Thursday, January 29, 2009

Devicescape Survey Finds a Willingness to Pay for Citywide Wi-Fi

An overwhelming number of Wi-Fi users expect Wi-Fi while on the road (91%) and there is a willingness to pay for it, especially if it is bundled as part of a 3G subscription, according to a survey of more than 2,700 Wi-Fi users conducted by Decipher, Inc. on behalf of Devicescape and other Wi-Fi leaders. Some other key findings of the"Devicescape Wi-Fi Report": showed:

  • Most respondents want citywide Wi-Fi (84%) and, surprisingly, many are willing to pay for it (56%) as they would a utility;

  • When traveling, the most-often used device for accessing Wi-Fi was the smartphone, such as an iPhone (vs. laptops);

  • The overwhelming majority of smartphone users (81%) prefer using Wi-Fi over 3G for browsing Web sites, downloading data, Google searches and sending e-mail;

  • 86% of respondents want OEMs to build Wi-Fi into their handsets;

  • 82% of respondents want the service provider to provide an overall 3G/Wi-Fi data package

  • "Complicated login screens" was the most common frustration consumers had when attempting to connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot.

  • Many of the statistics within the UK and mainland Europe were similar to the US, but one significant difference is that Nokia is the most used device tapping into Wi-Fi, more than laptops and iPhone users.

"This data reflects the fact that people recognize that Wi-Fi -- a technology they know and love on PCs and home entertainment systems -- is also a great way to stay connected with their handsets," said Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "Wi-Fi delivers a terrific user experience for web surfing, downloading multimedia content, and doing voice calls, so it has become a must-have feature on all the coolest phones."

Norwegian railway Awards 20-Year Deal to NSN

The Norwegian National Rail Administration (Jernbaneverket) awarded a 20-year support contract to Nokia Siemens Networks for the complete maintenance of the country's railway communications network. The contract which includes hardware services, spare-parts management, software support and upgrades will provide Norway's rail system with a high-performance, always-on communications system. It follows Nokia Siemens Networks' implementation of a new digital GSM-Railways (GSM-R) mobile network.

mobilkom austria Picks Nortel and Kapsch CarrierCom

The mobilkom austria group, which serves nearly 15 million mobile customers in eight countries in Central and Eastern Europe., is using an enhanced network based on a IMS-ready Mobile Switching Center (MSC) solution supplied by Kapsch CarrierCom AG and Nortel. The companies have completed the first phase of the project in Austria and work has already begun on the Liechtenstein and Slovenia upgrades. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nortel said the enhanced mobilkom austria network meets the standards defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). mobilkom austria's solution is founded on Nortel's Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA)-based Mobile Switching Center (MSC) server. This is the first time MSC Servers based on the ATCA platform are being used in normal operation in Europe. As part of the migration project, Kapsch CarrierCom is also managing the system implementation and system integration for the countries of Slovenia, Liechtenstein and Austria.

Nortel Ends Joint Agreement with Alvarion for Mobile WiMAX

Nortel will discontinue its mobile WiMAX business and end its joint agreement with Alvarion. The agreement, announced in June 2008, outlined the integration of Alvarion's advanced radio access network technology with Nortel's core network solutions, backhaul solutions, and global services. It also covered the resale by Nortel of the Alvarion platform of WiMAX access products.

Nortel said its decision will allow it to narrow its focus, better manage its investments and strengthen its broader carrier business to better position itself for long-term competitiveness.

"We are taking rapid action to narrow our strategic focus to areas where we can drive maximum return on investment. We will work closely with Alvarion to transition our mobile WiMAX customers to them and assure customers that they will continue to benefit from leading-edge technology and high-quality service," said Richard Lowe, president of carrier networks, Nortel.

For its part, Alvarion is said it is analyzing Nortel's decision and will take action to mitigate the impact on its business, and expects to provide more information about these actions during its fourth quarter 2008 financial results conference call on Wednesday, February 4, 2009. Under the terms of the agreement, Nortel is obligated to pay Alvarion for certain research and development services beyond Q4; however, collection of these payments is uncertain and subject to Nortel's creditor protection proceedings.

As a result of the foregoing, Alvarion will not be able to recognize approximately $2.4 million of revenues from the sale of products to Nortel during the fourth quarter of 2008. Accordingly, total revenues for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2008, are expected to be approximately $70 million, at the low end of the Company's revenue guidance of $70 to $78 million.

Tzvika Friedman, President and CEO of Alvarion, said,"We are obviously disappointed in the direction this has taken; however, Alvarion's industry position has never been stronger. In Q4, our WiMAX shipments, excluding Nortel, reached a record $54.4 million and WiMAX revenues were $42.3 million. Our book-to-bill remained well above 1, and we ended the year with over $140 million in cash on our balance sheet."

Verizon Wireless Stay Up Through Ice Storms in Ohio

Verizon Wireless noted that is network in Ohio continued to operate throughout last week's ice and snow storm thanks to permanent backup generators that have been installed at more than 90 percent of the company's cell sites across the state.

The company invested more than $258 million in 2008 to enhance its digital network in Ohio, and $1.4 billion since the company was formed in the year 2000.

"In 2008, Verizon Wireless completed the installation of generators at every cell site in Ohio where it was possible to put one," said Roger Tang, president-Ohio/Pennsylvania/West Virginia Region, Verizon Wireless. "We understand that, especially during storm conditions like those that have ripped through much of Ohio this week, our customers and emergency personnel need to rely on their wireless devices to keep in touch and stay connected."

Western Digital Debuts 2TB Hard Drive

Western Digital (WD) introduced the world's first 2 terabyte (TB) hard drive. Based on the company's WD Caviar Green product family, the new 3.5-inch platform uses 500 GB/platter technology (with 400 Gb/in2 areal density) with 32 MB cache. In addition, the drive incorporates "StableTrac" technology, which secures the motor shaft at both ends to reduce system-induced vibration and stabilize platters for accurate tracking during read and write operations. WD's "IntelliPower" technology fine-tunes the balance of spin speed. MSRP is US$299.

Samsung Announces 4Gb DDR3 Memory Chip

Samsung Electronics Co. announced the world's first four gigabit (Gb) DDR3 DRAM chip, using 50 nanometer (nm) process technology. The 4Gb DDR3 can be produced in 16 gigabyte (GB) registered dual in-line memory modules (RDIMM) for servers, as well as 8GB unbuffered DIMM (UDIMM) for workstations and desktop PCs, and 8GB small outline DIMM (SODIMM) for laptops. By applying dual-die package technology, this new device can deliver modules of up to 32GB -- offering twice as much capacity as memory modules based on the previous highest chip density of 2Gb.

Designed to be low-powered, the 4Gb DDR3 DRAM operates at 1.35 volts (V), therein improving its throughput by 20 percent over a 1.5V DDR3. Its maximum speed is 1.6 gigabits per second (Gbps). In 16GB module configurations, 4Gb DDR3 can consume 40 percent less power than 2Gb DDR3 because of its higher density and because it uses only half the DRAM (32 vs. 64 chips).

Samsung predicts the amount of memory per server doubling every two years and the development of high-density DRAM is expected to keep pace. Other applications include notebooks and desktop PCs.
  • In September 2008, Samsung announced its development of the world's first 50 nm-class 2Gb DDR3 DRAM.

Digital Britain Seeks Stimulus for the Digital Economy

The British government published a plan to boost the nation's digital economy by spurring investment in the telecom sector.
The Interim Report outlines Britain's progress in building a digital market-place, while also setting priorities for industry engagement. A final Digital Britain Report is due before the summer. Currently, the UK's digital economy accounts for around 8% of GDP.

The Digital Britain has five objectives:

  • Upgrading and modernizing digital networks -- wired, wireless and broadcast -- so that Britain has an infrastructure that enables it to remain globally competitive in the digital world;

  • Fostering a dynamic investment climate for UK digital content, applications and services, that makes the UK an attractive place for both domestic and inward investment in its digital economy;

  • Promoting UK content for UK users: content of quality and scale that serves the interests, experiences and needs of all UK citizens; in particular impartial news, comment and analysis;

  • Fairness and access for all: universal availability coupled with the skills and digital literacy to enable near-universal participation in the digital economy and digital society; and

  • Developing the infrastructure, skills and take-up to enable the widespread online delivery of public services and business interface with Government.

To achieve these aims, the "Digital Britain" contains more than 20 recommendations, including specific proposals on:

  • Next Generation Networks. A strategy group will be formed, by the time of the final Digital Britain Report, to assess the case for how far market-led investment by Virgin Media, BT Group plc and new network enterprises will take the UK in terms of roll-out and likely take-up; and whether any contingency measures are necessary.

  • Universal access to broadband. The government is developing plans for a digital Universal Service Commitment to be effective by 2012, delivered by a mixture of fixed and mobile, wired and wireless means. Subject to further study of the costs and benefits, we will set out our plans for the level of service which we believe should be universal. We anticipate this consideration will include options up to 2Mb/s.

  • the Creation of a second Public Service Provider of Scale

  • The Modernization of Wireless Radio Spectrum Holdings. This includes resolving the future of existing 2G radio spectrum through a structured framework, allowing existing operators to re-align their existing holdings, re-use the spectrum and start the move to next generation mobile services. The government will make available more radio spectrum suitable for next generation mobile services. The government and Ofcom will also consider further network sharing, spectrum or carrier-sharing proposals from the operators, particularly where these can lead to greater coverage and are part of the mobile operator's contribution to a broadband universal service commitment.

  • A Digital Future for Radio. Plans call for the creation a Digital Radio Delivery Group which includes the retailers, the Transmission Networks, the BBC, the Commercial Radio Companies, the Car Manufacturers, consumer representatives and the device manufacturers, whose role would be to increase the attractiveness, availability and affordability of DAB and to advise on the Digital Migration Plan.

  • A New Deal for Digital Content Rights

  • Enhancing the digital delivery of public services. This includes a commitment to ensure that public services online are designed for ease of use by the widest range of citizens, taking advantage of the widespread uptake of broadband to offer an improved customer experience and encourage the shift to online channels in delivery and service support.

Stanford University Researchers Develop Sub-atomic Scale Writing

Stanford University announced a breakthrough with the potential to vastly increase digital data storage. Researchers at the university demonstrated the ability to assemble subatomic sized bits as small as 0.3 nanometers, or roughly one third of a billionth of a meter. The team used a scanning tunneling microscope to drag single carbon monoxide molecules into a desired pattern on a copper chip the size of a fingernail.

A two-dimensional "molecular holograms" were created not by using laser light as in a traditional hologram but by the electrons that are already in the copper. The recorded information could be read by the scanning tunneling microscope.

A paper on this topic has been published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

AT&T Moves 5,000 Outsourced Jobs Back In-House

AT&T announced a milestone in its program to move some 5,000 high-tech jobs that had previously been outsourced back to the payrolls of AT&T's U.S. operating companies. The vast majority of the jobs had been placed offshore by contract vendors.

AT&T said it has met its goal of bringing back on shore and in-house more than 3,000 jobs that previously had been outsourced by BellSouth outside the U.S., and it met its goal of completing this repatriation before the end of 2008. The bulk of these jobs are now located in broadband support centers in North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Kentucky, with most of the others scattered across states in the Southeast.

Separately, the company is more than halfway toward its goal of bringing back another 2,000 outsourced jobs to locations in the former SBC territory; states where these jobs have been located include Indiana, Texas, Nevada, Michigan and Arkansas. Most of the jobs provide support for wired broadband customers.

"These are good jobs with good wages and benefits, and we are delighted to have them back in-house and on shore. We applaud our union partners in the Communications Workers of America who worked with us to create competitive cost structures that allow us to meet the demands of this competitive market while still providing good domestic jobs," said Bill Blase, senior executive vice president of Human Resources.

Charter Launches 60 Mbps DOCSIS 3 Service in St. Louis

Charter Communications announced the launch of 60 Mbps Internet service in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Additional markets will follow. Nationwide, the ompany will soon boost its Charter High-Speed Internet Max from 16 Mbps to 20 Mbps.

RAD's Megaplex-4100 Aggregates Ethernet and Legacy over Fiber and Copper

RAD Data Communications introduced an all-in-one cross-generation platform for both legacy and next generation networks.
Version 2.0 of the modular Megaplex-4100, the company's modular central site solution for its widely deployed Multiservice Access Platform (MAP) and copper and fiber Last Mile products, aggregates both next generation Ethernet services over legacy networks and legacy services over packet switched networks (PSNs).

The Megaplex-4100 can terminate Ethernet traffic carried over a wide variety of transport media, including E1/T1, fiber, IDSL, and SHDSL or, using virtual concatenation, STM-1/OC-3 lines. In addition, apart from handling high-speed traffic, the versatile Megaplex-4100 also functions as a cross connect for low-speed data and analog voice.

RAD said the product is designed to meet the requirements of service providers, as well as utility, transportation and government applications. It can be used for separating Ethernet and TDM traffic carried over the same link while providing a variety of different services. For alternative carriers and corporate and campus environments, the device can be used for minimizing the number of trunks that have to be leased from the service provider. Alternative service providers can use the Megaplex-4100 to provision different services to different customers over different infrastructure. In addition, utilities can use it for creating SDH/SONET rings for carrying Ethernet voice and data.

Broadcom Swings to Loss in Q4 2008

Broadcom reported Q4 net revenue of $1.127 billion, a decrease of 13.2% compared with the $1.298 billion reported for the third quarter of 2008 and an increase of 9.7% compared with the $1.027 billion reported for the fourth quarter of 2007.

There was a Q4 net loss (GAAP) of $159.2 million, or $.32 net loss per share (basic and diluted), compared with GAAP net income of $164.9 million, or $.31 per share (diluted), for the third quarter of 2008, and GAAP net income of $90.3 million, or $.16 per share (diluted), for the fourth quarter of 2007. The Q4 results reflect impairment charges of goodwill and certain tangible assets of its mobile platforms business group, as well as in-process R&D charges associated with its acquisition of the digital TV business of AMD. These charges represented cumulative reductions in net income of $0.40 per share (diluted).

"As we look into the first quarter of 2009, we believe the current economic slowdown will continue to negatively impact our business as demand continues to decrease and settle into new levels and channel inventory adjusts accordingly," said Scott A. McGregor, Broadcom's President and CEO. The company is planning cost cutting measures, including job cuts.

Infinera Reports Q4 Financials, New Contract with Greece's OCE

Infinera reported Q4 2008 revenue (GAA) of $99.3 million compared to $120.5 million in the third quarter of 2008 and $76.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. GAAP gross margins were 38% in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to 45% in the third quarter of 2008 and 36% in the fourth quarter of 2007. Infinera noted that its top 10 customers accounted for 72% of total revenue, the lowest concentration in the history of the company. The largest customer for the fourth quarter was an internet content provider at 23%. With the seven new customer additions, total customer count for the company is now at 56.

"In the fourth quarter we saw continued customer win momentum, with seven new customers added in the quarter, including OTE," said Jagdeep Singh, president and chief executive officer of Infinera. "This resulted in strong top-line performance; however the common equipment associated with these deployments and additional expected new customer shipments in Q1 put downward pressure on our gross margins in the quarter.

In a separate release, the company announced that OTEGLOBE, the international division of Greek incumbent national carrier OTE, has selected Infinera as its DWDM supplier for its Pan-European Network. Specifically, OTEGLOBE launched its 7,000-km Transbalkan Network (TBN) last year to connect Greece and the Balkans with central Europe and western Europe. The win at OTE represents Infinera's fourth win with Tier 1 incumbent carriers, joining Deutsche Telecom and two other incumbents.

Deutsche Telekom Posts Growth Numbers for DSL, Mobiles

Despite slower growth, Deutsche Telekom continues to substantially increase its customer numbers in the DSL and mobile communications.

The company credits its growth to special pricing, bundles and products, such as its Call&Surf all-in packages, the Max mobile flat rates or the community service MyFaves in the United States and products like Entertain, the Apple iPhone 3G or the Android-based T-Mobile G1, for its competitive differentiation. Some highlights:

  • With a DSL net add market share of around 45 percent in Germany and almost 1.6 million new customers, T-Home achieved the target it had set itself in 2008.

  • In the fourth quarter of 2008, for DSL T-Home 's new customer market share almost reached the 50-percent mark.

  • T-Home has consolidated its top position in the German DSL market with 10.6 million existing retail customers and a total market share of around 46 percent.

  • T-Home now has some 500,000 customers orders for its Entertain triple-play offer.

  • Deutsche Telekom's subsidiaries in Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, Macedonia and Montenegro acquired a total of more than 220,000 IPTV customers by the end of 2008.

  • The number of line losses was at the lower end of the guidance of 2.5 to 3 million issued at the beginning of the year. In addition to losses caused by competitive and regulatory factors, this value includes, for the first time in 2008, line losses on technical grounds as a result of the migration of resale customers to the all-IP platform.

  • T-Mobile now has 128.3 million customer in all of its markets. This means that the number of customers increased organically by 7.6 million. The contract customer segment accounts for 5 million of this growth with a current customer base of 65.9 million.

  • T-Mobile Deutschland added over 950,000 new contract customers for the year.

  • T-Mobile USA had a customer base of 32.8 million at the end of the year, including SunCom, which was fully consolidated in February 2008. Organic customer growth -- excluding SunCom -- was thus almost 3 million compared with the end of 2007. Including SunCom, total customer growth was 4.1 million. At the end of the year, broadband 3G mobile services were available to around 107 million people in the United States. This figure is set to almost double following further network expansion in 2009.

Dell'Oro: Rapid Rise in 40 Gbps Wavelength Shipments Despite Market

The total worldwide Optical Transport equipment revenue is forecasted to decline 9 percent in 2009 and resume growth in 2010, reaching $14.5 billion in 2013, according to a newly released Optical 5-year forecast report by Dell'Oro Group. Shipments of 40 Gbps wavelengths are forecast to grow at least 50 percent in each of the next five years and contribute nearly one-third of the capacity shipped in DWDM Long Haul systems by 2013. The report also indicates that shipments of 100 Gbps wavelengths are expected in late 2011.

"The economy of most major countries is in a recession, and the consensus belief is that this recession may last through 2009," said Jimmy Yu, Director of Optical Transport research at Dell'Oro Group. "While the near term outlook is for the total optical market to contract 9 percent due to factors such as the economic downturn, there continues to be an opportunity for technologies that will help service providers reduce their capital expense while still expanding their network capacity. We think that 40 Gigabit is one of those technologies as the price per bit of a 40 Gbps wavelength starts to be lower than that of a 10 Gigabit wavelength in a DWDM Long Haul system," added Mr. Yu.

ZTE and RadiSys Partner on Color Ring Back Tones

ZTE and RadiSys announced an integrated solution for color ring back tones that is already deployed and generating revenues for leading service providers in China. Color Ring Back Tone (CRBT) is a network-based service that plays a fragment of music, advertisement, or message predefined by the called party. When a caller makes a phone call to a called party with CRBT service, rather than hearing a generic ringing tone, the caller hears the personalized audio clip. CRBT services are similar to the popularity and appeal of today's downloadable ringtones for mobile devices; however, an important difference is that CRBT is delivered as a network-based service. The joint solution integrates RadiSys Convedia media servers with ZTE's Unified Service Platform.

Ceragon Awarded a $3.5m Follow on Order in Indochina

Ceragon Networks announced follow-on orders for its advanced FibeAir all-indoor trunk solution from a leading mobile operator in one of Indochina's emerging markets. Contributing over $3.5 million in revenue in Q4, these orders follow previous successful deployment during 2008 and further expand the carrier's network.

Level 3 Vyxx to Deliver Broadcast Feeds for Super Bowl XLIII

Level 3 Communications' Vyxx division will provide live standard and high-definition (HD) television broadcast video services for Super Bowl XLIII to multiple major broadcasters. This is the 20th consecutive year that the National Football League (NFL) has relied on Level 3 Vyvx services to deliver the live event broadcast.

For the Super Bowl, Level 3 Vyvx services will deliver a specialized solution that includes HD acquisition, encoding and transmission of the video broadcast signal from the game. In total, over 2,800 hours of video content will be acquired, encoded and transported across the Level 3 Vyvx services platform for Super Bowl coverage. The Super Bowl caps an NFL season during which Level 3 Vyvx services provided video transmission for every NFL regular season and playoff game, delivering more than 5,600 total feeds.

EXFO Releases Integrated IMS-HSS Emulator

EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering released an integrated Home Subscriber Servers (HSS) emulator for Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) networks. The HSS, the master database in IMS architectures, plays a critical role in the authentication and authorization of subscribers. Without proper access to the HSS, subscribers cannot access network services, resulting in significant network downtime, customer churn and loss of revenue.

EXFO's said its new hssFlex can wrap around an IMS network to provide end-to-end testing, or simply characterize single network elements such as application servers or call session controllers. Key test features include the ability to simulate real-world interactions like subscribers updating their services, subscriber services being terminated due to non-payment of bills, and characterization of the impact of denial of service (DOS) attacks on the IMS network. Like EXFO's other IMS test suites, the hssFlex complies with industry standards, but also provides the flexibility to simulate proprietary and non-complaint IMS traffic.