Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cisco Introduces Media Experience Engine

Cisco introduced its Media Experience Engine (MXE) 3000, a media processing appliance that helps enterprises to simplify live and on-demand media sharing across PCs, mobile devices and other digital screens, by formatting video and rich media for viewing on any device.

The platform provides the ability to encode a single source of content so that it is playable on any device. It also delivers real-time post production and processing capabilities such as watermarking, voice and video editing, text and image overlays and noise reduction to create customized broadcast quality video experiences.

Cisco is positioning the Media Experience Engine as the first in a series of products for transforming enterprise networks into "medianets."

"The Internet and IP networks as we know them are changing," said Marthin De Beer, senior vice president of Cisco's Emerging Technologies group. "In the near future, 90 percent of consumer network traffic will be video and rich media, and new medianet technologies and devices will drive the evolution not only to new networks, but immersive new experiences made possible by combining video, rich media, voice and data on a single networked platform. As businesses look to reduce costs and increase productivity, medianet solutions will enable new methods of networked collaboration and virtualization, such as seamless language translations over Cisco TelePresence, which will eliminate communication barriers in the workplace."

AppTrigger Introduces Ignite Application Session Controller – ServiceExtender

AppTrigger continues to enhance its Ignite Application Session Controller (ASC) , which ensures "any to any" application connectivity between legacy and next generation networks,

as well as competing architectural agendas between vendors. AppTrigger's platform resides between the application layer and the control plane with the purpose of delivering call/session control, signaling, switching and media capabilities.

Newly released Version 10.0 of the platform introduced ServiceExtender capabilities, enabling service providers to extend existing revenue-producing voice services to NGN/IMS build outs while also enabling Next Gen applications the ability to leverage the large subscriber base within their legacy networks. AppTrigger said its new ASC ServiceExtender provides benefits for both "old to new" as well as "new to old" application extension. Specifically, the ASC ServiceExtender provides:

  • Flexibility: Service Providers retain control of their applications versus a more vendor dependent model

  • Simplicity: Easy to manage and adapt via toolkit versus complex, proprietary solutions

  • Cost Savings: Greater savings in both CAPEX & OPEX as opposed to traditional stove piped solutions.

ECI Telecom Extends Ethernet MPLS Capabilities to Access Transport

ECI Telecom has enhanced its BroadGate (BG) line of micro MultiService Provisioning Platforms (ĀµMSPP) with MPLS capabilities.

ECI's BG-20 and BG-30 platforms are compact solutions for cellular,utilities, and access operators. It provides a full set of MPLS Layer 2 capabilities plus an entire range of Ethernet over SDH, Ethernet over PDH, PCM, PDH, and SDH services, allowing carriers to leverage their legacy SDH installed base while offering a mix of PCM and carrier class Ethernet services to their customers. Both the BG-20 and BG-30 supports full triple play services, IPTV, VoD, VoIP, and HSI for residential NGN applications. They can serve as an access aggregation platform and as an MSAG (Multi Service Aggregation Gateway) CLE platform. The BG offers enhanced video handling and P2MP multicast tree connectivity, which enables highly efficient bandwidth savings for broadcast TV/IPTV services, as well as star VPLS for IPTV and IGMP control messages.

ECI said the MPLS-enhanced BG platform complements its other MPLS-based and MEF-certified platforms, the XDM family of MSPPs and the 9000 family of Carrier Ethernet Switch Routers (CESR), delivering end-to-end, access to core, carrier-class Ethernet services. The entire product line is centrally managed by ECI's LightSoft unified network management solution.

RightScale Raises $13 Million for Cloud Computing Management

RightScale, a start-up based in Santa Barbara, California., raised $13 million in its second round of venture capital funding for its cloud computing management.

RightScale enables companies to create Web solutions running on cloud computing providers such as Amazon EC2 that are scalable, reliable, easy to manage, and affordable. RightScale said it can help organizations to deploy mission critical applications in a matter of hours using "cloud-aware" server templates. The automated RightScale platform requires little knowledge of cloud architecture to deploy, manage and dynamically scale even complex, multi-cloud applications.

RightScale will use the proceeds to accelerate product and market development of its cloud computing management platform to meet growing demand, including support for new clouds and expansion into additional geographic markets.

The new funding was led by Index Ventures. Current investor Benchmark Capital, which led RightScale's first round of venture financing, also participated in this round. In addition, RightScale announced that Index Ventures partner Danny Rimer has joined the company's board of directors.http://www.RightScale.comRightScale is headed by Michael Crandell (CEO and founder), who has worked as CEO or EVP for 10 years in Internet-based, software-as-a-service companies, including eFax (Internet fax) and Celebros (e-commerce search). Its technical team included Thorsten von Eicken (CTO and founder), who previously was Chief Architect at and Citrix Online, makers of GoToMyPC, GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, and GoToAssist; and Rafael H. Saavedra (VP of Engineering and founder), who previously was Director of Software Development at Expertcity/Citrix Online where he was in charge of the Applications group.

Alvarion Announces 11% job Cuts

Alvarion, a leading supplier of WiMAX and wireless broadband solutions, plans to reduce its global workforce by approximately 11%, from a base of about 1000 employees. In addition, Alvarion is implementing company-wide measures including management salary reductions. The combined initiatives are expected to generate annual cost of goods and operating expense savings of about $15 million.

"We have not experienced order cancellations or push-outs so far in Q4, but we see lengthening sales cycles, and we remain cautious about the potential effect of the economic climate on WiMAX-related spending decisions as we move through next year," said Tzvika Friedman, president and CEO of Alvarion.

Mr. Friedman continued. "Therefore, our operating plan for 2009 contains twin goals of continued revenue growth from strong, well-funded operators, and a lower breakeven point to help preserve our profitability and financial flexibility if business conditions worsen. Our plan calls for lowering our non-GAAP operating profit breakeven point (which excludes stock-based compensation expense and any one-time charges) to below $70 million in revenue per quarter, based on a lower gross margin level of about 45%. Equally important, our plan also maintains our capability to grow revenues as much as 15% over 2008 without increasing fixed expenses, assuming business conditions will support such growth. We believe this plan appropriately balances both short-term uncertainties and long-term prospects."

Strix Systems Garners Strategic Investment

Strix Systems, which supplies high-performance wireless mesh networking, announced the inflow of strategic investments from global investors. Financial details were not disclosed. Strix Systems plans to increase the size of its U.S. and international sales, support organizations and increase its marketing and educational resources to spur the adoption of wireless mesh networks worldwide.

Strix Systems also announced a new engineering organization at a state-of-the-art R&D center in India, enhancing the company's global reach and support network. This new center will play a key role in accelerating the company's development of new wireless mesh networking products and services.

Recently the company announced a number of new products including Strix Hot Zone Systems (HSx), the Integrated Wireless Video System (IWVS) and the Mobile Wireless System (MWS) as well as key technology partnerships with Milestone Systems, Federal Signal, ICOP Digital, Panasonic, etc.

Strix Systems also announced significant installations worldwide for strategic public safety projects including border-to-border wireless mesh network coverage for Brookline, Massachusetts; public safety video surveillance for Pittsburg, California; video surveillance for homeland security at the Boston Marathon; as well as highway and railway projects including San Diego's North County District; and internet access deployments in six countries in Africa.

NetXen Tests SFP+ Direct Attach Copper Interoperability

NetXen has completed multi-vendor interoperability testing of Small Form Factor Pluggable (SFP+) direct attach copper products. Participants in the testing included industry-leading switch, cable and PHY vendors such as AMCC, Amphenol, Aristra Networks, Cisco, Molex, Quanta, Tyco and W.L. Gore.

The testing, conducted at NetXen's QA lab, used multiple SFP+ direct attach twinax copper cables of lengths varying from 1m to 10m connecting the NetXen NX3-20GCU adapter and switches. For establishing the testing baseline, the same adapter was used with optical SR modules to connect to the switches.

NetXen said SFP+ copper twinax cables are hot-pluggable and have a smaller footprint and thickness than CX4 cables intended for datacom applications. The copper twinax interfaces offer the smallest, lowest-power option for 10 Gigabit Ethernet to enable increased density in enterprise applications. The electrical and mechanical interface specifications for SFP+ direct attach cables are under definition by the SFF Committee, a multi-source agreement group with broad industry participation. The cables are available from a variety of vendors.

SingTel Submits Bid for Next Gen Access Network

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) has submitted its bid to the government of Singapore to design, build and operate the active infrastructure of Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network. According the RFP, if chosen SingTel would serve as the Operating Company (OpCo).

SingTel said that given its strong cashflow it does not expect to tap the financial market for additional funds should it be appointed as the OpCo.

"We fully support the Government's iN2015 blueprint to transform Singapore into one of the world's most connected cities with pervasive ultra-fast fibre-based broadband network access. We believe that our proposal will enable the flourishing of a vibrant community of retail service providers in Singapore and consumers can look forward to feature-rich applications and services at home and work -- at speeds of up to 1Gbps -- that will enrich their lives and allow them to be more productive. The way we live, work and play will not be the same going forward," stated Mr. Mark Chong Chin Kok, SingTel's Executive Vice President of Networks.
  • In September 2008, The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has selected the OpenNet consortium as its successful Network Company (NetCo). OpenNet will be contracted to provide passive fibre grid services for Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network (NGNBN). OpenNet will be making use of existing ducts and other underlying infrastructure, thereby minimizing disruption to the public and enabling the network to reach homes and buildings nationwide by 2012.

    The OpenNet consortium consists of Axia-Netmedia (30%), Singapore Telecommunications (30%), Singapore Press Holdings (25%) and SP Telecommunications Pte Ltd (15%).

    OpenNet expects to complete the agreement contracting process with the IDA as planned within the next seven months and expects that the Singapore-wide fiber grid will be completed by June 2012. This fiber grid will be made available on equal terms at very compelling prices to any parties qualified by the IDA.

    Art Price, Chairman and CEO, Axia NetMedia, said: "OpenNet's approach is future-proof with no compromises from either the technology or business structure perspectives for the passive segment of the network. I believe that Singapore will be the showcase for how compelling the no-conflict open access fibre-to-the-premise solution can be for end-users in metropolitan communities."

    A key component of the solution involves OpenNet acquiring access to existing infrastructure through usage fees that vary
    with the market adoption of OpenNet's services.

    This is the first part of IDA's competitive RFP process for a complete Next Generation National Broadband Network. The second part is the provision of active broadband services over the fiber grid.

Ecma Publishes Standard for 60 GHz Short Range

Ecma International, which develops standards for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Consumer Electronics (CE), has published their 60 GHz standard for short range unlicensed communications. The standard provides high rate wireless personal area network (including point-to-point) transport for bulk data transfer and multimedia streaming.

The Ecma International General Assembly also approved the 60 GHz Standard for submission to JTC 1 fast-track procedure to arrive at an ISO/IEC Standard. Ecma continues to invite their partners, such as ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 06, WiMedia and ETSI, to provide advance comments under the Open-60GHz policy.

Preceding the publication, Ecma members, including GEDC, ETRI and Philips, demonstrated the Standard compliant prototypes showing multi-Gigabit per second file transfer and 1080i uncompressed HD video streaming.

AT&T Enhances Cisco TelePresence Capabilities

AT&T is now supporting multipoint, intercompany Telepresence connectivity using its Cisco TelePresence infrastructure. The enhanced service enables customers to host multipoint meetings with customers, suppliers and partners using the AT&T Business Exchange.

"The availability of the multipoint capability demonstrates the progress AT&T and Cisco are making together in the delivery and continued development of the AT&T Telepresence Solution," said Ronald E. Spears, president and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions. "The economic benefit to subscribers of the AT&T Telepresence Solution is now stronger than before -- more locations in a secure, reliable, high-quality meeting environment can further reduce travel costs, shorten cycle time and improve decision making."

The AT&T solution also features concierge service and a scheduling and administration portal, which complements common enterprise calendar applications, making it easy to schedule a multipoint intercompany call with just the push of a button.

The AT&T Telepresence Solution provides AT&T-owned Cisco TelePresence equipment, installation, full monitoring and management of the application, remote help desk service and on-site equipment maintenance and repair and works over AT&T Virtual Private Network transport. Three-screen and one-screen site options are available, based on the Cisco TelePresence System 3200, Cisco TelePresence System 3000, Cisco TelePresence System 1000 and Cisco TelePresence System 500 endpoints.

Broadcom Develops Resolution Boost for Viewing Web-Content on Big TVs

Broadcom is developing a "super resolution" technology for digital televisions (DTVs) that allows low resolution videos from the Internet, as well as standard definition (SD) content, such as standard DVDs, to be converted to high resolution for optimal viewing on large screen high definition televisions. TV manufacturers could use the technology to significantly enhance the quality of low resolution Internet content..

Broadcom said the technical benefits associated with this technology include increased spatial resolution, additional fine detail, sharpened details with less blurriness and reduced artifacts such as jagged edges and flickering lines. The result is better quality Internet, online and SD video viewed on large screen TVs, thereby significantly improving the viewing experience.

Fox Selects Motorola for Transition to all HD

Fox has selected Motorola to supply satellite transmission equipment, including compression systems, multiplexers, and radios to enable Fox to transition all its satellite program distribution to 100% High Definition (HD) delivery. The rollout will begin in Q1 2009. Financial terms were not disclosed.

As part of the migration, Fox will provide its affiliates with Motorola's DSR-6000 commercial digital satellite radio that include the capability to derive an SD version of the HD content transmitted by Fox. The Motorola radios will read the standardized Active Format Descriptor information carried with the HD content that specifies the appropriate image composition for 3x4 aspect ratio SD TV sets. The deployment also includes Motorola's Broadcast Network Control System and SE-3000 high quality HD encoders to distribute its programming via satellite. Their functionality includes statistical multiplexing -- to enable Fox to effectively combine individual HD streams into multiplexes operating with payloads as high as 73 Mb/s. The DSR-6000 radio will convert the appropriate HD stream to the properly formatted SD signal as well as passing the HD signal as ASI or IP. Both the DSR-6000 and the SE-3000 will employ DVB-S2 modulation, enabling the efficient and robust delivery of high quality content via satellite.

Motorola said the transition to all-HD distribution will enable Fox to significantly streamline its distribution infrastructure as it moves from the current mix of SD and HD environments and diverse, multi-vendor technology platforms to a common all HD Motorola architecture. The need for parallel SD storage and distribution will be eliminated since Motorola radios will support the real time conversion of the HD content to the SD format.

TI Cuts Q4 Business Outlook

Texas Instruments lowered its expected ranges for revenue and earnings per share (EPS). The company currently expects its financial results to fall within the following ranges:

  • Revenue: $2.30 - 2.50 billion, compared with the prior range of $2.83 - 3.07 billion

  • EPS: $0.10 - 0.16, compared with the prior range of $0.30 - 0.36.

Broadcom Updates Q4 Forecast

Broadcom updated its financial guidance, saying it now expects Q4 2008 net revenue of $1,050 to $1,100 million including AMD Digital TV (DTV) acquisition. This compares with prior guidance of $1,170 to $1,235 million excluding the AMD DTV acquisition.

"Despite the recent impact of the slowing economy, Broadcom experienced a very strong fiscal year from a product, financial and customer perspective. Broadcom continues to be in a very strong financial position and is committed to protecting our operating cash flow in this current environment" said Scott A. McGregor, Broadcom's President and Chief Executive Officer.

Level 3 Cuts 450 Jobs, an 8% Reduction

Level 3 Communications announced a workforce reduction of approximately 450 employees in North America, approximately 8 percent of its total employee base. The reduction will take place before the end of December 2008 and will result in a restructuring charge of approximately $12 million to $15 million in the fourth quarter 2008. The reductions are being made across multiple levels in the organization and multiple locations in North America only.

Ciena Demos Single Wavelength 100G Transmission

Ciena, in partnership with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), demonstrated 100 Gbps over a single wavelength during the Supercomputing Conference 2008 (SC08), which was held in late November.

Unlike previous 100G tests that combined two 40G optical signals or inversely multiplexed ten 10G optical signals, Ciena said this demonstration offered the first true, single wavelength transmission of a 100G data stream, through 80 km of fiber. Ciena electrically combined ten 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) signals from switches in the Caltech exhibit area onto a single wavelength for transmission over Ciena's CN 4200 RS FlexSelect Advanced Services Platform, then returned the separated 10 GbE signals back to Caltech's booth. The transmission featured an actual line rate of 112 Gbps and a true 100 Gbps OTN-framed payload using enhanced forward error correction (EFEC). And, by interoperating with leading switching technologies and using FDT, a production-ready TCP application developed by Caltech, more than one petabyte (one million gigabytes) of data, roughly equivalent to that of 125,000 full-length DVDs, was transferred during a 12-hour period.

The full C-band tunable transceiver in Ciena's CN 4200 RS used dual polarization RZ-DQPSK modulation, allowing for deployment alongside 10G and 40G channels on existing DWDM systems, and enabling scalability up to 8 Tbps
capacity on an optical fiber with existing Ciena DWDM systems. The transceiver's hardware technology employs a flexible architecture that is capable of adapting to any standard 10G client rate utilizing standard XFP optical modules, while the firmware allows for rapid adaptation to emerging OTN standards.

Ciena also noted that in real-word applications, where there are bidirectional links involved (one 100G wavelength in each direction), the maximum capacity for data flowing in both directions is 200G. In this context of a bi-directional model, the
demonstration achieved a net payload average of 191 Gbps during the 12-hour period, as sourced and measured by the Caltech TCP application.

According to Professor Harvey Newman of Caltech, head of the high energy physics team and chair of the U.S. Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Users Organization's Executive Committee, "The collaborative efforts of Ciena and our Caltech-led high energy physics team represent a critical milestone in the industry's roadmap for transitioning from 10G to 100G links, particularly across existing transoceanic fiber spans. Faster link transmission of this kind allows, for example, Caltech and researchers from CERN to instantly share critical data associated with the LHC project by increasing the capacity and efficiency of the U.S. Large Hadron Collider Network (USLHCNet). In particular, we hope developments such as these will afford physicists and students throughout the world the opportunity to participate directly in the LHC program, and potentially make important scientific discoveries."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

OIF Releases Tunable Laser and Transmitter Assembly Agreements

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) released a new Integrable Tunable Laser Assembly Multi-Source Agreement (ITLA-MSA, version 01.2) with added features and improved performance. The new version realizes performance and cost improvements by optimizing the command set which enables the use of smaller, lower power microprocessors and leads the way in future size reduction of the ITLA. New features have also been added to support applications requiring non-traffic interrupting off-grid tuning as well as those requiring sub-tones for channel identification. Additionally, a project within the OIF Software Working Group has been created to work on interface testing to help ensure consistent software interface implementations across multiple ITLA vendors.

In addition, the ITLA platform has been leveraged into the next generation tunable laser agreement, the Integrable Tunable Transmitter Assembly (ITTA), which is a tunable laser integrated with a modulator encompassed by an electronics board containing the necessary laser and modulator control electronics. The ITTA uses an enhanced version of the ITLA's command interface that has been extended to include software control of the integrated modulator. The ITTA comes in two form-factors: One that is similar in size to the ITLA and a reduced size version compatible for use within a 300pinSFF transponder.

The OIF said the ITLA and ITTA multi-source agreements are the latest in a series of four tunable laser projects. The first project resulted in the Tunable Laser Implementation Agreement, OIF-TL-01.1 and involved a large number of contributors from a wide variety of consumers and suppliers of tunable lasers. It addressed the communication protocol, electrical interface and mechanical form factor interoperability for tunable continuous wavelength (CW) lasers. The second project, an MSA for the Tunable Laser IA, generated a more comprehensive specification of the optical, electrical, mechanical, and communication protocols.

Level 3 Hires Former Leucadia Exec as COO

Level 3 Communications named Jeff K. Storey as president and chief operating officer. He will report to James Q. Crowe, CEO. Storey, 48, was most recently with Leucadia National Corporation, where he served as president of Leucadia Telecommunications Group. Prior to that position, Storey spent five years with WilTel Communications and its predecessor entities and was president and chief executive officer of WilTel Communications from 2002 until its sale to Level 3 in December 2005.

KT Selects TANDBERG Television IPTV Head-end

KT has selected a TANDBERG Television IPTV head end to support the continued growth of its Mega TV IPTV service in Korea. Specifically, KT will use TANDBERG Television's EN8090 HD MPEG-4 AVC and EN8030 SD MPEG-4 AVC encoders to expand its linear broadcast TV services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

KT's Mega TV has over 700,000 subscribers and provides interactive and pay per view services, including movies on-demand.

Korea Telecom already uses a wide range of TANDBERG Television head end and C&D (Contribution & Distribution) equipment for the Mega TV IPTV service. This head end expansion contract follows a competitive tender.

TANDBERG Television is part of Ericsson.

Nexans Partners with Sumitomo Electric for FTTH in Europe

Nexans and Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. (SEI) have agreed to collaborate in optical fiber cable business for terrestrial telecommunications in Europe. The agreement concerns more specifically the deployment of FTTH networks and more generally FTTx applications.

Under the deal, SEI has entered into a joint venture agreement with Nexans to acquire 40% of the share capital of Opticable, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nexans, based in Belgium, and fully dedicated to the design and manufacture of optical fiber cables for telecom terrestrial application. The transaction is subject to the approval of antitrust authorities and is expected to close by early 2009.

The companies said the synergies of Nexans' cable manufacturing facilities and its Sales & Network Engineering competences, combined with SEI's optical fiber production capacity and FTTH communications technology will bring added value to the European FTTH market.

SEI is a major manufacturer of electric cables, optical fibers and components, and within the TOP 5 of the world fibre producers, recognized as a leader in the FTTH related technology.