Friday, January 23, 2009

XO Offers New Tools for Optimizing Applications Across IP MPLS

XO Communications announced a suite of network tools for giving its MPLS IP-VPN customers even greater levels of visibility and control over their business applications by using a private web-based interface to select between three service levels.

The XO Applications Performance Management suite provides real-time and historical network, server and applications statistics. XO said this enhanced, panoramic visibility enables network managers to quickly identify performance issues, determine if they are application or network specific, and make adjustments to bandwidth and Class of Service settings to optimize maximum network efficiency and bandwidth utilization. Specifically, XO Applications Performanchttp:/e Management can help businesses:

XO Applications Performance Management is fully integrated with XO MPLS IP-VPN, XO's private, managed wide area networking solution that enables businesses to connect offices, customers and partners and converge a wide range of voice, video and data applications over a single IP network infrastructure. The three tiers include:

Tier 1 -- Network Performance: Provides a comprehensive, up-to-the-minute snapshot of network performance, including:
  • Analysis of physical access type, port and circuit;

  • Traffic flows by location from the physical to the application layer;

  • Live views of service-level metrics such as packet delay, packet delivery ratio, Jitter and availability;

  • End-to-end performance validation of every XO Class of Service and bandwidth use by Class of Service; and

  • Network layer troubleshooting alarms.

Tier 2 -- Network and Applications Performance: Provides all of the capabilities of Tier 1, plus:
  • Protocol analyzer capabilities that capture live traffic of applications across all locations;

  • Autodiscovery of applications, services and users across the entire network;

  • Monitoring of server connect and response times; and

  • Threshold alarms for applications and servers.

Tier 3 -- Network, Applications and VoIP Performance: Provides all of the capabilities of Tier 1 and 2, plus:
  • VoIP performance troubleshooting;

  • Autodiscovery of VoIP calls, call managers and handsets;

  • Individual call forensics, including MOS score and Jitter measurements; and

  • Long-term VoIP performance trending reports for network readiness assessments.

Limelight Wins Patent Case Brought be Level 3

A jury serving with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of Limelight Networks in a patent case brought by Level 3 Communications. (Civil Action No. 2:07cv589). The jury found that Limelight does not infringe any asserted claims of the patents at issue.

"We are pleased with the jury verdict in this matter, which is a positive development for our shareholders, employees, customers, and partners. This decision affirms that Limelight Networks respects the intellectual property of others, and that our ability to fairly compete in the marketplace is due to our own hard work and innovation," stated Jeff Lunsford, CEO of Limelight Networks.

Verizon Business Wins $70 Million Contract for U.S. Army Installations

Verizon Business was awarded a contract valued at about $70.7 million to upgrade the communications infrastructure at five U.S. Army sites. Through task orders awarded under the Installation, Information, Infrastructure Modernization (IMOD) contract on behalf of the Project Manager for Network Services Center (NSC), which is under the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS), Verizon Business is implementing upgrades at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; the Fort Greely, Range Operations Center and the Cold Regions Test Center in Alaska; Fort Lee, Virginia; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Kwajalein Atoll / Kwajalein Missile Range.

The IMOD contract was awarded in 2006 to Verizon Business and other prime contractors, which then bid on individual task orders. The IMOD program is designed to update the fiber-optic cable, data and voice communications at major Army posts and installations, integrating voice, data, cable plant and transmissions products. The Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Infrastructure Modernization (IMOD) program is valued at $4 billion over 10 years.

Some details of the projects include:

  • Aberdeen Proving Ground -- Under a four-year, $36.9 million task order, the existing IP data network is being upgraded, increasing bandwidth and installing new equipment that is capable of operating on IPv6.

  • Fort Lee -- Under a three-year, $9.6 million task order, the post's existing voice and data infrastructure will be upgraded. Fort Lee is the home of the Army's Combined Arms Center and provides logistics support to U.S. Army Joint and Coalition Operations around the world.

  • Fort Greely - Verizon Business was awarded two task orders at the Fort Greely, Range Operations Center and the Cold Regions Test Center in Alaska. Under the approximately $1.3 million, one-year task order, the existing infrastructure will be upgraded. This project, located in one of the coldest regions of the world, involves installing fiber-optic cable and outside plant infrastructure. The second task order is approximately $7.5 million with an 18 month timeframe. It provides an upgrade of the Administrative Communications Systems. Verizon Business will engineer, furnish, install, secure and test all components required to relocate the existing digital central office and upgrade the current network infrastructure.

  • Fort Sill -- Under a one-year, $2.5 million task order, the Fort Sill outside and inside plant communications infrastructure and the voice communications system will be upgraded. This effort will expand the existing voice network while adding advanced services, including a voice mail system. Fort Sill is home to the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center, including the U.S. Army Field Artillery School.

  • Kwajalein Atoll / Kwajalein Missile Range -- Under a $12.9 million, 24-month task order, Verizon Business is upgrading facilities for the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll / Kwajalein Missile Range (USAKA / KMR), located at Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific along with its tenants, the Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Army Space and Missile Command and Army Corp of Engineers. Verizon Business is upgrading the outside plant infrastructure, the optical transport and mission critical data networks.

Verizon Wireless Introduces Touchscreen Home IP Phone

Verizon Wireless introduced a new touch screen home phone system that runs on any broadband connection.

The Verizon Hub offers visual voicemail, contact list management, text message calendar alerts. The Verizon Hub can send audible turn-by-turn directions Verizon Wireless phones with just a few simple taps on the screen. Other capabilities include:

  • Ability to quickly check local traffic and weather in the morning before leaving the house

  • Ability to update your calendar and automatically receive a text when an appointment changes or as a reminder not to be late

  • Preview the trailers from an upcoming movie and then purchase tickets using the Verizon Hub

  • Verizon Wireless customers can use the Verizon Hub to connect to popular applications including VZ Navigator and Chaperone, as well as incorporate their wireless devices through text, picture and video messaging between wireless phones and the Verizon Hub. V CAST content will also be available on the Verizon Hub,

  • When not in use, the Verizon Hub doubles as a digital picture frame displaying all of your favorite photos.

comScore: Global Internet Audience Surpasses 1 Billion Visitors

The total global Internet audience (age 15 and older from home and work computers) has surpassed 1 billion visitors in December 2008, based on data from the comScore World Metrix audience measurement service.

The Asia-Pacific region accounted for the highest share of global Internet users at 41 percent, followed by Europe (28 percent share), North America (18 percent share), Latin-America (7 percent share), and the Middle East & Africa (5 percent share).

China represented the largest online audience in the world in December 2008 with 180 million Internet users, representing nearly 18 percent of the total worldwide Internet audience, followed by the U.S. (16.2 percent share), Japan (6.0 percent share), Germany (3.7 percent share) and the U.K. (3.6 percent share).

The most popular property in the world in December was Google Sites, with 777.9 million visitors, followed by Microsoft Sites (647.9 million visitors), Yahoo! Sites (562.6 million visitors)., which has grown a dramatic 127-percent in the past year to 222 million visitors, now ranks as the top social networking site worldwide and the seventh most popular property in the world.

"Surpassing one billion global users is a significant landmark in the history of the Internet," said Magid Abraham, President and Chief Executive Officer, comScore, Inc. "It is a monument to the increasingly unified global community in which we live and reminds us that the world truly is becoming more flat. The second billion will be online before we know it, and the third billion will arrive even faster than that, until we have a truly global network of interconnected people and ideas that transcend borders and cultural boundaries."

U.S. House Committee Refines Broadband Stimulus Proposal

The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce approved $2.825 billion for wireless and wireline broadband as part of the economic stimulus program currently under discussion. The broadband package would authorize the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) to distribute these funds through a grant program.

Specific provisions of the proposed legislation include:

  • The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (‘‘NTIA'') will develop and maintain a broadband inventory map of the United States that identifies and depicts the geographic extent to which broadband service capability is deployed and available from a commercial provider or public provider throughout each state. The map would be posted online.

  • The priority of the grants will be based on whether a geographic area already had broadband or advanced broadband services available.

  • The NTIA shall seek to distribute grants, to the extent possible, so that 25 percent of the wireless grants awarded go for providing wireless voice service to unserved areas and 75 percent of grants awarded shall be awarded to eligible entities for providing advanced wireless broadband service to under served areas.

  • The NTIA shall seek to distribute grants, to the extent possible, so that 25 percent of the broadband (wireline) grants awarded go to eligible entities for providing basic broadband service to unserved areas and 75 percent of grants awarded go to eligible entities for providing advanced broadband service to underserved areas.

  • Grant recipients (both wireless and wireline) will be required to operate basic and advanced broadband service networks on an open access basis;

  • The NTIA shall consult with the Federal Communications Commission and other appropriate federal agencies in implementing these grants;

  • "Advanced broadband" service is defined as at least 45 Mbps downstream and 15 Mbps upstream;

  • "Basic broadband" service is defined as at least 5 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream;

  • "Advanced wireless broadband" service is defined as at least 3 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream;

  • The term "Open Access" shall be defined by the FCC no later than 45 after enactment of the legislation.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

AIRCOM Launches Intelligent Optimization Service for Mobile Operators

AIRCOM International introduced a new platform that analyzes and optimizes cellular network performance, detects network problems and limitations, and reduces capital expenditures for network growth and 3G migration.

The key components of the AIRCOM IQ toolset include: a hardware audit that analyzes network and planning data and consolidates datasets, identifying missing and incomplete information; a measurement collection function that uses customer mobile measurement reports to characterise network performance and build analysis; an automated and flexible analysis toolset that detects network problems (e.g. swapped sectors, faulty transceivers, etc.); and automatic optimization that enhances performance by improving the configuration of the network.

AIRCOM said its new IQ optimization service would help mobile operators address the need for efficient optimization and management of their network infrastructure. Changes in business conditions, such as spectrum refarming and sharing, mean that 2G networks need to be revisited quickly and efficiently. AIRCOM IQ uses mobile measurement reports to determine 2G network performance as seen by terminals and for all users, both indoor and outdoor. Using a combination of switch and probe measurements, the AIRCOM solution provides optimization that is both accurate and simple. While the initial functionality of AIRCOM IQ is geared toward 2G networks, future enhancements will include 3G and 4G optimization, antenna reconfiguration, capacity management that leverages traffic information to provide new insights on user locations, parameter optimization and LTE/HSPA+ optimization.

"With 2G technologies still generating most of the revenue for operators and these networks requiring continuous optimization to respond to subscriber growth, AIRCOM IQ offers an ideal solution to reduce network-oriented operational expenditures through increased optimisation efficiency, capacity gains and better traffic management," said Marty Smuin, president of the Americas for AIRCOM International. "By creating efficient services that guarantee 2G performance improvements, operators can focus their operating expenditures on 3G and 4G technologies, new service offerings and network infrastructure growth."

AIRCOM IQ will be available from March 2009.

Cable&Wireless Rolls out Multi-Services in India

Cable&Wireless has received all the necessary security clearances from the Government of India's Department of Telecommunications to launch advanced IP-based solutions delivered directly by Cable&Wireless in India.

The company will offer Managed IP Services, such as Ethernet-based solutions, value-added communications applications, and International Private Leased Circuits (IPLCs), to multi-national and local customers. Cable&Wireless has set up its own International gateways (two in Mumbai and two in Chennai) and has received the Lawful Interception and Monitoring Solution (LIMS) clearances. Cable&Wireless has been offering virtual private network-based (VPN) services such as Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS), IP- VPN QoS, ATM etc since February 2008, when it was first awarded the International Long Distance and National Long Distance licenses.

Veraz Announces Nortel DMS Replacement Program

Veraz Networks announced a program for replacing Nortel's legacy DMS circuit switches to quickly migrate to a next-generation IP network powered by Veraz's MGN portfolio.

Veraz's program will help Nortel customers migrate traffic from their legacy infrastructure while simultaneously putting in place a cost-effective next-generation IP platform that scales to handle new traffic and services. Veraz said it is launching the program in light of Nortel's recent bankruptcy filing and shift in focus toward enterprise customers.

Veraz noted that over 100 wireline and wireless service providers worldwide already use its MGN portfolio.

WiMAX Forum Sets up Global Roaming Program

The WiMAX Forum is establishing a Global Roaming Program that allows operators and vendors to obtain the information required to establish WiMAX roaming services. The WIMAX Forum Global Roaming program, which is now live, includes several documents for WiMAX Forum member companies implementing roaming services, including technical specifications, a test plan, a roaming contract template and a guide to follow when implementing roaming.

"Member companies have yet another tool to facilitate the advancement of their WiMAX technology innovations and make 4G a seamless experience for customers," said John Dubois, Global Roaming Director of WiMAX Forum. "We are already beginning to see how WiMAX technology will drastically improve the next-generation of broadband applications and services, and this roaming readiness program is another example of how the WiMAX ecosystem is working to extend the availability of services to subscribers."

The WiMAX Forum noted that there are more than 407 WiMAX deployments in 133 countries.

Freescale Draws $184 Million Under Revolving Credit Agreement

Freescale Semiconductor has received approximately $184 million by making a draw under its $750 million revolving credit facility under its Credit Agreement, which expires in 2012.

"This action improves the company's financial flexibility as we continue to execute our business plans," said Alan Campbell, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

The company had cash and cash equivalents totaling approximately $1.4 billion at the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008. The company's revolving credit facility includes a $60 million commitment from Lehman Commercial Paper, Inc., which filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 5, 2008. The company's borrowing request was not honored by Lehman Commercial Paper. The company previously received $460 million under its revolving credit facility in Oct. 2008 and has approximately $23 million in letters of credit outstanding under the revolving credit facility.

T-Mobile Set to Launch G1 Android Phone in Europe

Following the successful market launch of this unique handset in the United States and the United Kingdom,

T-Mobile is now launching the T-Mobile G1 Android phone in Germany -- as well as Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and the Netherlands. The handset is available exclusively from T-Mobile for as little as EUR 1 with a qualifying two-year service plan.

Joachim Horn Steps Down as CTO of T-Mobile International

Joachim Horn will step down as Chief Technology Officer and Member of the Executive Committee at T-Mobile International at the end of March to pursue a new professional opportunity outside of Germany. A successor for him will be announced in the near future.

During his tenure at T-Mobile Joachim Horn was responsible for realizing a large scale network modernization in the core, radio and service platforms. He also laid the foundation for a successful Mobile Broadband business at T-Mobile by introducing both HSPA and Edge in the European networks. He also served as GSMA board member and was the chairman of the GSMA strategy committee.

Qualcomm Appoints New Head for FLO TV

Qualcomm has appointed Bill Stone as the new senior vice president and president of FLO TV, replacing Gina Lombardi who has led FLO TV for the past three years. Most recently, Stone held the position of chief executive officer for Handango. Before that, Stone was president of Amp'd Mobile, where he was responsible for the company's strategy, planning and operations, technology, marketing, sales, content and business development.

BT to take £340 Million Charge for Global Services Unit

BT will take a one-off financial charge of £340 million to write down the value of its BT Global Services (BTGS) unit. The company said the rest of its business units are performing ahead of financial expectations with EBITDA for rest of group expected to be up 5% over the same period last year.

"The first job of the new management team in Global Services and the new group finance director has been to review the financial position of Global Services and its major contracts. These ongoing reviews reflect changed circumstances and a more cautious view of the delivery of cost efficiencies and contract performance, particularly in the light of the current economic climate. We have also initiated a review of Global Services' operations which will help us drive our cost savings initiatives and further enhance our ability to serve customers. BT remains committed to the success of Global Services and I believe these changes will create a stronger business that can deliver positive cash flow and excellent customer service," stated Ian Livingston, Chief Executive of BT.
  • In October 2008, BT cut its financial outlook citing trouble with its Global Services unit. The company announced that Fran├žois Barrault had resigned as Chief Executive, BT Global Services and as a BT Group plc Board director on October 30th. He has been replaced by Hanif Lalani, currently Group Finance Director.

Nokia Expects 10% Decline in Devices, 5% Decline in Infrastructure in '09

Citing weakened macro economic conditions, Nokia reported Q4 2008 net sales of EUR 12.7 billion, down 19% year on year and up 3% sequentially (down 18% and up 1% at constant currency). While noting the extremely limited visibility, Nokia now expects 2009 industry mobile device volumes to decline approximately 10% from 2008 levels. Nokia expects the decline to be greater in the first half than in the second half of the year. This is an update to Nokia's earlier estimate that 2009 industry mobile device volumes would decline 5% or more from 2008 levels. Furthermore, Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks continue to expect the mobile infrastructure and fixed infrastructure and related services market to decline 5% or more in Euro terms in 2009, from 2008 levels.

"In recent weeks, the macroeconomic environment has deteriorated rapidly, with even weaker consumer confidence, unprecedented currency volatility and credit tightness continuing to impact the mobile communications industry. We are taking action to reduce overall costs and to preserve our strong capital structure. This is clearly our top priority in the current economic environment. However, it is important for Nokia to continue investing at the proper pace in future growth," said Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, Nokia's CEO.

Some highlights from the quarterly report:

  • Devices & Services net sales of EUR 8.1 billion, down 27% year on year and down 5% sequentially (down 25% and 8% at constant currency).

  • Services and software net sales of EUR 158 million, up 37% sequentially.

  • Estimated industry mobile device volumes of 305 million units, down 9% year on year and down 2% sequentially.

  • Nokia mobile device volumes of 113.1 million units, down 15% year on year and down 4% sequentially.

  • Nokia estimated mobile device market share of 37% in Q4 2008, down from 40% in Q4 2007 and down from 38% in Q3 2008. The full year 2008 estimated market share was 39%.

  • Nokia mobile device ASP of EUR 71, down from EUR 72 in Q3 2008.

  • Devices & Services gross margin of 33.8%, down from 36.5% in Q3 2008.

  • NAVTEQ net sales of EUR 205 million, up 31% sequentially from EUR 156 million, and non-IFRS operating margin of 25.7% (18.5% in Q3 2008)

  • Nokia Siemens Networks net sales of EUR 4.3 billion, down 5% year on year and up 24% sequentially (down 4% and up 23% at constant currency).

  • Nokia Siemens Networks achieved substantially all of the EUR 2.0 billion of targeted annual cost synergies by the end of 2008.

  • Operating cash flow was negative EUR 0.3 billion, including the one-time EUR 1.7 billion lump-sum cash payment made to Qualcomm as part of the previously announced license agreement. Excluding the Qualcomm payment, operating cash flow was EUR 1.4 billion.

  • Total cash and other liquid assets of EUR 6.8 billion at the end of Q4 2008.

India-UK Centre of Excellence in NGNs Gains Funding

A new India-UK Centre of Excellence has been established by the UK and Indian Governments, along with universities and ICT specialists in both countries, to foster Next Generation telecom networks. The consortium is being led by Professor Gerard Parr at the University of Ulster in the United Kingdom and Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras India, together with Professor Nader Azarmi of BT Innovate at Adastral Park UK. BT will take part in the project.

The wider IU-ATC consortium currently comprises nine UK universities, six Indian research Institutes, seven industry partners in both countries including BT, InfoSys, Wipro, Sasken, Tejas and Midas and a number of small business partners.

The grant money includes £5m jointly from the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Digital Economy Programme, led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Indian Government's Department of Science and Technology (DST). This is matched by a further contribution of over £4m from a consortium of the IU-ATC academic and industrial partners.

The funding bid was led by Professor Gerard Parr at the University of Ulster in Coleraine and Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, together with Professor Nader Azarmi of BT.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

NSN Tests Orthogonal Sub Channel, Doubling GSM Capacity

Nokia Siemens Networks successfully employed Orthogonal Sub Channel (OSC) technology to carry four calls in one GSM radio timeslot. This effectively doubles the voice capacity of the GSM radio network.

The OSC demonstration was conducted as a drive test using four handsets sharing only one radio timeslot and without compromising the call quality. The demonstration, which was held on January 21, used existing commercially available GSM handsets.

Nokia Siemens Networks said the OSC demonstration was the first of its kind The company is actively contributing to the standardization of OSC and is planning to have the technology commercially available in 2010.

"This successful demonstration opens up a profitable growth path for operators, evolving their networks to a new level of efficiency with minimized CAPEX and OPEX. This is made possible by a software upgrade to existing Flexi EDGE Base Station and Base Station Controller. OSC is fully interoperable with existing handsets, so it promises immediate cost saving for operators", said Prashant Agnihotri, Head of GSM/EDGE product management, Nokia Siemens Networks.

The OSC innovation is also an important addition to Nokia Siemens Networks' offering of sustainable and green products and solutions. With OSC, operators can gain more capacity from the same base station hardware, meaning fewer base station sites are needed in network rollouts and capacity extensions, which in turn saves energy and decreases the CO2 emissions.

SingTel Offers WAN Optimization based on Riverbed

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) is now offering a Traffic Optimization and Profiling Service Application Accelerator (TOPS AA) service based on Riverbed's WAN optimization platform. The service accelerates the delivery of data over WAN, improving the performance and speed of corporate applications such as e-mail, data back-up, web browsing, document sharing and management, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The TOPS AA solution is hosted and fully managed by SingTel.

ZTE Selects PMC-Sierra's Metro Transport Silicon

ZTE has selected PMC-Sierra's CHESS metro transport architecture for its Unitrans product line. ZTE's Unitrans series of optical network products is widely deployed by over 250 operators in more than 90 countries worldwide.

PMC-Sierra's CHESS III chipset for aggregating, grooming and transporting 2.5 Gbps and 10 Gbps metro services offers a wide range of STS-1/AU-3 cross-connect solutions as well as a highly integrated framer solution for MSPPs and ROADMs.