IP Capsule E-newsletter, July 27, 2006

Thu, 07/27/2006 - 12:27pm

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July 27, 2006

IPso Facto...

Pole position, inside track…
…whatever, cable has it in IMS race

If converging on IP is a race, the race is a long one, more akin to the Tour de France (Yo! Floyd! Whooo!) than a velodrome sprint. The cable company team started out in a better shape than the telco team, and is already outdistancing them.

The sports metaphor is mine, but the handicapping is from Harald Braun, president of the Siemens Communications Networks division, an evangelist for IP Multimedia Subsystem technology. IMS proposes to bridge fixed, mobile (cellular), and wireless networks by moving them all to an IP infrastructure.

Braun was in a voluble mood after Cablevision Systems Corp. last week announced its one millionth phone customer, because Cablevision's VoIP service is built on Siemens' softswitches.

Braun said cable companies, such as Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Cox Communications are signing up between 2,000 and 2,200 VoIP customers a day.

Harald Braun

"They're the most aggressive players with voice over IP," Braun said. "Now voice over IP is normal, and everyone is looking for what's next." What's next for cable operators is IMS, a key part of the recently released PacketCable Release 2 specs from CableLabs, and a natural next step after the agreement many cable operators entered into with Sprint Nextel.

For example, Siemens just completed an IMS demonstration in May with Time Warner Cable in Herndon, Va. TWC had Siemens show off how to hand off a phone call from the public switched telephone network to WiFi to GSM to CDMA, Braun said.

"The cable guys are the first to move on this IMS stuff," Braun said. They have a natural advantage because it is comparatively easy to put voice on HFC networks, where the telcos have a much harder task to either upgrade or replace legacy equipment in order to carry video. "To go from existing voice networks and put TV on it? That's fairly difficult. They have twisted pair and they need fiber and coax and they don't have it."

"So now," he continued, "traditional telcos are investing in fiber to the home, fiber to the curb, but even with that, the MSOs have everything in place—and they don't have 25 years' of legacy equipment."

So how soon will all services converge on IP?

"Good question," Braun said.

After a pause for effect, he outlined what a difficult job there is ahead for legacy telcos. "In 2003 to 2005, the question was how to migrate the network. Now the issue is replacing it, and that will be very difficult. The way an IP network works is totally opposite from the way traditional TDM operates, totally opposite."

So, he said, "six to ten years. Maybe eight to twelve." The telcos will start with greenfields, and start with hosted services replacing PBXs. "That will also be a slow migration," he said.

Part of the challenge, he added, will be achieving five-nines (99.999 percent) reliability, which the phone companies are likely to be compelled to do under long-standing covenants with the states.

Cable on the other hand, has an easier path, Braun said. "You get a softswitch and some gateways and do it."

And don't forget (and didn't I mention this last week?) don't forget that Google and AOL will be out there, too.

Meanwhile, take good care of your backbone, Braun noted. Traffic from video download services, streaming video services, and video embedded in blogs is growing so rapidly it's inspiring many market research firms to revise their forecasts for network traffic and the equipment necessary to handle it.

Ikanos chips presage IPTV-optimized VDSL
Ikanos Communications introduced a family of multi-mode VDSL2 chipsets with integrated packet classification and noise protection circuitry, critical capabilities for IPTV. The chipsets are designed to provide the highest throughput and density, with the lowest power consumption per port.

VDSL2 provides the bandwidth DSL service providers need to offer the triple play, but only on loops shorter than 5,000 feet, shorter than many (if not most, still) in the U.S., and only with higher power consumption than ADSL. VDSL2 has been deployed more extensively in Europe and Asia.

Ikanos introduced two chipsets that support all VDSL2 profiles—8a, 8b, 8c, 8d, 12a, 12b, 17a and 30a—and are optimized for 30 MHz spectrum operation to offer 100/100 Mbps performance. Two other chipsets support all VDSL2 profiles except 30a, and are optimized for 17.6 MHz spectrum utilization and 100/50 Mbps performance.

The chips are also designed to support legacy ADSL. So telcos could conceivably deploy DSLAMs incorporating the new chips, and either continue to offer ADSL but upgrade to VDSL2 at some later date, or offer VDSL2 service rates only to those customers already behind short enough loops.

All chipsets are available in sample quantities now. Production quantities will be available late in the third quarter.

Alticast Closes $21M in financing round
Alticast, which specializes in DVB-MHP and OpenCable OCAP solutions, closed an aggregate investment of $21 million by funds managed or advised by or entities affiliated with AIG Global Investment Group.

The company expects to use the proceeds to increase its market presence in the U.S.; invest in technologies to support the emerging Blu-ray Disc standard; expand its MHP activities throughout Europe; and widen its worldwide IPTV efforts.

The company plans to provide a wide range of end-to-end products and services—all conforming to standards and specs from DVB, CableLabs, Blu-ray Disc Association and ITU—to support cable, satellite and terrestrial television companies.

Alticast products have been deployed by Time Warner Cable, Pace Microelectronics, Samsung, Humax, LG, Korea Telecom, SkyLife, most of Korean cable operators and many others.

Report: U.S. market for wireless/cellular TV to grow
IDC expects about 24 million U.S. cellular subscribers will be paying for a variety of video services on their mobile devices by 2010, up from about 7 million this year.

That's only about 10 percent of all cellular users, but the services they buy are expected to help significantly raise average revenue per user. Overall, blended cellular TV video/TV content and service ARPU is expected to settle in at about $6.50, IDC calculates.

That metric is comprised of three elements: a la carte content purchases, narrowband (i.e. "2.5G") subscriptions, and broadband (i.e. "3G") subscriptions. Within this mix, broadband video/TV services should grow from less than half of all revenues last year to about 85 percent of the total in 2010, with a substantially above average ARPU.

Survey data suggest that a mix of on-demand clips and live streaming content is the most appealing to consumers.

IDC cautions its forecast is predicated on cellular providers jumping a lot of hurdles, including uneven operator broadband network deployments, handset limitations, business model complexities, and indirect competition.

Sampo planning IP TVs equipped with Oregan Media Browser

Sampo's LCD HDTV.
Oregan Networks has cut a deal with Taiwanese LCD maker Sampo to incorporate its media browser in Sampo-made HDTV sets.

Sampo is envisioning an HDTV that comes ready to access a variety of IP-based content from a raft of sources, including movies, music, and photos stored on home PCs or accessed via the Web. The company expects these capabilities will help it differentiate its products from other HDTVs.

Sampo supplies products to CE manufacturers, including Sharp, and also provides its own-branded HD-Ready and network enabled TVs.

Sampo said it selected Oregan not only for its media browser, but also due to its media client solution, which Sampo said will allow it to incorporate Web video-on-demand, and Digital Media Adaptor functionalities into the higher-end range of products.

VTR taps Cisco to enable triple-play services
Chilean services provider VTR has signed up with Cisco Systems and will deploy the CRS-1 Carrier Routing System, the core component of Cisco's IP Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture. VTR plans to grow its residential triple-play business with the new architecture.

VTR is the first service provider in Latin America to deploy the Cisco CRS-1, and the first to offer the triple play in Chile, according to Cisco. The deployment is a part of an extensive network upgrade recently conducted at VTR by Cisco Systems and its partner Magenta.

VTR is Chile's second-largest provider of residential telephone service. It claims more than 2.2 million residential subscribers, with 1.2 million digital cable TV subscribers, 300,000 internet subscribers and 400,000 IP telephony subscribers.

Arkwest selects Entone for IPTV on-demand service
Entone Technologies said it will supply the technology for Arkwest Communications to roll out IPTV VOD in Arkansas.

This new broadband video service will allow Arkwest to provide a bundled triple-play service offering that includes local phone service, high speed Internet, and digital TV.

Arkwest's IPTV service will offer more than 200 TV channels and 1,500 hours of movies on demand and will be available to Arkwest's 6,000-plus residential customers, including residents of Danville, Ola, Plainview, Belleville and Havana.

Arkwest will deploy Entone's StreamLiner network video recorder (NVR) and Ingest Gateway, an integrated software solution for managing the reception of encrypted digital assets and associated metadata.

Entone said its IPTV VOD solution has been selected and deployed by more than 50 telco service operators worldwide, including PCCW (Pacific Century CyberWorks, the parent of Hong Kong Telecom), Consolidated Communications, Lyse Tele, Pioneer Telephone, and Telewest.

Brix: 1 of 5 VoIP calls have problems
The overall quality of VoIP is declining, according to Brix Networks.

Nearly 20 percent of Internet telephone test calls over the last 18 months were of unacceptable call quality, according to data collected from, Brix Networks' free, voice quality testing portal. lets consumers independently measure the quality of their broadband Internet phone connections provided either through DSL or cable modem service. The company did not say if problems were any more or less severe with one category of service or the other.

Source: Brix Networks

Mean Opinion Score (MOS) is a measure that ranks call quality from 1 (bad) to 5 (good); an MOS of 3.6 is generally considered the cut-off for satisfactory quality. Brix Networks reports that from late 2004 through mid-2006, the quality of calls consistently declined. Throughout that time span, the number of test calls at 3.6 MOS or higher was only 81 percent.

The company said the root causes of call quality degradation include late packet discards, lost packets, and round-trip voice latency. is also now available as a Google Gadget that monitors the Internet's current ability to support real-time services, such as voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and IP television (IPTV).

Earthlink VoIP now available through OfficeMax
EarthLink's trueVoice Internet phone service is now available at OfficeMax. By partnering with OfficeMax, Earthlink hopes to raise its profile with small business customers.

OfficeMax customers with a home broadband connection will be able to purchase a Linksys Phone Adapter or Wireless G Router with 2 Phone Portsand Earthlink's VoIP service.

Both kits work with regular home phones and have two ports. Calling plans start at $14.95 per month.

IPtimize VP of Sales and Marketing
Managed VoIP provider IPtimize, Inc. named Clay H. Storer as its vice president of sales and marketing. Storer has held sales positions at Qwest, founded a company called Broadband Solutions, and previously worked at Allnet Communications in various positions around the country before it was acquired by Frontier Communications (now Global Crossing) in 1995.

Cedar Point to demo Safari for university market
Cedar Point Communications will demonstrate campus and institutional applications of its SAFARI C³ Multimedia Switching System at the ACUTA conference for communications technology professionals in higher education July 23-27 in San Diego. Cedar Point will show how SAFARI C³'s single-unit design simply and cost effectively can migrate campus networks to IP-based telephony services, provide a seamless solution for disaster recovery, and can accommodate the anticipated need for fixed-mobile convergence applications. In addition CPC will be showing Unified Communications and Contact Center applications with Interactive Intelligence.



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FDN staying in business with Calix

The Calix C7.
Calix has picked up a contract from FDN Communications to install its Calix C7 multiservice access platforms (MSAP).

In line with FCC regulatory modifications, it's becoming increasingly expensive for competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) to lease UNE-P lines; FDN leases most of its UNE-P lines from BellSouth.

FDN will use the C7s to wean itself from BellSouth's lines, yet continue to provide existing business and consumer services including voice, DSL, and T1. FDN plans to eventually introduce new services such as Gigabit Ethernet for business customers, VoIP, DSL, and many others, and the C7s will provide a platform for those services as well.

FDN is based in Maitland, Fla.; it has about 250,000 lines in service by about 70,000 business and residential customers in the southeast.

Internet2, Infinera collaborate on 40G, 100G optical technology
Internet2 and Infinera have agreed to collaborate on the development of next-generation Internet technology with more intelligence, bandwidth and capabilities, including the testing and deployment of 40 Gbps to 100 Gbps (Gigabit per second) services.

Other areas of technology development will include advanced network service management and delivery leveraging GMPLS (Generalized Multiprotocol Label Switching) technology; and advanced virtual private network (VPN) services based on Layer One VPNs.

Last month, Internet2 said it would work with Level 3 Communications to develop and deploy a new advanced nationwide research network to provide enhanced IP services as well as brand new experimental optical services to its members. Level 3 will deploy Infinera's Digital Optical Networking equipment across its infrastructure in support of Internet2's new network so that Internet2's users can provision optical circuits dynamically.

The network will initially provide the research and education community with 100 Gigabits per second of bandwidth, a tenfold increase over its previous network.

GameTap tries to help socialize online gamers
Turner Broadcasting's GameTap introduced head-to-head game play and Instant Messaging (IM) into a dozen of its games. The company said new online multiplayer functionality and turn-based games will be added on a regular basis.

GameTap is attempting to get a jump on most other game companies by introducing social elements into its games.

"The only thing more fun than playing video games, is talking trash while you're playing," said David Reid, vice president of marketing at GameTap.

A GameTap branded Instant Messaging feature has been integrated into the service that allows users to easily chat with other users within the GameTap network. In addition, GameTap now features a dozen new chat lobbies centered around each of the new online Challenge Games to allow users to freely chat and challenge each other in a group setting.

The AIM service has also been integrated into GameTap to allow simultaneous access the AIM network with their AIM screenname and chat with their AIM buddies without leaving GameTap.

Ad agency taps Narrowstep to power 'Net-based video ads
JWTwo Digital, a division of JWT (the advertiser formerly known as J. Walter Thompson) is working with TV-over-Internet specialist Narrowstep on project to promote Unilever's Sunsilk hair products brand.

JWTwo will rely on Narrowstep's telvOS for encoding, content management, reporting, DRM/security/encryption, rights controls, payment facilitation, dynamic ad insertion, e-commerce, upload and download capabilities, content delivery, and even social networking.

The promotion will apparently revolve around the Hairapy Guys, presumably experts on hair care, described on the Sunsilk Web site as "three hot guys who are totally into you," who "have no intention of getting into your pants."

Myrio Corp.
(owned by Siemens)
Bothell, Wash.
CEO: Chris Coles

Claim to Fame: Myrio's technology enables IPTV, allowing for features that include client personal video recording (cPVR), Pause Live TV, video on demand (VOD), on-screen Caller ID, favorites and reminders, and customizable Web portal capabilities. Siemens bought the company to integrate that technology into its Surpass platform.

Recent news of note: Siemens Communications Networks division president Harald Braun says he's in the process of making Myrio's platform "IMS-ready." He said to keep an eye on the company for a major IPTV announcement in the near future.

Cross Platform Summit 2006
Aug. 8-9, 2006
West Hollywood, Calif.
More information: Click Here

CTAM Blue Ribbon Breakfast
Sept. 13, 2006
Grand Hyatt
New York, N.Y.
More information: Click Here

IPComm 2006
Sept. 25-27, 2006
Nashville, Tenn.
More information: Click Here

2006 FTTH Conference & Expo
Oct. 2-5, 2006
Las Vegas, Nev.
The Venetial Resort
More information: Click Here

The Cable Center Key Issue Series
"Confronting Cable's Technological Frontier"
Oct. 10, 2006
The Cable Center
Denver, Colo.
More information: Click Here

9th Annual Cable Television Hall of Fame Celebration
Oct. 11, 2006
Denver, Colo.
The Cable Center
More information: Click Here

CTHRA Fall Symposium
Oct. 18, 2006
Philadelphia, Pa.
Park Hyatt Hotel
More information: Click Here

TelcoTV 2006
Nov. 6-8, 2006
Dallas, Texas
More information: Click Here

Copyright © 2006 Advantage Business Media. All rights reserved.



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