Thursday, January 10, 2013

AT&T's Project VIP Will Bring Wireless + Wireline Integration

Project VIP is on track and will deliver multiple benefits to AT&T as its wireless and wireline networks become more tightly integrated, said John Donovan, Senior Executive Vice President - AT&T Technology & Network Operations, speaking at the Citi Global Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference on January 9th.

Objectives of the three year Project VIP include:

Densification of the wireless grid through multiple technology deployments, including 10,000+ new macro sites, 1,000+ distributed antenna systems, and 40,000+ small cells.  Over half of the densification will come from small cells.

Extending the wireline broadband network to 57 million homes.  Donovan spoke of a 100 Mbps ceiling for residential services as achievable in many locations.

Extending fiber to many more business locations.  The target is for 1 million more customer locations in 3 years.

With Project VIP, Donovan said he is most excited about the integration between AT&T's wireline and wireless networks. Packets are much more efficiently carried on the ground network than through the air. Fiber endpoints will drive small cell backhaul, reducing the need for new macro sites.

Donovan noted that AT&T achieved many network objectives in 2012, including bringing its LTE network to 170 million POPs and its HSPA+ network to 288 million POPs. The number of dropped calls on the AT&T network improved by 32% in 2012 over 2011.  Ethernet backhaul is now carrying 90% of mobile data

AT&T's work on cell site architecture is paying off in two areas:  providing a seamless experience between LTE and HSPA+, and ensuring that only one radio is drawing handset power.  The company plans to bring LTE to 300 million POPs by end of 2014.

Regarding the recent agreement with Akamai, Donovan said deal was driven by the rapid pace of the content distribution business.  The partnership with Akamai combines their ability to move at the pace of the market with the scale of the AT&T network.

An archived webcast of the presentation is on the AT&T Investor relations web page.

  • On November 7, 2012, AT&T unveiled Project Velocity IP (VIP) -- its plan to invest $14 billion over the next three years to significantly expand and enhance its wireless and wireline IP broadband network. The plan adds $8 billion for wireless initiatives and $6 billion for wireline initiatives.  It also makes a distinction between areas where the company believes are better served wirelessly rather the through a traditional copper network or deploying a fiber infrastructure.
  • Total capital spending is now expected to be approximately $22 billion for each of next three years. The company said a stronger balance sheet has provided it the financial footing to invest. AT&T is also increasing its quarterly dividend 2.3 percent and is predicting EPS will grow by mid-single digits for the next 3 years with opportunity for stronger growth going forward.
  • The Project VIP plan includes an upgrade for U-verse to speeds of up to 75Mbps and for U-verse IPDSLAM to speeds of up to 45Mbps, with a path to deliver even higher speeds in the future.
  • In the 25 percent of AT&T's wireline customer locations where it's currently not economically feasible to build a competitive IP wireline network, the company said it will utilize its expanding 4G LTE wireless network -- as it becomes available -- to offer voice and high-speed IP Internet services. The company's 4G LTE network will cover 99 percent of all in-region customer locations. AT&T's 4G LTE network offers speeds competitive with, if not higher than, what is available on wired broadband networks today. 

Equinix Invests in Fourth Data Center in Tokyo

 Citing high demand for data center services in Japan, Equinix announced plans to invest $43 million  to build its fourth International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center, TY4, in Ōtemachi, Tokyo.

The new TY4 IBX data center  will be launched in two phases, providing total capacity of 750 cabinet equivalents. The first phase, scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2013, will offer initial capacity of 450 cabinet equivalents. TY4 will have direct fiber connectivity to Equinix's three other IBX data centers in the city, which will further facilitate customer interconnections.

Ōtemachi, located in the heart of Tokyo’s business district, is the Internet Exchange hub in Japan, with 90 percent of Internet traffic being exchanged in the area.

Equinix said the data center outsourcing market in Japan will reach a size of 1.4 trillion yen (US$20 billion) in 2015, based on figures from International Data Corporation (IDC).

“Tokyo is a strategic market for Equinix as it is one of the largest data center markets worldwide and a primary gateway for traffic from the U.S. to Asia. We believe our expanded presence in Japan will give our customers greater access to global network connectivity and capitalize on the opportunities presented by the Japanese market. We would like to thank Mitsubishi Estate for its support in securing ‘Otemachi Financial City’ for our TY4 data center.”

  • Equinix currently lists over 194,000 sq. ft. colocation space in its current Tokyo data centers.

ETNO Looks for Further Deregulation in European Telecom Markets

The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) will undertake a review of national markets with a goal determining where further deregulation could lead to increased investment.

ETNO said the main changes to the recommendation should include:

  • A reduction of the number of markets, in particular the retail market for access to the fixed telephone network: no competition issues are observed on this market where fixed telephony is increasingly subject to competition from mobile networks and consumers increasingly use online Over the Top services over broadband networks to keep in touch.
  • A new approach to wholesale regulation of broadband networks which takes into account all competing platforms at retail level (including cable and next generation mobile networks), in accordance with the principle of technological neutrality. National regulators should also be asked to analyse geographical differences within a national market, in order to focus regulation on uncompetitive areas.

“This review offers an opportunity to make another bold step towards the deregulation of the sector which is essential to unlock investments that are indispensable for meeting the policy goals of the Digital Agenda. The new recommendation should reflect the new regulatory paradigm for broadband investment announced by Vice President Kroes and take into account new market developments that should determine the scope of regulation for the years to come”, says Luigi Gambardella, ETNO Executive Board Chair.

 “In line with increased competition on the markets and rapid technological evolutions, the revision of the recommendation on relevant markets should not only lead to a reduction of the number of regulated markets. It should also imply a fundamental change in the way regulation applies to wholesale broadband markets”, says Daniel Pataki, ETNO Director.

Nokia Tops Q4 Estimates and NSN Hits Record Q4 Profits

Nokia reported good news:  sales of Devices & Services exceeded expectations and achieved underlying profitability in the fourth quarter 2012.  Specifically, its Mobile Phones business unit and Lumia portfolio delivered better than expected results; and operating expenses were lower than expected.  Devices & Services non-IFRS operating margin for the fourth quarter 2012 now expected to be between break even and positive 2 percent.

In addition, Nokia Siemens Networks exceeded expectations for the fourth quarter 2012, delivering record underlying profits and a third consecutive quarter of underlying profitability.  The company cited strong performance in higher margin product categories and geographic regions, along with better than expected cost management.  NSN's non-IFRS operating margin for the fourth quarter 2012 is now expected to be between 13 and 15 percent.

"We are pleased that Q4 2012 was a solid quarter where we exceeded expectations and delivered underlying profitability in Devices & Services and record underlying profitability in Nokia Siemens Networks. We focused on our priorities and as a result we sold a total of 14 million Asha smartphones and Lumia smartphones while managing our costs efficiently, and Nokia Siemens Networks delivered yet another very good quarter."

Mirantis Raises $10 Million for OpenStack

Mirantis, a start-up based in Mountain View, California with offices in Russia and Ukraine, raised $10 million in venture funding for its OpenStack systems integration work.

Mirantis' goal is to make a vendor-agnostic OpenStack cloud simple and predictable for service providers, SaaS vendors, and enterprises.

Mirantis was an early OpenStack advocate, since the open source project was introduced in 2010 and recently joined Dell and Intel as founding members of the new OpenStack Foundation. Boris Renski, Mirantis co-founder and executive vice president,was elected to the board of the Foundation, which provides leadership to the community and guidance over development efforts.

The company said it will remain true to its focus of providing a vendor-neutral implementation of OpenStack, free of lock-in hooks or proprietary packaging.

The funding came from Dell Ventures, Intel Capital and WestSummit Capital.

“We believe that OpenStack is on its way to becoming a universal control plane for the entire application infrastructure fabric,” observed Adrian Ionel, president and CEO of Mirantis.

Consumer electronics Revenues Pegged at $209 Billion for 2013

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) estimates that revenues for the consumer electronics (CE) industry are projected to grow nearly three percent, reaching a new record-high of $209.6 billion for 2013 for the U.S. market.  This compares with 2012 sales of  $204 billion, which was up five percent from 2011.

Mobile connected devices continue to drive industry growth:
  • Tablet computing will continue double-digit growth in 2013. Unit sales of tablets are projected to reach 116 million this year, up 45 percent from 2012, when 80 million tablets were sold to dealers. Industry revenues for tablets are expected to surpass $37 billion this year, up from $31 billion in 2012.
  • Smartphones continue to be the primary revenue driver for the industry with growth projected to continue in 2013. Unit sales of smartphones are projected to reach 130 million this year, up from 111 million in 2012. Smartphone shipment revenues are expected to surpass $37 billion in 2013, up from $33 billion in 2012
  • Laptop/notebook computer sales will continue to rise as 26 million units are projected to be sold in 2013 accounting for $17 billion in revenue.
“CEA’s forecast once again confirms that CE products play an increasingly indispensable role in consumers’ lives,” said Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis. “Consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets continues to expand briskly, as mobile connected devices take center stage in today’s connected, digital lifestyle.”
The U.S. Consumer Electronics Sales and Forecast 2008-2013 (January 2013) is published twice a year, in January and July.
CEA also announced that this week's 2013 International CES show in Las Vegas attracted more than 3,250 exhibitors across 1.9 million net square feet of exhibit space, breaking both space and exhibitor records that were set last year. 

JDSU Hires Susan Spradley as GM of Communications Test and Measurement

JDSU named Susan Spradley as senior vice president of its communications test and measurement business unit.  Reporting to David Heard, CommTest’s president, she is responsible for the development and management of the communications test product portfolio, including instruments, probes, software applications and service assurance solutions. Spradley brings more than 20 years of telecommunications industry experience to JDSU, serving in executive positions at Nokia Siemens Networks and Nortel.

JDSU also named Rex Jackson as executive vice president and chief financial officer. has served as acting CFO since September 2012. He joined JDSU two years ago as senior vice president, Business Services, with responsibility for several corporate functions, including Information Technology, where he has driven significant operational improvements. Jackson brings strong financial management experience to the company. Prior to JDSU, he served as executive vice president and chief financial officer at Symyx Technologies.

Sandvine Confirms $6.5 Million in Follow-on Orders, Adds Dermot O'Carroll to Board

Sandvine confirmed the receipt of more than $6.5 million in follow-on Network Policy Control orders from a Top-5 Asian communications service provider. Sandvine announced initial orders from the customer in May 2012. Since May 2012, Sandvine has announced orders from certain Tier-1 Asian operators that total approximately $20 million and has reported the highest market share in the region.
“This is a multi-phase project and the deployment has proceeded as expected. We are just beginning the second phase,” said Tom Donnelly, COO, Sales and Global Services. “We have been able to demonstrate our ability to measure application usage on a granular basis and provide meaningful streaming video metrics based on device, display characteristics and transport quality. We will now start to expand those capabilities as well as our traffic management solution across additional network locations.”

Sandvine also announced that Dermot O’Carroll has joined its Board of Directors. Mr. O’Carroll has spent almost 40 years in the telecommunications industry, the last twenty of which as a senior executive in various roles, including with Rogers Communications.

Sandvine Posts Q4 Revenue of $27.5 Million

Sandvine reported $27.5 million in revenue for its fourth quarter of 2012, non-IFRS income of $6.9 million and net income of $6.5 million. During the quarter, Sandvine recorded a one-time, $3.8 million reduction in operating expenses for Ontario government funding related to its ongoing project under the Next Generation of Jobs Fund.  Full year results included revenue of $87.9 million and a non-IFRS loss of $2.7 million (net loss of $5.0 million).

Some Q4 2012 highlights:

  • Revenue by access technology market: wireless 48%; DSL 35%; cable 17%
  • Revenue by geography: NA 44%; APAC 26%; EMEA 18%; CALA 12%
  • Revenue by sales channel: reseller 78%; direct 22%
  • Gross margin: 71%
  • Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments balance: $74.6 million

“We are pleased with fourth quarter results as they demonstrate ongoing progress in revenue growth and profitability,” said Dave Caputo, Sandvine’s President and CEO. “Total revenue and wireless market revenue were at record levels, driven by large initial orders from two new Tier 1 customers and large expansion orders from major existing customers, which has been a key area of focus for us in 2012.”

Broadcom Ships GPON Gateway Chip for China

Broadcom introduced a highly integrated gigabit passive optical network (GPON) Home Gateway Unit (HGU) system-on-a-chip (SoC) that supports China Telecom's E8C specification, which is required for all GPON deployments in China.

The new BCM68571 GPON home gateway chip features line rate packet processing, a quad port FE switch, PCI Express, USB 2.0 and SIM card controller.

The Chinese market continues to grow and is poised to be a leading GPON region worldwide," said Mr. Li Changchun, Fiberhome R&D General Manager, Service & CPE Business Unit.

Broadcom is onto its 9th Generation of ADSL Gateway Silicon

Broadcom is now shipping its ninth generation ADSL gateway silicon.  Broadcom said its new BCM6318 ADSL2+ gateway complements the existing xDSL product lines by offering an ultra-low cost solution for entry level products. It features multiple Ethernet ports coupled with expansion ports to enable USB 2.0, and Wi-Fi.

"As ADSL deployments increase in emerging markets, they become more mature. Simple bridge products must be replaced by more sophisticated – yet cost-effective – gateway products," said Greg Fischer, Broadcom Vice President and General Manager, Broadband Carrier Access.  "Broadcom understands that low cost solutions must perform to the unique demands of these markets and are essential to growth. We will continue our focus of combining the desired features with the performance needed in affordable, integrated solutions."

Shehzad Merchant Appointed CTO of Extreme Networks

Extreme Networks promoted Shehzad T. Merchant to the position of Chief Technical Officer (CTO).

Merchant holds 10 technology patents for networking including Policy-based quality of service, unified, configurable, adaptive network infrastructure, VLAN aggregation, and security/access intrusion detection.  Recently, Merchant has shaped the company's Open Fabric data center strategy for open networking for virtualized data center and cloud switching, Software Defined Networking (SDN) and the Company's flagship software platform, ExtremeXOS, which supports a rich set of APIs, networked applications, and OpenFlow tools enabling customization, more efficient management and secure Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) at the network edge.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

EXFO's Quarterly Revenue Declines but Company Optimistic on Higher Bookings

EXFO reported US$59.8 million in revenue for its first quarter of fiscal 2013, ended 30-Nov-2012, compared to US$66.4 million in the first quarter of 2012 and US$57.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. IFRS net loss in the first quarter of fiscal 2013 totaled US$1.6 million, or US$0.03 per share, compared to net earnings of US$2.9 million, or US$0.05 per diluted share, in the same period last year and a net loss of US$3.7 million, or US$0.06 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Bookings attained US$64.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2013 compared to US$71.4 million in the same period last year and US$55.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2012

"Despite a challenging environment during the last several quarters, I am increasingly optimistic about EXFO's opportunities for fiscal 2013 based on improving market conditions, recent investment plans announced by network operators and our highest bookings level in the past year," said Germain Lamonde, EXFO's Chairman, President and CEO. "

FCC to Expand 5 GHz Wi-Fi Spectrum by 35%

The FCC is seeking to unleash up to 195 megahertz of spectrum in the 5 gigahertz band -- an expansion of 35% over current unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum and the largest block of unlicensed spectrum to be made available for expansion of Wi-Fi since 2003.  The effort to free this spectrum will require collaboration from other federal agencies.

Speaking at CES in Las Vegas, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, "We all know the frustration of Wi-Fi congestion at conferences and airports. Today, the FCC is moving to bring increased speed and capacity to Wi-Fi networks by increasing the amount of unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi. As this spectrum comes on line, we expect it to relieve congested Wi-Fi networks at major hubs like convention centers and airports. It will also help in homes as tablets and smartphones proliferate and video use rises."

Netflix Expands its "Open Connect" Delivery Network

Netflix has signed Cablevision as the latest ISP partner on its Open Connect Content Delivery Network, which improves streaming performance by peering at optimal Internet exchanges and/or using Netflix storage appliances in or near the ISP network.

Netflix reported that its Open Connect is now serving the vast majority of Netflix video in Europe, Canada and Latin America.  Announced ISPs participating in Open Connect include Virgin Media, British Telecom, Telmex, Telus, TDC and GVT.

Netflix also announced that Open Connect is now supporting "Super HD", which delivers better picture quality on 1080p HDTVs.

"Optimum is committed to providing the highest-quality TV, phone and Internet to our customers, and our new partnership with Netflix supports this critical objective," said , the most recent major provider to join Open Connect. "With Open Connect, we are establishing a direct local connection with Netflix that delivers a higher-quality Netflix viewing experience for Optimum customers than Verizon or AT&T can provide, including access to new Netflix Super HD and 3D TV shows and movies," stated James L. Dolan, president and CEO of Cablevision.

Nirvanix Offers Cloud Storage Direct Connection at CoreSite Data Centers

Enterprises that are hosting equipment inside of CoreSite data centers will be able to connect directly to Nirvanix Cloud Storage services via a standard, single-mode fiber 1 Gbps or 10 Gbps Ethernet cross connection.  Access to the Nirvanix Cloud Storage services can also be established via an  Any2 internet exchange connection.  The service can be ordered via the MyCoreSite online customer portal.

Nirvanix said its Cloud File System is designed to support millions of users, billions of objects and exabytes of data. The private network connection enables customers to bypass Internet service providers to improve throughput, gain consistent network performance, enhance security, and reduce costs.

Nirvanix cloud storage is initially available at CoreSite's One Wilshire data center campus in Los Angeles.

"Nirvanix is the most logical progression from the enterprise data center to the enterprise cloud for applications such as backup, archive and large-scale content collaboration," said Dru Borden, CEO of Nirvanix. "As a result of this collaborative effort, CoreSite customers running a cloud computing environment or a SAN storage infrastructure can now establish an immediate and direct connection into our cloud storage services for on-demand storage capacity, availability and bandwidth. This provides them with anytime, anywhere data access through live replicas spread across a global grid, enabling workflow and content collaboration across multiple diverse locations while maintaining data consistency."

  • CoreSite operates 14 data center locations in nine major U.S. markets. 

Cisco's 'Videoscape Unity' TV Platform -- Streaming Under the Cloud

Cisco introduced its "Videoscape Unity" TV Platform featuring a multiscreen cloud digital video recorder (DVR), which enables consumers to restart shows, catch up on past programs, and play back DVR-captured content from anywhere, on any screen.

Videoscape Unity, which is designed for service providers and media companies, is an open software platform that was created by combining the assets of NDS (which Cisco acquired last year ) with its own Videoscape portfolio.  The new platform comprises a set of cloud, network and client based components, connected by open interfaces.  Some pre-integrated components include:

  • Multiscreen Cloud DVR: Offers cloud-driven video recording with capture and storage in the cloud instead of the end device. Consumers can restart shows, catch up on past programs, and play back DVR-captured content from anywhere, on any screen.
  • Video Everywhere: Broadens the TV Everywhere proposition with unified search, discovery, and viewing functions to allow consumers to watch premium live and on-demand content on any (service provider managed or unmanaged) connected device regardless of location.
  • Connected Video to Any Device in the Home: Cisco's Connected Video Gateway serves as a single entertainment hub, with back-end management of IP and QAM video, for distributing video content and metadata to any IP-connected device in the home, while providing a unified user experience.
  • IP Video over Cable: Gives consumers expanded choice of content and IP video services, with faster delivery of on-demand and interactive offerings, across a wider range of service provider managed devices - with the flexibility to add unmanaged devices.

Cisco said a key advantage of Videoscape Unity is that the cloud can now be used "to power personalized video services and enable multiple screens to be synchronized to create a single unified experience for the subscriber, so things look and feel the same no matter what device they use."

Significantly, Cisco is offering Videoscape "as a service," allowing operators to have Cisco build, monitor, operate and even host their video infrastructures.

  • In March 2012, Cisco agreed to acquire NDS Group in a deal valued at approximately $5 billion. NDS, which was owned by News Corp.(49%) and Permira private equity (51%), developed video software and content security for media companies, cable & satellite TV operators and IPTV service providers. Key products included its MediaHighway Set-top Box middleware software, its "XTV" Digital Video Recorder software, its "Snowflake" electronic program guide (EPG), and its "VideoGuard CA" and "VideoGuard Connect" digital rights management system.  NDS customers include some of the largest cable, satellite and broadband pay-TV operators, including Astro, Bharti, BSkyB, Canal Plus, China Central Television ("CCTV"), Cox, DIRECTV, Kabel Deutschland, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, TataSky, UPC and Vodafone. The company notes that a significant portion of its business is recurring, with long-term contracts, typically with an average duration of approximately five years. NDS, which is based in the U.K., has approximately 5,000 employees with facilities in Israel, France, India and China.

  • In January 2011, Cisco's John Chambers outlined a new "Videoscape" portfolio of five major product families aimed at "transforming the TV experience." From the outset, the goal was to work with Service Providers to allow any device over any network to access any content to which they are entitled. Cisco Videoscape would enable service providers to monetize activities outside their own network or traditional device footprints.  A key facet of Videoscape is about delivering a consistent interface across multiple devices, while providing a universal guide and search capabilities across all content sources. This requires building capabilities into the service provider's video back-office using APIs extending across content management systems and virtualized storage. The capabilities would be social network-aware and open to advertising opportunities.

Latest SSDs Reach 960 GB -- Mushkin

Mushkin introduced its  960GB Chronos solid-state drive (SSD).  The  unit, which slated to start shipping this month, is targeted at  disk intensive applications like workstations and servers.

CTIA and IFA Envision Borderless 2014 Mobile Show in Las Vegas and Berlin

CTIA-The Wireless Association® and IFA, the world's largest trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances, agreed to align their schedules to create a "borderless" trade show in September 2014. 

The CTIA Super Mobility Show will take place September 9, 10 & 11 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas and IFA will take place September 5-10 at the Messe Berlin Fairgrounds in Berlin, Germany.

The idea is to produce a integrated event to showcase products to the world.

DQE Deploys Juniper ACX2000

DQE Communications, a network operator serving the areas near Pittsburgh, PA, has standardized on the Juniper Networks ACX2000 Universal Access Routers for MPLS-based mobile backhaul. The rollout expands DQE Communications' service area across more than 300 sites.

DQE is using the ACX Series MPLS traffic engineering capabilities to improve throughput and reduce delay across its distributed sites. New capabilities and services include expanded service level agreement support options, the opportunity to create new revenue generating services for customers, and the ability to immediately augment network characteristics to unique customer requirements.