Sunday, September 7, 2008

BT Employs Mu's Service Analyzer for Vendor Evaluation on DFTS Network

BT is using Mu Dynamics' Mu-4000 Service Analyzer to support the evaluation and testing of proposed services on the UK's Defense Fixed Telecommunications Service (DFTS) network. The deployment aims to quicken the reliable deployment of new services -- from initial vendor and equipment evaluation through systems integration and testing. The DFTS network supports a broad range of services to the 230,000 users at the Ministry of Defence (MOD), who place more than 750,000 VPN calls a day and send two million emails per week through the DFTS EGS (Enterprise Gateway Service). Under the MOD's Defence Modernization Program, BT is in the process of introducing a new core network which aims to enhance services while reducing tariffs paid by the MOD.

The Mu-4000 is an IP service assurance test solution that quantifies many dimensions of system behavior. The Mu solution automates the detection, isolation and elimination of a wide range of weaknesses in IP-based networks and supplier products. The methodical and proactive approach maximizes network operator service availability and network uptime.

"With Mu's Service Analyzer we are able to baseline the reliability of every vendor and potential system prior to making a purchase decision--proactively detecting any problems that could lead to disruption or downtime in our production networks," according to Matt Graff, BT's defense account manager. "The automated analysis performed by the Mu-4000 is far more comprehensive than any manual process or point product solution we have evaluated to date, and this will be critical to BT as we implement our next generation of real-time network infrastructure and services."

Sprint Provides Visibility into Customer IP/MPLS Connections

Sprint has introduced a new online tool that provides its customers with a view into the performance of their IP and MPLS networks. The new "Compass" application provides visibility into a customer's network vital statistics previously available only to service providers. Key features include:

  • Quickly locating network connections, and obtaining critical information and status by business location.

  • Real-time reporting that allows customers to better manage and understand WAN performance, status and behavior.

  • Visibility into class of service (CoS) configuration and reporting.

  • Access to historical performance statistics.

  • Ability to monitor performance and view stats for both domestic and international locations.

  • Initial troubleshooting and testing prior to opening a trouble ticket.

"Compass enhances the Sprint business customer experience by providing them with full knowledge of what is going on within the ‘cloud,' the ability to take control and manage their network, and in-depth, real-time reporting available at their fingertips, whenever needed," said Dan Dooley, president of Wireline, Sprint. "We're meeting an important customer need with this on-demand, self-service tool, which displays IP and MPLS key performance indicators, customer port inventory and configuration that goes beyond the customer premises."

Stratecast and Innopath Quantify the Positive Billion-Dollar Impact of MDM

Using mobile device management (MDM) technology within mobile operators' customer care organizations could have a major impact on global operational and support costs in the range of $3 billion in 2009 to over $23 billion by 2013, according to market researcher Stratecast and InnoPath, a leading supplier of MDM solutions.

Using MDM, customer care representatives both on the phone and in the store can view a customer's handset configuration and quickly understand what is missing, incorrect, or out-of-date. Following identification of the problem, a solution can be immediately applied Over the Air (OTA) without any intervention from the customer. This streamlines the customer support process, creating efficiencies that reduce the number and length of support contacts and in turn results in tremendous cost savings. Stratecast and InnoPath predict that these cost savings, when applied to an average North American operator (with 70 million subscribers), would result in a total savings of $2 billion dollars over five years.

The jointly developed ROI model includes more than twenty-five independent variables and leverages both Stratecast's empirical data and InnoPath's practical experience.

"The advanced services customers demand from their cell phones are creating an unprecedented burden on the mobile operator," says Nancee Ruzicka of Stratecast's OSS/BSS Global Competitive Strategies group. "Increasingly complex requirements for device configurations, software updates and convoluted trouble-shooting procedures are driving up support costs. These are costs which cannot be contained without streamlining traditional methods of customer support for mobile devices."

Tata Comm. Launches Global CDN Powered By BitGravity

Tata Communications announced the worldwide launch of a content delivery network (CDN) service powered by BitGravity. Tata Communications, which has more than 300 points of presence worldwide, is now offering the CDN service over its global IP network throughout Europe, Asia, North America and India. Tata Communications' next-generation CDN service aims to provide immediate access to content, including High-Definition Video, without delay or jitter, and the highest levels of throughput for end users. Its feature list includes fast forwarding, cache clearing, resolution switching and rate throttling from within a Flash player.

BitGravity, a start-up based in Burlingame, California, has developed a new generation of content delivery technology that aims to eliminate routing and processing overhead -- an improvement that it claims can lead to 4-20X improvements in application responsiveness. Its network is based on 10 Gbps, which allows it to increase packet sizes and data per stream and removes throughput bottlenecks. the company combines open protocols with its own proprietary protocols.

Tata Communications, which announced a strategic partnership with BitGravity in March, 2008, has also invested $11.5 million in convertible debt in BitGravity, validating the company's content delivery platform as a key benefit in Tata Communications' value-added services offering. In turn, BitGravity has named Tata Communications' Chief Technology Officer, John Hayduk to its Board of Directors. Tata Communications' financial backing of BitGravity confirms Tata Communications' commitment to develop and offer innovative technology solutions to its global customers.

"The launch of Tata Communications' CDN service is a major milestone in our strategic roadmap to offer unparalleled managed services globally. We chose to work with BitGravity because it has the best architecture and technology to deliver high quality content and video," said Vinod Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Tata Communications. "Together, Tata Communications and BitGravity's capabilities are a formidable force to deliver high quality content and video."

"Global reach will be table stakes for content delivery and we are excited to receive funding and support from a strong strategic investor like Tata Communications that will enable us to effectively integrate our CDN architecture with their worldwide backbone and provide an unmatched user experience. Tata Communications' extensive relationships within and outside of the communications industry will accelerate the deployment and penetration of our innovative platform," said Perry Wu, CEO and co-founder of BitGravity.http://www.bitgravity.com

JDSU Enhances its AON Super Transport Blade

JDSU has added protection switch technology for its AON Super Transport Blade, the new single-slot solution that integrates major optical network transport functions onto a single blade.

Protection switch technology has been used for several decades to provide redundancy in networks, or backup pathways for network traffic in the event of a network failure, such as when a construction crew accidentally cuts through a fiber within the ground. When the fiber is damaged, or when its optical signal goes "dark," the JDSU protection switch detects the problem and switches the optical traffic to an alternate fiber within 15 milliseconds, greatly reducing the risk of a network outage.

JDSU said adding this enhancement was made possible by the AON Embedded Operating System, a highly modular framework that supports functions within JDSU transport products.
  • In February 2008, JDSU introduced its Agile Optical Network (AON) Superblade concept -- all major functions required for optical network transport integrated onto a single blade, significantly reducing size, cost and power requirements for network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) and service providers. The AON Superblade includes very small blocks of wavelength selective switch (WSS) technology that JDSU has invented called the Nano WSS, erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) technology, and an optical channel monitor technology into a single-slot device. As with existing WSS technology, the Nano WSS can direct traffic in network nodes requiring greater than two dimensions, and provides colorless routing and switching, or the ability to direct wavelengths in several directions instead of in just a single direction. JDSU is also developing a customized operating system-- called the AON Embedded Operating System - to ensure that AON Superblade seamlessly integrates within network equipment manufacturer's (NEMS) and service provider's unique network environments.

    JDSU said its high level of vertical integration will allow for flexibility during the individual design and manufacturing of each optical element. The company estimates that the new solution could be as much as 50 percent lower in cost compared to the total cost for all of the separate optical components currently used today. The AON Superblade will also be approximately four times smaller because all of the components will be integrated into a single-slot blade, compared to current solutions that can require up to four blades within NEM's systems.

Carbonite Raises $20 Million for Online Storage Services

Carbonite, a start-up based in Boston, closed $20 million in C round funding for its Online Backup service, which was originally launched in May 2006. So far, the company said it has backed up more than 4 billion files, has restored more than 300 million lost files for its customers and has a large data center where capacity is measured in petabytes.

The funding round was led by Performance Equity of Stamford, Conn., with participation of all of Carbonite's existing institutional investors, including Menlo Ventures, 3i, and Common Angels Fund. The round brings the total raised by the Boston-based company to approximately $47 million.

Fusion-io Evolves Enterprise Flash Storage

Fusion-io, a start-up based in Salt Lake City, introduced its "ioSAN" networked enterprise solid state drive (SSD). The ioSAN can be deployed as networked, server-attached storage or integrated into networked storage infrastructure using the directly connected form factor.

Fusion-io said its design allows an off-the-shelf server to be configured into a storage area network (SAN) with multi-terabytes of low-cost tiered storage, high-performance enterprise flash and high- performance enterprise networking, even building systems that can do millions of IOPS and tens of gigabytes of sustained bandwidth, all at less than one millisecond of latency.

Using a standards-based, memory-speed protocol over either 10GigE or 40GBps QDR InfiniBand, the ioSAN shares ioMemory capacity between servers. Fusion-io claims latencies of less than two microseconds using an integrated network interface that can dynamically alternate between 10 Gbps Ethernet or 40 Gbps quad data rate InfiniBand.

Denmark's TRE-FOR Bredbånd Selects Cisco for Video on Demand over Fiber

TRE-FOR Bredbånd A/S, the broadband network operator serving the Triangle Region in Denmark, has deployed the Cisco Content Delivery System (CDS) in its open access fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network to deliver advanced entertainment and interactive media. The solution is used to provide TRE-FOR's content provider partners with a highly extensible platform to support high-value subscriber services such as video-on-demand (VoD), program time-shifting, local programming, "long tail" content, and public, educational and government channels. The Cisco CDS solution also offers the possibility of targeted ad insertion and network personal video recording (nPVR) services if future legislation allows.

The Cisco CDS solution is an IP NGN-based, modular video-delivery platform. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Motorola Expands Global RFID Footprint

Motorola's Enterprise Mobility business introduced several new RFID product enhancements and an increase in geographic availability of its RFID portfolio for industry segments such as item-level inventory tracking in the retail industry, baggage tracking and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) in aviation, IT asset management in the financial sector and high value asset management in energy.

Specifically, Motorola introduced a new handheld RFID reader for the European market, the certification of its mobile RFID reader in six new countries in Asia, and a global firmware upgrade to increase the flexibility and performance capability of its XR series fixed reader. The new European R1 version of Motorola's high-performance RFID handheld reader is compliant with current ETSI 302 208 standards required for operation in countries in the European Union. The new R1 version offers integrated RFID reading/writing and barcode scanning and is able to seamlessly switch to multiple channels and transmit 100 percent of the time. The long read ranges produced by the linear antennae make the reader ideal for a variety of retail, manufacturing, transportation and logistics applications including shipping and receiving, work-in-process, item-level in-store inventory management and asset, baggage and cargo tracking.

AT&T Picks Yahoo! as the Default Mobile Search Engine

AT&T has selected Yahoo! "oneSearch" as the default mobile search engine for the AT&T MEdia Net portal. AT&T is the first U.S. carrier to integrate Yahoo!'s mobile search service directly into their portal.

Specifically, Yahoo! oneSearch will provide customers who search AT&T MEdia Net with access to news, financial information, weather conditions, Flickr photos and Web images, as well as Web and mobile web sites. Yahoo! oneSearch will also display relevant ringtones, wallpaper, games and other content available in the AT&T MEdia Mall within search results, eliminating the need for customers to search within a separate window for downloadable content. AT&T's YELLOWPAGES.COM will provide local search information to customers as part of the agreement.

Also beginning today, Yahoo! will provide mobile-sponsored search advertising within mobile search results conducted through the AT&T MEdia Net portal.http://www.att.com

Korea Awards IPTV Licenses to KT, Hanarotelecom, LG Dacom

The Korean Communications Commission has awarded the first three IPTV licenses in South Korea to KT, Hanarotelecom and LG Dacom Corp. The companies are required to launch their services by next spring. Korea has one of the highest broadband penetration rates in the world.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

GeoEye-1 Satellite Successfully Launched

GeoEye-1, the world's highest resolution, commercial Earth-imaging satellite, was successfully launched into orbit on Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket.

GeoEye-1, which was built by General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, is part of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) NextView program. The NextView program is designed to ensure that the NGA has access to commercial imagery in support of its mission to provide timely, relevant and accurate geospatial intelligence in support of national security.

GeoEye-1 will simultaneously collect 0.41-meter ground resolution black-and-white (panchromatic) images and 1.65-meter color (multispectral) images. Designed to take digital images of the Earth from 681 kilometers and moving at a speed of about seven kilometers per second, the satellite camera can distinguish objects on the Earth's surface as small as 0.41-meter in size. Due to U.S. licensing restrictions, commercial customers will get access to imagery at half-meter ground resolution.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

FCC Grants Forbearance from Legacy Service Quality Reporting

The FCC has decided to grant significant forbearance to AT&T and other legacy carriers who are obliged to file Automated Reporting Management Information System (ARMIS) reports. The ARMIS reports provide data on a service quality and certain network infrastructure metrics.

The FCC Commission said it will continue to seek access to the data necessary for public safety and broadband policymaking, and that certain infrastructure and operating data might be useful, but only if collected on an industry-wide basis. Therefore, the FCC is seeking public comment on whether such data should be collected from all relevant providers in furtherance of those goals. Similarly, certain service quality and
customer satisfaction data might be useful, but only if collected on an industry-wide basis. The FCC is also seeking comment on whether it should collect such data on an industry-wide basis.

In addition, the FCC has decided to extend to Verizon and Qwest the conditional forbearance granted to AT&T in the AT&T Cost
Assignment Forbearance Order.

In a statement, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin stated: "Today, we take another step to remove unnecessary regulatory burdens and ensure a regulatory level playing field. We eliminate outdated reporting requirements that applied to a small class of carriers, retaining only those requirements that still serve a useful regulatory purpose. And if the Commission does believe specific information is needed in today's competitive marketplace, then we should collect that information from all industry players rather than a handful of carriers. Therefore, we initiate a proceeding to determine whether and how to collect such information across all platforms."

In a separate statement, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said: "The collection and analysis of solid communications-related data is a linchpin in the Commission's ability to make sound decisions and provide useful guidance and assistance to consumers, states, industry-participants and other stakeholders. That is why it has been so troubling to see in to many instances the Commission headed down the road of collecting less data. Now we are confronted with forbearance requests by carriers seeking relief from the responsibility of collecting and reporting service quality, customer satisfaction, and infrastructure and operating data pursuant to the Commission's ARMIS reporting rules."

iSkoot Acquires Social.IM for Mobile Web Communications

San Francisco-based iSkoot, which provides carrier-friendly mobile VoIP solutions, has acquired Social.IM for its social network IM client. The acquisition positions iSkoot to grow beyond mobile VoIP. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Social.IM built a customizable desktop application and Web service that adds real-time communication and desktop notifications for social networks, online communities, and Web sites. The technology includes a desktop IM client and also the capability to deliver new message alerts, information, and content to social network or online community members. Social.IM also released a developer API that allows for social network application developers to reach their users on desktop.

"Social.IM has served as an instant Web communications desktop platform and we see a clear consumer integration with iSkoot's upcoming suite of Web to mobile push services," said Mark Jacobstein, iSkoot CEO. "Acquiring Social.IM is a key step in our path to introduce later this year a groundbreaking new communications platform that will revolutionize the mobile landscape."
  • Earlier this year, iSkoot hired CEO Mark Jacobstein, who played key roles at Digital Chocolate and Loopt.

  • Also, Skype and iSkoot announced a new five-year agreement. As part of the deal, iSkoot received for the first time the exclusive rights to offer the Skype mobile services though carrier partners in eight countries.

  • iSkoot launched its carrier-grade, carrier-deployed Skype-for-Mobile application in 2006, and now powers the Skypephone, which currently sold in eight countries on three continents.

Nokia Lowers Q3 2008 Mobile Device Market Share Outlook

Nokia trimmed its mobile device market share outlook for the third quarter 2008, saying it now expects its mobile device market share to be lower than in the second quarter 2008. This compares to Nokia's earlier estimation provided in the second quarter results announcement on July 17, 2008, when the company said it expected its mobile device market share in the third quarter 2008 to be approximately at the same level sequentially.

Nokia continues to target an increase in its market share in mobile devices for the full year 2008.

Nokia expects the overall mobile device market in 2008 to be impacted by the weaker consumer confidence in multiple markets. However, Nokia continues to expect industry mobile device volumes in 2008 to grow 10% or more from the approximately 1.14 billion units Nokia estimated for 2007. Nokia also continues to expect industry mobile device volumes in the third quarter 2008 to be up sequentially.

Nokia's current estimate that its mobile device market share in the third quarter 2008 will be lower than previously expected is due to multiple factors. These factors include Nokia's tactical decision to not meet certain aggressive pricing of some competitors, the overall market competition, including the entry markets, and the temporary impact of a slower ramp-up of a mid-range Nokia device.

In a press call on Friday, Nokia said it has not broadly participated in the recent aggressive pricing activity - as it believes that the negative impact to profitability would outweigh any short term incremental benefits to device unit sales.
  • In July 2007, Nokia estimated that the number of mobile device shipped across the entire industry in Q2 reached 303 million units, up 15% year on year and up 3% sequentially. Nokia mobile device volumes reached 122 million units in the quarter, up 21% year on year and up 6% sequentially.

AT&T U-verse Builds HD VOD Library

AT&T U-verse has begun featuring High Definition titles as part of its Video On Demand library. HD VOD is now available to all AT&T U-verse TV customers.

The U-verse VOD library features a selection of new releases in HD, and this initial offering will be expanded over the coming months and on an ongoing basis. AT&T said all U-verse TV customers will have access to the U-verse VOD library, which features a variety of free and rental VOD titles. U-verse VOD offers titles the same day as DVD releases, Spanish and international movies, modern classics, independent films, family and kids programming, television series on demand and exclusive content. Three-day rental periods are also available for select titles, unlike with some competitors.

All U-verse TV packages include HD-ready equipment, and most include an HD-capable DVR. All U-verse TV customers can enjoy rentals from the U-verse HD VOD library. U-verse TV customers can also add HD service for $10 a month with any U-verse TV programming package for access to a lineup of more than 45 HD linear channels.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Telefónica to Raise Stake in China Netcom

Telefónica announced an agreement with AllianceBernstein to acquire an additional stake of up to approximately 5.74% of the share capital of the China Netcom. he acquisition will be structured in two tranches, (i) the first tranche will be in respect of shares representing approximately 2.71% of the issued share capital of CNC as of the date hereof, and (ii) the second tranche will be in respect of a number of shares in CHINA UNICOM LIMITED ("CU") issued after its merger with CNC in exchange of shares representing up to a 3.03% stake
in CNC.

After the first tranche acquisition, which will be closed in the following days, Telefónica's stake in CNC would represent approximately 9.9% (inclusive of the acquisition of a 2.2% stake announced on January 18, 2008 which is pending regulatory approvals).

In the event of the acquisition of the entire stake involved in the second tranche, Telefónica's pro forma shareholding in the enlarged entity resulting from the merger of CU and CNC following the completion of the Scheme would stand at approximately 5.50% (inclusive of the
above mentioned acquisition of a 2.2% stake in CNC which is pending regulatory approvals).

The acquisition of the first tranche will involve a total investment of approximately EUR 368 million (depending on the exchange rate prevailing when the transaction is closed). The purchase price of the shares in the second tranche may be adjusted according to the average of closing
prices of the CNC shares prior to the merger between CNC and CU. If completed, the acquisition of the entire stake of the second tranche would involve a total investment of approximately between EUR 392 million and EUR 434 million.

Fonality Closes $12 Million for Open Source Systems

Fonality, which specializes in open source phone systems and contact center solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, has secured a $12 million financing round led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth Fund with participation from existing investor Intel Capital.

Fonality makes open source Internet-based telephony and unified communications solutions that tie together all forms of business communication -- instant message, landline calling, mobile calling, chat, voicemail, customer relationship management (CRM), e-mail and more -- into one unified desktop software application. Products include IP-PBX VoIP phone systems based on a patent-pending Anywhere Management Hybrid-Hosted architecture. The company's phone systems are sold direct to businesses at, through a global network of resellers, and by Dell.

Fonality said its focus on building affordable, easy-to-use, and full-featured products enables it to compete directly with Cisco, Microsoft, Nortel and Avaya while creating an entirely new market for affordable professional call centers for companies with five to 500 employees.

Fonality's headquarters are in Los Angeles with additional offices in Australia and Argentina. Company investors include Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth Fund, Intel Capital, and Azure Capital Partners.

Nortel Cites 40G Wins with Bell Canada, Alaska Communications

Bell Canada has begun deployment of Nortel's 40G Optical Solution in its backbone network. Initial deployments are occurring within Bell's Montreal-New York, Toronto-Chicago and Toronto-Montreal traffic corridors. The solution, which co-exists within Bell's current 10G network. is built on Nortel's Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 and runs over the Nortel Common Photonic Layer line system. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Separately, Nortel announced that Alaska Communications Systems has chosen it to provide a 40G optical network for the terrestrial portion of an undersea fiber-optic cable from Alaska to Oregon. This network will position ACS to deliver end-to-end communications solutions for enterprise and mass market customers who require reliable, high-performance connectivity between Alaska and the lower 48 states. The ACS optical network solution includes the Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 convergence platform and the Common Photonic Layer (CPL) line system.

ADC Reports Sales of $390 Million, Up 13% YoY

ADC's sales for its third fiscal quarter of 2008 were $390 million, up 13% from the third quarter of 2007 and down 3% from the second quarter of 2008. Excluding sales from the LGC Wireless and Century Man Communication acquisitions of $36 million and $35 million in the third and second quarters of 2008, respectively, adjusted sales in the third quarter of 2008 were up 3% from the third quarter of 2007 and down 4% from the second quarter of 2008.

Sales outside the United States of $173 million increased 32% from the third quarter of 2007 and 3% from the second quarter of 2008. These sales were 44% of total ADC sales in the third quarter of 2008, an increase from 42% and 38% in the second quarter of 2008 and the third quarter of 2007, respectively. Comparing the third quarters of 2008 and 2007, Europe/Middle East/Africa sales of $91 million were up 28%, Asia Pacific sales of $54 million were up 52% and Latin America sales of $18 million were up 53%. Comparing the third quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2008, Europe/Middle East/Africa sales were approximately flat, Asia Pacific sales were up 8% and Latin America sales were up 11%. The remaining sales outside the United States were in Canada.