Thursday, March 22, 2012

Australia's NBN Bars Huawei

Australia’s National Broadband Network reportedly has barred Huawei Technologies from bidding on elements of the project on national security grounds. The Australian and other news sources reported cited government concerns about cyber attacks emanating from the China.

Nokia Siemens Networks Announces Agreement with Union

Nokia Siemens Networks announced an agreement with IG Metall Trade Union under which the company would remain a major employer in Munich. The agreement, proposed by IG Metall, call for approximately 2,000 jobs to remain in Munich, while the St.-Martin-Strasse site, which currently hosts 3,600 employees, would be closed as initially planned.

Nokia Siemens Networks is prepared to accept the IG Metall proposal if a significant majority of the approximately 1,600 positions planned to be reduced in Munich agree to join an interim employment company before the end of April 2012.
  • In November 2011, Nokia Siemens Networks announced a worldwide restructuring plan involving a reduction of 17,000 positions.

  • In late January 2012, Nokia Siemens Networks made known its intention to cut approximately 2,900 of its then approximately 9,100 jobs in Germany.

CenturyLink to Adopt New Operating Group Structure

CenturyLink announced a corporate restructuring under which it will consolidate its organizations focused on its business and government customer segments into two organizations. National and international Business Markets Group (BMG) customers, all Savvis customers and federal government customers will now be served by the Enterprise Markets Group (EMG). In-region large business customers and state and local government customers will be served by the existing Regional Markets Group (RMG). The Wholesale Markets Group (WMG) will remain in its current form.

FCC and ISPs Adopt Three Cyber Security Recommendations

The FCC and the nation's largest ISPs agreed to voluntarily adopt recommendations that address three top cyber-security concerns: attacks on the Domain Name System (DNS), and Internet route

The FCC's Communications, Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), which unanimously approved the recommendations, includes AT&T, CenturyLink, Comcast, Cox, Sprint, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile, Verizon, among others.

Specifically, the advisory committee endorsed industry-based recommendations in each of
these three areas,

Anti-Bot Code of Conduct -- To reduce the threat of botnets in residential networks, CSRIC recommended a voluntary U.S. Anti-Bot Code of Conduct for Internet Service Providers (Anti-Bot Code). Under the Anti-Bot Code, ISPs agree to educate consumers about the botnet threat, take steps to detect botnet activity on their networks, make consumers aware of botnet infections on their computers, offer assistance to consumers whose computers are infected and collaborate with other service providers that have also adopted the Anti-Bot Code.

DNS Best Practices -- CSRIC recommended that ISPs implement best practices to better secure the Domain Name System by using DNSSEC, a set of secure protocol extensions that prevent such fraudulent activity. This recommendation is a significant first step toward full DNSSEC implementation by ISPs and will allow users, with software applications like browsers, to validate that the destination they are trying to reach is authentic and not a spoofed website.

IP Route Hijacking Industry Framework -- CSRIC recommended an industry framework to prevent Internet route hijacking, which is the erroneous routing of Internet traffic through potentially untrustworthy networks. CSRIC recommended that ISPs work to implement new technologies and practices to reduce the number of these events, thereby ensuring that users in the U.S. can be more confident that their Internet traffic will not be exposed to scrutiny by other networks, foreign or domestic, through misrouting.

EXFO Cites Momentum for Its FTB-880 NetBlazer

EXFO announced today that since the launch of the FTB-880 NetBlazer eight months ago, 10 of the world's 15 largest operators have chosen this modular multiservice tester for their deployments. The flagship FTB-880 is a portable multiservice test module designed for all DSn/PDH, SONET/SDH and Ethernet packet-based services transmitted at various rates, from low speeds up to 10G.

NTT DOCOMO Tops 2 Million LTE Subscribers

NTT DOCOMO has passed the 2 million subscriber milestone for its Xi (pronounced "crossy") LTE mobile service.

Xi launched on December 24, 2010 and reached one million subscribers one year later on December 25, 2011. Since then, subscriptions have doubled to two million in just three months, propelled by the introduction of the first Xi-compatible smartphones in November 2011.

In the coming months, DOCOMO plans to introduce additional Xi-compatible smartphones, tablets and data-communication devices and mobile Wi-Fi routers, as well as beneficial services, such as Xi Talk 24, which enables free, unlimited voice calls between DOCOMO users of Xi-compatible smartphones.

AT&T Links T-Mobile USA Layoffs to Failed Merger Bid

AT&T issued a statement linking T-Mobile USA's recent decision to close seven call centers to the regulatory policy that blocked its proposed acquisition of the carrier.

“Yesterday, T-Mobile made the sad announcement that it would be closing seven call centers, laying off thousands of workers, and that more layoff announcements may follow. Normally, we’d not comment on something like this. But I feel this is an exception for one big reason– only a few months ago AT&T promised to preserve these very same call centers and jobs if our merger was approved. We also predicted that if the merger failed, T-Mobile would be forced into major layoffs.

“At that time, the current FCC not only rejected our pledges and predictions, they also questioned our credibility. The FCC argued that the merger would cost jobs, not preserve them, and that rejecting it would save jobs. In short, the FCC said they were right, we were wrong, and did so in an aggressive and adamant way.

“Rarely are a regulatory agency’s predictive judgments proven so wrong so fast. But for the government’s decision, centers now being closed would be staying open, workers now facing layoffs would have job guarantees, and communities facing turmoil would have security. Only a few months later, the truth of who was right is sadly obvious..." stated Jim Cicconi, AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs.

Orange Charts its 4G Rollout

Orange outlined plans to rollout LTE in its home market of France. An upgrade to HSPA+ has been undertaken in recent months.

In September 2011, ARCEP, the office telecoms regulator in France, awarded LTE licences to four operators to use the 2.6 GHz frequency band. Orange France won a duplex frequency block of 20 MHz, for which the company bid the sum of €287,118,501. The company also holds 800 MHz spectrum. Orange said this position will enable it to deliver rates of up to 150 Mbps downlink.

Marseille has been selected as the first Orange 4G pilot city. After the experimental deployment of 4G in a number of areas of the city, other cities will follow. Orange will be deploying its H+ technology and testing its 4G network in Marseille and the surrounding region with Alcatel-Lucent.

Meanwhile, Orange has tripled the speed of its 3G+ network by upgrading HSPA+ for downlinks of up to 42 Mbps.
More than 50 % of the population has been covered by this new technology since 24 November 2011, including 40 major urban centres such as Paris, Chambéry, Clermont Ferrand, Dijon, Grenoble, Lens, Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Nice, Saint-Etienne, Toulon, Marseille, Montpellier and Perpignan.

By end 2012, Orange HSPA+ coverage this coverage is exptected to reach 60% of the population with the addition of cities such as Bordeaux, Nancy, Metz, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Angoulême.

Video: Future, Flexible Hybrid Wireless/Optical Networks

The wireless and optical domains are being driven closer together, especially as cell sizes get smaller and coordinated transmission techniques become possible. In this interview, Dr. Leonid Kazovsky, Professor (Research) of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, discusses future network architecture and the integration between optical and wireless technology.

Some key topics covered in this interview:

0:00 Work underway on hybrid wireless/optical architecture at Stanford's Photonics and Networking Research Laboratory

4:00 Coordinated multi-point transmission schemes

4:50 Intelligence in the network or the base station?

7:20 Orchestrating users and capacity

08:59 Network Design and the Moving Target

12:00 Software-defined networking (SDN) and the hybrid wireless/optical challenge

13:32 Opportunities to improve energy efficiency in the network

Prof. Leonid G. Kazovsky joined Stanford University in 1990. He founded Photonics and Networking Research Laboratory (PNRL) at Stanford University and leads PNRL since establishing it in 1990. PNRL team includes some fifteen researchers focused on green (energy efficient) optical/wireless access and in-building networks.

Prior to joining Stanford, Prof. Kazovsky was with Bellcore doing research on coherent, WDM, high-speed and other advanced optical fiber communication systems (later, Bellcore changed its name to Telcordia, and was acquired by Ericsson). Prof. Kazovsky's research of coherent optical systems at that time resulted in what is widely considered key foundations of modern coherent systems.

While on Bellcore assignments or Stanford sabbaticals, Prof. Kazovsky worked at the Heinrich Hertz Institute, Berlin, Germany; Hewlett-Packard Research Laboratories, Bristol, England; Technical University of Eindhoven, Eindhoven, the Netherland; Scuola Superiore St. Anne, Pisa, Italy; Danish Technical University, Copenhagen, Denmark; and Acreo, Stockholm, Sweden.

Through research contracts, consulting engagements, and other arrangements, Prof. Kazovsky worked with many industrial companies and U.S. Government agencies including Corning, Alcatel-Lucent, Sprint, DT, Huawei, DEC, GTE, AT&T, IVP, Lucent, Hitachi, KDD, Furukawa, Fujitsu, Optivision, and Perimeter on the industrial side; and NSF, DARPA, Air Force, Navy, Army, and BMDO on the government side. He also worked extensively with many leading VCs and intellectual property law firms.

Prof. Kazovsky serves or served on Editorial Boards of leading journals (IEEE Transactions on Communications, IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, Wireless Networks) and on Program Committees of leading conferences (OFC, CLEO, LEOS, SPIE, and GLOBECOM). He also served as a reviewer for various IEEE and IEE Transactions, Proceedings, and Journals; funding agencies (NSF, OFC, ERC, NRC, etc.) and publishers (Wiley, MacMillan, etc.). Recently, Prof. Kazovsky organized several workshops on hybrid optical/wireless networks at OFC and WCNC; he also co-edited a Special Issue of the IEEE Network Magazine on Next Generation Optical Access Networks.

Prof. Kazovsky authored or co-authored three books, three book chapters, fifty five invited journal papers and invited conference talks, some 200 journal technical papers, and some 300 conference papers. His latest book, Broadband Optical Access Networks, was published by John Wiley & Sons in 2011.

Prof. Kazovsky is a Fellow of IEEE and a Fellow of OSA.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

China Unicom Outpaces its Peers in 2011

Led by rapid adoption of 3G and continued strong growth in fixed-line broadband, China Unicom reported 2011 annual revenue of RMB209.15 billion (US$33.17 billion), an increase of 22.2% compared with last year. Service revenue was RMB185.87 billion, an increase of 13.4% compared with last year. EBITDA was RMB63.40 billion, an increase of 6.7% compared with last year. Net profit was RMB4.21 billion, an increase of 20.0% compared with last year. Basic earnings per share was RMB0.179 (including deferred fixed-line upfront connection fee).

Some highlights from the annual report:

China Unicom' service revenues grew faster than its peers in 2011 and the company steadily gained market share.

The mobile business accounted for 55.6% of the total service revenue.

Service revenue from the non-voice business accounted for 48.7% of the total service revenue.

The mobile subscriber base reached 199.660 million, an increase of 19.3% compared with last year.

Service revenue from the mobile business was RMB103.31 billion, an increase of 25.3% compared with last year.

Mobile ARPU was RMB47.3, an increase of 8.2% compared with last year.

ARPU of 3G subscribers maintained a relatively high level of RMB110.0.

Mobile data usage increased by 293.4% compared with last year.

The mobile non-voice business increased rapidly and accounted for 37.2% of the total revenue from the mobile business.

3G subscribers increased by 25.959 million to 40.019 million in 2011, representing 20.0% of the total mobile subscribers.

The total number of fixed-line broadband subscribers for the year increased by 17.8% compared with last year to 55.651 million.

Service revenue from fixed-line broadband business increased by 18.1% compared with last year, which for the first time exceeded service revenue from the fixed-line voice business and accounted for 43.2% of the service revenue from fixed-line business.

Symantec Acquires Nukona for BYOD Management

Symantec agreed to acquire Nukona, a privately-held provider of mobile application management (MAM), for an undisclosed sum.

Nukona, which is based in Solana Beach, California, offers an enterprise-grade mobile management solution with a consumer-like app store for employees. The platform provides management, control and security capabilities to support data loss prevention and compliance on both personal and corporate devices.

Symantec said the acquisition extends its enterprise mobility portfolio to include a cross-platform mobile application protection solution to help IT organizations protect and isolate corporate data and applications across both corporate owned and personally owned devices.

Ericsson Boosts Stake in LG-Ericsson to 75%

Ericsson has boosted its stake in LG-Ericsson from 50% to 75%.

LG-Ericsson is a joint venture between LG Electronics and Ericsson in which Ericsson acquired Nortel's part of the company in July 2010. The company provides customized solutions for operators and enterprises with a portfolio of mobile and fixed network infrastructure, telecom services, software, broadband, voice and data network solutions for enterprises.

SOFTBANK MOBILE Deploys Ericsson for 900MHz Evolved HSPA

Japan's SOFTBANK MOBILE has selected Ericsson to deploy an Evolved HSPA radio access network for recently allocated spectrum in the 900MHz band. The deployment will use Ericsson's latest RBS 6000 multi-standard radio base stations in Japan's biggest cities: Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. Under the contract, Ericsson will also be responsible for a range of professional services such as network design, consulting systems integration and network deployment. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Tata Global Network Completes Eurasia Cable

A new Tata Global Network – Eurasia (TGN-EA) cable has been commercially activated.

The 9,280 km TGN-EA system, which links Europe and India, via Egypt and the Mediterranean, offer RTD latency of around 92 msec. Customer speeds are available from 2 Mbps to 10 Gbps. The round-the-world ring also offers city-to-city connections in contrast to more traditional networks which only link cable landing stations.

The completion of the final TGN-EA link follows significant investment from Tata Communications in its global network in recent years.

“This a landmark moment for Tata Communications as we officially launch the world’s first wholly-owned global submarine cable network as a complete and robust ring around the world,�? stated Vinod Kumar, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Communications.

NEC to Acquire Convergys' BSS for $449 Million

NEC agreed to acquire Convergys' Information Management (IM) business, which supplies Business Support Systems (BSS) to service providers, for US$449 million. The deal covers all of IM's business, including Smart Suite Products, across different verticals including communications, utilities and logistics.

The acquisition will build on NEC's NetCracker division, a supplier of Operations Support Systems (OSS), which NEC acquired in 2008. Following the acquisition, NetCracker will be responsible for all business operations of the combined entity. With this acquisition, NetCracker will add key BSS software and services to its Telecom Operations and Management Solutions (TOMS) suite. The combination of IM's BSS products and NetCracker's TOMS solutions will create a compelling end-to-end portfolio that will bring experience and innovation to service providers and other industry verticals — whether they access BSS/OSS (Operational Support Systems) solutions through the cloud, as a managed service, or as an in-premise system.

Convergys’ BSS business claims 150 service provider customers (AT&T, vivo, BT, Telkomsel etc) and annual sales of approximately $329 million. NetCracker has a customer base of 70 major service providers.

"Convergys' IM business has distinguished itself with a record of successful BSS implementations and exceptional professional services for leading international communications carriers," said Dr. Nobuhiro Endo, President of NEC. "The acquisition of the IM business will enable NEC to bring even greater value and benefits to the service provider industry."

Verizon: Hacktivists and Cyber-Criminals Run Amok

In 2011, the world experienced remarkable civil and cultural uprisings (Arab Spring, Occupy movement, etc) as well as rising hacktivism in the online world.

Verizon's newly released "2012 Data Breach Investigations report traces the sharp rise in hactivism as a major threat to governments and businesses, as well as increasingly sophisticated attacks by mainline cybercriminals who continue to refine their methods in penetrating specific economic targets.

The report, which used input from a variety of sources, including the United States Secret Service and other law enforcement authorities around the world, examined 855 data breach incidents. The number of compromised records across these incidents reached 174 million -- the second-highest data loss total since Verizon started keeping track in 2004.

Hactivist groups are believed to be responsible for 58% of this data theft in 2011.

"With the participation of our law enforcement partners around the globe, the '2012 Data Breach Investigations Report' offers what we believe is the most comprehensive look ever into the state of cybersecurity," said Wade Baker, Verizon's director of risk intelligence. "Our goal is to increase the awareness of global cybercrime in an effort to improve the security industry's ability to fight it while helping government agencies and private sector organizations develop their own tailored security plans."

Professional cybercriminals remain focused on industrial espionage and while the number of reported breaches were less frequent, Verizon sees serious implications for the security of corporate data. Attackers continue to thwart or circumvent authentication by combining stolen or guessed credentials with backdoors (to retain access).

Some guidance from Verizon:

Recommendations for Enterprises

Eliminate unnecessary data. Unless there is a compelling reason to store or transmit data, destroy it. Monitor all important data that must be kept.

Establish essential security controls. To effectively defend against a majority of data breaches, organizations must ensure fundamental and common sense security countermeasures are in place and that they are functioning correctly. Monitor security controls regularly.

Place importance on event logs. Monitor and mine event logs for suspicious activity - breaches are usually identified by analyzing event logs.

Prioritize security strategy. Enterprises should evaluate their threat landscape and use the findings to create a unique, prioritized security strategy.

Recommendations for Small Organizations

Use a firewall. Install and maintain a firewall on Internet-facing services to protect data. Hackers cannot steal what they cannot reach.

Change default credentials. Point-of-sale (POS) and other systems come with pre-set credentials. Change the credentials to prevent unauthorized access.

Monitor third parties. Third parties often manage firewalls and POS systems. Organizations should monitor these vendors to ensure they have implemented the above security recommendations, where applicable.

The 77-page report is available for downloading.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Telstra Offers Mobile Wi-Fi 4G Hotspot

Telstra introduced a battery-powered Mobile Wi-Fi that runs on its LTE network (now available to business customers). Up to five Wi-Fi devices can be connected simultaneously to the device. Telstra collaborated with Sierra Wireless to develop the device.

Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G in 4G coverage areas (capital city CBDs, associated airports and more than 80 regional and metropolitan locations) promises typical download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps and typical upload speeds from 1Mbps to 10Mbps. When outside 4G coverage areas the Mobile Wi-Fi 4G uses HSPA+ Dual Channel technology.

Blue Jeans Debuts its "MCU-Killer in the Cloud"

Blue Jeans Network, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, announced new pricing plans aimed at eliminating traditional on-premise bridging hardware (commonly known as multipoint control units, or MCUs). Blue Jeans' new offering allows customers to license a variable number of concurrent connections (known as “virtual ports�?) from its cloud.

Blue Jeans offers video conferencing interoperability with room-based systems, desktops, and mobile devices, including Cisco, Polycom, Skype, Microsoft, Lifesize, Google, and others. Blue Jeans can also include audio-only participants on the phone.

“Our goal was to make video conferencing a practical alternative for businesses of any size. To do that, we knew we had to make it just as easy, open, and affordable as traditional audio-only bridging systems,�? said Krish Ramakrishnan, CEO of Blue Jeans Network. “By combining improved functionality over legacy MCU systems with the economics, ease and security of the cloud, our customers can now use video to improve their business collaboration. Better yet, money that previously would have been spent on MCUs can be reallocated to update or acquire more video conferencing endpoints.�?

Dell to Resell Mellanox Interconnect Solution

Dell will resell the newest generation of Mellanox Technologies' interconnect solutions as part of the new Dell PowerEdge M620 blade server. Specifically, customers can order new Dell M620 blade servers equipped with Mellanox FDR 56Gb/s InfiniBand switch blades and ConnectX-3 PCIe 3.0 FDR 56Gb/s InfiniBand and 10/40GbE mezzanine adapters.

Broadband Surpasses 600 Million Lines Worldwide

The number of active broadband wireline subscribers reach 597 million as of the end of 2011 and is projected to have passed the 600 million threshold this quarter, according to figures from Point Topic released by the Broadband Forum. While new installations have slowed in developed markets with high-penetration rates, developing markets, especially Brazil, Russia, India and China are seeing strong demand. Overall, broadband growth is estimated at 65,493,596 lines, bringing the global total to 597,322,636, a quarterly increase of 2.6% - and an annual growth rate of 12.3%.

DSL continues to hold the biggest share of the broadband market -- 60.8% of the overall market share, compared to 19.4% for cable modems. Hybrid fiber/DSL deployment is continues to grow as the preferred architecture for many carriers.

"This is an exciting return to higher growth figures and points to a strengthening in the broadband market," commented Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum. "With a number of active new markets coming online and standards based deployments becoming common - we are seeing broadband move into the daily lives of more and more people the world over. A great example of this is the exceptional growth in some key Eastern European markets, such as Russia, Poland and the Ukraine."

The Broadband Forum noted that IPTV penetration continues to rise -- Q4 2011 was the best quarter yet with net additions of 3.68 million. This brings the IPTV installed base to 58.2 million subscribers worldwide. Though Europe still holds the top regional spot - China is the fastest growing country and now has over 12 million subscribers, outstripping France for the first time.

A number of activities are underway at the Broadband Forum, including:

  • an expansion of the Broadband Forum Certification Program to include G-PON certification for ONUs, an interoperability test suite, as well as XG-PON test requirements

  • MMBI certification option for Ethernet Service emulation over MPLS

  • TR-069 CWMP Device Conformance Program

  • End-to-End Multi-service Network Architecture work will progress

  • Network interworking and convergence work in collaboration with 3GPP

  • Work on MPLS in Carrier Ethernet Networks, as well as new MPLS in Mobile Backhaul Initiative (MMBI) developments, including energy efficient mobile backhaul

  • DSL testing, including VDSL2, bonding, vectoring, requirements and DQM measures

  • New access node management models and interface specifications

  • New access work is beginning around business services; cloud, data center interconnection and machine-to-machine (M2M) requirements as well.