Thursday, September 6, 2012

CommScope Updates its PON Portfolio

CommScope is introducing a new PON capable of accommodating both EPON and GPON.  The complete PON portfolio includes optical line terminals (OLTs), optical network units (ONUs), system-management software and installation components.

“Technology is continuing to progress at a rapid pace and operators must keep up with their customers’ increasing demand for bandwidth,” said Ric Johnsen, senior vice president, Broadband, CommScope. “Our new PON solution provides an alternative technology for operators to deploy competitive Ethernet services to small- and medium-sized business and improved bandwidth to rural areas. This launch demonstrates how CommScope continues to expand it ability to deliver more end-to-end, scalable access networks to the industry.”

Spirent to Acquire Metrico for Cloud Testing

Spirent Communications agreed to acquire Metrico Wireless, which provides cloud-based Testing-as-a-Service, for $52.0 million in cash.  Metrico is privately held by Dimitrios Topaltzas and others.

Metrico’s solution delivers end-to-end testing under real-world conditions on live networks with comprehensive reporting and analysis, measuring QoE of devices and services with respect to voice, data, video, battery, location and application performance. These solutions can be delivered anywhere and managed centrally, through the use of cloud-based test infrastructure located in 25 countries around the world. In addition to its service offerings, Metrico supplies innovative Measurement Systems to carriers and device manufacturers.

“Innovation and competition in the wireless industry is driving aggressive release cycles of sophisticated devices and services,” said Bill Burns, CEO of Spirent. “As carriers and device vendors strive to minimise time to market, improve subscriber quality of experience and reduce device return rates, they must also contend with disruptive technologies including 4G data, VoIP and the cloud. In line with our strategy of investing in growing and emerging technology markets, Spirent is responding to these needs by bringing together our device performance test strength in the lab with Metrico’s field-based, subscriber-level focus.”

  • Earlier this year, Spirent Communications acquired Mu Dynamics, which offers a network security and application performance testing tools, for $40.0 million in cash.
  • Mu Studio, the company's flag ship product line, enables performance and security testing of cloud infrastructure, including network security systems, deep packet inspection (DPI) solutions, and LTE networks. Its Blitz is a self-service load and performance testing solution for cloud applications. Mu TestCloud compiles thousands of ready-to-runs tests, covering hundreds of applications.

Amazon's Kindle Fire HD Tablet Resets the LTE Market

Amazon set a new pricing model for mobile broadband with the introduction of its Kindle Fire HD tablet, which offers LTE connectivity for $50 per year with a monthly cap of 250 MB.  Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, said the company aims to make money by selling content and products rather than in selling devices and distribution.

Amazon did not name an LTE partner for its new service, but it is using AT&T's blue/orange 4G/LTE flame logo on its promotional material in the U.S.  The custom modem supports ten different LTE bands, perhaps giving Amazon the flexibility to support multiple LTE partners internationally with the same unit.

Networking capabilities of the Kindle Fire HD:

  • Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2. Does not support peer-to-peer connections.

  • 4G LTE 10 band wireless modem with HSPA+, HSDPA, and EDGE/GPRS fallback
  • Amazon is using a custom-designed 4G wireless modem that it claims is only 2.2mm thin
  • Amazon's 12 month 4G data package includes 250 MB a month of 4G data, 20 GB of additional Cloud Drive storage, and $10 Amazon Appstore promotional credit, for a one-time payment of $49.99
  • Amazon will offer optional 3GB and 5GB LTE data packages. (pricing not disclosed)
  • Unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content Kindle Fire HD includes the Skype app pre-installed
  • Kindle Fire HD will feature a new version of the Amazon Silk cloud-accelerated browser, which the company says will provide a better than 30% reduction in page load times over the previous version. The new browser leverages an updated core rendering engine and a reengineered transport layer, along with the power of Amazon Web Services
  • Integrated Bluetooth
  • One-click shopping tied into Amazon's billing systems
  • Integrated support for Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! and more, as well as Exchange calendar, contacts, and email

Alcatel-Lucent's Open Source "apiGrove" Manages APIs

Alcatel-Lucent introduced "apiGrove", an open source software engine to help companies more effectively manage the application programming interfaces (APIs) they use to expose the capabilities of their cloud platforms, telecommunications networks or enterprise infrastructure.

The apiGrove installation package, source code, and documentation are available effective immediately on the open-source repository and collaboration tool GitHub under the business-friendly Apache 2.0 license. The apiGrove software is based on Alcatel-Lucent’s Open API Platform.

"We’ve reached a point where basic API exposure and management is 'table stakes' for doing business in today’s economy. Network exposure, through APIs, is becoming a commodity. The future of the API ecosystem lies in building on an open industry foundation and a holistic approach that spans the network, cloud and enterprise/IT spaces. We believe apiGrove gives our customers and the community the foundation they need to make this a reality," said Laura Merling, Senior Vice President, Application Enablement, at Alcatel-Lucent.

Accedian Networks Rebrands and Focuses on

Accedian Networks announced a new corporate identity designed to refelect its mission to "fulfill the performance assurance and SLA needs of global mobile operators and service providers."
The new logo features three rings representing Accedian’s 3 pillars – Service Assurance, Service Creation and SLA Assurance & Reporting. 
Some company milestones over the last 5 years:
  • Shipped over 120,000 systems worldwide, and counting
  • First to include unique uses of Y.1564 in its MetroNID and MetroNODE 10GE solutions
  • Secured over 250 mobile operator and service provider customers globally

"We have created new businesses, expanded into new markets and developed new technologies – all to ensure we make it easier, faster and less costly for our mobile operator and service provider customers to optimize, improve and manage their networks," stated Patrick Ostiguy, President and CEO of Accedian Networks.

Mindspeed Collaborates with China Mobile Research Institute on Small Cells

Mindspeed Technologies and China Mobile Research Institute, the research institution of China’s largest mobile operator, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on Nanocell research in China.

Nanocell is defined as radio access equipment that integrates cellular small cell and carrier grade WLAN access points.

Mindspeeed said this is an important milestone for the continued rapid build-out of China Mobile’s heterogeneous network (HetNet) and Mindspeed’s small cell base station platform based on its Picochip TD-SCDMA and Transcede LTE system on a chip (SoC) solutions. Mindspeed was selected to participate in this pioneering program based on its current leadership in small cells and its future product roadmap.

Mindspeed has demonstrated dual-mode support for both HSPA and LTE in its small cell SoCs, and the only one to have shown both frequency-division duplexing (FDD) LTE and time-division LTE (TD-LTE) solutions.

Janet6 picks Ciena for 100G

Janet6, the next generation of the national Research and Education (R&E) network in the United Kingdom, has selected Ciena's 6500 packet-optical platform, equipped with WaveLogic™ Coherent Optical Processors, for its optical backbone. The platform, which scale to 400G and up, will enable Janet to rapidly set-up services for strategic research campuses. Financial terms were not disclosed.

  • In July 2007, Janet confirmed deployed 40 Gbps links using Ciena's CoreStream Agility Optical Transport System.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

PIPE Deploys Infinera's DTN-X for Super-Channel Pacific Capacity

Australia-based PIPE Networks will deploy Infinera's new DTN-X platform with FlexCoherent super-channels on its PPC-1 submarine cable, a 6,900 km undersea system linking Sydney to Guam.

The DTN-X platform significantly increases capacity on PPC-1, delivering in excess of 3 Tbps. It will also allow PIPE to deploy Infinera’s 100 Gbps coherent wavelengths using high capacity super-channel transmission for the first time in the Asia-Pacific region.

This marks the first deployment of optical super-channels in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to the submarine deployment, the Infinera DTN-X platform was also selected for the company’s terrestrial network delivering 500 Gbps FlexCoherent super-channels to multiple, strategic data centers located in Sydney. Infinera's DTN-X supports 8 Terabits per second (Tbps) on a single fiber, which will significantly increase the capacity, scalability and resiliency of PIPE’s extensive metro fiber network in Sydney.

Huawei Outlines its Cyber Security Perspectives

"All stakeholders – governments and industry alike – need to recognize that cyber security is a shared global problem requiring risk-based approaches, best practices and international cooperation," according to a new published whitepaper by Huawei entitled "Cyber Security Perspectives: 21st century Technology and Security – a Difficult Marriage."

John Suffolk, the company's Global Security Officer, confronts the risks in cyber security and espionage should network devices or network infrastructure be compromised in any way. Possible attacks could range from "back doors" to complete remote "kill switches" embedded deep within complex equipment. The range of adversaries extends from individual bad actors to corporate spys, organized crime syndicates, terrorist groups and potentially even other governments. He says Huawei would welcome a coordinated international approach to principles of data protection and cyber security.

 For its part, Huawei has adopted an industry best practices approach to go the extra mile in cyber security assurance. Suffolk writes that Huawei "does not, and would not, support, condone or conduct activities intended to acquire sensitive information related to any country, company or individual, nor do we knowingly allow our technology to be used for illegal purposes."

The 24-page paper is posted online.

Ericsson Invests in Sand 9 for MEMS Timing Devices

Sand 9, a start-up based in Cambridge, Mass., announced that Ericsson has invested $3 million in the company.

Sand 9's MEMS timing-device uses piezoelectric actuation to achieve stringent phase noise and short-term stability requirements for wireless and wired applications.

  • In June, Sand 9 raised a total of $23 million in its Series C financing.  This funding round was led by Intel Capital with significant participation from Vulcan Capital. Intel Capital and Vulcan Capital join existing investors Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, General Catalyst Partners, Khosla Ventures and CSR.

Altera Integrates 40 Gbps into 20nm Fabric

Altera announced its plans for a 20-nm mixed-system fabric that includes the integration of 40-Gbps transceiver technology, a next-generation variable-precision digital signal processing (DSP) block architecture that delivers over 5 TFLOPs of IEEE 754 floating-point performance, and heterogeneous 3D ICs.  Altera is using TSMC's 20-nm process technology.

Altera said its 3D ICs are unique in that they integrate FPGAs with a user-customizable "HardCopy" ASIC or a variety of other technologies, including memory, third-party ASICs and optical interfaces through a high-speed interface.

"Designers of next-generation communications, networking, broadcast and computing applications are faced with the ever-increasing need for expanded bandwidth, higher performance and lower power," said Bradley Howe, senior vice president of research and development at Altera. "Our innovations at 20 nm allow us to deliver a highly efficient, highly flexible mixed-system fabric that features optimal levels of dedicated circuitry with the latest 20‑nm FPGA process technology. The result is a device that delivers the industry’s highest levels of IC integration, performance and bandwidth at the lowest power.

BT Expands in Colombia

BT opened a new centre of excellence in Bogota, Colombia and announced a contract with Ecopetrol, the country's largest company.  BT is also launching cloud-based, data centre services in Latin America.  BT currently employs more than 130 people in Colombia.

Tenable Network Security Gains $50 Million in Funding

Tenable Network Security, which offers software to identify network security gaps, has raised $50 million in first-round funding from Accel Partners.

Tenable said its Nessus and SecurityCenter software has become the vulnerability management standard for the U.S. Department of Defense.  It is also used by 12 of the 14 U.S. federal civilian departments.

The company is based Columbia, Maryland.

XO Deploys Ciena in 100G Metro and Regional Network Upgrade

XO Communications will deploy Ciena’s Packet-Optical Transport technology to provide optical transport and business Ethernet services via its metro and regional networks, nationwide. Financial terms were not disclosed.

XO is deploying Ciena’s 6500 Packet Optical Platform with WaveLogic coherent technology. The platform offers OTN switching capabilities supporting OTN, SONET, Ethernet and Fibre Channel, as well as managed wavelength services — at speeds of 1G to 10G, 40G and 100G. XO will use multiple chassis sizes depending on the metro or regional requirements.

XO said its newly-enhanced network will support speeds of 100G, delivering Ethernet, storage and managed services applications with low latency.  XO will also work with Ciena to offer 100G managed wavelength services to its large enterprise and wholesale service provider customers.

  • Last month, XO confirmed that it is using Nokia Siemens Networks' hiT7300 DWDM optical transmission platform  to deploy 100 Gbps across its long-haul fiber network on a nationwide basis.

ShoreTel Brands its Cloud Solution ShoreTel Sky

ShoreTel is branding its new cloud-based communications solutions as "ShoreTel Sky".  The rebranding follows ShoreTel's acquisition of M5 Networks earlier this year.

ShoreTel Mobility was the first application that was originally premise-based but is now also available in the cloud from ShoreTel Sky.

“With ShoreTel Sky and our plan to bridge hosted applications to on-premise customers, we are uniquely positioned to offer the industry a revolutionary vision for optimizing their business operation through brilliantly simple UC solutions,” said Peter Blackmore, ShoreTel CEO.

Exact Ventures Tracks 40% Growth in IMS

The IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) Core market grew nearly 40 percent in the second quarter of this year compared to the same quarter last year, according to a new report from Exact Ventures.

"The total SBC market continues to be boosted by the enterprise SBC category (E-SBC), which continues to be fueled by strong adoption of hosted unified communications and SIP trunking services" said Greg Collins, Founder and Principal Analyst at Exact Ventures.

Some highlights:

  • Wireline deployments in China boosted the IMS market in the second quarter, but those deployments were not strong enough for the market to increase sequentially over the first quarter of this year, which benefited from exceptionally strong voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) deployments in North America.  
  • Huawei led the IMS Core market in the second quarter, followed by Nokia Siemens, Ericsson, and Mavenir, respectively.
  • The total NGN voice and IMS Core market grew only slightly quarter-over-quarter as seasonal strength in the wireless voice core market was barely able to offset sequential weakness in the legacy wireline NGN and IMS Core markets.
  • The service provider session border controller (SP-SBC) market has not been immune to weakness in wireline spending as it was essentially flat both sequentially and year-over-year. 

FCC Launches Mobile Broadband Performance Measurement Program

The FCC has kicked off a nationwide mobile broadband performance measurement program.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, "We know from experience: transparency on broadband speeds drives improvement in broadband speeds. Our ongoing Measuring Broadband America program has helped improve performance in wired broadband. Our new mobile broadband measurement initiative extends the program to smartphones and other wireless devices. It will empower consumers and
encourage improvements in mobile networks and programs, benefitting millions of Americans."

Poland's Polkomtel Picks NSN for Mobile Upgrade

Polkomtel, the Polish operator of the Plus network, along with its partner operator Aero2, has picked Nokia Siemens Networks for a major upgrade of its GSM infrastructure.  NSN will expand Polkomtel's mobile broadband coverage with HSPA+ in the 900 MHz and LTE initially in the 1800 MHz frequency band. The company also modernizes the existing Radio Access Network (RAN) with its Single RAN platform based on all IP solutions. The deployed products include the energy-efficient, high capacity Flexi Multiradio Base Station and the advanced Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station.

A separate agreement for care services has also been signed.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Microsoft Positions Windows Server 2012 + Azure as Cloud OS

Microsoft officially released Windows Server 2012, a major upgrade featuring significant advancements in virtualization, storage, networking and automation. In combination with Windows Azure and System Center, Microsoft is positioning Windows Server 2012 as its "Cloud OS" for running applications and services seamlessly across private, hosted and public data center infrastructure.

In a launch event, Microsoft said it built Windows Server 2012 "from the cloud up," applying its experience operating global datacenters that rely on hundreds of thousands of servers to deliver more than 200 cloud services.

"The operating system has always been the heartbeat of IT and is now undergoing a renaissance in the new world of continuous cloud services, connected devices and big data," Nadella said. "Microsoft's unique legacy in the most widely used operating systems, applications and cloud services positions us to deliver the Cloud OS, based on Windows Server and Windows Azure, helping customers achieve a datacenter without boundaries," said Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft Server and Tools Business.

Among its features:

  • Windows Server 2012 uses a common identity and management framework for more secure connectivity to public cloud services.
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure in Windows Server 2012 makes it possible for users to access IT from virtually anywhere on popular devices
  • Windows Server 2012 and Virtual Machine Manager aim to be an end-to-end SDN solution for public, private, and hybrid clouds.  By building all the pieces as part of a solution — the hypervisor, the SDN control surface on the end host, and the management software — Microsoft said it can ensure a set of seamless experiences for datacenter administrators.  
  • Virtual Machine Manager plays a key role in automating configuration of SDN policies for Hyper-V Network Virtualization. 
  • VMM allows customers to unify the individual virtual switches on each Hyper-V host in the datacenter into a distributed logical switch that is dynamically programmed with SDN traffic control policies. 
  • A new Hyper-V Extensible Switch capability enable Microsoft partners to extend SDN policies within the switc, such as integrating the virtual switch with the rest of the physical network infrastructure.

Harnessing Next-Generation Network Timing and LTE

By Martin Nuss, Ph.D., Vice President, Technology and Strategy and Chief Technology Officer, Vitesse

LTE has been rapidly moving towards a packet based backhaul network, while still trying to cope with a dated and inadequate timing model based on TDM.  Timing is necessary for both 3G and 4G deployments. Today, timing is typically delivered by either a SONET/SDH-based T1/E1 line or from GPS satellites.  SONET/SDH is not only expensive, but also inadequate for next-generation wireless networks, since it can only deliver frequency synchronization, but not the time-of-day (ToD) synchronization that is mandatory for TD-LTE and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) – the “true 4G.”

In many cases, operators use GPS satellites, rather than T1/E1, to provide both phase and frequency synchronization. However, GPS is prone to jamming and faces reception issues for small cell deployments inside a building or in urban corridors, due to the lack of direct GPS satellite visibility. With the advent of LTE-A, with support for multi-band operation, wide use of Multiple-Input/Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna systems, and increased use of micro and picocells to expand capacity and coverage, the GPS issues become intractable for many operators. For example, many picocell and microcell base stations will be deployed in locations such as lampposts and at the sides of buildings. They are positioned in urban corridors where tall buildings likely will block access to multiple GPS satellites, which would preclude meeting the LTE-A timing specifications.  The optimal solution is to deliver timing through the network, but this has challenges.

Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE) offers a direct replacement for TDM-derived timing as the backhaul network converts to all-Ethernet protocols. However SyncE, like T1/E1-based TDM timing, can support only frequency synchronization, not the newly required time-of-day synchronization. The good news is that the IEEE and the ITU have worked on standardizing a packet-based timing for both frequency and ToD delivery in telecom networks – IEEE 1588v2 Precision Timing Protocol, or PTP.  IEEE 1588v2 or “1588v2” for short has now gained widespread acceptance as the de facto packet based timing protocol for mobile operators.  Market analysts predict that by 2015, Synchronous Ethernet could be used in 30 percent of timing solutions, greater than T1/E1 or GPS deployments. However, in the same timeframe, 1588v2 is expected to grow to over 50 percent of all deployments.

IEEE1588v2: Better Timing Through Time Stamp Collection

Targeted at packet-based backhaul networks, IEEE 1588v2 carries time of day information (also known as timestamps) directly within the data packets.  The packets carrying the timestamps flow along with the rest of the data traffic in the network from networking equipment that generates the timestamps (also known as primary reference clock) all the way to base station equipment where these timestamps are used to recover the original time using IEEE 1588v2. The difference between primary reference clock and recovered clock (i.e. the synchronization error) needs to be within the accuracy requirement shown in Figure 2.  This synchronization error is cumulative across every node in the network in the path between the network node generating the master clock and the base station. Meanwhile, the challenge of migration from FD-LTE to TD-LTE/LTE-A, makes the synchronization error limits even more challenging.

Providing an IEEE 1558v2 implementation with timing errors below the network requirements is paramount to a successful deployment of this technology.   The primary source of the IEEE 1588v2 synchronization error comes from the packet delay variations (PDV) that are inherent in any packet network. The key to meeting the accuracy requirements is an IEEE 1588v2 compliant solution that can compensate for the PDV in the most cost effective way.  The IEEE 1588v2 standard specifies multiple clock types.  Besides ordinary clocks at the beginning and the end of the timing chain, boundary clocks (BC) and transparent clocks (TC) are defined for network elements in between.

In general, a BC node is more complex and costly to implement than a TC node. A node that implements BC regenerates the timing based on the timestamps that it receives and a node that implements TC simply forwards the incoming timestamps after correcting for any error it may introduce. So a TC node requires only accurate time stamping and time stamp correction mechanism, while a BC node requires timestamping, time stamp correction, a reliable PDV filtering algorithm, and a IEEE 1588v2-aware timing complex that can be synchronized to the network.

The only way to meet LTE-A accuracy requirements for both BC and TC is with a well-architected time stamping architecture.  As shown by silicon vendors, such time stamping and correction mechanism can be incorporated into port-level PHY silicon that can be universally used by the equipment vendors in the datapath without any other changes to the system.  In fact, such a port-based PHY solution is completely sufficient to implement a highly accurate TC node, while any BC node also greatly benefits from port-level accurate time stamping.  Under the bottom line, the most cost effective way to upgrading the network for LTE-A and future small-cell networks is to deploy distributed TC’s everywhere, augmented with BC’s only where necessary to segment timing domains. The use of TC’s can increase timing accuracy to the nanosecond range, as shown by Vitesse in a recent submission to the ITU-T standards committee.  Silicon advances available today will insure that such solutions will carry only a nominal premium over non-IEEE 1588v2 aware systems designed for 3G networks today.

Careful TC planning can allow for picocell synchronization in an outdoor environment, and synchronization down to the femtocell in large indoor multi-floor installations.  In the former case, TCs can even be carried over microwave and millimeter-wave links and still meeting TD-LTE and LTE-A specifications while eliminating the requirement for GPS signals or fiber links at the small cell.  In an indoor environment, the access network itself can generate IEEE1588v2 timing, or a GPS antenna on the roof of the building can generate time packets for synchronization of services inside the building, using IEEE 1588v2 to distribute timing within the building.

Upgrading Via a Painless Path

IEEE 1588v2 promises a simple, low-cost option for packet network timing upgrades and an ideal alternative and backup to GPS for TD-LTE and LTE-A networks. In many instances, full IEEE 1588v2 awareness is only needed right at the base station or cell site where timing needs to be provided to the cell.  Within the many hops in the network along the way, Transparent Clocks provide the most cost effective way to upgrade the network to LTE and LTE-Advanced simply by replacing port-level PHYs with new devices such as the ones from Vitesse, that can implement a nanosecond-accurate and highly stable time-of-day forwarding architecture, while fully compensating for transit time and PDV.

About the Author

Martin Nuss joined Vitesse in November 2007 as Vice President, Technology and Strategy and Chief Technical Officer. With more than 20 years of technical and management experience, Mr. Nuss was most recently, chief technology officer of Ciena's Optical Ethernet group where he led the successful integration of the products and technology acquired from Internet Photonics. Prior to Ciena's acquisition of the company, he was founder and CTO of Internet Photonics. He also served 15 years at Bell Labs in various technical and management roles including director of the Optical Data Networks Research Department, where he was responsible for research on Lucent's 10 Gigabit Multimode Fiber and innovations in the 10 GbE Metro Networking space. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and a member of IEEE. Mr. Nuss holds a doctorate in applied physics from the Technical University in Munich, Germany.