Archive by Ed Gubbins

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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PBB-TE carrier Ethernet standard ratified

The IEEE ratified an industry standard for PBB-TE (Provider Backbone Bridges - Traffic Engineering) technology yesterday at a meeting of the engineers’ organization in Tokyo.

The approval of 802.1Qay is good news for vendors like Fujitsu Network Communications and Ciena (NasdaqGS: CIEN), whose optical networking platforms include support for the connection-oriented carrier Ethernet transport technology, and for Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT), which first championed it back in 2006, when it was called PBT.

PBB-TE’s standardization also potentially gives it a leg up against its rival, MPLS-TP, which is based on Layer 3 routing technology rather than carrier Ethernet. Backed by big names such as Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco Systems, MPLS-TP was proposed only last year as compatibility concerns grew over T-MPLS, a transport technology being standardized by the ITU-T. So with MPLS-TP not yet standardized, PBB-TE supporters can at least brag about their status for a while.

In a sad twist of irony, perhaps, the IEEE ratified PBB-TE just one day after Soapstone Networks, a long-struggling software startup focused primarily on PBB-TE, announced that its board had okayed a liquidation of the company and that it had dismissed 50 remaining employees.

For more on this subject, read “PBB-TE: What now?”

UPDATE [6/22/09]: Here is the official release.

AT&T’s new vendor strategy ‘no big deal,’ analyst says

AT&T’s (NYSE: T) rumored plan to reduce the number of direct suppliers it works with to about 30 — two for each of about 15 technology categories — “shouldn’t be a big deal,” according to Jeffries analyst George Notter.

In a research note this morning, Notter pointed out that AT&T already gives the vast majority of its business to two key vendors. “We’re not sure there’s anything really new here,” he wrote. “We think it’s basically just ‘business as usual’ for AT&T.”

He also said vendors are already being notified of their new chosen roles and that a public announcement should be coming soon. more

Qwest: Broadband speeds a ‘non-issue’

It was a bit surprising to hear Qwest Communications’ (NYSE: Q) chief financial officer, Joe Euteneuer, assert at an investor conference this week (in relation to residential broadband), “Speed is almost a non-issue for the consumer.”

“The consumer just wants what they want when they want it, and they want it seamlessly delivered,” he said, adding that Qwest is “empowering” its workforce to “perfect the customer experience” and that “we’ll see the benefits of that, and speed will be a non-issue.”

Set aside the obvious, which you already know just from being a broadband consumer — that speed is SO NOT a non-issue.

Qwest in particular has made it plain in the past year that high-speed Internet service is the core of its entire corporate strategy, Qwest being the only regional Bell carrier without an in-house wireless or terrestrial video offering.

“We’re moving the high-speed Internet product to be the anchor of what we’re trying to do here,” Ed Mueller, Qwest’s chief executive officer, said last fall.

So high-speed Internet is the key, but speed is a non-issue? more

CBeyond: SMBs turning up pricing pressure

Small businesses, under pressure from the sagging economy, are in turn increasing pressure on telecom service providers to lower prices – even on those with lower IP-based cost structures. That was the report from Robert Fugate, chief financial officer of CBeyond (NasdaqGS: CBEY), at an investor conference yesterday. more

Sprint, Level 3 talk LH JV after Qwest auction

Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S) and Level 3 Communications (NasdaqGS: LVLT) are discussing the possibility of a joint venture involving their long-haul networks, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The two have been talking in “recent weeks,” which is about how long it’s been clear that Qwest Communications was not going to find a buyer willing to pay the price it wanted for its long-haul network.

When asked at an investor conference yesterday whether Qwest had considered divesting its long-haul network through a spin-out in combination with Sprint’s network, Qwest’s chief financial officer Joe Euteneuer said, “We entertained all possibilities.” more

Tellabs plans 4G distributed gateways for fall

Tellabs (NASDAQ: TLAB) is likely to introduce gateways this fall that are designed for the distributed architectures of 4G wireless networks such as LTE, the company said today.

“[LTE] is going to move towards a distributed radio network,” Rob Pullen, Tellabs’ chief executive officer, said at an investor conference today. “Everything today is backhauled to some agregation or hubbing point. It’s my belief that LTE and WiMax are going to have more of a distributed architecture. So you’ll be switching locally within the radio access part of the network.” more

Infinera: Most promising

Infinera (NASDAQ: INFN) has been named “Most Promising Vendor of the Year in the Asia Pacific market” by Frost & Sullivan.

Infinera made a total of 812 promises to customers in that region last year, according to F&S; the next most promising vendor made only 650.

[Pause for laughter.]
[Pause further.]

Sorry, folks. But given the dour tone of this morning’s other news, I couldn’t help myself.

I’ll get back to work now. I promise.

Verizon’s cloud: Open APIs this year?

Telecom carriers have often been told to follow the likes of Amazon and Google and open their networks to developers en masse via public application progam interfaces (APIs). Carriers have obvious reasons for being wary of such an approach; to name two: (1) The fear of being reduced to a ‘dump pipe’ provider as a result and the difficulty in trying the alternative in an open world: ensuring to end users the service quality of countless unknown garage-built apps. (2) It’s not entirely clear just yet how lucrative the approach would be for carriers or even how lucrative it has been for Amazon and Google.

The new cloud-computing offering Verizon has announced today, Computing as a Service, is a clear departure from Amazon’s approach. But Verizon did tell Telephony it may introduce open APIs this year as part of the new architecture. It’s not at all clear just how open they would be (open just to large enterprise clients, for Verizon-approved apps?). And Verizon itself appears not to have completely settled on that question internally. Stay tuned.

CenturyTel to become CenturyLink

CenturyTel (NYSE: CTL) will change its name to CenturyLink once it closes its acquisition of Embarq (NYSE: EQ).

The company unveiled its new logo today as well as the new name.

In a statement, CenturyTel CEO Glen Post said the new name reflected “a company that is forward-looking and committed to linking the country together.”

The company recently won all the state regulatory approval it needed to acquire Embarq and now awaits an okay from federal regulators.

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