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DSL Prime
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
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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
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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.
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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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Huawei 700 Megabits, 8 Wires, 400 Meters
Tuesday, 21 September 2010 16:58
Cioffi's_paperJohn Cioffi in 2004 gave an electrifying presentationshowing the path to a gigabit with four pair. They said it couldn't be done. Alcatel earlier this year demo'd 300 meg over two pair. Huawei is now demonstrating something darn close to Cioffi's gig, 700 meg over 1300 feet. We now routinely get 100 megabits over a single pair, which would be 400 megabits with simple bonding. Huawei has added DSM noise cancellation (vectoring) and some other tricks to get to 700 meg. From the press release, Huawei's SuperMIMO looks close to Cioffi's 2004 proposals. Here's Huawei's release.
SuperMIMO technology enables operators to build high-bandwidth, cost-effective, and future-proof broadband access networks

[Hong Kong, China, 21 September, 2010] Huawei, a leader in providing next-generation telecommunications network solutions for operators around the world, announced that it has showcased a 700Mbps DSL prototype in Hong Kong – the first of its kind in the world

Last Updated on Friday, 01 October 2010 22:06
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British Telecom: 40 megabits Same Price as 2 megabits
Sunday, 19 September 2010 02:10
bt_booth_ingyThe cost of delivering 40 megabits is almost exactly the same as the cost of delivering 2 megabits once the equipment is in place. The only steep difference is in cost is when additional construction is needed. Regardless of speed, it's one DSLAM port, one modem, and one wire. There's no cost reason to charge significantly different prices. The two or three times difference in price for high and low speeds on Verizon FiOS, for example, comes from weak competition, not ordinary economics. 
 
     British Telecom is rolling out millions of 10-40 megabit DSL street cabinets, just like AT&T U-Verse. Virgin cable is selling 100 meg DOCSIS 3.0 for $42, so BT decided they couldn't charge more. So their 40 meg customers are being charged the same price as their existing DSL customers, many of whom can only get 1-3 megabits and an upstream so slow it can't keep up with carrier pigeons. With weekend phone service included and the line charge, they are charging about 30£ ($45) whether 2 megabit or 40 megabit service and a 40 gig cap. Uncapped with unlimited landline calls is 10£ more.  

      "Almost exactly" is carefully chosen here. In the half of the UK that can't get cable, 30-80% of all homes subscribe. Interference in the binder group has become significant,
Last Updated on Sunday, 19 September 2010 02:56
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‘Hang up on Telstra’ - And Century-Qwest?
Thursday, 16 September 2010 21:07
Janelle_SaffinAustralian Member of Parliament Janelle Saffin and the local paper, the Daily Examiner, are leading a campaign to force Telstra not to close the Grafton call centre and fire 100 workers. They have 400 signatures of people ready to "Hang up on Telstra" and they are just getting started. Telstra, like nearly all incumbents, is hurting badly because people go wireless only, a fine alternative for the people of Grafton. Or they can simply use Skype or another VOIP provider over their broadband connection. I make all my calls from home on Skype, for about $8/month across the U.S. and Canada. 
      Compare the Australian response to the empty words of politicians in Denver. 1,400 headquarters jobs likely to fade away when Century takes over Qwest and transfers control to Louisiana. The FCC has solid legal footing to block the merger, but without political pressure it will slide through with mostly meaningless concessions. Post wants the deal which would take him to 20M subscribers. Post would approve job protections (or broadband buildouts, etc) if that was what it takes. 
      But Colorado politicians are essentially doing nothing in D.C. to prevent the expected massive job loss.
Last Updated on Friday, 17 September 2010 00:05
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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
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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.
and
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
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Zeugma Put Out of Business By Moore's Law
Friday, 24 September 2010 01:40
ZeugmaThe Internet isn't slowing down and crashing because of traffic demand, so Zeugma has failed despite a strong management team and $50M of capital. Kevin Walsh may be the best salesman in the business, but no one wanted to buy equipment whose main purpose is unnecessarily slowing down people's net connections. 
    Zeugma expected carriers to buy throttling gear because video traffic would otherwise overwhelm the network. Video is in fact growing rapidly, resulting in an increase in traffic per user of about 30%/year according to AT&T's John Stankey. But Moore's Law is driving bandwidth costs down at a similar 25-40% per year, so carriers are just as able to handle the load today as two or five years ago. Speeds worldwide are actually going up while capex is flat to down. Bandwidth costs on any large wired network are less than 3% of the price of the service. There's no crisis forcing people to dump their systems and buy Zeugma.
    
   
Last Updated on Friday, 24 September 2010 02:16
 
498 million lines June, > 500M Today
Monday, 20 September 2010 04:25
Tom Starr, head of the Forum, has been there from the early 1990's setting DSL standards. He and many others at the Forum played crucial roles in getting from about 0 to 500M in 12 years. Sorry I wasn't at the Forum meeting in Hong Kong to raise a toast. The story in the data that China is growing so fast (>5M last quarter) that overall world grosth continues strong. Here's the announcement, which is based on Point-Topic data.

One in every five of the world's households now has fixed broadband, Point-Topic estimates and the Broadband Forum is celebrating in Hong Kong. That's 2.63% growth in the quarter and 11.99% in the last 12 months to end of Q2 2010. ...

* China – the powerhouse of global broadband in the 21st century so far was responsible for 43% of all net broadband lines added in Q2 2010 and performed far better than the same quarter in 2009 ('China' includes Mainland China, Hong Kong & Macau)
* In Western Europe many markets did better than the equivalent 2009 quarter.  Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland and Turkey amongst others all reported strong numbers
* Central and South American markets have cooled to an extent but many are still reporting good quarterly growth (in the 5%-7% range)
* However North America, the USA and in particular Canada have significantly slowed and - in Canada's case - to levels not seen for a decade

Continuing the trend from previous quarterly figures, Asia increased its share of the overall broadband market by a further 1.2% in the year Q209 to Q210 and by 0.41% in the last quarter alone. The region now accounts for almost 41% of the total, with Europe in second place with 30% and the Americas showing 26%. China is the biggest individual contributor to the Asian growth adding 5,470,888 lines bringing its total to 120,591,488, over 24% of the 500,000,000 lines achieved in the early part of Q3. Elsewhere in the top 10 the real movement is from Russia and Brazil.
 
Rory and Tref Move Files Faster Than BT DSL
Thursday, 16 September 2010 21:13
pigeonsarego

Carrier pigeons Rory and Tref set off with several hundred megabytes on MicroSD cards "at 11.05 and clocked in at the loft 1hr 15 minutes later," blogs Trefor Davies, the fellow with glasses in the photo. "At that time the broadband upload to YouTube was only 24% complete, and then only after having to reset it as the connection was dropped. The distance according to Google maps was 75 miles." (Via Ars)

Mike Schuster suggests rural Britons might be "better off with a 2GB thumb drive and a long net on a stick."

Last Updated on Friday, 17 September 2010 00:23
 
Calix Pays the Price for Occam
Thursday, 16 September 2010 14:17
Calix offered a 40% premium ($170M) to buy their primary rival for the U.S. independent telco market, potentially 20M+ homes. The two companies lead the market outside the Bells. Nikos Theodosopoulos of UBS is maintaining his buy on the combined company and expects earnings to go up next year. Adtran is the only active contender of size. Calix with the addition of Occam will be in a very strong market position.
    Occam's success is a story worth telling, and I hope people involved with the company provide material for me to post a better history. They were early on the switch to IP/Ethernet and always made good equipment. Well designed equipment wasn't enough to support many other companies in this business.
    Attending the Occam User's Group meeting in D.C., I met a slew of happy customers who believed Occam understood their needs. I believe the customer connection is why Occam was a survivor. So I'm glad to report Calix CEO Carl Russo tells me he sees the people at Occam as crucial to the growth of the combined company. "The talent is a key reason we bought the company," he tells me.
Last Updated on Sunday, 19 September 2010 02:04
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