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.
"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
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,
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,"
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
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
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
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
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
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
has cut a deal with Taiwanese LCD maker Sampo
to incorporate its media browser in Sampo-made HDTV sets.
Sampo's LCD HDTV.
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
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
VTR taps Cisco to enable triple-play
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
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
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
The overall quality of VoIP is declining, according to Brix
Nearly 20 percent of Internet telephone test calls over the
last 18 months were of unacceptable call quality, according
to data collected from TestYourVoIP.com,
Brix Networks' free, voice quality testing portal.
TestYourVoIP.com 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
TestYourVoIP.com 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
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
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
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
VISIT CED MAGAZINE’S NEW PRODUCT
FDN staying in business with
has picked up a contract from FDN
Communications to install its Calix C7 multiservice
access platforms (MSAP).
The Calix C7.
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
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
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
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
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."