Sunday, June 29, 2008

Codenomicon Appoints New CEO and Vice President of Marketing

Codenomicon, which specializes in security and quality testing software, announced the appointment of David Chartier as its new CEO. Chartier brings 20 years of technology industry experience that includes serving as chairman of Maxware, which was subsequently acquired by SAP in 2007. He has also held CEO positions for startup companies that include IntelliSearch and Computas, and has served as chairman of Active ISP. Chartier founded InfoStream and led the company through a successful IPO in 1999.

Codenomicon also announced the appointment of Andy Huckridge as vice president of marketing. Huckridge most recently served as director of NGN solutions for Spirent Communications, a Codenomicon customer. Andy is closely engaged with industry bodies and forums, including the MultiService Forum where he has served as chairperson of the Interoperability Working Group & NGN Certification Committee. Before Spirent, Huckridge was the director of product management for Centile and the director of marketing for 8X8, Inc.

Hutchison 3G Austria Flattens it Network Architecture with NSN

Hutchison 3G Austria is moving to a flatter architecture in its packet core network by deploying direct tunnel functionality from Nokia Siemens Networks. The technology, which is software upgrade, allows data traffic to bypass the Serving Gateway Support Node (SGSN), which in traditional core setup is responsible for the signaling and user data at the same time. Thus the direct tunnel feature, by bypassing SGSN, reduces the load on its capacity and lowers transmission network costs. It allows operators to balance the use of network resources and prepare for LTE and the streamlined core networks of the future. In addition to the SGSN and the direct tunnel feature, Nokia Siemens Networks also is providing 3G Austria with the NetAct network management and service management solution for maximizing network performance as well as implementation services.

Nokia Siemens Networks said that by modernizing its packet core, Hutchison 3G Austria boosts its network performance to higher speeds and capacity to handle all its data traffic through a single node for the foreseeable future. Direct tunnel also offers a clear migration path to future mobile network technologies, like Long Term Evolution (LTE).

Nokia Siemens Networks also noted that it now has over 15 direct tunnel deployments since delivering its first commercial solution in 2007.

Espial to Acquire Kasenna for IPTV Software

Espial, a specialist in IPTV middleware and applications, agreed to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Kasenna in exchange for an aggregate of 4,722,224 Espial common shares, which before giving effect to the transaction represents 51.2% of the issued and outstanding shares of Espial and will represent approximately 33.6% of the issued and outstanding shares of Espial on an after-issue basis.

Kasenna offers a "PortalTV" suite that allows TV providers to deliver advanced features such as recording and pausing live TV, PVR - both Network-based and Local, StartOver TV, Customized EPG, On-Screen Caller ID, Pay-per-View, Video-on-Demand, Favorites, Reminders, Weather Services, Network Games, etc. Kasenna's platform leverages a centralized delivery architecture although, if necessary, it can adapt to a decentralized distribution and delivery architecture. Video servers are designed to operate as cache servers, library servers or hybrids. Storage system flexibility allows Kasenna servers to employ Direct-Attach Storage or Shared Storage subsystems (NAS or SAN). Kasenna is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, and also has an engineering center in Bangalore, India.

Espial also supplies middleware that controls the overall viewing experience by managing IPTV applications, TV and video, along with subscriber interactions between the set-top box and the network. Espial applications include Electronic Program Guides, Video on Demand, Interactive Content Portals, Web browser, PPV, etc. Espial is based in Ottawa.

The companies cited a number of synergies for their merger, including,

  • Increased number of Tier 1 video service provider customers, a footprint in over 100 customers worldwide with no overlap and a combined 2.4M+ IPTV licenses in deployment for one or more of our products.

  • Broader channel relationships with equipment vendors and system integrators.

  • Larger sales force, support and fulfillment capacity across EMEA, Asia & Americas.

  • Broader product portfolio includes browsers, video servers, client & server middleware, and applications.

  • Differentiated best-of-breed technology with a strong patent portfolio.

  • Strong balance sheet, financial and cost synergies that will be accretive to Espial shareholders in 2009.

Dilithium's ViVAS Flash Enables Web to 3G Mobile Calls

Dilithium has enhanced its ViVAS platform with new capabilities that enable carriers to deliver two-way video calling services between web browsers and 3G mobile devices.

Dilithium's ViVAS platform provides real-time streaming of video content to and from mobile wireless devices, broadband and SIP clients. With the ViVAS Flash add-on module, carriers can expand their services to offer subscribers branded video communications from either their PC or mobile device. The ViVAS Flash-powered video leverages Adobe Flash, so the clients only need to run a web browser.

A number of companies have already implemented Dilithium's ViVAS Flash solution to offer services including:

  • Bi-directional web browser to 3G mobile video calls;

  • Web-based video services, including conferencing and surveillance;

  • Game changing new features on social networks such as ‘call me now' or video chat.
  • In May, Dilithium, which specializes in high-quality transcoding and multimedia delivery over mobile and broadband networks, introduced a high capacity and scalable solution that automates the real-time adaptation and delivery of video content over multiple networks to any device. Dilithium's patented technologies perform real-time, on demand media conversion for multiple devices with minimal latency, avoiding the need for off-line transcoding. The new Dilithium Content Adapter (DCA), which builds on the company's existing 3G mobile video solutions, is designed for the delivery of interactive, 2-way multimedia content to wireless and broadband devices.

    Media delivery has typically required customized coding for each device and network type such as 2.5G, 3G, WiFi or WiMAX, which restricted real-time downloads and is resource intensive as it requires extensive human interaction and expensive capital investment in servers and storage. Dilithium's technologies enable on-demand transcoding, transrating and transsizing of multimedia content. This on-demand processing makes it easier for operators to manage content and allows for additional revenue streams such as targeted ad insertion.

Skyhook Wireless Unveils Hybrid Positioning System 2.0

Skyyhook Wireless released the second generation of its hybrid positioning system, combining signals from Wi-Fi access points, GPS satellites and cell towers. The system is aimed at mass market handsets, especially those supporting location-based services (LBS).

Skyhook Wireless said its XPS 2.0 systems combines positioning algorithms with comprehensive environment survey data. XPS builds on top of the revolutionary Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) that is already deployed on tens of millions of mobile devices worldwide. The original version of XPS delivered "multi-mode" location switching between WPS and GPS readings based on availability and error estimates. XPS 2.0 combines raw Wi-Fi, GPS and cell tower readings to produce a single hybrid calculation.

In the most difficult indoor and urban environments, XPS can, for example, leverage signals from just two GPS satellites to improve Wi-Fi location accuracy by 35%+. In a typical deep urban setting Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) can only produce a location 70% of the time outdoors due to blocked signals, according to Skyhook. In these difficult urban environments, XPS utilizes weak GPS signals along with Wi-Fi to produce the most accurate location possible 100% of the time. Responsiveness is critical in consumer applications and XPS delivers a full GPS/Wi-Fi/cellular hybrid location in just 4 second from a complete cold start compared to 30-60 seconds with just A-GPS.

The addition of cell tower positioning increases availability so that users always get a location calculation regardless of environment. Additionally, XPS delivers 5 to 10 times better power conservation than A-GPS alone due to the unequaled acquisition time and accuracy in XPS.

XPS also introduces vertical location to the Skyhook system even in areas where GPS is not available. The new stationary detection techniques in XPS reduce jitter and improve the pedestrian user experience. Lastly, XPS can provide A-GPS techniques to offline equipment like Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs) dramatically shortening startup times.

As part of the XPS 2.0 launch, Skyhook Wireless is also introducing its first cellular positioning system leveraging Skyhook's fleet of field signal surveyors. Today the system covers major US and European cities expanding to full Skyhook global coverage by the end of 2008.

TerreStar Reaches a Technical Milestone, Faces Launch Delay

TerreStar, which plans to build, own and operate North America's first 4G integrated mobile satellite and terrestrial communications network, announced a technical milestone. Its satellite TerreStar --1 (TS-1) has successfully completed its Thermal Vacuum (TVAC) testing, and High Power and Passive Intermodulation (PIM) testing of the flight model S Band feed array for its 2 GHz mobile satellite service satellite. TS-1 is now in the final demonstration phase, followed by final assembly and performance testing.

TS-1, which is under construction by Space Systems/Loral, Inc (SS/L) in Palo Alto, California, is expected to be the largest and most powerful commercial satellite following its planned launch.

However, TerreStar noted that its TS-1 reflector, which was in an advanced state of completion, recently sustained damage during manufacturing at Harris Corporation, the reflector subcontractor. The resulting delay in delivery of the reflector will impact TS-1's flight schedule. TerreStar expects that launch of TS-1 may be postponed from fourth quarter 2008 to second quarter 2009.

DigitalBridge Deploys Mobile WiMAX Network

DigitalBridge Communications, a telecommunications service provider, has launched a commercial Mobile WiMAX service in Jackson Hole, Wyoming using WiMAX Forum Certified 802.16e equipment. Selling under the BridgeMAXX brand, the new mobility service plan offers 3 Mbps download for under $40 per month. Current BridgeMAXX fixed-service users can add the mobility feature for a bundled price of less than $30 per month.

The DBC BridgeMAXX network is powered by Alvarion's 802.16e BreezeMAX 2.5 GHz base station, which incorporates SentieM technologies in the end-to-end Mobile WiMAX 4Motion solution.

Alvarion noted that it was one of the first few base station vendors to receive the recent WiMAX Forum certification for meeting the global standard for wireless broadband mobility. The company said this makes Jackson the first community in the US to be able to experience Mobile WiMAX.


Verizon Wireless Teams Up with Rhapsody -- Unlimited Music Subscription for $15/Month

Verizon Wireless is teaming up with Rhapsody, the digital music service from RealNetworks, to offer an unlimited mobile music subscription service for $15 a month. Combining Verizon Wireless' over-the-air mobile music service with Rhapsody's desktop solution, V CAST Music with Rhapsody delivers unlimited monthly access to music on up to three Rhapsody-compatible mobile phones and players and online on multiple PCs and Web browsers. In addition, customers who purchase music over-the-air are able to download the master copy of the songs or albums to their PCs free of digital rights management (DRM) software that restricts how and where music can be played.

Agito Raises $13 million for its RoamAnywhere Mobility Router

Agito Networks, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, raised approximately $13 million in second round funding for its "RoamAnywhere" Mobility Router. Agito's business mobile convergence platform uses RF-based, location-aware technologies to mobilize voice over 802.11 wireless LANs (VoWLAN) and data applications, while remaining agnostic to enterprise customers' choices of mobile carriers.

Agito supports leading IP-PBX and WLAN equipment vendors to fuse 802.11 wireless LANs, enterprise IP telephony, and the carrier cellular network. The company said its patent-pending technology ensures that in-building calls stay on the enterprise WLAN (using VoWLAN), to reduce cellular expenses and eliminate dropped or poor quality calls.

Castile Ventures led the investment round, with ITX International Holdings Inc. also participating, and original investor Battery Ventures increasing its investment as well. The company also announced today that it has named David Leonard, former vice president and general manager of the Cisco Wireless Networking Business Unit and Desktop Switching Business Unit, as the Executive Chairman of Agito's Board of Directors. While at Cisco, Mr. Leonard helped grow its wireless and Ethernet product lines to the number one industry ranking in their respective markets.

Fujitsu Microelectronics America Names New CEO

Fujitsu Microelectronics America named Shinichi "James" Machida as its new president and chief executive officer. Machida will be leaving his position as president of Fujitsu Microelectronics Asia Pte. Ltd. (FMAL) in Singapore, and Fujitsu Microelectronics Pacific Asia Ltd. (FMP) in Hong Kong, to replace Kazuyuki Kawauchi, who will return to Fujitsu Microelectronics Limited (FML) in Japan in September.

ntl:Telewest Business Selects Amdocs

ntl:Telewest Business, part of the Virgin Media Group, has selected Amdocs to provide software and services as part of a strategic transformation project. Amdocs software will replace legacy systems and integrate others across its business, to establish a single way of delivering services to its customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ntl:Telewest Business has a vast nationwide Next Generation Network that provides businesses, public sector organizations and service providers across the UK with a complete portfolio of advanced data, Internet and voice services. The network is already built out to more than 38,000 street cabinets across the UK.

XAVi Selects Ikanos' Vx180 Gateway Processor

XAVi Technologies, a supplier of broadband residential gateways and customer premise equipment, has selected the Ikanos Fusiv Vx180 high-performance gateway processor for its VDSL2/ADSL2+ triple play residential gateways. The XAVi residential gateways will be sold globally, with a primary focus on the North American and European markets.

Ikanos Communications' Fusiv Vx180 is a low power single-chip multi-mode VDSL2/ADSL2+ gateway processor designed to enable service providers to launch next generation services. The Vx180 provides 2.7 GHz of processing power with integrated voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) processing while supporting best-in-class quality of service (QoS) for triple play experiences. The Vx180 features Ikanos' unique Accelerator Processor architecture, making it capable of achieving wirespeed packet processing performance across all LAN and WAN interfaces. Additionally it easily integrates with home networking technologies, such as MoCA, Home PNA, HomePlug and 802.11n.

Ikanos' Vx180 also supports features such as Ikanos' Rapid Rate Adaptation (RRA) and Seamless Rate Adaptation (SRA) technologies, thereby enabling the development of a high performance, integrated residential gateway platform for multi-play applications.
  • Ikanos' Rapid Rate Adaptation (RRA) technology is designed to minimize noise-induced service interruptions over DSL connections. Noise over a broadband line due to sudden power surges or other sources can potentially cause dropped connections and interruptions of service. For IPTV viewers, even a momentary drop in the connection leads to retraining of the broadband line and a subsequent re-establishment of the IP connection -- a process than can take half of a minute. In the mean time, the TV program that is being watched and any VoIP sessions underway, are suddenly dropped. RRA minimizes such link drops by rapidly and dynamically adapting data rates to accommodate the additional noise without dropping the connection, thus improving service availability and the user experience.

Harris Supplies Mobile TV Platform in Central America

Harris will supply its full mobile digital TV transmission platform to Albavision (Angel Gonzalez Group) for broadcast operations in Guatemala and Costa Rica -- Radio Television Guatemala and REPRETEL in Costa Rica. Albavision will be the first to roll out the new Harris mobile TV platform in Latin America, with plans to implement in other properties throughout the region in later stages. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Harris mobile digital TV transmission platform, which is expected to be available in November 2008, is based on the new Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) mobile/handheld solution proposed by LG Electronics, Zenith and Harris Corporation and recently joined by Samsung. It is based primarily upon elements of the Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld (MPH) technology -- developed by Harris, LG Electronics and Zenith -- as well as Samsung's Advanced Vestigial Sideband (A-VSB) system.

Harris said the recent agreement among the developers of the MPH and A-VSB technologies clears the path for electronics manufacturers to begin designing mobile DTV devices, and for local DTV broadcasters to proceed with confidence to build out their new mobile DTV services.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

One Minute Video: What is a Softswitch?

One Minute Video presented by Martin Taylor -- What is a Softswitch?

Jargon Buster

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wi-Fi Alliance Begins Certifying Devices for Voice Over Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi Alliance is launching a new certification program for voice-capable Wi-Fi devices in home and small office environments. The first wave of devices has passed certification. The Wi-Fi Alliance estimates that shipments of Wi-Fi/cellular converged phones will number between 250 and 350 million units in 2011.

The new Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal program extends beyond interoperability testing to test the performance of products and help ensure that they deliver good voice quality over the Wi-Fi link.

Voice over Wi-Fi is typically used within mixed voice and data environments, in which multiple data streams compete for the available network resources. Products that successfully achieve Voice-Personal certification prioritize voice communication over data, audio, or video traffic, and also have met strict performance levels for key metrics that ensure a quality experience in voice applications: packet loss, latency and jitter.

Products Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal have also passed tests for core interoperability (802.11a/b/g or 802.11n draft 2.0) and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) for the strong security protections, as well as Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) for quality of service and WMM Power Save (access points only). Users should look for both access points and client devices that are Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal to ensure optimal voice quality when making calls over a Wi-Fi network.

The following are among some of the first devices to become Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal:

  • Broadcom BCM94704AGR High Performance Dual-Band (2.4/5 GHz) Router Reference Design

  • Cisco Systems Aironet 1250 Series Access Point (AIR-AP1252AG )

  • Cisco Systems Aironet 1200 Series Access Point (AIR-AP1231G with AIR- RM21A)

  • DSP Group Expeditor Reference Design (with XpandR 1.01 software)

  • Intel Wireless WiFi Link 4965AGN

  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection

  • Meru Networks AP200

  • Redpine Signals Lite-Fi TGn SDIO

A list of all products Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Voice-Personal, as well as a free white paper which describes the program in detail, is available online.

RadiSys Adds Speech Capabilities to Convedia Media Server

RadiSys' Convedia media server family now supports automatic speech recognition (ASR), or converting human speech to computer data, and text-to-speech (TTS) capabilities in multiple languages for IP contact center application developers and service providers. The solution integrates standards-based Media Resource Control Protocol (MRCP) .

With the introduction of ASR and TTS support, RadiSys said its media servers can now be used in conjunction with speech servers to deliver a more cost-effective and scalable deployment model. Previously, Convedia media servers could process Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) commands and VoiceXML scripts to apply media processing against Real Time Protocol (RTP) media streams in a VoIP or IMS architecture. With the new capabilities, an ASR or TTS request written in the VoiceXML script is forwarded using a standards-based Media Resource Control Protocol (MRCP) interface to an adjunct speech server. The net result is that speech servers now can focus exclusively on ASR and TTS processing, while all other media processing is done within the Convedia media server.

BridgeWave Raises $10 Million for Mobile Backhaul Solutions

BridgeWave Communications, a start-up based in Santa Clara, California, raised $10 million in Series 4 funding for its gigabit wireless solutions. The funding round was co-led by Intel Capital and a new investor, Core Capital, with participation from prior round venture capital firms Cipio Partners, SDL Ventures, and Merifin Capital.

BridgeWave's Gigabit Ethernet wireless technology is aimed at future backhaul transport capacity. BridgeWave utilizes the upper millimeter-wave radio spectrum in the recently-allocated 60-90 GHz range, enabling the multi-gigabit per second wireless connectivity. The company also features proprietary "AdaptRate" technology and Forward Error Correction capabilities optimized for longer distances.

As a result of the financing, Pascal Luck, managing director at Core Capital will be joining the BridgeWave board of directors.
  • BridgeWave Communications is headed by Amir Makleff, who co-founded the company in 1999. Previously Amir served as COO and Senior VP of Engineering at Netro for three years. Previously to Netro, he was General Manager of Engineering and Marketing at Telco Systems and Nortel.

NEC to acquire NetCracker for OSS

NEC agreed to acquire NetCracker Technology Corp., a US based software and solutions specializing in Operations Support Systems (OSS). Financial terms were not disclosed.

NetCracker's portfolio includes industry solutions focused on specific verticals (such as Triple Play) and pre-integrated product modules. The core modules include Service Inventory, Resource Inventory, Service Provisioning & Activation, Discovery & Reconciliation, Design & Planning, Customer Impact Analysis, Outside Plant, Order Management, Asset Management, and Telecom Cost Management. The company, which was founded in 1993, is headquartered outside Boston in Waltham, MA.

NEC said the acquisition adds a key element of software and services to its portfolio of mobile and fixed infrastructure products. The company anticipates that Operations Support Systems will represent a key element to new international growth that is expected to generate approximately 200 billion yen over the next 5 years.

"NEC and NetCracker share a vision of operations and business support systems being critical to communications service providers, enabling them to build a sustainable competitive advantage," said Andrew Feinberg, CEO of NetCracker. "NEC's scale and solution offering will help us extend our core application and services footprint and continue to broaden the solutions we offer to our global customers."http://www.NetCracker.com
  • NetCracker Technology is headed by Andrew Feinberg, President and CEO. Prior to leading NetCracker, Andrew worked at Bain & Company Private Equity Group where he oversaw transactions in the telecommunications, software, and hardware industries.

Virgin Mobile USA to Acquire Helio for Approximately $39 Million in Equity

Virgin Mobile USA agreed to acquire Helio, the joint venture MVNO between SK Telecom and EarthLink, for limited partnership units equivalent to 13 million shares of Virgin Mobile USA class A common stock, with a value of about $39 million. Both carrier's purchase wholesale capacity on Sprint's PCS network.

The deal will give Virgin approximately 170,000 Helio customers with approximately $80 ARPU. Virgin Mobile USA will also gain an established and highly advanced postpaid billing and customer care platform, marking its entrance into this segment of the market. Virgin also noted that the Helio also gives it a set of unique and differentiated data applications, greatly enhancing its offer across its customer base.http://virginmobileusa.mediaroom.com
  • In January 2008, Helio, the U.S. joint venture between SK Telecom and EarthLink, activated its 200,000 mobile subscriber. Average revenue per user (ARPU) is over $85, well above the industry average.

  • In September 2007, SK Telecom confirmed plans to invest up to an additional $270 million in Helio, the U.S.. EarthLink was renegotiating its stake in the venture.

OKI Develops Audience Rating Information System for IPTV

Oki Electric Industry introduced an "Audience Rating Information System" for IPTV aimed at the Japanese market. The system collects viewership data to enable broadcasting companies to improve their services. The system is designed to enable service providers, with the authorization of users, to obtain information about when and which channel and programs the users watched. The system will collect the viewership data in the form of an "audience rating library" on the user's device, which will then be encrypted, sent to and registered in the database server at the IPTV distribution center. This information will then be printed out as viewership reports which service providers can offer to program producers.

OKI said it is proposing the technology to ASTAP, Asia's communication standard organization and FG-IPTV in the ITU.