Sunday, September 16, 2007

WiChorus Targets Wireless Core, Raises $15 Million

WiChorus, a start-up based in San Jose, California, unveiled plans for a new wireless core solution that enables operators to deploy flatter, smarter WiMAX and 4G networks that reduce CapEx and OpEx and enable new revenue-generating services. The forthcoming solution will enable operators to offer service differentiation, monitor and control network traffic, manage subscribers and services, and optimize usage of network resources.

WiChorus said it is building a massively scalable platform for the delivery of WiMAX and 4G wireless core services. Its forthcoming intelligent Access Services Network (ASN) Gateway will support open interfaces and provide flexibility for multiple WiMAX Forum profiles. Product specifics have not yet been disclosed.

WiChorus is also helping drive an open WiMAX ecosystem through its One Open WiMAX initiative, ensuring carriers have the ability to choose best-of-breed products for their access and core infrastructures. The goal of this vendor-neutral initiative is to bring true openness to mobile core networks by promoting both the adoption of a single, open interface based on the NWG specifications and complete interoperability across the entire mobile ecosystem.

To date, WiChorus has successfully completed interoperability testing products from with a number of industry-leading chip, base-station, and AAA vendors, including products from Aperto and Bridgewater Systems and Sequans-based base station platforms, among others.

Separately, WiChorus announced it has secured $15 million in new funding in an oversubscribed round. The funding was led by new investor Mayfield Fund and included previous investors Redpoint Ventures and Accel Partners. This brings WiChorus' total venture capital funding to $25 million.

WiChorus also announced that Navin Chaddha, managing director at Mayfield Fund, will join the company's board of directors. Fellow institutional investors Peter Wagner from Accel and Tom Dyal from Redpoint were appointed to the board earlier this year, along with Basil Alwan, president of the IP Division at Alcatel-Lucent.
  • WiChorus was founded Rehan Jalil, who previously served as chief architect of WiMAX for Aperto Networks.

CloudShield Secures $15 Million for Carrier DPI Platform

CloudShield Technologies, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, secured $15 million in financing for its carrier-grade deep packet inspection platform.

CloudShield's platform provides visibility and control of traffic from Layer 2 through Layer 7 at rates up to 10 Gbps. The platform can be used for applications ranging from P2P traffic control, to subscriber firewall applications, to specific content control.

CloudShield's customers include major carriers in North America, Europe and Asia as well as U.S. federal government agencies.

The investment round was led by Tektronix, a worldwide provider of communications network management and diagnostics solutions. Existing investors ComVentures, TPG Growth, Foundation Capital and Paladin Capital also participated in this funding.

CloudShield and Tektronix are also announcing a strategic partnership in which the two companies will jointly offer and blend service control and security technology from CloudShield with Tektronix's service assurance solutions. The companies said their combination will better enable service provider organizations to analyze and control traffic and quality on high-speed networks.

Nokia Siemens Networks and Airvana Cooperate on 3G Femtocells

Airvana is working with Nokia Siemens Networks to provide an end-to-end femto cell solution for 3G mobile operators.

Airvana said its UMTS Home Base Station femto cell leverages software-based functionality and off-the-shelf silicon to accelerate feature development and reduce product cost. The product is being certified to interoperate with Nokia Siemens Networks' Femto Gateway.

As the first milestone in this effort, the companies have successfully completed simultaneous end-to-end calls utilizing Airvana's femto cell and Nokia Siemens Networks' Femto Gateway to connect to a 3GPP core network. The two companies will cooperate in the marketing and sales of the joint solution to mobile operators worldwide. Each company will independently supply its respective products to the operator. Initial trials of the joint solution are expected by the end of 2007, with deployments starting in 2008.
  • In July 2007, Nokia Siemens Networks announced plans for a new Femto Gateway network element that will not require changes in the operators' existing core network, as it will connect to the core network over a standard interface. Mounted in a standard telco rack, it serves as the grooming point for cellular traffic to multiple Femto CPE. The Femto Gateway will also connect via an open interface to Femto Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in homes, allowing Femto customer equipment from multiple vendors to be connected to it. The Femto Gateway will support any Femto CPE certified by Nokia Siemens Networks to conform with the interface. Nokia Siemens Networks said it will co-operate with Femto CPE vendors to ensure interoperability of their equipment to the Nokia Siemens Networks interface.

Kuwait's Gulfsat Purchases NOC from Hughes

Gulfsat Communications Company (Gulfsat), a leading satellite service and solutions provider in the Middle East and North Africa, has purchased an HN System Network Operations Center (NOC) from Hughes Network Systems. The NOC was installed at the Globecomm Systems, Inc. (GSI) teleport in Hauppauge, New York where it will be used to provide a new broadband residential Internet access service, "Shownet Two-Way Service," that Gulfsat is launching in the Gulf region in the 4th quarter of 2007.

The HN platform employs the most efficient implementation of the DVB-S2 industry standard including Adaptive Coding and Modulation (ACM), and is fully compliant with IPoS (IP over Satellite), the first global satellite industry standard approved by TIA in North America, and ETSI and ITU in Europe.

Optical Internetworking Forum Completes Interoperability Demonstration

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) hosted its third Worldwide Interoperability Demonstration as part of a public showcase at ECOC 2007 in Berlin.

AT&T, China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, KDDI, Telecom Italia and Verizon hosted the event at lab facilities in six countries, on three continents. The Demo was also a complete success from an equipment supplier view. Eight optical equipment suppliers highlighted solutions for support of Ethernet services over multi-domain SONET/SDH transport networks by employing OIF Implementation Agreements (IAs) in a multi-carrier, multi-vendor environment. Participating system suppliers included Alcatel-Lucent, Ciena, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, Marben Products, Sycamore Networks, Tellabs and ZTE.

William Uliasz, Director, Access and Transport Network Architecture, Verizon, said, "Progress in vendor interoperability for dynamic service provisioning using the OTN Control Plane has been fantastic. We see tremendous value in being able to provide dynamic transport capabilities on a global scale. The ability to establish bandwidth connections from 50 Mb/s to 1 Gb/s, or even 10Gb/s, over a dynamic control plane optical core network will transform how bandwidth services are viewed by our Enterprise customers. Key enablers bringing the network transformation to reality are: the economical availability of GigE access ports; and bandwidth availability and grooming expansions from OXCs, ROADMs and packet enabled transport platforms."

M2Z Reaches Wholesale Deal with Rural Telcos

M2Z Networks, the venture-backed start-up whose' goal is to build a free broadband wireless network across the U.S. using in 2155-2175 MHz spectrum band, announced a wholesale partnership with Broadband Wireless Partners (BWP), a consortium founded by 20 Rural Local Exchange Carriers (RLECs) currently providing service to approximately two million rural consumers in 35 states.

M2Z will provide high-speed wireless broadband service on a wholesale basis to the RLECs who will sell the bundled services to their customers. The agreement also provides for M2Z to purchase access to RLEC facilities, the RLECs' access to certified modems for their customers, and coordination of marketing activities between M2Z and the RLECs.

M2Z plans to again present its spectrum proposal in the FCC's forthcoming rulemaking process.
  • In August, the FCC dismissed a petition from M2Z Networks seeking an exclusive license to nationwide spectrum in the 2155-2175 MHz band. The company had sought to provide free, advertising-supported, wireless Internet access in areas reaching 95% of the U.S. population. In return, M2Z was promising a 5% royalty payment of its revenues to the U.S. Treasury for 15 years. Instead, the FCC adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in which it will explore future usage of the fallow spectrum.

Ecrio Raises $24 Million for Mobile Commerce Software

Ecrio, a start-up based in Cupertino, California, raised $24 million in venture funding for its work in real-time communications and commerce software for mobile phones.

Ecrio's software solutions include 3G communications applications, such as Instant Messaging and Presence Services (IMPS), VideoShare, VoIP, and Push to Talk over Cellular (PoC); and mobile commerce applications, including NFC and MoBeam mobile barcode redemption. Ecrio's customers include ASUSTeK, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, and Panasonic.

CSK, JAIC, and Nomura Securities, all global firms which closely track the wireless industry, joined Aplix, NTT DoCoMo, Visa, and current investor Noventi/CIR Ventures in the round. JAIC will add a director to Ecrio's board, joining members from Nexit Ventures, Noventi/CIR Ventures, and Ecrio.

Digicel Selects Alvarion for WiMAX in Caribbean

Digicel Group, the Caribbean's largest mobile operator, has selected Alvarion as its strategic partner for WiMAX in the Cayman Islands. Alvarion's IEEE.802.16e 4MotionTM Mobile WiMAX solution was selected for the operator's first commercial WiMAX launch. The new network offers both voice and data services to residences and businesses throughout the Cayman Islands in the 2.3 GHZ frequency. Financial terms were not disclosed.
  • Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and has operations in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, CuraƧao, The Cayman Islands, Dominica, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and El Salvador. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barths and is preparing to launch in Suriname, its 23rd market.

SpiralFrog Launches its Ad-Supported Free Music Service

SpiralFrog launched its free, ad-supported Web site for downloading music. The SpiralFrog site allows anyone to access and download files from a library of more than 800,000 songs. Registered users must renew their free subscription every 30 days to keep downloading music, and every 60 days to keep listening to files. Audio and video files downloaded from SpiralFrog never expire. Songs and videos downloaded on SpiralFrog will play on Windows PCs running XP and Vista. Users can download to their PCs and synchronize their music with up to two portable music players or music-enabled phones that support Windows Media DRM.

Force10 Deployed for 3D Post Production Facility

3ality Digital Systems, a leading video production firm, has deployed Force10 Networks' C300 resilient switch and S2410P low latency data center switch in what is described as the world's first all-digital online 3D post production facility. The Force10 S2410P supports 24 line-rate 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports that directly connect 3ality Digital System's high performance work stations in a low latency network as well as provide the bandwidth for on-location video production. With a single concert or sporting event in live-action 3D requiring three Gbps sustained throughput per camera for several hours, the high density, line-rate capacity of the S2410P allows 3ality Digital Systems to achieve maximum bandwidth efficiency for manipulating large 3D graphics and video files.

Bharti Airtel Selects UTStarcom for IPTV

India's Bharti Airtel has awarded a contract to UTStarcom to supply its RollingStream end-to-end IPTV solution. Financial terms were not disclosed.

UTStarcom's RollingStream solution will enable Bharti Airtel to offer live broadcast television, time-shifted TV and video-on-demand (VoD) bundled with the operator's existing broadband and voice services, which can all be consolidated into a single bill. Airtel expects to offer this new service bundle to customers in Gurgaon and the National Capital Region (NCR) by the end of the year. The service will also be rolled out in a phased manner across eight additional regions in the country.
  • Earlier this year, UTStarcom announced a three-year contract through its collaboration with Aksh Optifibre Ltd. to deploy its RollingStream solution with Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) in India.

Alcatel-Lucent Acquires TAG for its Consultancy Practice

Alcatel-Lucent has acquired Thompson Advisory Group, which provides telecommunications consulting services to enterprises, for an undisclosed sum. TAG helps enterprise customers cut their telecom expenses by leveraging network outsourcing resources. TAG has 22 employees in 10 cities and services businesses throughout the United States.

TAG and Alcatel-Lucent executives stated that the consolidation of the carrier space and the needs of its customers have reshaped the industry, creating a desire for more flexible, turnkey network services. In addition, the communications industry is going through a complete network transformation with the convergence of wireline, wireless and IP technologies.

Sylantro Completes IMS Interoperability Testing in Pre-PacketCable 2.0 Environment

Sylantro Systems completed the first of a series of PacketCable 2.0 interoperability events at CableLabs, where it joined nine other Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) vendors in demonstrating interoperability among their equipment for supporting Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) voice services.

Sylantro provided its Synergy multiplay application feature server for the August, pre-PacketCable 2.0 event at the PacketCable Application Lab in Louisville, Colorado. Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Gallery IPT and MetaSwitch provided the IMS core network foundation.

The PacketCable 2.0 architecture and specifications -- based on IMS standards -- are designed to expand the capabilities of a cable operators' voice-over-IP platform to support innovative and differentiated, revenue-generating services such as wireless, fixed-mobile convergence, business communications and video communications.

Sylantro's Synergy multiplay application feature server and Synapps application-programming interface (API) -- also based on IMS standards--help MSOs sell these new and innovative services.

Sylantro noted that its carrier-grade Synergy software platform now has 95 deployments worldwide among ILECs, PTTs, IXCs, CLECs and MSOs.

Qwest Authorized by GSA for Networx Universal

Qwest Communications received notification from the General Services Administration (GSA) that it has successfully passed the Operational Support Systems (OSS) testing. Qwest is authorized to receive service orders for Networx Universal, the new $20 billion federal communications program.

According to GSA's guidelines, before Networx awardees may begin the actual sales and order-taking processes, they must successfully complete numerous tests, including analysis of its customer-facing portal, extensive OSS testing, and a thorough security review. Qwest said it completed all these steps for Networx Universal in record time, and that it has started OSS testing for the Networx Enterprise contract.

Yahoo! Acquires Zimbra for AJAX-based Messaging

Yahoo! agreed to acquire Zimbra, a developer of e-mail and collaboration software, for approximately $350 million.

Zimbra's offerings include rich, AJAX-based e-mail, calendar, and contact management features that can be used both on and offline.
The company has developed a set of "Zimlets" that tie in Web services to e-mail. Examples include providing updated shipping information inside an email, travel data, or being able to add all participants in a mail conversation to your address book at once.

Yahoo! said the acquisition helps it to expand its presence in universities, businesses and through ISPs by enabling organizations to host e-mail on or off premises with their own domain.

Yahoo! also noted that its own Mail service, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, currently has 250 million users worldwide.

PMC-Sierra Debuts WiMAX MIMO RF IC Solutions

PMC-Sierra introduced its first WiMAX RF IC solutions for Femtocell base stations, Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), and Mobile Station designs.

The PM8800 WiZIRD 2Tx/2Rx features a full 2Tx/2Rx Multiple In/Multiple Out (MIMO) capability to support a maximum downlink data rate of 63 Mbps per sector and a peak uplink data rate of 28 Mbps per sector in a 10 MHz channel. The PM8800's Multi-Band capability (2.3-2.7 GHz and 3.3-3.8 GHz) allows a single design to cover all popular licensed radio spectra worldwide. The 2Tx/2Rx's full MIMO capability will enable Wave2+ Mobile Stations with higher uplink and downlink data rates compared to first generation WiMAX CPE. The same RF IC device can be used in both Femtocell base station and subscriber station designs.

Additional capabilities of the PM8800 WiZIRD 2Tx/2Rx include:

  • up to 64QAM QPSK modulation for both Tx and Rx paths at 0dBm output power level

  • Low-power dual-receivers and dual-transmitters;

  • Dual-band transceiver covering the 2.3-2.7 GHz and 3.3-3.8 GHz spectra;

  • Direct-conversion ZIF design;

  • Support for 802.16e-2005 and 802.16-2004 IEEE standards;

  • Configurable channel bandwidths of 3.5 MHz, 5 MHz, 7 MHz, 8.75 MHz, 10 MHz, 14 MHz and 20 MHz;

  • Integrated DCXO supports AFC with no external components;

  • Flexible baseband device interface options: digital parallel I/Q interface (JEDEC JESD207) or analog I/Q;

  • Integrated analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters;

  • * Integrated transmitter baluns; and

  • Integrated hardware support for calibration.

The PM8801 WiZIRD 1Tx/2Rx integrates a single transmit and two receive radio paths, as well as Multi-Band support, and is designed for WiMAX Wave2 subscriber equipment such as CPE and laptop devices.

The WiZIRD family is powered by PMC-Sierra's "Extend Range, Rate and Roaming Architecture" (EXTRRRA), which enables WiMAX service providers to expand coverage areas with minimum capital expenditure, increase the data rate using full 2Tx/2Rx MIMO capability, and support global roaming. Both devices are sampling now.

PMC-Sierra also announced a collaboration with Sequans Communications, a leading WiMAX baseband chip supplier, to integrate its WiZIRD RF IC family with Sequans' advanced SQN1130 and SQN2130 subscriber station and base station chips.

The companies said their collaboration has yielded best-of-breed Mobile WiMAX product designs, including Multi-Band CPE, Femtocell, and Mobile Station.

SingTel Deploys Ruckus for In-Home Wi-Fi Distribution of "mio" IPTV

SingTel has selected Ruckus Wireless to supply its "MediaFlex" Smart Wi-Fi system to enable reliable in-home wireless distribution of its new "mio TV" (IPTV) service. SingTel has standardized on the Ruckus MediaFlex 802.11g Smart Wi-Fi system as their in-home wireless distribution option. It is providing the Ruckus MediaFlex system to installers and offering it to Singapore subscribers as an option to connect televisions throughout the home to its IPTV service without disruptive wiring.

SingTel estimates that approximately 70 percent of all subscribers who initially request having their homes wired with Ethernet change their mind to a non-wired option when the installer arrives. Singapore has over 1.4 million households with 2.02 televisions per household. SingTel is the market share leader for broadband services with over 380,000 subscribers.

NTT Tests "Super 3G" Chipset Achieving 200 Mbps Downlinks via MIMO

NTT DoCoMo announced a milestone of the way to "Super 3G" wireless, also known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) -- the company has developed and successfully tested a trial large-scale-integration (LSI) chip incorporating advanced power-saving signal-processing technologies that enable the chip to work at a sufficiently low power consumption and to be made small enough to fit into forthcoming Super 3G handsets and beyond.

DoCoMo reports that its LSI achieved a transmission rate of 200Mbps with high precision over a high-speed wireless network, while power consumption did not exceed 0.1W thanks to its proprietary signal-processing technology.

The company said its LSI demodulates and separates MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output)-multiplexed OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) signals transmitted in the 20MHz bandwidth from four antennas. Signal processing is based on MLD (maximum likelihood detection) technology that DoCoMo has originally developed for 4G wireless access. Redundant circuits have been eliminated in the experimental chip, which was made with 65 nanometer processing.

DoCoMo plans to continue to develop Super 3G and 4G technologies in combination with its LSI technology, as well as cooperate in the establishment of related international standards.

NTT DoCoMo Offers Flat-Rate Data Plans for Mobile PC Users

NTT DoCoMo will begin offering new flat-rate data plans that on October 22. The plans, designed for mobile PC users who connect to the DoCoMo network via a FOMA PC card, USB-linked DoCoMo phone or HSDPA-capable PC, are aimed at heavy or regular users.

"Flat-Rate Data Plan HIGH-SPEED" for 3.6Mbps (best effort) packet services will cost 4,200 yen/month (incl. tax) for up to 500,000 packets, then rise on a pay-as-you-go basis up to a maximum of 10,500 yen/month beyond one million packets. The plan requires subscription to the new "mopera U U Flat-Rate HIGH-SPEED Plan" (840 yen/month) or "Business mopera Internet (HIGH-SPEED)" (630 yen/month) for Internet access (certain access points may not be compatible with the plans).

DoCoMo will also offer the 64Kbps (best effort) "Flat-Rate Data Plan 64K" for 4,200 yen/month (incl. tax). The plan requires subscription to the new "mopera U U Flat-Rate 64K Plan" (525 yen/month) or "Business mopera Internet (64K) plan" (315 yen/month) for Internet access (certain access points may not be compatible).

DoCoMo's initial offering of terminals compatible with the plans are two data cards: A2502 HIGH-SPEED and M2501 HIGH-SPEED

and seven handsets: N904i, P903iX HIGH-SPEED, F903iX HIGH-SPEED, N902iX HIGH-SPEED, L704i (coming in October), F1100 and HT1100 (latter two coming in first quarter of 2008).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Leap Rejects Unsolicited Proposal from MetroPCS

The Board of Directors of Leap Wireless International rejected the unsolicited acquisition proposal from MetroPCS Communications. In a public letter, Leap said the proposal failed to take into account its "robust growth prospects" given its track record in entering new markets, while criticizing the slower pace of rollouts at MetroPCS. Leap also complained that the MetroPCS offer of $69.03 of value per share to LEAP shareholders represents a 14.4% discount to Leap's 60-day average trading price prior to the date of the proposal.

In response, MetroPCS Communications issued a statement expressing disappointment that Leap rejected its strategic stock-for-stock tax-free merger proposal to create a new national wireless carrier.

MetroPCS continues to believe strongly in its prospects as a stand-alone company and that its proposal of 2.7500 shares of MetroPCS common stock for each share of Leap is full and fair. Consequently, MetroPCS plans to proceed "as a disciplined buyer to review all of our options at this time and will not take any action that we believe would disadvantage our shareholders."

MetroPCS also noted that its service will launch in Los Angeles this week. MetroPCS expects to cover approximately 11 million POPs initially at launch with over 400 authorized dealer locations. It should be noted that the incremental economic opportunity MetroPCS will enjoy in Los Angeles is roughly equivalent to all of Leap's top five existing markets in operation combined, which based on licensed population includes Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver and Pittsburgh. MetroPCS also said that it is on track to launch service in New York, Philadelphia and Boston in late 2008 or early 2009.

http://www.metropcs.comLeap offers mobile service 23 states and holds licenses in 35 of the top 50 U.S. markets. Through its flat-rate "Cricket" service plans, the company offers customers a choice of unlimited voice, text, data and mobile Web services.