Sunday, April 5, 2009

LSI To Purchase AMCC 3ware RAID Adapter Business

LSI Corporation has agreed to acquire the assets and certain associated intellectual property of the 3ware RAID adapter business of Applied Micro Circuits Corporation (AMCC) for approximately $20 million in cash. 3ware products include SAS and SATA RAID adapters designed to offer cost-effective, high-performance, high-capacity storage solutions for a broad range of applications. 3ware adapters are sold to end users through a worldwide network of channel partners including leading storage distributors and system builders.

Tata Teams with Dimension Data on Cisco TelePresence Services

Tata Communications and Dimension Data, the $4.5-billion specialist IT services and solutions provider, have signed an agreement to support the Cisco Systems Telepresence suite of products on a worldwide basis.

Dimension Data is one of a few Cisco partners with TelePresence Global Authorized Technology Provider (ATP) status, giving it the skills to sell, design, install, and support Cisco Telepresence in 47 countries. In addition, Dimension Data will be using the Tata Communications global WAN to connect its own internal TelePresence endpoints.

Level 3 Announces $220 Million Tranche B Term Loan

Level 3 Communications' Financing division announced commitments from lenders to increase the borrowings under its existing $1.4 billion senior secured credit facility through the creation of a $220 million Tranche B Term Loan.

Level 3 Financing will amend and restate its existing senior secured credit facility to include a new $220 million Tranche B Term Loan, which will mature along with the original $1.4 billion term loan on March 13, 2014. Interest on the Tranche B Term Loan will be equal to LIBOR plus 850 bps with LIBOR set at a minimum of 3.00 percent. No changes will be made to any of the restrictive covenants contained in the existing senior secured credit facility.

The expected net proceeds of approximately $214 million will be used for general corporate purposes.

Seagate Develops Next-Gen Hard Drives for Digital Video Surveillance

Seagate introduced its SV35.5 Series hard drives for digital video surveillance systems. The Seagate SV35.5 hard drive is built for 24x7 use and offers reliability, performance, capacity, acoustics and power consumption features for the growing video surveillance market.

Notably, the hard drive is performance-tuned for 140 MB/s sustained sequential data rates and ATA-7 streaming commands for high-speed transfers, enhanced caching capabilities and built-in error recovery for non-stop streaming, thermal monitoring and reporting, unique user-selectable partitioning, low spin-up power, and best-in-class acoustics for extremely quiet operation. Capacities range from 250GB to 1TB.

Sprint Launches Two New Marketing Campaigns

In two new advertising campaigns, Sprint asks wireless users timely questions and provides the answers. "For the Now Network" campaign they ask, how many people are updating their status on a social networking site during a business meeting from their mobile phone? How many people are responding to an e-mail on their mobile phone? Or how many accidentally hit 'reply all?" And for the value-focused campaign, Sprint wants to know, how will people react when a wheelbarrow full of quarters is shoveled into a fountain? Or a bag of dollar bills is dropped into a garbage can? Why would anyone throw away their money?

Vitesse's Gigabit PHY Extends Battery Life for Ethernet Modems

Vitesse Semiconductor unveiled a new small form factor version of its SimpliPHY VSC8641, an IEEE 802.3 compliant Gigabit Ethernet PHY transceiver. The new device is aimed at space conscious consumer electronic designs. It features built-in advanced energy management, cable diagnostic and self-correction features, enabling designers to more efficiently tackle next-generation network deployment in power-sensitive applications such as cable modems and PON optical network terminals containing batteries for E911 compliance during power outages.

Among its features, the VSC8641 includes "EcoEthernet" features to reduce overall network energy use. The first is ActiPHY, an automatic power savings mode that can detect unused Ethernet ports on network devices and power them down or place them in stand-by mode. This can result in up to a 75% savings in energy compared to a Gigabit PHY operating at full 1000BASE-T data rate. The second is PerfectReach, an intelligent algorithm that actively adjusts the power level needed based on cable length. Combining these features into customer premise equipment, an OEM can benefit by upgrading to Gigabit Ethernet speeds, yet minimize impact on overall power consumption during times when batteries are employed to ensure E911 compliance is met.

Orange Business Services Upgrades AsiaPac Network

Orange Business Services announced a series of enhancement to its next-generation converged IP network in Asia Pacific. Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, key APAC backbone countries for Orange, are being transformed to a 2.5 Gbps 'ring" while India and Australia are connected by multiple 622 Mbps links. Trans-Pacific and Asia-Europe links have also been upgraded to Gbps levels. Domestic networks in key countries, including India, will reach Gbps level in 2009. All these capacities are dedicated to multinational customers' intranet traffic and decoupled from the public Internet.

Orange Business Services' network integrates Multicast, IPv6 and Telepresence support. In particular, the Orange network is capable of handling in-the-cloud application acceleration and security as well as converged voice, video and telepresence services.

Orange Business Services' APAC network includes 60 next-generation routers to support the company's new service enhancements, such as:

  • high bandwidth International Ethernet Link available in seven countries, including: Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea;

  • Network Boost for application prioritization, management and SLA to ensure required quality for critical applications;

  • IP VPN for Telepresence to meet enterprise needs to reduce travel costs and enable remote meetings; and

  • Network Protect which provides embedded security needed by branch offices to deal with new threats and provide 24/7 managed security.

Orange Business Services is present in 40 countries in Asia Pacific. Ten diverse cable paths link APAC to the rest of the world with paths optimized for fast response time, including:

  • Asia-Europe direct path via Russia;

  • India-Middle East direct path;

  • Asia-South Africa direct path;

  • South Korea-Hong Kong direct path; and

  • Taiwan-Japan direct path.

In Asia Pacific, Orange Business Services currently provides extensive coverage with IP VPN access through 87 PoP's in 57 cities spanning 22 countries. In addition, Orange provides network services specific for the air-transport industry in 17 countries.

Specifically, India is a core hub in the Orange APAC backbone, offering IP VPN coverage in eight cities. New National Long Distance/International Long Distance licenses enable converged domestic and international services. Together with Global Services India, Orange Business Services provides customized network and infrastructure care.

In China, Orange Business Services is a market leader with more than 1,500 customer connections and best-in-class dual partnerships with China Netcom and China Telecom. The company offers IP VPN access in 200 cities as well as high speed Ethernet in 80 of them.

In ASEAN, Orange Business Services has enhanced its presence in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia deploying more than 1,000 IP VPN ports. It is the first global operator in Vietnam to provide MPLS and will provide local PE and Ethernet access in Indonesia later this year.

BridgeWave Supplies Gigabit Radios for NJ Hospital

New Jersey-based Holy Name Hospital deployed multiple gigabit wireless links from BridgeWave Communications to extend connectivity to campus buildings. The wireless links deliver uninterrupted gigabit connectivity, even during inclement weather.

For this deployment, Holy Name Hospital needed to bring two essential buildings onto the Hospital's LAN, and had previously deployed different low frequency unlicensed wireless technologies. The 2.4 GHz links and subsequently, 5.8 GHz links, provided connectivity, however over time, the reliability of the links deteriorated due to other unlicensed applications being utilized. The IT team was constantly forced to attend to their 2.4 GHz radios and subsequently 5.8 GHz radios, as both frequencies failed to offer the reliability needed for critical hospital network services. To address this, the hospital selected BridgeWave's 80 GHz products. Given that these links operated in the licensed frequency spectrum was a plus, as this would alleviate concerns with interference issues experienced with the unlicensed products. What is more, the product's narrow beam widths at 80 GHz provide highly secure transmissions, providing HIPAA compliance required for healthcare networks.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Labor Contracts at AT&T with Expire with its Major Union

Contracts covering nearly 100,000 AT&T workers represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) expired at midnight on April 5, 2009.

No agreement has been announced by the parties and the CWA noted that many important issues -- including employment security and health care -- have not been resolved.

For now, the CWA is calling for employees to continue to report to work, although it is the option to strike open. CWA members at AT&T operations voted by an 88 percent yes vote to authorize a strike if a fair contract isn't reached. For workers, the terms of the contracts will remain in effect, meaning that wages, working conditions and benefits like health care will continue unchanged, with the exception of arbitration for grievances.

Exar Completes Hifn Acquisition

Exar closed the previously announced acquisition of hi/fn. Al Sisto, the former chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors of Hifn, has joined Exar's board of directors. It is expected that Hifn's personnel and operations will be relocated during the second calendar quarter of 2009.

Hifn (NASDAQ: HIFN), which is based in Los Gatos, California, supplies a line of Applied Services Processors (ASPs) to network OEMs. Exar (Nasdaq: EXAR), which is based in Milpitas, California, said the acquisition brings valuable intellectual property related to Ethernet, embedded processors, network security, compression, deduplication, RAID, packet processing architecture and SoC design methodology.

Frontier Prices Offering of $600 Million of Its Senior Notes

Frontier Communications, a full-service communications provider and one of the largest local exchange telephone companies in the U.S., priced a registered offering of $600 million aggregate principal amount of 8.25% senior unsecured notes due 2014. The issue price is 91.805% of the principal amount of the notes. Frontier will receive net proceeds of approximately $538 million from the offering after deducting underwriting discounts and estimated offering expenses. Frontier intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to reduce, repurchase or refinance Frontier's indebtedness or the indebtedness of its subsidiaries or for general corporate purposes. The offering is expected to close on April 9, 2009.

JDSU Appoints Dave Holly to Head Test and Measurement Business

Dave Holly has been appointed president of JDSU's Communications Test & Measurement business segment, succeeding Tom Waechter, who was named JDSU president and Chief Executive Officer earlier this year. Holly has been serving as interim leader of the test and measurement business since January 1, 2009 and will be responsible for global sales, product development and operations. He will report directly to Waechter.

Prior to JDSU he had managerial sales responsibilities at NYNEX (now part of Verizon) and began his career in engineering at IBM.

CableLabs Offers Tru2way Reference Platform

CableLabs plans to release a source code reference implementation of its tru2way specifications that will accelerate the development and deployment of tru2way devices and applications.

The "tru2way" brand, which replaced the term "OpenCable Platform," enables consumers to access two-way digital cable programming without the need for a cable operator-supplied set-top box and is capable of supporting all cable services now delivered to devices currently leased to consumers as well as future services written to the tru2way technology. Major cable operators have committed to deploy support for the tru2way platform.

With the support of its member cable operators, CableLabs plans to publicly launch the reference implementation later this year under both a free open source license and a commercial license. CableLabs will make the reference implementation available for use on a PC, making it easier for device manufacturers and application developers to design and test new features and services on the tru2way platform without having to connect to a cable plant.

As new features are added to the tru2way platform and approved for inclusion in the specification, CableLabs also will issue an updated version of the reference implementation and a new compliance test plan. This will allow device manufacturers and application providers to easily and cost effectively incorporate these new features into their products and services.

In cooperation with Sun Microsystems, the reference implementation will be hosted, developed and evolved in an open source community within the OpenCable Project located on Sun's Because the tru2way specifications are based on the Sun PhoneME Java stack, the same Java core that powers Blu-ray and the DVB Multimedia Home Platform, the release of the reference implementation could enable exciting device convergence possibilities. CableLabs will continue to support tru2way device manufacturers and developers in ongoing events such as developer conferences and interops as well as access to a development lab.

IBM + Sun Deal Called Off

The expected acquisition of Sun MicroSystems by IBM was called off after Sun's Board of Directors rejected the latest offer and IBM dropped its bid.

U.S. EPA Conducts National Cell Phone Recycling Week

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) is conducting a National Cell Phone Recycling Week, which runs April 6-12. The project brings together leading cell phone manufacturers and service providers to encourage consumers to recycle used cell phones, Personal Data Assistants (PDAs), cell phone batteries, chargers and other accessories -- and to reduce the amount of reusable materials in landfills, especially e-waste.

According to the EPA, more than 100 million cell phones are discarded annually; and, in 2007, only 10 percent were recycled.

Singapore Selects StarHub as Operator for Next Gen Broadband Network

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has selected StarHub to serve as the Operating Company (OpCo) under the Next Generation National Broadband Network. Four proposals were considered: Intellinet (Axia + Cisco), Kliq (M1), 1NNOV8 (Singtel) and Nucleus Connect (StarHub). Last year, the OpenNet consortium backed by SingTel was selected to serve as the Network Company (NetCo) of the Next Gen National Broadband Network.

Under the NBN structure established by the government, the NetCo (OpenNet) is responsible for deploying fiber while the OpCo (StarHub) is responsible for delivering wholesale services to Retail Service Providers (RSPs). A strict structural separation will be maintained.

Under its proposal, StarHub will establish the Next Gen NBN OpCo, called Nucleus Connect, to design, build and operate the active infrastructure. The Government of Singapore will provide a grant of up to $250 million to Nucleus Connect to support its deployment of this infrastructure. Together with the grant of up to $750 million for the Next Gen NBN Network Company1, OpenNet, the Government is investing up to a total of $1 billion to put in place the Next Gen NBN.

Nucleus Connect will, for example, offer a wholesale price of $21 per month for a 100 Mbps residential end-user connection and $121 for a 1Gbps connection. For non-residential premises, such as offices and schools, Nucleus Connect will offer a wholesale price of $75 per month for a 100 Mbps connection. Enterprise users who have more demanding requirements can opt for a 1Gbps connection at $860 per month.

Nucleus Connect will work together with OpenNet, on a coordinated nationwide rollout of the network. It is expected to start offering commercial services by the first half of 2010, and be ready to fulfill its Universal Service Obligations of meeting all reasonable requests for service from 2013.

Nucleus Connect'sservices made available soon after OpenNethas declared coverage of a building. A Universal Service Obligation (USO) shall prevail from 1 Jan 2013.

The Next Gen NBN NetCo and OpCo RFPs were structured to ensure that downstream operators have Effective Open Access to the Next Gen NBN. This is to spur a vibrant and competitive Next Generation broadband market where businesses and consumers can enjoy innovative services from a variety of RSPs. Effective Open Access through structural separation for the Next Gen NBN NetCo and operational separation for the Next Gen NBN OpCo is key to achieving such a vision. Nucleus Connect will be operationally separated from all RSPs. It will also be a separate legal entity from StarHub, with a different corporate brand, separate premises and an independent board of directors. With such an industry structure, RSPs can obtain wholesale bandwidth services from Nucleus Connect on a fair and non-discriminatory basis, and offer a wide range of services at competitive prices to end-users.

Ms Yong Ying-I, Chairman, IDA, said: "With this selection of the Next Gen NBN OpCo RFP proposal, we have achieved another major milestone in the Next Gen NBN project. The Next Gen NBN is a key national infocomm infrastructure that will enhance Singapore's competitiveness in a globalised and digital economy. It will spur the development of rich and innovative content, applications and services, and bring significant benefits to the various economic sectors such as finance, healthcare and education. All in Singapore can soon look forward to a richer broadband experience and a wide range of innovative broadband services at competitive prices, transforming the way we work, live, learn and interact."

Mr Terry Clontz, StarHub's CEO, said: "We are delighted that IDA has selected our proposal. Our proposal is the culmination of years of StarHub's extensive experience in managing and operating what is already Singapore's highest speed broadband network in Singapore. With the fiber optic-based Next-Gen NBN being extended directly to homes and businesses, Singapore will benefit from a robust national infrastructure that will serve the country's broadband needs well into the future."

StarHub will underline its commitment to create a vibrant RSP environment by establishing an integration test lab facility that will help RSPs trial and test out new applications and services over the Next-Gen NBN before commercial deployment. The OpCo is also committed to attracting overseas online service providers to host their content in Singapore. With the fast broadband speeds provided by the Next-Gen NBN, this will undoubtedly bring a more enriching experience to the end users here.

Nucleus Connect expects to spend about $1 billion for the active network over the 25-year period of the license. It is eligible for the government grant of up to $250 million from IDA. StarHub's investment in Nucleus Connect is estimated to be around $100 million.
  • In September 2008, The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) selected the OpenNet consortium as its successful Network Company (NetCo). OpenNet will be contracted to provide passive fibre grid services for Singapore's Next Generation National Broadband Network (NGNBN). OpenNet will be making use of existing ducts and other underlying infrastructure, thereby minimizing disruption to the public and enabling the network to reach homes and buildings nationwide by 2012.

    The OpenNet consortium consists of Axia-Netmedia (30%), Singapore Telecommunications (30%), Singapore Press Holdings (25%) and SP Telecommunications Pte Ltd (15%).

    OpenNet expects to complete the agreement contracting process with the IDA as planned within the next seven months and expects that the Singapore-wide fiber grid will be completed by June 2012. This fiber grid will be made available on equal terms at very compelling prices to any parties qualified by the IDA.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

TerreStar and EB Ready Satellite-Terrestrial Smartphone for Upcoming Launch

TerreStar Networks and EB (Elektrobit) demonstrated an integrated satellite-terrestrial smartphone reference design for the upcoming Terrestar mobile satellite service.

TerreStar's forthcoming service will enable users across North America to be connected to TerreStar's network through a "virtual handshake" between the next-generation mobile satellite and a next generation terrestrial network. Launch of TerreStar's satellite is expected later this quarter. Highlights of the satellite-terrestrial reference device include:

  • Compact form factor with an internal antenna

  • The world's first quad-band GSM and tri-band WCDMA/HSPA smartphone with integrated all-IP satellite-terrestrial voice and data capabilities;

  • The only fully IP-based satellite phone using high-speed packet data;

  • The first satellite-terrestrial smartphone with a touch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard;

  • The first satellite-terrestrial smartphone with planned service offerings, including: SMS, MMS, IM, Email, Push to Talk and Location Based Services (LBS).

Verizon Wireless Collaborates with Itron on Smart Grid

Verizon Wireless and Itron announced a joint marketing agreement for development of secure, two-way communications that support utilities' access to energy usage data and advance their smart grid projects.

The Itron "OpenWay" Cell Relay will operate on the Verizon Wireless network to more collect, measure and manage energy data on behalf of utility companies.

A primary component of Itron's advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution, OpenWay by Itron, the OpenWay Cell Relay is the router for the Itron radio frequency local-area network (RFLAN). The relay, which has passed the Verizon Wireless open development compliance process, solidifies integration between the OpenWay RFLAN and the wide-area network (WAN) provided by Verizon Wireless' CDMA (1x EV-DO and 1xRTT) wireless data network. The Verizon Wireless network is now available as a WAN backhaul connection option in the OpenWay architecture. Ultimately, this provides a secure approach to data collection and communications with the meter or other smart grid devices.

Itron said the communications architecture of its OpenWay complies with the American National Standards Institute C12.22 protocol for transport of device data over a network and remains independent of any particular communications technology.

D2S Secures $9 Million for E-Beam Silicon Design

D2S, a design and software company based in San Jose, closed $9 million in Series B financing to further enhance and expand the market development for D2S' design-for-e-beam (DFEB) technology, which allows semiconductor manufacturers to eliminate the barrier of rising mask costs and speed time to market.

As the industry moves to smaller geometries, mask costs become an even bigger challenge for IC manufacturers, making low-volume production of custom ICs economically infeasible. The company said its DFEB technology tackles this dilemma head on and enables leading-edge semiconductor systems-on-chips (SoCs) to be manufactured without the upfront mask cost.

XO Introduces 3 and 5 Mbps Mid-Band Ethernet Options

XO Communications announced the nationwide availability of an expanded range of new Ethernet access speeds for businesses, enterprises and wholesale customers. Now available in more than 75 metropolitan markets where XO offers services, customers can now obtain new Ethernet transport speeds of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 200, 300, 400, or 500 Mbps at XO on-net fiber locations, and speeds of 3, 5, 15 or 20 Mbps at locations served by last mile copper where XO has deployed Ethernet over copper technology. This also marks the first time the 3 and 5 Mbps mid-band Ethernet access options will be available to XO Communications' customers for Dedicated Internet access service.

"As companies look to their wide-area networks and Internet connections to support mission critical business applications, XO Communications offers an extensive nationwide footprint and a wide range of bandwidth options that enable businesses to cost-effectively boost network performance through Ethernet," said Randy Nicklas, chief technology officer at XO Communications. "XO's extensive local metro network assets combined with our nationwide inter-city network give us the unique ability to offer businesses flexible, scalable, and high-performance Ethernet solutions regardless if they are served by fiber or last mile copper."

Last year, XO Communications deployed an enhanced Ethernet switching platform in major metropolitan locations across its nationwide network. This platform provided a highly-reliable, service rich next generation infrastructure enabling XO Communications to offer a broader range of Ethernet bandwidth options and services at speeds of 3 Mbps to 10 Gbps. In addition, this platform provided a pathway for XO Communications to offer true any-to-any, multi-site Ethernet solutions, along with multiple classes of service on an on-demand basis.

XO Communications noted a number of other milestones it has passed in expanding the availability of Ethernet services:

  • Extensive Nationwide Inter-City and Metro Fiber Networks: XO Communications offers Ethernet services at speeds from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps to businesses and service providers in 75 major metropolitan markets through its 19,000 route mile inter-city fiber optic network and nearly one million fiber miles of metro networks.

  • Nationwide Deployment of Ethernet over Copper Technology: With deployments today in 75 major metropolitan markets, Ethernet over copper technology enables XO Communications to extend its Ethernet services footprint beyond its fiber network and enable businesses at copper-fed locations to take advantage of Ethernet services for the first time at speeds of 3 Mbps to 80 Mbps.

  • Fixed Broadband Wireless Capabilities: XO Communications currently has the capability to utilize fixed broadband wireless technology in 36 major metropolitan markets to further expand its network footprint and deliver Ethernet services directly to businesses at speeds ranging from 10Mbps to 800 Mbps.