Monday, August 12, 2013

Telstra and Ericsson Complete LTE-A Call on 1800MHz and 900MHz

Telstra and Ericsson completed the first call using LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) Carrier Aggregation technology on 1800MHz and 900MHz spectrum bands.

The test took place on July 31, when Telstra transferred data across its live network on a number of sites in Queensland (Australia) carrying commercial traffic.

Mike Wright, Executive Director Networks, Telstra, says: "Telstra's LTE subscriber numbers are growing dramatically, with nearly 3 million subscribers currently using the LTE network, up from 2.1 million six months ago. The capacity, higher data speeds and efficiencies provided by LTE-Advanced will help manage growth in data traffic as more customers choose our network. This will allow us to continue providing additional capacity and high-quality service, and we look forward to working with Ericsson to make this happen."

"When we get access to 700MHz spectrum in 2015 we also intend to deploy the next-generation of LTE-Advanced by combining larger blocks of spectrum in the 700MHz and 1800MHz bands to deliver blistering peak speeds in the theoretical range of 300Mbps."

Ericsson noted that it is supporting the deployment of LTE-Advanced Carrier Aggregation on other spectrum bands in other countries such as South Korea. On July 18, for instance, Ericsson supported LG U+ in South Korea to commercially launch LTE-Advanced using both 2100MHz and 850MHz bands.

Verizon Tests Ciena's 200G on NY-Boston Route

Verizon has successfully completed a field trial of 200G technology on a network route between New York and Boston.

The trial, which ran for more than a month on the live network, used the same hardware that currently supports Verizon's 100G ultra-long-haul traffic, along with pre-production software to configure a Ciena Wavelogic3 coherent optical processor. The trial used 16QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) on a single wavelength with the typical 50GHz channel spacing to increase the amount of traffic carried.

Verizon said the test proves the ability to double spectral efficiency while reducing the cost per bit when compared with 100G technology.

"Verizon continues to lead the industry in next-generation technology research and take our network to the next level to meet future needs of our business and consumer customers," said Ed Chan, vice president of network technology for Verizon. "This accomplishment is a key technology differentiator and lays the groundwork for Verizon to continue to deliver capacity relief in a robust and scalable way."

"Proving greater spectral efficiency and a lower cost per bit, this trial illustrates the ability to double the traffic carrying capacity of optical channels with no change to the underlying infrastructure," said Francois Locoh-Donou, senior vice president, Global Products Group, Ciena. "And the fact that this field trial was successfully conducted on a critical route of Verizon's production network alongside live customer traffic demonstrates Ciena's commitment to delivering innovative, real-world solutions that allow customers to extract additional value from existing infrastructure investments."

Open Networking User Group Plans SDN Test Next Month

The Open Networking User Group (ONUG), will conduct an open industry SDN network virtualization test to provide its members with comparative performance, scalability, reliability, and functionality test data.  Results of the testing will be shared at ONUG Fall 2013, which will be hosted by JPMorgan Chase on October 29-30, 2013 in New York City.

Specifically, ONUG is planning three performance tests and one functionality test. The performance tests seek to measure scale, reliability and CPU utilization under load. Three separate tests are defined for data, control and management plane functions. The functionality evaluation is a checklist that verifies a basic set of network virtualization features.

Vendor participation in the ONUG SDN network virtualization test is free and can accommodate 10 vendors. Testing will be conducted September 30 through October 12, 2013 and vendors have until August 30, 2013 to sign-up for participation.

“As IT business leaders begin piloting and deploying open networking solutions, scalability, reliability, performance, and feature verification of available solutions have arisen as critical issues,” said Nick Lippis, ONUG chairman and co-founder.  “To avoid costly, time-consuming, redundant testing, and pilots that fail to address minimum levels of performance and scale, ONUG has developed the ONUG SDN Test Suite for vendors to demonstrate their production-ready solutions. All test scripts developed for the ONUG SDN Test Suite will be open sourced to ensure that ONUG SDN Benchmarks are available and repeatable for the ONUG community and industry at large.”

Amazon Web Services Enhances CloudFormation

Amazon Web Services introduced two new capabilities for its CloudFormation toolset for creating and managing a collection of related AWS resources in an orderly and predictable fashion.  AWS CloudFormation provides sample templates that describe the AWS resources, and any associated dependencies or runtime parameters, required to run an application.

The two new capabilities are parallel stack processing and nested stack updates.

Parallel Stack Processing -- CloudFormation now creates, updates, and deletes resources in parallel in order to improve performance of these operations. For example, provisioning a RAID 0 setup, which involves the creation of multiple EBS volumes, is now faster because CloudFormation can provision the volumes in parallel. CloudFormation automatically determines which resources in a template can be created in parallel. CloudFormation template authors can use the DependsOn attribute for control over the order of resource creation.

Parallel Stack Updates -- CloudFormation allows nesting a stack as a resource inside a template. AWS is introducing the ability to update a top-level stack and nested stacks together.

North Carolina Completes Golden LEAF Project

MCNC, the private, not-for-profit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), officially completed the second and final phase of the $144 million Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI).

The Golden LEAF project deployed fiber connections at universities, community colleges, schools, health and safety facilities, libraries, county offices, and other community anchor institutions to a statewide network. 

NCREN now spans 2,600 miles across the state. The first phase of the project was completed in April 2012 with 957 total operated miles (442 of which were new construction). The second phase completed today was much larger with total operated miles at 1,696 (1,300 of being new).

MCNC said this historic project is having a positive impact on student learning, patient outcomes in health care, and is accelerating innovation and research all across the state. Community institutions now being served in the state include K-12 schools, universities, community colleges, health care facilities, public health facilities, libraries, research institutions, and other sectors. 

The GLRBI is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and significant matching funds from private donations and investments including a $24 million investment from the Golden LEAF Foundation and $10 million from the MCNC Endowment. No state funds were utilized as matching funds for the MCNC awards. 

Vendors and contractors for Round 1 included: Fiber Technologies, Globe Communications, Comtech, Cisco Systems, CommScope, and ONUG Communications. Participating vendors and contractors for Round 2 included: BroadPlex, Cisco Systems, CommScope, Comtech, ECC Technologies, Edwards Telecommunications, Fiber Technologies, Globe Communications, Kimley-Horn & Associates, and World Fiber Technologies.

Level 3 Announces Refinancing of $815 Million Term Loan

Level 3 Communications successfully completed the refinancing of its senior secured Tranche B 2019 Term Loan.

The $815 million Tranche B-III 2019 Term Loan will bear interest at LIBOR plus 3.00 percent, with a minimum LIBOR of 1.00 percent, and will mature on Aug. 1, 2019. The term loan is being priced to lenders at par. The previous Tranche B 2019 Term Loan had an interest rate of LIBOR plus 3.75 percent, with a minimum LIBOR of 1.50 percent and matured on Aug. 1, 2019. With the reduction in interest rates as a result of this transaction, the company expects to save approximately $10 million of cash interest expense on an annualized basis.

Tegile Raises $35 Million for Hybrid SSD/Disk Storage Arrays

Tegile Systems, a start-up based in Newark, California, closed $35 million in Round C funding for its hybrid storage systems.

Tegile offers enterprise storage arrays that leverage the performance of SSD and low cost per TB of high capacity disk drives to deliver up to seven times the performance and require up to 75 percent less capacity than legacy arrays. Tegile's patented MASS technology accelerates the Zebi's performance and enables on-the-fly de-duplication and compression of data so each Zebi has a usable capacity far greater than its raw capacity.

Tegile said it currently has more than 300 production customers utilizing its Zebi hybrid storage arrays.

The new funding was led by late-stage venture firm Meritech Capital Partners with additional investment by original stakeholder August Capital and strategic partners Western Digital and SanDisk.

tw telecom Seeks to Raise $800 Million

tw telecom inc. (NASDAQ: TWTC) has priced an $800 million offering of Senior Notes, including $450 million aggregate principal amount of 5.375% Senior Notes due 2022 and $350 million in aggregate principal amount of 6.375% Senior Notes due 2023, in a private offering to "qualified institutional buyers".

The company plans to use the net proceeds from the offering to fund the repurchase of tw telecom holdings inc.'s 8% Senior Notes due 2018 in a concurrent cash tender offer and for general corporate purposes.

NEC Selected for 2,000km Papua Cable System

PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia has awarded a contract to NEC to construct the Papua Cable System reaching the island of New Guinea.

The Papua Cable System, measuring 2,000 kilometers, is the first optical fiber submarine cable system to connect the Papua provinces of Indonesia and is designed to carry transmission speeds of 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps. The cable is slated for completion by the end of 2014.

"NEC is honored to be selected by PT Telkom as the supplier of the most advanced optical fiber submarine cable system to connect the eastern Indonesian provinces. We are proud that NEC has contributed to PT Telkom's network diversification since first providing the company with an optical fiber submarine cable system in 1991," said Naoki Yoshida, general manager, Submarine Network Division, NEC Corporation.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Deutsche Telekom, WEB.DE and GMX Launch Secure "E-mail made in Germany"

Deutsche Telekom and United Internet have launched an initiative for secure e-mail across Germany.

The "E-mail made in Germany" program utilizes an additional security standard that for the very first time enables GMX, T-Online and WEB.DE users to automatically encrypt data over all transmission paths.  The partners will also ensure that data are handled in compliance with German data privacy laws.

A special designation allows users to see before dispatching their e-mail which of the recipients selected also use secure e-mail addresses and thus comply with the initiative's security standards.

Beginning immediately, e-mail communication between data centers at GMX, T-Online and WEB.DE is being sent in encrypted form. Transmission from the handset to the e-mail server is already encrypted for all customers who use an e-mail application from one of the partners or who have activated SSL encryption in their e-mail program (e.g., Outlook). For security reasons, from the beginning of 2014 the initiative partners will only transport SSL-encrypted e-mails to ensure that data traffic over all of their transmission paths is secure.

"Germans are deeply unsettled by the latest reports on the potential interception of communication data. Our initiative is designed to counteract this concern and make e-mail communication throughout Germany more secure in general. Protection of the private sphere is a valuable commodity," said René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG.

American Tower Acquires Tower Sites in Mexico and Brazil

American Tower Corporation will acquire up to 2,790 towers in Brazil and 1,666 towers in Mexico from NII Holdings for approximately $413 million and $398 million, respectively.

American Tower said the majority of the portfolio consists of towers located in and around major population areas and along major highways. On average, the towers have a tenancy ratio of just over one tenant per tower, with Nextel Brazil or Nextel Mexico as the primary tenant, providing significant opportunities for future site leasing growth.

Both Nextel Brazil and Nextel Mexico have agreed to leaseback the towers from American Tower for a minimum 12-year initial lease term with additional renewal options thereafter. NII International Telecom S.C.A, a subsidiary of NII based in Luxembourg, has agreed to provide certain credit support with respect to the obligations of Nextel Brazil.

"Through this acquisition, American Tower will gain significant incremental scale in our Mexican and Brazilian operations, and we anticipate leveraging the strong demand backdrop in both markets to drive meaningful revenue and cash flow growth for many years to come," stated Jim Taiclet, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Tower.

American Tower currently owns and operates over 56,000 communications sites in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Ghana, India, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and Uganda.

América Móvil Bids for KPN

América Móvil launched a tender offer in cash to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of KPN for EUR 2.40 per share.  The offer represents a premium of approximately 35.4% over the average closing price of KPN's ordinary shares on Euronext Amsterdam for the last 30 trading days.

América Móvil said the acquisition would give it the opportunity to expand to other regions outside the Americas in order to achieve geographical diversification and create attractive long-term returns for its shareholders.

América Móvil aims to support to a greater extent KPN's plans in a rapidly changing environment in Europe so that both companies benefit from their respective experiences in the sector.

Currently, América Móvil holds (directly and indirectly) 1,267,677,000 ordinary shares in the capital of KPN, representing approximately 29.77% of all issued and outstanding ordinary shares in the capital of KPN.

América Móvil also noted that it is evaluating KPN's proposed sales of E-Plus.

  • On July 23, 2013, KPN announced that it had “entered into a transaction, subject to shareholder approval, to sell and transfer 100% of its interest in E-Plus to Telefonica Deutschland for EUR 5.0 billion in cash and a 17.6% stake in Telefonica Deutschland post transaction”.
  • América Móvil is headed by Carlos Slim

CyrusOne Plans Another Huge Data Center in San Antonio

CyrusOne announced plans to build a second data center in San Antonio near its existing facility, which was commissioned in October 2012. The new site is expected to have more than 200,000 square feet of data center and superior Class A office space that can be used by customer employees. As a result, CyrusOne’s San Antonio footprint will grow to more than 300,000 square feet of data center and Class A office space.

"As we anticipated, demand for colocation space in our existing San Antonio data center has been strong, and we’re excited to get started on the new facility,” said Kevin Timmons, chief technology officer for CyrusOne. “We anticipate breaking ground in the fourth quarter of 2013 and plan to use our innovative Massively Modular facility engineering approach to achieve construction and asset utilization efficiencies and enable a speedy commissioning of the site."

Friday, August 9, 2013

KIO Opens Data Centers in Mexico and Guatemala

KIO Networks inaugurated two new data centers in Mexico.

KIO/5.6 is a Tier IV facility located in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Mexico City. It offers approximately 65,000 sq/ft of capacity.

KIO/Q is also a Tier IV facility and is located on a campus in the city of Querétaro, where KIO operates four other data centers.

The building brings KIO's total to 500,000 square feet of space in its 14 operational data centers in México, Guatemala and Panamá.

  • In July 2013, KIO Networks opened its first data center in Guatemala. The $20 million facility measures 2,500 m2 and offers both colocation and cloud services.

NTT Advanced Technology Intros H.265/HEVC Kit

NTT Advanced Technology introduced an H.265/HEVC codec software development kit (SDK) for applications ranging from mobile video to 4K video.

H.265/HEVC, also known as 'High Efficiency Video Coding' (HEVC), was approved by the ITU-T's Study Group 16 in April 2013.

NTT said H.265/HEVC provides approximately twice the compression performance when compared with conventional H.264/AVC.

Some key features of the SDK:

  • HEVC elementary stream I/O (Annex.B form)
  • CBR rate control / VBR rate control
  • Automatic scene change detection and key-frame insert specification
  • Frame reference structure specification
  • Pre-filter control
  • Progressive / interlace structural compatibility
  • Parallel encoding by slice structure and LCU pipeline
  • Adaptive-quantization matrix
  • DeBlocking Filter/SAO Filter Control

Net Optics Hires Former Tellabs Exec

Net Optics has appointed Chuck Bernstein as Vice President, North American Sales.

Bernstein brings over 20 years of experience driving successful initiatives across software, hardware and professional services in the telecommunications and information technology industries. He most recently served as Vice President and General Manager, North American Sales at Tellabs.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Blueprint Column: Uncovering the Value in Big Data

With 4G providing the fire power, data volumes are exploding across the mobile environment, and communications service providers (CPSs) are in danger of being overwhelmed by the assault of Big Data on their often struggling networks. The onslaught of data already has reached the point at which one operator reports receiving and interpreting 40 billion records a day, estimating that volumes will rise to 100 billion by the end of this year. Moreover, research firm IDC predicts that, by 2020, digital data will swell by a factor of 300.

Such enormous amounts of data can be daunting if we mistakenly think of them in the same way we consider a continuous blast of water from a fire hose. Since every drop of water in the stream is pretty much the same as all the others, we find no benefit in analyzing the content of the blast; our tendency is simply to try to restrict it in some way. Telecommunications data, however, is not composed of molecules, but of messages. Every single element of the stream is different and can offer immense marketing insight into consumers’ thinking, preferences and intentions. In addition to battling the stream, CSPs should be looking for ways to welcome the arrival of all this information and mining it for the benefit of subscribers and providers alike.

Conversely, doing nothing with the data that barrels through the network means operators will spend increasing amounts of time and budget to store data without any immediate offsetting benefit. Using the data as an asset, however, can have tremendous value.

The first step toward understanding and using all of this data, commonly referred to as Big Data, is for CSPs to equip themselves with diagnostic tools and solutions that allow them to view and manage their telecoms landscape in four segments:

  1. Subscriber behavior: Operators have at their fingertips a potential goldmine of personal data relating to presence, location and preference. Networks should focus on this multi-dimensional information related to subscribers’ interactions with the services and applications they use. 
  2. Services and apps: With deep packet classification, CSPs can see each of the unique services that go across their mobile broadband network for each customer.  This capability makes it possible to spot traffic issues and real-time state-of-play data, helping identify, predict, alert and isolate problems as they occur. 
  3. Technologies used: The mobile environment is evolving so that services are becoming more integrated, fragmented and often beyond the control of operators. Therefore, providers who want to successfully manage new technologies, protocols and devices need analytics across both legacy and next-generation technologies.
  4. Network performance:  Network components are becoming functionally more complex, with a need to serve multiple technologies, through a variety of vendors and standards. The key to efficiency is in ensuring that the network maintains a 100% run rate. Core network applications are available that reduce outages, accelerate resolution time frames and improve network quality. These applications can be managed by one end-to-end system.

With such a comprehensive outlook, operators gain the network intelligence required to see more than simply the data that flows through the pipe; they can learn its sources, destinations, intent and purposes. That knowledge imparts real meaning and value to the data.

The data will not analyze itself, however it must be heeded, correlated, located and contextualized.  Operators must realize that merely attempting to sort out indicative trends through macro-level information is not enough if they expect to fully interpret and monetize available data. Rather, they must approach the data on a micro level and assess it through the lens of the four segments listed above.

This methodology means CSPs never miss an opportunity because of events occurring in parts of the network that they could not see. Additionally, it brings new capability to the telecoms model, offering the same agility as that of OTT players.

Full visibility into the network is derived from real-time, end-to-end data collection and analysis that exposes hidden issues while providing unparalleled breadth and depth of insight.
The good news is that the technology to do this already exists and can be implemented with the help of a telecoms intelligence provider. Technology for the four-dimension world of valued data allows operators to follow and analyze every path of the data journey, creating the survival strategy for the modern age and a competitive advantage in the LTE environment. Without it, the heightened demands of LTE will drive glitches to become inefficiencies, leading to complaints and time-consuming drains on resources, ultimately generating churn and lost opportunities for revenue.

One source of guidance is available from Tektronix Communications in the form of a comprehensive set of new best practices for the telecoms industry and covering Big Data analytics implementation. This resource includes a reference model—a roadmap and how-to guide to deal with Big Data analytics—and a detailed set of business use cases showing a variety of ways for operators to extract value from Big Data. Whitepaper:  Explore Telecom Intelligence in 4 Dimensions

Lyn Cantor rejoined Tektronix Communications in 2011 from Visual Network Systems (VNS) where he was Senior Vice President and General Manager. Prior to his term with VNS, Cantor served as Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Service and Marketing at Tektronix Communications. Over the course of his 27-year career, of which 14 years have been with Tektronix Communications, Cantor has held various vice president positions in Americas sales, global channels, product management and marketing, in addition to having general manager responsibility.

Tektronix Communications is uniquely positioned as the communications industry’s first Telecommunications Intelligence Provider (TIP) offering both service assurance and monitoring and network intelligence solutions that cover all four dimensions of the service provider’s environment: subscriber behavior, the services and applications they consume, the network environments they occupy and the technologies that enable them.  Our comprehensive set of assurance, intelligence and test solutions and services support a range of architectures and applications such as LTE, HSPA, 3G, IMS, mobile broadband, VoIP, video and triple play. Tektronix Communications is headquartered in Plano, Texas.  Visit us online at

Huawei Delivers Pair of Campus SDN Switches

Huawei introduced a new enterprise-class switch for supporting key industry trends in cloud computing, bring your own device (BYOD), software-defined network (SDN), internet of things (IoT), and big data related analytics.

The Huawei S12700 is a family of campus switches designed for software-defined networking architecture. It is powered by Huawei's own Ethernet Network Processor (ENP) for full programability. Huawei's Packet Conservation Algorithm for Internet (iPCA) supports hop-by-hop monitoring of any service flows. It runs Huawei Versatile Routing Platform (VRP), which provides high-performance L2/L3 switching services as well as rich network services, such as MPLS VPN, hardware IPv6, desktop cloud, and video conferencing. Huawei also cites a number of reliability technologies including in-service software upgrade, non-stop forwarding, CSS2 switch fabric hardware clustering that allows 1+N backup of MPUs, hardware Eth-OAM/BFD, and ring network protection.

The Huawei S12700 can provide native wireless access controller (AC) to help build a wired and wireless converged network. It also features native broadband remote access server (BRAS) capabilities and support for large Ethernet frames.

"The inevitable trends of broadband services, multimedia, mobility and social networking are shifting the focus of networks from technologies and devices to services, users and experiences,” said Mr. William Xu, Chief Executive Officer, Huawei Enterprise Business Group. “Huawei is committed to customer-centric innovation and open collaboration with the industry, and leveraging our 10 years’ experience in enhancing IP network capabilities to best meet the needs of our customers. With the launch of industry’s first agile network and agile switch that focus on service efficiency and user experience, I am confident that we will change the future of next-generation enterprise networks."

GSA: 200 LTE Networks in Commercial Operation

As of the end of last month, there were 200 LTE networks in commercial operation in 76 countries, according to GSA, the Global mobile Suppliers Association.  A total of 54 operators launched LTE service in the first 7 months of 2013.

Alan Hadden, President of the GSA, said: “In this interim announcement GSA confirms that 106 LTE networks were commercially launched in the last 12 months, representing 112% annual growth. LTE is a mainstream mobile broadband technology and is the fastest developing mobile system technology ever.”

LTE service has been introduced to 12 new markets so far this year: Chile, Iceland, Iraq, Lebanon, Malaysia, New Zealand, Paraguay, Qatar, Spain, Thailand, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.

The breakdown of the 200 commercially launched networks announced today is as follows:

  • 182 networks were deployed using the FDD mode
  • 9 networks were deployed in TDD mode (sometimes referred to as TD-LTE)
  • 9 networks are using both FDD and TDD modes
  • 200 Total

Full details of LTE market developments including network deployments and service launches worldwide will be published in the next update of GSA’s Evolution to LTE report, which will be available soon.

FDA Clears Verizon's Remote Health Monitoring

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted clearance for Verizon's Converged Health Management, a remote patient-monitoring medical device that provides clinicians with access to up-to-date patient data from connected biometric devices so they can more efficiently monitor and manage patients from their home, or when they are on the go.

Verizon said its new solution is powered by the company's HIPAA-ready cloud.

"Verizon is committed to improving the dynamics of the U.S. healthcare system," said Dr. Peter Tippett, chief medical officer and vice president, Verizon Innovation Incubator.  "By leveraging our mobile health expertise, HIPAA-ready cloud, 4G LTE wireless network and leading security solutions, Verizon is uniquely positioned to drive innovation in healthcare. Converged Health Management will accelerate focus on care management through mobile technologies as patients increasingly take more responsibility for their health.

Verizon's Converged Health Management solution will be commercially available in late 2013.