Thursday, May 17, 2012

Brocade Sees Softness in Federal Sales

Huawei unveiled a WDM prototype based on a flexible 12.5 GHz wavelength grid , improving upon the current mainstream commercial products that use a 50GHz of 25 GHz fixed spectrum interval. The flexibility of the wavelength spacing lays a foundation for multi-carrier technologies and next-generation bandwidth-flexible optical networks beyond 100G.

Huawei said its WDM prototype developed increases the spectrum utilization for large-capacity WDM systems. The WDM prototype supports 40G, 100G, 400G and 1T hybrid transmissions and is compatible with the 50GHz or 25GHz spectrum interval legacy systems. It provides smooth evolution from 40G and 100G systems to 400G and 1T systems, effectively protecting investment on current networks. Huawei expects next-generation, bandwidth-flexible optical networks will leverage systems capable of automatic adjustment of the modulation mode and line rate based on the transmission distance and service capacity, constantly changing the frequency width utilization. The 12.5GHz granularity enables flexibility in the adjustment of bandwidth, distance, and frequency width, freeing up more of the available spectrum to transmit services.

Jack Wang, president of Huawei Transport Network Product Line, said: "After releasing the world’s first 10 petabit all-optical switch prototype and the 400G DWDM prototype, Huawei has provided a preview of next-generation optical networks by unveiling the highest efficiency spectrum WDM prototype. Huawei is committed to providing innovative solutions in the field of optical networks and to making significant contributions in broadband network construction to further develop next-generation optical transmission technologies."

Westell to Acquire ANTONE Wireless for Tower Mounted Amplifiers

Westell Technologies has acquired the assets and business of ANTONE Wireless Corp., which makes a line of high-performance Tower-Mounted Amplifiers, Multi-Carrier Power Amplifier Boosters, and cell-site antenna sharing products. ANTONE’s products have already been approved for use by large U.S. wireless carriers to address the growing need for cell-site optimization.  FiANTONE had revenues of approximately $2 million in the 12 months ending March 31, 2012.

Apple Commits to 100% Renewable Energy in N.C. Data Center

Apple will power its new data center in Maiden, North Carolina, using entirely renewable sources by the end of this year.  About 60% of the capacity will cover from on-site generation using the nation’s largest private solar arrays and the largest non-utility fuel cell installation in the country. The remaining 40 percent of the data center energy needs will be clean, renewable energy generated by local and regional sources.

Marvell Posts Revenue of $796 Million, up 7% Sequentially

Marvell Technology Group reported revenue of $796 million for the quarter ending 20-April-2012, a 7 percent sequential increase from $743 million in the preceding quarter and down slightly from $802 million in the same period a year ago. GAAP net income for the quarter was $95 million, or $0.16 per share (diluted), compared with GAAP net income of $81 million, or $0.13 per share (diluted), for the preceding quarter, and $147 million, or $0.22 per share (diluted), for the same period last year.

"Our results in the first quarter were better than anticipated driven in part by our TD smartphone products, which grew about 25% sequentially and increased deployment of our 500 gigabyte per platter mobile storage solutions to all the hard disk drive manufacturers," said Dr. Sehat Sutardja, Marvell's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "This financial performance gave us the confidence to increase our share repurchase program by $500 million to a total of $2.5 billion, and based on broad institutional shareholder request, to also initiate a quarterly dividend of 6 cents per share."

DIRECTV Extends Satellite Broadband Across US

DIRECTV announced new agreements with ViaSat and Hughes to deliver satellite broadband service to consumers across the U.S.

DIRECTV will offer the Exede by ViaSat and Hughes' HughesNet Gen4 next-generation satellite broadband services, with speeds of over 10 Mbps, to its customers living in mostly unserved, rural areas later this year.

This new offering, coupled with already available triple-play bundles with Verizon, AT&T, Century Link and other telco providers, means that any DIRECTV customer in the U.S. will now be able to get bundled pricing.

Aruba Posts $132 Million in Revenue, up 25% YoY

Aruba Networks reported quarterly revenue of $131.9 million, an increase of 25 percent from the $105.8 million reported in Q3’11. GAAP net income for Q3’12 was $6.0 million, or $0.05 per share, compared with GAAP net income of $3.2 million, or $0.03 per share, for the same period in the previous year.

“We are pleased with our solid third quarter results as we grew revenue 25 percent year-over-year to the highest level in our history,” said Dominic Orr, president and chief executive officer. “Our differentiated mobile-centric approach to the access network continues to resonate with both new and existing customers as the global proliferation of mobile devices and the BYOD trend fundamentally change how users securely connect to their enterprise resources. The recent customer wins we made this quarter with our MOVE architecture demonstrate the power of our platform to expand within our current customer base and win new accounts.”

SSE Telecoms Deploys 100G with Ciena

SSE Telecoms, the UK’s fourth largest asset owning telecoms operator (a business unit of Scottish and Southern Energy), has selected Ciena’s coherent 100 Gbps optical networking technology as the exclusive solution for deployment in its UK national network. SSE Telecoms is connecting its data centers across Britain using the 100 Gbps network.  The company is deploying Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform equipped with WaveLogic coherent optical processors.  The high-capacity links, already deployed and operational, connect SSE Telecoms’ sites in Manchester and Hampshire to the Global Switch 2 data centre located in London’s Docklands.

Huawei Selects Metaswitch Control Plane Software

Huawei has licensed Metaswitch’s Path Computation Element software (DC-PCE) to serve as a key component of its IP and optical product integration strategy. Metaswitch’s DC-PCE, along with its GMPLS software previously licensed to Huawei, provides the key building blocks for Huawei’s Unified Control Plane, which powers the software for its SingleBackbone network architecture.

The Metaswitch solution enables a separation of the IP/MPLS control plane from the data forwarding hardware in the network. This separation and virtualization of the control software from the forwarding hardware is a central feature of Software Defined Networking (SDN) architectures.

NextIO Raises $12.3 Million for Data Center I/O

NextIO, a start-up based in Austin, Texas, raised $12.3 million in a Series F funding round for its data center solutions.

NextIO offer a portfolio of rack-level I/O consolidation solutions for datacenter network consolidation, GPGPU computing, and high-performance storage. The newest product in the NextIO portfolio is the vNET I/O Maestro, which provides server connectivity at the rack level to both Ethernet and Fibre Channel networks without the need for changes in governance models or proprietary, hard to support I/O drivers.

Zayo Expands its Fiber Network

Zayo is expanding its fiber footprint in Phoenix, Arizona by 165 route miles,  a 60% increase over the existing network. The build will provide presence to the Phoenix suburbs Peoria, El Mirage, Fountain Hills and Sun City.  It will also connect 123 new towers. With the expansion in Phoenix, along with other markets, Zayo’s tower footprint has over 900 towers under construction; currently the on-net tower footprint is 2,427.

Separately, Zayo announced a low latency service between Seattle and Chicago.  Zayo said its existing service between Seattle and Chicago already provides industry-leading latency.  The enhanced service, which will be available in the third quarter of 2012, significantly improves latency. The distance of the route will be reduced by approximately 100 route miles. To further reduce latency, the system will be engineered as an express route, with add/drop points being limited to approximately 4 locations. Zayo anticipates reducing latency by 5 – 15% relative to currently available services. The Wavelength system being deployed will be a native 100G system. Zayo will continue to offer service on its existing system, which provides add/drop points in many markets between Chicago, IL and Seattle, WA.

Latest Release of OpenFlow Adds IPv6, Tunneling, QoS

The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) approved OpenFlow 1.3.0, adding a number of updates to the standard for real-world deployment in wide-ranging environments. 

OpenFlow 1.3.0 was developed by the Extensibility Working Group of ONF, which is tasked with moving technical work forward and making OpenFlow more flexible to enable a rich set of features and broad set of implementations. The new version of the OpenFlow protocol includes support for:
  • IPv6 deployment that enables OpenFlow controllers to implement IPv6 RFCs and routing
  • Tunneling and logical port abstraction used in datacenters, virtualized private networks (VPN), and more
  • Provider Backbone Bridging (PBB), which is a lightweight tunneling standard used between datacenters
  • Quality of Service (QoS) through a new per-flow metering feature to precisely control the usage of the network bandwidth
  • Features that enable the controller to better select the information it gets from the switch with per-flow metering and per-connection event filtering.
OF-Config 1.1 was also approved, which is an update for the configuration and management protocol for OpenFlow switches. The updated configuration protocol is an important aspect of the evolution of OpenFlow and includes capability discovery, tunnel configuration, error handling, and new security features. OF-Config 1.1 allows OpenFlow controllers and OpenFlow switches from different vendors to be easily deployed and managed in the same datacenter or network.

"ONF continues to focus its technical work on the topics that are most important to the networking market,” said Dan Pitt, executive director, ONF. “OpenFlow brings market-defining value into the SDN eco-system. The approval of OpenFlow 1.3.0 and OF-Config 1.1 demonstrates the Foundation’s commitment to reducing time-to-value in real-world deployments where operational efficiency and managing complexity are primary concerns. We are eager for member companies to move forward with the implementation and deployment of these updates because doing so will allow processes to be defined ‘on the fly’ and deployed automatically, thus driving the commercialization of OpenFlow-based SDN for the benefit of customers." 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ciena Endorses Open Data Center Interoperable Network (ODIN)

Ciena announced its support for the new Open Data Center Interoperable Network (ODIN)framework from IBM, which is positioned as an industry best-practice for transforming data-centers with a flatter, more converged network architecture.

In a blog posting, Steve Alexander, Chief Technology Officer of Ciena, writes: "We can see a time in the near future where the combination of increasing network intelligence combined with the use of open standards-based network programming interfaces (NPIs) enables physical network resources to be virtualized, just as we today routinely work with virtualized compute and storage resources."

The ODIN framework outlined by IBM addresses issues such as virtualization and Virtual Machine (VM) migration across flat Layer 2 networks, lossless Ethernet, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and OpenFlow, and extended distance WAN connectivity (including low latency). Several papers are posted on the IBM site listed here.

Ciena Endorses Open Data Center Interoperable Network (ODIN)

Ciena announced its support for the new Open Data Center Interoperable Network (ODIN)framework from IBM, which is positioned as an industry best-practice for transforming data-centers with a flatter, more converged network architecture.

In a blog posting, Steve Alexander, Chief Technology Officer of Ciena, writes: "We can see a time in the near future where the combination of increasing network intelligence combined with the use of open standards-based network programming interfaces (NPIs) enables physical network resources to be virtualized, just as we today routinely work with virtualized compute and storage resources."

The ODIN framework outlined by IBM addresses issues such as virtualization and Virtual Machine (VM) migration across flat Layer 2 networks, lossless Ethernet, Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and OpenFlow, and extended distance WAN connectivity (including low latency). Several papers are posted on the IBM site listed here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ITU: Broadband Remain Unaffordable in Many Markets

While there are some 600 million broadband lines in service worldwide, affordability remains a major obstacle, particularly in Africa, where fixed broadband access costs on average three times monthly per capita income, according to the ITU's newly published "Trends in Telecommunication Reform" annual report.

In contrast, mobile cellular and mobile broadband services remains very competitive in 92 percent of all markets. By the end of 2011, ITU estimated that the number of mobile-cellular subscriptions reached close to 6 billion, representing a global penetration of 86.7 percent and a penetration level of 78.8 percent in developing countries.

Subtitled ‘Smart Regulation for a Broadband World', this year's report sheds light on the often complex legal and regulatory issues now emerging as broadband becomes pervasive and increasingly serves as a driving force for the development of other economic sectors. Case studies and decision trees are provided for national regulators who are working through the process of developing a broadband plan for their country. Ultimately, there is not a single "right" universal service funding model, according to the report, but there are common principles such as economic efficiency, equity, competitive neutrality, technological neutrality, certainty, transparency, and cost effectiveness. 

Overture Bolsters International Sales Team

Overture announced the opening of offices in India, Italy, Malaysia and Russia -- significantly expanding its international sales team.

These additions follow on the heels of Overture’s recent appointments of vice presidents for Canada and the Caribbean and Latin American (CALA) regions. 

AT&T Selected by U.S. Department of Homeland Security TacCom

AT&T Government Solutions was named prime vendor under the Tactical Communications Equipment and Services (TacCom) contract by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is a multiple award, Indefinite Delivery – Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with an overall value of $3 billion and a base contract period of two years and three, one-year options.

The TacCom contract provides DHS and its component agencies with a range of tactical communications products, infrastructure, and services to support public safety communications for first responders. As a prime vendor, AT&T can compete against other vendors for individual awards from DHS and its component agencies.

AT&T was awarded a position in all five functional categories under the TacCom contract, including Subscriber 

Level 3 Expands in Latin America

Level 3 Communications announced an expansion of its data centers in Latin America in response to significant growth in customer demand. The company currently has 14 data centers in the region. Substantial data center expansions are underway in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador.

Level 3 also added new hosting and storage services, and increased its backup and storage capacity to enhance its customers' ability to grow in the region and internationally. The company has incorporated network, security, and storage management tools, and completed the first phase implementation of security and processing platforms that support its virtual and dynamic infrastructure services in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. 

Vimplecom Loses Subscribers in Russia as it Targets Profitable Growth

Vimplecom reported Q1 2012 revenue of US$5.619 billion, up 3% over a year earlier, and net income of US$318 million, down 29% over last year.

"The benefits of executing on our strategy can be seen across our businesses: in Russia, our focus on profitable growth has delivered a strong organic increase of 9% in EBITDA and 11% in revenues. In the Africa & Asia business unit organic revenues rose by 9%, with a particularly strong contribution from Pakistan. In Italy we again gained market share, outperforming our competitors and our Ukraine and our CIS business units delivered solid revenue increases," stated Jo Lunder, CEO of Vimplecom.

Some highlights:

In Russia, revenue growth was 11%.

In Italy, revenues were flat YoY and EBITDA declined 2%. However, mobile subscriptions were up 4%, fixed voice up 3% and fixed broadband up 9% YoY.

The total mobile subscriber base increased 12% YoY to 209 million at the end of the first quarter. The largest absolute contribution came from accelerated growth in subscribers in the Africa & Asia Business Unit. The Company also achieved strong growth in fixed and mobile broadband subscribers in Russia, Italy and Ukraine.

Overall mobile subscribers in Russia declined in the first quarter 2012 compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, which benefited from extensive pre-holiday sales. Mobile broadband subscribers in Russia increased 12% YoY to 2.6 million, while the Fixed broadband subscriber base reached over 2 million, up 42% YoY. Overall, organic revenue growth in Russia was strong at 11% YoY.

Vimplecom is still seeking an amicable resolution with the Algerian government.

Vimplecom has sold its 49% controlling interest in GTEL Mobile in Vietnam.

CAPEX in Q1 was US$632 million, compared with US$729 million proforma a year earlier. 

  • In March, an Algerian Court handed down a judgment against Orascom Telecom Algerie (“OTA”) and a member of OTA’s senior executive team. The judgment relates to a previously disclosed claim brought in 2010 by the Algerian authorities alleging breaches of foreign exchange regulations. The judgment consists of fines of 99 billion Algerian Dinar (approximately USD 1.3 billion) and a criminal sentence against a member of OTA’s senior executive team.

MPLS and Mobile Backhaul

 In this interview, Sultan Dawood, the Broadband Forum's Marketing Committee Vice Chair, discusses network architecture for mobile backhaul.

1:20 -- What is the Broadband Forum doing with mobile backhaul

2:08 -- How does MPLS fit into the network architecture given that Ethernet is the access technology of choice?

3:40 What about MPLS-TP?

Monday, May 14, 2012

DOCOMO Extends Cloud Services

NTT DOCOMO is preparing to launch an array of new personal services for smartphone and tablet users under a new "docomo cloud" brand.

The cloud strategy, which the company highlighted in its financial report issued late last month, aims to transform the company into being a "trusted personal agent" of its customers rather than a dumb pipe. Since launching its "Shabette-Concier" voice command-based app for Android on March 1, DOCOMO has logged over 2 million downloads. Starting next month, Shabette-Concier voice command-based app will be enhanced to provide precise answers to inquiries on a wide range of topics.

In June, DOCOMO will launch, Mail-Hon’yaku-Concier, an app that automatically translates text messages, such as e-mails and social networking messages, between Japanese and English/Chinese/Korean. The service uses cloud-based mobile interpretation technologies that DOCOMO currently is developing.

In August, DOCOMO will begin providing users with 5GB of free cloud storage for photos and videos. The service recognizes facial features and scenes for automatic sorting and grouping. Photo Collection will link to external services like Evernote, Eye-Fi and HighlightCam.

Also in August, DOCOMO will enhance its dmarket portal for smartphone and tablet apps and content. Content purchased from DOCOMO’s VIDEO Store, MUSIC Store, BOOK Store or ANIME Store can be enjoyed for no extra charge on multiple devices registered to the same subscriber.