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DSL Prime
Swisscom's 4x4 MIMO from Quantenna
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 02:55

Swisscom is deploying the world's first 4x4 MIMO 802.11n gateway. Celeno_HD_over_WiFiWireless has long promised speeds fast enough for 4 HD video streams, with 802.11n  offering 54 megabits up to a nominal 600 megabits. In practice, no carrier has found wireless to deliver the speeds needed reliably. Dropouts and lost packets look ugly on the TV screen, so even occasional errors are unacceptable. 

    A 4x4 MIMO chip supports four antennas both for transmitting and receiving, the maximum allowed in the standard. Stéphane Dufour of Swisscom says Netgear/Quantenna gateway is "capable of guaranteeing the performance and reliability that our subscribers need."

    Quantenna's founder Behrooz Rezvani delivered the world's fastest VDSL DMT chips years ago at Ikanos reaching 100 meg. He's looking to match that feat at Quantenna. Delivering the first 4x4 is impressive, but I'm withholding judgment until I get substantial feedback from the field. 

     Imran Hajimusa in January showed me an impressive demo of their 802.11 chip simultaneously carrying four HD streams. It's only 3x3, but Hajimusa believes Lantiq design features will yield a better chip. A third company, Celeno, has a major win at Liberty Global, the world's #2 cableco.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 21:25
Sigma: G.hn Solving Powerline Reliability Problems
Friday, 22 October 2010 19:46
Sigma GhnG.hn is supposed to be the Swiss Army of wired home networking, promising to work over powerlines, co-ax, and just about everything else including barbed wire. Michael Weissman called to promote Sigma Designs G.hn chip he promises for next quarter. Weissman joined Sigma when they purchased home powerline company Coppergate, so I asked his opinion of G.hn over powerline.
    "Previous powerline chips had plenty of raw speed to deliver video around the home," Weissman tells me. "But sometimes interference became a problem." Whenever any appliance is turned on or turned off it creates noise. Powerline is working well enough that European carriers including Free.fr and Belgacom have shipped millions, but most carriers weren't satisfied.
    "We've solved that problem in our G.hn chips. They are very reliably delivering the 10's of megabits needed for HD TV around the home. The raw speed is remarkable, but the results at under difficult conditions are even more impressive. MIMO and other techniques are working well."
     The chipmakers are targeting a price of about $1 more than MOCA chips, but it's early days.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 22:25
Deutsche Telekom Chief Ricke "I Don't Know Nuthin'"
Friday, 22 October 2010 15:56
See-Hear-Speak No Evil 05 Pictures, Images and PhotosKai-Uwe Ricke beat the rap on the DT wiretapping scandal but has to testify at the trial of Klaus Trzeschan, the security manager who did the dirty work. He denies he knew anything. “I can rule out 100 percent that we discussed any illegal methods. Had I learned about it, I would have stepped in. I spent my whole career in telecommunications and knew what that would have meant.” (Karin Matussek, Bloomberg)
     This contradicts the report from Spiegel "a lawyer hired to advise the company has told the public prosecutor's office that then company CEO Kai-Uwe Ricke and supervisory board head Klaus Zumwinkel knew that the company was rifling through telephone records as early as September 2005"
     Overstepping the bounds is apparently part of the culture at DT. Current CEO Rene Obermann is being investigated regarding bribery allegations, the BBC reports. 32m euros were paid through illegitimate channels and went to officials in the Balkans.
Last Updated on Saturday, 23 October 2010 12:53
France: Google, iPhone, Internet Reliability All Part of Neutrality
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 23:00

French regulator ARCEP's 63 page Net Neutrality proposal goes far beyond the U.S. or any other I've seen. It includes non-discrimination, wireless (with reasonable limits) and detailed disclosure of the effect of traffic management. ARCEP adds a requirement that the "normal" service be high enough quality to serve most Internet applications. They also require reasonable peering, including public information about peering policies. "Conservative" French leader Sarkozy therefore has gone beyond the "liberal" U.S. regime and even further beyond Britain's Labour government.

    Devices which limit applications are unacceptable, and they use the example of the iPhone blocking Flash. Software vendors must also be neutral, including objectivity and transparency at Google. So far only Martin Warwick has reported the ARCEP proposal in English, but ARCEP has posted a full English translation Bravo to Nadia Trainar and Guillaume Mellier of ARCEP and the others who worked on the proposal.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 October 2010 02:32
Ikanos Secret Sauce: Vectoring Up to 192 Lines
Monday, 18 October 2010 12:58

Ikanos_chips_colorful.jogMike Gulett a year ago promised Ikanos' vectoring would have features that blow away the competition, but wouldn't let DSL Prime readers in on the secrets. His successor as CEO, John Quigley, now is announcing they will have a board that dramatically reduces noise across 192 lines and possibly more.

Competitors, Quigley believes, are limited to vectoring 48 lines. This should be a significant advantage if more than 48 lines are close in the binder, but until we have field data it's hard to determine how much better the performance will be. On field terminals with less than 48 lines - common in "fiber to the node" - Ikanos is not claiming an advantage over Broadcom and Lantiq. But there will be a performance advantage for carriers with 192 line nodes, especially crucial Ikanos customer AT&T.

Ikanos believes carriers will choose fiber/DSL over fiber home because of vectored speeds.

Customers within 400-700 metersshould be able to get 50 and even 100 meg downstream, 50-90% more than currently. Several large deployments, including British Telecom and Deutsche Telekom are part fiber home and part fiber/DSL (FTTN.) France Telecom really doesn't want to fiber France, preferring to buy Morocco. Even China Telecom, under pressure from the government for fiber to the home, is doing some fiber/DSL but not publicizing it. Any of these builds might increase the proportion of DSL if vectoring works well in the field.

In the U.S., the fiber build is already dead.

Last Updated on Saturday, 10 September 2011 13:24
Blair Levin's Bombshell: Universal Broadband $10B Total
Friday, 01 October 2010 03:31
Blair_Universal_PlanThat $350B figure people quote is about 30 times higher than the real cost of making broadband available to 100% of the U.S., the head of the U.S. Broadband Plan points out in an important paper. Here's how Blair explains what we'd get for that $10B and why it's so much lower than most people believe.
The Plan's desired result, as reflected in Blair's paper and the CITI Columbia report, would be:
1) ~90% of U.S. homes would be offered 50/20. As CITI reported, this 90% coverage was essentially guaranteed even if there were no broadband plan or government action.
2) ~5-8% of U.S. homes would be offered 4 megabits by the carriers without subsidy.
3) 2-5% of homes would require subsidies to get to the 4 megabit speed terrestrially.
4) < 1/2 of 1% of homes would be served by 5-10 megabit satellite because they would cost between $10K and $100K each to reach terrestrially.
5) Additional towers and backhaul would be provided to have wireless available to very close to 100% of the population. Almost all would be 4 megabits as well.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 October 2010 18:43
Lantiq Reducing Power for ADSL & GPON
Saturday, 23 October 2010 19:53
Lantiq_FALCONLantiq has been strong in analog engineering since it was part of Siemens and Infineon. They've now reduced the power and size of DSLAM chips with the 65 nanometer GEMINAX™ XXS V3. 30% smaller than previous chips, the new GEMINAX supports up to 36 channels in a 17 x 17mm package. The result is linecards that can support 96 ports instead of 72 today. 
     Lantiq supports retransmission on PHY level similar similar to Broadcom's PhyR. This potentially reduces error rates and reduces IPTV interruptions. Early results at Iliad/Free of this technology on Broadcom chips were disappointing, but iiNet has begun a trial and is optimistic on results.
     GPON chips were a natural extension of Lantiq's linecard. The new FALC ON provides an embedded wire-speed network processor and up to four GigE interfaces.Lantiq hasa GPON reference design the size of a business card with power draw 65% below the European Code of Conduct (CoC) requirements for 2011.
     Here are the press releases. 
Last Updated on Saturday, 23 October 2010 21:09
AT&T, Telefonica Buy Into ASSIA's $20M Round
Friday, 22 October 2010 19:44

ASSIA is managing 35M lines of DSL, a major achievement. But with 280M unmanaged DSL lines, there's plenty of room for growth. Telecom investments are hard to find these days, but ASSIA is on a roll. Current investors Mingly China Growth Fund, SFR Development, Sofinnova Partners, Stanford University, Swisscom Ventures, and T-Ventures are joined by Sandalwood Partners, AT&T & Telefonica.

Here's the press release:

ASSIA Secures $20.8 Million in New Funding

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 October 2010 22:53
Verizon Scraps 18% Price Increase After DSL Reports Story
Friday, 22 October 2010 02:59

DSLR_VerizonVerizon like other U.S. carriers is disguising price increases as various fees. The latest was a $3.50 fee "to simply pay your bill," using a credit or debit card. That's an 18% increase on the $20 low end DSL package, which has already gone up by 33%. After Karl Bode reported this at DSLR, the LA Times picked it up and now The Consumerist reports Verizon has canceled it for now. Most likely, they will bring it back after the press stops noticing.

    Julius Genachowski last year said "affordable broadband" was his highest priority but prices generally are going up. No wonder the Washington Post  included a comment Kevin Martin, the Republican chairman, did more than Genachowski. Results, please.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 October 2010 04:07
ASSIA Asserting Patent on DSM3 Vectoring
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 19:36

Vectoring, which can almost double the speed of DSL, was totally impractical when John Cioffi introduced it aspeter_chow  Dynamic Spectrum Management Level 3 in 2004. He said then that chips powerful enough to do all the calculations for noise reduction across 8 & 25 lines weren't likely until about 2010. 100 megabit DSL was still so new no one outside Asia was deploying it. John was talking about a gigabit over 4 pair. He filed patents which he believes are crucial to DSL vectoring. 

    As products come to market, Ikanos has taken a patent license. John's company, ASSIA, is optimistic the other vendors will do so as well. "We'll honor our obligation to make licenses available to all on a reasonable and non-discriminatory basis. That's required because we are part of the standard."

    ASSIA has introduced a new version of their primary product, Expresse 2.1. They've also added added a "Software-as-a-Service" option ideal for independent and regional telcos.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 October 2010 04:10
54% Margins at Frontier
Thursday, 14 October 2010 01:57
Frontier, Verizon, and the other U.S. telcos are busy in D.C. demanding more subsides while telling Wall Street how profitable they are. Batya Levi of UBS predicts Frontier margins will go up to 54.0% in 2012. Her UBS colleague John Hodulik reports wireline margins are going up at Verizon as well. Even laggard Qwest says margins are doing very well despite losing 10% of customers each year.
     I was wrong three years ago when I predicted that declining voice revenue matched and DSL saturation would produce a major squeeze by now. The carriers have been firing tens of thousands, cutting service levels. Because of the detente between telcos and cablecos in the U.S., prices for basic service, LD, and the average broadband user have gone up. 
     Verizon is telling the FCC 20% or so of lines are unprofitable and likely abandoned unless they get an even bigger  USF subsidy.
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 October 2010 03:39
Major Increase in U.S. Engineering Grad Schools
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 20:46
Grace_HopperFrom Bill Gates to Barack Obama, U.S. leaders bemoan that engineering and science education is falling behind and an increase is essential. So I was surprised at the NAS report that engineering Ph.D programs had grown by 25% and the number of faculty member almost doubled.
    I'm all for more support for research, but there is not a severe shortage of engineers in the U.S. Far too many engineers struggle to find jobs. That's especially true when every few years we have a wave of cutbacks. A very respected telecom engineer a few years couldn't find a position for nearly two years after cutbacks cost him a director's job. He switched to real estate because he couldn't find anything. A month or so ago, I discovered a chip engineer once responsible for $100M a year in revenue was struggling to find a position after his company also downsized.  
     If engineers could be confident of decent, secure jobs, there would be no shortage of students interested.
The NAS report also found that women by 2006 were 22% of graduate students in engineering, up 9% in a decade. Ph.D's from "underrepresented minority groups" had doubled to 10%.
Last Updated on Friday, 01 October 2010 22:20
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