Saturday, February 7, 2009

Researchers Develop PCMOS, Promising 30X Lower Power Usage

A team of researchers from Rice University and Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are developing a new PCMOS silicon technology that they say uses 30 times less electricity while running seven times faster than today's technology. The announcement was made at this week's International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco.

Although PCMOS runs on standard silicon, it breaks with computing's past by abandoning the set of mathematical rules -- called Boolean logic -- that have thus far been used in all digital computers. PCMOS instead uses probabilistic logic, a new form of logic developed by Rice University Professor Krishna Palem and his doctoral student, Lakshmi Chakrapani. Palem's PCMOS research was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Intel.

Silicon transistors become increasingly 'noisy' as they get smaller, but engineers have historically dealt with this by boosting the operating voltage to overpower the noise and ensure accurate calculations. Chips with more and smaller transistors are consequently more power-hungry.

"PCMOS is fundamentally different," Palem said. "We lower the voltage dramatically and deal with the resulting computational errors by embracing the errors and uncertainties through probabilistic logic."

PCMOS was jointly validated by Rice and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore via a joint institute that Palem founded in 2007, the Institute for Sustainable Nanoelectronics (ISNE). Directed by Palem, ISNE is based at NTU, where the first prototype PCMOS chips were manufactured last year in collaboration with Professor Yeo Kiat Seng and his team. The first prototype is an ASIC designed for encryption. The Rice-NTU team plans to follow up with proof-of-concept tests on microchips for cell phones, graphics cards and medical implants.

Palem said PCMOS is ideally suited for encryption, a process that relies on generating random numbers. It's equally well-suited for graphics, but for different reasons. In a streaming video application on a cell phone, for example, it is unnecessary to conduct precise calculations. The small screen, combined with the human brain's ability to process less-than-perfect pictures, results in a case where the picture looks just as good with a calculation that's only approximately correct. For consumers, it could mean the difference between charging a cell phone every few weeks instead of every few days.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

América Móvil Reaches 183 Million Mobile Users

América Móvil added 10.1 million subscribers in Q4 2008 -- the most it has ever added for a given quarter -- giving it a total of 182.7 million across all of the Latin American countries it serves. Net additions were 3.5% higher than those of the same period of last year. In Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador net additions were up by 87%,36% and 34%, respectively relative to the previous year. In the latter two countries, as in Mexico and Brazil, the postpaid base has been growing more rapidly than the prepaid one.

Some highlights:

  • Through 2008, América Móvil gained 29.3 million subscribers, 2.3% more than a year before. The company ended the year with 182.7 million wireless subscribers and 3.8 million fixed lines, for a total of 186.6 million lines.

  • In Brazil, América Móvil obtained 3 million subs in the quarter and in each of Mexico and Colombia 2 million. Tracfone, in the U.S. gained 743 thousand clients whereas Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and the Caribbean each registered approximately half a million net additions in the period.

  • In annual terms, the company's fourth quarter revenues were up 11.6% to 94.4 billion pesos, with service revenues rising 14.7% on the back of strong subscriber and data revenue growth.

  • Capital expenditures topped 68 billion pesos in 2008 whereas distributions to shareholders (via both share buybacks and dividends) reached nearly 52 billion pesos, for a combined total of 120 billion pesos. Except for 11.5 billion pesos that were financed in the market, the rest of the above-mentioned outlays was covered by cash flow.

  • At the end of the year our net debt stood at 121.5 billion pesos equivalent, which represented 0.88 times EBITDA (last twelve months). América Móvil's cash position represented approximately 85% of short term debt at the time.

  • In Mexico net additions in the fourth quarter were just shy of two million bringing to 6.4 million the total figure for 2008. América Móvil's subscriber base finished the year at 56.4 million clients. It was up 3.7% sequentially and 12.7% year-on-year.

  • Claro Brazil added three million subscribers to end December with 38.7 million, 28.1% more than a year before. At 8.5 million, net additions in 2008 were 34% higher than in 2007. They represented 28.7% of the total net adds of the market, making Claro the leader in subscriber growth for the year, both in the Brazilian market.

  • Colombia followed Brazil with just over two million net subscriber gains in the quarter-- 87.2% more than in the same period of 2007--and 5.1 million subs in the year, closing December with 27.4 million clients, 22.6% more than a year before.

  • Argentina obtained 553 thousand new clients in the fourth quarter, bringing to 1.9 million the year's total. Wireless penetration in the country has reached an estimated 113% and is the highest in Latin America.

  • Peru and Ecuador each obtained 455 thousand net additions each in the fourth quarter, to finish December with 7.2 and 8.3 million clients, respectively. In Chile, América Móvil almost doubled net additions from a year before--to 214 thousand--taking the subscriber base to three million.

  • In Central America, América Móvil obtained slightly more than one million net additions in 2008, of which 110 thousand were added in the fourth quarter. Combined subscriber base in the region ended December with 9.2 million, 12.3% more than in 2007.

  • América Móvil's operations in the Caribbean added 1.3 million subscribers in 2008, 554 thousand of them in the last quarter. The latter figure doubles that of a year earlier. In the U.S. our fourth quarter net subscriber additions, 743 thousand, were up 4.6% year-on-year, bringing to 1.7 million our net gains for 2008.

  • Overall data revenues for América Móvil climbed 37.0% in the fourth quarter relative to the same period of the prior year, more than twice as fast as service revenues, with data now accounting for 15% of service revenues. In just a year since launching 3G services in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, data revenues in those countries grew by 70%, 41% and 26%, respectively.

Infineon reports Sequential Quarterly Revenue Drop of 28%

Infineon Technologies reported revenues of Euro 830 million, down 28 percent sequentially and 24 percent year-over-year, for the quarter ending 31-Dec-2008. The sequential decrease reflects a decline in revenues in all of the company's operating segments due to significantly lower demand as a result of the global economic slow-down and inventory corrections throughout the electronics supply-chain. The company's Automotive and Wireless Solutions segments were most severely affected. Overall, the company's revenues were slightly better than forecasted, largely due to the stronger U.S. dollar against the Euro. Excluding effects of currency fluctuations, primarily between the U.S. dollar and the Euro, and acquisitions and divestitures, revenues decreased 32 percent sequentially and 26 percent year-over-year.

Infineon also noted the recent insolvency filing of Qimonda, in which it holds a 77.5 percent share.

As for its networking related activities, Infineon said revenues for its Wireless Solutions segment decreased significantly on a sequential basis, mainly due to the drastic market slow-down and inventory corrections at customers. In particular, one HSDPA customer reduced demand after its high level of demand in the preceding quarter.htttp://

Nokia Siemens Networks Debuts Multiradio Base Station

Nokia Siemens Networks introduced its Flexi Multiradio Base Station aimed at making the evolution from 2G and 3G to LTE faster, greener and more cost-effective. The new product builds on the company's Flexi Base Station platform by adding support to cover GSM/EDGE, WCDMA/HSPA and LTE - all running concurrently in a single unit.

A key feature of the Flexi Multiradio Base Station is the ability for new and existing 2G and 3G operators to use their existing infrastructure to deploy new network-wide technologies via software upgrade to 3G or LTE. The new Multiradio Flexi is also backward compatible with current Flexi Base Station, enabling capacity upgrades to existing Base Station sites. The product also fits CDMA operators who intend to migrate to WCDMA/HSPA or LTE.

Nokia Siemens Networks said the simplicity of running multiple radio technologies in a single Base Station means reduced OPEX from fewer site visits, simplified logistics, reduced maintenance and a smaller requirement for trained staff. The possibility to reuse GSM sites for WCDMA and HSPA also delivers savings from reduced rental costs and maximized reuse of existing infrastructure.

Energy efficiency is also improved in the Flexi Multiradio. An average 3 sector Base Station site running simultaneously GSM/EDGE and WCDMA/HSPA consumes as little as 790W, while pushing 60W output per sector for maximum capacity and coverage. The small and lightweight product is also rugged enough for outdoor use without shelters or air conditioning, further minimizing their environmental impact.

Flexi Multiradio Base Station features built-in IP/Ethernet connectivity for a unified transport network for the Single RAN. Operators can also benefit from using the common NetAct network management system for planning, optimizing and operating the Single RAN. For example, NetAct Optimizer enables easy and high quality refarming of WCDMA or LTE in current GSM 900 MHz frequency band.

Deployments of this new Flexi Multiradio Base Station will start from the beginning of 2010 onwards.

"Flexi Multiradio Base Station makes network evolution faster, greener and more cost-efficient than ever, and this launch makes Nokia Siemens Networks the only vendor which enables future technology evolution steps exactly with the same hardware without radio technology specific boards. Thanks to the industry's highest degree of integration, Flexi Multiradio Base Station is able to provide three technologies in one compact 3 sector Base Station of less than 75 liters", said Marc Rouanne, head of the company's Radio Access business.

Nokia Siemens Networks is also introducing a new Multicontroller platform for radio access, which will be the basis for its future radio network controller products, including GSM and WCDMA. The new product enables operators to cope with fast changes of the network, caused by huge subscriber and data traffic growth. The Nokia Siemens Networks Multicontroller is fully adaptable to various traffic mixes and is extremely scalable with growing capacity up to 35 Gbps. First deployments of Multicontroller are starting from the second half of 2010 onwards.

Corning Issues 2009 Forecast, Sees Strength in FTTH

Corning is prepared for a prolonged recession, "but well positioned in key growth markets to take advantage of opportunities when the economy turns," Wendell P. Weeks, chairman and chief executive officer, said at the company's annual investor conference in New York. The company has already taken a number of steps to lower its costs, including eliminating temporary and contract worker positions, extending manufacturing shutdowns, adopting a zero-based capital budget for 2009, cutting 3,500 full-time positions, suspending salaried merit increases, and consolidating some manufacturing operations.

However, Corning still plans to spend about $630 million on research, development, and engineering in 2009. The company cited progress with its Gorilla glass for portable display devices and its extension into the notebook computer and desk-top monitor space; advances with its Epic System and cell culture solutions; establishment of manufacturing processes for green lasers for microprojection in anticipation of 2009 sales; advances in mercury abatement for coal-fired power plants; and delivery of customer samples of thin-film photovoltaics for solar-powered energy solutions.

Corning said that although the 2008 telecom market was below expectations and the 2009 market is shaping up to be even weaker, telecom macro trends remain strong and the historic technology shift from copper to optical will continue. "Optical fiber is winning," said Clark S. Kinlin, president and chief executive officer of Corning Cable Systems. "The substitution of fiber over copper lines continues as bandwidth requirements in individual homes grow. Our ClearCurve product portfolio provides solutions for delivering high-speed bandwidth into the most challenging locations such as high-rise apartments and, soon, tight-fitting data center applications. These revolutionary technologies allow us to expand our leadership in the growing fiber to the home and enterprise network markets."

Here are some additional highlights from the telecom portion of the company's presentation:

2008 Recap --Telecom Market

  • Optical Fiber & Cable -- there was strong worldwide volume growth of 12-15%

  • Access network construction drove strong 1H

  • The Global recession impacted 2H growth rate

  • Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) saw strong growth of ~15% while DSL declined by ~25%

  • Private (Enterprise) Networks saw slight growth: ~3%

  • There was lower commercial construction offset by data center growth

For 2009, Corning is forecasting

  • The telecom market to be down 10-15% vs. 2008

  • Public Carrier Networks to be down ~10%

  • Private (Enterprise) Networks to be down by ~20%

Chunghwa Telecom Selects Ericsson for Next-generation Optical Network

Chunghwa Telecom, the incumbent operator in Taiwan, has selected Ericsson to deploy a metro aggregation network for supporting its high-capacity broadband services, such as IPTV and e-health, for both fixed and mobile access.

Specifically, CHT has chosen Ericsson's Marconi Optical Multi-Service (OMS) solution as a key component in ties network. The OMS solution plays an important role in lowering the transport costs (per bit) by aggregating and grooming traffic in the metro network, with support for both telephony (TDM: Time-Division Multiplexing) and IP (Ethernet) traffic. It also provides a key link between different parts of the network, such as the fixed and wireless backbone network and CHT's all-IP fiber network. Under the agreement Ericsson will also be responsible for professional services, including network deployment, learning services and support. Financial terms were not disclosed.

According to Chunghwa's market forecast, there will be an eighty percent coverage of 30Mbps broadband network in Taiwan by 2011.

Denmark's TDC to Test NEC's Femtocell

TDC Mobile A/S, Denmark's largest mobile operator, is preparing for a potential roll-out of the NEC Femtocell solution in late 2009. The companies are conducting a friendly user trial involving several Femtocell Access Points deployed in consumer locations and connected to TDC's commercial core network system.

TDC will offer its customers a small low-power plug-and-play consumer device (Femtocell Access Point) to enable localized 3G coverage and dedicated capacity in their home while using their broadband connection as a backhaul.

NEC said it has commercial Femtocell contracts in place and several live trials underway with operators around the world.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Verizon CFO Doreen Toben to Retire in 2009

Doreen A. Toben, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Verizon Communications, plans to retire around mid-year 2009. A successor to Toben will be named shortly. As CFO since 2002, Toben has been involved in virtually all of Verizon's strategic initiatives and significant decisions, including its investments in wireless broadband, fiber to the home and global Internet backbones. Prior to being CFO, Toben was senior vice president and chief financial officer for Verizon's Domestic Telecom group, with responsibility for finance and strategic planning.

Since the mid-1990s, Toben has played a key role in the series of mergers that created Verizon. She was vice president and controller for Bell Atlantic in July 2000, when the company merged with GTE to form Verizon. Prior to that, she was the chief financial officer of Bell Atlantic's telecom operations, and had been vice president of finance and controller when Bell Atlantic merged with NYNEX in August 1997. Toben began her career in 1983 at AT&T in treasury and served in positions of increasing responsibility in the areas of finance and strategic planning there, and subsequently at Bell Atlantic.

Avanex Posts Q4 Revenue of $38 Million, down 16% Sequentially

Avanex reported net revenue of $38.0 million for its second quarter of fiscal 2009 (ending 31-Dec-08) , a decrease of 16.1 percent from $45.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2009, and a decrease of 26.9 percent from $52.0 million in the same period last year. Gross margin in the second quarter of fiscal 2009 was 15.4%, a decrease from 17.2% in the first quarter of fiscal 2009, and a decrease from 31.0% in the same period last year. Net loss in the second quarter of fiscal 2009 was $16.8 million, or ($1.08) per diluted share, compared with net loss of $9.6 million, or ($0.63) per diluted share in the first quarter of fiscal 2009.

"While the company is continuing to face challenges in light of the current macro-economic environment, we are taking action by reducing our workforce by 5% and scaling back on other discretionary expenses. We believe that the proposed merger with Bookham, Inc. announced last week, will improve our market position," said Giovanni Barbarossa, CEO and President of Avanex.

Ixia Reports Q4 Revenue of $41 Million

Ixia reported Q4 2008 revenue of $41.0 million compared to $46.4 million in the 2007 fourth quarter. For the 2008 full year, total revenues increased to $175.9 million from $174.1 million in 2007. Ixia recorded a net loss (GAAP) for the 2008 fourth quarter of $18.3 million, or $0.29 per share, compared to net income of $4.4 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the 2007 fourth quarter. The company's 2008 fourth quarter net loss includes an impairment charge of $15.8 million for the write down of auction rate securities. The company's 2008 fourth quarter operating expenses include $2.1 million of non-recurring charges, consisting primarily of costs associated with certain strategic initiatives and severance-related charges.

"Although our 2008 fourth quarter and full year results were adversely impacted by the global economic slowdown and write downs of impaired investments, we continued to generate positive cash flow from our operations," commented Atul Bhatnagar, Ixia's president and chief executive officer. "While we expect 2009 to be a challenging year, we are committed to delivering innovative and quality products to the market place and supporting our customers. We believe that we have a competitive advantage in the market, and that this advantage will help drive business when the economy recovers. Also, we recently announced an agreement with a new partner who will assist us with our manufacturing and supply chain management. By leveraging their operational expertise and purchasing power, we expect to realize financial benefits commencing in the second half of the year."

Tata Communications Tests GSMA IP eXchange with TELUS and Telekom Austria

Tata Communications has completed trials of its wireless IP interconnection technology, part of the international GSM Association's program to develop the next generation of wireless services. The Tata Communications trial verified its IP eXchange framework can interconnect wireless networks over IP, which is more efficient and flexible than the traditional Time-Division Multiplexing technology.

Tata Communications' trials were part of the GSMA's IP eXchange (IPX) Pre-Commercial Implementation Project, which is verifying the design and operation of IPX networks through a series of trials designed to validate technical and commercial specifications. Once adopted, IPX will act as a private global IP backbone, open to any telecommunications company adhering to the required standards. IPX will provide fixed and mobile service providers with a technical and commercial platform for the performance-based exchange of IP-based services.

In the trial, Tata Communications partnered with Canadian telecommunications company, TELUS and Telekom Austria to successfully interconnect voice services using different signaling and transmission standards. The trial demonstrated the flexibility of Tata Communications' newly-deployed NGN network by bridging voice over IP services using several very different standards. The trial demonstrates that Tata Communications, with its unique global footprint and service capabilities, can commercialize IPX Voice Services.

EXFO Offers Packet-OTN Test Suite

EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering has added an Ethernet-over-OTN (EoOTN) and an advanced OTN analysis test suite to its FTB-81xx Transport Blazer and Power Blazer lines of test modules.

The FTB-8130NG Transport Blazer and the FTB-8130NGE Power Blazer modules provide the ability to test Ethernet-over-OTN (EoOTN) through the generation and mapping of 10 GigE LAN traffic directly into OTU1e and OTU2e payloads, allowing network operators to efficiently test next-generation carrier Ethernet core transport networks. In addition, the FTB-8120/8120NG/8120NGE and FTB-8130/8130NG/8130NGE modules, as well as the FTB-8140 module now also support the ability to analyze and manipulate OTN overhead bytes and to intrusively test OTN signals in through mode up to 43 Gbps.

Motorola PKI Center Selected as Root Certificate Vendor for WiMAX Forum

Motorola's public key infrastructure (PKI) Center of Excellence in San Diego has been selected by the WiMAX Forum(R) to be a root certificate authority for WiMAX devices worldwide. Devices that will connect to a WiMAX network - such as cell phones, laptop computers and portable media players - are generally required to have a device certificate in order for that device to be authenticated and then become functional on that network.

Motorola's PKI Center has produced more than 650 million certificates since inception. 180 million certificates were issued in 2008 alone to authenticate and secure services to devices of all types including cell phones, cable and satellite set top boxes, cable modems, portable media players, two-way radios, and more.

Carbonite Expands to New Data Center in Boston

Carbonite, which offers online backup services for consumers and small businesses, opened a new data center in a collocation facility operated by Internap Network Services Corporation. As the anchor tenant of Internap's newest Boston-area data center, Carbonite's storage capacity will more than triple. The new facility is located in Somerville.

Carbonite said its revenue and customer base both tripled last year. Since its inception in 2006, Carbonite has backed up more than 25 billion files and restored more than 2 billion files.

Broadcom's Wireless Chips Support Android Mobile Platform

The software that controls Broadcom's Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM combination silicon is a standard component of the latest Android operating system. Broadcom said this is the first time that the Android platform includes native support for a multi-functional wireless connectivity solution (or "combo" chip). Open access to portions of Broadcom's combo drivers provides Android developers with a head-start in designing mobile devices and applications that utilize the best in wireless connectivity solutions.

The current generation of Android-based handsets features both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but uses discrete components.

"Two of the most exciting trends in the handset industry are the growing popularity of Android and the transition to combo chips for connectivity," said Chris Bergey, Director of Broadcom's Embedded WLAN line of business. "As a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, we are committed to advancing the Android platform by contributing our software and facilitating greater access to our combination chips in the open source community. We expect a plethora of products and applications to evolve from the connected Android platform in the not-so-distant future."

JDSU Transfers its Shenzhen Manufacturing to Sanmina-SCI

Sanmina-SCI, a leading electronics manufacturing services (EMS) provider, will acquire certain manufacturing assets, inventories, and employees related to JDSU's operations in Shenzhen, China. As part of the agreement, Sanmina-SCI will build on JDSU's Shenzhen operations to offer New Product Introduction (NPI) and manufacturing services for advanced optical products. Sanmina-SCI intends to produce and deliver orders without any interruption to JDSU and its customers. JDSU will continue to maintain corporate functions and product development in the region. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"The new partnership represents an important part of JDSU's manufacturing strategy to leverage the skills of world-class EMS partners like Sanmina-SCI for products and services where possible, while retaining key elements internally that provide a unique advantage to JDSU," said Alan Lowe, president of the Communications and Commercial Optical Products business segment at JDSU. "

UPnP Specifications Gain ISO Validation

UPnP technology has attained worldwide recognition by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). In December 2008, ISO and IEC published an international standard version of the UPnP Device Architecture and Device Protocols.

The UPnP Forum said this validation as the world's first international standard for device interoperability on IP networks solidifies UPnP architecture's position as the leading technology for discovery and control of networked devices.

Building on this momentum, UPnP Forum also announced the release of UPnP Device Architecture Version 1.1 (UDA 1.1), a significant enhancement of the architectural elements used to define protocols for communication between controllers or control points, and devices. UDA 1.1, a fully backward-compatible update to UDA 1.0, adds a number of extensions, including:

  • Support for the full range of XML Schema data types to provide more protocol design options

  • Multicast event notifications to reduce network traffic

  • Improved robustness of device discovery on wireless networks

  • Improved performance and scalability on large networks

  • Compliance with RFC 3927 (the IETF standard for automatic IP address assignment), SOAP 1.1 and the WS-I Basic Profile to increase alignment with Web services technologies

  • IPv6 support directly into the UPnP Device Architecture and clarifies operation of devices that support multiple IP addresses including both IPv4 and IPv6

  • Many clarifications and explanations to assist implementers

UPnP Forum has also completed several new specifications including updates to its Audio Video (AV) and Quality of Service (QoS) device control protocols and services. The latest QoS service descriptions (QoS:3) feature parameterized QoS for the first time. The QosDevice is responsible for providing the appropriate network resources to traffic streams and information about the state of the device as requested by the QosManager.

Qwest Offer Personal Digital Vault Back-up Service

Qwest has begun offering an online back-up service for its High-Speed Internet customers.

Qwest Personal Digital Vault offers encrypted, offsite protection. All new and existing Qwest High-Speed Internet customers are provided 2GB of free online vault space. Customers can sign up for 50GB of vault space for $6.99 per month or unlimited vault space for $9.99 per month. Customers who purchase a 12-month term for 50GB or unlimited vault space save more than 15 percent on the monthly rates.