Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Avici's Soapstone Develops Abstraction Layer Above MPLS, PBT

Avici Systems has formed a new business unit, called Soapstone Networks , that will offer a network control layer solution that sits between IT-hosted services and network/transport. Soapstone will leverage key industry standards such as ITU NGN, SOA, TMF eTOM, and others, along with open application programming interfaces (APIs) between the network and IT/OSS systems. The Soapstone aim is to map the abstract service needs expressed by the business plane into a simple configuration command set that can be applied to any technology or equipment.

Phase One of the Soapstone product rollout will include the availability of a Provider Backbone Transport Controller (PBTC). Instead of MPLS, PBT uses low-cost Ethernet switching and can link the OSS and network with a simple API. In order for PBT to support automated provisioning and fault management and ultimately control operations costs, it requires a reliable and scalable control plane. Soapstone PBTC is a virtual control plane for PBT, but also one that is compatible with other network technologies such as IP.

Soapstone will deliver a transport abstraction layer above both PBT and MPLS, enabling the migration from already-deployed MPLS networks to PBT.

Soapstone also aims to deliver key capabilities for IMS applications by decoupling IMS from the network, a function IMS recognizes in its definition of a Resource-and-Admission Control Function (RACF). The company plans to support the full ITU NGN RACF capability set, making it compatible not only with IMS but also with emerging FMC applications and even session-based wireline applications including voice and video over IP.

Soapstone registers network elements, selects the optimal transport elements, provisions the network, and monitors the actual characteristics for compliance of a service against a desired behavior.

The Soapstone abstraction layer can create a "virtual resource" that also maps to emerging standards for service management from Telemanagement Forum (TMF) and IPsphere. Soapstone controlled virtual resources can also be integrated with SDP-based features and applications that support IPTV, videoconferencing, SaaS, and other services. By providing a simple and technology-neutral interface for applications to use in brokering network resources, Soapstone facilitates the trend toward application-driven networking.

SK Telecom Selects Digital Fountain's FEC

SK Telecom, the largest mobile operator in Korea, has licensed Digital Fountain's DF Raptor software to develop its next-generation of MBMS, BCMCS, and S-DMB content delivery services.

DF Raptor increases transmission efficiency to enable the delivery of more content over a broader geographic range. DF Raptor has been adopted as a standard for the 3rd Generation Partnership Project's (3GPP) Multimedia Broadcast/Multicast Service (MBMS) specification, and is part of the global standard to support content delivery services over DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld) wireless networks.

ILS Proton to Launch Ciel-2 Satellite in 2008

International Launch Services (ILS) was awarded a contract by Canada's Ciel Satellite Group to launch the Ciel-2 satellite in late 2008.

Ciel 2 is a Ku-band Spacebus 4000 C4 model satellite, the largest Spacebus class satellite built by Alcatel Alenia, with a mass of 5,575 kg. From its assigned orbital position of 129 degrees West longitude, it will deliver a variety of communications services throughout Canada and the larger North American market.

Toshiba Selects Innopath's Mobile Device Management Client

Toshiba has selected InnoPath Software's Integrated Mobile Device Management (iMDM) client for use on its 2007 spring handset models, including the SoftBank 812T, 813T, and 911T. The solution has also been deployed on the SoftBank 810T, 811T, and 910T models which were available on the market last season. InnoPath's solution allows for easy and fast software updates to handsets using over-the-air technology.

NTT DoCoMo Achieves 5 Gbps Packet Transmission in 4G

NTT DoCoMo released details of a fourth-generation (4G) radio access network field trial in which it achieved a maximum packet transmission rate of approximately 5 Gbps in the downlink using 100MHz frequency bandwidth. The 5 Gbps downlink was established to a mobile station moving at 10 km/h. The field experiment took place in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture on December 25, 2006.

The result doubled the previous maximum speed of 2.5Gbps, which NTT DoCoMo achieved a year earlier, by increasing the number of MIMO transmitting and receiving antennas from six to 12 each, and by using proprietary received signal processing technology.

As compared with the December 2005 test, the frequency spectrum efficiency, or the ratio of data transmission rate to channel bandwidth, was also doubled from 25bps/Hz to 50bps/Hz (5Gbps/100MHz).

T-Mobile Selects Alcatel-Lucent for GSM/EDGE network

T-Mobile awarded a contract to Alcatel-Lucent to enhance its German GSM network with the latest generation of GSM/EDGE technology, enabling data rates of up to 220 kbps. The GSM/EDGE network to be upgraded by Alcatel-Lucent will be operational by the end of 2007. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the agreement, Alcatel-Lucent will replace several thousand existing GSM base stations in T-Mobile's network with its latest 9100 Multi-standard Base Station product line. It will upgrade the existing base stations with EDGE capability and replace several hundred base station controllers with Alcatel-Lucent's latest Advanced-TCA based BSC. Alcatel-Lucent will be responsible for overall project management, including network integration, removing old equipment and installing the new equipment, and subcontractor management.

Tropos Debuts Spectrum and Application Based Routing Engine for Wireless Mesh Networks

Tropos Networks introduced its Spectrum and Application Based Routing Engine (SABRE), a mesh software system that enables intelligent integration of parallel network operation across multiple frequency bands and radio types. The new capability could be used by wireless network operators to reserve spectrum and radio interfaces for specific applications or users.

For example, a municipality could carry video surveillance traffic in the 5 GHz band while using the 2.4 GHz band for consumer access. The municipality could switch the video surveillance traffic to the 2.4 GHz band when there is congestion or a failure in the 5 GHz band while disallowing consumer access to shift to the 5 GHz band under similar circumstances.

Tropos' SABRE software, which will an optional capability in the company's MetroMesh routers, provides rule-based traffic segmentation, carrying traffic for different applications on different spectrum and radios while supporting dynamic fault tolerance in the event of link congestion or failure. Parallel networks using different frequency bands and radios can be configured at the client, mesh and/or capacity injection layers. SABRE dynamically routes traffic based on application, service, priority or other configurable rules. Different frequency bands can carry traffic for different applications or users. SABRE automatically detects faulty, congested or otherwise sub-optimal links at each layer in the network and seamlessly routes traffic to the optimal band for dynamic capacity expansion and fault tolerance.

Tropos said that with its future MetroMesh routers supporting licensed band operation and new radio types such as mobile WiMAX, a similar scenario will be enabled for carriers who wish to provide premium service with a licensed band and standard service with an unlicensed band. Again, SABRE could be configure to switch licensed band traffic to the unlicensed band but not vice versa, providing fault tolerance for the premium service traffic while reserving the licensed spectrum for premium users. Also, carriers could program SABRE to use unlicensed spectrum when its use enhances overall system capacity.

Tropos said the capabilities will be available in mid-2007.

Infinera Acquires Little Optics for Planar Integration Technology

Infinera has acquired Little Optics, a start-up specializing in planar lightwave circuits, for an undisclosed sum. Infinera said the acquisition complement its own active large-scale photonic integration based on indium phosphide.

Based in Annapolis Junction, Maryland, Little Optics has pioneered the development of integrated optical devices using planar lightwave technology and proprietary glass materials to deliver photonic integration that is designed to be superior to traditional planar lightwave technology. Little Optics' passive integration techniques are in the development stage.

Avaya Announces $500 Million Stock Repurchase Plan

Avaya's board of directors authorized a new share repurchase plan of up to $500 million over the next two years.

"This plan underscores Avaya's financial strength," said Caroline Dorsa, chief financial officer, Avaya. "Our share repurchases represent an excellent opportunity to enhance shareholder value over the long-term."

U.S. Residential Broadband Penetration to Exceed 50% in 2007

Residential subscriptions to broadband Internet services surged 20% in 2006 to exceed 50 million U.S. households, according to Digital Lifestyles: 2007 Outlook, a new study from Parks Associates. The report estimates U.S. residential broadband subscriptions will surpass 60 million households by year-end 2007, accounting for 55% of all U.S. households.

"The foundations of digital lifestyle applications and products are built on access services, including broadband Internet and television," said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst with Parks Associates. "With the penetration of high-speed Internet exceeding 50% in 2007, we're also witnessing shifts in the way companies are positioning their communications, entertainment, and information services as home technology solutions." "

Iridium Offers Network Quality Guarantee

Iridium Satellite announced a new network quality guarantee program promising credits of up to 100 minutes of airtime, as well as three months free subscription fees, if the Iridium network fails to complete properly initiated voice calls from customers' new Iridium handsets.
If a customer is dissatisfied with the quality of Iridium's network service within the first 90 days of service activation, the customer may submit a claim through their participating Service Provider.

Iridium operates a constellation of cross-linked low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites. Calls are handed-off from one satellite to another until they are downloaded to one of Iridium's terrestrial gateways and patched into the public-switched telephone system. Iridium's 66 operational satellites are supplemented by numerous in-orbit spares that can be activated as needed, and backup gateway facilities are available if necessary.

Vonage Adds 166,000 VoIP Subscribers in Q4, Loss Narrows

Vonage reported Q4 revenue of $181 million, a 91% increase from $95 million in the year-ago quarter. Net loss narrowed to $65 million, or $0.42 per share, from a net loss of $72 million reported in the fourth quarter 2005.

Vonage added 955,000 net subscriber lines in 2006, including 166,000 in the fourth quarter. The Company finished 2006 with 2,224,000 lines, 75% above the year-ago level of 1,269,000.

Bookham's CEO Out

Dr. Giorgio Anania has resigned his position as Bookham's president and chief executive officer, as well as resign his seat on the company's board of directors, effective immediately. Dr. Peter Bordui, Bookham's current non-executive chairman of the board of directors, has assumed the position of president and chief executive officer on an interim basis.

Bookham is a leading supplier of optical components, modules and subsystems.

NETGEAR Posts Q4 Revenue of $164 Million, up 8% Sequentially

NETGEAR reported Q4 2006 revenue of $164.0 million, a 35% increase as compared to $121.8 million for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2005, and an increase of 8% as compared to $151.6 million in the third quarter of 2006. Net income (GAAP) was $13.4 million or $0.38 per diluted share, an increase of 51% compared to the same period a year earlier.

The U.S. retail channel inventory ended the fourth quarter of 2006 at 8.4 weeks compared to 6.0 weeks in the fourth quarter of 2005 and 10.6 weeks in the third quarter of 2006. U.S. distribution channel inventory ended the fourth quarter of 2006 at 3.5 weeks, as compared to 4.4 weeks in the fourth quarter of 2005, and 6.3 weeks in the third quarter of 2006. European distribution channel inventory ended the fourth quarter of 2006 at approximately 5.1 weeks, as compared to approximately 5.2 weeks in the fourth quarter of 2005 and 3.8 weeks in the third quarter of 2006. Asia Pacific distribution channel inventory ended the fourth quarter of 2006 at approximately 4.2 weeks, as compared to approximately 4.6 weeks in the fourth quarter of 2005, and 4.3 weeks in the third quarter of 2006.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

MINO Wireless Raises $7 Million for Mobile VoIP

MINO Wireless, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, received $7 million for its VoIP service for mobile phones. MINO's technology is designed for international calling from mobile phones via existing Internet connections.

The funding came from Canaan Partners.

Sonus Announces Low-Power GSM Strategy for FMC

Sonus Networks is developing a suite of products to deliver voice service and multimedia applications using new Low Powered GSM (LP GSM) picocell and femtocell technologies. Sonus said the solution would be particularly beneficial to network operators in regions where regulators have released new wireless licenses designed to put unused or under-used spectrum into the market.

The FMC strategy would offer better in-building coverage through the use of picocells and femtocells that when combined with Sonus' IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based architecture, significantly reduces the costs for traffic backhaul.

In April 2006, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) in the United Kingdom was the first to release new wireless licenses into the market. With the release of this additional spectrum, network operators are able to move beyond traditional radio access networks (RANs) to also provide fixed and wireless broadband services.

Alcatel-Lucent Shows Unified Mobile TV across 3G and S-Band

At 3GSM World Congress 2007, Alcatel-Lucent showcased seamless access to TV channels delivered via 3G or broadcast networks, on a single device. This single device allows viewers to seamlessly access and browse among a selection of 3G-based TV channels as well as broadcast TV channels using the S-Band (2.2 GHz). The terminal used is a Pocket PC-powered PDA. The S-band capability of the terminal is achieved thanks to an S-Band chipset provided by DiBcom.

Additionally, for the first time in a public trade show, Alcatel-Lucent is demonstrating plain broadcast Mobile TV in the S-Band using SAGEM myMobileTV handsets.

Orange Business Services and Alcatel-Lucent Announce Marketing Deal

Orange Business Services and Alcatel-Lucent announced a global agreement focused on enterprise sales of IP-based communications solutions.

Both companies will provide enterprises with a set of end-to-end business critical solutions, supported from design to global implementation.
Key services emphasized in this agreement include: business telephony services, IP VPNs, fixed-mobile convergence solutions, Unified Communication software applications, and contact centers with multimedia traffic processing.

Seagate, ST and Quantum Develop HDDs for Handheld DVRs

Seagate Technology is working with STMicroelectronics and Quantum SPA, a leader in handheld digital television technology, to produce hard drive-based mobile devices that will let consumers receive, record and playback digital television signals.

The solution, based on Quantum's QTM 1000 Pocket Television platform, will be built around STMicroelectronics' Nomadik mobile multimedia application processor and Seagate's mobile hard disc drives. The companies expect to market the solution to digital television providers, network operators, handheld device manufacturers, and others looking to participate in the growing availability of digital television signals around the world.

Shipments of the first product to come out of this partnership are expected in the third calendar quarter of 2007.

Sonus and ip.access Partner on Fixed/Mobile Convergence

Sonus Networks and ip.access, which develops cellular picocell and femtocell technologies, announced a partnership targeting fixed/mobile convergence (FMC).

Sonus , which recently is working on solutions for delivering fixed-mobile service over GSM spectrum, will work together with ip.access, which will provide in-building picocell and femtocell solutions.

ip.access said the relationship validates its IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) roadmap.