Thursday, March 26, 2009

NYT: Vast Spy Network Unveiled

A vast international spy ring with servers based in China has used various forms of malware to penetrate the networks of hundreds of organizations across the world, according to The New York Times. The article is based on research conducted by the Munk Center for International Studies at the University of Toronto.

Huawei Supplies 21 Mbps HSPA+ Network for StarHub in Singapore

StarHub has launched an HSPA+ network in Singapore using equipment supplied by Huawei Technologies. The network offer mobile broadband speeds of up to 21 Mbps.

"The launch of the first HSPA+ network in Asia-Pacific represents a major milestone for the mobile broadband industry," said Mr Wan Biao, President of Huawei' s Wireless Product Line. "Huawei is delighted to have played a vital role in this endeavor. By leveraging our leading technology and abundant network deployment experience worldwide, Huawei will continuously drive the development of the mobile broadband industry forward and bring sustainable business success to our clients."
  • In May 2008, StarHub appointed Huawei to expand and upgrade its nationwide 3.5G mobile broadband network to HSPA+. The HSPA+ service launch is part of StarHub' s overall strategy to provide an unparalleled mobile broadband experience that can deliver better surfing experience, higher resolution on streamed mobile content, improved interactivity and other next-generation wireless applications with high bandwidth requirements.

Fractal Antenna Systems Announces Metamaterial Breakthrough

Fractal Antenna Systems, an antenna and electronics firm based in Waltham, Mass. announced a breakthrough in its development of wideband, high fidelity performance metamaterials. Metamaterials are man-made structures that are built from patterns of electronic resonators. The behavior of metamaterials can be used to make light bend in the ‘wrong' direction; enabling unusual lenses and invisibility cloaks.

Fractal Antenna Systems said it solved a key problem limiting the practicality of metamaterials -- how to make them work at a large range of wavelengths. Previous efforts by others had not succeeded, and had only shown practical use at narrow bands, or single colours.

The company has demonstrated the world's first wideband see-through ‘invisibility cloak'. The invisibility cloak causes microwaves to bend around an object to the other side and have close to same intensity, as if there was no object at all.

NeoPhotonics Expands Portfolio of GPON Transceivers

NeoPhotonics introduced a new line of "pluggable" GPON OLT transceivers, compliant with the ITU-T G.984.5 Class B+ and C+ networking standards. These new pluggable OLT transceivers enhance NeoPhotonics' existing line of GPON modules for optical line terminals (OLT) and Optical Networking Units (ONU), which are deployed in Central Offices (CO) and at Customer Premises (CPE), respectively. Furthermore, the new transceivers cover both Class B+ and C+ link budgets, feature Receive Signal Strength Indicators (RSSI) and advanced monitoring capabilities and meet Commercial (C-Temp) and Industrial Temperature (I-Temp) grade specifications. Advanced monitoring features allow early fault location and reduce down time in system operation.

Vitesse Forms Next-Generation FTTx Ecosystem

Vitesse Semiconductor is forming an FTTx Ecosystem of industry partners with the goal of advancing the development of next-generation, end-to-end, passive optical networking (PON) systems at 10 Gbps and 40 Gbps rates. This collective effort will focus on standards compliance, backward compatibility, and a smooth upgrade path from existing PON networks. The initial participants of the FTTx Ecosystem include Vitesse, Teknovus, Emcore, and Anritsu. Each company offers specific PON expertise and is well underway with their contribution to making next-generation wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) and high-speed PON-based networks a reality.

Charter Enters Pre-Arranged Chapter 11, Seeks to Eliminate $8 Billion in Debt

Charter Communications, the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States, entered into a pre-arranged Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring that is expected to reduce the company's debt by approximately $8 billion.

As announced on February 12, 2009, the company reached agreements-in-principle with members of a committee of certain of the company's debt holders (collectively, the "Bondholder Committee"). These agreements-in-principle contemplate the investment by members of the Bondholder Committee of more than $3 billion, including up to $2 billion in equity proceeds, $1.2 billion in roll-over debt and $267 million in new debt to support the overall refinancing.

Charter expects the proposed restructuring to position the company to generate positive free cash flow through significant interest expense reductions. The Company has been working closely with the Bondholder Committee to finalize a pre-arranged plan of reorganization and related documents and agreements based upon the agreements-in-principle (the "Pre-Arranged Plan").

Charter said it expects that cash on hand and cash from operating activities will be adequate to fund its projected cash needs as it proceeds with its financial restructuring and therefore does not intend to seek debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing.

Samsung Selects Spreadtrum as New Chipset Supplier

Samsung has selected Spreadtrum Communications as a new chipset supplier. Spreadtrum's QS520 GSM/GPRS and QS1001 EDGE transceivers have been designed into Samsung's mobile phone models that are to be shipped internationally. Volume shipments to Samsung are underway.

NSN Cites Progress in Reducing CO2

Nokia Siemens Networks said it is on track to achieving its targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The company presented its achievements at last week's WWF Climate Savers Summit in Washington DC. The company calculates that 17% of its corporate energy requirements in 2008 were drawn from renewable sources. In addition, NSN recently launched the most energy efficient base station, the Flexi Multiradio, which in certain operation modes can help operators reduce energy consumption in their networks by up to 40 percent. The Flexi Multiradio Base Station consumes only 790W of power while simultaneously running GSM/EDGE and WCDMA/HSPA.

WWF and Nokia Siemens Networks have jointly developed a climate action plan that includes measurable emission reduction targets and steps to meet its goals. The agreement involves negotiations between the WWF, Nokia Siemens Networks and independent technical experts who monitor and verify compliance with the agreement.

Nokia Siemens Networks' Climate Savers commitment is to:

  • Improve the energy efficiency of their GSM/EDGE and WCDMA/HSPA base station products by up to 40 percent by 2012.

  • Decrease the energy consumption of its buildings by 6 percent by 2012
  • .

  • Increase the use of renewable energy in company operations to 50 percent by the end of 2010.

The baseline for each of these commitments is 2007, and on completion, Nokia Siemens Networks' initiatives will decrease the company's CO2 footprint by approximately 2 million tons annually, compared to 2007.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One Minute Video: Reinventing Customer Care

One Minute Video presented by Dave Ginsburg, Innopath Software.

Clearwire, Comcast, Huawei and ITRI join WiMAX Forum Board

The WiMAX Forum

has added four new members to its Board of Directors: Ali Tabassi, senior vice president of global ecosystem and standards for Clearwire Corporation, Dave Williams, senior vice president of wireless technology at Comcast Cable, Thomas Lee, vice director of industry standards department for Huawei Technologies, and Bao-Shuh Paul Lin, vice president and general director of the Information and Communications Research Laboratories at Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).

Other members of the WiMAX Forum Board include: Airspan Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Aperto Networks, British Telecom, Fujitsu, Intel Corporation, KDDI, KT, Motorola, Nokia Siemens Networks, Samsung, Sprint, and ZTE.

TriQuint Releases Surface-Mount Amplifier for 40 Gbps

TriQuint Semiconductor introduced a surface-mount technology (SMT) device for 40 Gbps. TriQuint's new device combines multiple amplifiers and filters within a surface mount package, providing designers easier assembly for 40 Gbps optical networks. Optimized to work with major manufacturers' optical modulators, TriQuint said its new driver amplifier provides convenience and performance advantages including high output drive capability, superior edge rates and excellent signal-to-noise ratio for a cleaner signal.

TriQuint also released a smaller driver amplifier with improved performance for the 10 Gbps optical communications market.

Harmonic Supplies Video Compression for New AT&T "CruiseCast"

RaySat Broadcasting Corporation has contracted with Harmonic to provide video compression and stream processing solutions for the new AT&T CruiseCast mobile TV service.

AT&T CruiseCast plans to deliver 42 channels of family satellite TV and radio programming to vehicles in the U.S. The service will be aimed at vehicle "rear seat entertainment systems."

Harmonic's DiviCom Electra 5400 standard definition (SD) MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) encoders, ProStream 1000 stream processing platform and NMX Digital Service Manager were deployed as part of the solution. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The technology used for the AT&T CruiseCast service will overcomes line-of-sight obstacles such as overpasses, buildings, trees or tunnels to deliver television programming to cars, non-commercial trucks and SUVs. RBC, a privately held U.S. company, is working with AT&T Business Development to introduce the new product to the marketplace.

WildBlue to Lease More Ka-band Capacity From EchoStar

WildBlue and EchoStar Satellite Services completed an agreement under which WildBlue will lease additional Ka-band capacity from EchoStar. This additional capacity comes from EchoStar's currently leased in-space satellites.

WildBlue anticipates additional capacity will become available in the second half of 2009, delivering the same speeds and quality of service enjoyed by current WildBlue customers.

Telefónica Selects Level 3 for North American Network

Telefónica International Wholesale Services

has selected Level 3 Communications to establish a dedicated wavelength network across North America. The 10-year deal represents the largest single capacity commitment in Level 3 history. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the contract, Level 3 will transport voice, data and Internet traffic for over 250 million Telefónica customers from Europe and Latin America. The dedicated wavelength network includes triverse routes - with three alternative fiber paths - between high-traffic locations and route diversity across the remainder of the network. Level 3 has dedicated bandwidth along each route for Telefonica to expand with future demand growth.

Telefónica International Wholesale Services is the organization within the Telefonica Group which provides global telecommunication services for fixed and mobile carriers, ISPs and content providers. Its portfolio, includes International Voice, Capacity, IP Interconnection, Satellite, Corporate and Mobility services, offering direct connectivity between Latin America, US and Europe.

Visible Measures Raises $10 Million for Internet Video Analysis

Visible Measures, a start-up based in Boston, raised $10 million in Series C funding for its independent third-party measurement service for Internet video publishers, advertisers, and viral marketers.

Visible Measures provides its customers and partners with visibility into their online video audiences and how they engage with both content assets and advertising placements.

The funding round was led by new investor Northgate Capital with participation from existing investors General Catalyst Partners and MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures. Visible Measures has raised over $29 million in total financing to date.

Motorola Delivers HD Satellite Transcoder Increasing Output 50%

Motorola announced the DSR-6300 -- the industry's first commercial receiver/decoder (IRD) to deliver three-channel MPEG-4 to MPEG-2 HD transcoding -- enabling cable operators to increase HD throughput by up to 50 percent while offering satellite operators greater flexibility in packaging HD services to their affiliates.

The DSR-6300 features Motorola's closed-loop statistical multiplexing, which dynamically allocates the optimal bandwidth to each program using Motorola patented video complexity analysis. This process provides appropriate and timely bit rate adjustments to services as video becomes more or less difficult to encode. As a result, up to three HD services can be efficiently delivered to the home in QAM-friendly transport bit rates, significantly increasing the number of services that can be delivered over a standard cable 256-QAM feed.

The DSR-6300 simultaneously uses the in-band active format descriptor (AFD) to translate input HD services to an appropriate standard definition (SD) service with proper aspect ratio and resolution. This will allow programmers to migrate to HD-only distribution strategies, further freeing up valuable satellite bandwidth for delivering even more HD services.

Verizon Launches Fiber Backhaul for Other Wireless Carriers

Verizon has begun offering backhaul services to other mobile carriers using its extensive fiber-optic network to connect cellular towers and mobile switching offices. Thousands of Verizon Wireless' cell sites and mobile switching offices across the country are among the first being networked using Ethernet-based fiber-optic technology, under a contract negotiated with Verizon Partner Solutions, the company's U.S. wholesale division. The Verizon fiber links are available to other wireless carriers as well.

Verizon's fiber backhaul solutions include a Switched Ethernet Service; an all-Ethernet option; and an Ethernet over SONET choice, where the data are sent using SONET, and that provides dual routing of traffic through separate facilities and near-instant recovery should one of the links go down. In each case, data from the cell site is converted immediately to packetized data for transport to mobile telephone switching offices for distribution over appropriate networks.

Verizon said its fiber-backhaul availability leverages both the company's transition in recent years from copper to fiber in its transport facilities as well as its aggressive fiber-to-the-home deployment that is delivering FiOS Internet and FiOS TV services in parts of 16 states, and that puts fiber within reach of approximately 85 percent of various carriers' existing cell sites.

"In an increasingly wireless-dependent society, cellular carriers like Verizon Wireless are engineering their networks to meet both the exploding voice and data traffic demands of today and the capacity requirements that next-generation wireless technologies like LTE and WiMax will place on their facilities," said Quintin Lew, senior vice president of marketing for Verizon Partner Solutions.

"We have the right technology in the right place at the time," Lew said. "Wireless carriers will find value in switching from traditional backhaul links to the higher-value connections we can give them with Ethernet and SONET services on fiber."

Verizon Partner Solutions is solely focused on providing solutions to U.S.-based wholesale customers including wireless carriers, long-distance and local service providers and Internet service providers. VPS has a program-management team focused specifically on fiber-to-the-cell-site implementation and support of wireless carriers interested in taking advantage of fiber backhaul.

AT&T to Add or Upgrade 520 Cell Sites in California in '09

AT&T plans to add more than 200 new cell sites throughout California in 2009 while upgrading nearly 320 more cell sites to 3G. The announcement builds on AT&T's 2008 wireless investment in which it added 157 new cell sites in California and upgraded 1,031 existing sites to 3G. From 2006 to 2008, AT&T's total capital investment in its California network was nearly $7.9 billion.

"Our number one priority in 2009 is to continue to enhance the wireless network so our customers have a top notch experience every time they make a call, check an e-mail or surf the Internet on their AT&T device," said Fred Devereux, regional president, AT&T West.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

India's Bharti Airtel and MTN Negotiate Possible Combination

Bharti Airtel and MTN Group Limited confirmed that they are discussing a possible combination that would create a leading telecommunications service provider group aligning Bharti's market leading Indian business with MTN's market leading African and Middle Eastern operations. A full merger of MTN and Bharti would create a leading emerging market telecom operator with current combined revenues of over USD 20 billion and a combined customer base of over 200 million.

In a press statement, the companies said they are exploring a potential transaction whereby Bharti would acquire a 49% shareholding in MTN and, in turn, MTN and its shareholders would acquire an approximate 36% economic interest in Bharti, of which 25% would be held by MTN with the remainder held directly by MTN shareholders. Bharti and MTN have agreed to discuss the potential transaction exclusively with one another until July 31, 2009.

"We are delighted at the prospect of developing a partnership with MTN to create an emerging market telecom powerhouse. Both companies would stand to gain significant benefits from sharing each other's best practices in addition to savings emanating from enhanced scale. We see real power in the combination and we will work hard to unleash it for all our shareholders. This opportunity also represents a first of its kind in developing an Indian-African initiative that would serve as a shining example of South-South cooperation," stated Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti.

InnoPath Adds LTE Support to ActiveCare Mobile Device Management

InnoPath Software has added support for LTE to its ActiveCare over-the-air mobile device management platform, which already supported CDMA, GSM and WiMAX networks. The platform is used by mobile network operators and handset makers to provide over-the-air support for their customers, reducing call time and driving call avoidance. Key elements of the company's LTE support include:

  • Activation -- the ability to effectively detect, provision and customize devices over an IP-centric LTE network. It supports extensibility customized for a specific operator deployment, such as gathering the current SIP or IP address for client-server interaction.

  • Device Support -- both LTE-only devices as well as ‘dual-mode' devices used in phased operator deployments. InnoPath only requires an OMA-DM client on the device which can be either pre-loaded or post-loaded into the mobile device. InnoPath ActiveCare is compatible with both planned FDD and TDD LTE (TD-LTE) deployments.

  • Standards Evolution -- InnoPath is helping to drive the completion of DM 1.3 within OMA-DM. DM 1.3 provides for provisioning and management of native IP devices over-the-air by supporting non-SMS based bootstrap. Looking to the future, InnoPath is helping drive the definition of DM 2.0.

  • Care -- the ActiveCare capability set and Smart Client are deployable within LTE with a goal of reducing client -- server network bandwidth, average call time and increase customer satisfaction.