Thursday, July 11, 2013

Oceus Floats LTE Base Station in High-Altitude Balloon

Oceus Networks, a start-up based in Reston, Virginia, demonstrated the deployment of an LTE base station in a high-altitude balloon.  The idea to create an easily deployable emergency network that could cover a wide geographic area within the first 72 hours of a natural disaster.

Last week, Oceus and Space Data launched an airborne 4G LTE cellular network near Boulder, Colorado.  The payload traveled nearly 200 miles and reached an altitude of 75,000 feet (22,860m). The team used Band 14 devices – data modems (the VML 700) and smartphones (the LEX 700) – both provided by Motorola Solutions, to connect to this mobile airborne LTE network. The test was conducted in coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program.

Space Data specializes in high-altitude balloon system design, payload integration and flight operations.  Oceus has integrated a military-grade LTE solution called Xiphos.

Oceus said its experiment supports the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Deployable Aerial Communications Architecture (DACA) initiative, which is exploring the role of High Altitude Platforms in the national public safety network.

"This successful demonstration underscores the role of 4G LTE in a rapidly deployable aerial communications architecture, particularly during the first crucial hours after disaster strikes, when deployable broadband technologies are critical,” said Douglas C. Smith, chief executive officer of Oceus Networks. “We look forward to continuing our work with federal policymakers and first responders on deployable solutions for extending the reach of the national public safety network, FirstNet."

IEEE Targets Super-Efficiency, Super-Dense WLANs

A new IEEE 802.11 study group has been set up to define the scope of a new standard for high-efficiency, high-performance wireless local area networks(WLANs).

The new IEEE 802.11 High Efficiency WLAN (HEW) Study Group will consider use cases, including dense network environments with large numbers of access points and stations.

IEEE said it has received interest from more than 300 individuals from equipment and silicon suppliers, service providers, carriers, systems integrators, consultant organizations and academic institutions.

In addition, an IEEE 802.11 Pre Association Discovery (PAD) task group has also been formed to explore the scope of a future 802.11 amendment intended to improve user experience by providing information about network devices and services beyond the access point prior to full connection establishment of a device to a wireless local area network (WLAN).
“The WLAN environment is evolving; no longer are stations merely looking for access to Internet service. This creates opportunities to deliver new services, as the IEEE 802.11 standard needs to be enhanced to better advertise and describe these new services,” said Stephen McCann, chair of the new IEEE P802.11aq task group. “The proposed amendment will provide mechanisms that assist in the pre-association discovery of services, by addressing the means to advertise their existence and enable delivery of information that describes them.”

Sprint Extends its Unlimited Plans

One day after its acquisition by Softbank, Sprint launched an "Unlimited Guarantee" initiative that offers unlimited talk (calls to any wireline or mobile phone), text and data while on the Sprint network, for the life of the line of service. This guarantee is applicable to both new and existing customers who sign up for Sprint’s new Unlimited, My Way plan or My All-in plan.

"Sprint continues to lead the industry in providing customers with simplicity and value,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said. “The Sprint Unlimited Guarantee allows our customers to lock-in unlimited talk, text and data not for just the next two years, but for life. Sprint customers won’t have to worry about their wireless bill or managing their family’s wireless usage. While other wireless providers are moving away from unlimited service, Sprint champions it."

EMC to Acquire ScaleIO for Flash, Aveska for Identity Mgt

EMC agreed to acquire privately-held ScaleIO, which develops server-side storage software. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ScaleIO creates a virtual pool of server-based storage by logically combining SSDs, PCIe Flash cards, HDDs—or any combination of these devices. It supports both virtualized and non-virtualized environments and scales from tens to thousands of servers.  ScaleIO is based in Santa Clara, California.

EMC will combine ScaleIO's server software with PCIe Flash cards, such as EMC XtremSF, in Enterprise Private Cloud and Service Provider environments.

“Flash now permeates every layer of IT—in virtualized and non-virtualized environments. Enterprise workloads are diverse in nature, and EMC is committed to offering our customers and partners choice in their Flash deployments. ScaleIO is a natural extension to our best-of-breed portfolio. It strengthens our product capabilities in the area of server-side storage and brings a world class team that will undoubtedly enable us to innovate more quickly in the future," stated David Goulden, President and Chief Operating Officer, EMC.

Earlier this week, EMC announced its acquisition of privately held Aveksa, which specializes in Identity and Access Management. Aveksa solutions help define rich user profiles and increase the convenience of managing user identities, allowing customers to continue building “situational perimeters” that can flexibly enforce security whenever and wherever users interact with corporate data and resources.

EMC said Aveksa aligns with its intelligence-driven security strategy, leveraging insight from roles, processes, and security-oriented Big Data to enable better evaluation, prioritization, detection and response to real-time threats. Aveksa is based in Waltham, Mass.

UK Proposes Lower Wholesale Line Prices

Ofcom is proposing lower prices that Openreach, BT’s network access division, can charge other telecoms providers for some of its main wholesale services. Ofcom regulates these prices because of the significant market power that BT holds in this sector.

The proposal covers wholesale charges for telephone and standard broadband services delivered to homes and businesses over BT’s copper network.  Ofcom said the new prices would be linked to inflation (measured under the consumer price index, or CPI).

  • Fully unbundled lines: the regulated wholesale price for this service today is £84.26 per year. Under Ofcom’s proposals this will fall in real terms by between CPI − 0% and CPI − 6% every year;
  • Shared unbundled lines: the regulated wholesale price today is £9.75 per year. Under Ofcom’s proposals this will fall in real terms by between CPI − 8% and CPI − 12% every year;
  • Wholesale line rental: the regulated wholesale price today is £93.27 per year. Under Ofcom’s proposals this will fall in real terms by between CPI − 2% and CPI − 8% every year.

A public consultation is underway.

European Commission Conducts Antitrust Raids

The European Commission initiated unannounced inspections at the premises of a number of telecommunications companies, saying it has concerns that the companies may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit the abuse of a dominant market position.

Various news reports said the raids included Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Telefonica in response to a complaint by U.S.-based Cogent Communications.

Ciena Supplies Packet-Optical in Philippines

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) has deployed Ciena’s 5410 Packet-Optical Reconfigurable Switch System (RSS) and OneConnect Intelligent Control Plane software across its global network.

PLDT is building a global mesh that interconnects points of presence worldwide into a highly resilient, intelligent switching network. Ciena’s 5410 RSS will link PLDT’s global points of presence to provide efficient aggregation, grooming and intelligent switching of SONET/SDH, OTN and Ethernet services with flexible tiered service-levels and differentiated service offerings.

“As the largest telecommunications provider in the Philippines and a rapidly growing international carrier, it is critical that our infrastructure is highly reliable and capable of delivering robust broadband service and applications,” said Napoleon L. Nazareno, President and CEO, PLDT. “With the implementation of Ciena’s intelligent optical mesh network solutions across our international network, we are able to give our enterprise and wholesale customers a variety of low-latency, high-capacity services with the utmost assurance, putting us on par with large global carriers,” he adds.

Talari Networks Appoints Kevin Gavin as CMO

Talari Networks appointed Kevin Gavin as Chief Marketing Officer. Gavin joins Talari from ShoreTel, where he was CMO since 2007.

Talari Networks' solutions aggregate multiple diverse networks into a virtual WAN for improving reliability and application performance. The company is based in San Jose, California.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Softbank Completes Acquisition, Positions Sprint for Accelerated LTE

SoftBank completed its acquisition of Sprint. 

SoftBank paid approximately $16.64 billion to purchase shares from existing Sprint shareholders. It has also agreed to invest an additional $5 billion in Sprint's network, of which $1.9 billion is available at closing .  As a result of the transaction, the ownership of current Sprint equity holders in the new Sprint will be approximately 22 percent, while SoftBank will own approximately 78 percent, both calculated on a fully diluted basis. Sprint Corporation will be listed and traded on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the ticker symbol, “S.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Sprint completed its acquisition of Clearwire. Sprint paid $5.00 per share, valuing Clearwire at approximately $14 billion, or about $0.30 per MHZ-pop.

Softbank expects the acquisitions will bring $2.0 billion in annual cost savings to Sprint by leveraging economies of scale and operational expertise.  In terms of global procurement, Sprint and Softbank combined have a mobile CAPEX budget of US$11.9 billion, second only to China Mobile (US$20.4 billion), and ahead of AT&T, Verizon, DOCOMO and KDDI.

Next steps:

Complete Network Vision - Sprint must continue executing on its plan to rebuild its infrastructure to catch up to LTE coverage of AT&T and Verizon.  Sprint has articulated plans to get to 200 million POP coverage with LTE (VZ already covers 297 million)

Leverage the Clearwire spectrum,  the largest spectrum portfolio in the U.S. but in the upper bands.  Its spectrum is an average 163 MHz in the top 100  U.S. markets.   Clearwire operates a nationwide WiMAX network and has been planning to make the transition to TD-LTE.  Its main wholesale customer  has been Sprint.  The companies had previously planned on extending the WiMAX arrangement through 2015.  The companies have outlined ways of bridging their FD-LTE and TD-LTE networks with dual-mode devices that are under development.

Bring iDEN spectrum to LTE -- Earlier this month, Sprint pulled the plug on its Nextel iDEN network.  This will add nationwide 800 MHz coverage to the Sprint LTE network.

Continue the Prepaid push -- Sprint already has successful brands with Virgin Mobile and Boost

Strengthen M2M -- Sprint is already active in this area.

T-Mobile Announces Jump! Smartphone Upgrades and LTE Expansion

T-Mobile unveiled its JUMP! program for enabling customers to upgrade their phones up to twice a year.

Basically, the program makes it easier to upgrade to a new device without having to wait out a lengthy contract.  JUMP!, which has an enrollment fee of $10 per month, is packaged with a smartphone insurance program.

New phones are financed through T-Mobile's Equipment Installment Program (EIP). Customers will need to trade in an eligible T-Mobile phone in good working condition at a participating store location. Any remaining EIP payments will be eliminated, and current customers can purchase new phones for the same upfront pricing as new customers, with device financing and Simple Choice Plan, a no-annual-service contract. 

On the network front, T-Mobile announced that its LTE network now reaches 157 million people across the United States in 116 metropolitan areas.  The LTE network was launched just four month ago. The company said it is on target to deliver nationwide LTE network coverage by the end of the year, reaching 200 million people in more than 200 metropolitan areas.

"At some point, big wireless companies made a decision for you that you should have to wait two years to get a new phone for a fair price. That's 730 days of waiting. 730 days of watching new phones come out that you can't have. Or having to live with a cracked screen or an outdated camera," said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile US. "We say two years is just too long to wait. Today, we're changing all that with the launch of JUMP! "

Broadcom's EPON ONU and OLT Chipsets Support DOCSIS Provisioning

Broadcom confirmed that its end-to-end EPON ONU and OLT chipsets and DML software are ready to be deployed in DOCSIS provisioning of EPON (DPoE) 1.0 environments.

Broadcom said the 1G EPON and 10G EPON access technologies offer the bandwidth, scale, and features required to deliver demanding business and mobile backhaul services. CableLabs DPoE 1.0 specification fully supports the DOCSIS provisioning processes.

The company has been collaborating with CableLabs, multi-system operators (MSOs) and industry OEMs on defining the requirements for the DPoE 1.0 specifications.

“The DPoE specifications represent a significant achievement on the part of CableLabs, cable MSOs and industry OEMs to create an open standard that achieves full vendor and equipment interoperability. This will further the growth of the cable industry by meeting the bandwidth needs of business users,” said Greg Fischer, Broadcom Vice President and General Manager for Broadband Carrier Access. “As an early supporter of the technology, Broadcom has devoted significant resources to both the standardization process and our product portfolio to make DPoE technology available today.”

CableLabs recently qualified DPoE 1.0 Systems and ONU products through its certification process.

Amazon Cuts Price for EC2 Dedicated Instances by 80%

Amazon Web Services announced a price reduction of up to 80% on its Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances, which are EC2 instances that run on single-tenant hardware dedicated to a single customer account. Amazon Dedicated Instances offer On-Demand and Reserved Instance purchasing options.

The reduction applies to both the dedicated per region fee and the per-instance On-Demand and Reserved Instance fee across all supported instance types and all AWS Regions. The company posted the following details:

  • Dedicated Per Region Fee - An 80% price reduction from $10 per hour to $2 per hour in any Region where at least one Dedicated Instance of any type is running.
  • Dedicated On-Demand Instances - A reduction of up to 37% in hourly costs. For example the price of an m1.xlarge Dedicated Instance in the US East (Northern Virginia) Region will drop from $0.840 per hour to $0.528 per hour.
  • Dedicated Reserved Instances - A reduction of up to 57% on the Reserved Instance upfront fee and the hourly instance usage fee. Dedicated Reserved Instances also provide additional savings of up to 65% compared to Dedicated On-Demand instances.

SanDisk Intros Fastest 64GB microSDXC Card for Smartphones

SanDisk introduced its Extreme microSDHC and microSDXC UHS-I memory cards, delivering 64GB of storage for smartphones, tablets and cameras.

SanDisk says these microSDXC cards are the fastest on the market1, with up to 80MB/sec read and up to 50MB/sec write speeds, allowing faster shot-to-shot performance, rapid data transfer, fast action photography, continuous burst mode and quick file transfers.

“Most high-end smartphones are now driven by high-speed quad-core processors, which deliver Full HD content and applications to large, high-resolution external displays," said Stuart Robinson, director, handset component technologies service, Strategy Analytics. “Such applications require high memory bandwidth which is ideal for the SanDisk Extreme microSDXC card, the world's fastest microSDXC memory solution.”

Seagate Releases 4TB HDD for Enterprises and Data Centers

Seagate Technology unveiled two new enterprise-class hard disk drives (HDD) optimized for emerging cloud infrastructures and large scale data centers — the Seagate Terascale HDD and the Seagate Enterprise Performance 10K HDD v7.

The Terascale HDD is the highest capacity HDD (4TB) available in a 3.5-inch enterprise-class SATA HDD and represents Seagate’s lowest $/GB enterprise HDD for use in scalable multi-drive systems.  It features Seagate’s own Instant Secure Erase (ISE) technology, which reduces drive erasure times from hours to milliseconds providing quick, safe and easy drive disposal or repurposing. It also features a low-cost 6Gb/s SATA interface.

The Enterprise Performance 10K HDD v7 is equipped with 1.2TB of data storage providing data centers with both the performance needed for the most write-intensive applications and the scalability to meet storage growth and business objectives. It features one of the highest GB/Watt power optimization and cooling costs in a 2.5-inch enterprise 10K HDD available. The drive also incorporates Seagate’s PowerChoice™ technology which enables IT organizations to tailor systems for enhanced power consumption during idle periods. It is equipped with a 6Gb/s SAS interface.

"Over the next eight years, the capacity shipped into the cloud will double and by 2020 personal and enterprise clouds will account for greater than 60 percent of the total storage capacity shipped. With this huge shift of capacity to the cloud, storage providers will need to deploy more storage quickly all while increasing capacity and lowering energy costs," said Scott Horn, Seagate vice president of marketing. “Engineered with this mind, these new drives deliver on all fronts providing high capacity-to-power ratios and ensuring consistent performance at an affordable cost— making them an ideal solution for the cloud.”

Telkom Indonesia Picks ALU for WDM/OTN

Telkom Indonesia has selected Alcatel-Lucent to build a next-generation agile optical network in the Kalimantan and Sulawesi areas, as well as the greater Jakarta region, which generates around 50% of Telkom Indonesia's data traffic. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The network, which will be based on converged WDM/OTN technology will enable Telkom Indonesia to provide 100G capability, will carry over 50% of traffic in the carrier's service area. Alcatel-Lucent is supplying its 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) converged WDM/OTN platform.

Telkom Indonesia currently provides high-speed broadband to more than 19 million customers and 125 million cellular customers.

"With geography spanning more than 17,000 islands, Telkom Indonesia was looking for a technology provider to build a network foundation that can serve a wide territory cost-efficiently and effectively. The work Alcatel-Lucent is doing will help create a common platform for network capacity and efficiency that covers 200 million residents of Indonesia," stated Bobby Rasyidin, Alcatel-Lucent's Senior Executive in Indonesia.

Dell Adds Server Streaming to Virtualization Software

The latest release of Dell Wyse WSM desktop and application virtualization software (Version 6) adds server streaming capability.

Dell Wyse WSM delivers operating systems and applications separately to stateless, diskless clients on demand, providing a manageable, reliable and scalable PC computing experience from the cloud. Unlike traditional VDI, Dell Wyse WSM enables the desktop OS and applications to execute locally on the client, giving that client the same look, performance, feel and function of a traditional desktop PC, but storing all OS, applications, and data in the datacenter. With no OS residing on the client, management, support and updates, including Windows XP and 7 migrations, are done centrally and take considerably less time than with a traditional distributed environment.

By adding on-demand delivery of server OS images, Dell said it is enabling another computing alternative that helps organizations quickly stand up new servers where and when needed, and gives employees and students secured access to content regardless of location.

“The new Dell Wyse WSM server streaming feature demonstrates our commitment to making powerful virtualization and cloud computing tools practical and accessible to organizations of all sizes,” said Jeff McNaught, Executive Director of Marketing for Dell Cloud Client Computing. “This release is right in line with our goal is to be the one-stop-shop for any customers looking to reduce costs and enhance business by optimizing their IT systems.”

SiTime Introduces TempFlat Technology for MEMS Oscillators

SiTime introduced TempFlat MEMS technology -- an ability to eliminate temperature compensation in precision timing applications, resulting in higher performance, smaller size, lower power and cost.

TempFlat MEMS technology is being used in SiTime’s SiT15xx family of kHz oscillators for Smartphones.  The devices are currently available.

“In 2006, our semiconductor process enabled the first production MEMS oscillator. Since then, we have had many firsts – we introduced a MEMS TCXO, a MEMS oscillator with 500 femtoseconds of jitter, and a clock generator with integrated MEMS – all of which are used in consumer, industrial and cloud applications. Most recently, we entered the fast-growing smartphone market with our TempFlat MEMS-based 32 kHz oscillators,” said Rajesh Vashist, CEO of SiTime. “In 2011, SiTime demonstrated 100 PPB (parts per billion) stability with our high-performance temperature compensation. With TempFlat MEMS, which is 30 times better than SiTime’s prior resonators, we can get to 5 PPB oscillators for Stratum 3E timing in base stations, small cells and optical networking. SiTime is now uniquely able to service all segments of the electronics industry.”

Ceragon Cites $3.5 Million APAC Order for LTE Backhaul

Ceragon Networks reported new orders valued at $3.5 million from a large Asia Pacific (APAC) mobile operator.  The equipment is being deployed as part of the operator's LTE network upgraded.

Ceragon is also supplying a range of professional turnkey services including planning, network design and project management to ensure fast time to market for the operator and fast time to service for its customers.

"Ceragon's microwave backhaul solutions offer operators in the APAC region a quantum leap in capacity for their 3G and 4G network rollouts without sacrificing profitability," said Ira Palti, Ceragon Network's President and CEO.