Monday, January 14, 2013

Aviat Boosts Financial Guidance

Aviat Networks boosted its financial outlook for its second quarter of fiscal 2013, ended 28-Dec-2012, saying it now expects revenue in the range of $123M - $126M.  The prior guidance range was $115M - $120M.  Orders were greater than revenues.

Ixia Boosts Q4 Outlook

Ixia increased its Q4 2012 revenue guidance to be in the range of $123.5 million to $124.5 million, above its previously stated guidance range of $118 million to $122 million.

Combined Q4 revenue from its two recent acquisitions, Anue Systems and BreakingPoint Systems is expected to be in the range of $30 to $31 million, compared with its previously stated guidance of $26 to $28 million.

"Ixia delivered an impressive fourth quarter with strong momentum across all of our solutions," commented Vic Alston, Ixia's president and chief executive officer. “The integration of our Anue and BreakingPoint acquisitions is tracking well and we are increasing our presence at enterprise and service provider accounts. Ixia is well positioned to help these customers accelerate and secure the delivery of applications over their mobile and data center networks."

Softbank Tests Sequans LTE Interference Cancellation

Softbank has conducted a technical trial of Sequans’ AIR (advanced interference rejection) technology to determine its value in mitigating interference in LTE networks. Sequans AIR is an interference mitigation algorithm whereby the receiver uses multiple antennas to form a receive beam toward the desired signal and spatial nulls toward interfering signals.

Sequans said the laboratory trial used commercial eNodeBs (base stations) commonly deployed in Softbank’s network and a receiver equipped with Sequans AIR.  This was tested against a default receiver in both high mobility (vehicular) and low mobility (pedestrian) scenarios. In both cases the Sequans AIR receiver delivered performance gains well above the default receiver, measured at 7dB in the low mobility case and 9dB in the high mobility case.

Sequans notes that its AIR technology is designed to work in any LTE network, regardless of eNodeB vendor, carrier frequency, channel bandwidth, or duplexing method.

"These gains are meaningful to operators and their end users,” said Georges Karam, Sequans CEO. “In the low mobility case, we showed that a Sequans AIR receiver can handle about five times as much interference as a non-Sequans AIR receiver, and for the high mobility case, the Sequans AIR receiver can handle about eight times as much interference. This translates into 10 Mbps higher throughput in the low mobility case and 14 Mbps higher throughput in the high mobility case. In very high interference areas, such as might be encountered near cell edges, users can expect to get three times better throughput—this can mean users staying connected in conditions where other devices would be dropped from the network.”

Volex Acquires AppliedMicro Active Optical

Volex has acquired active optical technology from AppliedMicro for approximately US$2 million. Under the deal, AppliedMicro has agreed to a five-year non-compete in connection with the marketing and sale of active optical cables, transceivers, modules and related assemblies. The companies also agreed to share ownership of the associated active optical patent portfolio, allowing each company to continue development of the technologies, and forming the basis for the two companies to collaborate on next-generation optical interconnect products and solutions.

"We chose Volex to take the platform forward due to its strong focus on the active optical cable space and extensive customer relationships in data-center markets," said George Jones, vice president of marketing and business development for connectivity solutions at AppliedMicro.

Volex said the acquisition supports its entry into the emerging multi-billion dollar optical interconnect market for high-speed data applications in data center and telecommunications, as well as the consumer, healthcare and industrial markets.

Ray Walsh, Volex CEO, stated: "Our data-center and telecommunications customers have been asking for a cost-effective, high-speed optical solution to replace legacy copper interconnects."

European Cybercrime Centre Opens in the Hague

A new European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) has opened in the Hague, Netherlands.   EC3 will focus on illegal online activities carried out by organised crime groups, especially attacks targeting e-banking and other online financial activities, online child sexual exploitation and those crimes that affect the critical infrastructure and information systems in the EU.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

GSA: LTE is now Mainstream - 145 Networks Launched

There are now 145 mobile operators who have launched commercial LTE service in 66 countries, according to the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), and this number is forecast to reach 234 LTE networks in service by the end of 2013.  Meanwhile, the number of LTE subscriptions increased almost 10-fold in the year to September 2012, reaching 44 million.

Some other observations from the GSA's newly published Evolution to LTE report:

The majority of network deployments use FDD and operate in paired spectrum.
  • 1800 MHz (3GPP band 3) has emerged as the dominant band for LTE network deployments in virtually all regions of the world.
  • 58 operators i.e. 40% of all commercial LTE operators, use 1800 MHz spectrum either as a single band system, or as part of a multi-band deployment, in 39 countries. At least another 22 LTE 1800 network deployments are in progress in the Asia Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
  • 130 LTE products, almost 1 in 4, support LTE 1800.
  • The second most popular band in which LTE systems are deployed is 2.6 GHz (band 7).
  • The TDD mode of the LTE standard has also gained strong traction and interest across the world. A total of 13 operators have launched commercial services using LTE TDD, which is the optimal solution for use in unpaired spectrum.
  • The FDD and TDD modes are fully complementary. LTE TDD shares most of the FDD design and standards and uses a common core network, and industry commitment is strong. Some operators have commercially launched LTE service using both FDD and TDD modes.
  • Six TDD systems are deployed in band 38 (2.6 GHz), five systems are in band 40 (2.3 GHz) and there is one deployment each in band 41 (2.5 GHz) and bands 42/43 (3.5 GHz). Bands 38 and 40 have the largest ecosystems for LTE TDD user devices.

Ericsson Transfers Mobile Patents to Unwired Planet, Gains Access to Wider Portfolio

Ericsson will transfer 2,185 issued U.S. and international patents and patent applications to Unwired Planet, an intellectual property holding firm with many patents considered fundamental to mobile communications.

Under the deal, Ericsson will also contribute 100 additional patent assets annually to Unwired Planet commencing in 2014 through 2018.

In return, Ericsson gains access to Unwired Planet's enlarged patent portfolio. Ericsson will also gain rights in future revenues generated from the enlarged  patent portfolio.

"In 1997, Ericsson and Unwired Planet introduced the Wireless Application Protocol that
brought Internet access to mobile devices,” said Kasim Alfalahi, Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Ericsson. “Following this transaction, Unwired Planet’s portfolio will reflect decades of invention at the forefront of mobile infrastructure, handset technologies and over-the-top services. We are pleased to have concluded this business deal with Unwired Planet as an alternative channel for IP licensing.”

Unwired Planet is based in Reno, Nevada.

CITIC Telecom Buys Out Macau Telecom for US$1.2 Billion

CITIC Telecom will buy out the entire equity stakes in Companhia de Telecomunicações de Macau (CTM) that are currently held by Cable & Wireless Communications and PT (Portugal Telecom) for US$1,161.3 million (approximately HK$9,000.1 million).

 The deal consists of the 79% interest held by C&W and PT. CITIC previously held a 20% stake in CTM. Companhia de Telecomunicações de Macau is principally engaged in mobile, fixed line and broadband services in Macau and is a major supplier of enterprise telecom services to corporate customers in Macau.

CITIC Telecom is a subsidiary of CITIC Pacific Limited, a publicly traded Hong Kong corporation with diversified business expertise and interests in Hong Kong and Mainland China — including Special Steel manufacturing, Civil Infrastructure, Iron Ore Mining, Property, and Energy.

Streetline Raises $25 Million for M2M Smart Parking

Streetline, a start-up based in Foster City, California, raised $25 million in Series C funding for its M2M smart parking systems for cities.

Streetline says it now has more than 30 cities and universities using its real-time smart parking solutions.  The first two European deployments are in Braunschweig, Germany and Birmingham, U.K.

Streetline's patented smart parking platform detects the presence of a car through a network of ultra-low power wireless sensors located in individual parking spaces. Data from these sensors, or from counting equipment installed in parking garages and lots, is then made available in real time via various cloud-based applications, such as Parker, the leading consumer guidance app for smartphones, tablets, personal computers and – soon – in-car navigation systems, as well as other applications geared toward city planners and parking facility operators. In addition to real-time data, Streetline also integrates garage data for over 23,000 locations into the only unified and complete parking data package for consumers through Parker.

The new funding was led by True Ventures, and new investors Citi and Qualcomm Incorporated, acting through its venture investment group, Qualcomm Ventures. Pro-rata follow-on investments were made by Sutter Hill Ventures, RockPort Capital Partners, and Fontinalis Partners to complete the round. The Series C financing augments the $25 million credit facility Streetline recently secured from Citi that enables the company to offer innovative financing options for municipalities deploying smart parking solutions.

"Streetline is harnessing the power of the 'Internet of Things' to tackle one of the great unsolved urban problems: parking," said Zia Yusuf, president and CEO of Streetline. "With more than 30 deployments in both the U.S. and Europe, we've moved beyond smart parking as a concept to smart parking as a reality. This investment is a validation of Streetline's achievements to date and represents a considerable endorsement of our future growth potential globally. We are delighted to welcome our new investors True Ventures, Citi, and Qualcomm and the continued support of Sutter Hill, RockPort Capital and Fontinalis."

Streetline recently announced a collaboration with Cisco to bring smart parking to two Silicon Valley cities (San Mateo and San Carlos).

Guavus Raises $30 Million for Big Data Analytics for Carriers

Guavus, a start-up based in San Mateo, California with R&D in India, closed a $30 million round of new funding to support its big data analytics solutions

Guavus specializes in big data analytics solutions for tier-1 communications service providers.  It offers a suite of decisioning applications that have pre-built intelligence for faster time to insights across network, device, content and subscriber analytics.  The company said its solutions have allowed carriers to both realize cost savings by optimizing network capacity and increase revenues by delivering a better consumer experience.

Guavus claims two of the top three mobile operators and backbone carriers in the United States utilize Guavus Big Data analytics solutions.

The funding round was led by Investor Growth Capital (IGC) with participation from QuestMark Partners and previous investors Artiman Ventures, Sofinnova Ventures and Intel Capital.

“The explosion in sensor, operational and network data presents an unprecedented opportunity for businesses in every industry to deliver and optimize services, continuously,” said Anukool Lakhina, founder and CEO of Guavus.  “To generate value from this data, they need a new data fabric that fuses disparate sources of data streaming on the network with existing information systems, and provides contextually-aware decisioning applications that can be used to trigger business processes at the exact moment of need."

Guavus was founded in February 2006.

American Airlines' New A320s, 737s Use Both Satellite and Air-to-Ground Internet

Gogo has been selected to install two in-flight connectivity solutions on American Airlines' new Airbus A320 family and Boeing 737 deliveries: Ku-band satellite and Gogo's next generation Air to Ground technology - ATG-4.

The dual systems will enable the aircraft to provide seamless in-flight internet service on domestic and international flights.  Installations will occur as the new aircraft are delivered to American beginning in 2013.

"Installing the two systems helps ensure these aircraft will stay connected wherever they fly, whether they're flying domestically or headed to an international destination," said Gogo's president and CEO,Michael Small.  "Gogo's ability to deploy multiple connectivity solutions gives us the flexibility to install the right technology for each individual aircraft regardless of its mission. American's decision to use both solutions is further acknowledgment of the significant advantages of the dual system for an enhanced customer experience."

  • Gogo was previously selected to outfit existing MD-80 and Boeing 737, 757 and 767 aircraft in American's domestic fleet. Gogo service is currently available on more than 400 American aircraft.

Brocade Wins Permanent Injunction Against A10 Networks

A U.S. court in San Jose, California confirmed a $60 million damages verdict against A10 Networks and entered an order permanently enjoining A10 from infringing on Brocade's patents involving technologies for Global Server Load Balancing and High Availability. The Court enjoined A10 from "making, using, selling, or offering to sell in the United States, or importing into the United States any AX series application delivery controller that includes features that infringe" on these asserted claims.

Last August, a jury found for Brocade on four claims of patent infringement involving technologies for Global Server Load Balancing and High Availability and found that the A10 AX Series line of load balancers infringe on these specific patents.

"We appreciate the Court's careful attention to the evidence and its willingness to enforce important intellectual property rights," said Tyler Wall, vice president and general counsel at Brocade.

For its part, A10 Networks described the court ruling as "a narrowly-tailored injunction against certain products," noting that the court explicitly held that "[c]ustomers of A10 who have already purchased and continue to use infringing AX Series devices shall not be affected by this injunction."

"We have already designed around the issue, completed rigorous testing of non-infringing software, and will ship AX Series products immediately to serve our outgoing and future orders," stated Lee Chen, CEO of A10 Networks.

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.