Archive for June, 2009

Hard times an infocom wake-up call for hotels?

Can the nation’s hotel chains be dragged into the digital age?

Every time I check in to a hotel that promises free WiFi only to discover it has nothing of the sort — because coverage only extends to the front third of the building or because the network’s capacity can accomodate no more than three users at a time — I’m amazed how many hotels catering to business travelers still believe that the truly essential infotech amenities in the room are the TV and the never-used wireline phone, while Web access is not their concern. more

European smart-meter market takes off

The market for smart meters is still in its nascence in North America, but it is already taking off overseas. The installed base of smart electricity meters in Europe will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.2% between 2008 and 2014, reaching 93.6 million homes over those six years, according to Sweden-based analyst firm Berg Insight. more

AT&T brings navigator, U-Verse to iPhone

AT&T (NYSE:T) this week brought two new applications to the iPhone, AT&T U-verse TV Mobile Remote Access and AT&T Navigator. Unlike most items in Apple’s App Store, the monthly charge for the Navigator App will show up on AT&T’s bill, giving the carrier a more direct piece of the app-store action. more

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Pre hits a million, but still playing catch-up

The Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) Pre Application Catalog has officially hit a million downloads, according to mobile analytics company Medialets. While no numbers have been confirmed by Palm, the exclusive Sprint (NYSE:S) handset reportedly saw 50,000 sold on launch day. These devices collectively experienced 100,000 downloads – averaging two apps per device and 5,500 downloads per app on that first day. Now, 18 days later, Palm has purportedly tripled its user base to 150,000; averaging six apps downloaded per device and 33.3 downloads per app. more

Nortel and the megavendor innovation myth

In early post-mortems of Nortel Networks (TSE: NT), the criticism that the company failed to “innovate,” I think, misapprehends the current role of the world’s top telecom equipment vendors. These days, major suppliers survive and grow in large part not by inventing new technologies but by capitalizing on the innovations of other companies. more

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GSM operators finally move ahead with femtos

Though CDMA operators both Sprint (NYSE:S) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD) have moved ahead with femtocells, their GSM counterparts all of the world have been a bit more reluctant, preferring to wait until a standard was in place to begin large-scale service roll-out. Vodafone, however, overcame its reluctance this week, announcing it will begin selling its own home base station to customers in the UK in July. Meanwhile, AT&T confirmed its plans to launch its own MicroCell 3G femto program by the end of the year. more

DPI in your Cheerios?

Well, that’s probably going too far, but expect to see Deep Packet Inspection technology popping up in other places, and being combined with other technologies.

We saw it today with Allot’s announcement of MediaSwift, which combines DPI and caching to intelligently distribute content closer to those trying to access it. Previously, companies such as Zeugma Systems combined something akin to DPI with access technology to create a more intelligent IP edge device and Arbor Networks is starting to integrate DPI into its security services.
The thing is that, despite the bad rap DPI has in some circles, it is an important technology for service providers as they try to use bandwidth more efficiently. So it makes sense that technology companies will incorporate DPI into a broader range of equipment to add intelligence to the network at places where it can be useful.

Yankee Group Analyst David Vorhaus sees DPI “moving in the background to become more of a utility that other network elements can use to offer service control.” And, Vorhaus said, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

“Operators need a firm business case for this, and DPI can do that all by itself,” Vorhaus said. But in places like the 3GPP’s policy, charging and control architecture, DPI can serve as an intelligence gathering mechanism because that is what DPI does best — by inspecting individual packets in real-time, it provides a broad spectrum of intelligence about the application, the user and the service.

So this technology which has offered so much promise - and yet so much peril - to service providers is now moving into the network in — dare I say it — politically correct ways.

ASCAP sues AT&T over ringtone “performances”

When a cell phone starts blasting “In Your Face” by Lil’ Wayne, bystanders might consider it annoying, but the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers is taking it one step further and calling it a violation of copyright law. According to a filing obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the performance rights organization has filed suit against AT&T (NYSE:T), claiming that every time a musical ringtone goes off in public, the song constitutes a performance and, therefore, violates copyright law. more

Juniper, NSN’s integrated optics faces divided market

Juniper Networks (NASDAQ: JNPR) announced today it has integrated its core routers with Nokia Siemens Networks’ (NYSE:NOK, NYSE:SI) optical gear in an echo of the IP-over-DWDM architecture, deployed by Sprint and Comcast, that Cisco Systems introduced in late 2005. more

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Calling all WiMAX patents

The Open Patent Alliance today issued a open call for all WiMax intellectual property, taking the first step in what it hopes will become the first patent pool for 4G technology. The OPA and its patent administrator Via Licensing are hoping they can bring together a “critical mass” of WiMax license holders into a single patent pool that would become a veritable one-stop shop for device and equipment makers looking to build 4G gear. more

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