Sunday, February 1, 2009

TelcoBridges Introduces Entry Level Media Gateway

TelcoBridges introduced its Tmedia TMG800 media gateway with carrier-grade features and designed for lower-density requirements, like supporting remote locations, or delivering hosted services.

The TelcoBridges Tmedia TMG800 provides capacity from 1 to a maximum of 8 T1/E1/J1 interfaces (up to 256 universal VoIP channels). As service uptake increases, the capabilities of the 1U form factor TMG800 can be extended with expansion cards for VOIP and software license upgrades for each additional T1/E1/J1 port.

With IVR, signaling and media support for SIP, SS7, and ISDN networks, the Tmedia TMG800 routes and bridges PSTN and SIP-based calls seamlessly, providing any-to-any switching.

Verizon Wireless Adds 230 New Cell Sites in California in 2008

Verizon Wireless added more than 230 new cell sites in California in 2008. The company invested $684 million in its California network last year, updating and adding capacity to many cell sites and further improving backup power capabilities.

The company's ongoing network investment now totals more than $5.2 billion in California since 2000 when the company was formed. In each of the last four years, Verizon Wireless invested $6.5 billion or more nationally to expand and advance its network.

Verizon Transfers Some New England Networks to FairPoint

Verizon Communications has completed the process of transferring to FairPoint Communications Inc. all responsibility for the systems supporting the operations of FairPoint in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

FairPoint Communications provided a Notice of Readiness to Verizon in November, indicating that FairPoint would conclude its Transition Services Agreement with Verizon at the end of January 2009. FairPoint will complete the transition of its customers in the three-state region to its own new suite of state-of-the-art fully integrated systems over the next few days.
  • In March 2008, FairPoint acquired the former landline operations of Verizon in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Packet Design Offers Management Tool for Outsourced MPLS VPNs

Packet Design introduced a network management product that lets enterprises monitor their outsourced MPLS VPNs to determine whether service providers have set them up correctly and if information is moving as intended between corporate sites. The MPLS WAN Explorer cam identify changes in network "reachability" (the ability of IP traffic to move between any two sites at a given time) and verify that the service provider has deployed the MPLS VPN routing architecture according to enterprise policy (e.g., hub-and-spoke, full mesh, etc.). Enterprise IT managers, who previously had no visibility into the routing of traffic over the service provider's network, gain crucial information on issues that can significantly impact service delivery.

MPLS WAN Explorer is an enhanced version of Packet Design's original Route Explorer which provides organizations with end-to-end visibility into their layer 3 (routing) topology. Like Route Explorer, MPLS WAN Explorer listens passively to routing protocol (BGP, OSPF, EIGRP, IS-IS) exchanges, creating an accurate, real-time, network-wide routing map that reveals clearly how each site is connected to the VPN(s) and whether any given site can talk to any other. Real-time inter-site reachability is compared against an established baseline, helping identify possible problems.

Packet Design said that its MPLS WAN Explorer helps network managers quickly find problems such as 1) loss of reachability to critical servers even though all sites are connected, 2) a service provider's failure to adhere to the customer's requested topology, 3) loss of redundancy because a primary VPN has gone down and traffic is being routed over a secondary VPN, and 4) route "leakage" among service provider customers, with the resulting compromised privacy. These issues, while they may not display immediate symptoms, can negatively affect network behavior and service delivery -- and are typically undetectable by conventional management tools.

"VPN topologies are highly complex," said Jeff Raice, Packet Design's executive vice president of marketing and business development. "A large enterprise may use several service providers, each providing multiple VPNs. Corporate policy may dictate that certain sites talk only to certain providers or VPNs, and some VPNs may be implemented across multiple providers. Until now, the enterprise's view of its WAN stopped where the provider's network started. The IT manager had no way of knowing if one site was reachable from another, or of determining whether a WAN service problem originated with the provider or the enterprise itself. Guesswork delayed effective troubleshooting, while operating costs shot up and users suffered.

AT&T and DIRECTV Launch Co-Branded Service

AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets and DIRECTV launched a co-branded satellite service across the 22 states where AT&T operating companies offer wired residential broadband and voice services.

Consumers can get AT&T | DIRECTV programming packages as part of an AT&T service bundle, including quadruple-play bundles with TV, broadband, home phone and wireless services. In the future, the companies plan to extend their combined services to bring more integrated and interactive features to consumers.

AT&T U-verse Voice Launches in Los Angeles

AT&T began offering its U-verse Voice service in parts of the Greater Los Angeles area. All U-verse Voice customers will have 911 service, and customers can choose from two calling plans: AT&T U-verse Voice Unlimited for $30 a month and AT&T U-verse Voice 1000 for $25 a month.

Nortel Completes Core VoIP Network for U.S. Social Security Administration

Nortel Government Solutions completed the core network for the massive new U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) VoIP system within 180 days of initial purchase orders, an aggressive requirement of the 10-year, US $300 million Telephone Systems Replacement Project (TSRP) award.

This implementation included: redundant, geographically-dispersed service delivery points for high survivability; a state-of-the-art demonstration facility in Columbia, Maryland; and a Network Operations Center, Help Desk, and Agency Test Facility in Woodlawn, Maryland. Nortel Government Solutions has also implemented a very intensive VoIP applications suite that includes a data mart and management information system for custom reporting and hundreds of advanced telephony features to improve overall call-handling efficiency. All components were tested and accepted before rollout to SSA field offices began.

The new system, expected to become one of the largest enterprise VoIP deployments in the world, is already supporting more than 125 offices and more than 33,500 calls daily. To date, the new system has handled over 1.6 million calls. With 12-16 offices added each week, approximately 500 offices will be added per year until all 1,526 offices are online. Nortel Government Solutions has engineered the system to support over 100,000 phones. Installation and maintenance teams are positioned across the country for rapid deployment, training, and support.

The new SSA VoIP network features Nortel's Communication Server 1000 switching, Contact Center Management Server , Media Processing Server 500 IVR , unified messaging solution with Unified Messaging 2000 core platform and CallPilot *, and IP Phone 1100 Series handsets .

The Nortel Government Solutions team includes General Dynamics, Black Box Network Services, Shared Technologies, York Telecom, High Wire Networks, NetIQ, NETCOM Technologies, Attivasoft, and Pal-Tech.

Nortel noted that its Government Solutions group is also involved in a number of major VoIP transitions for U.S. Government customers worldwide, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Senate, the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Air Force and other elements of the Department of Defense.

Motorola Launches LTE trial network in UK

Motorola launched an LTE trial network and testing lab in Swindon, UK. The occasion was marked with a live, over the air, standards compliant LTE call during which high-speed data services were streamed using Motorola's LTE infrastructure operating in the 2.6GHz spectrum and a prototype LTE device.

Motorola's research lab in Swindon is working on LTE radio frequency and self organizing network (SON) development. In addition, the site in Swindon remains a center of excellence for Motorola base station transceiver (BTS) development for GSM and now LTE. Development of Motorola's LTE solutions is also conducted in Arlington Heights, Illinois; Fort Worth, Texas; Beijing, China and Bangalore, India.

Motorola said the lab facilities offers operators the ability to engage in LTE technology field trials and detailed real-world equipment testing. Additionally, Motorola can host the core elements of the LTE network for operators that require a hosted LTE trial in EMEA.

ADC Cuts Financial Outlook, Plans Layoffs

ADC cut its first quarter fiscal 2009 guidance and announced plans to lower its cost structure. The new guidance calls for:

  • Net sales of $240-255 million

  • Gross margins of around 29%

  • GAAP diluted loss per share of $(0.17) - $(0.23), which includes non-cash amortization expense of $(0.09) per share

ADC's previous guidance provided on Dec. 9, 2008 estimated net sales of $255-290 million and GAAP diluted loss per share of $(0.05) - $(0.17), including non-cash amortization expense of $(0.09) per share. The updated estimate does not include the potential impairment charge discussed later in this announcement.

ADC said its is further reducing discretionary spending and capital expenditures and introducing new general and administrative process improvements. In addition, the company is implementing a general hiring freeze and planning additional workforce reductions. Details on the job cuts were not disclosed.

Also, as of January 30, 2009, ADC has terminated its $200 million bank line of credit. This facility had no outstanding balances and, as a result of the current economic environment, had become increasingly costly to maintain.
"In response to the ongoing difficult macroeconomic conditions and slower market demand, we are taking further cost reduction actions both to solidify our competitive position as a leading provider of high-quality equipment to fiber-based and wireless communications networks worldwide and improve our overall financial performance," said Robert E. Switz, chairman, president and CEO of ADC.

Telefónica and China Unicom sign 3G Pact

Following the restructuring of the Chinese telecom industry and the granting of 3G licenses, Telefónica and China Unicom have agreed to develop integrated and mobile and 3G services.
In addition, the agreement covers a wide number of areas of collaboration such as developing innovative services, international business, joint procurement of network equipment, devices and handsets , platforms for innovative and advanced services, and services to corporate customers, among others.

China Unicom is the result of the merger between China Netcom (CNC) and China Unicom. In the wake of sector restructuring in China, Telefónica has become a key partner and the largest private investor (with a 5.38% stake) in the new China Unicom, an integrated operator with approximately 260 million fixed telephony, wireless and broadband subscribers. César Alierta, Chairman of Telefónica, is a non-executive member of the Board of Directors of the new China Unicom.
  • In September 2008, Telefónica announced an agreement with AllianceBernstein to acquire an additional stake of up to approximately 5.74% of the share capital of the China Netcom. The acquisition will be structured in two tranches, (i) the first tranche will be in respect of shares representing approximately 2.71% of the issued share capital of CNC as of the date hereof, and (ii) the second tranche will be in respect of a number of shares in CHINA UNICOM LIMITED ("CU") issued after its merger with CNC in exchange of shares representing up to a 3.03% stake in CNC.

Juniper Enhances its T-1600 for Virtualized Super-Nodes

Juniper Networks introduced a number of enhancements for its T1600 core router, including the ability to integrate up to 16 routers into a 25 Tbps multi-chassis single node while adding physical virtualization capabilities.

The TX Matrix Plus, which is slated for arrival in Q3 2009, is a multi-chassis core routing system that works with the Juniper Control System (JCS) 1200 to allow the virtualization of routing systems, networks and services. The architecture enables service providers to create "super-nodes" of up to 25 Tbps. This enables up to 256 40GbE ports or 1,024 GbE ports in a single routing node.

This multi-chassis router can be managed as a single, unified router, or combined with the JCS 1200 to enable the secure virtualization of core routers -- which creates efficiencies by consolidating networks, services and functionality. Juniper core routers can be partitioned -- on a per slot basis -- into multiple virtual routers, each of which might represent services or network element types, and which can share resources such as interconnecting links and uplinks. For instance, a carrier with separate wireless, broadband and business networks could converge its networks onto a single routing platform where the services are physically separated by slot. The "super-node" network architecture could also consolidate multiple central offices or POPs into a single facility.

Juniper noted that virtualization has seen rapid adoption in the data center and elsewhere because of its ability to increase efficiency and reduce costs by sharing and consolidating resources. With the TX Matrix Plus and JCS 1200, Juniper is addressing these challenges by enabling the hardware virtualization of highly scalable, adaptable core routers.

Juniper also announced several other capabilities for the T1600. The platform will offer 100 Gigabits of capacity per slot, enabling the T1600 to support ultra-high capacity links necessitated by virtualized core routers. Additionally, Juniper is continuing to expand on its optical integration capabilities with new integrated G.709 optical transport network (OTN) interfaces and GMPLS features. These enhanced integrated optical capabilities further eliminate the need for standalone optical transponders, leading to a significant reduction in space and power. The OTN interfaces will be available in the current quarter.

"Virtualization is the de facto operational model for data centers, because the cost and operational advantages it provides are indisputable," said Opher Kahane, senior vice president and general manager, High-End Systems Business Unit, Juniper Networks. "The TX Matrix Plus brings these same advantages of virtualization to core networks in the industry's most flexible multi-chassis routing system.:

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,