Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cisco to Acquire Jabber for Presence and Messaging Software

Cisco agreed to acquire Jabber, a start-up offering presence and messaging software. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jabber provides a carrier-grade presence and messaging platform. Its technology leverages open standards to provide a highly scalable architecture that supports the aggregation of presence information across different devices, users and applications. The technology also enables collaboration across many different presence systems such as Microsoft Office Communications Server, IBM Sametime, AOL AIM, Google and Yahoo!. Jabber is based in Denver.

Cisco said the acquisition will enable it to embed presence and messaging services "in the network" and provide rich aggregation capabilities to users through both on-premise and on-demand solutions, across multiple platforms including Cisco WebEx Connect and Cisco Unified Communications.

NATO Deploys Cisco TelePresence in Afghanistan

NATO has deployed a telepresence system developed by Cisco and constructed by BT and General Dynamics C4 Systems to bring together Afghanistan-based servicemen and women and their relatives in Europe. Specifically, Cisco, BT and General Dynamics have provided a Cisco Telepresence unit at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE HQ) in Belgium and another unit more than 5,400 kilometers away in Kabul, Afghanistan. The first sessions were held earlier this month at the SHAPE HQ in Mons as part of Open Day, an event organized by NATO service provider NCSA (NATO Communications and Information Systems Services Agency), which also showcased innovations in cyber-security and military communications.

The unique setup uses Cisco TelePresence System CTS-1000 models capable of seating two participants inside robust shelters built to withstand extreme weather conditions and transportation over rough terrain. The Cisco TelePresence systems connect via X-band satellite, an industry first in the use of telepresence technology.

Latest FCC Data: 249.2 million U.S. Mobiles, 28.7 Million CLEC Lines

The FCC released its latest data (as of 31-Dec-2007) on local telephone service competition in the United States. Some key figures:

  • End-user customers obtained local telephone service by utilizing approximately 129.7 million incumbent LEC switched access lines, 28.7 million CLEC switched access lines, and 249.2 million mobile telephony service subscriptions at the end of December 2007.

  • Of the 28.7 million CLEC end-user switched access lines, 8.4 million lines were provided over coaxial cable connections. The 8.4 million lines represent about 72% of the 11.7 million end-user switched access lines that CLECs reported providing over their own local loop facilities.

  • Mobile telephony service providers reported 249.2 million subscribers at the end of December 2007, which is 19.6 million, or 9%, more than a year earlier. About 7% of these subscribers were billed by mobile telephony service resellers.

  • There was at least one CLEC serving customers in 81% of the nation's Zip Codes at the end of December 2007. About 97% of United States households resided in those Zip Codes. Moreover, multiple carriers reported providing local telephone service in the major population centers of the country.

  • The 28.7 million lines reported by CLECs is about 18% of the 158.4 million total end-user switched access lines reported for the end of December 2007.

  • CLECs reported 12.1 million (or 13%) of the 93.9 million lines that served residential end users and 16.7 million (or 26%) of the 64.6 million lines that served business, institutional, and government customers.

  • CLECs reported providing 41% of their end-user switched access lines over their own local loop facilities, 37% by using unbundled network elements (UNEs) that they leased from other carriers, and 22% through resale arrangements with unaffiliated carriers.

  • Incumbent LECs reported providing about 11% fewer UNE loops with switching (referred to as the UNE-Platform) to unaffiliated carriers at the end of December 2007 than they reported six months earlier (5.5 million compared to 6.2 million) and about 4% fewer UNE loops without switching (4.1 million compared to 4.3 million).

  • Incumbent LECs were the presubscribed interstate long distance carrier for 59% of the switched access lines they provided to end users, while CLECs were the interstate long distance carrier for 78% of their switched access lines.

EU Considers Strategies for Promoting Next Generation Access Networks

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the regulatory principles to be applied by EU Member States to Next Generation Access broadband networks (NGA). Specifically, the EC is seeking proposals on a common regulatory strategy best suited to promote the rollout of fiber-based access networks. There are 229 million copper lines in the EU, compared to slightly more than 1 million fiber connections. Analysts forecast a further EUR 20 billion spending on NGA by 2011.

The basic principle of the Commission's draft Recommendation is that national regulatory authorities should provide access to the networks of dominant operators at the lowest possible level. In particular, they should mandate access to the ducts of the dominant operators allowing competitors to roll out their own fiber. However, National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) should also impose further physical access obligations (access to unlit fiber) beyond access to ducts where ducts are not available or the population density is too low for a sustainable business model. Access to active elements such as "bitstream" shall be maintained provided lower level remedies do not sufficiently address distortions of competition.

The draft Recommendation provides also a common approach to ensure non-discriminatory access, as well as a methodology for calculating a proper rate of return, including a risk premium. The Commission believes that for NGA, rates of return should be derived in the light of the risks associated with this kind of investment, bearing in mind that the nominal pre-tax weighted average cost of capital for fixed and mobile operators has been roughly 8 to 12% in recent years.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "The deployment of new fiber-networks will shape the competitive conditions of the future. We need an appropriate framework to give European companies fair access to the new networks. We want national rules that will not only encourage the necessary substantial investment in fibre investment but also strengthen broadband competition."

"For consumers, whether private or business, to benefit from the competitive provision of services over optical fibre, it is vital that the Commission provides the regulatory guidance the market needs", said Viviane Reding, EU Telecoms Commissioner. "We want to reduce the scope for divergences of regulatory approaches across Europe, in the interest of legal certainty. Uncoordinated or even contradictory action of national regulators as regards Next Generation Networks could seriously damage competition and undermine Europe's single market. We propose in particular that project-specific risk premiums should be applied, so that competition can flourish while those who invest are rewarded in line with the risks they have incurred."

The public consultation will be open until 14th November 2008. The Commission will then finalize the Recommendation in the light of comments received and formally adopt it in 2009.

DiVitas Cites Customer Traction for its Mobile UC Solution

DiVitas Networks, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, cited a number of customer wins for the latest software release of its DiVitas Mobile UC Solution. DiVitas mobilizes corporate voice and messaging (deskphone, voicemail, contacts, IM and Presence) for organizations by unifying these applications onto smartphones. The DiVitas Mobile UC solution can run on Wi-Fi networks, cellular networks or both. Some recent customers include:

  • Sawtel, a carrier that is using DiVitas as a new mobility component to enable a complete Unified Communications solution along with quality voice over WiFi (VoWiFi).

  • The 13th Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, which has begun mobile UC deployment to staff attorneys, probation officers and judges in lieu of high cost deskphones.

  • The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, which is using UC to provide healthcare staff continuous connectivity while on campus where WiFi coverage is spotty.

  • The County Government of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, which is using VoWiFi to significantly decrease mobile expenses. County workers obtain new assignments via mobile SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system while in the field.

  • New College Durham (United Kingdom), which is using UC to increase collaboration of its highly mobile staff at the lowest cost possible.

Recent improvements to the DiVitas client application include a new graphical user interface that is customizable, visual voice mail, improved voice quality and additional PBX features that have been extended over cellular. DiVitas now offers mid-call features over any network including cellular. Abbreviated Dialing, Call Transfer, Call Waiting, Call Hold/Resume, and Call Conferencing are all now supported over Cellular and WiFi.

Upcoming 802.11v Standard to Offer Energy Efficiency

The coming IEEE 802.11v standard will introduce new power savings features that will "green up" wireless LANs, according to Matthew Gast, Trapeze Networks' principal engineer, office of the CTO, and the chair of Wi-Fi Alliance Wireless Network Management and Security Technical task groups.

Trapeze Networks cited a number of energy efficiency measures in the upcoming standard, including:

  • Wireless Network Management Sleep Mode, a further extension to base 802.11 power savings that will allow for longer power-off times for 802.11 radios. It will be used in conjunction with new Traffic Filtering Service to enable access points to deliver only specified frame types.

  • "Wake on WLAN" capabilities that let network managers "wake up" wireless computers and other appliances.

  • Proxy ARP that will let an access point respond to ARP requests enabling stations to power down for longer periods.

  • TIM Broadcast that will distribute traffic indication maps so stations do not need to receive every beacon frame.

  • Flexible Broadcast / Multicast services that will send broadcast / multicast frames at the highest data rate for the group of receivers thereby reducing power-on time for radio interfaces and allow for higher data rates that improve performance of multicast applications.

The 802.11v standard is also expected to include station management features that will give network managers a much more detailed view of network performance and new location features that will offer more accuracy for services like RFID and emergency services.

Trapeze Networks said the 802.11v standard is expected to be finished in 2010.

Huawei Supplies Solar Base Station for Pakistan's Warid

Huawei Technologies Solar Powered Macro Base Station (BTS) for Pakistan's Warid Telecom.

The deployment is believed to be the first of its type in Pakistan. Huawei's environmentally-friendly Solar Powered Macro BTS allows the operator to extend its network reach into remote areas of the country where there is limited access to the electricity grid. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The non-hybrid site is 100% powered on solar energy, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions and noise pollution, both of which is harmful to the local environment. The solution also reduces pressure on Pakistan's overall energy supply which further benefits the environment.

New Submarine cable Lands in Bermuda

A new "Challenger" submarine cable linking the mainland U.S. to Bermuda has reached the island. Challenger span 1,445 km, and is designed with an initial capacity of 20 Gbps. The network can be scaled up to 320 Gbps. Work on the system started earlier this year and operations are expected to begin by early 2009.

The announcement was made by Alcatel-Lucent, in conjunction with Cable Co. Ltd., a Bermudian telecommunications company established by KeyTech Limited, North Rock Communications Ltd., and Transact Limited. Alcatel-Lucent is overseeing the entire project and providing a turnkey network for the Challenger roll-out, including responsibility for the network design, installation and commissioning. Alcatel-Lucent is deploying its 1620 Light Manager (ML) submarine line terminal, cables and power feed equipment, along with its 1678 Metro Core Connect (MCC). Financial terms were not disclosed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One Minute Video: What is 10GBase-T?

One Minute Video presented by Matt Rhodes, Teranetics -- What is 10GBase-T?

Jargon Buster

Legend Silicon Releases Digital Terrestrial TV Chips for China

Legend Silicon, a fabless semiconductor company based in Fremont, California with operations in Shanghai and Beijing,
introduced two new high-performance terrestrial demodulators for the China market. The devices are aimed at handsets and other portable devices able to tune into China's digital terrestrial television broadcasting service.

The LGS-8G75 and LGS-8G77 demodulators, which are compliant with China's GB20600-2006 digital terrestrial television broadcast (DTTB) standard, enable reception of both single- and multi-carrier broadcasts. The devices support integrate analog to digital converters (ADCs) and time de-interleaver memory, and provide correction for silicon tuner IQ imbalance. Both demodulators are packaged in a 10mm x 10mm 144 pin ball grid array (BGA).

"More than 840 million television viewers in China watched the Olympic opening ceremonies, according to CSM Media Research. The Olympics offered the perfect opportunity for CCTV, China's national television network, to showcase the capabilities of GB20600-2006 standard, which we co-invented and developed," said Ben Runyan, vice president of marketing of Legend Silicon. "With our new products, Legend Silicon continues to demonstrate its leadership by bringing this digital television standard to virtually any device with a screen."
  • Legend Silicon also maintains a joint DTV Research Center with Tsinghua University in Beijing.

T-Mobile Signs New Backhaul Agreements for Six Major U.S. Markets

T-Mobile USA announced backhaul agreements with Bright House Networks, FPL FiberNet, IP Networks Inc. and Zayo Bandwidth. The agreements cover sites in Tampa, Fla., Orlando, Fla., South Florida, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Memphis, Tenn., respectively.

T-Mobile said these backhaul arrangements, when fully implemented over the next six to 18 months, will help to enable it to deliver 3G services in a significantly less expensive manner. They will also expand existing network capacity and bandwidth to accommodate new, data-hungry mobile services and applications using HSDPA technology.

The agreements are as follows:

  • Bright House Networks -- Tampa and Orlando. T-Mobile has signed an agreement with Bright House Networks to utilize Bright House Networks' extensive fiber distribution plant to provide backhaul in central Florida.

  • FPL FiberNet -- South Florida. T-Mobile will now announce its relationship with FPL FiberNet as its backhaul carrier in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in South Florida.

  • IP Networks -- San Francisco. T-Mobile has signed an agreement with IP Networks to provide Ethernet backhaul services in the greater San Francisco area. IP Networks has built and operates an extensive Ethernet Over Fiber telecommunications system primarily on the utility infrastructure of Pacific Gas and Electric Company. With 1,060 cell sites, the contract with IP Networks is reported to be among the largest all-fiber backhaul agreements in the country.

  • Zayo Bandwidth -- Philadelphia and Memphis. Zayo Bandwidth is a provider of high-capacity, fiber-based bandwidth services. T-Mobile's agreement with Zayo covers the Philadelphia and Memphis metropolitan areas, and more than 450 unique sites. The agreement with Zayo in Philadelphia was among the first all-fiber backhaul agreements entered into by T-Mobile.

T-Mobile USA also confirmed plans to deliver 3G wireless broadband service to 27 major markets in the United States by the end of 2008. The planned expansion is expected to deliver T-Mobile 3G services to more than two-thirds of T-Mobile's current data customers, with meaningful expansion to additional customers and markets through 2009.

T-Mobile's UMTS/HSDPA high-speed data network is currently available across 13 major metropolitan markets.

Sumitomo Develops 10Gbps 80km Transceiver

Sumitomo Electric Industries introduced a 10 Gbps integrated direct modulation laser diode (DML) featuring built-in electronic dispersion compensation (EDC) and a range of 80 km. Previously, DMLs were used in transceivers up to data rates of 2.5 Gbps.

Sumitomo Electric Industries noted that for 10Gbps ZR applications, DMLs previously were not a reliable light source because transmission distance was limited by chromatic dispersion due to optical spectrum chirping. As a result, light sources such as those combined with an expensive external modulation laser diode (EML) had to be used for this application.

SEI's design is the first product to integrate a DML and an EDC circuit internally to the transceiver. By providing improved chirp characteristics in the DML and combining it with a receiver having a built-in EDC capability, this product offers a low cost integrated solution for long distance applications. SEI said its product enables 10Gbps transmission over 80 km using a low cost DML.

Ericsson Opens Global Service Delivery Center in Pakistan

Ericsson opened a new Global Service Delivery Center (GSDC) in Lahore, Pakistan. The new center will support Ericsson's global managed services and form a regional base for offerings in consulting and education for emerging markets - contributing to the expansion of the company's services business.

Ericsson said the Pakistan center is another evolutionary step in its strategy for developing global and local service and delivery capabilities. This follows the recently announced openings of GSDCs in Lebanon and Romania.

"Pakistan has the sixth largest population in the world. The opening of the GSDC will further develop our service delivery capabilities in this region," says Zibber Mohiuddin, president and country manager, Ericsson Pakistan.

Orange Launches with Telkom Kenya

Orange has launched services in Kenya as the commercial brand for Telkom Kenya, the country's historical operator. The launch follows France Telecom's acquisition of 51% of its capital in December 2007. Since then, EUR 58 million has been invested in network infrastructure. The companies said the launch of the new GSM network, alongside new mobile and broadband Internet offers under the Orange brand constitutes a decisive step in Telkom Kenya's development.

Initially, broadband Internet and mobile offers will be available in Nairobi and Mombassa only, but this will be progressively extended and rolled out across the whole country by the end of the year. Additionally, with the arrival of undersea cables planned for 2009 and a pricing policy adapted to the country, Telkom Kenya is setting itself up to adopt a leadership position in broadband Internet.

Harris Stratex Networks Increases Revenue Guidance for Q1 FY 2009

Harris Stratex Networks reported revenue of $186.8 million for its fiscal Q4, which ended June 27, 2008, representing an increase of 7 percent compared to $174.1 in the year ago period. GAAP net loss was $13.7 million or $0.23 per share, which includes $21.0 million in pre-tax charges associated with inventory impairment, amortization of purchase related assets, merger integration and restructuring, and stock compensation expense. The net loss for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 was $7.2 million.

North America microwave revenue was $55.1 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, compared with $58.8 million in the year ago period and $56.9 million in the prior quarter. International revenue was $124.6, compared with $110.6 million in the year ago period and $117.1 million in the prior quarter. Strong year-over-year growth was achieved in both Africa, which increased 16 percent, and Europe, Middle East and Russia, which increased 26 percent. Combined fourth quarter revenues for Latin America and Asia Pacific were $21.1 million, compared with $25.1 million in the year ago period and $22.0 million in the prior quarter. Network Operations revenue was $7.1 million compared with $4.7 million in the year ago period and $4.2 million in the prior quarter.

The company also raised its financial guidance based on current bookings. The company now expects Q1 FY 2009 revenue of between $185 million and $195 million. This is an increase from the prior forecast of between $175 million and $185 million.

RADCOM Announces Contract with Major Chinese Mobile Operator

RADCOM Ltd. has been selected by a ttier-1 Chinese NGN mobile operator to troubleshoot softswitching on its core network. At the beginning of this year, RADCOM announced that it had extended the capability of its monitoring and troubleshooting solution, which already provides operators with full end-to-end monitoring of their core network, to include Softswitch monitoring. This sale marks the first success for RADCOM in the new technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A Green Energy Push for Mobile Networks

A new Green Power for Mobile Programme has been launched with the goal of helping the mobile industry use renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, or sustainable biofuels, to power 118,000 new and existing off-grid base stations in developing countries by 2012. The initiative is backed by The GSM Association along with 25 mobile operators, including Telecom Holding, Roshan, Safaricom, Smart, Telefonica, Telenor Pakistan, Vimpelcom, Vodacom Tanzania, Vodafone Egypt, Zain Group, and Zantel.

Specifically, the Green Power for Mobile programme will provide expertise to support the deployment of base stations that use renewable energy. Up to now, off-grid base stations have primarily been powered by generators running on diesel fuel, which is increasingly expensive, generates carbon dioxide emissions, and can be difficult to transport to remote locations.

The GSMA forecasts that by 2012 up to 50% of new off-grid base stations in the developing world could be powered by renewable energy. Currently, GSMA estimates that only 1,500 base stations worldwide are powered by at least one form of renewable energy. Challenges to date have included commercial viability, equipment availability and lack of expertise, but the GSMA's research suggests that rising diesel prices and falling renewable equipment costs mean that operators investing in green power sources for base stations could recoup the capital costs in as little as 24 months.

In addition, the GSMA is developing metrics for "green" base stations, to support operators in their decision-making on providers and products.

Customer Experience Becomes Top Priority at Sprint

In the mobile market, the customer experience is the No.1 factor for success, said Dan Hesse, CEO or Sprint Nextel, speaking at Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference. Hesse has called "all hands on deck" to improve Sprint's overall customer experience. The impact of this company-wide initiative will be measured in terms of customer churn and the volume and length of customer-care calls. Incentive plans are being tied to improvements.

Another critical factor for success is the company "brand health". Here too, Hese said he is implementing programs to improve the Sprint brand, both for existing companies and past customers, many of whom may have had a bad experience in the past. Once Sprint has a story to tell, its advertising will pick up again with the goal of reestablishing the brand image.

Moving forward, Hesse believes the company's nationwide data network will help it attract and retain new customers. The challenge is to make data plans simple and to make them worry-proof. He believes customers want personalization but have been frustrated with all of the configuration settings on smart phones and other mobile devices. Sprint will start offering in-store personalization help to make sure customers are ready to go at the time of purchase.

From a macro economic perspective, Hesse said wireless networks are less susceptible to turbulent conditions than wireline networks. The process of wireless substitution could actually lead to higher net adds in tough times, and a drop in corporate wireless phones might lead to more adds on the consumer side.

Hesse expects the Clearwire deal to close on target in Q4.

An archived webcast is online.
  • In December 2007, Dan Hesse was named President and CEO of Sprint Nextel, following the resignation of Gary Forsee.