Monday, June 25, 2007

EC Insists on Access Network Competition in Germany

The European Commission has requested the German regulatory authority to ensure adequate competitive access and a level playing field in the transition to high bandwidth Next Generation Networks (NGN).

In May, the Germany regulator (BNetzA) notified the Commission of measures intended to continue the obligations imposed on Deutsche Telekom to grant competitors access to its copper fixed telephone network. Since Deutsche Telekom is upgrading its network by rolling out fibre-based Next Generation Networks, BNetzA's regulatory measures also include remedies to tackle the transition to this.

In a statement, the European Commission argues that while the regulatory measures proposed by BNetzA go in the right direction, they are not yet sufficient. The roll-out of fibre closer to the customers, normally to the street cabinets, enables the provision of high bandwidth services. However, it raises important issues regarding the position of alternative operators who currently benefit from access obligations of Deutsche Telekom. As alternative operators in Germany already have started to roll-out their own infrastructure to local exchanges, or more central levels of the network, these operators now need an economic way of reaching the new access points provided in street cabinets.

Therefore, the Commission has requested the German telecom regulator to guarantee that access to Deutsche Telekom's existing copper network by its competitors remains efficient during the roll-out of Next Generation Networks. BNetzA is therefore asked to ensure that competitors have economically viable access to Deutsche Telekom's ducts and fibre network, if appropriate, in order to deploy, their own networks down to the street cabinets and so that the necessary equipment can be installed in those cabinets.

Occam Selected by Centennial de Puerto Rico for FTTB

Centennial de Puerto Rico has selected Occam's Broadband Loop Carrier (BLC) system, including Occam's new Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) voice functionality, as part of its strategy to expand its fiber-to-the-business (FTTB) Ethernet solution. Specifically, Centennial has purchased and deployed Occam's BLC 6312 Optical Line Terminal Blades, BLC 6440-01 Optical Packet Transport Blades and 2342 Optical Fiber Network Terminals (ONTs).

Centennial serves more than 400,000 lines and provides wireline, wireless and broadband data services in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Ericsson Supplies Mobile Softswitch to Algeria

Wataniya Telecom Algérie has selected Ericsson's Mobile Softswitch Solution for its nationwide GSM network in Algeria. The solution will increase network capacity, performance and operational efficiency. Ericsson will also provide a range of associated professional services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

TELUS Decides Not to Bid for Bell Canada

TELUS announced that it has elected not to submit an offer to acquire BCE. In a press statement, TELUS said the inadequacies of BCE's bid process did not make it possible for TELUS to submit an offer.
  • Earlier this week, BCE, the parent company of Bell Canada, and TELUS, the incumbent operator in western Canada, confirmed that talks are underway regarding a possible business combination. BCE and TELUS have entered into a mutual non-disclosure and standstill agreement on a non-exclusive basis.

Cavium Develops Storage Services Processors with 2-12 Cores

Cavium Networks announced a new family of OCTEON MIPS64 Multicore Storage Services Processors (SSPs) targeted at applications such as Fiber Channel and Ethernet Disk Arrays, RAID controllers, multi-protocol switches, single-chip iSCSI adaptors, virtualization equipment, Protection and NAS/SAN equipment.

Cavium said its new, single-chip OCTEON SSP processors deliver two to four times more compute cycles versus many alternatives and integrate advanced hardware acceleration for RAID, compression, de-duplication, security and iSCSI.

The OCTEON SSP processor family consists of seven different software-compatible products. Key features include integration of 2 to 12 cnMIPS Plus 64-bit cores, storage application acceleration, an array of high-speed input/output interfaces including 10-Gigabit XAUI, PCI-Express, Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual DDR2 memory controllers, and data protection mechanisms.

OCTEON SSP enables storage equipment vendors to build low to high-end scalable storage solutions providing up to 3 Million on-chip virtual IOPS, 10Gbps of iSCSI, 1GB/s of compression / decompression, up to 2GB/s of in-line encryption in a single chip and up to 10GB/s of RAID acceleration.

Cavium Expands its OCTEON Plus Network Services Processor Family

Cavium Networks introduced two new devices in its OCTEON Plus Network Services Processor (NSP) family. The new processors integrate 2 to 12 cnMIPS 64-bit cores at up to 1 Gigahertz, advanced application acceleration for networking, security, compression/decompression, an array of high-speed industry standard serial packet interfaces including up to two 10-Gigabit XAUI, two 8-lane PCI-Express, eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, and dual DDR2 memory controllers.

Target applications for the new processors include routers, switches, 3G+ and WiMAX equipment, ATCA / AMC blades, security appliances, 802.11n enterprise gateways, and acceleration cards.

Highlights of the new processors include:

  • OCTEON CN56XX consists of four different software- and pin-compatible parts with 6 to 12 cnMIPS cores, running at clock speeds of up to 1 Gigahertz, along with integrated dual 72-bit DDR2 memory controllers and a 2MB L2 cache. CN56XX integrates a total of 16 SerDes interfaces that can be flexibly configured as a combination of up to two 1/2/4/8-lanes PCI Express controllers, two 10-Gigabit XAUIs, eight SGMII. The CN56XX delivers up to 12Gbps IPv4 forwarding min packet performance, 20Gbps of in-line encryption and 10Gbps of compression/decompression in a single chip with leading performance/$ and performance/watt.

  • OCTEON CN54XX consists of three different software- and pin-compatible parts with 2 to 6 cnMIPS cores, running at clock speeds of up to 1 Gigahertz, along with an integrated 72-bit DDR2 memory controller and a 1MB L2 cache. CN54XX has a total of 12 SerDes interfaces that can be flexibly configured as a combination of up to two 1/2-lanes PCI Express controllers, one 8-lane PCI Express, 1x XAUI, eight SGMII. The CN54XX delivers up to 6Gbps IPv4 forwarding min packet performance, 10Gbps of in-line encryption and 6Gbps of compression/decompression in a single chip with leading performance/$ and performance/watt. The OCTEON CN54XX is the industry's first Network Services Processor that delivers over 3GHz of total CPU processing under 8 watts of power consumption.

China Telecom Shanghai Deploys Juniper's TX Matrix

China Telecom Shanghai has deployed additional Juniper TX Matrix and T640 core routing platforms to optimize its next-generation IP network, supporting IPTV and other multiplay applications.

The service provider, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Telecom, first deployed the multi-chassis TX Matrix alongside existing Juniper Networks M-series multiservice routers and E-series edge routers in February 2006. The current expansion of its multi-terabit core network is designed to meet rapid subscriber and traffic growth. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Juniper noted that its T-series core routing platforms have an installed base of over 2,500 platforms worldwide across over 125 service provider production networks. The platform has been shipping since April 2002.

Broadcom, Conexant and Broadlight Increase Activity in MoCA

Broadcom, Conexant Systems, and BroadLight are the first three companies to join MoCA's new contributor class. All three have
been associate members for more than a year. In their new role as contributors, all three companies will actively participate in the formation and direction of new specifications. Every contributor level member also has voting rights and can partake in all MoCA work groups from technical and specification to marketing.

The Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA-TM) is an open, industry driven initiative promoting distribution of digital video and entertainment through existing coaxial cable in the home.

NETGEAR and Ubiquisys to Develop Femtocell Home Gateway

NETGEAR and Ubiquisys plan to deliver a residential gateway with integrated DSL modem, Wi-Fi, VoIP and 3G femtocell technology. This gateway device will offer mobile operators worldwide a single-box, converged solution at a competitive price.

The companies anticipate that the NETGEAR gateway integrating Ubiquisys' femtocell technology will be available for operator testing by Q4 2007, with commercial availability slated for early 2008.

RealPlayer Records Online Videos for Web DVR Experience

RealNetworks' latest RealPlayer application allows consumers to record and download videos from Web sites for later offline viewing. The free software provides single-click recording of online videos regardless of format. RealPlayer automatically recognizes and will not download video content protected by DRM. A premium version of RealPlayer ($29.99) allows the downloaded videos to be burned to DVD.

iPhone Customers to Activate AT&T Service via iTunes

iPhone users will be able to activate their new iPhones at home using Apple's iTunes software running on a PC or Mac, without having to wait in a store while their phone is activated.

The companies said that activation via iTunes should take only minutes, as the iTunes software guides the user through simple steps to choose their service plan, authorize their credit and activate their iPhone. Once iPhone is activated, users can then easily sync all of their phone numbers and other contact information, calendars, email accounts, web browser bookmarks, music, photos, podcasts, TV shows and movies just like they do when they sync their iPods with iTunes.

"iPhone's user-driven activation is another example of how AT&T and Apple have partnered to bring innovative new features to our customers," said Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO, AT&T. "iPhone's innovative activation and sync is just one example of how this is going to be a real industry game-changer."

Apple and AT&T also announced three rate plans for the iPhone. Each plan offers unlimited data (web/email) and the Visual Voicemail service: $59.99 for 450 voice minutes; $79.99 for 900 minutes; and $99.99 for 1,350 minutes.

Sun Constellation System Leverages 3,456-port InfiniBand Switch

Sun Microsystems introduced its "Sun Constellation System" -- a High Performance Computing (HPC) platform that leverages ultra-dense processors and ultra-dense InfiniBand switches to scale up to 1.7 PetaFlops of processing power.

The Sun Constellation System combines ultra-dense blade server architecture with a 3,456 port InfiniBand switch fabric. Previously, the largest InfiniBand switch had 288 ports. Sun Microsystems said its new, monolithic, non-blocking InfiniBand switch replaces hundreds of discrete switching elements.

The Sun Constellation System also uses state-of-the-art open storage technologies, providing up to 300TB of storage per rack, accessible from the same InfiniBand network.

The first installation will be the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at the University of Texas in Austin.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Boingo Offers Flat Rate Wi-Fi Roaming for $39/Month

Boingo Wireless announced a new Wi-Fi service providing access to more than 100,000 Boingo hot spot locations around the world for a flat rate of EUR 29 or US$39 per month, with no roaming charges and no per-minute fees.

Boingo also announced a partnership France's Hub télécom and Norway's Oslo Lufthavn Tele & Data AS (OLTD), thereby adding key airport locations in Europe to its roaming network.
  • In May 2007, Boingo Wireless signed a roaming agreement with FON, a Madrid-based start-up building a global community of Wi-Fi access point owners (or "foneros") willing to share their broadband connections. The roaming deal will provide Boingo users with access to an additional 130,000 hot spot locations – more than doubling the company's network size.

RCN to Acquire NEON for $260 Million

RCN Corporation agreed to acquire NEON Communications Group, a facilities-based carrier serving New England and the mid-Atlantic regions, for up to $5.25 per share of NGI common stock, in cash, for expected total consideration of up to approximately $260 million.

The merger combines RCN, a leading competitive provider of video, data, and voice services to residential and business customers in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and Chicago metro markets, with NEON's pure play network transport services to carrier and enterprise customers in its twelve-state New England and mid-Atlantic region.

NEON operates a densely built fiber optic network with approximately 4,800 route miles, over 230,000 fiber miles, 22 colocation facilities, and more than 200 points of presence from Maine to Virginia. It serves approximately 120 carrier and enterprise customers.

RCN provides service in the Boston, New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Chicago metropolitan markets.

"This is a significant strategic acquisition for RCN that scales our high-value commercial segment with another premier regional service provider in our own footprint. This combination of NEON, ConEd Communications and RCN's existing metro and intercity rings will now reach into both Tier 1 and Tier 2 markets for enterprise and carrier customers who are looking for robust alternatives to incumbent providers. Additionally, NEON's dense capillarity improves our ability to deliver seamless, high quality services and creates significant growth potential," commented Peter Aquino, President and CEO of RCN.

Germany's EWE TEL Selects Infinera Optical Backbone

EWE TEL, one of Germany's leading regional telecom operators, selected Infinera for its optical backbone. The European systems integrations partner AXIANS, represented in Germany by NK Networks & Services, introduced the Infinera Digital Optical Networks solution. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Telstra and Alcatel-Lucent Announce R&D Pact

Telstra and Alcatel-Lucent announced a three year collaborative Research and Development (R&D) agreement. Alcatel-Lucent said the agreement ensures that its global products and solutions are developed in close alignment with Telstra's commercial and technological business requirements.

Nokia Siemens Networks Builds Global Network Solutions Center in Lisbon

Nokia Siemens Networks will create a new Global Network Solutions Center (GNSC) at its site in Lisbon, Portugal. The facility will consist of a Global Network Operations Center, for outsourced network operations and management for our customers, a Global Care Center for network maintenance services, including fault correction, and also a Service Delivery Center for Consulting and Systems Integration activities such as network optimization.

Wi-Fi Alliance Begins Testing 802.11n Draft 2.0 Gear

The Wi-Fi Alliance Authorized Test Laboratories began testing products for 802.11n draft 2.0 compliance. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 802.11n draft 2.0 products have been tested for interoperability across vendors, adherence to WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) security protocols, and backward compatibility with more than 3,500 Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 802.11n a/b/g products.

The first products are anticipated to arrive on store shelves this summer -- in time for students returning to school.

Verizon Business and SoftBank Announce Alliance

Verizon Business and SoftBank Telecom announced a strategic alliance to serve multinational customers doing business in Japan. The deal provides customers with access to the networks and capabilities of each company.

SoftBank Telecom has a nationwide, fiber-optic network of more than 13,000 kilometers. Verizon Business owns and operates an expansive global IP backbone.

EarthLink Names New CEO, Former Mpower Exec

EarthLink named Rolla P. Huff as its new president and CEO. Previously, Huff, 50, served as the chairman and CEO of Mpower Communications, a facilities-based provider of voice and data services to both the business and consumer markets from 1999 to 2006. Prior to Mpower, he served as president and chief operating officer, and earlier as chief financial officer, of Frontier Corporation until its acquisition in 1999.
  • Garry Betty, EarthLink's President and CEO, passed away on January 2 due to complications from cancer. He was 49. Mr. Betty had been with the company since 1996.

  • Mpower was a facilities-based CLEC with operations in areas of California, Nevada, and Illinois. The company was acquired by TelePacific in 2006.