Monday, August 25, 2008

TesLA Alliance Targets Open IP Test Automation Framework

Ixia and a set of key industry partners have formed a new TesLA Alliance that aims to provide an open, multivendor automation framework for testing IP platforms and services. This will enable service providers and enterprises to automate their end-to-end testing. Ixia is hosting TesLA Alliance briefings and product demonstrations at its iSimCity proof-of-concept lab in Santa Clara, California. A common automation framework ensures interoperability among members' products.

The founding TesLA members are APCON, Codenomicon, Fanfare, Ixia, Mu Dynamics, QualiSystems and Shunra.

The companies believe a common automation framework is needed because networking labs typically contain test equipment from multiple, disparate vendors. This drives the need for seamless integration and interoperability among the various tools. As a result, IP test automation has moved to center stage because it is the only way quality can be assured after product upgrades, network modifications and software patches.

The TesLA framework is based on Ixia's Test Conductor IP test automation solution.


ECI Telecom Selected for Network Upgrade in Costa Rica

Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. (RACSA), a service provider in Costa Rica, will expand its network with ECI Telecoms' XDM Multi-Service Provisioning Platform (MSPP). The network upgrade will combine SDH, Ethernet switching and WDM on a single, converged platform. The network is managed by ECI's LightSoft multi-layer network management system, delivering an end-to-end solution to manage the different equipments, network segments and technologies under one management system. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ECI noted that with RACSA as a new customer, its XDM MSPP Platform is now utilized by the two largest carriers in Costa Rica.

Zhone Introduces Bitstorm IP DSLAMs for VDSL2 and bonded ADSL2+

Zhone Technologies introduced two new IP DSLAMs leveraging VDSL2 and ADSL2+ for single or bonded-pair copper. The platforms are powered by Ikanos Communications' VDSL2 central office (CO) and customer premises chipsets.

The Bitstorm HP (High Performance) is a 24 Port, VDSL2 IP-DSLAM delivering up to 100/100 Mbps symmetrical services on each port with full ADSL2+ support. The Bitstorm HP is a 1 Rack Unit (RU), environmentally hardened platform, ideal for basement Multi Tenant Units (MTUs) and outdoor cabinets. The platform is optimized for cross talk management at distances up to 5,000 feet, providing the maximum bandwidth available over single-pair copper. Bitstorm HP also fully supports customer premises equipment (CPE) for 25 Mbps services at distances up to 10,000 feet.

The Bitstorm RP (Reach Performance) provides 48 ports of ADSL2+ and operates in single-pair or bonded-pair mode to deliver 45+ Mbps for short loops and up to 25 Mbps at distance up to 10,000 feet. The Bitstorm RP is a high-density 1.5 RU IP/Ethernet DSLAM platform/ A code extension of the popular Zhone/Paradyne DSLAM series, Bitstorm RP provides field proven performance with a feature set that includes ADSL2+ bonding, built in splitters and dual Gig E and far end uplink ports. Other new features include hot-swap servicing and single click configuration with automatic line recognition. Bitstorm RP supports bridged mode or advanced layer operations for premium Quality of Service (QoS) smart home or business applications.

Both Bitstorm platforms are standards-based for interoperability and performance certified with a broad range of VDSL2 and ADSL2+ CPE. Bitstorm HP is rate/reach certified at 100/100 Mbps (VDSL2 30a) with Zhone's 6652 CPE series. Zhone's Bitstorm VDSL platform is also available in a 100 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream configuration (VDSL2 17a). Changes and upgrades are performed remotely via a single-click Web interface or Zhone's Management System (ZMS) with Multimedia Traffic Management for tiered service guarantees.

"The Bitstorm VDSL2 and bonded ADSL2+ platforms further broaden FTTx delivery options for our customers," said Steven Glapa, Zhone's vice president of product management and marketing. "Bitstorm is a direct response to customer requests for plug and play HD multi-play provisioning in a small, cost efficient form factor."

Ikanos Communications said its FxTM100100-5 VDSL2 CO and FxTM100100S-5 offer the lowest power
consumption per port in the industry. The multi-mode VDSL2 chipsets are optimized for IPTV and triple play offerings.

Telx Launches 10 GigE Peering Services powered by Force10

Telx, which provides carrier-neutral interconnectivity via colocation facilities across the U.S., has deployed the Force10 C300 resilient switch in its Phoenix Telx Internet Exchange (TIE) platform. The TIE platform provides one and 10 Gigabit Ethernet peering services.

The Force10 C300 supports up to 384 line-rate Gigabit or 64 line-rate 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports in a single chassis. Utilizing the modular Force10 operating system, FTOS, Telx is also simplifying the management of its TIE platform. Online monitoring and diagnostics tools enable Telx to troubleshoot the network without bringing it down.

Force10 said its Reliable Networking product portfolio now powers the three largest Internet Exchanges in the world as well as the largest Internet Exchange in Central Europe.

Level 3 Delivers Ethernet Transport for Cbeyond

Level 3 Communications' Wholesale Markets Group is now serving as the primary provider of Ethernet transport for Cbeyond, a leading IP-based, managed services provider to small businesses. Under a new agreement, Level 3 will continue to increase bandwidth on current circuits and provide additional circuits as needed in all 12 Cbeyond metropolitan area markets. In doing so, Level 3 will assist in the scaling of Cbeyond's network capacity and the ongoing migration from Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) to Ethernet using Metro Ethernet Private Line services. In addition, Level 3 will provide new Metro Ethernet Private Line services in Detroit, San Francisco, and Minneapolis to enable Cbeyond's expansion in those markets. Level 3 also provides Cbeyond with Voice and High Speed Internet services.

Mexico's Telcel Deploys Ericsson's Microwave Transmission Links

Telcel - Mexico's leading mobile operator and a subsidiary of América Móvil, has selected Ericsson to provide microwave-transmission links for high-speed mobile broadband. Ericsson's MINI-LINK TN solution will enable Telcel to increase its network coverage and subscriber base for its existing 2G/3G-HSPA network. It will also enable a smooth migration to an all-IP network in the future. The first phase of the contract extends through the end of 2008. Rollout begins in the third quarter of 2008. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ericsson described the agreement as the largest microwave deal in Latin America so far.

Alcatel-Lucent Introduces OmniSwitch 6400 LAN Switches

Alcatel-Lucent introduced its OmniSwitch 6400 family of stackable, layer 2+ Gigabit Ethernet LAN switches for small and medium-sized enterprises, branch offices or for carrier Ethernet access applications. The switches are low-power, compact platforms that feature multi-layer security including user authentication, quarantine VLANs, access control lists, encryption and denial of service protection.

The OmniSwitch 6400 family consists of six models, each offering 24 or 48 triple-speed ports. Each model contains two 10-Gigabit Ethernet stacking ports and up to four Gigabit Ethernet combo ports (RJ45/SFP). Up to eight switches can be stacked with virtual chassis redundancy for a total capacity of 384 ports per stack. Both switch configurations are available with power over Ethernet capabilities for use with VoIP handsets or other Ethernet-powered devices.

For service provider demarcation applications, the switches support Metro access features including Ethernet services, OAM support and IPTV multicast VLANs. The switches are manageable and configurable from Alcatel-Lucent's SNMP-based OmniVista 2500 Network Management System and from the industry leading Alcatel-Lucent 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM).

Nokia to Launch N96 in the Americas in Q4

Nokia announced plans to offer its N96 multimedia device in the Americas during the fourth quarter of 2008. The device features a large 2.8 inch screen, 16 GB of internal memory and compatibility with a wide range of video formats, including MPEG-4, Windows Media Video and Flash Video.

Network connectivity includes USB 2.0 connection, WLAN and HSDPA support. Additional features include built-in 3D stereo speakers, a 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, flash and video light, and DVD-like quality video capture at 30 frames per second.

AT&T Expands International Data Offerings for iPhone

AT&T introduced two new international data plans for its iPhone customers: 100 MB or 200 MB a month.

For discounted international data usage in 67 countries, the 100 MB iPhone plan is available for an additional $119.99 a month, while the 200 MB plan costs an additional $199.99 a month. These new plans are in addition to existing plans for smartphones, including iPhone, which offer 20 MB and 50 MB in the same countries. There are no long-term commitments required.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

NTT's IP Video QoE is Adopted as an ITU Standard

Technology originally developed by NTT Service Integration Laboratories to objectively estimate a user's Quality of Experience (QoE) in IP-based video delivery services has been adopted as an international standard (ITU-T Recommendation J.247). The technology enables the quality of video delivery services to be checked and monitored.

NTT said previously existing technology cannot assess the effects of diverse coding systems and bit rates as used in video delivery services nor can it assess degraded video caused by packet loss characteristic of IP networks.

In response to this problem, NTT Service Integration Laboratories modeled quality degradation considering human perceptual characteristics (degradation in experienced quality due to coding and packet loss) based on a huge quality database making maximum use of NTT subjective quality assessment facilities and know-how. Then, based on this model, it developed technology to estimate QoE through the analysis of video signals. This technology enables the objective video quality assessment from the similar viewpoints of customers.

NTT's assessment technology was proposed for standardization at ITU-T, and after a 5-year worldwide performance evaluation contest held by ITU-T, four systems (including the NTT algorithm) out of nine candidates from the same number of institutions were approved as formal Recommendation J.247 on August 13, 2008 and released on August 22, 2008.

Israel's Bezeq Selects Alcatel-Lucent for Metro Ethernet

Bezeq, Israel's largest telecommunications provider, has selected Alcatel-Lucent as the foundation for its new metro Ethernet network. Alcatel-Lucent's Ethernet & IP routing solution will help Bezeq deliver premium Ethernet L2 services, such as Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS), and Ethernet-lines (E-lines) to its business customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Alcatel-Lucent will deploy its 7750 Service Router and 5620 Service Aware Manager as the base for Bezeq's new metro Ethernet network. Alcatel-Lucent's Ethernet & IP routing solution is unique in its ability to ensure reliable, non-stop service delivery with the quality of service (QoS) necessary to offer differentiated services to customers.

Procera Networks Secures $6 Million in Funding

Procera Networks has secured $6 million in private financing. The company said the funding will allow it to accelerate the hiring and training of Field Engineers and accelerate the purchase of inventory for its recently announced Tier-1 product family, the PacketLogic PL10000.
  • In May 2008, Procera Networks introduced its PacketLogic PL10000, a high-performance DPI platform offering up to 80Gbps of throughput and purpose-built for deployments either at the core or edge of Tier-1 broadband networks. Procera, which also offers a range of smaller DPI platforms, is targeting a new type of "evolved DPI" capable of enhancing application awareness with service control capabilities.

Reliance Globalcom Supplies Managed Ethernet for International Law Firm

Reliance Globalcom announced a contract to provide Managed WAN Ethernet and Managed Premium Internet services to the international law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP (Paul Hastings). The Ethernet service will link offices in Asia, Europe and the U.S.

Reliance Globalcom is deploying a fully managed Layer 2 Ethernet-based virtual private LAN service (VPLS) solution with any-to-any connectivity to Paul Hastings' 18 offices worldwide. The Ethernet-based services support the firm's increased deployment of collaborative web-based services, including video conferencing, VoIP, document management and messaging systems. With Reliance Globalcom's service delivery platform and strategic partnerships in multiple regions around the world, Paul Hastings benefits from enhanced service level agreement (SLA) continuity, improved network availability and stability, bandwidth on-demand and support of converged applications -- all of which support the firm's international growth.

Centennial Wireless Installs Redback SmartEdge Routers

Centennial Wireless, a provider of mobile communications in the United States, will expand its existing Ericsson Mobile Packet Backbone Network solution through the introduction of Redback SmartEdge multi-service edge routers. The implementation of SmartEdge routers addresses Centennial's objective to deploy IP infrastructure capable of supporting a standards-based evolution towards all-IP. Centennial has 13 million Net Pops, 1.1 million wireless customers and 475,000 access line equivalents. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Crossbeam Launches Check Point FireWall-1 GX

Crossbeam Systems has certified Check Point's FireWall-1 GX product via the iBeam ISV Certification Program to run on Crossbeam's X-Series Next Generation Security Platform. Check Point's FireWall-1 GX will enable GSM mobile operators using GPRS-(2.5G) and UMTS-(3G) enabled wireless networks to protect themselves against a host of threats via Crossbeam's carrier-class security platform -- from over-billing attacks and theft of services to Denial of Service (DoS) attacks -- which can destroy their credibility with customers.

Crossbeam's iBeam ISV Certification Program is a testing environment that recreates the layered, core security architectures of large enterprise and service provider networks.
  • Crossbeam's X-Series line of security service switches feature up to 40 Gbps of unified threat management (UTM) security processing throughput in a single chassis. The hardware platform facilitates the consolidation, virtualization and simplification of security services delivery. Among its innovations, Crossbeam features “secure flow processing�?, which offers the ability to logically sequence flows from one virtualized instance of a security application to another. Secure flow processing enables security policy sequences to occur on a virtual plane, as if, for example, switches, load balancers, and patch cables were all physically installed between an intrusion prevention service and a firewall. This process is accomplished at wire speed, with active management of data flows and load balancing with “state�? maintained for firewalls and content gateways.

Conviva Raises $20 Million for its Live Media Platform

Conviva, a start-up based in San Mateo, California, raised $20 million in Series B funding for its LIVE media platform.

Conviva said its C3 platform is built for live media from day one. This would enable content owners to create a new "virtual living room" audience experience and improve the economics of digital media on the Internet.

UV Partners led the funding round, with participation from Series A investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Foundation Capital. The funding brings Conviva's total amount raised to $29 million and will help the company expand its global platform, accelerate product development, and invest in business development with key customers.
  • Conviva is headed by Carlos Ramón, who previously was General Manager of Akamai Technologies' international business.

Broadcom to Acquire AMD's Digital TV Business

Broadcom will acquire AMD's digital TV (DTV) business for approximately $192.8 million in cash. Broadcom said the deal enables it to immediately scale its DTV business, and, in conjunction with its existing products, to offer a complete product line that covers all segments of the DTV market ranging from low-end value and mid-range quality to high-end interactive platforms and panel processors.

In connection with the transaction, approximately 530 members of AMD's dedicated DTV team, in addition to certain employees directly supporting this team, located in six primary design centers around the world, will be invited to join Broadcom. AMD's DTV product line includes all Xilleon integrated DTV processors and complete turnkey reference designs, as well as NXT receiver ICs, the Theater 300 DTV processor, and a line of panel processors that perform advanced motion compensation, frame rate conversion and scaling.

"The acquisition of AMD's DTV business, which will become the core of Broadcom's DTV line of business, will enable us to significantly scale and accelerate the completion of our digital TV product portfolio while also expanding our tier one customer base and positions us to achieve leadership and long-term growth in this important market segment," said Daniel Marotta, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Broadcom's Broadband Communications Group. "We believe our combined DTV team will be in an excellent position to grow and thrive in this burgeoning market by bringing best-in-class people, technology, solutions and support to our customers."

Competitors in this space include Micronas, MStar, Trident, MediaTek, ST, NXP and Zoran.http://www.broadcom.com

DISH Offers MPEG-4 for All Standard and HD Programming

DISH Network is now transmitting all standard and high definition programming in the MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding Standard.
New customers in 21 designated markets* in the eastern half of the U.S. who sign up for any DISH Network HD package will be the first in the nation to receive the industry's most advanced delivery system on all televisions connected to DISH Network service. This includes all SD and HD programming broadcast in MPEG-4 via DISH Network's MPEG-4 HD and HD DVR receivers.

DISH said this milestone continues a series of industry firsts, including the latest expansion in high definition services, the launch of TurboHD -- the only 100 percent HD service -- the availability of movies in Blu-Ray Disc quality 1080p resolution, and the commitment to offer up to 150 national HD channels by the end of the year.

China Netcom Reaches 23.4 Million Broadband Users

China Netcom reported 1H08 revenue of RMB 41,125 million, which included upfront connection fees of RMB 505 million. Excluding upfront connection fees, revenue was RMB 40,620 million, representing a decrease of 0.15% over the same period of last year (unless otherwise specified, all reported data hereafter exclude the effect of upfront connection fees). Net profit was RMB 5,877 million, up 11.9% year on year because of the change in corporate tax rate and gain on non-cash transactions. If the impact of non-cash transactions was excluded, the net profit would be RMB5,420 million, up 3.2% year on year.

Some highlights from the report:

  • During the first half of the year, China Netcom integrated its resources for broadband services, ICT (information and communication technology), value-added service and advertising and media services in its push for transformation into a "broadband communications and multimedia services provider". The revenue generated from these businesses grew by 26.2% and accounted for 40.6% of total revenues, up 8.5 percentage points over the same period of last year.

  • In the first half of 2008, China Netcom reported a decline in total capital expenditure of 10.7% year-on-year to RMB 7,527 million. In particular, investment in the businesses of fixed-line and PHS only accounted for 4.4% of the total, down 13.2 percentage points compared to the same period last year.

  • As of June 30, 2008, broadband subscribers increased to 23,355,000. This represented a net growth of 3,587,000 when compared to the end of 2007.

  • China Netcom'S share of the broadband market in its service areas was 90.4%, up 1.5 percentage points year-on-year.

  • Revenue from broadband services was RMB 8,859 million, a year-on-year increase of 38.8%. Broadband services accounted for 21.8% of total revenues, up 6.1 percentage points over the same period of last year. ARPU was RMB 68.5. Revenue generated from broadband content and applications was RMB 1,270 million, up 69.1 % over the same period of last year, accounting for RMB 9.8 of broadband ARPU.

  • In the first half of 2008, ICT revenue grew by 28.5% year-on-year to RMB 1,882 million, and accounted for 4.6% of total revenue.

  • During the first half of 2008, China Netcom's traditional fixed-line service faced major challenges. The company is losing local access subscribers, leading to a decline in revenue from the traditional business. As of June 30, 2008, it had 108,510,000 local access subscribers, 2,310,000 less than at the end of 2007. Of this number, fixed-line subscribers declined by 1,499,000while PHS subscribers declined by 811,000.

  • To combat the continuous decline in subscribers of its fixed-line business and PHS, China Netcom's strategy for 2008 is to use high-quality and bundled services, reformed pricing mechanisms, and improved customer experience to promote customer loyalty and thus arrest the decline in subscribers. In May, 2008, the company launched a family gateway, which offers information services to "Family 1+" customers, combining simultaneous access to the internet through various PCs, wireless internet access, family video monitoring and IPTV services.

  • By the end of the first half of 2008, there were 9,971,000 "Family 1+" subscribers. Penetration rate among broadband subscribers for the "Family 1+" service was 36%.

Looking forward, Chairman Zuo Xunsheng said, "In the second half of 2008, we will increase investment in our innovative businesses, and step up effort to develop the innovative businesses, including the broadband services. We will continue the transformation of the "Family 1+" service in order to meet the demand of the household subscribers for high-quality multimedia services during informatization and to enhance the value of the fixed-line network. Meanwhile, we believe that the Company's merger with China Unicom will support and strengthen execution of these strategies. The merger will enable the new company to give full play to the competitive advantages of both predecessor companies, and bring the synergy of the mobile and fixed-line networks into play. The new company is also expected to have access to a 3G license. These will enable the new company to have an edge and to be better positioned in the domestic telecommunications market. The merger will increase shareholder value of both companies."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Telstra's BigPond Revamps Wireless Broadband Plans

Telstra introduced new BigPond Wireless Broadband service plans, while removing the separate pricing plans for mobile cards and modem customers. The additional usage charge has been simplified to $0.25 per MB across all plans. The new plans are available from Sunday, 24 August.

BigPond has a choice of wireless broadband devices which include either a 7.2Mbps express card or USB mobile card or the new BigPond 7.2 Home Network Gateway modem with built-in WiFi.

Prices in AUD.