Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Shenick Launches Cloud-based Test System

Shenick Network Systems introduced a cloud-based test system that scales to four terabits of real, stateful service and application traffic while providing the ability to pinpoint issues right down to each individual application flow.

The company said such capacity is needed because next-generation switching, routing, firewall, packet inspection, WAN optimization and other massive data handling systems are heading towards terabit levels of packet handling. This will require tests at huge scale to understand performance limits.

Shenick's TeraVM provides the ability to emulate and test cloud infrastructure on any hypervisor including ESXi, Xen, KVM and Hyper-V, in one test system, with test analysis right down to each application flow.

Some highlights of TeraVM:
  • It is not restricted in the amount of core processing power it can access compared to other solutions in the market.

  • Testing can be conducted in both functional and highly scaled, virtualized test beds for all hypervisors including ESXi, Xen, KVM and Hyper-V.

  • TeraVM is one of the first products to have been completely and successfully ported to an all-virtual, massively scaled IP performance tester.

  • Shenick addresses next-generation virtualized and physical converged IP network application performance issues for 4G, VoLTE, OTT Video, IPTV, VoD, Multi Play (VoIP video, data), telepresence, multivendor IPsec/SSL secure VPN, Security Attack Mitigation, Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), Traffic Shaping, Peer to Peer (P2P), Application Server Test, Metro Ethernet and IPv4/IPv6 hybrid network deployments.

  • TeraVM also covers security testing including secure VPN and security attack mitigation testing by generating emulated DDoS attack traffic for testing virtual and highly scaled firewalls.

"TeraVM takes the uncertainty out of testing cloud and physical networks by giving organizations the tools to understand the behaviour of mixed Internet application traffic types and prove that extreme performance levels can be maintained while guaranteeing QoE for end users," said Robert Winters, CMO, Shenick Network Systems. "As more and more organizations move data to the cloud, testing security of virtualized networks becomes paramount especially as corporate information needs to be accessed by personal devices remotely."

CloudPhysics Targets Data Center Analytics

CloudPhysics, a start-up based in San Mateo, California, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding for its a data center analytics service.

CloudPhysics, which was founded by former VMware executives John Blumenthal and Irfan Ahmad, provides virtualization administrators and architects detailed real-time analytics about their physical infrastructure and specific application workloads.

"Today's datacenters are complex and highly dynamic. They require data-driven decision making to achieve efficiency, availability and flexibility. CloudPhysics uniquely combines big data analytics with deep insight into virtualization and resource management to simplify and automate virtualized
datacenters," said founder John Blumenthal.

CloudPhysics is funded by Mayfield Fund and industry angels including Diane Greene and Mendel Rosenblum, Mark Leslie, Peter Wagner, Carl Waldspurger, and Matt Ocko.

Mocana Raises $25 Million for Mobile App Protection

Mocana, a start-up based in San Francisco, raised $25 million in Series D funding to scale the company's Mobile and Device Security Platform, a software and network services solution for securing connected devices and the information, applications and services that run on them.

The Mocana Mobile Application Protection (MAP) solution gives enterprises fine-grained, cross-platform security management control over mobile apps, without requiring those enterprises to write any code, or to have access to the source code of the original app. MAP works on apps deployed inside the enterprise, and it secures apps deployed to devices that the enterprise doesn't directly control. Mocana also recently announced its Security Detail solutions which give device manufacturers a common, open standards-based way to solve security across entire connected, smart device portfolios.

The new funding was led by Trident Capital and included current investors Intel Capital, Shasta, Southern Cross and Symantec. Mocana has raised $22 million in previous investment rounds.

AOptix Raises $42 Million for Biometric Verification and Wireless

AOptix Technologies, a start-up based in Campbell, California, secured $42 million in a Series E round of funding for its advanced iris recognition systems and ultra-high bandwidth wireless optical communication solutions.

AOptix conducted pioneering research into adaptive optics technologies and then worked with DARPA and the U.S. military to develop advanced mobile wireless networks for high speed air-to-ground and air-to-air communications. The company currently provides accurate, automated identity verification using iris recognition. The AOptix identity verification solution is already being used in locations such as Gatwick Airport in London and all the air, land and sea border crossings in Qatar.

The new funding brings the total investment in the company to date to $123 million. All of the company'ss existing investors Clearstone Venture Partners, DAG Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Northgate Capital and W Capital Partners participated in the round and were joined by a new investor, True Ventures.

Telekom Austria Picks Ericsson for LTE Upgrade

Telekom Austria Group, which serves 23 million customers in Central and Eastern Europe, has awarded a multi-standard radio access network contract to Ericsson, which has been a long term supplier.

Ericsson will upgrade the 2G and 3G mobile networks and also provide LTE for Telekom Austria Group's subsidiaries A1 in Austria and Vipnet in Croatia. Rollout has already started. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The future of wireless is small, but very, very big

by Marcus Weldon, CTO, Alcatel-Lucent

We are at a defining moment in broadband network deployment.  We are on the verge of a transformation in behaviors so profound that what we think is normal now will be viewed as quaint and amusingly antique in the same way that the Model T Ford, or wooden-cabinet enshrouded black and white TVs, or dial-up internet access are viewed today.  And this behavioral change will not be limited as before to a certain socio-economic class or age demographic, or geography, or educational background - it will be universal in extent, ageless and classless in adoption, and will redefine economies and the nature of commerce. 

What is the driving force behind this unparalleled new reality?  A device: the tablet.  To understand how something that you are probably holding in your hand or carrying in your backpack right now is going to change our reality, consider what that device is and can become for you.  It is already a device on which you communicate (email, video chat, messaging), you watch video content, you play games, you listen to music, you read books, you navigate (in 2D and 3D), you view documents and presentations, you surf the web, you monitor and control your home, you record videos, you control your TV and more and more applications appear every hour and every day.   In essence, this device defines and enables a new digital life - your life wherever and whenever you are.  

But what has this got to with the future of wireless or networking?  Well it is this last observation - the 'whenever and wherever you are' - that has truly profound consequences for networks, and in particular wireless networks.  But to fully appreciate this, it is first important to realize that although the tablet is a remarkable device, it isn't capable enough to store or process your life and it is unlikely that it will least for the next decade or so.  In short, current tablets have the processing power and storage capacity of an 8-10 year old PC.  And even a current PC hard drive doesn't have enough capacity to store all our digital media objects, which is why we increasingly rely on external storage and Cloud storage as a complement to local hard drive storage.  With the advent of Cloud storage we not only get access to seemingly infinite storage capacity at the lowest cost per gigabyte, but we can access the stored content from any device anywhere, without having to replicate it on every device everywhere.  So even as storage density and processing power continue the seemingly inexorable march of Moore's Law (doubling every 18 months), our demand will always exceed the local supply on a mobile device, with its intrinsic power, size and cost constraints.

The intrinsic connection between these two elements: the tablet and the Cloud is the root of the manifest change in wireless networks that will occur, because without an ultra-high capacity wireless network infrastructure this nascent demand and vision for a new digital economy cannot be realized.  In order to quantify this future demand, Bell Labs have built a future demand model for the tablet generation that predicts that by 2016, the intrinsic demand (unconstrained by economics of supply) will be more than 80x today's average demand even when averaged across different demographic age groups.  So, in essence, there are two central questions we must address to realize this future:

1)      How can we increase the capacity of wireless networks by 80x (or more)?
2)      How can we afford to do this?

I will exclusively focus on the first question here, and defer the second critical question for another time.  This question of the ultimate capacity of wireless networks would, at first glance, seem to require a futurist or information theorist to answer.  But in reality, the problem can be parameterized in a way that reduces the need for technological clairvoyance or new theorems.  In essence, there are 3 basic dimensions of capacity growth in wireless networks: A) More spectrum, B) More spectral efficiency and C) More spatially efficient use of that (efficiently-utilized) spectrum.  And it is the product of these 3 capacity elements from which one will derive the ultimate wireless network capacity.  Or, to put it simply:  

Ultimate wireless network capacity, U = A * B * C
So what are the right values of A, B and C?  Interestingly, although the answer to this question would require a detailed analysis for any specific network or deployment scenario, the parametric, or limiting (maximum) values are relatively simple to compute, and are summarized in Figure 1.

If we start by considering the value of A), i.e. the maximum amount of additional spectrum that will likely be made available, we have to consider both licensed and unlicensed spectrum contributions.  In terms of licensed spectrum, approximately 500-600 Mhz of spectrum is currently allocated (Figure 2) for commercial wireless services below 3Ghz (the cut-off for commercial terrestrial deployments due to the non-line of sight, superior propagation of this spectrum), and it is commonly accepted that another 500-600 Mhz could be made available by various refarming, repacking and reallocation schemes.  

In addition to this, approximately 500-600 Mhz of unlicensed spectrum is currently available across the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands and could be utilized to augment the licensed spectrum, particularly for best effort, lower QoS services delivery.  

So, this simple summary analysis suggests that a 2-3x increase in spectrum is a realistic possibility, with a concomitant 2-3x increase in wireless network capacity.

If we now consider element B), the use of sophisticated physics and engineering to increase the spectral efficiency, a number of approaches have to be considered and quantified.  But first, it is important to recognize that we are already operating within 20% of the Shannon Limit for a wireless communications channel, so the gains will largely come from 4 factors:

1)     More efficient use of disjoint spectrum assets: Use ‘Carrier Aggregation’ to deliver higher peak capacity across the aggregated bands

2)     More spatial paths: Use Higher-order MIMO with more transmit diversity to improve received Signal to Interference + Noise Ratio (SINR)

3)     Decrease interference: Use enhanced inter-cell interference cancellation (eICIC) to reduce the received noise and therefore increase SINR

4)     Coordinate transmission from multiple cells: Use so-called ‘network MIMO’ (formally known as Coherent Multipath (CoMP)) techniques to improve the coherent signal strength at the receiver and increase SINR

Although each of the four techniques can provide significant gains under certain circumstances, such as at the cell edge or in lightly loaded cells, when the average improvement is computed across all locations and usage scenarios the gains are typically on the order of 20% per technique, or a total of a factor of 2, if all techniques are employed together.

So by now it should be clear that if capacity growth by more than a factor of 6 is required, a new approach is required. And that new approach is to increase the ‘spatial efficiency’ by deploying much smaller cells and effectively reusing of all the spectrum assets of A), and the spectral efficiencies of B), over much smaller areas and user groups.  Therefore, logically, the gain that can be realized using this approach is a factor of ‘N’, if the inter-cell interference can be minimized and if users are clustered in metrocell locations or ‘hotspots’, where N is the number of small cells deployed per macro serving area.  So, N could be 5, 10, 30 or even 100 or more, in the limit. 

Now returning to the predicted demand of the Tablet Generation with 80x growth in demand over the next 5 years, the answer to the capacity equation must be:

Tablet Generation Capacity Demand:
= 2.5x (More spectrum) * 2x (More spectral efficiency) * 16x (More spatial efficiency)

So, the future of wireless is small (cells), but it will drive very, very big behavioral and socio-economic change.

 About the Author
Marcus Weldon is Corporate CTO for Alcatel-Lucent and also a member of Bell Laboratories. In this position he is responsible for co-ordinating the technical strategy across the company and driving technological and architectural innovations into the portfolio. He holds a B.S in Chemistry and Computer Science and a Ph.D. degree in Physical Chemistry from Harvard University. He joined AT&T Bell Labs in 1995, winning several scientific and engineering society awards for his work on electronics and optical materials.

In 2000, Dr. Weldon started work on fiber-based Broadband Access technologies and, in 2005, became the CTO for Broadband Solutions business group in Lucent Technologies, with responsibility for wireline access networks and IPTV. He was subsequently appointed as CTO of the Fixed Access Division and the Wireline Networks Product Division in Alcatel-Lucent following the merger of Alcatel and Lucent in December 2006, with responsibility for xDSL and FTTH, IPTV, Home Networking and IMS. He was one of the primary architects behind the evolution of the Triple Play Service Delivery Architecture to the High Leverage Network™, now the widely accepted industry architecture centered around the principles of ‘all IP, converged wireline/wireless, intelligent, optimized networking’. Together with his CTO team he was also a primary driver behind the groundbreaking and multiple award-winning lightRadio™ architecture for next generation wireless networks. He continues to help drive the company in new portfolio directions, including defining new ‘Cloud-networking’ and ‘network as a platform’ paradigms, as well as the use of sophisticated analytics for optimizing the customer experience and service delivery.
About Alcatel-Lucent

The long-trusted partner of service providers, enterprises and governments around the world, Alcatel-Lucent is a leading innovator in the field of networking and communications technology, products and services. The company is home to Bell Labs, one of the world's foremost research centers, responsible for breakthroughs that have shaped the networking and communications industry. Alcatel-Lucent was named one of MIT Technology Review's 2012 Top 50 list of the "World's Most Innovative Companies" for breakthroughs such as lightRadio™, which cuts power consumption and operating costs on wireless networks while delivering lightning fast Internet access. Through such innovations, Alcatel-Lucent is making communications more sustainable, more affordable and more accessible as we pursue our mission - Realizing the Potential of a Connected World.

With operations in more than 130 countries and one of the most experienced global services organizations in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with global reach. The Company achieved revenues of Euro 15.3 billion in 2011 and is incorporated in France and headquartered in Paris.
For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on:

Calix to Acquire Ericsson's GPON Access Platform

Calix will acquire Ericsson's fiber access assets for an undisclosed sum.

Ericsson supplies a range of GPON OLT platforms and complementary ONTs. The Ericsson EDA 1500 GPON plaform features a redundant 320 Gbps switch architecture and support for 7168 ONT/ONUs per chassis (1:64 split ratio). It delivers 2.5 Gbps/ 1.2 Gbps downstream/upstream speeds and offers 10 Gbps uplink interface. Up to 61 U.S.-based employees of Ericsson are expected to transfer to Calix.

Calix will also become Ericsson's preferred global partner for broadband access applications under a global reseller agrement between the firms. This allows Ericsson to sell Calix Unified Access systems and software as its preferred fiber and VDSL2 access solution in 180 countries worldwide. This preferred partnership becomes effective upon the close of the acquisition and remains effective for three years.

"This partnership provides Calix, already North America's fiber access deployment leader, with an extensive new global reseller channel, while our acquisition of Ericsson's fiber access portfolio delivers powerful new complements to our industry-leading Unified Access portfolio," said Carl Russo, president and CEO of Calix. "This partnership, built on a clear alignment of corporate strategy and direction, allows Ericsson to fully leverage its strengths in wireless and end-to-end services while relying on Calix to provide innovation and expertise in fixed-line broadband access. We are excited about the opportunity to assume responsibility for development and support of Ericsson's fiber access business, and look forward to working closely with Ericsson and its broad customer base as a preferred global partner."

"We believe that this partnership will provide our existing fiber access customers with world-class support and maintenance, and an expanded portfolio of access systems and software from a leading company totally focused on access," said Jan Haeglund, vice president and head of product area IP and broadband at Ericsson.
  • Last year, Ericsson upgraded its solutions for scaling PON-based fiber access networks to 40 Gbps using Wavelength Division Multiplexing Passive Optical Network (WDM-PON) technology. The capability is being added to the EA 1100 platform, which is a result of a joint venture with LG-Ericsson.

    Ericsson also announced several GPON enhancements, including a new 16-port GPON OLT board now enables broadband services to more than 14,000 FTTH GPON subscribers in a single EDA 1500 chassis.

    Ericsson introduced an Integrated TDM Gateway (ITG) board to the EDA 1500, enabling a converged platform for packet and TDM services across fixed enterprise and mobile applications. The ITG terminates and aggregates E1 services across multiple GPON ports at the OLT for STM-1 connectivity to existing TDM networks. This simplifies the network and substantially improves an operator's total cost of ownership.

    In addition, Ericsson expanded its EDA portfolio with the T780G Optical Network Unit (ONU). This GPON-fed modular ONU provides flexibility for operators delivering ADSL2+, VDSL2, POTS, E1 and Ethernet services to both business and residential users. The T780G enables operators to support dense areas with different service requirements without rewiring buildings. The ONU is part of Ericsson's T-series of optical terminals which provides maximum flexibility to deploy deep fiber access networks.
  • In 2007, Ericsson acquired Entrisphere, a start-up specializing in GPON fiber access technology, for an undisclosed sum. Entrisphere was founded in 2000 and was based in Santa Clara, California. The company has about 140 people at the time. The core of the Entrisphere GPON solution included Optical Line Terminals (OLTs), Optical Network Terminals (ONTs), Optical Network Units (ONUs) and management systems. The solution also included software upgrades that expand existing IP service-aware features such as IGMP multicasting, VLAN stacking and tagging, and security upgrades.
  • In 2010, Calix acquired Occam Networks, also a supplier of broadband access solutions.

ZTE's 1H2012 Revenue Rises 15% to RMB 42 Billion (US$6.61B)

Driven by a 26% growth in its domestic Chinese market, ZTE posted 1H2012 revenue of RMB 42.64 billion for the period, an increase of 15.2% year-on-year.

Pre-tax profit in the period was RMB 656 million, a decrease of 48.5% year-on-year. Basic earnings per share for the period were RMB 0.07. The decline in net profits was attributed to reduced investment income, exchange losses, postponement of network contract tenders of certain domestic carriers and lower gross profit margin.

Some highlights:

  • During the reporting period, ZTE reported operating revenue of RMB 20.89 billion from the domestic market, accounting for 49% of overall operating revenue and representing year-on-year growth of 26.4%.
  • From the overseas market, ZTE reported operating revenue of RMB 21.76 billion during the period, accounting for 51% of its overall operating revenue and representing year-on-year growth of 6.2%.
  • For carrier network products, ZTE reported revenue of RMB 21.28 billion, representing year-on-year growth of 3.9%.
  • The slight increase in operating revenue from the Group’s carriers’ networks segment for the first six months of 2012 reflected mainly growth in revenue derived from wireless products in the domestic and international markets and from optical communications systems and data products in the domestic market, offset by the decline in revenue derived from wireline switch and access products in the domestic and international markets and from optical communications systems and data products in the international market, resulting in a relatively small margin of growth.
  • Terminal products revenue was RMB 14.25 billion, representing year-on-year growth of 27.1%.
  • Telecommunication software systems, services and other product revenue was RMB 7.11 billion, representing year-on-year growth of 33.8%.
  • ZTE also saw a 70% increase in sales in its government and enterprise business for the period ending June 30, compared with the same period a year earlier. This was partially due to the company’s launch of data center products and a series of smart solutions in the government and business arenas, including Smart Mine, Smart City and the Smart Traffic System.

T-Mobile USA Offers Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data Plan

T-Mobile USA introduced an Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan with no data cap or speed throttling.

The Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan will cost $20 per month when added to a Value voice and text plan or $30 per month when added to a Classic voice and text plan. For example, a single line Value plan with unlimited talk and text combined with unlimited nationwide 4G data will cost $69.99 or a single line Classic plan with unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited nationwide 4G data will cost $89.99. New customers can purchase any smartphone in T-Mobile’s lineup or bring their own compatible smartphone. Current T-Mobile customers on Classic or Value plans can upgrade their existing service by adding an Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan.

"We’re big believers in customer-driven innovation, and our Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan is the answer to customers who are frustrated by the cost, complexity and congested networks of our competitors," said Kevin McLaughlin, vice president, marketing, T-Mobile USA. "Consumers want the freedom of unlimited 4G data. Our bold move to be the only wireless carrier to offer an Unlimited Nationwide 4G Data plan reinforces our value leadership and capitalizes on the strength of our nationwide 4G network."

  • In June 2012, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless announced a sale and exchange deal covering certain Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses in 218 markets across the U.S.

    Some of the spectrum T-Mobile is acquiring in this transaction include licenses that Verizon is purchasing from SpectrumCo, Cox and Leap, and the agreement is contingent on the closing of those transactions and is subject to regulatory approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Justice.

    Verizon Wireless believes the deal would help it gain regulatory approval for its SpectrumCo transaction.

    The deal would provide improve T-Mobile’s spectrum position in 15 of the top 25 markets in the U.S. by providing an opportunity for T-Mobile both to acquire additional AWS spectrum and to realign its existing spectrum holdings. -Mobile will gain spectrum covering 60 million people — notably in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Minneapolis; Seattle; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Rochester, N.Y. — in exchange for spectrum covering 22 million people and certain cash consideration. The agreement also includes exchanges in a number of markets in which the companies will swap licenses to create more contiguous blocks of spectrum and re-align spectrum in adjacent markets.
  • In May 2012, T-Mobile USA announced multi-year agreements with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks to support its $4 billion 4G network evolution plan.

    T-Mobile USA, which acquired AWS spectrum from AT&T as part of the failed merger deal, aims to launch LTE in 2013. This new spectrum, in addition to the refarming effort, enables the launch of LTE in AWS spectrum and up to 20 MHz of LTE in 75% of the top 25 markets.

    As part of the agreements, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks will provide and install state of the art, Release 10 capable equipment at 37,000 cell sites across T-Mobile's 4G network this year. T-Mobile also expects to be the first carrier in North America to broadly deploy antenna integrated radios, enabling accelerated deployment and reduced site loading.

    T-Mobile also plans to launch 4G HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band in a large number of markets by the end of the year, thereby supporting the iPhone.

    Nokia Siemens Networks confirmed that it will modernize T-Mobile’s GSM and HSPA+ core and radio access infrastructure in key markets to improve existing voice and data coverage. It will also deploy LTE as part of T-Mobile USA’s 4G evolution initiative in 2013. Specifically, NSN will supply T-Mobile with its Evolved Packet Core platform, including Flexi NS (Network Server) and Flexi NG (Network Gateway). The company will also provide for the LTE deployment its Single RAN Advanced platform based on its Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station.

    Ericsson noted that T-Mobile USA will be the first in North America to deploy its AIR technology. Ericsson will install the radio, tower and switch room equipment, as well as provide consulting and systems integration and rollout services. Ericsson will also provide turnkey services in the areas of installation, commissioning, integration and migration. In 2006, Ericsson expanded its existing network contract with T-Mobile USA to include a nationwide 3G network. In 2010, Ericsson further enhanced T-Mobile USA's network with the deployment of HSPA+ 21 technology, and again in 2011 with HSPA+ 42 technology.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Free Press Launches Petition to Block AT&T's FaceTime Policy

Free Press, a public advocacy group working for Net Neutrality (wired and wireless), launched an online petition seeking to change or block AT&T's policy on using Apple's FaceTime application over its wireless networks.

FaceTime on iPhones is currently limited to Wi-Fi connections. With the coming iOS 6.0 update, FaceTime is supposed to be enabled from use over cellular data connections as well.

Specifically, Free Press is concerned that AT&T will block the iPhone from using FaceTime over cellular connections unless customers subscribe to the carrier's new "Mobile Share" service plans.

Free Press argues that AT&T's plan to block mobile access to FaceTime for all other customers would violate the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet rules.

In response, AT&T argues that Net Neutrality rules do not apply in this case because (1) FaceTime is preloaded on every iPhone on the AT&T network and (2) AT&T does not have a similar preloaded video chat app that competes with FaceTime.  In a posting on its public policy blog, AT&T's Bob Quinn writes:

"The FCC’s net neutrality rules do not regulate the availability to customers of applications that are preloaded on phones.  Indeed, the rules do not require that providers make available any preloaded apps.  Rather, they address whether customers are able to download apps that compete with our voice or video telephony services.   AT&T does not restrict customers from downloading any such lawful applications, and there are several video chat apps available in the various app stores serving particular operating systems."

However, Free Press rejected that argument.  In a follow-up blog posting, Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner made the following statement:

"AT&T is inventing words that are not in the FCC's rules in a weak attempt to justify its blocking of FaceTime. The FCC's rules are crystal clear: AT&T is not permitted to block voice or video telephony applications that compete with its own services. There is simply nothing in the rules that distinguishes 'preloaded' applications from 'downloaded' applications. It is interesting to see AT&T try this line of defense, as it is tacitly admitting that it is both blocking FaceTime and that the app does in fact compete with its own offerings."

Free Press also runs the coalition.

Everything Everywhere Gets Permission to Roll with 1800 MHz LTE

Ofcom, the official telecoms regulator for the UK, has granted permission to Everything Everywhere (EE) to use its existing 1800 MHz spectrum to deliver 4G services after 11-September-2012.

The decision follows a consultation as to whether an earlier start in LTE by EE ahead of other networks would distort competition. The decision takes account of the forthcoming release of additional spectrum in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands, in an auction process set to begin later this year, which will enable other operators to launch competing 4G services from next year.

Everything Everywhere provides mobile and fixed-broadband communications services to more than 27 million customers through the Orange and T-Mobile brands. "Ofcom’s decision to make 4G available this year is great news for the UK. Consumers will soon be able to benefit from the much greater mobile speeds that 4G will deliver. 4G will drive investment, employment and innovation and we look forward to making it available later this year, delivering superfast mobile broadband to the UK."

  • In July 2012, Ofcom, the telecoms regulator for the UK, announced its largest ever auction of spectrum for mobile services-- the equivalent of three quarters of the mobile spectrum in use today – some 80% more than released in the 3G auction which took place in 2000. The auction of spectrum for LTE is set to get underway before the end of the year.

    Key details of the auction have now been confirmed, including plans to reserve some of the available spectrum for a fourth national wholesaler other than the three largest mobile operators.

    The 4G auction will offer at least two spectrum bands – 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz. The lower frequency 800 MHz band is part of the 'digital dividend', which is ideal for widespread mobile coverage. The higher frequency 2.6 GHz band is ideal for delivering the capacity needed to deliver faster speeds. These two bands add up to 250 MHz of additional mobile spectrum, compared to 333 MHz in use today.

    The spectrum bands will be auctioned to bidders as a series of lots. One of the 800 MHz lots of spectrum will carry an obligation to provide a mobile broadband service for indoor reception to at least 98% of the UK population by the end of 2017 at the latest.

    Mobile operators are expected to start rolling out 4G networks using the auctioned spectrum from the middle of 2013, and to start offering 4G services to consumers later that year.

NTT Com's Asia-Oceania Backbone Hits 500 Gbps

NTT Communications has expanded the data-transmission capacity of its Global IP Network between Asia and Oceania to 500 Gbps. Capacity has increased nearly tenfold in five years, from 53 Gbps in 2007.

NTT Com's largest cable network offers 630 Gbps between Japan and the United States. It uses a dual-stack (IPv4 and IPv6) configuration as one of NTT Com's core IPv6 networks.

NTT Com has implemented a number of initiatives to boost its network, including launching the Asia Submarine-cable Express, a low-latency, highly reliable undersea cable connecting major cities in Asia, and offering strengthened security to prevent DDoS attacks.

Spirent Expands Testing for Network Virtualization

Spirent Communications is now supporting the ability to validate at scale the performance and security of advanced network virtualization and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments.

The virtualization test capbilities are enabled by Spirent TestCenter, Spirent Avalanche and Spirent Studio. Specifically, Spirent TestCenter Virtual and Spirent Avalanche Virtual now offer expanded support for any type of hypervisor beyond VMware, including KVM, XEN and Hyper-V, to test network virtualization capabilities of cloud platforms such as OpenStack. Spirent Studio Security offers firewall application awareness and vulnerability detection test capabilities for BYOD deployments. And Spirent has partnered with Login VSI B.V. for VDI testing, adding realistic user emulation to determine optimal performance of private or public cloud-based VDI deployments. In addition, Spirent TestCenter OpenFlow tests performance and scale of virtual and physical devices in cloud networks based on Software Defined Networking (SDN).

Spirent said key issued for testing network virtualization cloud platforms include:
  • Determining the best performing cloud and VDI platform for different applications and services

  • Assessing the availability of end-to-end network, computing and storage resources during peak times

  • Ensuring readiness of next generation network security with profiles to detect undesirable applications and block them from being accessed

  • Validating the optimal scalability of cloud and VDI platforms as additional users and virtual machines are added.

Lantiq Targets VoLTE Enabled Home Gateways

Lantiq is collaborating with D2 Technologies and Ecrio Inc. to enable rich, native communications services for 4G LTE clients. Specifically, Lantiq will offer integration and test support for each company's Voice over LTE software with the Lantiq XWAY GRX Gateway Platform, providing networking OEMs and carriers with a path to faster deployment of wireless broadband enabled home gateways. Reference designs are expected in early 2013.

D2 Technologies is the developer of mCUE 4G and vPort, advanced IMS VoLTE and RCS software solutions that offer IMS IP communications services such as HD voice, real time video call, instant message, presence, SMS and VCC on 4G mobile networks.

Ecrio offers its commercially deployed Mobile Communications Client Suite (MCCS) powered by FlexIMS Architecture, which supports such 4G/LTE services as Voice, Video, SMS and other Rich Communication Suite Services.

The Lantiq XWAY GRX Gateway Platform includes a powerful multi-core network processor and proven Universal Gateway software stack for core networking functions and support for Lantiq�s broad connectivity and voice product portfolio, including Fast/Gigabit-Ethernet, WLAN, and DECT/CAT-iq solutions.

Lantiq has previously announced collaboration with LTE-chipset supplier Altair Semiconductor.

"These cooperations mark the next step in our LTE Gateway strategy. Last year saw a significant increase of LTE CPE deployments by major carriers and now we expect VoLTE to enter the mass market. As we develop an ecosystem of solution providers specifically for this new segment of the home broadband market, we add valuable services to our portfolio," said Dirk Wieberneit, Head of the Customer Premises Equipment Business Unit of Lantiq.

AT&T Faces FaceTime Net Neutrality Issue

AT&T has confirmed plans to make FaceTime available over its mobile broadband network only for customers who also subscribe to its Mobile Share data plan.

In response to criticism that this violates Net Neutrality rules because consumers should be able to use any app they choose on their data subscription, AT&T argues that Net Neutrality rules do not apply in this case because (1) FaceTime is preloaded on every iPhone on the AT&T network and (2) AT&T does not have a similar preloaded video chat app that competes with FaceTime. In a posting on its public policy blog, AT&T's Bob Quinn writes:

"The FCC's net neutrality rules do not regulate the availability to customers of applications that are preloaded on phones. Indeed, the rules do not require that providers make available any preloaded apps. Rather, they address whether customers are able to download apps that compete with our voice or video telephony services. AT&T does not restrict customers from downloading any such lawful applications, and there are several video chat apps available in the various app stores serving particular operating systems."

Earlier this week, Free Press, a public advocacy group working for Net Neutrality (wired and wireless), launched an online petition seeking to change or block AT&T policy on using Apple's FaceTime application over its wireless networks.

FaceTime on iPhones is currently limited to Wi-Fi connections. With the coming iOS 6.0 update, FaceTime is supposed to be enabled from use over cellular data connections as well.

Specifically, Free Press is concerned that AT&T will block the iPhone from using FaceTime over cellular connections unless customers subscribe to the carrier's new "Mobile Share" service plans.

Free Press argues that AT&T's plan to block mobile access to FaceTime for all other customers would violate the Federal Communications Commission�s Open Internet rules.

In a follow-up blog posting, Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner made the following statement:

"AT&T is inventing words that are not in the FCC's rules in a weak attempt to justify its blocking of FaceTime. The FCC's rules are crystal clear: AT&T is not permitted to block voice or video telephony applications that compete with its own services. There is simply nothing in the rules that distinguishes 'preloaded' applications from 'downloaded' applications. It is interesting to see AT&T try this line of defense, as it is tacitly admitting that it is both blocking FaceTime and that the app does in fact compete with its own offerings."

Free Press also runs the coalition.

Infonetics: Carrier Routing/Switching Sales Rise in Q2

The global service provider router and switch market, including carrier Ethernet switches and IP edge and core routers, grew 4% in 2Q12 from the previous quarter, to $3.5 billion, according to a newly released Service Provider Routers and Switches report from Infonetics.

Some highlights of the report:
  • From the year-ago 2nd quarter, the overall carrier router and switch market is down 9%, as service providers generally remain cautious, particularly in North America and Europe
  • Latin America is the only major world region posting an increase in carrier router and switch revenue on a year-over-year basis (up 57% in 2Q12 over 2Q11)
  • ZTE posted especially strong gains in carrier Ethernet switches (CES) in 2Q12, particularly in China where CESs are being used in major mobile backhaul deployments.
"A nearly 50% increase in revenue in China propped up the global service provider router and switch market in the 2nd quarter," notes Michael Howard, Infonetics Research’s co-founder and principal analyst for carrier networks.  While Cisco has long led the global IP edge and core router market by very comfortable margins (and whose share is steady from this time last year), Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper and Huawei have been fighting it out every quarter for the past year-and-a-half for the next 3 leadership positions. The race tightened considerably in the 1st half of 2012, with Huawei taking the #2 spot in the 2nd quarter."

Amazon's Glacier Archive - One Penny Per GB Per Month

Amazon Web Services introduced a new "Glacier" archival service priced at $0.01 per GB per month.

Unlike Amazon's S3 cloud storage service, which is optimized for rapid access, Glacier is designed for long-term, high-durability archiving with infrequent access. Each archive can contain up to 40 Terabytes of data and is encrypted with AES-256, Amazon will store the archive durably in an immutable form in multiple facilities. Retrieval requests are queued up and honored "at a somewhat leisurely pace" -- within 3 to 5 hours. Up to 5% of the archive can be retrieved for free and there is a $0.01 per GB retrieval fee for the rest of the archive.

FCC Releases Broadband Progress Report

The United States is leading in LTE deployment and DOCSIS 3.0 has now been rolled out extensively across the country, but approximately 19 million Americans -- 6 percent of the population -- still lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds (4 Mbps/1 Mbps), according to the FCC’s Eighth Broadband Progress Report.

Some highlights of the 181-page report:
  • In rural areas, nearly one-fourth of the population -- 14.5 million people -- lack access to this service.
  • In tribal areas, nearly one-third of the population lacks access.
  • Even in areas where broadband is available, approximately 100 million Americans still do not subscribe.
  • Broadband satellite is not included in this report but the FCC notes that ViaSat (formerly WildBlue) and HughesNet's newly launched ECHOSTAR XVII are entering the market with services above the threshold rate.
  • Service Providers are boosting their speeds. Verizon is offering up to 300 Mbps/65 Mbps for FiOS,23 while CenturyLink is offering up to 40 Mbps/5 Mbps.

Monday, August 20, 2012

NTT Com Finds High Interest in Virtualized Network Services

Enterprises continue to be enthusiastic about cloud computing services and report high levels of satisfaction with the effectiveness of their cloud investments in enabling flexibility and improved scalability but network performance issue remain a concern, according to a newly published Cloud Computing Infrastructure Study, which was commissioned by NTT Communications and conducted by IDG Research Services. Among the most critical network performance issues around cloud adoption, the study found capacity limitations, possible downtime when changing network configurations and lead-time to change network configurations topped the list, with more than 70% of IT decision makers citing these as areas of concern.

Some key findings of the study:
  • Forty percent (40%) of respondents worldwide report a high level of familiarity with virtualized network services.
  • Most respondents (91%) are interested in learning more after seeing a description of virtualized network services (53% extremely or very interested and 38% somewhat interested).
  • Common drivers for using cloud services – performance, reliability, cost efficiency, flexibility – remain high on IT decision makers’ list of deliverables by a cloud service embedded with a virtualized network.
  • Relatively lower expectations for network-related deliverables – such as better bandwidth utilization and simplified network management – indicate IT decision makers are still thinking about virtualization primarily as a technology for servers, not networks.
  • Simplified network management is largely unrecognized as a cloud benefit, suggesting relatively low maturity of the technology.
NTT Communications is already offering OpenFlow-based virtualized network services. The company said virtualized networks enable enterprises to expand network bandwidth on demand, allowing them to pay for only what they need at any given moment. Changes to capacity and routing over virtual networks are made via software command, negating the need for physical changes at the location of the routers.
  • In June 2012, NTT Communications launched a globally seamless enterprise cloud service using OpenFlow network virtualization technology within and between data centers. The service, which launches June 20, is initially provided via NTT Com data centers in Japan and Hong Kong, followed by data centers in the United States (two locations), the United Kingdom and Singapore in December and in Australia, Malaysia and Thailand in March 2013.

    NTT Com’s new infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering, Enterprise Cloud, provides global cloud resources that enterprise customers can easily control and manage to optimize their ICT costs and support the global expansion of corporate operations.

    NTT Com said its new service will provide greater flexibility allowing system changes to be performed automatically using virtualized servers and networks, and a convenient customer portal. Primary features of the new Enterprise Cloud service include free-of-charge broadband connection from this service directly to the Arcstar Universal One cloud-based enterprise network in NTT Com data centers. On-demand backup is also provided via other data centers worldwide using NTT Com’s global and secure broadband virtualized networks. In addition, NTT Com will enable customers to perform precise, small-increment control of server resources, such as CPU, memory and disk, and network resources, such as virtual firewall, virtual load balancer and virtualized networks. ICT costs can be trimmed on a pay-as-you-go basis down to the per-minute level.

TrustGo: SMSZombie Attacks Android on China Mobile

TrustGo Security Labs calculates that an SMS Zombie virus has infected some 500,000 Android smartphones on China Mobile's network.

The malware, which has been detected in a variety of wallpaper apps, will request the user to install additional "Android System Service" files by which the virus payload is delivered. The SMSZombie then exploits a vulnerability in the mobile payment system used by China Mobile to generate unauthorized payments, steal bank card numbers and money transfer receipt information. The virus disables the user's ability to delete it and the amount and timing unauthorized charges can be changed at anytime by the malware makers.

TrustGo is developing an automated removal process that it hopes to releases later this month.

  • In July, TrustGo discovered a different virus targeting China Mobile’s Mobile Market. Named the Trojan!MMarketPay.A@Android, the virus automatically places orders and downloads paid apps and video content which can result in unexpectedly high phone bills. Infections were estimated at more than 100,000 devices.