Monday, May 11, 2009

NSN Demonstrates First Circuit Switched over HSPA Call (CSoHSPA)

Finnish operator Elisa and Nokia Siemens Networks have successfully demonstrated the world's first circuit switched call over a high speed packet access network (CSoHSPA). The company said this new technology allows operators to simply and cost effectively increase voice capacity of their 3G networks, potentially up to 100%. The trial call was conducted in Elisa's live 3G network using R&D prototype devices supplied by Nokia.

Mobile systems such as GSM carry each voice call via a dedicated voice channel -- that is, circuit switching. The CS over HSPA feature carries voice calls over HSPA's packet-based transport channels instead.

While mobile users would see no difference in their voice service, the CSoHSPA technique, when supported by the continuous packet connectivity (CPC) features of 3GPP Release 7, requires far less handset battery power, providing a significant, potentially up to 50% increase in talk time.

The efficiency of CSoHSPA also means call setup times can be cut in half and operators benefit from much higher voice capacity per carrier, making it feasible for both consumers and operators to use 3G as the preferred network for making voice calls.

Nokia Siemens Networks said that to enable the technique in existing 3G networks, no changes are necessary to the core network and only a simple software upgrade is required in the radio access network.

"HSPA+ features are a needed and excellent step forward from current HSPA on the way to LTE. This demonstration of CSoHSPA shows one of the ways that consumer experience can be improved and makes 3G more attractive to consumers. Simultaneously operators need to ensure that they make most out of investments in traditional circuit switched networks, while embracing the advantages of HSPA evolution", said Keith Sutton, Head of the WCDMA/HSPA business in Nokia Siemens Networks.

Quantenna Names David French as New CEO

Quantenna Communications, a start-up based in Fremont, California, named David French as its new CEO, succeeding Dr. Behrooz Rezvani, who will continue his role as president of Quantenna and chairman of the Board of Directors.
French brings more than three decades of semiconductor experience to Quantenna. Most recently, he was president and CEO of Cirrus Logic Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor public company. Under French's leadership, Cirrus Logic emerged as a world leader in audio integrated circuits, such as audio converters and audio digital signal processors, as well as industrial mixed-signal and embedded ICs. Prior to Cirrus Logic, French was the vice president and general manager at Analog Devices Inc.

Quantenna recently announced $13.85 million in Series C funding for its 4X4 MIMO 802.11n chipsets designed for next gen home networking applications. Quantenna leverages dynamic digital beamforming to deliver very high-speed wireless coverage throughout the whole home for sharing high definition (HD) video and multimedia content between home gateways and TVs. Quantenna's silicon is targeted at devices such as home residential gateways, set-top boxes, routers, HDTVs and consumer electronic devices, which all require high bandwidth and reliability to support whole home HD video distribution and networking over standard Wi-Fi networks.

Aruba Networks Builds a Virtual Branch Network with Wireless CPE

Aruba Networks introduced a Virtual Branch Network (VBN) solution that leverages low-cost, easy-to-deploy CPE to connect remote users with enterprise applications and network policies.

Whereas current branch office networking solutions replicate routing, switching, firewall, and other services at each remote location using various appliances, Aruba's concept is to use a single, secure wireless router to tunnel back to an Aruba wireless LAN controller. Instead of replicating complexity at each remote location, Aruba's VBN solution virtualizes complex tasks at data center controllers and pushes them to inexpensive RAPs and BOCs for execution. A centrally controlled, policy enforcement firewall in the data center controller governs user access to the network and its resources by pushing policies to dissolvable firewall agents in every RAP and BOC. These agents automatically enforce the policies for every user and service.

The VBN solution includes new software for data center-based Aruba Controllers, as well as three new families of wired and wireless Remote Access Points (RAPs) and Branch Office Controllers (BOCs). One of the new RAPs, the RAP-2, has a U.S. list price of just $99, making it the least expensive, centrally managed enterprise branch networking solution on the market.

The RAPs and BOCs are centrally managed and automatically disseminated, enabling secure one-click installation at the remote location. The CPE is transport-independent, and work with virtually any wide-area network - including 3G cellular.

"Taking a page from the application virtualization playbook, we are bringing the cost-saving and security benefits of centralized control and management to remote networking. One button installation, zero-touch IT involvement in simple deployments, and a range of elegantly simple and remarkably inexpensive RAPs and BOCs - these are the remedies for the pain points users experience with remote networking today," said Keerti Melkote, Aruba's co-founder and chief technology officer.

Covad Names Aamir Hussain Chief Technology Officer

Covad Communications named Aamir Hussain as its new Chief Technology Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Hussain comes to Covad from Telus, where he served as Vice President, National Planning, Engineering and Capital Management. Prior to Telus, Mr. Hussain held senior-level positions for numerous companies, including Qwest Communications, AT&T, Samsung Telecommunications, and Motorola.

Alcatel-Lucent Launches 'Broadband for All' Program in US

Alcatel-Lucent has kicked off a "Broadband for All" program in the United States to provide advisory services to telecommunications companies, municipalities and developers interested in applying for broadband stimulus funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act (ARRA) of 2009. The Act provides more than $7 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees to unserved and underserved rural areas, offering them broadband access and services that have been previously limited or unavailable.

More than 6,200 small service providers, municipalities, utilities and developers provide communications services to residents of rural areas throughout the United States. Alcatel-Lucent's "Broadband for All" program offers telecom providers a turnkey service to apply for government funding including grant application assistance, as well as technology solutions to enable them to upgrade their voice, video and data services for the 21st century. The ARRA of 2009 represents the government's largest commitment to accelerate the availability of broadband technology for the rural and underserved markets, as well as public safety.

Alcatel-Lucent said its team of specialists are able to support rural service providers, municipal customers, and private developers by offering:

  • Funding application preparation and follow-up

  • Advocacy with the key stakeholders and agencies (National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) which are administering the funds)

  • Technology consulting and solutions

  • Regional seminars and webinars to educate customers and consultants about the funding and application process

"The stimulus bill offers a unique opportunity for service providers, municipalities and developers to upgrade their networks for decades to come with technology that supports broadband access and services," said Rich Wonders, Vice President of Strategic Marketing for Alcatel-Lucent's Americas region.

"Not only is this a chance to offer their customers the kinds of broadband access enjoyed in more densely populated areas, but this represents a significant opportunity to create jobs throughout the U.S. The single largest cost component of deploying rural broadband is in the physical construction and deployment of the network, so these projects will create jobs as well as result in much better communications services for the residences and businesses in those communities."

With a proven track record of working with telecommunications providers in rural areas, Alcatel-Lucent has one of the broadest portfolios of products granted Rural Development Acceptance and/or Buy American status by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development agency for deployment under the Rural Development Broadband Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. Alcatel-Lucent has more than 20,000 U.S.-based employees and includes the unrivalled technical and scientific expertise of Bell Labs, one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry.

AT&T Boosts is European Disaster Recovery Resources

AT&T is expanding its pan-European Disaster Recovery resources with the addition of increased technology, equipment and manpower. Currently, the company's disaster recovery resources in EMEA include a dedicated 650 square meter warehouse located in the UK, a 14-meter articulated trailer, a custom-built flatbed truck to house two fly-away disaster recovery units and a new control and command centre. The NDR technology trailers and containers are specially designed to mimic the technologies present in the AT&T network. AT&T plans to add a third fly-away unit later this year in EMEA. The latest enhancements to AT&T's resources in EMEA will allow the NDR team to deploy recovery equipment within 24 hours.

With its planned investment this year, AT&T said it will have invested $7.5 million since 2006 to extend its disaster recovery resources in the EMEA region.

Juniper Deliver EX8216 Ethernet Switch for High-Performance Clouds

Juniper Networks released a new 16-slot EX8216 Ethernet platform boasting a switch fabric capacity of up to 12.4 terabits and optimized for high-density 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) data center and cloud computing environments. The modular EX8216 switch delivers wire-rate performance, low latency and carrier-class reliability.

The EX8200 line, which also includes the eight-slot EX8208, features a per-slot capacity of 320 Gbps and delivers up to two billion packets per second (pps) performance. It also offers a built-in migration path to 100 GbE.

The EX Series, along with other Juniper routers and its security services gateways, run on JUNOS Software. In addition, Juniper's Network and Security Manager (NSM) provides a unified device management solution for the EX Series, as well as Juniper routers and security devices.

Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, one of the world's foremost applied research organizations, is one of the first customers to deploy the EX8200 line of switches in their production network.

'The new EX8216 switch can deliver twice the performance while consuming one-third less power and one-sixth less space than the leading competitor,' said Hitesh Sheth, executive vice president and general manager of the Ethernet Platforms Business Group at Juniper Networks. 'With the rest of Juniper's portfolio, the EX8216 enables new data center and cloud computing architectures that lower complexity, deliver increased functionality and reduce overall total cost of ownership through innovative system designs that can lower both capital and operating expenses.'

Cisco Outlines Unified Service Delivery Foundation for Cloud Services

Cisco outlined a Unified Service Delivery framework to help service providers build a foundation for cloud services.

The aim is to combine Cisco's data center portfolio and Unified Computing architecture with the capabilities of its Internet Protocol Next-Generation Networks (IP NGNs) solutions. More specifically, Cisco's Unified Service Delivery would enable a service provider to deliver video, data and video services from the data center, enabling it to substantially optimize resources, assure quality, significantly reduce operational costs, and deliver a better, more expansive and more secure virtual experience for their customers. Unified Service Delivery is a critical step in the company's service provider Data Center 3.0 strategy.

In terms of implementation, Cisco's Unified Service Delivery incorporates products such as the Cisco Unified Computing System and the Cisco Nexus Switch with a new data-center optimized configuration of Cisco's flagship router, the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System, and Cisco's IP NGN products. This is accomplished with two new Cisco 10-gigabit modules and a Cisco 40-gigabit forwarding processor for the flagship Cisco CRS-1 platform.

The modules are designed specifically to extend virtualization from the data center through the IP NGN core and to address the needs of peering and interconnect applications for a service provider's data centers. The Cisco CRS-1 platform and its new modules permit providers to virtualize traffic and network operations on a per-service or per-customer basis with a smaller Cisco CRS-1 footprint.

The Cisco Nexus 7000 Switch meanwhile serves as the company's flagship data-center-class switching platform, combining Ethernet, IP and storage capabilities across one unified network fabric. The Cisco Unified Computing System unites compute, network, storage access and virtualization resources in a single energy efficient system.

Cisco said its Unified Service Delivery solution is optimized to enable virtualization within the data center, between data centers and across the IP NGN.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ixia to Acquire Catapult for 3G/4G Tests

Ixia agreed to acquire Catapult Communications, a supplier of 3G and 4G network test solutions. Under the deal, Ixia will pay $9.25 per share in cash, valuating the transaction at approximately $105 million, or $63 million net of Catapult's cash and investments.

Catapult's test portfolio covers numerous protocols and frameworks, including LTE, IMS, WiMAX, CDMA, VoIP, GPRS and GSM.

Ixia said the acquisition will enable it to provide a single source solution for testing converged IP multiplay service over wireless or wireline networks.

"We're at an inflection point where today's advanced communications are quickly merging into a single, seamless delivery network that combines fixed and mobile communications," said Atul Bhatnagar, President and CEO of Ixia.

Brocade Unveils Application Delivery Controllers

Brocade introduced an application delivery controller (ADC) family designed for IP transport in both enterprise application delivery and service provider high-performance load-balancing environments. The platforms offer 70 Gbps of Layer 4 and Layer 7 application throughput as well as complete physical and logical isolation of application, data, and management planes.

Brocade said it designed the ServerIron ADX to deliver industry-leading transaction rate and concurrent session capacity to help improve scalability and performance for environments with growing amounts of application traffic. Three configurations are offered:

  • ServerIron ADX 1000 (1U fixed form factor)

  • ServerIron ADX 4000 (4U chassis)

  • ServerIron ADX 8000 (8U chassis)

The platform offers Content Switching (CSW) capabilities, enabling the network operator to create rules/policies/configurations to perform application switching and content transformation on a wide range of enterprise applications, including IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP applications.

The chassis models feature interchangeable modules with up to 16-ports of 10 Gbps fiber. The ServerIron ADX Series base pricing is $21,995 USD and the product will be generally available in CY Q3 2009.

3Com Plans Return to World Market for Enterprise Networking

3Com outlined plans to return to the global enterprise networking market by leveraging its broad portfolio of H3C edge-to-data-center solutions.

"Our experience in achieving market leadership over the last few years in China has made it clear there is a significant need to take the cost and complexity out of building enterprise networks," said Bob Mao, chief executive officer, 3Com.

3Com listed three tenets at the foundation of its enterprise networking strategy:

  • Design solutions that lower TCO: The H3C portfolio of solutions has been designed and built over the last four years, incorporating the latest in merchant silicon and energy efficiency, as well as a common management platform;

  • Architect future-proof products: The H3C solutions are based on open standards and leverage common hardware and software systems to help solve today's problems while allowing the flexibility to adapt to future technology enhancements; and

  • Deliver a new level of customer intimacy: 3Com has made responsiveness and flexibility a priority, underscored by the stability of a $1.3 billion, profitable, global organization. Elite partners authorized to sell H3C products will also help elevate the level of customer service and support.

As a first step, the company is introducing two new switching platforms, the H3C S12500 for end-of-rack in data centers, and a "flex-chassis" switching platform, the H3C S5800, for wiring closets, smaller network cores and top-of-rack in data centers. The products are manageable by a new platform.

3Com noted that is already is the second-largest enterprise networking provider in the world in terms of switches (ports) and routers (units), according to IDC. 3Com plans to aggressively expand this foundation, which largely has been driven by its position in China, where it holds more than 30 percent market share.

Nortel Reports Q1 Sales of $1.73 Billion, Down 37%

Citing the global economic turbulence as well as impacts from its own bankruptcy filing in January, Nortel reported Q1 revenues of $1.73 billion, decreased 37 percent compared to prior year period. Excluding the negative impact of foreign exchange fluctuations, the decrease would have been 29 percent.

"First quarter results showed a decline in revenue and margins as expected due to the severe economic downturn and our filings for creditor protection. However, despite the declines we saw this quarter, revenue has stabilized and our cash balance is stable from year-end 2008. "We accomplished our initial objectives of maintaining our customer commitments and strengthening our operational performance. Network performance and customer service levels are at multi-year highs and customers are expressing their support of Nortel. Our employees have done a tremendous job under challenging conditions," stated Mike Zafirovski, Nortel's CEO.

Some highlights of the quarterly report:

  • Cash balance on March 31, 2009, of $2.48 billion, compared to $2.4 billion at year-end 2008.

  • The evaluation of Nortel's businesses - Carrier Networks (which includes Wireless Networks as well as Carrier VoIP and Application Solutions or CVAS), Metro Ethernet Networks, Enterprise Solutions and the LG-Nortel joint-venture - is ongoing.

  • Nortel will decentralize its Carrier Sales and Global Operations functions over the coming weeks. This will enhance the business units' overall responsiveness to changing customer and market requirements and provide the opportunity to better serve customers.

  • For the Carrier Networks group, a majority of the revenue decline was in the wireless segments, including a reduction in spending by certain customers as a result of their change in technology migration plans.

  • Enterprise Solution revenues in the first quarter of 2009 were $395 million, a decrease of 41 percent compared with the year ago quarter as a result of the factors noted above, namely decreased customer spending and decision-making deferral due to the economic conditions and the uncertainties created from our Creditor Protection Proceedings.

  • Metro Ethernet (MEN) revenues in the first quarter of 2009 were $360 million, a decrease of 10 percent compared with the year ago quarter with impacts across all businesses. Excluding the negative impact of foreign exchange fluctuations, revenues for MEN would have declined 6 percent year-over-year.

  • LG-Nortel revenues in the first quarter of 2009 were $188 million, a decrease of 66 percent compared with the year ago quarter. In addition to the factors described above, a majority of the decline was in LGN Carrier, primarily due to the completion of a certain customer contract obligation that resulted in the recognition of previously deferred revenues in the first quarter of 2008 not repeated in the first quarter of 2009 and high sales volumes related to 3G wireless products in the first quarter of 2008 not repeated to the same extent in the first quarter of 2009, as well as a significant foreign exchange impact due to the devaluation of the Korean WON against the US dollar. The decrease was partially offset by the completion of a certain customer contract obligation resulting in the recognition of previously deferred revenues in the first quarter of 2009.

Fujitsu Partners with Link America

Fujitsu Network Communications has entered into a partnership with Link America, a minority-owned company dedicated to servicing the communications industry. Link America will provide Warehouse Management Services (WMS) for the Fujitsu FLASHWAVE 7500 Re-configurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) to select customers in support of their advanced communications networking needs.

Link America is focused on delivering broadband equipment solutions for the central office, local loop and customer premises environments. With the addition of the Fujitsu FLASHWAVE 7500 ROADM to their portfolio, Link America will be able to support the real-time distribution and stocking needs of carriers across North America.

DISH Loses 94K TV Subscribers in Q1

DISH Network lost approximately 94,000 net subscribers during the quarter ended March 31, 2009, giving the company approximately 13.584 million subscribers as of that date.

The company reported total revenue of $2.91 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2009, a 2.1 percent increase compared with $2.84 billion for the corresponding period in 2008. Net income totaled $313 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2009, compared with $259 million during the corresponding period in 2008. Basic earnings per share were $0.70 for the quarter ended March 31, 2009, compared with basic earnings per share of $0.58 during the corresponding period in 2008.

Texas Instruments Delivers Low-power RF for ZigBee

Texas Instruments (TI) introduced a 2.4-GHz radio frequency (RF) system-on-chip solution supporting the IEEE 802.15.4 standard and an extensive set of applications, including ZigBee PRO networks, ZigBee RF4CE remote controls, smart energy, home and building automation, environmental monitoring and wireless medical.

"The CC2530 solution is specifically tailored for emerging low-power RF applications that will enhance consumer's day-to-day lives, such as RF remote controls and audio/visual consumer electronics, efficient smart energy networks, advanced home automation and personal wireless medical devices," said Art George, senior vice president of TI's High-Performance Analog business unit.

Level 3 Expands Operations in D.C. Area

Level 3 Communications is expanding its operations in the Washington, D.C., area. In addition to expanding its service portfolio, Level 3 will continue to expand its fiber-optic footprint, which already passes more than 20,000 business locations throughout the D.C., northern Virginia and southern Maryland.

"We understand that the national economy is struggling right now and many companies are curbing or halting expansion plans, but the D.C. area remains a thriving business community, and we believe it is an ideal time to expand and take advantage of business opportunities," said William Ganey, Level 3's Washington, D.C., general manager.

AT&T and Partners Transmit 32 Terabits per Second Over Single Fiber

AT&T, NEC Corporation of America and Corning set a new record for optical fiber transmission - researchers transmitted data at 114 Gbps over each of 320 separate optical channels on a single, 580-kilometer optically amplified link, resulting in a total bandwidth capacity of 32 Terabits per second. The laboratory link was composed of seven spans, each containing a single-stage Erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) for both the C- and L-band and a section of Corning SMF-28 ULL fiber, an ITU G.652 compliant ultra-low-loss optical fiber.

AT&T said this exceeds the bandwidth capacity of the previous record-setting test by 25 percent, and over more than twice the distance. The latest milestone, presented recently at the OFC/NFOEC in San Diego, advances development of 100 Gigabit technologies, which are expected to be finalized and ready for deployment within the next few years to boost capacity in carrier backbone networks.

"IP traffic on the AT&T network is growing at about 45 percent year over year, so groundbreaking research efforts like this are critical to our ongoing efforts to stay ahead of our customers' rapidly evolving and expanding needs," said Peter Magill, executive director of optical systems research, AT&T Labs. "In setting this new bandwidth capacity record, we used a transmission method that enables better management of the interference that can result from operating 320 wavelengths over a single fiber-optic link. To do so, we used a new way to generate such signals and a new signal-processing algorithm to receive them again. We're looking forward to further testing of these techniques and the additional bandwidth advances that may come from it."

"There are still several challenges, including maturity and cost efficiency, to overcome before the deployment of such a high transmission rate over a single fiber, but we are definitely closer," added Milorad Cvijetic, vice president and chief technology strategist, Optical Network Systems Division, NEC Corporation of America.

Force10 Adds 90-port GigE Card to ExaScale Switch/Router

Force10 Networks has added a 90-port line card to its ExaScale family of virtualized switch/routers. The line card, built for the ExaScale E1200 and the ExaScale E600 midsized chassis, delivers greater 10/100/1000Base-T density and reduces power consumption by up to 70 percent per port. The company said it achieves the industry's lowest consumption rate.

At 100 Gbps/slot data capacity, the ExaScale card enables line-rate and non-blocking scalability for up to 1,260 10/100/1000Base-T ports in a half-rack chassis, or 630 ports in a one-third-rack chassis. The new line card is based on the ExaScale suite of advanced, packet processing and switching ASICs.

The Force10 ExaScale E600 chassis bundle starts at $63,500. Pricing for the 90-port 10/100/1000Base-T line card starts at $60,000.
  • Introduced in March 2009, the ExaScale E-Series represents Force10's third generation technology and incorporates several innovations to boost its high-level of non-blocking line-rate Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet densities. The platform boasts total throughput of more than two billion packets per second across a switching fabric capacity of up to 3.5 Tbps or 250 Gbps full duplex per slot. With support for 140 line-rate 10 Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ ports in a half-rack chassis, the ExaScale E-Series can support 100 Gbps of useable data capacity per slot.