Sunday, February 17, 2008

MSF Outlines Scope and Activity in 2008

In 2008, the MultiService Forum (MSF) is expanding its interoperability focus beyond its Global MSF Interoperability (GMI) event with the addition of two new programs: a permanent NGN Interoperability Test Bed focused on emerging NGN interfaces and the MSF Certification Program, which provides vendor independent certification of critical NGN functionality.

The GMI event will tie it all together by validating products in the latest standards based architectural framework using realistic global network deployment scenarios meaningful to major carriers. GMI 2008 will be the MSF's highest profile interoperability event ever, according to Roger Ward, Office of the CTO, BT Group and President of the MSF, who expects the event will expand beyond the foundations for global IMS implementations to include new services that can be build on an NGN -- notably IPTV and other high value services that can ride on IMS.

The MSF plans to test IMS based IPTV service integration and interoperability during GMI 2008 to help assess the maturity of IPTV solutions and identify gaps in the current industry standards. In addition, other key areas announced for GMI 2008 include: testing of QoS control for multi-service IP networks serving both fixed and mobile clients; demonstration of important service enablers such as "location" information; and the interoperability of a Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) gateway with the core IMS capability.

The MSF permanent NGN Interoperability Test Bed at the UNH InterOperability Lab provides MSF members with a permanent environment to conduct focused interoperability testing of MSF Implementation Agreements. The inaugural event, entitled the "Open Mc Interface Interoperability Event," will test the MSF "Mc Interface" Implementation Agreement based on 3GPP Release 7 specification of the MSC-Server / Media Gateway interface. Open implementation of this key interface is seen as essential to the successful cost effective evolution of the mobile circuit switched domain to IP.

The MSF Certification Program was launched in the third quarter of 2007 and the first certifications will be announced shortly. The MSF's official certification laboratory, Iometrix, is testing and certifying compliance to the Forum's technical specifications. The initial program includes certifications of RTCP implementations of NGN networking components such as SIP end-points, SIP phones, residential gateways (CPE), access gateways, trunking gateways, media servers and session border gateways. RTCP is a protocol that allows the sender of a media stream to receive information, in the form of reports certified by both sender and receiver, about the packet loss, delay and jitter that were encountered by the RTP stream as seen by the recipient. This information is subsequently passed up to the management domain of the operator's network.

Comarco Adds HSUPA Testing Support

Comarco has added High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA) support to its evolving Symphony range of products.

"The addition of HSUPA support represents another step forward for our Symphony-Multi Platform and for the expanding alliance with our European partner, Ascom," said Mark Chapman, senior vice president and general manager of Comarco. "The Symphony-Multi already supports GSM/EDGE, HSDPA, CDMA1x and EVDO Rev A technologies, amongst others. With the addition of HSUPA, our collective expertise in the measurement of multiple diverse wireless systems now spans all major 3G and advanced air interfaces."

HSUPA currently supports up-link speeds up to 5.76 Mbps, and with speed of up to 11.5 Mbps expected with 3GPP release 7.

Comarco's Symphony supports a growing range of HSUPA data cards including Huawei and Sierra Wireless devices offering up to 7.2 Mbps HSDPA and 2.0 Mbps HSUPA. The Symphony Multi post-processing system, QVP, has also been upgraded to support HSUPA data. QVP Network Analyzer and QVP Map provide full support for HSUPA functionality and operators can view Ec/Io, RSCP, and scrambling codes of the HSUPA serving and non-serving radio links amongst other parameters. Reports include an IP and FTP throughput summary with measurements grouped according to the radio technology.

Comarco's Symphony Multi can support any combination of test phones, data cards and scanning receivers -- up to a total of 24 devices.

AT&T Opens Nordics Sales Office

AT&T has opened a new sales center for the Nordic countries. Anders Juhlin, formerly director of Sales, AT&T Nordics, will take on the new position of sales center vice president, Nordic countries. He will be responsible for bolstering AT&T's success in the region. Juhlin will be based in Stockholm and will report directly to Tom Regent, AT&T's head of EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa).

AT&T's operations in the Nordics include MPLS infrastructure in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, connecting to the AT&T global network. AT&T can provide resilient gigabit Ethernet connections to the voice, video and data network, hosting and security solutions available on more than 1,500 MPLS service nodes in the Nordics, with a DSL alternative in 438 cities and access to almost 1,000 Wi-Fi hot spots.

Net Insight Selected for North American Video Transport Network

Net Insight has received an order from a new North American video transport service provider for its Nimbra optical transport platform. The company said this new customer (name not disclosed) will use the platform to carry real-time traffic for professional media companies across the U.S. The company is building out the first phase of its network in 17 of North America's largest cities.

Net Insight's Nimbra 680 is a next generation switch offering 80Gbps fully non-blocking connectivity between all ports.

The order value is above SEK 10 million and the customer will officially launch its services in April 2008.

Mexico's Cablevision Employs SeaChange Flash Memory Servers for VOD

SeaChange announced that CABLEVISION Mexico has become the world's first digital cable television operator to deploy its flash memory storage and streaming technology. Last month, Mexico's largest digital cable operator switched on SeaChange's MediaServer Flash Memory Streamers, which is a 100-percent flash memory-based solution that completely decouples on-demand streaming from disk-based content storage.

The deployment enables CABLEVISION Mexico to push its streaming resources to the network edge, helping meet its goal of growing its centralized content library to 14,000 hours of movies and television programs.

The platform uses non-volatile flash memory (no spinning disks) and takes advantage of SeaChange's MediaCluster server architecture. SeaChange said its platform MediaCluster stripes content files across flash modules in a server and across servers in an InfiniBand connected cluster, ensuring service fault-resilience and cost-efficient scalability since only one copy of a video is ever required at a server location. Overall, flash memory runs on one-tenth the power that disks require.

SeaGate also claims its MediaCluster technology is able to extend flash memory's life expectancy by a factor of five to at least 10 years. Whereas content "write" hot spots would dramatically reduce life expectancy in any other architecture, SeaChange's MediaCluster eliminates write hot spots by load-balancing content "writes" across all flash modules in a server, and across all servers in a cluster.http://www.schange.com

Aastra Technologies to Acquire Ericsson's Enterprise PBX Business

Ericsson will divest its enterprise PBX solutions business to Aastra Technologies for SEK 650 million, excluding net of assets and liabilities. Ericsson expects a capital gain of approximately SEK 200 million on the transaction. Aastra believes that the acquired business, under its management, will require net working capital of CAD$57 million resulting in a total investment by Aastra of approximately CAD$160 million.

Ericsson's enterprise PBX solutions business supplies IP PBX, converged PBX systems and branch office solutions. The product portfolio includes communications solutions for enterprises of all sizes, mobility solutions, telephone terminals and services. Sales in 2007 amounted to approximately SEK 3 billion.

The agreement involves transfer of approximately 630 employees of which some 360 are based in Sweden. The transaction is expected to close in April 2008.

Ericsson said the deal enables it to focus on providing its broad portfolio of enterprise applications directly to operators and service providers.

Executing on the strategy for the multimedia business, Ericsson will focus on providing its broad portfolio of enterprise applications directly to operators and service providers. Strategic products from the acquisition of Netwise will also remain within Ericsson.http://www.aastra.com

Zayo Buys Citynet Fiber Network -- its 6th Acquisition

Zayo Group closed its previously announced acquisition of Citynet Fiber Network (CFN), the wholesale division of integrated communications provider Citynet. The deal doubles Zayo's metro and regional fiber route miles to 17,000, serving more than 1,400 on-net building locations in 12 states. The sale affects only the wholesale operations of Citynet. Financial terms were not released. The deal was first announced in December 2007.

The CFN network has 8,500 route miles of fiber covering 57 Tier I, II and III markets in 10 states. CFN now becomes part of Zayo Bandwidth, Zayo Group's fiber-based bandwidth business unit that provides private line, wavelength, Ethernet, Internet and colocation.

Zayo said the acquisition connects its network to more local exchange carrier central offices and carrier hotels as well as wireless mobile switching centers. The new network footprint unites Zayo's strength in various metro markets with CFN's regional long-haul routes.

CFN is Zayo's sixth acquisition since spring of 2007.http://www.zayo.com
  • Since early 2007, Zayo Group has announced a series of acquisitions, including: VoicePipe Communications (a provider of retail VoIP services that originated as a hosted PBX service offering of ICG Communications), Onvoy (a 1,400-mile fiber network serving Minnesota), Indiana Fiber Works (a 2,200 fiber-route-mile network serving Indiana), PPL Telcom (a 4,600 fiber-route-mile network based in Allentown, Penn. serving areas in the Northeast), and Memphis Networx (a 200 fiber-route-mile network serving the greater Memphis, Tenn. area) .

Thursday, February 14, 2008

agami Systems Raises $45 Million

Agami Systems, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, closed $45 million in Series C financing for its enterprise-class unified storage systems.

Agami's Information Server improves the performance of geographically distributed business-critical applications by unlocking NAS performance bottlenecks. The platform includes a full range of enterprise-class reliability features, from monitoring and self-checking, to RAID-5/ES, to replication and high availability for recovering from system failures and data center disasters.

The funding was led by Advanced Equities, Inc. with participation from current investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Kleiner Perkins, APEX Venture Partners, Alta Partners, TIF Ventures and Duff Ackerman Goodrich, with new investments from ITOCHU Corporation and David Stiles (CEO).

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thomson and NXP to Combine Can Tuner Modules Activities

NXP Semiconductors and Thomson have agreed to combine their can tuner modules operations in a joint venture. Thomson will appoint the CFO of this new venture, while NXP will appoint the CEO. NXP and Thomson expect that the definitive joint venture agreements will be finalized and the transaction will close in Q2, subject to closing conditions, including social and regulatory approvals.

"Digital can tuners remain strategic components at a time when broadcast and broadband distribution infrastructures look to advanced delivery technologies such as DVB-S2, DVB-T, DVB-H and new cable modulation technologies," said Thomson CTO Jean-Charles Hourcade. "This combination will benefit our customers as the digital terrestrial roll-out accelerates in the U.S. and in Europe."http://www.nxp.com

STMicroelectronics Announces Near Field Communication (NFC) Chip

STMicroelectronics announced a System-on-Chip (SoC) solution for the fast emerging NFC (Near Field Communication) market.

ST said its new device, which is implemented in 0.13-micron embedded non-volatile EEPROM memory, integrates all the necessary hardware and software for a complete NFC system, including support for all the NFC proximity and vicinity standards.

NFC technology provides advanced wireless or ‘contactless' services for users, such as electronic payment via mobile phone. The device also integrates the necessary Host Controller Interface (HCI) functions, in addition to interfaces for both the I2Cbus and SPIbus, and is compliant with the ETSI specification for Single Wire Protocol (SWP), which describes the connection between a mobile phone's UICC (Universal Integrated Circuit Card) and the NFC controller.

Harmonic Delivers 1310 DWDM Forward Path Transmitters for HFC

Harmonic introduced a 1310 nm dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) forward path transmitter for existing hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) cable networks. Harmonic's new scalable DWDM transmitters combine up to eight wavelengths to deliver traffic to segmented nodes over distances of up to 30km.

Harmonic's full range of flexible fiber-based transmission solutions includes analog/digital return path, commercial services, and scalable 1310 nm and 1550 nm CWDM/DWDM digital transport systems.

Accedian Networks Raises C$7.5 Million for Packet Performance Assurance

Accedian Networks, a start-up based in Montreal, raised $CAD 7.5 million in second round venture funding for its "Packet Performance Assurance" solutions for telecom, cable and wireless operators.

Accedian Networks' Ethernet Service Assurance Platform (ESAP) provides in-service monitoring, loopback testing, remote troubleshooting, service management and network demarcation for high-performance wireless backhaul, business services and carrier hand-off applications. Accedian also supplies a line of "EtherNID" packet assurance demarcation units. Service providers can use the system to provision, manage and maintain packet-based services over Ethernet, IP/MPLS and 3G, 4G/WiMAX networks.

The new venture funds were provided by RHO Canada Ventures in addition to follow-on investments from Skypoint Capital and Solidarity Fund QFL.

European Commission Approves Proposal to De-regulate part of UK Broadband Market

The European Commission approved a proposal from Ofcom, the UK's official telecom regulator, to de-regulate the wholesale broadband market in some parts of the UK, covering around 65% of all UK homes and businesses The proposal, which is based on detailed economic evidence, wouold deregulate local exchanges with four or more actual or potential providers serving areas with more than 10,000 homes and businesses.

This is the first time that a national telecoms regulator in the EU has identified different broadband markets in different geographic areas within a country and proposed lifting regulation in those geographic areas now characterized by effective competition.
The European Commission said Ofcom's proposal represents "a reasonable move towards better targeted regulation, concentrating on those geographic areas where structural competition problems persist. "

The Commission's decision concerns the UK market for wholesale broadband access. Wholesale broadband access (or bitstream access) is, together with access to the local loop (local loop unbundling; LLU), a key input enabling alternative operators to enter the retail market and to offer broadband services to consumers.

Mexico's Telcel Selects Ericsson for 3G Network

Ericsson will supply a complete 3G network, including base stations, network controllers and extensive software functionality, to upgrade part of Telcel's existing GSM/GPRS/EDGE network in Mexico. The contract also covers a wide range of services such as deployment and integration, network design, tuning, optimization, consulting and support. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Telcel , which is a subsidiary of América Móvil, uses both the 800 megahertz and 1900 megahertz radio spectrum bands to offer TDMA, GSM/GPRS/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA services. As of December 31, 2007, Telcel had approximately 50 million cellular subscribers.

AT&T Selects Alcatel-Lucent's UMTS/HSDPA

Alcatel-Lucent announced an agreement to support the expansion of AT&T's UMTS/HSPA (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service/High Speed Packet Access) wireless network. The expansion includes the deployment of Alcatel-Lucent's UMTS/HSDPA Distributed NodeB solution, which provides operators with the flexibility to deploy 3G radio network elements in a wide array of locations including the sides of buildings, existing cell sites, remote locations and more, helping operators build out their networks more quickly and cost-effectively. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As part of the agreement - , Alcatel-Lucent has expanded the end-to-end, turnkey UMTS/HSPA solution, including messaging, voice switching and network applications and services. Alcatel-Lucent also has previously supplied AT&T with an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) service delivery solution - TDM, ATM and MPLS networking solutions, as well as ADSL/VDSL broadband access and optical advanced platforms.
  • In November 2004, Cingular Wireless announced agreements with Ericsson , Lucent Technologies and Siemens to develop and deliver the infrastructure required for a broad-scale deployment of an expanded 3G UMTS/HSDPA network. Simultaneously, Lucent Technologies unveiled its high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) solution, a software upgrade to Lucent base stations for enabling 3G UMTS services.

Comcast Revenue Increased 24% in 2007 to $30.9 billion

Comcast's revenue increased 24% in 2007 to $30.9 billion, thanks to cable acquisitions in the year, in particular the Adelphia/Time Warner transactions. For Q4 2007, Comcast reported consolidated revenue of $8.0 billion, an increase of 14%, and an increase in consolidated Operating Cash Flow of 19% to $3.1 billion compared to the fourth quarter of 2006. Net income increased to $602 million, or $0.20 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to $390 million, or $0.13 per share, in the prior year.

"In 2007 we delivered very healthy growth in revenue and operating cash flow, added substantial revenue generating units and generated significant earnings growth - despite a weak economy and intensified competition in the second half of the year. Our goal continues to be to deliver consistent, profitable growth that builds long-term shareholder value. For 2008, we are confident about our competitive position and our ability to further grow our business, as illustrated by our outlook for 2008 free cash flow growth of at least 20%, " stated Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast.

Some highlights from the company's financial report:

  • Revenue increased 11% to $29.4 billion for the year reflecting strong demand for Comcast's services. A decline in advertising revenue and a challenging economic and competitive environment in the second half of the year adversely impacted this revenue increase.

  • Revenue generating units (RGUs) on a net basis increased 19%, or 6.0 million compared to net additions of 5.1 million last year. Comcast ended 2007 with 57.0 million RGUs.

  • In video, Comcast added 2.5 million new digital cable subscribers in 2007.

  • A total of 6.3 million, or 42%, of digital cable subscribers took advanced services such as digital video recorders (DVR) and high-definition television (HDTV) compared to 4.5 million, or 36%, a year ago.

  • Video revenue increased 7% to $17.7 billion in 2007, reflecting growth in digital cable customers and increased demand for advanced digital features including ON DEMAND, DVR and HDTV, as well as higher basic cable pricing.

  • Basic cable subscribers decreased by 180,000, or 0.7%, to 24.1 million during 2007 with 15.2 million or 63% of video customers taking digital cable services.

  • Comcast added a record 2.5 million digital cable customers in 2007, an increase of 33% from the 1.9 million digital cable customers added in 2006. Digital cable customer additions in 2007 included 1.0 million full digital cable and 1.5 million digital starter subscribers.

  • In Q4, Comcast Cable added 523,000 digital cable subscribers and lost 94,000 basic cable subscribers.

  • During the year, 1.8 million additional digital cable customers subscribed to advanced services, like DVR and HDTV, either by upgrading their digital cable service or as new customers. As of December 31, 2007, 6.3 million, or 42% of digital cable customers received advanced services, 5.4 million, or 36% received full digital cable, and 3.5 million, or 23% were digital starter subscribers.

  • Growth in video revenue also reflects increasing ON DEMAND movie purchases. Pay-per-view revenue increased 22% to $774 million in 2007.

  • For High-Speed Internet, Comcast added 1.7 million high-speed Internet subscribers during 2007 compared to 1.9 million in the prior year.
    In Q4, hHigh-speed Internet revenue increased 14% in the quarter to $1.7 billion. The growth includes the addition of 331,000 high-speed Internet subscribers and stable monthly revenue per subscriber.

  • High-speed Internet revenue increased 18% to $6.4 billion in 2007, reflecting a 1.7 million or 15% increase in subscribers from the prior year and relatively stable average monthly revenue per subscriber of approximately $43.

  • Comcast ended 2007 with 13.2 million high-speed Internet subscribers, or 27% penetration of homes passed.

  • For phone service, Comcast added over 2.5 million Comcast Digital Voice (CDV) customers compared to 1.6 million added in the prior year - an increase of 61%. The company increased CDV-ready homes passed by 9 million. CDV service is now marketed to 42 million homes representing 86% of Comcast's markets.

  • Phone revenue increased 85% to $1.8 billion due to significant growth in CDV subscribers, offset by a $229 million, or 50% decline in circuit-switched phone revenues as Comcast transitions to marketing CDV in most areas.

  • Comcast ended 2007 with a total of 4.4 million CDV customers or 10.4% of available homes. Entering 2008, Comcast has fewer than 200,000 circuit-switched customers, with the winding down of that business expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

  • Advertising revenue decreased 3% to $1.5 billion in 2007, reflecting a significant decline in political advertising, softness in some discretionary categories and one less week in the broadcast advertising calendar compared to last year.

  • Capital expenditures of $6.0 billion increased 29% in 2007, reflecting RGU growth, a 63% increase in the number of set-top boxes deployed (including over 2 million HD and/or DVR boxes), additional overhead and equipment necessary to support the higher level of RGU activity, network improvements, capital expenditures related to commercial services, as well as the integration of the acquired systems from Adelphia and Time Warner.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One Minute Video: What is Deep Packet Capture?

One Minute Video presented by Steve Shillingsford, Solera Networks -- What is Deep Packet Capture?

Jargon Buster

Novatel Wireless Introduces HSDPA/HSUPA USB Modem

Novatel Wireless introduced its "Ovation" MC930D USB Modem, a HSDPA/HSUPA device designed to provide peak download speeds of 7.2 Mbps and upload speeds of 2.1 Mbps on any worldwide HSDPA/HSUPA network supporting the 2100 MHz band. The device ships with Mobilink Lite Connection Manager Software preinstalled on the modem's on-board memory, eliminating the need for Mac and Windows users to download drivers from a CD. A Dual USB Y-cable is included to provide increased power when using the modem in weak signal areas. The integrated internal antenna offers both receiver diversity and equalizer support to improve performance in crowded environments.