Monday, June 7, 2010

Virtela Launches Cloud-Based Application Acceleration Service

Virtela, which provides global managed network services through partnerships with 500+ carriers, introduced a virtualized application acceleration service for enterprises that promises performance boosts of up to 25x without the upfront investment of acceleration hardware. Specifically, Virtela's virtualized acceleration service leverages the network cloud instead of dedicated hardware appliances at each branch office.

Virtela is operating 50 Local Cloud Centers (LCCs), distributed around the world in close proximity to end users, to accelerate applications immediately, near the content source. The service applies caching, compression, higher layer communication protocol and other application optimization techniques to reduce application chattiness, resulting in the 5-25x performance boost.

Virrtela said its service can be activated instantly in more than 190 countries at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. The service is just $5 per day per branch office location. For example, a 20-branch-office network that follows a traditional device-dependent approach would cost $200,000 in year one, compared to $36,000 with Virtela's cloud-based model - five times less.

The new service accelerates applications between any location - headquarters, data centers, branch offices, mobile workers and partner sites - anywhere in the world. Some of the performance gains include:

  • 7-25x for Microsoft Windows File Sharing (e.g., Microsoft Office)

  • 5-17x for Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes Email

  • 5-13x for ERP/CRM Applications (e.g., Siebel, Oracle,

  • 6-10x for Web-based Collaboration (e.g., Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle WebCenter)

  • 10-25x for Data Backup and Storage (e.g., EMC, NetApp, Amazon EC2)

Virtela is backing its price/performance claims with an application response time guarantee: "if customers do not experience faster response times, they do not pay - and Virtela will pay them 250% of their service charge."

Alcatel-Lucent Selected for Africa-Coast-to-Europe Cable

Alcatel-Lucent has signed a turnkey contract valued at over US$500 million with Africa Coast to Europe (ACE), a newly formed consortium composed of 20 operators linking Cape Town in South Africa to Penmarch in France via a submarine cable network.

With an ultimate design capacity of 5.12 Terabit per second (Tbps), ACE has built-in 40 Gbps. Its 17,000-km coastal route will link South Africa to France - via Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Tenerife (Spain) and Portugal -- and will have 21 landing points along the route. Commercial launch is expected in the first half of 2012.

Initiated and headed by France Telecom-Orange, the consortium is composed of twenty parties: Baharicom Development Company, Benin Telecoms, Cable Consortium of Liberia, Orange Cameroun, Companhia Santomense de Telecomunicações, Côte d'Ivoire Telecom, Expresso Telecom Group, France Telecom, Gambia Telecommunications Company, International Mauritania Telecom, Office Congolais des Postes et Télécommunication, Orange Guinea, Orange Mali, Orange Niger, PT Comunicações, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, the Gabonese Republic, Sierra Leone Cable, Société des Télécommunications de Guinée and Sonatel.

Alcatel-Lucent will deploy its advance submarine line terminal (1620 Light Manager) working at up to 40 Gbps and using phase shift keying (PSK)-based modulation formats with next-generation coherent detection to deal with transmission impairments. Alcatel-Lucent will also supply its branching units and will implement its 1678 Metro Core Connect in the landing points that will be located along the route.

Broadband Forum Targets Next Generation Access (NGA)

The Broadband Forum outlined a number of initiatives aimed at empowering next generation access solutions in a variety of technologies, including ADSL2plus, VDSL2 and GPON. Specifically, the Broadband Forum is extending its testing and conformance efforts, encouraging the evolution of access technologies. This work includes:

  • Recent enhancements to the ADSL2plus functionality test plan (TR-105 Corrigendum 2)

  • Introduction of the new VDSL2 test suite (TR-114/TR-115 and TR-138)

  • Development of a new Vectoring best practices white paper (MD-257)

  • Recently added GPON interoperability abstract test development and testing being performed in conjunction with Full Service Access Network (FSAN). This work includes ongoing Plugfest events, open to all FSAN and Broadband Forum equipment and chipset vendors.

  • Additional fiber-related work is also moving forward addressing EPON.

The Broadband Forum has also undertaken a body of work to help service providers migrate to a more flexible, IP and MPLS-based mesh network. This pending release will be based on TR-144 "Broadband Multi-Service Architecture & Framework Requirements" and anchored by key work in progress, such as WT-145 "Broadband Architecture Requirements" and WT-223 "Requirements for MPLS over Aggregated Interfaces". A new white paper associated with this work is also in development titled "Unified MPLS: Enabling next generation transport and services using MPLS-TP".

"Our role is to ensure that the industry has all the specifications and tools it needs to optimize networks, advance interoperability, and ultimately to capture the full potential of broadband worldwide," says Robin Mersh, COO of the Broadband Forum. "These new initiatives and joint efforts will provide those tools needed to expedite the migration to the next generation broadband network."

Ethernet Alliance Tests Data Center Bridging Interoperability

The Ethernet Alliance said that results from a recent interoperability plugfest focused on IEEE 802.1 Data Center Bridging (DCB) are encouraging and demonstrated the growing interest and demand for support in DCB capabilities.

The plugfest took place the week of May 17, 2010 at the University of New Hampshire's Interoperability Lab and included Cisco, Dell, Emulex, Intel, Ixia, JDSU, Leviton, Marvell, Mellanox Technologies, NetApp, Panduit, QLogic, Spirent, and Volex.

The event was the first demonstration of interoperability testing of IEEE Std. 802.1QauTM-2010 Congestion Notification (QCN), and a continuation of testing of DCB Capability Exchange Protocol (IEEE P802.1Qaz,), Enhanced Transmission Selection (IEEE P802.1Qaz) and Priority-based Flow Control (IEEE P802.1Qbb).

Participants were able to demonstrate effectively the interoperability of their products and participate in a lossless Ethernet fabric simultaneously on the same network. In addition to traditional TCP/IP traffic, interoperability was also demonstrated with multiple converged traffic classes including higher layer protocols such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and iSCSI over DCB as well as high performance computing traffic being properly managed by the DCB protocols.

"The importance of interoperability in developing technologies such as Data Center Bridging is vital. The vendors that came together at this event are turning DCB technology into reality by implementing the standards and demonstrating the robustness of initial implementations," said Patricia Thaler, IEEE 802.1 Data Center Bridging Task Group chair.

"The IEEE 802.1 DCB task group efforts offer significant improvements in how data moves through Ethernet networks and permits the convergence of multiple traffic types onto a single network," stated Charlie Lavacchia, Ethernet Alliance President. "Ethernet Alliance sponsored plugfests help to prove the feasibility of the technology, to test interoperability among multiple vendors, and to prepare the end user for adoption of new Ethernet technologies. DCB plugfests are critical to ensure the end users can deploy new technologies like FCoE or enhance existing ones like iSCSI."

Additional information on the interoperability demonstration will be available in a white paper published next month and a paper of findings for the first interoperability testing can be found on the Ethernet Alliance Web site.

Spirent Introduces Wi-Fi Positioning Test Solution

Spirent has introduced a Wi-Fi Positioning Access Point Simulator to test Wi-Fi positioning capabilities in suitably-enabled devices and chipsets. Wi-Fi positioning can be used in addition to existing location technologies such as A-GPS and Cell ID, to provide subscribers with location information more quickly and in more places.

Spirent's GSS5700 software allows real-world test scenarios, including simultaneous simulation of up to 48 Wi-Fi access points in the lab. This approach greatly reduces the need to conduct large-scale field trials while adding essential capabilities such as full user control and test repeatability. The GSS5700 can be combined with Spirent's GPS and multi-GNSS Simulation Systems to test hybrid Wi-Fi and GPS/GNSS technologies, with the unique ability to simulate motion of a mobile device through environments where both sets of signals are present. The GSS5700 will also integrate with Spirent's 8100 ULTS and C2K-ATS Location Technology Solutions to form part of a complete, integrated solution for testing hybrid location technologies in UMTS and CDMA mobile devices.

Google Maps and Nokia's Ovi Maps, as well as personal electronic devices such as the Apple iPad, are now taking advantage of Wi-Fi positioning.

"The wide availability of signals from Wi-Fi access points lowers the barriers to deploying Wi-Fi positioning, however, effective verification and testing is critical to ensure that the user experience meets the expectations of today's demanding consumer," said Peter Boulton, Chief Technology Officer for Spirent's Positioning Technology Division. "Spirent is uniquely situated to make sure that Wi-Fi implementations work well across a wide range of real-world scenarios, especially those where GPS performance is likely to be compromised".

NTT America Appoints Kazuhiro Gomi President and CEO

NTT America has appointed Kazuhiro Gomi as the company's president and CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Gomi was formerly Chief Operating Officer (COO) and the acting head of the Enterprise Solutions Business Unit. He will succeed Tetsuro Yamaguchi who was named president and CEO of NTT America in 2006.

NTT Delivers 100GBASE-LR4 Interconnection

NTT Communications, Infinera Japan and Ixia Communications are providing a 100 Gbps Ethernet transmission network during this week's Interop Tokyo 2010 trade show at the Makuhari Messe exhibition complex. The 100 Gbps Ethernet connection serves as the backbone for ShowNet, providing Internet access by exhibitors and visitors.

The network comprises telecommunication and network infrastructure constructed and managed by NTT Com, an Infinera DTN DWDM system, and customizable network testers from Ixia. The connection uses the Ethernet specification 100GBASE-LR4, which is scheduled to be standardized by mid-June after extensive testing to prove network throughput, latency and fluctuation. Interconnection of numerous devices using the 100GBASE-LR4 specification during the show will demonstrate the technology's possibilities.

Ethernet at 100 Gbps would enable the transfer of 25GB of data - the volume of a Blu-ray disk - in two seconds at the theoretical maximum speed.

NTT DOCOMO Tests its LTE Network

NTT DOCOMO is ready to begin testing its LTE network in the Tokyo area, prior to the full-scale launch of extra-high-speed LTE commercial service in December. The LTE network will be verified for speed, latency, stability of inter-cell handover and other conditions required for commercial operation.

DOCOMO said it expects to confirm 5 MHz-bandwidth throughput for 37.5 Mbps downlinks and 12.5 Mbps uplinks, and later 10 MHz-bandwidth throughput for maximum 75 Mbps downlinks and 25 Mbps uplinks in selected test areas.

The 2 GHz network system comprises dual W-CDMA/LTE base stations, LTE core network equipment and LTE-enabled mobile devices. For efficiency, DOCOMO has been installing LTE base-station components on existing W-CDMA 3G base stations. Base stations in DOCOMO's existing W-CDMA network that already are equipped with dual W-CDMA/LTE remote radio equipment1 can be easily upgraded for LTE service with the addition of an LTE BDE (base station digital equipment).

The LTE devices to be used in the pre-launch operation are equipped for theoretical speeds of 100 Mbps downlinks and 50 Mbps uplinks. Compatibility with W-CDMA will enable seamless handover as the devices move between LTE and W-CDMA service areas in the network. The devices also are compatible with the GSM protocol, which will enable them to be used on LTE/GSM networks in overseas markets.
  • In March 2010, Fujitsu began shipping LTE mobile base station systems to NTT DOCOMO, which plans to launch LTE services in December 2010.

    Fujitsu was selected by NTT DOCOMO in October 2006 as a vendor to develop and manufacture the company's LTE wireless mobile base stations. Since then, the two companies have been jointly developing and evaluating the systems. Fujitsu said LTE, also called Super 3G, should reach transmission rates of up to 150 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream, in addition to featuring low latency. The new LTE base stations incorporate numerous advanced Fujitsu technologies, such as highly efficient amplifier technology, to make them lightweight, energy-efficient, and high-performance.

AT&T Adds Telepresence Multi-Vendor Interoperability

AT&T introduced a network-based videoconferencing bridging capability that enables users of Cisco TelePresence systems to hold inter-company telepresence sessions with both standard- and high-definition video equipment from multiple vendors.

This includes support for existing videoconferencing equipment from such brands as Polycom, LifeSize and Cisco's recently-acquired Tandberg.

"As the first provider with a Cisco license for inter-company interoperability and the first to offer exchange-based inter-company interoperability with Cisco TelePresence, AT&T marks another major milestone in Cisco's mission to change the way people communicate and collaborate," said Mark Weidick, vice president and general manager, TelePresence Exchange Business Unit, Cisco. "AT&T is a leader in the development of creative video collaboration solutions and this feature, a result of our close relationship with AT&T and our joint commitment to interoperability between equipment made by multiple vendors, and between company networks, continues to build on those developments."

Pfizer, an AT&T Telepresence Solution customer, has been testing the inter-company interoperability feature over its installed base of videoconferencing systems purchased from a variety of vendors.

India's Bharti Airtel Acquires Zain's African Networks

India's Bharti Airtel completed its previously announced acquisition of Zain's mobile operations in 15 countries across Africa for an enterprise valuation of US$10.7 billion.

The acquisition positions Airtel as one of the world's top five mobile operators with 180 million customers, operations in 18 countries across Asia and Africa. It's network footprint covers over 1.8 billion people. The company will have combined revenues of over US$12.4 billion and EBITDA of over US$ 4.7 billion, based on the last audited results.

Bharti's acquisition of Zain's African mobile services operations covers 15 countries with a total customer base of over 42 million. The total population base covered is over 450 million with telecom penetration of approximately 32%. The countries in which Bharti has acquired the operations are - Burkina Faso, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Zain is the market leader in 10 of the 15 countries and second in 4 countries.

For Zain, the sale resulted in aggregate net cash proceeds of US$8.968 billion. As at 8th June 2010, Zain confirms that it has received US$7.868 billion of cash proceeds from Bharti. The rest is due over the next 6 months. Zain has also licensed the use of the "Zain" brand and related trademarks to Bharti in all 15 African operations for an interim period.

Zain will now focus on its Middle Eastern operations, investing in new growth opportunities in existing markets of Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. In Lebanon, the company manages "mtc-touch" on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain has a stake in Wana Telecom through a joint venture.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

GSA: 22 LTE networks Expected in Service This Year

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) predicts that 22 LTE networks will be in commercial service by end 2010. TeliaSonera was the first to launch a commercial LTE service in December 2009.

The GSA said 80 operators have made firm commitments to deploy LTE networks in 33 countries (compared to 64 network commitments identified two months ago). LTE networks are now being installed or planned for commercial service in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, The Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, UAE, USA, and Uzbekistan.

Governments in Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands have all completed auctions of spectrum in recent weeks including 2.6 GHz, which is targeted for LTE systems. Germany has also completed Europe's first auction of 800 MHz (digital dividend) spectrum in which the winning operators also plan to deploy LTE systems. Further auctions of spectrum suitable for LTE are anticipated in the coming months.

The GSA report notes that in addition to the well established commitment to new 2.6 GHz and digital dividend spectrum (800 MHz in Europe, 700 MHz in the Americas) for LTE, a number of operators are considering deploying LTE in the 1800 MHz band.

Tele2 Appoints Ericsson Exec as CEO

Tele2 AB has appointed Mats Granryd as President and CEO. Mats is currently the head of Northern Europe and Central Asia for Ericsson. He previously led the North West Europe, India, CDMA and North Africa units and the global customer accounts for Vodafone and Bharti. Before joining Ericsson he was a management consultant in telecom strategies at ARRIGO and Andersen. Mats holds an MSc from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Alcatel-Lucent Appoints VP of Business and IT Transformation

Robin Dargue has been appointed Executive Vice-President of Business and Information Technology Transformation at Alcatel-Lucent. In this newly-created position, Robin will be responsible for accelerating the company's transformation through transforming IS/IT and the enterprise architecture, while coordinating the execution of key corporate transformation programs.

Robin joins Alcatel-Lucent from the British Royal Mail where he served as CIO and Technology Director, in charge of a vast IT based transformation program. At British Royal Mail, he oversaw the implementation of 30,000 handheld devices supported by the UK's largest Wi-Fi network, and the introduction of a number of new technology-led products and services for customers, while executing the modernization of the organisation technology assets.

MRV Supplies Optical Transport for Santa Monica, California

The City of Santa Monica, California, has deployed MRV Communications' optical transport, network demarcation and network management products as part of its municipal network serving its business community.

Santa Monica City Net is a 10 Gbps fiber optic network that provides the opportunity to integrate data, voice and video, and efficiently manage data exchanges with business partners. The City provides access direct to local businesses through Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that service Santa Monica.

Santa Monica City Net is based on MRV's LambdaDriver WDM optical transport system, OptiSwitch 9124 (OS9124) packet optical aggregation units and OptiSwitch 912 (OS912) multi-port demarcation platform, all managed and provisioned by the company's Pro-Vision software.

MRV LambdaDriver units were installed to connect Santa Monica businesses with Los Angeles' premiere data center with more than 160 ISPs and one of the major hub sites in Santa Monica. OS912 units were also installed at multi-tenant buildings throughout Santa Monica and OS9124 units were installed to aggregate data from those buildings.

ZTE Debuts Commercial TD-LTE Base Stations

ZTE announced commercial availability of two TD-LTE base stations: BBU- B8300 and RRU- R8962.

ZTE's B8300 TD-LTE base station is based on ZTE's SDR unified platform and can be upgraded from TD-SCDMA mode to TD-LTE or TD/TD-LTE dual mode. The R8962 TD-LTE base station supports two channels with 20W transmission power each. Product features include multi-mode functions of TD/TD-LTE, as well as multi-band 2.3/2.6 GHz and multi-scenario indoor/outdoor applications.

ZTE noted that it has now deployed more than 250 thousand SDR base stations across the globe, including in mainland China, Hong Kong, India and Chile. The company constructed a TD-LTE network for the Shanghai World Expo Press Center, and the company's 2G/3G dual-mode base station built upon the SDR platform was nominated for a GSMA Global Mobile Award in 2009.

Level 3 Launches New Vyvx Local Switching Services

Level 3 Communications is now enabling its Vyvx customers to transmit - or "switch" - video feeds between two local loops within a single market. Broadcasters can now get access to Level 3's extensive national Vyvx footprint of coverage and a cost-effective alternative for local switching services. Level 3 said its value proposition now includes:

  • An extensive footprint -- At its launch, new local switching rates will be available in more than 50 markets.

  • HD support -- Level 3's Vyvx network will support HD loops in a number of markets starting the first day of launch, with support for both 1.5 Gbps and 3 Gbps. These services will initially be available in a dozen markets, including New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Miami, with more cities added in the coming year.

  • International reach -- The same local switching rates apply in all U.S. markets, as well as London.

  • Loop flexibility -- With Level 3, there are no access restrictions. Unlike other providers that require access to be procured through them, customers using Level 3's Local Switching service will have the option to procure their own loops or buy through Level 3 Vyvx.

Apple's FaceTime Promises Open Standards

The FaceTime
video calling application in the upcoming iPhone 4 initially will run only over Wi-Fi networks. It will also be limited to video calls between new iPhones. However, in his keynote presentation, Steve Jobs said FaceTime will be based on standards, including h.264, AAC, SIP, STUN, TURN, ICE, RTP, SRTP. The company is expected to take FaceTime to industry standards bodies as a proposed open standard.

Empirix Acquires Mutina for Monitoring Surveillance Tech

Empirix has acquired privately held Mutina Technology S.p.A., which specializes in monitoring surveillance and analysis technologies for Mobile Broadband (MBB), Next Generation Networks (NGN), SS7/Sigtran Signaling, VoD/IPTV, and IP Core for Telecom and Enterprise Networks. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Mutina, which is based in Modena, Italy, designs and manufactures portable protocol and service analyzers, probes for high performance IP monitoring of telecom and Data Networks, NIC products for OEM, and active testing systems for quality of service in IP environments.

Expirix said the acquisition expands its product line for the monitoring of mobile networks and extends the company's presence in EMEA and Asia Pacific.

Specifically, the combination of Empirix's Hammer XMS solution for IMS, VoIP and SS7 networks with the IPXPlorer system from Mutina provides a solution for mobile broadband, video and data.

Empirix and Mutina bring a common architectural approach to the monitoring challenges of mobile and fixed networks. Both companies deploy software and custom hardware designed for high bandwidth IP with the flexibility of supporting legacy SS7/C7 signaling. The combined technology offers hardware platforms capable of monitoring up to 40GB of traffic per probe, providing real time analysis of IP services, user payload and network impairments.

"As service providers move quickly towards LTE networks, there is a need to monitor increasingly large amounts of voice, video, and data across all access networks," said John D'Anna, CEO of Empirix.

Empirix is privately held and headquartered in Bedford, MA.

NTT's "Kazaspot" Combines Mobile Marketing with "Osaifu-Keitai" Mobile Wallet

NTT Communications is introducing a software-as-a-service (SaaS) mobile-marketing solution that enables stores to engage consumers via mobile phones embedded with contactless IC chips, known as Osaifu-Keitai ("mobile wallet") in Japan.

"Kazaspot," which combines the Japanese words for waving and spot, comprises dedicated reader/writer data terminals installed in physical stores and connected to servers at NTT Com's secure, robust data center.

Consumers simply wave their mobile wallets over the terminals to download basic data that enables them to participate in mobile Web-based surveys, loyalty programs, gift lotteries and other customer programs. The customer's mobile phone becomes the user interface. The system works with mobile-wallet phones from NTT DOCOMO, au and SoftBank Mobile.

NTT Com said its new Biz Marketing Kazaspot will allow enterprises to flexibly customize solutions and integrate them with not only existing services, but even vending machines and digital signage. A variety of reader/writer terminals are available to suit specific types of solutions.

The carrier noted that there are now more than 60 million mobile wallets in Japan being used for electronic money, rapid transit payments, identification, etc.

Calient Expands Sales Staff, Sees Opportunity in 100G Switching

Calient Networks, which supplies optical switching based on 3D MEMS technology, has expanded its sales force with the addition of four new sales executives. The Santa Barbara, California based company said it sees opportunity for its optical switches as network evolve to 100G.

New members of the Calient team include:

O.J. Johnston, who joins Calient as its new global solutions leader. Prior to joining the Calient team, Johnston held various positions at Glimmerglass Networks and Cisco Systems.

John Reynolds, who will oversee the company's business development for data center and OEM partners. Reynolds' past sales experience includes positions at Infinera and Ciena.

Bill Stephenson, who will be responsible for Calient's business development for service providers. Prior to joining Calient, Stephenson held various positions at Ciena and Nortel.

Glenn Stern, who joins the company as its new government practice leader. Stern comes from FORTINET, where he served as director of federal business development. Stern previously served as a National Account Manager for AT&T for ADTRAN.