Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Microsoft Drops Kin Phones Two Months After Launch

Microsoft discontinued its recently launched "Kin" mobile phones due to poor demand. Microsoft said it intends to redeploy employees on the Kin team to its Windows Phone 7 project. Verizon Wireless was offering the two Microsoft Kin phones. The first Windows Phone 7 devices will be available by holiday 2010 under labels from other manufacturers.
  • In 2008, Microsoft acquired Danger, a Palo Alto, California-based developed of mobile phone for the youth market. Danger was best known for its Sidekick device, which is marketed by T-Mobile.

China Telecom Shanghai Activates Juniper TX Matrix Plus

China Telecom has deployed its Juniper Networks' multi-chassis routing system in a production environment of its Shanghai network.

The Juniper Networks TX Matrix Plus interconnects T1600 Core Routers, providing the core of its super metro area network in Shanghai and supporting Expo 2010, which is taking place in the city.

China Telecom has 3.5 million Shanghai broadband customers, including 1.2 million IPTV subscribers, and had been using Juniper Networks TX Matrix with three T640 Core Routers within its network there since 2006.

The Juniper Networks TX Matrix Plus system underwent certification testing at China Telecom's Academy of Science & Technology in Guangzhou during the middle of 2009. And in October Juniper successfully staged a stringent proof-of-concept in Shanghai, leading to the decision to deploy the TX Matrix Plus by the end of the Q1 2010.

The systems are currently connected to network links -- including OC768, OC192, OC48, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Juniper said China Telecom can scale its Shanghai core network as needed with addition of more line cards -- including Juniper Networks' new 100 Gigabit Ethernet interface.

European Commission Launches Net Neutrality Consultation

The European Commission has launched a consultation on net neutrality covering such issues as whether Internet providers should be allowed to adopt certain traffic management practices, such as prioritizing one kind of Internet traffic over another.

The EC will examine whether such traffic management practices may create problems and have unfair effects for users, and whether the level of competition between different Internet service providers and the transparency requirements of the new telecom framework may be sufficient to avoid potential problems by allowing consumers' choice.

The consultation will feed into a Commission report on net neutrality, which should be presented by the end of this year. All interested parties -- service and content providers, consumers, businesses and researchers -- are invited to respond to the consultation by 30 September 2010.

Zayo to Acquire American Fiber Systems

Zayo Group agreed to acquire American Fiber Systems Holding Corporation (AFS), a leading provider of metropolitan fiber network and telecom services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

AFS, which is based in Rochester, NY, operates over 800 route miles of unique, fiber-rich network in 6 new metropolitan markets -- Boise, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Nashville, Reno and Salt Lake City. In addition, AFS enhances Zayo's fiber depth and footprint with approximately 400 additional route miles in Atlanta (a Zayo market pending the close of AGL Networks), Cleveland and Minneapolis. Atlanta, Boise and Las Vegas are particularly strong markets for AFS, representing nearly 75% of its revenue base.

Zayo noted that the AFS customer base is weighted towards the carrier, wireless and other wholesale segments, similar to the sales and marketing approach of the Zayo Bandwidth business unit.

"The addition of AFS's markets significantly increases the geographic scope of the bandwidth infrastructure services that Zayo offers to its customers," said Dan Caruso, President and CEO of Zayo Group. AFS will be the 15th acquisition by Zayo Group since its inception in 2007.

Cisco Delivers Hosted Collaboration Solution for Service Providers

Cisco released a Hosted Collaboration solution that enables Service Providers to deliver Cisco applications via the cloud using an "as a service" model.

Specifically, the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution gives service providers and integrators the ability to deploy multiple collaboration applications on one server in a virtualized environment and then host those applications for multiple client organizations. The solution is designed to be run from partner data centers.

Applications available as part of the Hosted Collaboration solution include: Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Contact Center, Cisco Unified Mobility, Cisco Unified Presence, Cisco Unity Connection, and Cisco WebEx Meeting Center (hosted by Cisco).

Cisco is also providing professional services to enable partners to deploy the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution in an "as a service" model. The company cited deployments or trials with a number of major players, including Verizon Business and Orange.

Cisco Expands Data Center 3.0 Strategy with FabricPath Routing

Cisco expanded its Data Center 3.0 strategy for transforming information delivery in physical and virtualized environments.
Cisco's data center and virtualization vision combines unified fabric and unified computing in the data center. The key innovation in its 3.0 architecture is a new Cisco "FabricPath" technology that increases network scalability, resource agility, asset efficiency, and performance in the data center. The company is also rolling out enhancements for its Nexus and Catalyst data center switching platforms, Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) extensions, and new Cisco services.

The announcement was made at the Cisco Live! conference in Las Vegas. Webcast materials are online.

Cisco FabricPath, which is based on the emerging Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) standard, is a Cisco NX-OS feature designed to bring the stability and performance of routing to Layer 2 in the data center. Cisco said its FabricPath approach resolves the shortcomings of Ethernet in large data centers, such as complications from using Spanning Tree Protocol. The fundamental difference between FabricPath and classical Ethernet is that with FabricPath, the frame is always forwarded in the core using a known destination address. Each frame traversing the core is encapsulated with a FabricPath header, which consists of routable source and destination addresses. Upon reaching the remote switch, the frame is deencapsulated and delivered in its original Ethernet format.

Cisco will deliver its FabricPath Switching System as integrated, validated hardware + software to build massively scalable domains. It is based on the FabricPath feature of NX-OS and FabricPath-capable hardware, such as new Nexus 7000 with F-Series I/O modules. This new module for the Nexus 7000 will offer 32 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity with supports for Data Center Bridging and TRILL standards. Support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) will be enabled in the near future through a software upgrade.

Other data center announcements from Cisco include:

  • Cisco WAAS -- WAN acceleration can now be deployed in the branch office as an on-demand service direct from select models of the Cisco Integrated Services Router (ISR) G2.

  • New Cisco Catalyst 4948E switch -- featuring microburst protection for predictable latency, plus automation and visibility. The switch also supports wire-speed IPv6, in addition to auto-provisioning and smart call-home features.

  • New Cisco Cloud Enablement services: including strategy, planning, design, and implementation, help customers successfully transition the data center to a cloud infrastructure to quickly realize the benefits of a cloud operational model.

  • Cisco Intelligent Automation Solutions: Cisco is also introducing Cisco Intelligent Automation for IT Services, including new versions of the Tidal Enterprise Scheduler and Tidal Enterprise Orchestrator products that provide real-time IT process orchestration and batch automation to simplify data center management and increase operational efficiency and performance.

  • Cisco Validated Design guides: Cisco validated design guides serve as blueprints for ready-to-deploy IT across a variety of domains, including Cisco Virtualized Multi-Tenant Data Center (VMDC) solutions for private cloud design.

Vodafone Portugal Selects NSN's Service Broker

Vodafone Portugal has selected Nokia Siemens Networks' Service Broker to enable the seamless convergence of legacy circuit-switched services, such as Personnel Greeting Voice services, with IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) services. NSN's Service Broker technology, based on an OpenCloud platform and integrated into the operator's existing IMS and intelligent network (IN) systems, is expected to substantially cut the time and cost of launching new services. It will also allow Vodafone Portugal to offer new real-time services without the need to adapt other network elements, enabling continuity with established systems such as charging and billing.

"As a service provider, we are committed to offering our customers innovative services and the ultimate communication experience, so they can live richer lives while on the move," says Jorge Bento, director of intelligent network, services and platforms at Vodafone Portugal.

Portugal Blocks Telefonica's Bid for Vivo Stake

The government of Portugal acted to block the proposed sale of Portugal Telecom's stake in Vivo, the Brazilian mobile operator, to Telefónica S.A. The Portuguese government remains a special "golden" shareholder in Portugal Telecom and opposed Telefónica's bid for strategic reasons. The moves follows several bid increases from Telefónica, which reported had pushed the offer up to EUR 7.15 billion.

Procera Cites First Deployments of PacketLogic

Procera Networks announced the first shipments of its PacketLogic PL8720 platform, a two rack unit (2RU) 10 Gbps deep packet inspection (DPI) appliance for providing awareness, analysis, and control over network traffic. The new PacketLogic PL8720 is designed for networks transitioning from GE (gigabit Ethernet) to 10GE links. It offers up to eight 10GE or sixteen 10GE DPI ports.

Ooma's iPhone App Offloads AT&T Voice Minutes

Ooma, which offers residential voice service in the U.S. using a freemium model, released an iPhone app that
lets Ooma customers make domestic and international calls over any Wi-Fi or 3G network while tapping into their Ooma account rather than using AT&T voice minutes. Ooma leverages its own "PureVoice" codec to reduce bandwidth usage by 60%. For international calls, Ooma calculates this will save customers up to 90%.

Monday, June 28, 2010

MobileAccess Teams With Cisco on Wi-Fi + Cellular Solution

MobileAccess, which supplies enterprise wireless solutions, is working with Cisco to deliver a solution that enables reliable, in-building cellular coverage over an organization's existing LAN infrastructure.

The solution integrates MobileAccessVE with the Cisco Unified Wireless Network by sending cellular RF signals over CAT-5/6 Ethernet LAN infrastructure for 2G, 3G and 4G services, without affecting wired or wireless LAN traffic. This approach lets enterprises maximize the ROI on existing network investments by using their LAN to deliver cellular connectivity. The joint solution is being deployed by MIT.

MobileAccess is headquartered in Vienna, Virginia.

Ericsson's Acquisition of Nortel's stake of LG-Nortel Completed

Ericsson completed its acquisition of Nortel's majority shareholding (50%+1 share) in LG-Nortel, the joint venture of LG Electronics and Nortel Networks, for $242 million in cash.

The deal significantly expands Ericsson's position in Korea, which is one of the 10 largest telecom markets in the world with advanced end-user demand for new services.

The joint venture, which was established in 2005 through the contribution by LG Electronics of its telecommunications systems business and by Nortel of its Korean distribution business, focuses on large scale telecommunications systems such as WCDMA, CDMA and LTE for telecom service providers in Korea as well as enterprise products and services. In 2009, LG-Nortel generated approximately USD 650 million of sales and had 1,300 employees. The joint venture includes important contracts with Korean operators such as KT, LG Telecom and SK Telecom.

EC: Roaming Prices Falling but Competition Still Not strong

The cap on the maximum price consumers in the European Union pay for roamed voice calls fell from €0.46 to €0.43 per minute (excluding VAT) as of 1 July 2009 and will decrease further to €0.39 per minute as of 1 July 2010. The capped-price of a text message fell by almost 60% to €0.11 as of 1 July 2009. The prices that operators charge each other for data roaming will drop from €1 to €0.80 per MegaByte uploaded or downloaded as of July 2010.

The European Commission credits its legislation in part for the lower prices but said that strong competition has yet to emerge to drive prices lower. In the Commission's view, EU rules give operators plenty of margin to offer more attractive roaming tariffs below the regulatory limits. Ultimately the difference between roaming and national tariffs should approach zero by 2015, in line with the objectives of the Digital Agenda for Europe

Google Sees Data Center Efficiency in 40 Gbps InfiniBand

Network engineers from Google have proposed an energy proportional data center based on a unique Butterfly Topology architecture built with 40 Gbps InfiniBand switches and adapters. The proposal was made during a recent presentation at the ACM IEEE International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) and a related paper on the topic has been posted online.

The Google paper proposes several ways to design a high-performance datacenter network whose power consumption is more proportional to the amount of traffic it is moving. The authors find that a flattened butterfly topology itself is inherently more power efficient than the other commonly proposed topologies.

Mellanox Technologies, which supplies InfiniBand solutions, said the proposal for a high-performance enterprise data center built on InfiniBand is a logical step for this technology.http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1815961.1816004

Pareto Launches Cloud-based Branch Office Networking Service

Pareto Networks, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California unveiled a cloud-based service aimed at simplifying branch office network deployment and operations.

Pareto's service uses a low-cost CPE device to securely tunnel all branch office traffic to its hosted platform in the cloud, where security and management policies are enforced. The solution eliminates the various firewall, IPS, routing and other appliances typically deployed at each branch office. The cloud-based application provides centralized control over an enterprises network and security policies, and provides visibility of critical network performance metrics across all branch offices that are enabled with the service. Enterprise data centers would also be tied into the Pareto cloud by means of a separate appliance.

Pareto's fully redundant cloud services platform is distributed globally with multiple data centers across the U.S., as well as in Europe and Singapore. Pareto also provides military-grade encryption and multiple layers of its own security to further guarantee the availability, dependability and integrity of the distributed network.

Pareto is offering an annual subscription starting at $228 per site, which includes all hardware, support, maintenance and future feature upgrades.

The company said a key advantage of its solution is that a branch office network can be set-up in minutes. Pareto customers can link other network and security applications to their distributed network via Pareto Cloud Services.

Pareto has also formed partnerships with other cloud-based security-as-a service operator, including OpenDNS, VeriSign and McAfee.
  • Pareto Networks was founded by Matthew Palmer (CEO) and Carl Mower (VP of Engineering). Until September 2007, Palmer was Vice President of Enterprise Planning and Operations at Juniper Networks. Matt came to Juniper via the Netscreen acquisition in 2004. Mower previously worked at DuPont, Digital, Cabletron, Nortel, SmartPipes, Symbol, and Blue Coat.

Alcatel-Lucent acquires ProgrammableWeb, Extending its Application Enablement Strategy

Alcatel-Lucent has acquired ProgrammableWeb, a leading online repository for Web APIs (application programming interfaces) used by application developers to build web, mobile, and other connected applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ProgrammableWeb maintains a its repository of over 2,000 Web APIs which are regularly accessed by a community of hundreds of thousands of developers. The APIs and mash-ups available for download from the site extend across a wide range of possible applications, such as search result APIs, GoogleMap mash-ups, messaging APIs, etc.

Alcatel-Lucent said its acquisition of ProgrammableWeb will help bring together an ecosystem of service providers, enterprises, and developers to drive the creation of unique applications today and in the new world of broadband mobile through LTE. The acquisition opens an important new channel to partner with the Web developer community -- a dialog it has started with its Open API Service and Developer Platform. It also gives Alcatel-Lucent access to general API usage patterns, allowing it to build highly relevant API bundles for its Open API Service.

ProgrammableWeb's API monitoring services, API trial services, and automated API updates will be integrated into Alcatel-Lucent's Developer Platform. In addition, Alcatel-Lucent will be able to share its developer resources, such as its dashboard that helps developers track application monetization, with ProgrammableWeb's developer community.

"If you look at any organization that launches an API, you quickly realize that the one thing the most successful APIs have in common is a vibrant developer ecosystem," said Laura Merling, vice president of Alcatel-Lucent's global developer strategy. "Our goal is to protect the uniqueness and independence of ProgrammableWeb as an API repository and developer resource, while adding beneficial technologies and service provider relationships to the mix for everyone's benefit."http://www.alcatel-lucent.com
  • In March 2010, Alcatel-Lucent released its first API (Application Programming Interfaces) bundles that blend service provider and third party application capabilities to enable the faster creation of new applications. Alcatel-Lucent's goal with these API bundles is to enable a new revenue share model to transform service provider networks into an application development platform by unlocking network resources and functionality -- similar to what smartphones and apps stores did for the device world.

    The company's first vertical API bundles include three social bundles supporting the creation of new mashups in social gaming, advertising and virtual goods markets. Collectively, the APIs included are SMS, advertising, location, virtual goods, credit card and billing. The initial delivery of these API bundles targets the 14+ million developers worldwide and the two fastest growing and increasingly profitable applications markets today: mobile advertising and virtual goods.

    Earlier this year, Alcatel-Lucent introduced its cloud-based developer platform, which leverages the Application Exposure Suite to build, test, manage and distribute applications across networks, including television, broadband Internet and mobile.

    With the release of the APIs, Alcatel-Lucent also announced a new business and application modeling tool that allows developers to get the most out of their applications. This new functionality helps developers and service providers improve the potential for the success of services they are introducing and helps them better manage the overall business of their applications.

    "The business model benefits everyone across the value chain. Whereas service providers did not share in an application's revenue before, they now gain new sources of revenue from ad network or virtual goods applications. They can invest that income back into their network, which in turn supports new services innovation," said Johnson Agogbua, head of Application Enablement solutions for Alcatel-Lucent.

Cisco Unveils Energy Management Tools for Utilities, Consumers, Businesses

Cisco introduced a Home Energy Management Solution that features a Home Energy Controller along with Cisco Energy Management Services that, when provided by utilities to their customers, are designed to help consumers securely and reliably gain insight into, and easier control over, their energy use.

The Cisco Home Energy Controller (CGH-100) is a countertop touch screen display that tracks and controls real-time household, historic and individual appliance consumption. Devices that communicate with the Home Energy Controller could include thermostats, intelligent sockets and, ultimately, smart appliances like refrigerators and water heaters. The Home Energy Controller coordinates the variety of networks in the home and supports associated networking protocols, such as ZigBee, Wi-Fi and Encoder Receiver Technology (ERT.

On the network side, Cisco is launching hosted Energy Management Services, which utilities can use to manage data from thousands of homes while integrating with their back-end applications. These complement Cisco's existing service offerings to help utilities plan, build and run a converged communications infrastructure for automating the Connected Grid. Cisco cited an initial deployment with Duke Energy, with which Cisco has a strategic collaboration to advance Smart Grid technology.

In addition, Cisco announced key updates to its Smart Connected Buildings portfolio, including the new Cisco Network Building Mediator Manager 6300, which enables centralized management of Smart Connected Buildings across global enterprise operations, and the new Cisco Network Building Mediator 3.1, which provides the platform for linking multiple disparate building automation systems and protocols over Internet Protocol and for allowing greater integration and visibility of energy flows across real estate and information technology.

Mexican Students Win Cisco's $250K Global I-Prize Innovation Prize

A team of five university students from Mexico were awarded Cisco's second I-Prize competition, an open, global innovation contest developed to encourage collaboration among entrepreneurs and help identify new potential billion-dollar business ideas for Cisco. The winners receive a cash prize of $250,000.

The students from Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) developed the concept of a "Life Account" that combines social networking with the "Internet of Things" to help bridge user activities in the physical and virtual world to create one view of the users "life".

Avaya and HP Expand Enterprise Collaboration

As part of a three-year strategic agreement, Avaya and HP are adding elements of Avaya's Unified Communications and Contact Center products to the HP Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) services portfolio for enterprises. This solution set is to be sold and delivered by HP. Specifically, HP is offering Avaya Aura Unified Communications architecture and applications, Avaya Contact Center applications and Avaya's range of end-user client applications and endpoints as part of HP UC&C Lifecycle Services.

Hulu Plus Priced at $9.99 per Month

Hulu unveiled plans to offer an ad-supported subscription Internet TV streaming service that aggregates content from more than 100 providers across broadcast networks, major studios and independent content creators.
Hulu Plus will offer full current season runs of hit TV programs from ABC, FOX and NBC across multiple Web-connected devices, in HD, for $9.99 a month.

The content will be viewable on PCs and Macs as well as on Apple's iPad and iPhone, and select 2010 Samsung Blu-ray players, Blu-ray Home Theater systems, and TVs through Samsung Apps, in up to 720p high-definition resolution. Hulu Plus will also be coming soon to the PlayStation3 (PS3) computer entertainment system.