Friday, September 28, 2012

Arianespace Launches 2 Satellites: Astra 2F and GSAT-10

An Ariane 5 rocket successfully orbited two telecommunications satellites: Astra 2F, which mainly provides direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast services for the Luxembourg-based operator SES, and the GSAT-10 communications satellite for the Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO.
ASTRA 2F, which was built by Astrium using a Eurostar E3000 platform, weighed 6,000 kg at launch. It carries both Ku- and Ka-band transponders. ASTRA 2F will be positioned at 28.2 degrees East for delivering DTH TV broadcast services to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
GSAT-10, which was designed, assembled and integrated by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) in Bangalore, weighed about 3,400 kg at launch.  The satellite is fitted with 18 C-band and 12 Ku-band transponders. Positioned at 83 degrees East, it will provide direct-to-home broadcasting, weather and radio-navigation services. Its coverage zone encompasses the entire Indian sub-continent.

This marks the fifth Ariane 5 launch in 2012.  Ariane 5 is the only commercial rocket capable of simultaneously launching two payloads.

FCC Readies First Incentive Auction for Repurposed TV Spectrum

The FCC voted to approve plans for the first incentive auction to repurpose broadcast spectrum for mobile broadband use.

Incentive auctions offer financial incentives to broadcasters to put their unused, licensed spectrum up for public auction, including giving broadcasters a portion of the auction proceeds.  The U.S. is the first nation to move ahead with incentive auctions for traditional TV spectrum.

The major outlines of the incentive auction are given as follow in the FCC's NPRM:

(1) a “reverse auction” in which broadcast television licensees submit bids to voluntarily relinquish
spectrum usage rights in exchange for payments.  The reverse auction consists of three broad issues: bid collection, determination of which bids are accepted, and determination of payment amounts to winners.

(2) a reorganization or “repacking” of the broadcast television bands in order to free up a portion of the ultra-high frequency (UHF) band for other uses. Repacking involves reorganizing the broadcast television bands so that the television stations that remain on the air after the incentive auction occupy a smaller portion of the UHF band, subject to interference and other constraints imposed by the Spectrum Act and treaties with Canada and Mexico.   The goal it to configure a portion of the UHF band into contiguous blocks of spectrum suitable for flexible use.

(3) a “forward auction” of initial licenses for flexible use of the newly available spectrum. The forward auction will resemble prior competitive bidding systems that the FCC has utilized,  except that the FCC will not know in advance the amount of spectrum we can make available in the forward auction, the specific frequencies that will be available and, perhaps, the geographic locations of such frequencies.

The FCC is now seeking comment on these issues.

600 MHz Band Plan. The FCC is also seeking comment on a 600 MHz band plan for reclaimed broadcast television spectrum using 5 megahertz blocks and with 6 megahertz guard bands between mobile broadband use and broadcast use.

The FCC said it is committed to make a substantial amount of spectrum available for unlicensed uses, including a significant portion that would be available on a uniform nationwide basis for the first time. This unlicensed spectrum would continue to include television white spaces.  In addition, the FCC is considering making the 6 MHz guard bands in the 600 MHz band plan available for unlicensed use, making channel 37 available for such use, and making two channels currently designated for wireless microphone use available for white space devices.

  • In February 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the "Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012", which also granted voluntary incentive auction authority to the FCC.

Alcatel-Lucent Builds Ghana’s e-government Services

Alcatel-Lucent is working with NITA - the information and communications technology (ICT) policy arm of Ghana’s Ministry of Communications - to connect central and regional administration offices in support of "e-Ghana", a national initiative to develop local IT services and improve the transparency and efficiency of government functions.  Alcatel-Lucent will design and implement a 600km fiber backbone. In addition, Alcatel-Lucent will provide a national data center facility to support the network, through close collaboration with HP, a global alliance partner for the delivery of converged ICT solutions.

The network uses Alcatel-Lucent's 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS), which can support a mixture of 10G, 40G and 100G channels on the same fiber pair, helping ensure support for future needs as demand grows. Alcatel-Lucent is working with IPMC, local IT hardware and services provider, to establish a large-scale data center using technology from HP.

Huawei Completes LTE TDD/TD-SCDMA Interoperability Testing

Huawei has completed LTE TDD/TD-SCDMA multi-mode interoperability testing using Qualcomm's MDM9615 modem, which is highly optimized to support LTE (FDD and TDD), dual-carrier HSPA +, and EV-DO Rev. B. In addition, MDM9615 can also support TD-SCDMA, allowing for interoperability to occur between TD-SCDMA and LTE TDD.

ADTRAN Cuts Guidance on Weak U.S. Carrier Spending

Citing weakness in spending by U.S. carriers, ADTRAN cut its revenue and earnings estimates for the third quarter ending September 30, 2012.

The company now expects revenue for the quarter to be approximately $162 million. GAAP earnings per share for the quarter, assuming dilution, are expected to range from $0.14 to $0.15. Non-GAAP earnings per share for the quarter are expected to range from $0.18 to $0.19.

ADTRAN Chief Executive Officer Tom Stanton stated, “Our performance this quarter continued to be affected by a challenging spending environment stemming largely from macro-economic and regulatory concerns. The largest impact continues to be in the U.S. carrier market where we saw continuing delays in project rollouts exacerbated by a decrease in legacy product sales. Although timing the resolution to these macro concerns remains challenging, recent bidding activity in Tier 1 and Tier 2 carrier accounts both domestically and abroad leave us very confident about our positioning as these markets rebound.”

CTIA Endorses FCC's Incentive Auction of Broadcast Television Spectrum

"Since spectrum is a finite resource, we're pleased the Commission has begun the process of establishing the rules that will fulfill the goals of the recently adopted, bipartisan spectrum legislation.  We also commend the Commission for working to ensure that it not only establishes rules that result in a successful auction, but also completes its efforts in a timely manner. In order to maintain our global leadership in the mobile ecosystem, we must ensure that this spectrum is brought to market more quickly than the almost ten years it took to bring the last two spectrum blocks to market," stated CTIA-The Wireless Association President and CEO Steve Largent.

Intel Strikes at the Tablet Market

Intel, in partnership with Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, LG, Samsung and ZTE, showed off new tablets and tablet convertible designs based on Intel Core vPro, Intel Core and Intel Atom processors, including the new Intel Atom processor Z2760 (formerly codenamed "Clover Trail").

Intel said its new chip allow for tablets as thin as 8.5mm and as light as 1.5 pounds. The dual-core, four-thread SoC enables long battery life with more than 3 weeks of connected standby and more than 10 hours of local HD video playback.  Intel also highlighted support for the upcoming Windows 8.

"This is just the beginning of Intel's effort in the tablet market, and our goal is to deliver products that fit the spectrum of evolving needs of both consumers and business users without compromising on compatibility, experience or battery life," said Erik Reid, general manager, Application Processor Platforms for Intel's Mobile and Communications Group. "When people or corporations buy a device with Intel Inside®, they're getting the best of Windows 8 features with a computing experience that just works."

Bloomberg: DDoS Attacks on U.S. Banks Worrisome

A group calling itself Izz ad-Din al-Quassam Cyber Fighters is claiming responsibility for the series of DDoS attacks on major U.S. financial institutions over the past 2 weeks, according to Bloomberg, and were possibly inspired as revenge for the controversial YouTube video.  The attacks, which escalated last week, are raising concerns across the industry in part because it was assumed that the major U.S. banks have sufficient cyber security to defend against distributed denial of service attacks.

The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, which gathers threat, vulnerability, and risk information about cyber and physical security risks faced by the financial services sector under a Presidential directive, is maintaining an orange "High" warning level on its 5-level warning scale of Cyber Threats. (the highest level is 5-point red for "Severe" risk of cyber attacks on financial institutions).   FS-ISAC raised the warning level to Orange on September 19th.

Crown Castle to Acquire 7,200 Towers from T-Mobile USA for $2.4 Billion

Crown Castle reached an agreement to acquire approximately 7,200 towers from T-Mobile USA for $2.4 billion in cash.

The deal gives Crown Castle the exclusive right to lease and operate the T-Mobile towers for a weighted average term of approximately 28 years. In addition, Crown Castle will have the option to purchase such towers at the end of the respective lease terms for aggregate option payments of approximately $2.4 billion, which payments, if exercised would be primarily between 2025 and 2048.

Crown Castle said the deal helps it to consolidate its share of the telecom tower leasing business.  T-Mobile USA said the cash will help it to accelerate its 4G rollout.

"T-Mobile USA is working aggressively to make our 4G network stronger, faster and more dependable for consumers, and this transaction will support our ongoing $4 billion network modernization initiative that is the cornerstone of this effort as we work tirelessly to continue to deliver our amazing 4G services nationwide."

  • Earlier this year, Crown Castle International acquired NextG Networks for approximately $1.0 billion in cash.  NextG, which specializes in outdoor distributed antenna systems ("DAS"), currently has over 7,000 nodes-on-air and a further 1,500 nodes under construction. In addition, NextG has rights to over 4,600 miles of fiber. Over 90% of NextG nodes are in urban and suburban locations, with 80% in the top ten US metropolitan areas, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas Fort Worth. The NextG assets are expected to provide significant growth, as they currently average only 1.25 tenants per network. Crown Castle said this deal made it the largest independent DAS operator in the US, with approximately 10,000 nodes and 26 venues in operation or under construction. Previously, Crown Castle owned, operated and managed over 22,000 and approximately 1,600 wireless communication sites in the US and Australia,
  • In September, Deutsche Telekom appointed John Legere as CEO of T-Mobile USA, replacing Jim Alling, who will return to his position of Chief Operating Officer. 
  • Legere previously was CEO of Global Crossing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dish Readies Next Gen Satellite Broadband Service

DISH is launching its next gen satellite Internet service across the U.S. offering download speeds of up to 10 Mbps.  Pricing starts at $39.99 per month (plus equipment fees) for 5 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload speeds and data plans of 10 GB, when bundled with DISH's popular America's Top 120 or higher programming packages and with a two-year agreement.  A higher speed tier is also available.
The company said 19 million Americans lack access to high-speed Internet, including 14.5 million who live in rural regions, according to figures from the FCC.

 "Many unserved and underserved markets are years away from a telco or cable broadband build out, but dishNET is available today," said Brian McIntyre, vice president of Broadband at DISH. "These services will have powerful, positive impacts for kids, educators, businesses, farmers and families -- no matter how far out of town they may choose to live."

Nokia Siemens Networks Envisions 1GB per User per Day by 2020

Nokia Siemens Networks is preparing to launch a series of new capabilities, software and services within the company’s Liquid Net and Customer Experience Management portfolios.

Given the rapid growth of mobile broadband, the company envisions that operators will soon be faced with the challenge of delivering a gigabyte of personalized data, per user, per day on a profitable basis.  As mobile broadband surges, the delivery cost per bit is projected to decline rapidly as well, so Nokia Siemens Networks is discussing a radical market transformation to where the 1GB of data per day costs as little as $1 per day for hundreds of millions of users.

“Over the next eight years the rise in mobile data traffic will accelerate much faster than revenues,” said Marc Rouanne, head of mobile broadband at Nokia Siemens Networks. “We are focused on helping operators deliver mobile broadband profitably in the face of this challenge. In October, we will share with operators how they can meet this demand, delight their users, and still make money.”

Nokia Siemens Networks said its greatest task is in helping mobile operators (1) to reduce the cost per bit delivered, (2) to provide greater flexibility in the network to meet spikes in demands and support specialized services, and (3) to ensure the best end-user experience.  On this last point, NSN is working to deliver a unified Customer Experience Management that pulls together all network performance indicators and customer experience metrics into a single view.

Alvarion Completes BuNGee Project (Beyond 4G)

Alvarion announced the completion of BuNGee (Beyond Next Generation Mobile Networks), a research project funded by the European Commission. Alvarion said the project’s main goals were accomplished.

The mission of the BuNGee project was to improve the overall infrastructure capacity density of the mobile network by an order of magnitude (10x) to an ambitious goal of 1Gbps/km2 anywhere in the cell.

A demonstration of BuNGee took place in a dense urban high-tech industrial park around Alvarion’s offices in Tel Aviv, Israel, on April 17, 2012, before reviewers on behalf of the European Commission.

Partners in BuNGee included Alvarion (IL), ARTTIC (BE), Centre Tecnologic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (ES), Cobham Antenna Systems, Microwave Antennas (UK), University of York (UK), Thales Communications & Security (FR), Universite Catholique de Louvain (BE), Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (PL), Siklu Communication Ltd (IL).

Global Capacity Brings its Access Exchange to 60 Hudson

Global Capacity announced the expansion of its One Marketplace Access Exchange with a new Point of Presence (PoP) at 60 Hudson Street, New York. The expansion includes network interconnections with Sidera Networks and Telx.

Global Capacity's One Marketplace Access Exchange offers a transparent means to buy and sell global access services. The platform offers automated pricing, ordering and provisioning of access networks, easily accessible via an online interface.

Huawei Tests LTE-A Uplinks with CoMP

Huawei has completed the first LTE-A uplink coordinated multi-point (CoMP) trial on several commercial LTE networks in Europe and Asia.

Huawei said its testing revealed that uplink CoMP can effectively double data rates at cell edges for a single user, improving network performance in terms of coverage, spectrum efficiency and throughput.

The company has previously demonstrated LTE-A inter-band carrier aggregation (CA) and heterogeneous networks (HetNet).

"This is a key milestone for the LTE industry," said Ying Weimin, Huawei President for GSM/UMTS/LTE Networks. "Our No-Edge Network concept utilizes various LTE, LTE-A and innovative future-oriented technologies to realize ultra-broadband, zero-waiting and ubiquitous connectivity. This results in an enhanced experience and brings users the benefits of speed, quality and simplicity."

OpenStack Adds Networking and Block Storage Services

A new version of OpenStack released on Thursday adds important Networking (Quantum) and Block Storage (Cinder) services, along with many other enhancements.

The OpenStack "Folsom" release, which was built by more than 330 contributors, automates pools of compute, storage and networking resources, now including emerging Software Defined Networking (SDN) solutions via OpenStack Networking plug-ins, to build private and public cloud infrastructures without vendor lock-in.

OpenStack Networking currently includes plug-in support for Open vSwitch, the Ryu open source network operating system, standard Linux bridge networking and commercial solutions from Cisco, Nicira, and NEC, with others in development.

HP and Rackspace, which each operate large OpenStack public clouds, are putting Folsom into production

The OpenStack Foundation highlighted the following capabilities in the latest release.

OpenStack Compute (code-name Nova) - makes it easier for operators to configure large pools of virtual machines. A new "config drive" capability stores network configuration information, eliminating the need for DHCP, and a new "host aggregation" feature places workloads into the best pools of resources for the job, such as GPU clusters for HPC work. Performance and security enhancements enable users to expose unique features of the CPUs powering their cloud, including support for Trusted Computing, which relies on hardware to verify the cloud computing environment's state. A cross-company Hyper-V team has been formed to reintroduce and improve support for the hypervisor.

OpenStack Object Storage (code-name Swift) - operators can now connect OpenStack Object Storage to a statsd server and receive hundreds of real-time metrics about their cluster to help with troubleshooting, diagnostics, day-to-day operational issues, and long-term capacity management. To improve performance, clusters with high write requirements or large quantities of stored objects can now take advantage of solid-state drives (SSDs) for storing metadata without incurring a high overhead in disk space. Additionally, the ability to place data in cluster locations that are "as unique as possible," makes it easier to deploy small clusters and provides better flexibility for all clusters when handling hardware failure.

OpenStack Block Storage (code-name Cinder) - the first full release of OpenStack Block Storage implements advanced, extensible block and volume storage capabilities, while still supporting previously deployed OpenStack Volumes. Previously a sub-component of OpenStack Compute, the Block Storage capabilities of OpenStack have been promoted to a full project with a dedicated development team that will increase the rate of innovation as the OpenStack development community grows.

OpenStack Networking (code-name Quantum) - includes support for Open vSwitch, the Ryu open source network operating system, standard Linux bridge networking and commercial solutions from Cisco, Nicira, and NEC via a plug-in architecture. Additionally, the release includes significant updates to control Layer 2 networking, IP address management, API quotas, notifications, extension support for Layer 3 forwarding, Secure Network Address Translation (SNAT), and floating IPs. An integrated API policy framework allows network control at the tenant level or the admin-only level to be defined using the OpenStack Identity service, depending on an Enterprise or Service Provider's requirements.

OpenStack Dashboard (code-name Horizon) -brings usability improvements in launching Compute instances, working Object Storage resources, and managing OpenStack projects and users. Other feature advances include support for public and private image uploads and management of advanced networks. End users will appreciate better cross-browser support, timezone support, dynamic quota displays, improved error handling, and performance improvements.

OpenStack Identity (code-name Keystone) - brings improved support for Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) authentication and improved integration and management across OpenStack services.

OpenStack Image Service (code-name Glance) - major advancements in usability and functionality to the Image Service, including a new API, a new client library, new replication options for increased performance and security improvements reaching from the client to the image storage system

AT&T Unveils MiFi Liberate Hotspot

AT&T introduced the new MiFi Liberate – the first mobile hotspot with a touchscreen display.

The LTE device, which was developed by Novatel Wireless, features a 2.8” color touchscreen display for viewing data usages and managing network setting.  It supports up to 10 Wi-Fi devices.  The company claims up to 11 hours of continuous use on a single battery charge.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Brocade Shows Service-oriented Orchestration using OpenStack Quantum

Brocade demonstrated service-oriented orchestration using OpenStack software and its Ethernet fabric technologies. Specifically, Brocade is leveraging a customized plug-in for OpenStack Quantum to build a prototype that delivers cloud management capabilities for its Ethernet fabrics deployed in public and private cloud environments.

Quantum is an OpenStack project to provide 'network connectivity as a service' between interface devices (e.g., vNICs) managed by other OpenStack services.

Brocade is demonstrating OpenStack Quantum support for Brocade VCS Fabric technology using RESTful APIs.

Brocade said this demonstration shows how extensions enable OpenStack to orchestrate both physical and logical networking resources as part of a virtual machine (VM) deployment to support multitiered application topologies.

"Our commitment to the OpenStack Foundation is testament to our company's support of open technologies for managing the entire lifecycle of the cloud. Brocade is committed to an open framework for management and orchestration, in order to promote multivendor and system-to-system interoperability for all cloud environments," said Ken Ross, director of product management, Brocade.

BT Expands its Cloud Services

BT announced a series of enhancements to its unified communications portfolio with a range of new cloud-based services. BT One provides a single unified communications framework for devices, legacy systems and one global network for all global users.  

New services include: 

One Cloud Lync: a cloud service based on Microsoft Lync that integrates in a single platform a company’s email with instant messenger (IM), audio, device based video, screen sharing, and interactive white boarding.

One Voice anywhere: a new smartphone app and web client to help dramatically reduce mobile costs with employees who travel internationally. 

One Enterprise Cisco: an “on-site” solution based on Cisco UC9, an upgrade to the Cisco unified communications platform. 

One Collaborate video: new high definition video endpoints that bring immersive face-to-face interaction to the desktop.

One Collaborate: BT is joining forces with Dolby Laboratories on a technology trial based on the BT MeetMe service

BT is also implementing new pricing models for cloud-based services.  Global support by BT Advise professional services specialists are also made available to customers.

BT One Cloud currently utilizes dual redundant data centers in the U.S. and dual redundant data centers in the UK.  Beyond the scope of BT One Cloud, BT utilizes its data centers located in key business locations throughout the world to deliver additional cloud-based  services.  The company said users based in the U.S. are assigned to the US data centers while customer users based in Europe are assigned to the UK data centers.

Sub 10 Supplies Millimetre Radios to Alcatel-Lucent

Sub 10 Systems, a start-up based in the UK, announced a global supply and distribution agreement with Alcatel-Lucent covering Sub 10’s millimetre wave Liberator radio products.  Alcatel-Lucent will resell the Sub10 products as part of its metro cell backhaul portfolio.
Sub 10 said its Liberator wireless links deliver “fibre-thru-the-air” capacity in congested city centres and other areas where fibre would be either too costly or disruptive to install. The company specializes in the 60GHz, 70GHz and 80GHz areas of spectrum.

Xirrus Raises $23.5M for High-Performance Wi-Fi Arrays

Xirrus, a start-up based in Thousand Oaks, California, secured $23.5 million in Series E funding for its high-performance Wi-Fi solutions.

The company offers a Wi-Fi Array that integrates 4, 8, or 16 radios and high-gain directional antennas into a single device along with an onboard Gigabit Switch, Wi-Fi Controller, Firewall, and dedicated Wi-Fi Threat Sensor. The solution is designed as a replacement for Ethernet workgroup switches.  The architecture is distinguished by its dense modular APs, directional antennas and distributed intelligence.

The new funding was led by existing investors August Capital, Canaan Partners, InterWest Partners, QuestMark Partners, and US Venture Partners. Xirrus will use this financing round to accelerate global sales growth and product innovation.

  • In June 2012, Xirrus appointed Shane Buckley as CEO, replacing Xirrus founder and CEO Dirk Gates, who assumed the role of Executive Chairman.   Previously, Mr. Buckley was the General Manager and Senior Vice President at NETGEAR.   Prior to that,. Buckley was President and CEO of Rohati Systems, a leader in Cloud-based access management solutions, Chief Operating Officer of Nevis Networks,  Vice President WW Enterprise at Juniper Networks, and President International at Peribit Networks.