, Taiwan; and Keoje, South Korea.

Juniper Adds T-series Physical Interface Card

Juniper Networks announced a new T-series physical interface card (PIC) with long reach optics and other advanced features designed for its T-series core routers. The new 4xOC-192 PIC features standards-based 10 Gigabit Small Form Factor Pluggable (XFP) optical transponders and inverse multiplexing to 40 Gbps.

The new 4xOC-192 PIC enables providers to transport either a single OC-768 stream or four discrete OC-192 connections by using cost-effective 10 Gbps optical transponders and leveraging their installed base of T-series routers. XFP optics allow non-disruptive upgrades and interface additions, while ensuring interoperability with a wide range of standards-based optical equipment.

Juniper said that with an initial range of up to 80km, expandable as new optics become available, the new PIC supports regional inter-POP connections directly from existing routing platforms, reducing costs by eliminating the need for separate optical transponders. Along with the existing OC-768 PIC, the new PIC leverages the service richness of the new 40 Gbps packet forwarding engine for T-series routers.

Intel Installs WiMAX in Egyptian "Digital Village"

Working with Egypt's government, business and education leaders, Intel has installed a WiMAX network in Oseem, a city of 200,000 in Egypt. The wireless network connects two public schools, a health care center on wheels, a municipal building and an e-government services kiosk. Intel also donated and installed computers in the mobile health center and PC labs at the two schools where students and teachers can regularly connect to the outside world for the first time.

"The next billion Internet users will be from rural areas like Oseem," said Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, who toured the village to explore how similar programs could be replicated in other regions. This issue has led Barrett, who also chairs the United Nation's Global Alliance for ICT and Development, to 10 developing countries from the Amazon to Africa in the past 100 days.

Alcatel-Lucent Introduces Higher-Density 10-Gigabit Ethernet Enterprise Switch

Alcatel-Lucent introduced a new model of its 10-Gigabit Ethernet core switch chassis, featuring twice the capacity of the existing Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 9700. Also available are a new high-density 10-Gigabit Ethernet module and a new power-over-Ethernet (PoE) Gigabit Ethernet module.

The Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 9000 family is deployment in the enterprise network core and aggregation layer where large amounts of user data being consolidated for 10 Gigabit connections. Similar to the other OmniSwitch 9000 models, the new Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 9800 delivers wire-rate processing for IPv6/IPv4 and supports multicast applications. The Alcatel-Lucent OmniSwitch 9000s can also be used at the edge to support converged applications and deliver QoS for multi-media applications, VoIP, video collaboration and database applications.

Linksys Announces Skype iPhone

Cisco's Linksys division unveiled a new iPhone for Skype that works on 802.11g networks. The iPhone Wireless-G Phone for Skype (WIP320) makes Skype portable by integrating it into a Wireless-G handset, allowing consumers to place calls from anywhere they can connect to a wireless access point. The product is offered in North America through distribution, online retailers and VAR partners. Europe, Asia and LATAM availability is planned for Q1 2007. Estimated Street Price: $199.99.

Linksys also introduce its iPhone Dual-Mode Internet Telephony Kit for Skype (CIT400), which embeds the popular communications client into a cordless phone base station that is attached directly to the home network via Ethernet. This phone is available immediately in the U.S. through e-commerce retailers, and VAR partners. Global availability through e-commerce retailers, and VAR partners is expected for Q1 2007. Estimated Street Price: $179.99.

OIF Finalizes Scalable System Packet Interface

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has finalized the Scalable System Packet Interface (SPI-S) implementation agreement.

SPI-S is a channelized, streaming-packet interface that scales from 6 Gbps to hundreds of Gbps for chip-to-chip and backplane applications. It is a successor to the widely deployed OIF SPI 4.2 interface, and leverages the OIF's Common Electrical Interface (CEI) to take advantage of high rate serial physical interconnects.

SPI-S is specified to run over CEI, which is defined at 6 and 11 Gbps for both short reach and long reach applications. SPI-S can also be used with other physical interconnects including OIF's SxI-5. The OIF also recently announced the initiation of a CEI-25 project to extend the CEI serial interface into the 25 Gbps range. The scalable nature of SPI-S will allow it to take advantage of CEI-25 when the next generation interconnect is fully defined.

SPI-S uses either industry-standard 64B66B framing or optionally, the enhanced OIF CEI Protocol (CEI-P) framing that provides Forward Error Correction (FEC) support, yet retains a 64/66 clock ratio. FEC is likely to be useful when 11 Gbps PHYs are used in backplane applications and when future, higher speed PHYs are employed.

SPI-S also retains the high-availability focus of the SPI family of interfaces. Like those other protocols, SPI-S is defined to be self-recovering from a catastrophic event on its interface such as a protective switchover of a card.

"The OIF's existing System Packet Interface SPI 4.2 is the most widely deployed chip-to-chip streaming interconnect for high speed data paths," said Dave Stauffer, of IBM and chair for the OIF's Physical and Link Layer Working Group. "Given the highly scalable nature of the new SPI-S, it should have legs to stand for a decade or more as the industry's next definitive streaming-packet interface. The speed and number of bit lanes employed by SPI-S can be directly scaled to very high rates."