Sunday, May 18, 2014

AT&T Adds Solar Mobile Charging Stations in NY

This summer, AT&T will nearly double the number of solar mobile charging stations available in outdoor locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

The charging stations are open to anyone with a mobile phone or tablet to charge their device for free at one of the AT&T Street Charge units in parks, beaches and outdoor gathering spots.

"AT&T Street Charge grew out of a need for a sustainable power source during Superstorm Sandy and took on a life of its own when we deployed more than two dozen solar-powered units around the city last summer. We're excited to expand the program this year to more locations for longer periods of time so that anyone who needs a charge on the go can find one," said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President, AT&T.

The full list of StreetCharge locations is posted here:

Emerson to Sell Connectivity Business to Bel Fuse

Emerson agreed to sell its Connectivity Solutions business unit to Bel Fuse for $98 million.

Currently a part of Emerson’s Network Power business, with 2013 revenue of more than $80 million, the Connectivity Solutions  business offers fiber optic, radio-frequency and microwave-coaxial technologies that safeguard network reliability. Its brands include Stratos optical technologies, Johnson, Trompeter, Midwest Microwave, Semflex, Vitelec Electronics, AIM Electronics and Cambridge Products. The business unit is based in Bannockburn, Illinois.

“Although the business no longer aligns with our long term strategy to strengthen our core global franchises, it offers Bel attractive growth opportunities and is consistent with its strategic direction,” said Jamie Froedge, Emerson’s Vice President, Acquisitions and Development. “We will work closely to ensure a smooth transition for customers and employees.”

Dan Bernstein, Bel’s president, said, “This is Bel’s third major acquisition in the past 14 months; all together, these acquisitions will increase our revenue from $283 million, pre-acquisition, to approximately $705 million annually.  We are proud that Emerson Inc, ABB Ltd. and TE Connectivity Ltd., have determined in the best interest of their shareholders, customers and employees to entrust these businesses to Bel and we look forward to growing these organizations.”

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Video: NFV Market Momentum, sponsored by Radisys

This 2-minute video,sponsored by Radisys, captures insights from leading vendors about what's driving the market interest in network functions virtualizations (NFV).

  • Why pursue NFV in the first place?  
  • Is NFV a market reality today? 
  • Which network functions will be virtualized first? 
  • Will a virtualized network solution deliver the same Five 9s reliability? 
Speakers include:
  • Cassidy Shield, Chief Marketing Officer, Alcatel-Lucent
  • Jane Rygaard, Head of CEM, Core and OSS Marketing, Nokia
  • Karl Wale, Director of Product Marketing, Radisys
See video:

FCC Moves to Amend Net Neutrality Rules as it Asserts Authority over Broadband

The FCC voted 3-2 to approve a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking covering how broadband providers should be regulated in the United States.  With this proposal, the FCC proposes is seeking to impose rules based on a legal blueprint set out by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in its January decision in Verizon v. FCC and its authority to promote broadband deployment under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.  The FCC is still considering a legal route to assert authority over broadband operator under Title II of the Communications Act.

The Proposed Rulemaking seeks to defend previously established principles of an Open Internet by enforcing a "no-blocking" requirement on network operators.  The FCC is also seeking to codify the principle that priority service offered exclusively by a broadband provider to an affiliate should be considered illegal "until proven otherwise."

The FCC is seeking public input over the next four months.

The full text of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (99 pages) is posted here:

The video of the FCC meeting is posted here (3 hours and 13 minutes):

In January 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the FCC overstepped its boundaries in setting Net Neutrality rules that compel broadband providers to treat all Internet traffic the same regardless of source.  
The court found that even though the FCC has general authority to regulate the Internet, it has previously chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers and the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from regulating them as such. The court therefore decided to vacate portions of the Open Internet Order because broadband providers do not have to meet common carrier obligations.

In December 2010, the FCC approved new Open Internet rules governing the management of Internet traffic, with the three Democrats on the commission voting in favor of the measure and the two Republicans voting against.

Key elements of the Open Internet Order included:

Rule 1: Transparency -- A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service shall publicly disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain Internet offerings.

Rule 2: No Blocking -- A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management. A person engaged in the provision of mobile broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block consumers from accessing lawful websites, subject to reasonable network management; nor shall such person block applications that compete with the provider's voice or video telephony services, subject to reasonable network 

Rule 3: No Unreasonable Discrimination -- A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer's broadband Internet access service. Reasonable network management shall not constitute unreasonable discrimination.

Significantly, "reasonable network management" was defined as follows: "A network management practice is reasonable if it is appropriate and tailored to achieving a legitimate network management purpose, taking into account the particular network architecture and technology of the broadband Internet access service. Legitimate network management purposes include: ensuring network security and integrity, including by addressing traffic that is harmful to the network; addressing traffic that is unwanted by users (including by premise operators), such as by providing services or capabilities consistent with a user's choices regarding parental controls or security capabilities; and by reducing or mitigating the effects of congestion on the network." The FCC rules go on to say that "Pay for Priority" delivery of packets on wireline broadband networks is likely to run afoul of the "no unreasonable discrimination" clause because it would represent a significant departure from current practices.

Mobile broadband was largely exempt from the "reasonable network management" clause, as the document acknowledges that this market is an earlier-stage platform than fixed broadband, and it is rapidly evolving. 

FCC Adopts Rules for Incentive Auction of 600 MHz Spectrum

The FCC adopted rules to implement a two-sided Broadcast Television Incentive Auction covering vacated 600 MHz spectrum.

The FCC will conduct a reverse auction in which broadcasters may voluntarily choose to relinquish some or all of their spectrum usage rights, and  a forward auction in which the relinquished spectrum is made available to wireless providers. The rules integrate the reverse and forward auctions in a series of stages; each stage will consist of a reverse a
uction and a forward auction bidding process aimed at a specific clearing target.

Specifically the band plan consists of specific paired uplink and downlink bands (which enables two-way communications), comprised of five megahertz “building blocks.” Additionally, the band plan accommodates limited variation in the amount of spectrum recovered from broadcasters in different geographic areas in order to prevent the “least common denominator market” from limiting the quantity of spectrum we can offer generally across the nation.

The band plan incorporates technically reasonable guard bands, including a uniform duplex gap (a special guard band used to separate uplink and downlink spectrum), to prevent harmful
interference between licensed services.

The rules for new 600 MHz Band licenses are similar to those governing the adjacent 700 MHz Band. Specifically, mobile devices must be interoperable across the entire 600 MHz band. And new licensees will be required to build out to 40 percent of the population in their service areas within six years and to 75 percent of the population by the end of their initial license terms of 12 years.

In December 2013, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced a one-year delay in kicking off the Broadcast Television Spectrum Incentive Auction until the middle of 2015.  In a blog posting, Wheeler said additional time is needed for public commentary and for putting in place the rules of the road for the auction, including developing the actual procedures for how the auction will be conducted.

Hong Kong's HKT Launches VoLTE with Huawei

HKT, Hong Kong's leading telecommunications service provider (PCCW), officially launched its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service, initially available on the Samsung Note 3 LTE smartphone.  Huawei is HKT's technology provider.

HKT said it is able to deliver a totally seamless handover of voice calls from 4G to 3G coverage. Call set-up times for VoLTE-to-VoLTE connections are around 1 second.  The service also supports instant switching between voice and video calls.

The launch also marks an important collaboration between HKT, Huawei and Samsung.

Mr. Alex Arena, Group Managing Director of HKT, said, “We are committed to providing the most advanced and compelling services to customers. Our game-changing VoLTE service will be offered to new and existing mobile customers. We are thrilled to work with Huawei to roll out the VoLTE service to customers and look forward to bringing it to more customers through Samsung Note 3 LTE now and potentially other mobile devices in future.”

Mr. Ma Haixu, President of core network product line, Huawei, said, “Built on Huawei’s network platform, the new service is the world’s first commercially available VoLTE solution using the latest R10 standard. The new service signifies Huawei’s leading position in the VoLTE market. We are focusing our efforts to ensure HKT’s VoLTE network is an industry benchmark in terms of service quality, innovation and return on investment.”

AT&T Readies First VoLTE for Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini in Select Markets

AT&T announced plans to begin supporting High Definition (HD) Voice over VoLTE in select markets beginning May 23.

Specifically, the VoLTE service will be activated on Samsung Galaxy S4 mini devices in select areas in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  AT&T plans to add support for more devices and markets over time. Pricing was not disclosed.

Juniper Forms OpenContrail Advisory Board

Juniper Networks announced the formation of an OpenContrail Advisory Board (OCAB) aimed at providing input to the project leadership team on strategic priorities, community evolution, development roadmap, project governance and operational efficiency.

The board is comprised of the top 10 contributors and stakeholders of the project representing both users and developers.

Qualcomm Demos LTE-TDD Broadcast in China

Qualcomm, in collaboration with, conducted a live public demonstration of LTE-TDD Broadcast in China, featuring High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) and Dynamic Adaptive Streaming Over HTTP (DASH) technologies.  LTE Broadcast enables the multicast of high-demand content such as live sporting events, breaking news or software updates, so that multiple users receive the same content simultaneously.

Qualcomm said the demo utilized its LTE Broadcast solution for the evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) platform along with devices based on its reference designs, Snapdragon 400 processors and integrated Qualcomm Gobi modems.

The demo took place today during the Qualcomm Reference Design & Wireless Innovation Summit in Shenzhen.

"We're excited to be supporting the growth and evolution of LTE networks worldwide," said Raj Talluri, Senior Vice President of Product Management, QTI. "With LTE Broadcast, operators can better utilize their existing LTE infrastructure to deliver customers an optimized, premium video experience on the latest mobile devices without overloading their networks."

"This demonstration marks an important milestone in the deployment of LTE Broadcast, which we believe will significantly enhance our customers' ability to view popular, live content directly on their mobile devices," said Zeng, Xiongjie, President of Sohu Mobile Video.  "We're excited to be working with QTI to bring this innovative technology to market."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Video: SDN and the Future of Service Provider Networks

SDN makes for better transport in the network says David Jameson, Principal Solutions Architect for Fujitsu.  Networks are no longer being defined by the hardware that is in place. SDN is opening the door to programmable networks, making new service types more easily implementable.  Fujitsu has multiple proof-of-concepts under development globally, including a bandwidth-on-demand and provisioning tool that can automatically create a circuit across existing FLASHWAVE 9500 and CDS platforms.

See 3-minute video:

Cisco Beats Estimates with Quarterly Revenue of $11.5 Billion

Cisco reported third quarter revenue of $11.5 billion, net income on a generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) basis of $2.2 billion or $0.42 per share, and non-GAAP net income of $2.6 billion or $0.51 per share. Revenue was down 5.5% compared with the same period last year, while net income declined 12% compared to last year.

"I'm pleased with our performance in Q3. Our financial results exceeded the guidance we provided last quarter as we demonstrated clear progress on returning to growth. The entire team is focused on moving Cisco forward aggressively and we remain confident in our long-term goal to be the #1 IT company," stated John Chambers, Cisco chairman and chief executive officer.

Some highlights:

  • Total US orders grew 7% y/y, while U.S. commercial and US enterprise orders were both up 10% y/y.  However, emerging markets continued to be challenged with orders declining (7%) y/y.  BRIC+M orders were down (13%) y/y.
  • Customer reception for the new Application Centric Infrastructure architecture is "very strong."  It will take several quarters before high-end switching really begins growing. There were 175 customers for the Nexus 9000 and the pipeline is close to 1,000.
  • Data center revenue overall grew 29% y/y.  The UCS product line experienced its 17th consecutive quarter of market share gains
  • Sourcefire fuels security revenue up 10% y/y; orders up 20% y/y.
  • Service Provider orders declined (5%) y/y, which is up from a (12%) decline in Q2.
  • ASR 9000 revenue grew 59% y/y. 
  • Switching revenue declined (6%) y/y; switching gross margins remain strong.

Riverbed Tunes its SteelHead WAN Optimization for Microsoft Azure

Riverbed Technology announced a series of enhancements for its SteelHead WAN optimization solution for accelerating application performance to the Microsoft Azure cloud.  Connections into Azure and be accelerated and optimized by spinning up a virtual SteelHead in the Microsoft cloud to sync with a SteelHead at an enterprise data center or branch office. In addition to de-duplicating traffic traversing the WAN, Riverbed can identify over 1,000 different applications and optimize the transfer for each.  There are also Azure-specific use cases, such as Office 365 Mailbox Migration to Azure or Hyper-V replication to Azure, which can be significantly accelerated by the SteelHead solution.

Riverbed's SteelHead already supported AWS and other public clouds.

What’s New in SteelHead 8.6

  • Now available for Microsoft Azure: SteelHead CX cloud instances are now available as a subscription-based offering in Microsoft Azure, making SteelHead available for 90% of public cloud deployments. SteelHead enables enterprises to host their applications with the cloud vendor that best meets their business
  • Enterprise-scale SteelHead for virtual environments and private/hybrid clouds: When virtualized infrastructure is required, IT can avoid multiple SteelHead virtual devices and simplify their network architecture with SteelHead CX 7055V, a new virtual appliance that can optimize up to 1Gbps of traffic. The SteelHead CX 7055v simplifies deployment in private cloud architectures and enterprise-scale virtualized datacenters with a single virtualized 1G appliance deployed on a standard server.
  • App Engine upgrade for greater control over all network traffic: SteelHead users can now set policies and classes for over 1,100 applications. As a result, SteelHead now enables more granular control over all network traffic, automatically reserving bandwidth for business-critical apps and steering them on to low-latency, uncongested links. This allows IT to align application delivery more directly with business needs.
  • A higher-performance mid-range application acceleration platform: For mid-range enterprise deployments, the new CX570 and CX770 deliver higher performance and better diagnostics and are simple to upgrade at the same price as their predecessors, CX555 and CX755.  

Riverbed also introduced SteelHead CX 7055v, an enterprise-scale virtual solution delivering up to 1 Gbps of optimized traffic for private and hybrid clouds.

“SteelHead is the dominant platform for accelerating business applications across enterprise networks. Our customers are now deploying applications in multiple clouds and scaling their network infrastructure to 1Gbps to ensure the highest level of user experience at all locations. SteelHead 8.6 simplifies these deployment challenges by allowing our customers to deliver consistent application performance across an increasingly dynamic IT environment,” said Paul O’Farrell, Senior Vice President and General Manager, SteelHead Products Group at Riverbed. “With SteelHead 8.6, enterprises can enjoy an enhanced user experience for the full range of Microsoft business apps and Microsoft Azure-based cloud workloads.”

“As Microsoft Azure works to erase the boundaries between cloud development and operational management, we look to partners like Riverbed to provide the application performance infrastructure that optimizes the end user’s experience when apps are delivered via the cloud,” said Garth Fort, General Manager of System Center and Virtualization, Microsoft Corporation. “In a cloud-first world, applications should be accessed and delivered quickly − without the challenges of application latency, competition among applications, and bandwidth restrictions. This is what’s required for the best user experience in today’s app-driven economy, and that’s what Riverbed is all about.”

Russia's MTS Tests VoLTE on Telco Cloud with NSN

MTS, the leading operator in Russia and CIS, completed the first Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call on a telco cloud infrastructure using Nokia’s technology and expertise. Nokia said the end-to-end testing, conducted in the operator’s live LTE network, was the first such trial to leverage the virtualization of service and control functions in the core network, including its IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Telephony Application Server (TAS) and Home Subscriber Server (HSS). The company’s Cloud Application Manager provided automated deployment and management of all cloud applications. MTS used Nokia’s commercial portfolio and a cloud management system that controls the VoLTE applications in MTS’s private telco cloud.

“VoLTE and telco cloud are principal technologies that will help us address new business opportunities and deliver a superior voice experience to our customers,” said Andrey Ushatskiy, chief technical and IT officer at MTS Group. “This live implementation of virtualized VoLTE with our long-standing partner, Nokia, is an important proof-of-concept and shows our commitment to offering our customers the most advanced voice services possible. We expect that the compound annual growth of mobile data traffic will reach 79% by 2020 and have to prepare our networks to deliver a quality mobile broadband experience to our customers.”

“We are delighted to join forces in this pioneer project supporting MTS’s demonstration of voice services using LTE in a telco cloud,” said Kristina Tikhonova, Head of East region, Networks. “We have the most comprehensive VoLTE solution on the market and our goal is to support operators’ migrations of voice and messaging traffic to LTE. With this demonstration, we further underscore that we are commercially ready and able to do this.”

ADVA's 100G Metro Adds On-the-Fly Encryption

ADVA Optical Networking introduced a new 100G Metro solution with built-in on-the-fly encryption and fully integrated with its ADVA FSP 3000 platform.  The card, which is based upon the 4x28G technology of the original ADVA 100G Metro, leverages Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with a key size of 256 bits. It features a Diffie Hellmann dynamic key exchange with over 60 exchanges per hour.

ADVA said its solution provides encryption at the lowest network layer and is completely agnostic to protocols such as Fibre Channel, InfiniBand and Ethernet. It also supports a wide variety of data rates from 5 Gbps, to 10 Gbps to 40 Gbps and onto 100 Gbps. To ensure compatibility in point-to-point and multi-hop infrastructures, the ADVA 100G Metro with built-in encryption uses optical transport network (OTN) framing. It also adds very little latency to the transmission link – less than 150 nanoseconds – compared to our non-encrypted version. This stands in stark contrast to higher layer encryption technologies that often add significant overhead and multiply the latency of the data stream.

The company also noted that its solution also encrypts the header and checksum of the signal, not just the payload or select bytes in the header, leaving no breadcrumbs that may be intercepted and analyzed.

“The security of data has never been so important; its integrity never so public. We're living in a new era of data awareness,” said Uli Schlegel, director, data center business development, ADVA Optical Networking. “In the wake of Heartbleed and other data security scares, businesses are only too aware of how vulnerable their mission-critical data is. How susceptible it is to theft and malicious use. Data security is now of paramount importance. At the same time, the volume of data has never been so immense. Transporting and protecting this data requires something purpose built, something special. That's what sets our 100G Metro with built-in encryption technology apart. It's the only product on the market capable of securely transporting big data.”

ADVA confirmed that its 100G Metro with built-in encryption has already been deployed by a number of enterprises and service providers.

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Deploys Cyan's Blue Planet SDN

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC), a wholesale fiber-optic open-access network transport provider, selected Cyan’s Blue Planet SDN software along with Cyan’s Z-Series Packet-Optical Platforms for its regional metro network in southern Virginia.

MBC deployed Cyan’s Z-Series Packet-Optical Platforms to provide optical scale and Ethernet services across their network. In addition, MBC deployed Blue Planet, an open SDN orchestration platform that enables network operators to simplify, manage and orchestrate multi-vendor networks to achieve end-to-end network control, service automation, and service agility. With Blue Planet, MBC can orchestrate multiple layers across the backhaul link to guarantee predictable packet services performance, high availability, and low latency. Among the first to fully comply with the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) initiative, Cyan also will help MBC execute on future-looking plans to deliver new metro Ethernet services to customers in the coming years.

MBC is a non-profit organization that operates an open-access wholesale transport network that enables businesses to work with the communication provider of their choice to secure diverse network access. By delivering reliable high-speed broadband access across underserved communities, MBC enables local businesses across Southern Virginia to increase revenue and grow jobs.

Hughes Signs Xplornet for Echostar XIX Broadband over Canada

Xplornet Communications, Canada's largest rural broadband provider, signed a lifetime lease for all of the Canadian satellite broadband capacity on Hughes' Echostar XIX, a next-generation high throughput satellite due for launch in mid-2016. In addition to satellite capacity, Xplornet will take delivery of satellite gateways, operational and support services and consumer user terminals in a program that is expected to be worth more than $200 million.

Built by Space Systems Loral, EchoStar XIX will have over 160 Gbps throughput, approximately 50 percent more capacity than EchoStar XVII which was launched in 2012, and is the primary platform supporting over 916,000 HughesNet users across the USA. The new satellite is being designed with next-generation architecture with more than 120 spot beams, facilitating the delivery of high-quality, high-speed services for at least 15 years.

"This agreement for all of the Canadian broadband capacity on the upcoming Echostar XIX satellite is another milestone in our long and successful relationship with Hughes," said Allison Lenehan, CEO of Xplornet. He added, "This capacity will enable us to continue to meet the growing demands of our rural customers. We are investing to deliver on the promise of making faster, more affordable high-speed Internet service available for every Canadian."

AT&T Continues Roll-out of Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles

AT&T recently deployed its 8,000th compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle, achieving a major milestone in the company's overall 10-year, $565 million commitment to add approximately 15,000 alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) to its fleet by end of year 2018. The company also has hybrid electric, all electric and extended-range electric vehicles, achieving a total fleet of more than 10,000 alternative vehicles located in 43 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. AT&T's AFV fleet allowed the company to avoid the purchase of 12.4 million gallons of gasoline as of the end of 2013, over the 5-year period since the company's commitment to alternative fuels was first announced.

Cisco Looks to Expand Customer Financing in Latin America

Cisco Capital has established operations in Mexico, expanding its financing capabilities in Latin America.

Cisco plans to provide direct local financing to customers, beginning in Mexico, complementing its existing network of financing partners in the region.

“This represents a significant milestone for Cisco Capital and our customers in Latin America,” said Kristine A. Snow, president of Cisco Capital. “This is the first time we have had direct operations in this region, which will help Mexican businesses acquire new technologies with flexible and competitive direct financing options, including local currency offers.”