Tuesday, June 18, 2013

C Spire Picks Devicescape for Wi-Fi Hotspot Connection Service

C Spire Wireless has selected Devicescape's Curator Service to help its mobile customers to better manage data usage and ensure superior connectivity.

The Devicescape Curator Service allows users to gain automatic access to the company's growing Curated Virtual Network (CVN) of over 12 million high-quality, public Wi-Fi hotspots, which are continuously QoE tested in real-time to ensure they meet C Spire's requirements for a carrier-grade quality experience. Devicescape's Curator Client, working together with the Curator Service Platform in the cloud, identifies the best available connection at any given time and connects to it, resulting in simplified connectivity and increased overall Wi-Fi usage.

C Spire customers can download the free WiFi On app from the Google Play store on any Android-powered smartphone with the 2.2 (Froyo) or later mobile operating system. The app also will come preloaded on new C Spire Android-powered smartphones, including two that will be arriving soon on the company’s 4G LTE network - the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One.  The app prompts users to add their own home Wi-Fi networks, automatically connects to public hotspots when available and saves battery power on smartphones and tablets by turning the device’s Wi-Fi radio signal off when it isn’t available or strong enough to provide a quality experience.

C Spire Wireless offers a suite of personalized wireless services and premier mobile communications devices to nearly one million subscribers. The carrier is based in Ridgeland, Mississippi.

"Our priority is to deliver a personalized, high quality wireless experience to our customers and offer services that anticipate their needs," said Kevin Hankins, chief operating officer for C Spire Wireless. "As customers use their devices for more services and applications that require data, implementing Devicescape's service will help them better manage data while improving the quality and speed of their total data experience. We've been an industry leader for over two decades by introducing new services that help customers get the most value and benefit from their wireless plan. Selecting Devicescape's service will allow us to continue that trend."


Infonetics: WDM ROADM Sales Rose 10% Last Year

The global WDM ROADM equipment market (not components) reached $4 billion in 2012, up 10% year-over-year, according to a new report from Infonetics that tracks the reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexer (ROADM) optical network equipment market and the wavelength selective switch (WSS) components within it, measured by spacing technology and degree count.

Some highlights of the report:

  • ROADM WSS component revenue declined more than a quarter in 2012
  • In the 2nd half of 2012, sales of ROADM WSS components stabilized while recording healthy unit growth
  • The leading vendors in the WDM ROADM optical hardware market in 2012 include Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Ciena, and Fujitsu.

"It’s been a tough road for WSS components these past couple of years, with quarterly revenue down nearly 50% from the highs two years ago," notes Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics Research. “But we believe there’s some modest growth ahead tied to the deployment of new 100G coherent systems and the rollout of colorless, directionless and contentionless (CDC) ROADMs. While the level of interest in CDC ROADMs is very high from vendors, the current pricing premium given to this architecture by equipment vendors will slow adoption."


SanDisk Enhances Server-Side Solid State Caching

SanDisk rolled out a new version of its FlashSoft software for Windows Server and Linux operating systems that allows users to increase application performance while reducing overhead on storage systems, at a lower overall capital expense.

Key benefits of FlashSoft 3.2 software include:

  • multiple SSD support, with SSD mirroring for “safe write-back” caching;
  • support for up to four caches on a single server;
  • acceleration of up to 2048 volumes per cache;
  • maximum cache size increased to two terabytes per cache; and,
  • support for volume-based storage architectures, including direct-attached storage (DAS) and storage area network (SAN) configurations.

FlashSoft software supports SanDisk’s own enterprise solid-state devices, and it’s also compatible with all vendors’ enterprise flash-based systems, including those using PCIe, SAS or SATA technology.


SES Readies Next Satellite Launch

Eleven days after the successful launch of the SES-6 satellite on board an ILS Proton booster, the company's next satellite has safely arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in anticipation of a July 21 launch.

ASTRA 2E, which was built for SES by Astrium of France, uses the Eurostar E3000 platform and carriers 60 Ku-band transponders, as well as 3 wideband Ka-band transponders. It will enable the delivery of next generation broadcast and broadband services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the neighborhood of 28.2° East.

ASTRA 2E will be the seventh Eurostar satellite in the SES fleet, following the successful launch of SES-6 in June 2013 and ASTRA 2F in September 2012.


CommScope Offers Metro Cell Concealment Solutions

CommScope announced a family of equipment-integrated, factory-tested, modular solutions called Metro Cell Concealment Solutions for small cells in congested urban areas.  The design conceals the key RF path equipment in a visually unobtrusive structure.  The solutions are radio agnostic and forward compatible to support multiple operators and technologies. Three versions are offered:

  • The integrated top assembly includes the antenna and other optional RF conditioning components such as diplexers and tower mounted amplifiers. These components are integrated into one unit that can be mounted to billboards, street poles and other existing structures, offering adaptability to current conditions.
  • A rooftop version consists of the integrated RF Path unit and non-penetrative supports designed specifically to avoid drilling penetration points into the roof.
  • A monopole version includes the integrated RF Path unit plus a monopole for mounting as a standalone structure on city streets or in traditional cell site locations. This option blends into the existing street appearance while providing needed wireless capacity.

All integrated wireless equipment — including antennas, low noise amplifiers, diplexers, fiber and coaxial cable and cable assemblies — are pre-assembled and tested by CommScope. For critical areas with very high cell density, CommScope offers integration of the Andrew ION-M and ION-U distributed antenna systems. The DAS remote units are integrated into the lower section of the metro cell system and quasi-omni or three sector antenna systems are integrated in the top section.


Cloudera Names Tom Reilly as CEO

Cloudera named Tom Reilly as chief executive officer (CEO) and Mike Olson as chief strategy officer (CSO) and chairman of the Board of Directors.

Reilly joins Cloudera from HP, where he served as the vice president and general manager of enterprise security. Prior to HP, Reilly served as CEO of enterprise security company ArcSight, an early innovator in SIEM technology.


  • In December, Cloudera, a start-up based in Palo Alto, California, closed $65 million in new funding  to support its Apache Hadoop-based data management software and services.
    Cloudera offers a packaged solution for enterprise customers to ensure production-ready deployment of CDH4, the most widely deployed and proven commercial distribution of Apache Hadoop.

Monday, June 17, 2013

NTT to Acquire Solutionary for Managed Security Services

NTT agreed to acquire Solutionary, a privately held company based in Omaha, Nebraska that specializes in managed security in an all-cash transaction. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Solutionary is a pure-play managed security service provider (MSSP) that helps enterprises fulfill the requirements of major compliance frameworks (such as PCI DSS, GLBA, FFIEC, HIPAA, HITECH and SOX). Solutionary's cloud-based ActiveGuard security services and analytics platform uses multiple detection technologies and advanced analytics to protect against advanced threats. The Solutionary Security Engineering Research Team (SERT) researches the global threat landscape, providing actionable threat intelligence, enhanced threat detection and mitigating controls. The company operates multiple Security Operations Centers (SOCs) on a 24/7 basis. The customer base spans global enterprise and mid-market clients in a wide range of industries, including financial services, healthcare, retail and government.

"We are pleased to become a member of the NTT Group" said Steve Idelman, CEO of Solutionary. "NTT's global presence and group resources will strongly complement Solutionary's well established, leading edge capability in providing security services. The Management Team and I are very excited about the ideal strategic fit with NTT and the ability to continue delivering innovative security solutions from within our pure-play culture. This partnership enables the combined organizations to deliver cutting edge IT security services, solutions and analytics to a larger number of global customers, as well as to accelerate security research to protect our clients."

The companies expect the deal to closed in Q3 2013.


Intel's "Knight's Landing" Xeon Phi Coproccesors to Use 14nm

Intel's new Xeon Phi coprocessors are powering the world's fastest computer -- "Milky Way 2," built for China's National Supercomputing Center in Guangzhou.  At the International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany, Intel revealed that 48,000 Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors and 32,000 Intel Xeon processors were used to create Milky Way 2, which delivers a peak performance of 54.9 PFlops (54.9 quadrillion floating point operations per second) -- more than twice the performance of the top rated system from the last edition of the Top500 list in November 2012.

Intel also announced five new Xeon Phi coprocessors:  the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor 7100 family is designed and optimized to provide the best performance and offer the highest level of features, including 61 cores clocked at 1.23GHz, 16 GB of memory capacity support (double the amount previously available in accelerators or coprocessors) and over 1.2 TFlops of double precision performance. The Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor 3100 family is designed for high performance per dollar value. The family features 57 cores clocked at 1.1 GHz and 1TFlops of double precision performance. The Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor 5100 family is optimized for high-density environments with the ability to allow sockets to attach directly to a mini-board for use in blade form factors.

Looking further ahead, the second generation Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors, codenamed "Knights Landing," will be manufactured using Intel's 14nm process technology featuring second generation 3-D tri-gate transistors.  It will be available either on a PCIe card or a host processor (CPU). As a PCIe card-based coprocessor, "Knights Landing" will handle offload workloads from the system's Intel Xeon processors and provide an upgrade path for users of current generation of coprocessors.  As a host processor directly installed in the motherboard socket, it will function as a CPU and enable the next leap in compute density and performance per watt, handling all the duties of the primary processor and the specialized coprocessor at the same time.


Infinera: One Billion Hours without Failure

Infinera's photonic integrated circuits (PICs) recently surpassed one billion hours of failure-free operation in live networks worldwide.

The company said this achievement is a cumulative total for all of the PICs that Infinera has shipped to customers since late 2004 in the Infinera DTN and DTN-X platforms. The PICs are deployed by 109 customers in 67 countries around the world to light over one million kilometers of fiber and provide over three petabits per second of transmission capacity.
"We are excited to make this announcement, as it demonstrates that Infinera has revolutionized this marketplace with our photonic integrated circuits," said Dave Welch, Infinera Co-Founder, Executive Vice President and CTO. "Our solutions, based on photonic integrated circuits, provide global service providers with the reliability they demand to operate Intelligent Transport Networks."

Sprint Lights Up LTE in 22 More Cities

Sprint activated its LTE network in 22 new cities, including Miami, New Orleans, Raleigh, N.C., and Tampa, Florida.

Sprint now offers LTE in 110 markets across the and expects to provide 200 million people with LTE by the end of 2013.  The service has not yet officially launched in Washington, D.C., New York orSan Francisco but Sprint customers are being to see some sites in these cities with an LTE signal.

Apple Confirms Facetime and iMessage Encryption

Apple confirmed that its iMessage and FaceTime services are protected by end-to-end encryption and that it cannot decrypt that data. Apple also stated that its does not store data related to customers' location, Map searches or Siri requests in any identifiable form.

Apple also repeated its earlier assertion that it does not provide any government agency with direct access to its servers.  Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement for customer data between December 2012 and the end of May 2013. The requests covered between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in those requests, which came from federal, state and local authorities and included both criminal investigations and national security matters. 

GigOptix Develops Parallel Optical for Consumer Electronics

GigOptix announced an expansion from the datacom market into optical links for consumer electronics.

The company is positioning its parallel optical devices for use in embedded active optical cables (AOCs), pluggables and optical backplanes targeting high speed optical data links for consumer electronics connectivity and applications, such as:

1. Tablets, ultrabooks, and smartphones using the highest video and display resolution

2. 4K/8K high resolution video capture and multi-link transfer for video recording and consumer TVs in the living room and in studios

3. High definition video broadcast links for end points with reaches of greater than 100 meters

4. High speed applications used in 2D and 3D security and safety systems, gesture recognition and motion tracking

GigOptix confirmed that its parallel chipsets are used by a global electronics OEM to enable full production of 4K high definition video capture and transfer in several of its consumer products.  Specifically, GigOptix 4-channel parallel devices were used in 40 Gbps active cable transfer rates to support increased video frame rates and HD 3D imaging.

“GigOptix optical driver and receiver technology is moving towards high volume applications with the integration of our chipsets in applications such as 4K video systems. System designers are migrating to our parallel chipsets for consumer applications as they face increased data rate and signal integrity challenges with copper interconnects and copper ribbon cables,” said Dr. Raluca Dinu, General Manager and Vice President of the Optics Product Line at GigOptix.


EarthLink to Acquire CenterBeam for Managed IT Services

EarthLink agreed to acquire CenterBeam, a privately held information technology managed service provider with a 13-year track record of delivering cloud computing and hosted IT services, for $22 million.

CenterBeam, which is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, provides remote managed IT services primarily to multi-location mid-sized businesses.  CenterBeam operates a 140-person IT Support Center providing help desk, desktop technical support and application support services.

EarthLink said the acquisition will further accelerate its strategic transformation into an IT services provider at the forefront of cloud virtualization and provide a broader range of compelling IT products and services to middle-market customers.

"The acquisition of CenterBeam will fast-track our IT Services product development by providing us with critical scale and complementary product capabilities geared towards our multi-location business target market," said EarthLink Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rolla P. Huff.  "CenterBeam's advanced set of products, tools and processes will enable us to quickly bring a robust set of remote managed IT Services and collaboration services to market. Additionally, CenterBeam's IT Support Center will provide expertise, scale and redundancy to our existing EarthLink TechCare remote help desk."


TeliaSonera Appoints President and CEO

TeliaSonera named Johan Dennelind as its new President and CEO. He comes to TeliaSonera from the Vodacom Group where he held the position as CEO Vodacom International based in South Africa. He started his telecommunications career as a trainee with Telia AB. Between 1999 and 2010 he held various positions in Telenor, including two years as CEO of Digi Telecommunications.

Sprint Sues Dish and Clearwire

Sprint filed a lawsuit against DISH Network Corporation and Clearwire Corp. seeking to block the DISH tender offer for Clearwire.

Sprint argues the the transaction violates its rights and the rights of other strategic investors under Clearwire’s charter and under the Equity Holders Agreement.


BTI Supplies Metro Optical for Equinix Singapore

Equinix has deployed BTI's intelligent networking solutions to interconnect data centers in Singapore.

The deployment uses BTI's Data Center Interconnect solution, including the BTI 7000 Series which unifies packet and optical service delivery into one platform for network-layer consolidation. BTI said its 7000 Series offered Equinix a scalable 10G to 100G Coherent WDM optical layer and multidegree ROADM Dynamic Optical Layer delivering any wavelength anywhere to simplify network deployment and operations.  Equinix plans to move to the new BTI 7800 Series Intelligent Cloud Connect as they add 100G capabilities.

Equinix's Singapore data centers provide over 347,000 sq. ft. of colocation space.


Ikanos Enhances its Home Gateway Processor with Diagnostics/Monitoring

Ikanos Communications is enhancing its family of Fusiv Vx185 A/VDSL2 communications processors with in-home broadband diagnostic and monitoring capabilities that enable DSL operators to proacti
vely identify the cause of common wiring faults and noise interference problems.

Ikanos' inSIGHT BXM software suite leverages the advanced diagnostic features of the chipset, along with Ikanos’ patent-pending algorithms, to identify and resolve service issues such as wiring problems, cuts and noise on the line near or inside the home.

The Ikanos inSIGHT BXM includes the following capabilities:
  • Determines the loop topology without the need to rely on detailed loop records that are often unreliable and out of date.
  • Detects common service-impacting wiring issues, including bridge tap impairments, improperly connected microfilters, wire cuts, corroded wiring, and non-standard cables.
  • Provides the unique ability to identify common sources of in-home noise interference and determine their impact on the customer experience.
  • Enables both the consumer and carrier personnel to resolve service-affecting issues through an intuitive user interface, enabling problems to be resolved locally while minimizing the need for service calls and truck rolls. 

The solution can be deployed as a standalone solution embedded in the company’s family of Fusiv Vx185 A/VDSL2 communications processors.

Ikanos’ inSIGHT BXM is currently available for lab trials.  General availability is scheduled for early 2014.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bringing the Power of the Cloud to the Metro Edge

By Prayson Pate, Chief Technologist, Overture

Cloud technology has changed how users and developers think about applications.  Why buy servers and maintain software if you can pay per use?  Why build applications from scratch if you can make use of existing frameworks and software?  Why configure web servers if all you want to do is make a simple web page? Developers and users are now empowered to think about the higher-level applications and services, rather than the underlying machinery.

So far, this re-thinking has been limited to end-user applications housed in data centers.  The network connection between the data center and the end user has been left out of the equation.  However, service providers must find ways to couple high-performance networks with cloud and content providers in order to participate in current revenue streams.  Why have they not yet applied cloud technology to accomplish this?  In short, the network is complicated, especially at the metro edge.

While data centers are closed systems, where devices tend to be very similar and operated by the same entity, the metro edge is the “Wild West” of disparate technologies and myriad operators.  Given this complexity, how can cloud technology simplify how we deploy and manage the metro edge? How can they simplify, accelerate and build services that traverse the edge?  The answer involves virtualization, openness, focusing on services and thinking differently.


The key points of virtualization are abstraction and separation/layering. 
  • Abstraction - According to Wikipedia, “Abstractions may be formed by reducing the information content of a concept or an observable phenomenon, typically to retain only information which is relevant for a particular purpose.”
  • Separation/Layering - The notion of layering allows a well-defined interface, which can then be used to separate functions.  Separation lets us move functions to where they make the most sense.
How can virtualization be applied to the metro edge?. The Metro Ethernet Forum has identified the virtual Network Interface Device (vNID) Service as a case where virtualization would be beneficial and is within reach. Today, when one service provider accesses a customer via Carrier Ethernet using the facilities of a second access provider, it is likely that both providers deploy a NID.  With the vNID service only the access provider would deploy a NID, and the end-to-end service provider would access aspects of the NID as if they had their own NID (i.e. virtualization is used to present the appearance of two NIDs when only one physical NID is present).  This reduces the expense of deploying Ethernet service, while maintaining end user service assurance.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is another way that virtualization can be applied to the metro edge.  NFV is an initiative driven by an international group of leading service providers to lower costs and simplify networks.  NFV replaces purpose-built network devices with software applications running in a standard server.

Examples include:
  •  Managed routing: Today service providers use routers deployed at the customer site.. In particular, RFC 2547 Layer 3 VPNs are built using this approach.  This adds cost and complexity to the deployment of the services.  NVF provides the means to simplify the CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) by moving the routing protocol from the CPE into the network.  Now, value-added services such as managed routers and Layer 3 VPNs can be added on demand without changing the CPE.
  • Service assurance: Network Interface Devices (NIDs) are deployed at customer sites to facilitate measurement of service parameters using Service OAM (Operation, Assurance and Maintenance).  This adds cost because configuration of SOAM is a nightmare in today’s network.  NFV could apply abstraction to the NID and its MEGs (Maintenance Entity Groups), MIPs (MEG Intermediate Points) and MEPs (MEG End Points), and support the creation of applications to configure these functions.  The result would allow back office systems to treat service assurance as a utility, monitoring how the service is performing against its SLA (Service Level Agreement).
  • Managed security: Today, managed security applications are implemented either in dedicated hardware at the customer site or in servers at central offices.  Network hardware could provide some basic filtering and capture capabilities enabling complex aspects of these applications (such as policy definition, storage and distribution) to be moved to a separate application.
  • Analytics:   For service providers, the majority of analytical data is generated in the edge of the network, but gathering it may require a dedicated appliance.  Each service provider also has a different view of what data is important, as well as how it should be packaged.  The NFV model provides a means to limit the network hardware to collecting basic data and moving the processing to an offboard server. 
These applications are prime candidates for applying the principles of NFV, although concerns about reliability and environmental compatibility remain.  In addition, new requirements will be placed on network equipment. Effective network elements won’t be truly “dumb”.  The key is to maintain essential physical and data processing elements in a carrier-grade product, while moving many value-added functions into commercial-grade hardware, controlled by software in an open fashion. 


Having worked in the embedded software business for a long time, I know the skills required are specialized and uncommon.  What’s more, the compute and storage resources are constrained inside a network element, and the tools for embedded development are limited.  Any change to the software involves a large-scale and expensive download and upgrade cycle, possibly requiring a service outage.   

Development of cloud-style applications is quite different.  There is a large pool of talented software developers, compute and storage resources are plentiful and inexpensive, and development tools are sophisticated.  Since the software is usually running in a replicated server in a data center, upgrades are easily managed and can easily be undone. 

A critical aspect of cloud development is the use of applications developed using open interfaces and standard protocols. Cloud-style software facilitates code reuse and construction of large systems composed of multiple smaller pieces.  Interoperability is achieved through well-defined Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that support interaction between systems at a black box level.

Open cloud-style applications can be developed more quickly and less expensively than embedded applications.  And, the open and extensible nature of cloud-style applications means consumers of these applications can themselves build larger applications that leverage and extend the base capabilities. 

Services, Service, Services

Applying cloud technology to the metro edge of the network will require changes in how service providers create, activate, and assure services. 

Service creation – Replacing complexity with a simple programming model, schema, and tools drastically reduces development time and cost of new features.  Reducing the cost and time to develop new services will let a service provider be more responsive to customers and market trends.. 

Service activation – Key to improving the speed and accuracy of service activation is increasing the use of automation.  Cloud-based technologies enable such automation by tying together relevant systems, providing an efficient development environment to deliver such benefits as:
  •  Zero-touch commissioning – Enabling a technician to install a device straight from the box, without need for local configuration.
  • Flow-through provisioning – When an order goes in for a service, flow-through provisioning automatically propagates the needed changes down to relevant network elements.
  • Instantiation of virtual appliances – Turning up services such as routing, firewall, security and VPN without installing new physical equipment.
  • Network optimization – As services are turned up and down, available capacity in the network changes.  Automating network optimization based on changes maximizes use of network resources. 

Service assurance – Ethernet Service OAM (SOAM) is the preferred, but inherently difficult, way to measure key SLA parameters such as packet loss, latency and latency variation.  . Service providers must also make provision for handling hard faults such as power, equipment or facility failures, as well as degradations signaled by Threshold Crossing Alarms.  Finally, there must be an efficient way to diagnose, sectionalize, and repair faults when they occur.  All of this is handled today using a variety of disparate and isolated tools.  What is needed is an efficient way to tie them together to achieve benefits such as automated configuration, proactive performance reporting, and automatic fault isolation.

Thinking Differently

The changes discussed above are large, but even bigger is the need to think differently.
  • People Are Mobile; Services Should Be Too: We need to consider issues like authentication, security, peering, replication, policy, and multiple platforms when considering how to build services.  Doing so is consistent with cloud-style development models and will support the creation of ubiquitous services.
  • Services, Not Pipes: Service providers must find ways to couple their high-performance networks with cloud and content providers in order to participate in current revenue streams – more focus on the end service or application the user is buying.
  • Roles and Systems, Not Boxes: Stop thinking about installing nodes in a network and start thinking about enabling services whose elements play various roles but which can be instantiated both in network elements as well as using cloud resources.
  • People Are Bad At Being Robots: People are inefficient at handling repetitive and mundane tasks. Applying cloud technology will help define new solutions to automate processes, which, in turn, will lead to greater efficiency by allowing people to focus on their creativity and problem solving skills.
  • Building for Today, Anticipating Tomorrow: The cloud has enabled a whole new generation of applications and services that were not envisioned by the builders of the first data centers.  As Jason Kleeh of Brocade noted, “the best app is the one that we haven't thought of yet.” 


We have an opportunity to enable the next generation of services by applying cloud technology to the Metro Edge of the network.  Doing so will require applying cloud technology and the supporting technologies of SDN and NFV.  This is a big change, but the benefits will be even larger.

Prayson Pate co-founded Overture and brings more than 24 years of experience developing software and hardware for networking products to the Company.  Prayson is active in standards bodies such as the MEF and IETF, and he was chosen to be the co-editor of the pseudowire emulation edge-to-edge (PWE3) requirements and architecture documents (RFCs 3916 and 3985). He holds nine patents.

See also