Monday, September 8, 2008

O3b Networks to Deploy Broadband Satellite Constellation for Wholesale Services

O3b Networks, a start-up satellite operator based in the UK, announced plans to provide high-speed, low-cost Internet connectivity to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. The venture has attracted a number of prominent investors, including Google, Liberty Global, and HSBC Principal Investments.

O3b Networks said its system will serve developing region by offering fiber performance over satellite to local telcos and ISPs, at prices comparable to fiber in developed regions. By allowing direct connection to core networks and 3G Cellular/WiMAX towers, the O3b Networks system hops to completely change the economics of telecommunications infrastructure in the world's fastest-growing markets for communications services.

O3b Networks' operational and technical development is well underway. Production of the initial constellation of 16 satellites has begun. The system's 2,300 transponder equivalents will deliver low-latency Internet backhaul at speeds reaching 10 Gbps. Service activation is scheduled for late 2010. The scalable nature of the system allows for additional satellites to increase capacity and meet growing demand.

"Access to the Internet backbone is still severely limited in emerging markets. Only when emerging markets achieve affordable and ubiquitous access to the rest of the world will we observe locally generated content, widespread e-learning, telemedicine and many more enablers to social and economic growth which reflect the true value of the Internet. O3b Networks will bring multi-gigabit Internet speeds directly to the emerging markets, whether landlocked in Africa or isolated by water in the Pacific Islands," said Greg Wyler, O3b's CEO.
  • O3b's satellites are being developed by Thales Alenia Space. The unique satellite design features steerable Ka-Band transponders designed to enable the high speed flow of data between locations on the ground. Twelve (12) fully steerable antennas ensure an optimized connection to the area where data is needed. O3b said its design also allows for inter-antenna data transfer in a variety of ways. Each steerable antenna can be moved onto a location in minutes and each provide up to 1.25 Gbps of throughput.

New IP Media Device API Specification Targets Physical Security

The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA), an industry group that was formed in February 2008 to promote the interoperability of IP-enabled security devices, released its first IP Media Device Application Programming Interface (API) specification.

The scope of this initial API specification is centered on IP-enabled video surveillance devices, such as IP cameras, encoders, and digital video recorders. It enables physical security and video management systems to recognize and change the configurations of various IP media devices and control their behaviors. It also eliminates the need for device driver customization in order to achieve interoperability among products from different manufacturers.

The following 19 industry leaders have recognized the importance of collaborating on open industry standards and endorse this initial specification: Adesta LLC, ADT Security Services, Cisco, CSC, DVTel, GE Security, Honeywell, IBM, IQinVision, Johnson Controls, March Networks, ObjectVideo, Orsus, Panasonic, Pelco, Santa Clara Consulting Group, Texas Instruments, Verint and Vidyo.

"The IP Media Device API specification addresses important issues, such as device discovery, configuration, and command and control, and it represents one of the first steps toward true interoperability and industry-wide convergence," said Pete Jankowski, PSIA Video Expert Group chairman and chief technology officer of Cisco's Physical Security business unit. "The specification describes a uniform set of methods for communicating with standard IP networks and offers manufacturers, system integrators, and application developers an opportunity to improve interoperability and add substantial customer value."

Sony Ericsson's G705 Offers Google Shortcuts

Sony Ericsson unveiled its new G705 mobile phone featuring 3G, Wi-Fi, a 2.4" screen, and a full HTML browser. In addition, Sony Ericsson is pleased to today announce a partnership with Google meaning that YouTube will be integrated into selected upcoming models from Sony Ericsson. This capability will allow users to instantly download and upload video directly from their phone to YouTube. The G705 will be YouTube compatible and further models will be announced at a later stage.

Key features of the new G705 include:

  • Large 2.4" screen

  • HTML browser -- surf the net how it was meant to be

  • Automatic rotation -- switch from portrait to landscape with just a tilt of the phone

  • Google shortcut key -- Go to Google from the idle screen with one key press

  • Inbuilt aGPS combined with Google Maps for Mobile and Wayfinder

  • Wi-Fi and DLNA certified -- connect the way you want

  • 3.2 megapixel camera -- snap and share your favourite images via Bluetooth

  • YouTube compatible

Ericsson Launches IMS-integrated IPTV Middleware

Ericsson introduced its own IMS-integrated IPTV middleware with the goal of offering network operators greater choice, open standards, and better integration with their other infrastructure platforms. The middleware provides the glue for offering a personalized and interactive TV experience with interactive, mobile and on-demand functionality.

Ericsson's new IPTV middleware is based on Open IPTV Forum specifications and is the first solution in the world to be pre-integrated with IMS. It ties in with the company's open, standards based, end-to-end IPTV solution, which also includes network infrastructure, video processing solutions and video-on-demand technologies, as well as with third-party products from key TV players such as Accedo Broadband, Agama Technologies, Amino, HP, SecureMedia, Sun Microsystem, Tilgin, Verimatrix, and ZyXEL.

With IMS, the TV experience is extended with integrated communication, and delivers convergence enablers such as presence,
messaging/chat, extended parental control and numerous other innovative features.

"Our new IPTV middleware has been designed in line with open standards so that it can fully interoperate with third-party suppliers. This means that as prime integrator, we can offer our customers a choice of best-in-class, fully-tested products, as part of a pre-integrated end-to-end system," said Eric Cooney, head of TV Solutions, Ericsson.

Alcatel Shanghai Bell and Datang Mobile to Expand TD-SCDMA Collaboration

Alcatel Shanghai Bell and Datang Mobile signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to facilitate the wide-spread commercial deployment of TD-SCDMA systems in China and overseas. The companies will form a joint team responsible for developing a comprehensive strategy to create the resources and manufacturing infrastructure required to meet future demand for TD-SCDMA technology in China and the rest of the world, through developing standard manufacturing, quality controls and testing procedures. As part of that effort, the two companies will share documents on manufacturing, testing and quality control.

In China, Datang Mobile will designate Alcatel Shanghai Bell as its privileged partner for TD-SCDMA market cooperation and the two parties plan to jointly bid on key projects.
  • In March 2006, Alcatel Shanghai Bell established a joint TD-SCDMA interoperability laboratory with Datang Mobile. The joint lab provides a real network environment dedicated to interoperability testing between GSM and TD-SCDMA applications to ensure the seamless provision of wireless services to end users. The closer cooperation made possible by this new agreement demonstrates that the two parties are prepared to meet the anticipated demand for TD-SCDMA and capitalize on the market opportunities of TD-SCDMA in China and around the world.

AT&T Offers Support for Global Virtual Classroom Program

AT&T Inc announced a $50,000 contribution to support the Global Virtual Classroom (GVC) - a free online collaborative learning project that fosters teamwork, creativity, cross cultural understanding and teaches IT and website design skills amongst students working together from around the world. GVC provides an opportunity for primary and secondary school students from different countries to work with and learn from students in other countries, as they collaboratively design a website on a topic of their choosing.http://www.VirtualClassroom.org

Verizon Adds Wholesale SIP Gateway Outbound Service

Verizon has added a SIP Gateway outbound service to its wholesale VoIP portfolio. The service allows calls to originate from Internet formats URI and URL as well as the traditional numbering format. SIP Gateway Service Outbound also adds the security mechanism Remote Party ID as an accepted signaling configuration to the P-asserted ID signaling configuration, which is already available.

In addition to SIP Gateway Outbound Service, Verizon Business SIP Gateway Services are available in three other configurations: Inbound Complete, Two-Way Local and Two-Way Complete. Since Verizon launched its wholesale VoIP products in 2005, growth of VoIP minutes has reached billions of minutes annually.

Verizon Wireless Introduces City ID, Other Apps

Verizon Wireless introduced a mobile Caller ID application which displays the city and state of incoming calls.

"City ID", which is initially available on the Voyager by LG, automatically displays the city and state where an incoming phone number is registered, providing additional information to help Verizon Wireless customers recognize unknown numbers.

City ID, an application from Cequint, features information on more than 20,000 cities in North America, providing enough detail to be useful identifying numbers calling from both across town and across the country.

Some other apps introduced by Verizon Wireless:

  • ToneMaker from Sonic Boom -- lets Verizon Wireless customers layer their own vocals to pre-recorded beats and music elements. The musical clips that are created can be used as personalized ringtones and can be shared with other subscribers. ToneMaker is available for $4.49 per month.

  • YouTones from FunMobility enables Verizon Wireless customers to create mobile audio media in the form of ringtones or audio messages by combining their own voices with pre-recorded, thematic YouTones performances. Customers with Get It Now-enabled phones can create individual YouTones for $2.49 each.

  • mSpot Make-UR-Tones application allows users to create customized ringtones from a catalog of over 250,000 full-tracks. Each customized ringtone is available for $3.49.

Toshiba Targets 240 GB 1.8-Inch HDDs at Portable Devices

Toshiba Storage Device Division announced the world's first dual-platter 240 GB and single-platter 120GB 1.8-inch HDDs for integration into portable media players, camcorders and compact ultra-mobile PCs. Toshiba's two new Parallel ATA HDD families feature the industry's highest areal density at 344 gigabits-per-square-inch, using fourth-generation perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology, which was first introduced and commercialized by Toshiba in 2005.

The 240GB drives is also optimized for power performance, featuring a 33 percent overall improvement in energy consumption efficiency over Toshiba's previous generation two-platter, 160GB 3,600 RPM 1.8-inch model.

Apple's App Store Downloads Top 100 Million

Since launching its App Store on July 11, 2008, Apple has recorded more than 100 million downloads to iPhone and iTouch users. There are currently 3,000 applications available on the App Store, with over 90 percent priced at less than $10 and more than 600 offered for free.

Two additional milestones noted by Apple:

  • The iTunes Store no has over 8,500,000 songs, 30,000 TV shows, and 2,600 movies

  • NBC programming has returned to the iTunes Store.

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