Monday, February 11, 2013

F5 to Acquire LineRate Systems for SDN Application Layer Platform

F5 Networks agreed to acquire LineRate Systems, a start-up targeting software defined networking (SDN), for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition is not expected to have a material impact on F5's operating results.

LineRate Systems, based near Boulder, Colorado, provides software that offers layer 7+ network services. LineRate’s early-stage, application layer platform leverages commodity x86 hardware and uses a proxy-based architecture similar to F5's BIG-IP.

F5 said the LineRate acquisition aligns with F5’s vision for application control plane architecture and goal of delivering application-layer SDN services to bring superior agility, application intelligence, and programmability to software defined data centers.

"F5’s vision is to enable application-layer SDN services for software defined data centers, providing our customers with unprecedented automation, orchestration, and control,” said Karl Triebes, EVP of Product Development and CTO at F5. "Extreme scale of applications, infrastructure, and services will be vital to SDN, core to F5, and the key to customers realizing the benefits of software defined data centers. LineRate’s programmable network capabilities and innovations in layer 7 will bolster our efforts to extend F5’s market leadership in these areas, and we are very pleased to welcome the LineRate team to F5.”

Connecting Europe Fund Slashed to EUR 1 Billion

The EU's long-term budget agreed last week will cut funding for the Connecting Europe Facility from EUR 9.2  billion to EUR 1 billion between 2014 to 2020.

"ETNO is disappointed that budget cuts have been made which affect forward-looking initiatives such as the Connecting Europe Facility, and in particular the fund devoted to NGA networks, which have a real role to play in driving Europe out of the current crisis", says Luigi Gambardella, Chair of ETNO Executive  Board.

"Given the key importance of high speed broadband networks and the potential leverage effect on private network investments of the CEF, this budget cut is a missed opportunity for Europe's economic recovery.", added Gambardella. “Investments in wireline networks in Europe in 2011 amounted to EUR 24.8 billion, with ETNO members accounting for 67% of this expenditure. Industry is finding it increasingly difficult to sustain this level of investment in order to meet the goals of the Digital Agenda."

Mellanox Introduces RDMA InfiniBand and Ethernet Long-haul Interconnect Solutions

Mellanox Technologies introduced new RDMA InfiniBand and Ethernet long-haul interconnect solutions for within and between data centers across multiple geographically distributed sites.

The new systems are part of the MetroX long-haul interconnect solution family and include:
  • MetroDX TX6000 – MetroX based system aimed at internal data center long reach connectivity or between close data center compute and storage infrastructures. The TX6000 supports 18 long-haul ports running 40Gb/s to a distance up to 1,000 meters.
  • MetroX TX6200 – MetroX based system that enables longer reach campus and metro data center connectivity. The TX6200 supports 2 long-haul ports running 10/40Gb/s to a distance up to 100km.
  • The two new systems are in addition to the recently announced MetroX TX6100 system, which supports 6 ports running 40Gb/s to a distance up to 10km.
“The need for long-haul InfiniBand and Ethernet with RDMA connectivity continues to grow,” said Gilad Shainer, vice president of market development at Mellanox Technologies. “The MetroX series extends InfiniBand and Ethernet lossless RDMA beyond a single data center network location. Data center expansion or Disaster Recovery (DR) sites can now benefit from Mellanox’s fastest interconnect solutions with no performance degradation. Utilizing Mellanox high-throughput interconnect solutions, our customers are able to reduce their database recovery time from days to hours, and thus maintain their business continuity and gain a competitive edge.”

MetroX will be available during the second quarter of 2013.

Ericsson Lands US$1 Billion Managed Services Contract with Reliance

Reliance Communications awarded an eight-year, managed services contract to Ericsson valued at US$1 billion to operate and manage wireline and wireless networks in the Northern and Western states of India.

Under the deal, Ericsson will manage the day to day operations across wireline and wireless networks and will take over responsibility for field maintenance, network operations and operational planning of Reliance Communications 2G, CDMA and 3G mobile networks.

Reliance Communications' infrastructure covers 24,000 towns and 600,000 villages in India to which it offers converged services including voice, data and video.

"We are happy to announce our partnership with Ericsson to manage our wireline and wireless network enabling us to provide a higher level of customer experience in terms of network and services. Given the complexity of network increasing with platforms, technologies and application offerings, we are banking on the experience, innovation and technical expertise of Ericsson to improve the productivity of our network and ensure that it delivers to its full potential," stated Gurdeep Singh, Chief Executive Officer - Wireless Business, Reliance Communications.

Motorola Completes Public Safety LTE Interoperability and Drive Testing

Motorola Solutions is the first Public Safety LTE vendor to complete all testing activities associated with Phase 3: Part One, with the Public Safety Communications Research Program (PSCR) located at the Department of Commerce, Boulder Laboratories in Colorado. The testing by Motorola and Ericsson demonstrated the interoperability of the Radio Access Network (RAN) and Evolved Packet Core (EPC) with three major network vendors.   Some highlights:

  • Phase 3: Part One testing was performed in the 700 MHz Band 14 spectrum which supports broadband for public safety.
  • Motorola was able to support interoperability at both S1-Mobility Management Entity (MME) and S1-User (U) interfaces utilizing its RAN and EPC with the three network vendors. The interconnectivity of both the RAN and EPC demonstrated Motorola’s solution to support open network architecture under 3GPP standards.

Motorola described the testing as a key milestone toward Motorola becoming an authorized supplier to FirstNet, the nationwide public safety broadband network, and shows Motorola’s continued support of the work of the PSCR team.

In September 2010, Motorola and Ericsson entered an alliance to provide an LTE-based solution for Next Generation Public Safety broadband communications. Ericsson is providing its LTE access equipment as well as parts of its packet core and related services to deliver broadband multimedia services to public safety.

Cobalt Opens 5.5 Megawatt Data Center in Las Vegas

Cobalt Data Centers opened a new 34,000 square-foot, 5.5 megawatt data center in Las Vegas accommodating more than 450 cabinets and power capacities up to 600 watts per square foot.

The facility, which is the first of two Tier-3 compliant data centers that the company has planned for Las Vegas, incorporates a high-density and distributed power infrastructure.

Other advantages is that Nevada is known for its attractive tax environment and is protected from natural disasters.

Ruckus Wireless Hires David Stephenson -- Chair of Hotspot 2.0 Task Group

Ruckus Wireless appointed David Stephenson as Senior Principal Engineer within its System Architecture group.

Stephenson is the current chair of the Wi-Fi Alliance Hotspot 2.0 Technical Task Group.  He previously worked at Cisco Systems for nearly 14 years within its Wireless Networking Business Unit. At Cisco, Stephenson was responsible for the technical architecture of Hotspot 2.0, driving that program since 2009.

Stephenson is credited with draftring much of the IEEE 802.11u amendment.  He also held the position of Secretary for the IEEE 802.11 TGu, and worked on both the Wi-Fi Alliance Hotspot 2.0 Specification as well as the Mobility Services Advertisement Protocol (MSAP).

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Corning: Optical Fiber Demand Continues to Ramp

In its annual investor meeting last Friday, Corning outlined growth opportunities with its Gorilla Glass business, in fiber for telecommunications and in environmental and life sciences.  Some highlights:

  • Gorilla Glass sales surpassed the $1 billion mark last year.
  • Since launching Gorilla Glass in 2007, over 1 billion devices have implemented the technology.
  • Corning is working to bring new glass innovations to the consumer electronics market, including optimized touch and Radio Frequency (RF) capabilities; aesthetically pleasing shaped devices; and anti-reflectivity and antimicrobial properties.
  • Corning Lotus Glass is designed to offer superior performance for higher-resolution LCDs as well as OLEDs.
  • Corning’s newest advanced glass solution, the ultra-slim, flexible Corning Willow Glass, is positioned for next generation displays.
  • Corning sees the potential for double-digit growth in 2013 in its Telecommunications Business Group.
  • Corning believes the global optical fiber market will exceed 250 million fiber kilometers in 2013, with the bulk of this growth coming from developing markets.
  • Corning opened a new fiber manufacturing facility in India last year.
  • Corning continues to expand its Pretium EDGE solution for data centers.
  • Corning has an installed base of over 1.8 billion kilometers of fiber.
  • Corning is delivering optical solutions to every "edge" of the network -- Data centers, FTTH, Wireless and Consumer.
  • Corning expects optical investments to ourpace telecom CAPEX by >2X.
  • In data centers, Corning forecasts that there could be 10X the number of servers in use within the next decade.
  • In 2013, Corning is launching an all-optical distributed antenna system (DAS).
  • In Q1 2013, Corning will begin delivering USB 3.0 Optical and Thunderbolt Optical cables.

Big Switch Attracts Strategic Investment from Intel

Intel Capital has made a strategic investment in Big Switch Networks.  The investment in Big Switch's Series B funding brings the total amount raised to date to over $45 million from investors including Goldman Sachs, Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and others.

"Data center operators need programmable and cost effective merchant silicon-based networking architectures to meet their data center economic and operational objectives,” said Bryan Wolf, Managing Director of Intel Capital. “At Intel Capital, we’re looking for companies creating the most disruptive data center solutions, and Big Switch Networks Open Software-Defined Networking product suite is a leading solution in data center network virtualization."

Big Switch is based in Mountain View, California.

  • In November 2012, Big Switch announced the full commercial release of its Open Software-Defined Networking (SDN) product suite, encompassing a Big Network Controller (BNC), the Open SDN platform for network applications which scales to more than a thousand switches and 250,000 new host connections per second; Big Tap, a unified network monitoring application which provides cost-effective enterprise-wide network visibility; and Big Virtual Switch (BVS), a data center network virtualization application that makes the data center network as agile and dynamic as cloud compute resources, while also driving dramatic increases in compute utilization through automated network provisioning. 
  • Compared to other SDN approaches, Big Switch said its architecture is distinguished by its large ecosystem of physical and hypervisor switch, security, cloud orchestration and application partners. These include: A10 Networks, Arista Networks, Broadcom, Brocade, Canonical, Cariden Technologies, Citrix, Cloudscaling, Coraid, Dell, Endace, Extreme Networks, F5, Fortinet, Gigamon, Infoblox, Juniper Networks, Mellanox Technologies, Microsoft, Mirantis, Nebula, Palo Alto Networks, Piston Cloud Computing, Radware, StackOps, ThreatSTOP, and vArmour.  

Eutelsat Awards 4-Launch Contract to Arianespace

Eutelsat Communications awarded a contract to Arianespace covering up to four satellite launches in 2016 and 2017.  The new contract is in addition to the contract signed in July 2012 between Eutelsat and Arianespace for the 2014 and 2015 timeframe, covering one launch and an option for a further launch.

"This latest contract seals a 30-year relationship between Eutelsat and Arianespace during which over 60% of our satellites have been launched by an Ariane rocket. It paves the road for the future by giving us flexibility and schedule assurance to secure our deployment pla n for the five years to come . We are delight ed to pursue our longstanding collaboration and are confident that we can count on Arianespace's total commitment to performance and precision," Michel de Rosen, stated Eutelsat CEO.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

AT&T Mobility and CWA Continue Labor Discussions

AT&T Mobility and  the Communications Workers of America (CWA) failed to reach agreement on a new labor contract ahead of the February 9th expiration of the the Mobility "Orange" contract, covers more than 20,000 AT&T Mobility employees in CWA Districts 1, 2-13, 4, 7, and 9 – AT&T Mobility's Orange unit.

The parties agreed to an extension of the contract and negotiations are continuing.

The contract covers wages, pension, work rules and disability.  CWA members in October ratified a separate four-year benefit agreement for all CWA-bargained Mobility employees nationwide covering health care and other benefits.

Friday, February 8, 2013

NTT Comm Signs with Denmark's TDC

NTT Communications announced an agreement with Denmark's TDC enabling it to extends services in the Nordic region. NTT Communications will also provide TDC with an extension to its Asia-Pac network through NTT Com's Global data network services.

"Both TDC Wholesale and NTT have clear visions and growth strategies for 2013 to 2015, which require high performance oriented cooperation and new business development in order to meet the ambitious time to market objectives. The collaboration between TDC Wholesale and NTT will further enable these visions. Nordic organizations show a growing demand for globally scalable ICT solutions, and on TDC Wholesale's Nordic platform, NTT is able to meet these demands and connect them to their global footprint. In parallel TDC's global reach is extended with NTT's global network," stated Eva Birgitte Bisgaard, Vice President, TDC Wholesale.

TE SubCom Upgrades Trans-Pacific Express Cable

 TE SubCom has completed an upgrade of the 18,000-km Trans-Pacific Express (TPE) submarine cable system by adding 1 Tbps of capacity.

The TPE cable system, which entered service in 2008, the U.S. (Nedonna Beach, Oregon) and Asia with five landing stations located in Chongming, Qingdao, Keoje, Tanshui, and Shin Maruyama.  It is owned by AT&T, Chunghwa Telecom, China Telecom, China Unicom, KT, NTT Com, and Verizon Business.

“The trans-Pacific, and more specifically Northern Asia, continues to see an explosion in demand for capacity and TE SubCom maintains our commitment to provide the largest cross-sectional capacity on long-haul networks,” said Dr. Qian Zhong, Managing Director, TE SubCom. “The TPE cable system was designed and implemented to be flexible and meet this demand. With our extensive resources and technical familiarity with the system and its route, we are able to complete an upgrade that best positions TPE to provide essential bandwidth to one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world.”

Zayo's Quarter Revenue Reaches $243 Million, Loss Narrows

Zayo reported revenue of $243.5 million for the quarter ended 31-December-2012, a $13.8 million sequential quarter increase. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $137.3 million, which was $14.7 million higher than the prior quarter. There was a loss from continuing operations of $20.0 million for the quarter,  which was $33.4 million lower than the $53.4 million net loss for the previous quarter..

Contributing to the sequential quarterly revenue increase of $13.8 million were the acquisitions of FiberGate, US Carrier and First Telecom Services.  Also contributing to the revenue growth was positive net installations during the quarter.  Zayo said this increase in revenue related to organic growth was partially offset by total customer churn of $3.3 million in monthly revenue during the quarter.   

Zayo's financial backers include eight leading telecom investment firms.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dell Pushes Ahead into SDN Cloud Data Centers

Dell advanced its strategy for cloud data centers with the introduction of a top-of-rack switch with 40G fabric uplinks and Fibre Channel over Ethernet , high performance 10/40G blade switching products, and the commercial release of OpenFlow software-defined networking in the Force10 operating system.

Dell said these additions underline its commitment to software-defined infrastructure. The company is pursuing a "complete and unbiased approach to SDN" by embracing legacy networking environments, greenfield controller-based deployments as well as hypervisor-oriented architectures.

Key elements of the announcement:

  • The new Dell S4820T top-of-rack (ToR) switch is powered by the Force10 operating system (FTOS) and designed to support both Layer 2 and Layer 3 functionality required for Web 2.0, enterprise and cloud server provider data centers. It features low cost 10GBASE-T connectivity, a common data center bridging-enabled 10G switching fabric, support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) using twisted-pair cabling, and four 40G uplinks providing for high-speed fabric connectivity enabling scalable multi-rack deployments demanded by larger customers.
  • The new Dell MXL blade switch and the Dell PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator support migration of 10/40G in the data center and more streamlined architectures for server and storage connectivity.

    The Dell MXL - powered by FTOS and purpose-built for the Dell PowerEdge M1000e blade server chassis - is a full-featured 1/10/40GbE Layer 2 and Layer 3 blade switch that offers increased bandwidth, scalability, performance and operational simplicity for data center and campus environments.

    The Dell PowerEdge M I/O Aggregator offers similar connectivity options and is optimized for plug-and-play simplicity and rapid configuration-free deployments.  Both products support local switching of server-to-server (east-west) traffic within the PowerEdge 1000e chassis.
  • The OpenFlow support is now available in the FTOS code base for the Dell Z9000 and S4810 data center switches.  Dell said it is fully compliant with available standards-based OpenFlow controllers, including the Big Switch Controller from Dell partner Big Switch Networks.

Telefónica Demos Multivendor VoLTE-to-3G Handover

Telefónica Deutschland has demonstrated multivendor handover of Voice-over LTE calls to 3G using Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC).  The handover test was achieved in Germany in a laboratory environment that simulates a real mobile network. Handsets and network components from at least six different manufacturers have been used, including Acme Packet, Ericsson, Huawei, NSN, Qualcomm and Sony Mobile.

Telefónica said future benefits of VoLTE could include HD voice services, faster call set-up, HD video calling, chat applications and other rich-media services from any device or location.

"Telefónica has achieved a significant landmark with the successful testing of this mobile broadband network for the future,” said Enrique Blanco, CTO of Telefónica.  “Most importantly, however, is our ability to deliver the very best customer experience – which is at the core to our long-term network strategy.  With VoLTE, our customers will be seamlessly connected to a superfast intelligent network that not only gives a top quality voice service – but also a network that opens up a new world of opportunities, such as high definition video calls".

Sprint's Network Vision Upgrades Completed at 8,000 Sites

Sprint reported Q4 revenue of $9 billion and full year 2012 consolidated net operating revenue of $35.3 billion. There was a net loss of $1.3 billion and a diluted net loss of $.44 per share for the fourth quarter of 2012 as compared to a net loss of $1.3 billion and a diluted net loss of $.43 per share in the fourth quarter of 2011.

"Sprint’s strong performance was fueled by record wireless service revenue on the Sprint platform due to year-over-year postpaid ARPU growth and Sprint platform net additions,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO. “As a result, quarterly Adjusted OIBDA* performance improved year-over-year in spite of significant cost increases related to Network Vision and the iPhone, both of which are key investments for our business that we expect will improve the customer experience and lead to growth in the years ahead.”

Some highlights:

  • Wireless service revenues for the Sprint platform grew 12 percent year-over-year for the quarter and nearly 15 percent for the full year thanks to increasing postpaid ARPU and subscriber growth.
  • Postpaid subscriber net add in Q4 totaled 401,000 driven by a postpaid Nextel recapture rate of 51 percent, or 333,000 subscribers, and strong 4G LTE smartphone sales. Sprint platform prepaid net additions equaled 525,000 due in part to the best ever quarterly prepaid Nextel recapture rate of 50 percent, or 188,000 subscribers.
  • Sprint sold approximately 2.2 million iPhones in the fourth quarter with 38 percent purchased by new customers. As of the end of the fourth quarter, Sprint had sold more than 4 million 4G LTE smartphones. For all of 2012, Sprint sold 6.6 million iPhones.
  • In Q4, over 6.1 million smartphones were sold.
  •  Network Vision  is on track: the number of sites that are either ready for construction or already underway has grown to more than 19,500 – approximately half the total number of sites to be upgraded. To date more than 8,000 sites are on air and meeting speed and coverage enhancement targets. Recent weekly construction starts are up 56 percent from the third quarter. Sprint continues to expect to have 12,000 sites on air by the end of the first quarter of 2013.
  • Network Vision leasing is complete at over 27,000 sites and zoning is complete at nearly 29,000 sites.
  • Sprint is on track to shut down the Nextel network by the end of Q2.
  • Sprint has now launched 4G LTE in 58 cities and expects the service will be available in nearly 170 additional cities in the coming months.
  • Activation of 800 MHz spectrum for CDMA voice is underway.

Alcatel-Lucent Posts Q4 Revenue of EUR 4.096 Billion, Down 1.3% YoY

Citing persistent cautious spending in Europe and low activity in China, Alcatel-Lucent reported revenue of Euro 4.096 billion for Q4 2012, down 1.3% YoY but up 13.8% compared to the previous quarter.  At constant currency exchange rates and perimeter, revenues increased 16.2% sequentially and decreased 3.9% year-over-year.  

Gross margin came in at 30.4% of revenue for the quarter, compared to 34.4% in the year ago quarter and 27.9% in the third quarter 2012.  Fourth quarter reported net loss (group share) came in at Euro (1.372) billion or Euro (0.60) per share, including restructuring charges of Euro (247) million and other adjustments.

For Q4, Alcatel-Lucent's Networks posted a mid single-digit decline year-over-year, a substantially lower rate than in the first three quarters of the year.

The IP business recorded a double-digit increase and its highest revenues level ever, while Wireless stabilized after four quarters of double digit declines, driven by US service providers stronger spending.

The Optics business declined at a double digit rate, driven by muted spending in terrestrial and low point in submarine.

The Wireline business declined at a low double digit rate in the fourth quarter.

The Software, Services & Solutions (S3) segment shifted to positive territory, benefiting from Network Applications’ strong performance.

The Enterprise segment posted a mid single-digit decline.

From a geographic standpoint, also adjusted for constant currency and compared to the year ago period, North America posted a 10% growth rate. Asia Pacific posted a low double-digit decline, traction in Japan being offset by continued low activity in China. Europe declined at a low double-digit rate. Rest of world was resilient, driven by continuous traction in Brazil and by Middle East and Africa, which returned back to growth after several quarters of decline.

Ben Verwaayen, CEO Alcatel-Lucent, commented: “Our fourth quarter reflects the early progress of The Performance Program announced last July. We announced clear choices on where we would operate, how we would operate and where we would differentiate.”

“We have seen progress on all these choices, and close 2012 ahead on our cost reduction plans. We have addressed half of the previously margin-diluting Managed Services contracts, and show continued and strong growth in IP and Next Generation Wireless. We can see a clear statement of customer confidence through growth in both our order book and backlog.”

“In addition, we completed a Euro 2 billion financing which enables us to extend our near-term maturities, stabilizes our balance sheet and provides us with the flexibility to finalize The Performance Program.”

Fujitsu and Panasonic to Combine Semiconductor Units

Fujitsu Limited and Panasonic Corporation agreed to combine their semiconductor businesses into a new company with a fabless business model.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) envisions a new integrated company that focuses on key fields, including LSI devices for high-performance servers and networks in cloud infrastructure, visual and imaging solutions (next-generation DTV, applications for image recognition, etc.), and wireless solutions (mobile and extremely low-power wireless connectivity solutions that support ubiquitous networks).

Fujitsu and Panasonic will have the backing of third party investors, including Development Bank of Japan.

Fujitsu and Panasonic said bringing together their respective advanced technologies and customer bases is vital to build a competitive business globally. Specifically, the plan would consolidate the design and development functions of the system LSI businesses of Panasonic and Fujitsu Semiconductor.

TIM Brazil Builds Long-haul 100G on G.653 Fiber with Huawei

TIM Brazil has deployed a coherent 100G WDM network over G.653 optical fiber using equipment from Huawei.

The G.653 optical fiber (also called dispersion shifted fiber) used on TIM's current networks was generally thought to be incompatible with 100G long-haul WDM due to strong non-linear effects such as four-wave mixing (FWM).

Huawei said it was able to overcome these long-haul constraints using modulation format technologies, non-linearity suppression algorithms, and PMD compensation algorithms. Consequently, 100G signals over 1,000km spans have been maintained.

TIM Brazil is a subsidiary of Telecom Italia.