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Rich Tehrani
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Cisco

700 MHz Setback

August 3, 2007

Just when youthought it was safe to jump into the 700 MHz frequency with your own device along comes the Federal Communications Commission's Office of Engineering and Technology (OET) who says initial testing of the prototype devices showed they failed to swiftly track and avoid interference with other, licensed broadcasts.   The report stated the technology coalition behind the tests had hoped the use of so called white spaces - an unlicensed spectrum between TV channels -- would pass muster with regulators as early as October. The coalition effort is one of several efforts on the part of large companies offering Internet services and devices to expand options for consumer access to the Web.   The group includes companies such as Microsoft Philips, Google, Intel Corp., and Dell Inc. Members of the coalition want the ability to offer devices and services that don't have to be used on licensed networks operated by traditional telecom or cable companies.   But the OET’s test results put a damper on the group’s hopes, noting that "the sample prototype white space devices submitted to the commission for initial evaluation do not consistently sense or detect TV broadcast or wireless microphone signals."   Hopefully there will be a way to solve this dilemma. After all, the above companies represent some of the smartest technology minds in the world.

ITEXPO Weeks Away

August 3, 2007

I just can’t believe that Internet Telephony Conference & Expo is five short weeks away. I just can’t wait for September 10-12th in Los Angeles. Boy is the summer going by fast. Thankfully I read Ken Kamp’s blog where he talks about the show and it reminded me about the timing of this event.   Tom Keating too reads Ken’s blog and he beat me to writing about Ken’s post.   I am very excited about the show… It is just amazing how much the communications market has evolved in a few short years.

iPhone, U-Phone, Everybody G-Phone

August 2, 2007

This year has been the absolutely most tumultuous ever in terms of wireless communications and these changes can and will have a dramatic effect on your business. You can’t go anywhere these days without seeing Apple’s iPhone in action. Kids have them, Mac loyalists have them and most importantly, your coworkers have them.   The question is… How do you support them and what policies and procedures do you need in place to ensure you are ready for the onslaught of questions and interoperability issues this phone will bring to the market.   What about security? How will we deal with the potential for these devices to get lost without the ability to remotely wipe confidential corporate data?   If a single-industry changing phone wasn’t enough for telecom and IT managers to deal with, we now have Google’s G-Phone (or it could be called Google Phone… Time will tell) looming in the telecom wings just waiting to disrupt the service provider business model and potentially the way you plan and negotiate your wireless telecom contracts.   Then there is the 700 MHz spectrum with it’s potential to enable an army of devices on new wireless spectrum.

ActionTec

July 29, 2007

Many of us are familiar with VoSky Technologies the company behind the business class Skype gateways allowing a company to leverage the myriad benefits of Skype within their corporate communications infrastructure. If you need to catch up, I invite you to read an article written on the topic of Skype trunking by yours truly about a month ago.   So while Skype and VoSky are likely familiar names, most people are likely not aware of the fact that the company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Actiontec Electronics, a leading provider of broadband connectivity solutions for consumers and broadband service providers.   In a recent meeting with Lesley Kirchman Director of Marketing and Brian Henrichs VP of Business Development for the company I became aware the company’s tagline is “Solutions For a Digital Life.”   The company has been around since 1993 when it was in the analog modem business. Over time they evolved to do what a few companies have been successful at… Listening to telco needs, delivering on them and actually having the telcos buy.   The company has sold over five million devices and has roughly 300 people in their Sunnyvale, CA headquarters in the US. I think of the company as the Linksys of the service provider world as they sell gateways in countless DSL varieties, IPTV solutions and even FiOS solutions for Verizon.   Some of the more recent products allow you to transport data and entertainment within a house via wireless, HomePlug and numerous other technologies.   Another area of focus is technologies such as TR69 and WT140 which help can enhance the consumer experience.

Ixia

July 29, 2007

As Ethernet gets more complicated, so must the test systems needed to accurately ensure carriers are providing the best quality of experience for their metro Ethernet solutions. A few weeks back I had a chance to sit down with the team at Ixia and discuss their Carrier Ethernet solutions based on Provider Backbone Transport (PBT) and Provider Backbone Bridge (PBB). The company’s Ixia’s test products for PBT/PBB, along with those for Ethernet OAM/CFM provide network equipment manufacturers and carriers with all the tools needed to test the latest Carrier Ethernet solutions.   Ixia announced the above functionality as well as Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) as part of it’s IxNetwork 5.30 release, which is part of its Aptixia test framework.   Many of the largest service providers have adopted PBT/PBB as it reduces the cost and complexity of Ethernet transport while providing mechanisms for enhanced QoS.   “PBT/PBB is an important new part of the Carrier Ethernet solution over switched Ethernet,” said Michael Howard, principal at Infonetics Research. “Many service providers are evaluating PBT/PBB as a cost effective mechanism to leverage their switched metro Ethernet network and offer back haul for access networks, extend L2/L3 VPNs, and point-to-point (ELINE) services.

Spirent’s Testing 2.0

July 29, 2007

There seems to be an evolution in the testing market as these companies focus on delivering products and services enabling network equipment providers and carriers to test more services in less time. As networks become more commoditized and the competition to provide services continues to increase, quality of service is becoming more important than ever.   In a recent conversation with the new President and COO of Spirent, Rob Piconi, I had a chance to get Rob’s take on the future of testing and moreover learn about the company’s new testing offerings.   Rob’s message to customers is you need to deliver products and services as rapidly as possible and his company is best positioned to allow you to test these products and services before they are rolled out. Spirent he says has the deepest and broadest [testing] portfolio.   He points out how critical it is to work with the leading testing company when deploying FMC. And he has a point as in the world of fixed mobile convergence; you are dealing with wireless, wireline and potentially IMS.

IP Sizzles 2007

July 23, 2007

700MHZ Spectrum

July 12, 2007

Google and others are looking to ensure some of the 700MHZ spectrum is allocated for broadband wireless and moreover available at wholesale rates in order to help foster new and innovative services. For more on this story see this USA Today article.   Interestingly I also read a Telephony article where CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent called the proposed rules “Silicon Valley welfare.”   What I find interesting is this portion of the Telephony article:   -----   Verizon Wireless vice president and general counsel Steve Zipperstein testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, urging Congress to ignore Google and other Internet companies’ calls for open-access requirements to the 700 MHz bands, which are scheduled for auction in early 2008. Zipperstein said the results of such rules would favor the Internet companies over the wireless industry, effectively pre-determining the winners of the auctions in advance.

“The wireless industry has produced a steady stream of innovations -- from devices, to applications, to features -- that have given American consumers myriad choices about how they use their wireless service,” said Zipperstein in a statement.

ShoreTel IPO

July 5, 2007

ShoreTel hit it big with an IPO which jumped 27.5% on it’s opening day. The IPO was derailed last week as a result of a lawsuit filed by Mitel. The company closed the day at $12.15, after the company priced 7.9 million shares at $9.50 a share.   Many comments circulated the blogosphere recently about how in the PBX space, Cisco owns the high-end and open-source owns the low end – with only scraps remaining for the companies in-between.   I agree with some of these comments but at the same time there is a massive opportunity to continue upgrading the world’s enterprise phone systems. Scraps could equate to billions of dollars each year.

TMCnet Goes Twitter

July 4, 2007

It seems like if you are under 18 you spend a good deal of time twittering on well – Twitter. Since my typical reader is above 18 you may not be aware that Twitter is a service allowing you to send and receive messages via SMS on cell phones. People spend hours letting their friends know (in excruciating detail sometimes) about all aspects of their life. “I am going to have lunch.” “I am having a snack.” “I am sick,” are some of the things you may see while twittering.   But if you get sick of twittering with friends and are interested in using Twitter to keep up with the latest (and best of course) communications and technology news and analysis, be sure to check twitter.com/tmcnet.
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