Sunday, November 25, 2007

Cable Industry Agrees on Switched Digital Spec for One-Way Digital Cable Ready Devices

CableLabs, along with TiVo, Motorola, Scientific-Atlanta, BigBand Networks and C-COR, announced a solution that extends the functionality of certain Unidirectional Digital Cable Ready Products (UDCPs) that use CableCARDs to access switched digital services previously unavailable to such devices.

CableLabs recently developed specifications for a new external interface that enables UDCPs equipped with a USB connector and necessary firmware to access switched digital cable channels, benefiting both cable operators and consumers. A new adapter using this interface will attach to the UDCP device so the device can access switched digital cable channels.

The new adapter is expected to become available to consumers in the first half of 2008.

TiVo confirmed that the new external adapter will attach to TiVo Series 3 HD DVRs and TiVo HD DVRs to ensure the DVRs can directly access all digital channels including switched digital cable channels without a set-top box.

Airvana Introduces Femto Network Gateway for FMC

Airvana announced general availability of its Universal Access Gateway (UAG) for mobile operators seeking to use the Internet as an extension of the radio access network.

Fixed mobile convergence (FMC) enables users to access services using a dual-mode mobile/Wi-Fi handset together with a Wi-Fi access point, or with a dual-mode mobile/Wi-Fi laptop together with a Wi-Fi service, or with an existing 2G/3G handset together with a femtocell. In all cases, the traffic can be sent over the Internet in a secure tunnel to the Airvana UAG, which authenticates and inspects the traffic before sending it to the mobile operator's network. As subscribers move between their home or office and the macro cellular network, the UAG maintains seamless mobility over a secure, QoS-enabled, wireline-speed connection.

Airvana said its UAG is currently in multiple trials with mobile operators worldwide for fixed mobile convergence services using dual-mode mobile/Wi-Fi handsets, dual-mode mobile/Wi-Fi laptops and Airvana femtocells.

Alcatel-Lucent Inks Contracts with China Mobile, China Unicom

In a signing ceremony attended by Chinese President Hu Jintao and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Alcatel-Lucent formally signed a package of frame agreements with a combined value of up to EUR 750 million with China Mobile and China Unicom. Part of these agreements was previously announced.

Under the terms of a EUR 600 million agreement with China Mobile, Alcatel-Lucent is providing end-to-end mobile solutions supporting China Mobile's extensive network expansion plans. The solution includes GSM/GPRS/EDGE radio and core networking equipment, mobile applications, IP routers and optical networking equipment. Alcatel-Lucent also is providing China Mobile with a TD-SCDMA solution being implemented in the operator's trial network and will support services such as Video Streaming, WAP and Personal Ring Back Tone.

The agreement with China Unicom, valued at EUR 150 million, encompasses a range of industry-leading, end-to-end solutions including CDMA networking equipment, GSM/GPRS radio and core networking equipment, mobile applications, IP routers, optical networking equipment and related services to support China Unicom's network deployment and expansion. In addition, the agreement includes the expansion and upgrade of China Unicom's third-generation (3G) CDMA1xEVDO, a high-speed data network in Macau.

Xilinx and Brilliant Develop Carrier-Class FPGA-Based Network Timing

Xilinx and Brilliant Telecommunications, a developer of timing solutions, announced the industry's first carrier-class FPGA-based network timing solution for next generation wired and wireless networks.

The jointly developed, embedded programmable timing solution is implemented using a Xilinx Virtex or Spartan FPGA and delivered in the form of two Intellectual Property (IP) cores, NGNTime and FemtoTime. The cores are fully interoperable with the industry standard Network Timing Protocol (NTP). It also provides a migration path for Version 2 of IEEE 1588 or Precision Time Protocol (PTP).

The companies said their solution provides accurate timing from ingress to egress points across an entire (end-to-end) network to support next-generation applications such as wireless base stations, femtocell access points, IPTV routers/switches and mobile backhaul.

NETGEAR Offers Dual WAN Gigabit SSL VPN Firewall

NETGEAR announced the availability of its ProSafe Dual WAN Gigabit SSL VPN Firewall featuring simultaneous support for up to 25 IPsec and 10 SSL VPN tunnels. The ability to support both SSL and IPsec VPN tunnels enables the ProSafe Dual WAN Gigabit SSL VPN Firewall to provide both clientless remote access through a secure Web browser interface and legacy support for client-based remote access. Additionally, IPSec VPN tunnels enable secure site-to-site VPN tunnels to connect branch office locations seamlessly.

The ProSafe Dual WAN Gigabit SSL VPN Firewall offers an integrated four-port 10/100/1000 Mbps switch and two Gigabit WAN ports to support dual broadband connections for load-balancing or fail-over.

On2 and Texas Instruments Collaborate on Optimized Codec Performance

On2 Technologies and Texas Instruments will collaborate on technology to implement On2's TrueMotion VP6 and VP7 video compression formats on TI's OMAP Platform and DaVinci technology for mobile handsets and digital video applications.

Under their agreement, the two companies will share technology and development resources allowing TI to optimize VP6 and VP7 codec performance for different applications with TI's development partners and community.

"On2's video compression is setting the trend for a lot of applications in mobile handsets, web video, real time video conferencing and others, and the need for devices to support such applications is growing," said Charlie Gonsalves, DSP Third Party Network marketing manager, TI. "Through this agreement we anticipate acceleration of availability of highly optimized solutions that our customers can leverage to bring to market applications based on TI's technology."

Polycom Opens Development Center in Hyderabad

Polycom opened a new, state-of-the-art product and solutions development center in Hyderabad, India. The facility will house development programs for the company's portfolio of voice communications solutions for mobile, desktop and conferencing applications.

In addition to the Hyderabad development center, Polycom in 2007 has completed office expansions at Delhi (Noida NCR) and Mumbai, and opened new offices in Bangalore and Hyderabad. The Noida facility will showcase the industry's only immersive telepresence solution, the Polycom RPX (Real Presence Experience). In 2008, six additional office locations are planned to serve India's top 10 metropolitan and regional business hubs.

Neotel South Africa Selects ECI Telecom's XDM Platform

Neotel, the first national infrastructure-based competitor in the fixed-line telecommunications sector in South Africa, has selected ECI Telecom's XDM and BroadGate (BG) line of products to support its network rollout in the country. Neotel's next-generation transport network will support both enterprise and residential customers with voice, data and internet services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ECI said it will provide a full access-to-core solution for all of Neotel's transmission requirements by deploying the XDM and the BG families of products. The network is managed via ECI's centralized LightSoft Network Management System, providing an end-to-end multi-layer management solution, from access to core.

Spescom Telecommunications, ECI's local partner in South Africa, is providing installation and integration services.

Cricket Selects Starent's Multimedia Core Platform

Cricket Communications has selected Starent's ST16 multimedia core platform solution to provide multimedia services to subscribers.
The deployment will enable Cricket to enhance its current offering of mobile applications such as text messaging, picture messaging and games, and to prepare for the next-generation of multimedia applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Starent's platform provides detailed inspection of each subscriber session, shaping and managing the session based on subscriber, application or business policies. The platforms utilize deep packet inspection (DPI) technology, service steering and intelligent traffic control to deliver this intelligence on a per-subscriber basis.

Siemens Unveils WiMAX Gateways and Modems

Siemens Home and Office Communication Devices (SHC) unveiled two WiMAX modems and two WiMAX gateways based on 802.16-2005 and compliant to Wave 2 certification, including MIMO (Multiple Input / Multiple Output) A and B and beamforming.

All models offer throughput of up to 20 Mbps. They combine two integrated high gain antennas which support MIMO (Matrix A and B) and adaptive beamforming to boost signal strength between the base station and WiMAX devices. They also employ Space-Time-Coding (STC) and Spatial Multiplexing (SM) to improve coverage and effectively double the data throughput. In demanding environments, all indoor CPEs can connect to an external outdoor antenna. Siemens offers outdoor antennas with a gain of up to 18 dBi.

The new Siemens WiMAX portfolio includes a basic modem, a VoIP modem and two feature-rich gateways: The Siemens Gigaset SX685 WiMAX gateway is designed for the small office, small enterprise or demanding residential user. It offers four Ethernet ports and PBX functionality for up to 6 extensions, with support for CLIP, call-forwarding and conferencing. Both fixed line phones and VoIP phones can be connected. The flagship gateway model, Siemens Gigaset SX686 WiMAX, adds WLAN, which be switched on and off as needed.

Siemens Gigaset SX682 WiMAX is a VoIP modem that targets residential and home office users who want to combine broadband access with making calls with their traditional analog phone via IP.

The Siemens Gigaset SE681 WiMAX modem is designed for the residential user who needs basic wireless broadband access.

Siemens said remote device management will be key to successful WiMAX deployments. It offers secure remote provisioning, authentication, configuration and management based on TR-069. It also supports the OMA-DM protocols specified by the WiMAX Forum.

All Siemens WiMAX CPEs are developed and manufactured in Germany. They support the 2.3 to 2.7 and 3.4 to 3.8 GHz frequency bands and will be available for commercial shipment in 2Q 2008.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Algérie Télécom Selects Ericsson's Softswitch

Algérie Télécom has selected Ericsson as sole supplier and systems integrator for its upgrade to an all-IP network. Under the agreement, Ericsson will supply its Telephony Softswitch solution to migrate the operator's national transit layer to a next-generation network architecture. Ericsson will also be responsible for network deployment, support, and training services. Deployment and systems integration will start in November, with the migration set to be completed by mid-2008. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Uganda Telecom Deploys UMTS/HSPA from Alcatel-Lucent

Uganda Telecom has deployed a UMTS/HSPA network from Alcatel-Lucent in time for this month's Summit of Head of States of the Commonwealth. As announced earlier this year, Uganda Telecom Ltd chose Alcatel-Lucent for the extension of its GSM/EDGE mobile network and for the deployment of the first third-generation UMTS/HSPA network in Uganda, one of the first such deployments in the East Africa region.

Under this contract, Alcatel-Lucent has provided Uganda Telecom with its comprehensive radio networking solution including base stations, radio network and base station controllers (RNC/BSC), wireless network management system solutions and engineering tools. Alcatel-Lucent was also responsible for network design and complete network deployment, including network integration and maintenance services. Additionally Alcatel-Lucent has supplied a new generation of microwave systems to optimize the transmission of voice and data traffic from the base stations to the core network, with the capability to adapt quickly and efficiently to the growth in traffic and services.

European Operators Take Skeptical View of Proposed EU Telecom Reforms

At the 5th annual conference of the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) last week in Brussels, the CEOs of leading EU telecoms operators held a debate on the recent European Commission proposals for a review of the EU telecoms rules. The CEOs agreed that EU policy makers would do better by focusing on how to encourage private investment in high-speed broadband access networks rather than focusing mainly on how to achieve functional separation of the incumbent operators' wholesale and retail operations.

Speaking at the conference Mr. Bojan Dremelj, President of the Management Board of Telekom Slovenije, raised a number of serious questions regarding the direction where regulation is going and stated: "There is no need for overregulation which will reduce all of us to a 'grey average'. How can we ever become the most competitive economy in the world if we are stifling innovation? If we cut the wings of our big players, aren't we cutting the 'branch on which we are sitting'? Is this what Europe is aiming for?"

ETNO members welcomed the proposal by the European Commission for a more flexible management of radio spectrum to boost the deployment of wireless applications. They also noted the reduction in the number of markets to be subject to regulatory intervention but regretted that at the same time the European Commission is extending regulatory intervention to new technology, including risky fibre-based broadband access networks.
  • Earlier this month, The European Commission officially adopted proposals for a reform of the EU telecoms rules with the aim of creating a single European telecom market with a consistent set of regulations covering consumers in all 27 EU Member States. The plan calls for a new European Telecom Market Authority to govern national telecoms regulators in ensuring that market rules and consumer regulation are applied consistently, independently and without protectionism. To become law, the Commission proposals will now need to be approved by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers. The European Commission believes the approval could be attained by the end of 2009.

Alvarion to Supply Mobile WiMAX Gear in Nigeria

Monarch Communications, a privately owned company and WiMAX license holder in several different states in Nigeria, has selected Alvarion's "4Motion" 802.16e Mobile WiMAX solution. Rollout is planned to begin in Lagos and later in Abuja and Port Harcourt. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Celtel Nigeria Selects Motorola for $70 Million GSM/EDGE Expansion

Celtel Nigeria awarded a US$70 million contract to Motorola to expand and enhance its GSM coverage in the southern part of the country. The deployment features the latest Motorola Reach GSM solutions, including EDGE capability for mobile data, and will provide comprehensive network expansion planning, integration, support and optimization services to Celtel as it extends network coverage.

Danaher Completes Acquisition of Tektronix

Danaher completed its previously announced acquisition of Tektronix. The deal was first announced in October.

Tektronix, which has annual revenues of approximately $1.1 billion, is a leading supplier of test, measurement, and monitoring products for networking.

Tektronix now becomes part of Danaher's Electronic Test platform, joining Danaher's Fluke and Fluke Networks businesses, and nearly doubling the platform's revenues.

Belgium's De Persgroep Selects Cisco Data Center Network Architecture

De Persgroep, a leading media group in Belgium, is using Cisco data center virtualization technology in its data center. The deployment comprises both network switching equipment and the Application Control Engine (ACE) switch, which virtualizes the data center application infrastructure. De Persgroep is deploying the Cisco Data Center Network Architecture to connect two data centers with more than 300 servers in Brussels to seven additional sites across Belgium and Holland. The solution includes Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches, Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series Switches and Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches to form a core network capable of supporting Cisco data center services as well additional applications in the future.

Cisco Application Control Engine (ACE) modules in the data center will support a range of data center operations, including firewall management, application switching and streamed media. The virtual partitioning technology in the Cisco ACE segments and isolates applications, enabling them to act as individual modules on a single server so that applications can be distributed across data center hardware, making more efficient use of computational resources. Web and business applications will be protected by Cisco PIX 500 Series Security Appliances and the Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Firewall Services Module.

Cisco said a virtualized data center application infrastructure will help enable De Persgroep to manage the large fluctuations in Web traffic generated by the rolling news agenda, by sharing Web server resources more effectively as well as by "ring-fencing" other business applications against peak demand. Hits on the company's flagship website can vary by 60 percent from day to day, reaching 525,000. In two years the company expects the site to garner a million hits a day.

The Cisco data center solution at De Persgroep is being implemented by Telindus, a Cisco Gold Certified Partner.

France Telecom Secures Fixed-Mobile-Internet License in Niger

A consortium controlled by France Telecom was awarded a new global fixed-mobile-internet license in Niger for EUR 48 million. France Telecom has joined forces with Mr. Mohamed Rissa, a business leader from Niger , specialized in the Internet and telecommunications services sector, and Mr. Moctar Thiam, a long-standing investor in Orange Mali. Niger has a growing population of around 13 million people and a mobile penetration rate of under 5%.

France Telecom noted that it is already present in 12 African countries including five in West Africa.

Monday, November 19, 2007

RawFlow Launches P2P CDN

RawFlow, a start-up based in London, launched its new managed live streaming service, iCDN, based on P2P technology. RawFlow said its iCDN is designed to cope with conditions specific to live streaming such as peak traffic volumes and network congestion.

Lockheed Martin Supplies Advanced Extremely High Frequency Military System

Lockheed Martin announced a milestone in the development of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) military communications system with the delivery of the core propulsion module for the second satellite in the program constellation.

The AEHF system will provide global, highly secure, protected, survivable communications for all warfighters serving under the U.S. Department of Defense.

Lockheed Martin's said each AEHF satellite will provide greater total capacity than the entire Milstar constellation and offer channel data rates higher than the current Milstar communications satellites. The higher data rates permit transmission of secure, tactical military communications such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data.