Saturday, October 9, 2010

Stoke Pumps its Session Exchange for LTE

Stoke has boosted the capacity of its Session Exchange (SSX) mobile broadband gateway with a new packet processing card targeting LTE deployments. The new line card provides a 5X increase in throughput. Specifically, he XGLC20 extends Stoke's signature line rate session management, encryption/decryption, and visibility and control, with enhanced capabilities, including five times the throughput and up to four times the session management capacity. Enhanced capacity and capabilities for evolved packet core gateway applications delivered by the Stoke Session Exchange now include:

  • All packet operations function at line rate inclusively (i.e. L4-L7 traffic classification; encryption and decryption; policy enforcement, QoS, and accounting);

  • 20 Gbps (full duplex) line rate processing per line card;

  • Up to 240k active concurrent sessions and 3.8M active service classes per card; and

  • 4 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports (active and standby) per line card.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dr Hamadoun Touré Re-elected Secretary-General of ITU

Dr Hamadoun Touré of Mali has been re-elected as Secretary-General of ITU for a second four-year term. The election took place in Guadalajara, Mexico during the morning Plenary session of the 18th ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. Dr Touré won the position with 151 votes, with 157 countries present and voting. He contested the position unopposed.

During the same morning Plenary session, Houlin Zhao of China was re-elected Deputy Secretary-General with 155 votes. His election was also unopposed.

Ford Opens its SYNC In-Vehicle System for Wireless Apps

Ford is enhancing its SYNC in-vehicle communications, information and entertainment system with text-to-voice capability to read aloud incoming SMS messages. The system now enables drivers to reply to text messages via voice commands using 15 preset responses that can be personalized.

Ford has adopted the latest Bluetooth standard -- Message Access Profile (MAP) -- so SYNC can stream text messages from a larger population of smartphones. The company is also urging phone makers to adopt this standard as a step toward safer in-vehicle communications.

Certain cell phone functions are locked out when the vehicle is in motion. Examples include pairing a Bluetooth-capable phone, manually adding individual contacts into the phone book, viewing received text messages on screen, playing video or browsing photos on screen.

Ford intends to bring other smartphone apps into the car in a similar way. The company is releasing an application programming interface (API) that gives developers the ability to use the same voice features of the SYNC system. Pandora Internet radio, Stitcher smart radio and Orangatame's OpenBeak are the first apps to incorporate the SYNC API, with more on the way in coming months. Other examples of driving apps could include location-based services incorporating navigation, traffic and business searches. Ford noted that it is already reviewing more than 1,000 submissions made on the SYNC Developer website for future SDK releases.

"More and more drivers will find a way to use their devices and their apps while in the car," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development. "They can do it unsafely, or they can do it through safer voice-activated solutions such as Ford SYNC -- keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel."

TISCALI Deploys FTTH in Sardinia with ZTE

Tiscali signed a strategic framework agreement with ZTE for the deployment of an FTTH network in Sardinia. The contract was signed in the presence of the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who is visiting Italy.

In the first phase of the project, the FTTH deployment will leverage ongoing work for the local gas network in the extended Cagliari area. This will include over 50 thousand lines of LLU (Local Loop unbundling) coverage.

Obama Signs 21st Century Comm. & Video Accessibility Act of 2010

President Obama signed Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 into law, providing an update to the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

The bill requires that VoIP equipment be compatible with hearing aids and it requires that Internet-based voice communication service providers contribute to the Interstate Relay Service Fund. Likewise, providers of advanced communications equipment and services, including smartphones, must make their products accessible to individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, the bill provides up to $10 million per year from the Interstate Relay Service Fund for equipment used by individuals who are deaf-blind.

In addition, new requirements for video programmers have been added concerning closed captioning and programming guides and menus.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

DragonWave Posts Revenue of $27.2 Million

DragonWave reported revenue of US$27.2 million for its second quarter fiscal year 2011, ended August 31, 2010, compared with $32.4 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2010. Net income was $1.2 million or $0.03 per diluted share, compared with net income of $5.7 million or $0.19 per diluted share in the second quarter of fiscal year 2010. Gross margin for the second quarter was 44%, compared with 42% in the second quarter of the prior fiscal year; operating margin was 4% in the quarter, compared with 17% in the second quarter of the prior fiscal year.

Revenue from customers within North America was $20.3 million, compared with $29.1 million in the second quarter of the prior fiscal year. Revenue from customers outside North America was $6.9 million, compared with $3.3 million in the second quarter of the prior fiscal year. DragonWave had two customers that each contributed more than 10% of revenue in the second quarter of fiscal year 2011.

"I am satisfied with our progress in the second quarter in meeting key objectives to strengthen our global market presence, expand our customer and partner base, and to continue to deliver innovative solutions," said DragonWave President and CEO Peter Allen.

NTT Com Builds Premium Data Center in Hong Kong

NTT Communications will open a new premium data center in Hong Kong. The Tseung Kwan O Data Center, which occupies 30,000 square meters of land, will become NTT Com's biggest data center outside of Japan, and located in the eastern side of Kowloon.

UK Regulator Issues Wholesale Fibre Access Rules

Ofcom, the official telecom regulator in the UK, published new rules designed to promote competition and investment in super-fast broadband services across the UK. The plan calls for "virtual unbundling/; -- allowing competitors to have access to a dedicated virtual link over new fibre lines laid by BT. Ofcom will permit BT to set prices for these new wholesale products. These prices would be constrained by market forces given the highly competitive wider broadband market, while enabling BT to make a fair rate of return reflecting commercial risk. Ofcom would still enforce rules to prevent anti-competitive pricing. BT has already started offering its "Generic Ethernet Access" and has agreed to develop it further in line with the requirements outlined today.

Key elements of Ofcom's Wholesale Local Access (WLA) regulatory model include:

  • Virtual Unbundled Local Access ("VULA"), which will allow competitors to deliver services over BT's new NGA network, with a degree of control that is similar to that achieved when taking over the physical line to the customer;

  • Physical Infrastructure Access ("PIA"), which will allow competitors to deploy their own NGA infrastructure between the customer and the local exchange, using BT's duct and pole infrastructure, to provide broadband and telephony; and

  • Local Loop Unbundling ("LLU") which will continue to provide a basis for competition in current generation services, allowing competitors to physically take over (or share) BT's copper lines between the customer and the local exchange.

Force10 Adds 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet Top-of-Rack Switch

Force10 Networks is extending its S-Series family with a new S55 1/10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) top-of-rack (ToR) access switch fore data centers.

The 1 RU unit delivers non-blocking, line-rate switching performance as well as support for the Force10 Open Automation Framework to make virtualized data center environments more responsive and manageable. It provides 48 GbE access ports and up to four optional 10 GbE uplinks.

TELUS deploys Alcatel-Lucent's Digital Media Store

TELUS has deployed Alcatel-Lucent's Digital Media Store (DMS) to offer ringtone, image and mobile game services to its more than 7.9 million mobile and broadband Internet customers across Canada.

Alcatel-Lucent is providing the digital store front for TELUS as an end-to-end managed and hosted service. The DMS is driven by a configurable merchandizing and analytics engine that enables focused marketing programs, such as bundles, subscriptions, personal locker, gifting, sharing of games, videos, music, applications, etc. To boost the store, Alcatel-Lucent is also providing relationships with leading content producers and aggregators focused on mobile applications, games, music and electronic publishing.

Alex Giosa, President of Alcatel-Lucent Canada added: "The DMS service builds upon Alcatel-Lucent's Application Enablement vision combining the capabilities of TELUS' network with the innovation of the Web to provide TELUS' customers with an enriched experience."

AT&T Builds Innovation Centers in Palo Alto, Plano and Ra'anana

AT&T will build innovation centers in Palo Alto, California, Plano, Texas, and Ra'anana, near Tel Aviv, Israel to accelerate new networking technologies and applications. Alcatel-Lucent, Amdocs and Ericsson are initial participants. Cisco and Juniper also plan to contribute to the centers. The centers will provide an environment for developers to collaborate with AT&T and its innovators, its host suppliers and other developers.

The centers will provide a semi-autonomous environment for developers to conduct live testing on the AT&T network. The program will also include an online portal that will give developers the tools, support and customer access to help build, test and certify applications across a range of broadband platforms.

Peter Hill, who previously had responsibility for the technology behind AT&T U-verse service, has been tapped to lead AT&T's innovation center initiative as vice president, ecosystems and innovation.

"The innovation centers will help us enhance collaboration and dramatically accelerate the velocity of innovation, taking ideas from concept to reality in mere months as opposed to years," said John Donovan, AT&T's chief technology officer. "We're tapping into cutting-edge design expertise in Silicon Valley, prototyping industry applications -- from automotive to education services -- in Plano and the deep skills in communications protocols and innovation that reside in Israel. Working across centers, innovation can follow the sun with a near 24-hour cycle time for agile development."

ENISA Sees Paradigm Shift with Stuxnet

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) issued a preliminary assessment of the recent "Stuxnet" attacks and their potential impact on Europe, calling the attack a paradigm shift in cyber security.

The report argues that Europe should reconsider its protection measures for Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP). ENISA warns that new measures must be developed and put into practice by public and private enterprises to protect against future such attacks.

"Stuxnet is really a paradigm shift, as Stuxnet is a new class and dimension of malware. Not only for its complexity and sophistication, e.g. by the combination of exploiting four different vulnerabilities in Windows, and by using two stolen certificates, and from there attacking complex Siemens SCADA systems. The attackers have invested a substantial amount of time and money to build such a complex attack tool. The fact that perpetrators activated such an attack tool, can be considered as the "first strike", i.e. one of the first organized, well prepared attack against major industrial resources," stated Dr Udo Helmbrecht, Executive Director of ENISA.

LightSquared Reaches L-Band LTE Deals with Qualcomm, Nokia

LightSquared, the new company backed by Harbinger Capital Partners that is building a nationwide LTE + satellite wholesale network, announced agreements with Qualcomm, Nokia two additional suppliers of wireless devices -- AnyDATA and BandRich.

Qualcomm is integrating L-Band LTE technology in its mainstream chipset roadmap and has developed a satellite air interface technology. The Enhanced Geostationary Air Link (EGAL) enables the satellite mode of operation in mobile devices. These technologies will be integrated into silicon, including Qualcomm's MDM9600 chipset, which is an LTE multi-mode solution.

Nokia will supply branded, data-centric products for LightSquared customers. AnyDATA and BandRich will provide embedded modules, USB data modems, and other devices which will launch during the second half of 2011. The AnyDATA modem will utilize industry standard USB 2.0 interface, while the module will be mini-PCIE form factor to simplify interface with netbooks, notebooks, tablets, and portable computing devices.

In addition, the board of directors of both Nokia Siemens Networks and LightSquared recently approved the 8-year, $7 billion agreement for Nokia Siemens Networks to deploy, install, operate and maintain the LightSquared nationwide network. The LightSquared network, anticipated to consist of approximately 40,000 cellular base stations, is expected to cover 92 percent of the U.S. population by the end of 2015.
  • Earlier this month, LightSquared announced the closing of an additional $850 million in financing through a credit facility led by UBS AG. With this, LightSquared has obtained an aggregate of more than $2 billion in equity and debt proceeds and in commitment.

  • In July, LightSquared unveiled its plans to launch a wholesale-only, 4G-LTE network across the U.S. complemented by satellite coverage. LightSquared will provide wholesale wireless broadband capacity to a diverse group of customers, including retailers; wireline and wireless communication service providers; cable operators; device manufacturers; web players; content providers; and many others. The LightSquared network will allow these partners to offer satellite-only, terrestrial-only, or integrated satellite-terrestrial services to their end users.

Interview: NSN's Sue Spradley on LightSquared's Wholesale Mobile Data Paradigm

by Sue Spradley

LightSquared, a new company backed by Harbinger Capital Partners, plans to launch a wholesale-only, 4G-LTE network across the U.S. complemented by satellite coverage. LightSquared will provide wholesale wireless broadband capacity to a diverse group of customers, including retailers; wireline and wireless communication service providers; cable operators; device manufacturers; web players; content providers; and many others. NSN has been appointed vendor of choice in a deal valued at $7 billion over 8 years.

GSMA Launches mWomen Programme

The GSMA has launched an "mWomen Programme" aimed at bringing the resources of the global mobile industry and the international development community together to bring mobile devices to more than 150 million women in developing markets within three years. The initiative was formally launched by Rob Conway, CEO of the GSMA, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Cherie Blair, at an event in Washington, D.C..

The vision of the programme is that by increasing access to mobile connectivity and services, women living on less than US$2 per day will achieve a greater sense of security, independence, economic opportunity and connection with the world outside their homes. Key issues to be addressed by the initiative include total cost of ownership, technical literacy, and cultural barriers to adoption.

The GSMA mWomen Programme is aligned with the UN Millennium Development Goals, particularly MDG 3 on Gender Equity. It has already secure commitments from the following 20 leading global mobile companies: AT&T, Banglalink, Bharti Airtel, Cell C, Dialog, Digicel, IDEA Cellular, Maxis, Mobitel, Mobilink, MTN, France Telecom/Orange, Orascom, Roshan, Safaricom, SMART, Telenor, Telefonica, Uninor and Vodafone. Nokia has also committed to the programme by piloting women's information initiatives under its Ovi Life Tools service, focusing specifically on healthcare and education

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cisco Umi Puts Telepresence in Living Room -- $599 + $25/Month

Cisco introduced an HD 1080p telepresence system for the home.

Cisco ūmi, which includes an HD camera, a console and a remote, is a premium home telepresence system that aims for pristine video and audio quality over broadband connections. It connects to existing HD sets via HDMI and lets users set-up calls, record calls and send pre-recorded video messages.

The units feature dynamic resolution scaling based on available bandwidth (1080p, 720p, and 480p supported). Minimum upload speeds of 3.5 Mbps are required to maintain a 1080p session while a minimum or 1.5 Mbps uplink is needed for 720p calls. The in-home networking connection is either Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n ) or 10/100 Ethernet (RJ-45).

The Cisco umi carries a suggested retail price of $599 with a monthly fee of $24.99 for unlimited ūmi calls, video messaging and video storage.

Verizon confirmed that it will be among the first service providers to offer it to its FiOS customers starting early next year. Best Buy will sell the Cisco umi.

Neutral Tandem's Ethernet Exchange Network Grows to 14

Following the completion of its merger with Tinet last week, Neutral Tandem has launched eight additional Ethernet Exchange Points of Presence (PoPs), bringing all 14 of its previously announced Ethernet Exchanges to market. Following the launch of the company's initial six Ethernet Exchanges in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los
Angeles and New York, the company has now completed, ahead of schedule, the deployment of eight additional markets including Denver, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.

"We are proud to be the first to offer Ethernet Exchange services in 14 locations," said Surendra Saboo, President and COO of Neutral Tandem. "The scalability and cost efficiency of an Ethernet Exchange is accentuated with Neutral Tandem's networked approach, where each exchange is interconnected with all of the other exchanges; thereby increasing the availability of service providers that can be connected
to each other."

MetroPCS Picks Tekelec for Signaling Evolution to LTE

MetroPCS Communications has chosen Tekelec to provide SIGTRAN, SIP and Diameter session management as well as Number Portability and Performance Management solutions. The suite of solutions, including Tekelec's Diameter Signaling Router (DSR), will be deployed to support the company's 4G LTE roll out, which is the first commercial 4G LTE network in the US.

Tekelec said its Diameter Signaling Router (DSR) creates a Diameter signaling core that relieves LTE and IMS endpoints of routing, traffic management and load balancing tasks and provides a single interconnect point to other networks. In addition, MetroPCS will use Tekelec's performance management solution to gain visibility into network services and subscriber usage. MetroPCS will use the solution to monitor Quality of Service (QoS) for subscribers, as well as Service Level Agreements (SLAs). The solution provides key performance indicators (KPIs) in both pre-built and customer-defined reports, giving MetroPCS the flexibility to examine traffic, troubleshoot issues and analyze subscriber activity -- the foundation for measuring the quality of experience.

Russia's Vimpelcom Bids to Become Fifth Largest Global Operator

Russia's Vimpel-Communications has struck a deal with Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris to acquire Weather Investments S.p.A, which owns 51.7% of Orascom Telecom (Egypt) and 100% of Wind Telecomunicazioni (Italy).

Under the deal, Weather shareholders will contribute to VimpelCom their shares in Weather in exchange for a consideration consisting of 325,639,827 newly issued VimpelCom common shares, US$1.8 billion in cash and certain assets that will be demerged from Orascom Telecom and from Wind Italy. The Weather interests in these assets, which principally comprise Orascom Telecom's investments in Egypt and North Korea, will be transferred to the current Weather shareholders. Wind Hellas Telecommunications S.A. in Greece is entirely excluded from the transaction.

Vimpelcom said the acquisition will make it the world's fifth largest mobile telecommunications carrier by subscribers with pro forma net operating revenues of US$21.5 billion and pro forma EBITDA of US$9.5 billion for 2009. The combined company would have operations in 20 countries with a combined population of 850 million. Based on 2009 pro forma revenues, the existing operations in Russia will represent 35% and Wind Italy will represent 34% of the combined company.

Alexander Izosimov, Chief Executive Officer of VimpelCom, added: "Today's announcement marks a transformational transaction for VimpelCom. It offers our shareholders exposure to attractive growth markets in both Asia and Africa and the opportunity to diversify further our revenue base in terms of geography, currency and market characteristics.

Although its major operations are in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Georgia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam and Cambodia, VimpelCom is based in Amsterdam. Weather Investments provides services to 123 million subscribers in Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Pakistan, Tunisia and North Korea.

Sprint ID Offers Mobile Users Packages of Apps/Content

Sprint introduced a new concept that packages Android applications and premium online content to help improve the mobile experience of its smartphone users.

For consumers, Sprint ID is a way to rapidly customize certain Android devices with packages of apps, wallpaper, ringtones, etc. For businesses, Sprint ID offers the potential to rapidly customize employee smartphones with pre-selected business applications, forms and settings.

Sprint has teamed up with leading consumer brands to build the first packages. Partners include Amazon, Blackboard, Comcast, Disney, E!, Electronic Arts, eBay, ESPN, HSN, LatCel, MTV, Notre Dame, Oprah Winfrey Network, RadioShack, Weather Channel, Where and Yahoo!

Verizon Debuts M2M Management Center

Verizon is launching Machine to Machine Management Center to help enterprise customers monitor wireless devices over the Verizon Wireless network.

Customers can access an integrated dashboard to manage network connections, self-service device management, and other key elements of machine to machine connectivity.

The new portal is a product of nPhase, LLC, the joint venture established last summer between Qualcomm Incorporated and Verizon Wireless.