Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bharti Airtel Upgrades its African Networks with Ericsson

Bharti Airtel, which operates mobile networks in 16 African countries, has undertaken an end-to-end network transformation program with Ericsson.

The project, which Ericsson describes as the largest of its kind on the African continent, involves the upgrade and expansion of network elements on all of Airtel’s African operations, including switching, radio, network management, data, charging, and consumer-services platforms and systems.  In addition, a full upgrade of the charging platforms across all operations was implemented introducing the latest version of Ericsson’s Charging System, enabling Airtel to offer subscribers new and innovative value-added services such as mobile wallets.

In 2011, Ericsson won a five year network management contract with Airtel.

Lars Lindén, head of Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa, says, "In the transition to a Networked Society in Africa, operators are facing growing challenges in meeting the rapidly evolving demands of consumers. The focus of this project was transforming Airtel Africa’s networks to meet current and future consumer demands."


Ciena Announces Another 100G Deployment: Dakota Carrier Network

Dakota Carrier Network has deployed Ciena’s coherent optical technology to deliver 40G and 100G wavelength services across its statewide optical backbone.  The installation uses Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform equipped with WaveLogic coherent optical processors in an 88-channel DWDM ring.

Ciena noted that its 100G solution has now been deployed by a number of independent and regional telecommunications providers in the U.S., including CapeNet, DC-Net, Sunset Digital and Sovernet, among others.

To date, Ciena has shipped over 16,000 coherent 40G/100G line interfaces to more than 100 customers

DCN is the recipient of an approximately $10.8 million grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. The grant, along with additional funding, has allowed DCN to design its regional optical backbone to support high-speed fiber connectivity and broadband services to rural and underserved North Dakota critical community institutions, including public safety entities, schools and government agencies.


Orange to Offer Enterprise Content Delivery Service with Akamai

Orange will begin selling enterprise content delivery network (CDN) services using Akamai Technologies' optimization and acceleration solution.  Orange Business Services will market these solutions initially in France. The companies have formed an innovation steering committee to identify areas of innovation in the field of CDN solutions.

"We see great potential in this partnership with Akamai," said Gilles Prunier, Senior Vice President in charge of the Smart Networks program at Orange. "Developing an Orange CDN service, powered by Akamai, will allow us to enrich our existing BtoB services portfolio and to support our customers' growth by providing them with new and differentiated web features that improve the end-user experience and ultimately increase customer loyalty."

"Akamai and Orange have a history of bringing unique and innovative solutions to address enterprises' needs," said Mark Vargo, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Akamai EMEA. "By combining the strengths of two leading technology companies in a single partnership, we believe we can provide enterprises in the French market with a robust and comprehensive set of acceleration and optimization offerings that will help address all aspects of their online businesses."


Monday, November 19, 2012

NSN Teams with Ballard on Mobile Network Fuel Cell

Nokia Siemens Networks and Ballard Power Systems are collaborating on a fuel cell system that could provide extended electrical backup to a cell site during an emergency.

The companies cited a number of advantages to fuel cell over battery back-ups or diesel generators.  These include higher reliability across a wide range of operating conditions, lower maintenance costs, longer operating life as well as reduced size, weight, installation footprint, noise signature and environmental impact.

The base station and fuel cell combination developed by Nokia Siemens Networks with Ballard can provide 4.5 kW of power for approximately 40 hours on a single tank of fuel.

NTT DOCOMO is testing the system alongside the Nokia Siemens Networks Flexi Multiradio base station at  Yokosuka Research Park (YRP) for potential commercial deployment.
The solution from Nokia Siemens Networks and Ballard Power Systems has already received the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) statutory approval in Japan.

“Mobile networks can be vital when a natural disaster strikes, and power outages make other forms of communication difficult,” said Mark Donaldson, head of energy solutions for mobile broadband networks at Nokia Siemens Networks. “Integrating fuel cells with our base stations can significantly increase the resilience of the mobile networks we provide.”

“Our fuel cell systems provide power for extended periods during outages caused by natural calamities and commercial grid failures,” said Larry Stapleton, vice president of sales, Ballard. “The collaboration with Nokia Siemens Networks has helped us leverage our service and integration expertise in order to deliver an emergency-ready alternative power solution for mobile networks.”


DOCOMO Develops 3G/LTE Femtocell

NTT DOCOMO has developed a dual-mode small-cell base station, or femtocell, supporting 3G (W-CDMA) and LTE simultaneously.   The dual-mode femtocell, which will be commercially launched from December, is designed for indoor locations such as offices, shops and homes.

The new femtocell weighs only 0.7 kg and measures just 18.5cm by 17.5 cm by 4.5 cm.  It supports 3G/LTE service coverage in a range of up to several tens of meters, depending on actual conditions.  The LTE radio supports maximum downlink rates of 112 Mbps.  The unit is plug-and-play, automatically configuring itself to the surrounding radio environment.

T-Mobile USA Appoints Chief Marketing Officer

T-Mobile USA announced the appointment of  Michael Sievert as the company’s new chief marketing officer, effective immediately.  Most recently, Sievert served as CEO of Seattle-based Discovery Bay Games.  He has also held positions at Clearwire, AT&T Wireless, Microsoft, IBM and Procter & Gamble.


  • 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, a 32-year veteran of the U.S. and global telecommunications and technology industries, is the former CEO of Global Crossing, where he successfully transformed the company to become a leading provider of IP services worldwide. Prior to joining Global Crossing, Mr. Legere was CEO of Asia Global Crossing, a Microsoft, Softbank and Global Crossing joint venture. Before that, Mr. Legere served as Senior Vice President of Dell Computer Corporation, where he was President of the Company’s operations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, as well as in the Asia-Pacific region.

Broadcom Supplies Low Latency 5GHz Wi-Fi for Nintendo's Wii U

Broadcom supplied wireless connectivity, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC, for the new Wii U system from Nintendo. The companies jointly developed customized 5GHz Wi-Fi technology that supports low-latency video and audio transmission between the console and GamePad controller.  Bluetooth 4.0 support with backward compatibility enables most legacy games and legacy peripherals to be used with the new system.

The Verge: Verizon Rushes to Replace Copper with Fiber in Lower Manhattan

The storm surge from Hurricane Sandy inflicted catastrophic damage at Verizon's central office on Broad Street in lower Manhattan when an underground cabling vault was completely submerged in salt water. 

Verizon's Executive Director of Operations, Christopher D. Levendos, tells The Verge's Dante D'Orazio that the best choice is to strip out the spoiled copper and simply to rebuild with fiber.

DOJ Requests Additional Info on T-Mobile USA + MetroPCS Deal

The U.S. Department of Justice issued a request for additional information from MetroPCS in regards to its proposed transaction with T-Mobile USA.   MetroPCS said it will cooperate fully with the DOJ to obtain approval of the transaction as soon as possible and remains confident that the DOJ will find that the transaction is both pro-competitive and pro-consumer. 


Overture Boosts its Carrier Ethernet Edge Platform

Overture rolled out a 3-port DS3 interface module and software enhancements for its Overture 1400 gigabit Carrier Ethernet edge platform, which enables premium business Ethernet and mobile backhaul service delivery over a variety of infrastructures, including native optical Ethernet, SONET/SDH, DS3/E3, DS1, and E1.

The new card can bond up to three DS3 circuits to overcome Ethernet service delivery challenges in areas outside of existing fiber network footprints and offer 100 Mbps or more using readily available DS3s.  The new card also supports Generic Framing Procedure (GFP) and Virtual Concatenation (VCAT) bonding using Link Capacity Adjustment Scheme (LCAS).

The software upgrades add MLPPP bonding to the existing T1/E1 interface module, as well as capabilities for rapid service activation, dynamic re-marking of service classes, and synthetic loss measurements.

“Carriers are looking for ways to better serve the needs of all customers, including those who require reliable high bandwidth services but can’t connect directly to the optical network due to physical or geographical barriers, or other gating factors,” said Vijay Raman, vice president of product management and marketing, Overture Networks. “With the Overture 1400 Release 12.1 and the 3-port DS3 interface module, service providers can quickly and easily meet customer demand for premium business services. It’s another powerful solution that allows us to turn the difficult into the doable.”


Ciena Gains 10G FIPS 140-2 Level 2 Certification

Ciena has received Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 2 certification for its 10G wire-speed encryption solution from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSE).

FIPS 140-2 is an officially recognized North American standard that validates proper use of standard, peer-reviewed methods of encryption. All government agencies and departments in the U.S. and Canada that use commercial grade encryption are required to use FIPS-certified solutions in their networks. Additionally, enterprise organizations in healthcare, financial services and other security conscious industries worldwide often seek network solutions with FIPS certification.


Russia's VimpelCom Selects Cisco ASR 5000

VimpelCom has selected the Cisco ASR 5000 mobile multimedia core platform as a core element of its 3G mobile network and as a foundation for its 4G LTE development in key regions, including St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don. The project is implemented by CTI, a Cisco Gold Certified Partner in Russia. Financial terms were not disclosed.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Argon Design Develops Flow Simulation Packet Blaster based on Netronome

Argon Design, a leading developer of high-performance software for multi-core processors, introduced a flow simulation tool based on Netronome's flow processors.

The Argon Blaster, which leverages a Netronome Flow Engine PCIe acceleration card, generates realistic, Internet scale traffic loads and applications to test networking and security equipment. The PCIe acceleration card runs in standard x86 platforms and delivers line-rate, timing-accurate packets for traffic flow simulation.

Argon Design said its Blaster is capable of saturating a 10 Gbps link with application traffic with accurate, consistent, per-flow rate control for up to a million unique flows.

“Flow processing has become pervasive in cyber security, network analytics and software-defined networking designs,” said Steve Barlow, chief technology officer at Argon Design. “As a result, new, cost effective testing and simulation tools are required to stress these products in ways not previously available.”

“Argon Design is a recognized leader in software development for engineering organizations,” said Jarrod Siket, senior vice president of marketing and general manager at Netronome. “Their expertise in the complex requirements facing developers of sophisticated communications equipment makes them uniquely qualified to bring this much needed application to market.”

Blaster pricing starts at $9,999, including 12-month warranty and customer support.


Cisco to Acquire Meraki for Cloud-managed Wi-Fi

Cisco agreed to acquire Meraki, a rival supplier of campus Wi-Fi solutions, for approximately $1.2 billion in cash and retention-based incentives. Meraki supplies a line of high capacity on-site WLAN hardware that is centrally managed from its cloud.

Compared to other WLAN solutions including Cisco's own campus Wi-Fi, Meraki has said its key advantages are quick turn-up and no training or dedicated staff needed to maintain the network, thus reducing the total cost of ownership.  Because it leverages cloud-based management, the feature set is constantly updated and secured.  There is no centralized controller.  User traffic does not pass through the cloud.  The network continues to function even if the connection to the cloud is broken, however Meraki hosts its management platform in multiple data centers across the country and provides a 99.99% uptime SLA.

One customer example is Accor North America, which is using Meraki to managed Wi-Fi service to 70,000 hotel rooms in 620 properties across the U.S.  The network is managed no dedicated staff from Accor.

Meraki's product suite includes a line of indoor/outdoor 802.11n access points with 802.3af Power over Ethernet and mesh capabilities, a line of cloud-managed security appliances scaling from small company versions to large campus models, and four cloud managed Ethernet access switches featuring built-in monitoring and Gigabit of 10G uplinks.

Earlier this year, Meraki introduced Layer 7 application visibility controls into its Wi-Fi switches.  This provides insight into how much traffic is due to YouTube, Netflix, Vimeo, etc.  

Meraki was founded in 2006 and is based in San Francisco.

Cisco said that acquisition of Meraki's cloud networking solutions will expand its own portfolio by providing scalable solutions for midmarket businesses.

"The acquisition of Meraki enables Cisco to make simple, secure, cloud managed networks available to our global customer base of mid-sized businesses and enterprises. These companies have the same IT needs as larger organizations, but without the resources to integrate complex IT solutions," said Rob Soderbery, senior vice president, Cisco Enterprise Networking Group. "Meraki's solution was built from the ground up optimized for cloud, with tremendous scale, and is already in use by thousands of customers to manage hundreds of thousands of devices."


Cisco’s Recent Acquisitions

*Cloupia is a start-up focused on Cloud Automation and Management Software, for approximately $125 million in cash and retention-based incentives. Cloupia, which is based in Santa Clara, California, provides tools to automate converged data center infrastructure.15-Nov-2012
*ThinkSmart Technologies was a software developer specializing in location data analysis using Wi-Fi.  Financial terms were not disclosed. ThinkSmart’s location analytics collects information on movement within a venue including time of day, traffic patterns and dwell times. The company, which is based in Cork, Ireland, was formed at the Incubation Centre of University College Cork.
*ClearAccess was a privately-held company that provides TR-069-based software to service providers for the provisioning and management of residential and mobile devices. Financial terms were not disclosed.The acquisition includes ClearAccess' software business and talent. The hardware portion of ClearAccess' business, Smart RG Gateways, will continue forward as a separate company called SmartRG.27-Mar-2012
*Cisco acquired NDS Group in a deal valued at approximately $5 billion.NDS, which is owned by News Corp.(49%) and Permira private equity (51%), provides video software and content security for media companies, cable & satellite TV operators and IPTV service providers. Key products include its MediaHighway Set-top Box middleware software and its "XTV" Digital Video Recorder software.14-Mar-2012
* Lightwire was a developer of optical interconnect technology, for $271 million in cash and incentives.Lightwire, a start-up based in Allentown, Penn., specializes in CMOS photonics. Its optical interconnects promise to integrate multiple high speed active and passive optical functions onto a small silicon chip. 23-Feb-2012

Zayo Reports Continued Expansion, Pricing Trends

Zayo reported quarterly revenue of $229.7 million, a $120.1 million sequential quarter increase largely attributed to the acquisition of AboveNet, and adjusted EBITDA of $122.6 million, which was $65.1 million higher than the prior quarter.  There was a loss from continuing operations of $53.4 million for the quarter, $48.2 million higher than the $5.3 million net loss for the previous quarter.
The company said it continues to add buildings on-net and expand the number of fiber route miles both through acquisitions and new construction.

Zayo's 8K SEC filing also contains lots of interesting data on operational metrics and pricing trends for key services, including monthly recurring pricing trends for 10G wavelengths, 2.5 G wavelengths, 1G wavelengths, 1G Ethernet, Fractional 1G Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, OC3, OC12, OC48, DS1 and DS3 services.


  • In September, Zayo completed its previously announced acquisition of FiberGate, which delivers dark fiber connectivity in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The acquisition adds 399 new route miles and 130,000 fiber miles in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Baltimore, and suburban Maryland to Zayo’s network.
  • In September, Zayo agreed to acquire First Telecom Services, which operates a fiber network across the northeastern and midwestern United States, for $110 million.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Ireland Nets €855 Million in 4G Spectrum Auction

Ireland completed a very successful auction of spectrum in the former GSM-only bands (900 MHz and 1800 MHz) and in the 800 MHz band (the so-called ‘Digital Dividend’), which became available on 24 October last following the switch-off of analogue broadcasting.

The auction raised approximately €854.64 million for these spectrum rights, comprising of €481.7 million in Upfront Fees (adjusted as necessary by transitional arrangements), along with annual Spectrum Usage Fees totalling €372.95 million which will be adjusted for inflation and paid in instalments until July 2030.

"The proceeds of the auction are greater than many people expected and are a statement of confidence in the economy. The total licence payments of €845M are front loaded so over 50% of the money (at least €450M) will go to the exchequer this year. The balance will be paid over by Telecoms companies on a phased basis over the coming years. I expect that the telecoms companies who were the successful bidders will move quickly to build the infrastructure so that we can start to benefit from 4G mobile broadband services in 2013. This will be an important dimension of Ireland's competitiveness in the coming years. It is a key component of the Government's National Broadband Plan which envisages high speed broadband services being rolled out across Ireland in the lifetime of this Government," stated Pat Rabbitte, Ireland's Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

Winning Bidders in India's 1800 MHz Spectrum Auction

India's Department of Telecommunications confirmed the following winning bidders in last week's 1800 MHz Spectrum Auction for 2G services.  The auction was ordered by the country's Supreme Court, following the high profile scandal involving the previous license awards.  

This auction generated approximately INR 94 billion (US$1.71 billion), falling significantly short of market predictions in the INR 400 billion range.


Time Warner Cable Opens $82 Million Data Center in North Carolina

Time Warner Cable (TWC) inaugurated a National Data Center East in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The $82 million dollar National Data Center is a 178,000 square foot (16,500 m2) facility that includes 1,600 racks of technical equipment and four 12,000 square foot data halls. The second facility is a four-story, 103,500 square foot administrative office building. In support of TWC’s green initiative, both buildings will seek Silver LEED certification.

The new data center is part a $101 million expansion at the company's campus in Charlotte.

Time Warner Cable also highlighted that the new data center leverages Cloud Technology from NaviSite, a Time Warner Cable company.

“Time Warner Cable serves customers across 29 states and this National Data Center provides the management and support for all Time Warner Cable products and services including WiFi, High Speed Data, Voice, TV services on smart devices and Intelligent Home among others,” added Jim Ludington, executive vice president of national network operations and engineering, Time Warner Cable. “In addition, the building is strategically designed to double in equipment size to accommodate future growth.”


Alcatel-Lucent Names Dave Geary to Head Wireless Division

Alcatel-Lucent appointed David J Geary as president of its Wireless division, effective January 1, 2013, replacing Wim Sweldens.  Geary was previously president of the Wireline division since 2009 and before that he served as President of Switching Division, President of Application Solutions at Lucent, COO of Lucent's Integrated Network Solutions Group, and Senior VP of North American sales for Lucent's Service Provider Networks division.

In his new role, Geary will report to Philippe Keryer, president of the newly-formed Networks & Platforms Business Group. Starting January 1, 2013, the Wireline division will be headed by Federico Guillen.

Ben Verwaayen, CEO, Alcatel-Lucent, said: “Firstly, I would like to thank Wim Sweldens for his energetic leadership of the Wireless division, which has resulted in the development of lightRadio, more than 25 major commercial contracts for our LTE solutions, and involvement in more than 70 LTE trials worldwide. He has clearly helped us to be at the forefront of LTE.”

Commenting on Geary’s appointment, Mr. Verwaayen added: “David takes over the Wireless leadership at a time of exciting and dramatic evolution in mobile communications, with 4G LTE services launching throughout the world and the proliferation of smartphones and tablet devices driving consumer demand for next generation wireless technologies.”


Infonetics: Optical Sales Slow in Q3 - SONET/SDH Declines Outpace WDM Gains

The global optical network hardware market, including WDM and SONET/SDH, fell 2% sequentially in Q3 2012, according to preliminary analysis from Infonetics.  This marks the third straight quarter of declines following 5 consecutive quarters of minor increases.

"Investment in new WDM gear is growing, but it isn't growing fast enough to offset the accelerated declines in SONET/SDH," notes Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research. "SONET/SDH spending hit another all-time low in the third quarter, as architectural shifts in wireless backhaul quicken its transition into obsolescence. Carriers aren't allocating scarce capital to out-of-date equipment."

Some other highlights of the upcoming report:
  • SONET/SDH optical spending continued its sharp fall, down 19% sequentially and 33% year-over-year
  • NEC, Fujitsu, and Infinera had a strong 3Q12, with revenue up by double digits thanks to robust ROADM equipment spending
  • Alcatel-Lucent posted its lowest-ever optical revenue results in 3Q12, with the majority of the decline coming from its WDM business
  • Performance in North America and EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, Africa) was relatively weak, although North America is expected to resume moderate growth in 4Q12 as AT&T and Verizon ramp spending.